Many people around the world are of Irish heritage. Some have been lucky enough to visit the country of their ancestors in recent years.
We asked our Facebook followers who have visited Ireland what did you like about it? What didn’t you?
There are also many people who have never been to Ireland, but would love to visit there one day. Why? What is it that makes Ireland so popular?
Thanks to everyone who took the time to post their comments on their experiences of Ireland. Unfortunately we couldn’t list them all but here are some of the best replies we received, with many of the same reasons cropping up again and again.
The feeling of home
For many people of Irish descent, stepping onto Irish soil for the first time feels like coming home. It is a difficult emotion to describe, but it is certainly one that is felt by thousands of visitors to Ireland each year.
There are also thousands of people who were born in Ireland that are now living all across the world. Of course, for them the feeling of returning home to see their family and friends is easier to explain. Here are some of the reasons you posted about why Ireland feels like home.
David Miller: “It’s been years since I was there. But I love it, as soon as I stepped off the plane I felt like I was home at last.”
Janet Patch: “The thing I loved the most, though, was the spirit of the Irish people. They were so friendly and helpful, similar to the Maritimers on the east coast of Canada where I’m from. The Maritime Provinces have strong Irish roots. Visiting Ireland was like coming home for me. I definitely found my genetic source!”
Althea Lee: “I refer to Ireland as my home away from home. I visit friends in County Tipperary at least every four months. I think Ireland is the most beautiful and friendly country that I have visited, and I have done my share of traveling.”
Brian Cavvy Cavanaugh: “Connecting with my family and heritage.”
Ron Sheridan: “Can’t wait to go and seek my roots!”
Bernadette Rafter: “From the time I landed I felt like I was home.”
Rosemary Julia Taylor Gipe: “I loved talking to family members and going to lunch with them. The sense of safety you feel, the warmth of the people. The colors in the hills and valleys, Love it all.”
Kim N Healy: “It’s what I felt when I was there. You not only see Ireland, you FEEL it!”
Kay Caddy: “I’m leaving on 8/30 for my first trip to Ireland. I’m so excited. All my ancestors were Irish or Scottish. I feel like I’m going home for the first time!”
Dan Dillon: “My beautiful Kilkenny. My adopted hometown.”
Maggie Fitch: “I got to meet my Brosnan relations in 2003. That had to be the ultimate.”
There is no doubting that Ireland has some lush-green landscapes and coastal views to enjoy. The brilliant surroundings and stunning scenery have made a lasting impression on many of you.
Patricia A Smith: “Ireland must have been modelled after Eden. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for our ancestors to leave!”
Jim Swanson: “I have only been once and loved all the countryside and views as we travelled.”
Phyllis Snell: “I loved my trip to Cavan County Museum last Monday to see World War I outdoor replica trench in Ballyjamesduff. A great experience and worth a visit as it the only in Ireland!”
Judy Clayton: “Blarney Castle and grounds were phenomenal. The flowers and the landscaping. The only thing that was disappointing… It was too foggy to see the Cliffs of Moher. Belfast was neat but not necessarily my favorite. It was all so beautiful. I’d go again tomorrow if I could afford it.”
Marka Duffy Fuller: “The western coast was my favorite. Galway and Dingle.”
Patricia Page Farrand: “I love everything…. I think Dingle & Killarney were my favorite if I had to pick.”
Raelene Grayden: “My favourite place in Ireland was the Giants Causeway. Magnificent. I least liked the ‘Wall’ in Belfast. So sad.”
Irish people have a reputation around the world of being fun-loving, welcoming and kind. That reputation is well founded with many of you listing the people as your favourite thing about Ireland.
Katharine Siddall Washburn: “The people we met and talked with. So charming, friendly and chatty. The service in the Hotels, pubs and shops were stellar. Well done Ireland!”
Brian Tidwell: “Incredibly friendly and welcoming people.”
Theresa Leahy Boeger: “One of my favorite vacations ever. The people are so nice and accommodating. Loved the B&B experience.”
Sylvia Sones: “I loved the sweet people and their kindness and beautiful accent. Even the poorest people in Ireland speak beautifully. Lovely country.”
Judy Roth Burris: “The warm hospitality of the Irish people AND this amazing spade-making machine powered by water. They told us it was the only one left of its kind in the world. It was extremely interesting to watch the process.”
Kathie Frank: “I’ve been there twice. Love the people. They are very friendly and always ready to laugh.”
Linda Lefevre: “My favorite was enjoying joining in the local pub parties and being treated like family, what I liked least was I had to go home.”
Andrew Murray: “I loved the people the most.”
Jean-Pierre Domont: “I am sorry my English is so pour, I am French. The land and the peoples so I got an Irish girl and married her.”
The food and drink
Ireland is not famed for its fine cuisine, certainly not in the same way as countries like France or Italy. But what they do do, they do well. Simple and good wholesome food have been a staple part of Irish life for generations, and there is no sign of that changing. The Irish food was a surprising feature on your list of favourite things about Ireland, and of course the Guinness too.
Terry N Tom Burney: “Loved everything about Ireland, especially the people and breakfast.”
Janet Patch: “Yes the Irish breakfast! Mmmm!”
Pam Desouza: “Loved it all especially the beer!! So much better than beer in the US!”
Anne Williams Wildrick: “We enjoyed the Ring of Kerry and the sheep dogs demonstration. And the Guinness beer every night before bed.”
Mike Woods: “I was there Aug/Sept last year, it is impossible to dislike anything about Ireland, I travelled from New Zealand to the UK and spent 2 month driving around the British Isles…highlight was the Guinness Store House and enjoyed a Guinness straight from the vat…Sláinte.”
Jule Bielefeld: “I loved Connemara, Killarney, seafood chowder, soda bread… to name only a few. But how are the hotels doing crumbled eggs?”
Jean MacCoy: “The limited daylight in Winter– of course, that just means spending more time by the fire in the pub, so that’s a win!”
I can’t wait to go back!
Tourists may disagree about their favourite cities or sites in Ireland, but if there’s one thing that almost every visitor would agree on, it’s that they can’t wait to go back. Whether people spend days, weeks or even months visiting Ireland, there is never even time to see everything the country has to offer. There is certainly a strong desire to return to Ireland again one day from most of you, when your circumstances and finances allow.
Carol Ann Trembley Gass: “Loved everything all three trips. Hated leaving that’s why I’m returning in October.”
Joann Slymon: “I was there 20 years ago. Will be there in September for three weeks.”
Barb Chudy Del Carlo: “See you this fall…cannot wait.”
Jill Hotchkiss: “Loved Killarney in particular. Liked everywhere we went. We were primarily in western Ireland, then went up to Dublin. I WILL go back!!!”
Pauline Phillips: “I loved everything and plan on returning soon.”
Jane Meeker: “I visited 27 years ago and we attended Mass at the church in Ballintober where my maternal grandmother, Mary Ann Egan, was baptized! Can’t wait for our visit again next month!”
Judith L. Zielinski: “I loved my visit to Ireland and think about my next visit every day. Breath-taking scenery, wonderful food and beautiful people. The narrow roads and driving on the left was new for me, but I survived.”
I hope to go there one day
Of course not everyone who wants to visit Ireland is able to. Limited finances and family commitments make a trip across the world impossible at this stage for many. There were plenty of people who took up our Facebook invitation to say what they liked about Ireland, to point out that they had not been in a position to visit so far in their lives, but that it was certainly a dream and hope they held for their futures.
Erica Marshall: “Oh you guys make my heart ache. I’m part Irish and it’s trying to call me home, I swear. I’m hoping to make my first trip for my 30th/graduation. Fingers crossed.”
Kathy Wagle: “I dream of going to Ireland. Only country I really want to go to.”
Loraine Hooker: “Never been, but want to go.”
DP TW: “Someday I hope to be able to visit the country of my ancestors. The pictures alone are breath-taking, and from what I’ve been told, the people are very kind and welcoming. Someday!”
Sally J Vittorio: “I wish I could go.”
Jennifer Ward: “Never been…..is my dream to do.”
Donna Stockwell: “I wish I could see your amazing country.”
Janet Phillips Holloway: “Have yet to get there…my bucket list.”
Patricia Dillon-lannan: “I am in the planning stage of my first trip…any suggestions?”
Kathleen Scott-Norris: “I have never been to Ireland. It is on my bucket list and with God’s graces I’ll be able to afford it one day. I’m hoping to be able to bring my grandsons with me. I now that my Father’s family is from Ireland and I’m trying to nail down the location.”
Valorie Hall: “Less than 6 years and I’m there.”
What don’t you like about Ireland?
This question was met by an overwhelming response of people who said there was nothing they didn’t like about Ireland.
“Having to leave at the end of my trip” was the most common answer, with many of you admitting you were close to tears as you boarded the plane from Ireland.
There were few things you didn’t like about Ireland. The only actual things anybody mentioned was the bad weather, the price of a coffee, and a rude guest house owner in Waterford.
Mary Rice Clemens: “Not so fond of cool, rainy weather.”
Spencer Halgren: “I hated all the nasty smokers and drunks.”
Patricia Holden: “The people are great, but their hospital care is awful, I was stuck in Waterford hospital for almost a month with a crushed hip. Worst care ever. The country is beautiful but no wish to go back!”
Nila Kay Kay: “Loved almost every second. Except the hotel in Waterford, RUDE….RUDE….RUDE.”
Val Green: “The weather – it rained continually through summer.”
Patrick Patrick: “HIGH prices…..coffee $4!”
Shaun Byrne: “Driving through Dublin through rush hour traffic from the ferry port.”