Best city breaks in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland

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Travel Features >> Best city breaks in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland

Best city breaks in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland

December 05, 2013

A visit to the Emerald Isle offers every traveller something different; from fine dining, to exploring, to indulging in a bit of shopping, to merely having a few pints of Ireland’s most famous beverage, Guinness, there is something for everyone on a holiday in Ireland.

However, with so much to do, and so much to see, how do you narrow down your itinerary to a few places or cities? Here are our top three, which are in no particular order that have been chosen for their various attractions, hospitality and sightseeing.

A trip to Northern Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Belfast, perhaps one of the greatest cities in Northern Ireland. Most famous for its connection to the Titanic, as it was built in the great shipyards of the city in the early 20th century, it’s perhaps unsurprising that a big part of the city’s tourist industry is centred on the infamous doomed ship. Visitors can visit Titanic Belfast, the ultimate visitor attraction concerning the conception, build and untimely sinking of what was once the world’s most decadent and promising ship.

The city is also a great stop for cheap holidays or a short break, as there are plenty of free attractions such as the pristine Botanic Gardens, dating back to the 19th century, the grand City Hall and various museums in the surrounding area.

Visitors flock here predominantly for two things - Guinness and literature - and those who are fans of both will be spoiled for choice in the capital city. For the Guinness connoisseur, a trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Mulligan’s in the heart of the city, who have a great reputation for serving the perfect pint. A visit to the Guinness Storehouse is also a must, the place where the Guinness story began, gives visitors the chance to tour the famous distillery and taste some of the famous products.

Meanwhile, the archives at Trinity College’s Old Library offer so much to the literary fans out there, from gazing at 16th century manuscripts, including one of the world’s oldest known manuscripts, the Book of Kells. James Joyce boffins will be eager to take a walking tour in his footsteps and those of his famous creations, such as Ulysess’ Leopold Bloom.

Galway City
Famous for being a college city, Galway is a picturesque, yet lively city that is also well-known for its nightlife, and as well as outside visitors, many Dubliners often travel here after dark. More of a ‘pub town’ than a ‘club town’, Galway offers many beautiful and old pubs for visitors to patronise, including Taaffe’s and The Crane, while younger visitors will soak up the atmosphere of the much younger establishment, The Blue Note.
For visitors wanting to get out of the city, Galway’s location makes it a prime point for boat trips to neighbouring islands, including Connemara and the Aran Islands, making them a perfect destination for a quiet and reflective day out.

There is so much to discover on holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and it offers something for everyone; holidaymakers both young and old, students, parents and children. While Ireland and Northern Ireland are often seen as expensive destinations, many of the best attractions, such as a meandering stroll around the towns and countryside, supping a pint by a pub fireside, or roaming the book shops and libraries, are low-cost or even free.

Author's Bio: Olivia James enjoys planning cheap holidays and writes about her escapades for a number of travel blogs. On her last budget trip, she journeyed from the West Coast of Ireland to the Greek Peloponnese in three weeks.

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