The Republic of Ireland has earned its place as a top destination on the solo traveller’s map for many years thanks to its green rolling hills, legendary hospitality, and of course, plenty of Guinness!
But there’s so much more to the Emerald Isle than this. So here’s a look at how the solitary traveller can enjoy kissing the Blarney Stone, winning big on the Irish lottery, and tracking down some awesome Irish music.
The biggest transport hub in Ireland by far is Dublin airport, although you can also find flights for Cork and Shannon. Ryanair is one of Europe's largest budget airlines, and connetcs Dublin to pretty much every important city in the rest of Europe. This budget airline is so large in fact, that even Ireland is linked to smaller centres as well throughout the continent.
Dublin does have intercontinental flights, most of which come from North America, so from the USA you should be able to fly direct to Dublink from a number of cities. From further afield you are more likely to land up at London, Amsterdam or somewhere like that, and then require a short haul flight to make the final hop to Ireland.
If you are coming from the UK, more specifically the West of England or Wales, then it might be cheaper to take the ferry over. Boats sail from Liverpool too.
Once you've landed, getting a hire car is perhaps the easiest way to see Ireland's more idiosyncratic sites, although there is a comprehensive rail network and the Bus Éireann coach service offers a cost-effective travel solution.
One awesome idea is to travel by bike, perhaps for the aventurist, you could take your touring bike with you and see Ireland in this healthiest of ways. It's also good for the environment and you'll be exposed to the best of Irish nature and hospitality of the locals.
As Ireland is on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, there can be plenty of wind and rain throughout the year. However, despite the winters being prone to gales, the summer months are glorious with the sun rising at 6am and setting as late as 10pm - be aware that accommodation prices invariably rise in this period.
The best months to go would be May through to October, with July and August being the finest and most settled weather. Of course this is school holidays for much of Ireland and the rest of Europe, so you may need to book ahead.
The capital city of Dublin offers the best bet for all-round entertainment for the solo traveller with the Temple Bar area of the city offering a particularly enjoyable taste of the traditional charms of the city thanks to its many evocative bars that frequently showcase Irish music. The Phoenix Park area also gives you chance to enjoy the tranquil way of life in this green-loving city.
If you’re short of time, then the Little Museum of Dublin offers a cute taster of Irish history, whereas a trip to the Guinness Storehouse is a must for all fans for this famous Irish drink.
Irish people rarely need the excuse to celebrate with the Punchestown Festival delivering the best in Irish horse-racing at the end of April. Whereas 49s is the popular online Irish Lottery game that can be accessed via the Coral site and it offers some big winnings from the comfort of your smartphone.
Just because you might be traveling solo does not mean you shouldn't go out and enjoy yourself one night. Dublin is one of the part destinations of Europe, and it's not just large groups of stag and hen parties that are catered for. If you head over to a site like Tripadvisor, then you should be able to check out any organised bar crawls, as there is usually at least two or three companies running these events, which can be a great way to meet other solo backpackers.
Similarly, check out the free Dublin city walking tours, again the better ones will be listed and reviewed on Tripadvisor.
Further afield the city of Cork offers magnificent architecture and charming waterways to explore. The city is also close by Blarney Castle that offers the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone to earn that famous gift of the gab.
But ultimately it’s the magnificent natural scenery that keeps visitors coming back with the dramatic Cliffs of Moher revealing that it’s not just the Irish Lottery that has the power to captivate visitors to this welcoming and vibrant nation.
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