A Girl’s Guide to Ireland

An increasing number of people have been heading to the Emerald Isle each year, with tourism numbers hitting records including over nine million visiting in 2017. Whether you’re a solo female traveler or planning a trip with friends, you couldn’t have picked a better place as Ireland is not only one of the safest countries to visit, but the Irish are renowned as some of the most welcoming in the world. No matter where you go, you’ll encounter legendary hospitality with people that always seem to be willing to lend a helping hand or offer advice. That coupled with the vibrant green sheep-dotted hills, soaring heather-covered mountains, breathtaking wild coastline and ancient castles, makes a visit here a no-brainer. If you own Fort Lauderdale real estate, you may not be far from the beach, but the empty unspoiled stretches in Ireland are unlike anything you’ll find back home.

But where are the best places for a girl to visit?

Dublin

When you first arrive you’ll likely land in Dublin, making it a perfect time to take advantage of one of Europe’s hottest shopping cities – be sure to pack an empty duffel bag with you to fill it up with your finds to bring back home. O’Connell and Grafton streets are the shopping hotspots, with Grafton, running south from College Green, the trendiest shopping area and home to some of the best street performers in the country. If you’re looking for a bargain, head to the streets that run west from O’Connell Street, like Henry and Mary streets that are lined with quirky boutiques.

A few of the other highlights here include a tour of the Guinness Factory with a free pint at the end at the Gravity Bar on the top floor with its panoramic views of the city, the Book of Kells in the Old Library at Trinity College (written around 800 AD by Irish monks), and Phoenix Park, the largest city park in Europe and a great place for people watching.

Wicklow National Park

Fans of the romcom “P.S. I Love You,” and anyone else who just wants to enjoy spectacular scenery, won’t want to miss Wicklow National Park. Just 40 minutes from Dublin, and you’ll be able to step into scenes shot here in the Wicklow Mountains, including Sally Gap, that jaw-dropping spot where Hilary Swank’s Holly meets Gerard Butler’s Gerry. Here you can gaze down at a sapphire lake that’s edged by a perfect crescent of white sand, which happens to be where much of the History Channel series “Vikings” is filmed. At nearby Powerscourt Estate, you can stroll through magnificent gardens that were used as a setting for “King Arthur” starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley.

The Dingle Peninsula

Arguably the most romantic place in all of Ireland is the Dingle Peninsula, with images of greener-than-green hills crisscrossed with stone fences while dramatic cliffs plunge down to crashing turquoise waves splashed across countless postcards. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman filmed “Far and Away” here, and the Academy Award-winning romance “Ryan’s Daughter” was shot here as well. In the charming town of Dingle itself, you’ll find countless pubs housed in colorful buildings hosting live music every night.

Abbeyglen Castle, Clifden

In Ireland’s Connemara region near the central west coast, Abbeyglen Castle Hotel boasts a spectacular mountain backdrop of the Twelve Bens in the picturesque town of Clifden and offers the chance to indulge your fantasy of staying in a real-life castle at reasonable rates. Cozy yet elegant, look forward to a champagne welcome reception and dining at the castle’s award-winning restaurant that specializes in Connemara lamb and local seafood. Some rooms include sumptuous four-poster beds, fireplaces and Jacuzzis.

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