Like so many Americans, the Vaga Brothers have a soft spot for Ireland. They like it so much they’ve been there several times and produced more than a dozen videos highlighting its many attractions.
After sampling traditional cottages, top quality and budget hotels, small bed and breakfasts, they’ve managed to the select 10 places they considered the most beautiful, interesting and entertaining.
This is their selection, not in any order but bearing in mind the geography and a logical itinerary around the country. Remember, Ireland is a small country; you don’t need to search for cheap flights to get about. You can drive from east to west in less than three hours and car rental is quite cheap.
Breath taking scenery wherever you turn, and you can have whole mountain walks and treks to yourself. There’s no overcrowding here like you might find on the Ring of Kerry.
The Vaga Brothers say they particularly like the village of Strandhill because it’s so chilled out. Lots of beaches and you can take surf lessons if you’re feeling energetic. “Try a steaming hot seaweed bath in saltwater. It will rejuvenate the soul and make you silky smooth.”
In Co Donegal. Some of the highest cliffs in Ireland and the highest sea cliffs in Europe… about three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher at 596 metres (1,955 feet). Far less crowded than the Cliffs of Moher too. “Instagram gold. Grab your camera and head to Slieve League. Don’t get too close to the edge. It’s a long way down.”
Galway is a university town on the west coast and wins the ‘funky’ award as far as the Vagas are concerned.
It’s got street artists and musicians. It’s one of the most musical cities in Ireland, in the world even. It’s the busking capital of the world. It’s a great place to base yourself for exploring the surrounding area. Galway is also one of the best places to experience Irish language being spoken.
Nearby there’s a cultural centre known as Cnoc Suain where you can learn more about Irish culture and language.
Galway is also known for its oysters. Try Moran’s on The Weir, an oyster cottage in an old traditional building.
Off the west coast from Galway. You can get there with a ferry or short plane ride. It’s a beautiful island that preserves the traditional style of Irish life. If you’re feeling brave, you can see where Red Bull staged the cliff diving championships into the Worm Hole. Not for the faint hearted.
The birthplace of the local food movement in Ireland. It’s the breadbasket of Ireland and home to loads of local producers. You can also go kayaking along the amazing coastline. And harvest seaweed to bring back for cooking.
The south west catches the jet stream, so the climate is quite temperate. Try beautiful little coastal towns like Kinsale that make a great place to stop before heading into Cork, a city full of history from Ireland’s battles with the English for independence.
An obvious but essential choice…the brothers love the whole city but single out the Guinness Brewery and Trinity College as two of the essential places to visit. Don’t forget, Guinness is not just another attraction; it’s been voted the best in Europe putting it ahead of places like Versailles in Paris or the Coliseum in Rome.
And Trinity College, of course, has the world-famous Book of Kells, produced by Irish monks more than a thousand years ago.
An amazing drive hugging the west coast of Ireland from the south all the way up to the North, taking in Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, Galway, Mayo, Sligo all the way to the Giant’s Causeway and beyond. Arguably the most beautiful coastal drive in the world.
Ireland has been divided for more than 100 years, with Belfast and Northern Ireland part of the UK.
Until 20 years ago, Belfast and most of Northern Ireland were ravaged by the Troubles. Now it is experiencing peace. One of the best ways to learn about the history and see how the city is recovering is by going on a street art tour.
The north is a must for Game of Thrones fans. A lot of the locations for the hit series are located nearby, including the real-life Winterfell where you can dress up like characters from the series and learn how to shoot bows and arrows. You also see the setting for the King’s Road and the Iron Islands.
A natural rock formation. According to myth it was create by the giant Fin McCool as part of his battle with a Scottish giant.
A perilous looking bridge between the headland and a little island that used to be a centre of salmon fishing. One of the ultimate Instagram spots.