Ireland is the ideal place to visit for lovers of song and scenery, alike. Rising from the greenery of the landscape there is such a unique tradition of brave and whimsical people who have long inhabited the isles. With such inspiring landscape, it’s no small wonder that the wittiest and most wonderful poetry and proverbs have emerged from Ireland. Exploring Ireland in a rental car is a great way to see all the sites, and perhaps you’ll even find a similar spark of genius within yourself! Here are some of our favorite sights and songs of the Emerald Isle.
Dark Hedges of Ballymoney
For the ultimate in dreamlike settings, take a cruise down a country lane in Northern Ireland. You’ll find a curious grove of beech trees lining a stretch of road, creating a surreal tunnel of gnarled tree branches and eerie shadows. Even more ominous are the rumors of a spectral ‘Grey Lady’ who haunts the avenue during dusk. Many painters and photographers find inspiration in this incredible arboraceous display. Even better, this peculiar wood is a mere hour voyage from either Belfast or Londonderry. While in the area, travelers will also be delighted to feast their eyes upon the breathtaking Giant’s Causeway on the scenic North Coast, and indulge at the Old Bushmill’s Distillery.
The twilight turns from amethyst
To deep and deeper blue,
The lamp fills with a pale green glow
The trees of the avenue.
With a one-hour drive from Galway in a rental car, you can freely explore the Kylemore Abbey. Set on an unspoiled and raw Connemara landscape, the abbey and its beautiful grounds are a truly unique destination. You won’t be alone in the tranquility that you find among the fairytale castle and 1,000 acre grounds; the Kylemore Abbey is an operational Benedictine nunnery, which welcomes travelers and gladly shares in the beauty of the manor’s forest trails and lake-shore pathways. Catch a poetry reading, or hear musical pieces resonate through the glorious Gothic church on premise, or feast on a delicious home-cooked meal. Many of the ingredients served here were sourced from within the on-site garden.
“May the roof above you never fall in, and those gathered beneath it never fall out.”
―An Irish Blessing
It’s hard to tell exactly what purpose the enigmatic Polnabrone Dolmen was built to carry out. At approximately 5,000 years old, it predates any kind of written record or spoken legend. What is established is that it marks the place where numerous ancient remains were found. Similar stone structures can be found in multiple places throughout the world, including India, Spain, France, Germany and South Korea. What is most striking about the megalithic chamber is the harsh, rocky landscape that surrounds it. In recent years, astronomers and casual stargazers have favored the clear skies of this landmark, free of noise pollution or chaos. The Burren, while otherworldly, is home to a large array of wildflowers. It also inspires deep tradition of Irish music. This site is an easy drive from either Limerick or Galway.
A comet that was lost
Should be visible at sunset,
Those million tons of light
Like a glimmer of haws and rose-hips
Cliffs of Moher
I fell in love with the Cliffs of Moher when Fezzik scaled them in The Princess Bride, though at 200 meters from the crashing surf below, I certainly understand why the film renamed them ‘The Cliffs of Insanity’. A darling of Irish visitors, the cliffs provide abounding views of the Aran Islands, the Twelve Pins mountain range and miles of North Atlantic Ocean. State of the art facilities accommodate the numerous travelers to The Cliffs, and provide multimedia presentations about the geology and biology of this unique feature. The cliffs are known for fantastic bird-watching!
“Ecstasy is from the contemplation of things vaster than the individual and imperfectly seen perhaps, by all those that still live.”
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Set in the iconic city of Dublin, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Dublin. While most recent construction was completed in the 19th century, the site has a rich Christian tradition extends back for more than a millennium. Legend says that it was here that St. Patrick first converted local heathens in a baptism beside a well. The church itself features gorgeous stone masonry and fanciful towers. The interior is a fantastic example of medieval architecture, with excellent acoustics and stained glass.
“May the Good Lord take a liking to you,
… but not too soon!”
Rock of Cashel
If you’re seeking an abundance of old-world charm, you will find it at the Rock of Cashel. This site was reputed to be the site where the legendary St. Patrick converted the King of Munster in the 5th century. The rock, which rises imposingly from sweeping fields of green, continued to be a seat of Munster rulers for hundreds of years. Upon the Norman invasion, the keep was donated to the clergy who inhabited and developed the palatial little village for centuries. Many buildings there date back to the 12th century. Visitors today have many delights to savor on this ancient site, from castles and cathedrals to cafes, pubs and little shops!
“May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand”
― Irish Blessing
Anyone who visits Cork should make the short drive in their rental car to the historic Blarney Castle stronghold to touch a favored travel tradition. It is rumored that a silver-tongue is bestowed upon visitors who kiss the famous blarney stone among the high towers of the ancient stone fortress. One of the nicest features of the Blarney Castle grounds is the manicured gardens that surround it, with numerous paths to follow. On a warm spring day, a picnic might be the perfect way to round out a voyage to the Blarney Castle.
“Erin Go Bragh.” (Ireland Forever)
Whether you are following the footsteps of your favorite poets, the famed St. Patrick, or some ancestors of your own, Ireland is a land of stories and song. With a rental car in Ireland, you will be able to easily glide from one gorgeous site and song to the next. Auto Europe guarantees the best rates and top service for car rentals throughout the world. While it’s quick and easy to reserve a rental car through our website, you will also enjoy the peace of mind that goes with knowing that our knowledgeable reservationists are available to help you out, 24/7. Call us at 1-888-223-5555.