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Ireland - home of many famous writers, poets, singers and music, of St Patrick, Guinness, whiskey and an unfathomably large number of exceptional pubs – can be rainy, at times even desolate, but never less than extraordinarily fun. Ireland has benefited substantially from its EU membership, and alongside all the old traditions – the late night pub singalongs and minuscule but gorgeously scenic farming communities – you’ll find the island of Ireland is moving with the times.
With Northern Ireland’s violence hopefully ground to a halt, trips around the entire island are a great travel option. Dublin is an impressive starting point. The Guinness Storehouse and nearby Jameson distillery demonstrate the locals' renowned taste for a swig or two, while the cobbled streets and traditional music of temple bar and jagged, stony architecture of Dublin’s many churches take you to the heart of what it is to be Irish.
Head north, and the vivid murals that adorn the walls of gritty Belfast’s houses tell their own tales of a darker history, while the highly regarded indie rock music scene is every bit as enjoyable as Dublin’s more traditional counterpart. The Giant’s Causeway – a natural formation of hexagonal rocks that slope down into crashing waters north of Belfast – is a breathtaking natural attraction, while the cliffs of Donegal and the rustic fishing villages and farm land around them are a true taste of cookie-box rural Ireland.
Head out west, and you’ll find Galway, a traditional city weighed down with culture and buskers on the streets as well as boats out to the magnificent and barren Aran Islands. Just to the south the proud Cliffs of Moher and desolate expanses of the Burren are startling natural draws. Then there’s the musical culture of Ennis, Gaelic football in Kerry and 6th century, crumbling monasteries of Skellig Micheal.
Away from the tourist centers, the warm welcome of Irish natives is a massive draw in itself: there’s nothing quite like an Irish stew in a thatched cottage while a red haired child entertains you with her harp. It can be a costly destination, but Ireland’s scenic sites and unique, joyful culture are worth the expense.
Timetables for any train in Ireland are available on the Irish railway website.
All trains in Ireland are valid with Interrail.
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Graphic showing average weather in Ireland in Celcius and Centimeters (Change to Farenheit and Inches)
|Month||Temp °C||Rainfall Cm||Temp °F||Rainfall Inches|
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