Feel right at home on the island
Irish people are famous for their friendliness, so you’ll never really feel like you’re alone in Ireland!
B&Bs and hostels are great places to stay because they offer plenty of opportunities to meet other guests and exchange useful travel tips.
Join an organized tour where you can let someone else take the lead, while you just enjoy the fun without having to worry about checking your map all the time. You could also amble at your own pace and soak up the atmosphere by exploring Ireland’s friendly towns and villages.
When it comes to iconic Irish women, it doesn’t get more inspiring than the legacy of St Brigid. Named after the pagan goddess of fire, St Brigid’s selfless nature nurtured both the land and the living. She built a church in Kildare and her history can be explored here at St Brigid’s Cathedral – exactly where she built her original timber church all those years ago. St Brigid’s Festival takes place in Kildare town each year around her feast day, February 1.
Another great place to visit is Huntington Castle in County Carlow, which was home to a host of interesting Irish women. Nora Parsons was just 16 in 1903 when she shot the Indian crocodile whose head now adorns the 17th century castle walls. Not to be outdone, Nora’s daughter Olive began her own religion in the 1970s, and the temple of Isis in the castle’s basement celebrates the Divine Feminine to this day. We think the first lady of Huntington Castle, free-spirited Ailish O’Flaherty, granddaughter of notorious Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley, would be proud.
Ireland’s cities are compact and easy to get around. The Viking city of Dublin is renowned for its culture, creativity and craic (fun), so raise a glass to this UNESCO City of Literature at the Guinness Storehouse, explore the incredible Long Room Library in Trinity College, or wander the National Gallery of Ireland for some artistic inspiration.
Just two hours away is Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital city, where the Ship of Dreams is remembered at Titanic Belfast. Tuck into artisan food at St George’s Market, pick up a Black Taxi tour for a story-filled trip around the city, and round it all off with a visit to the historic Crown Liquor Saloon.
If you fancy getting quite hands-on and learning a new skill or two, we’ve got you covered! Sign up for lessons at the famed Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork. Not only is the teaching top-notch, but the scenery is beautiful, and you’ll meet lots of other budding cooks looking to craft great dishes. Get closer to nature with seaweed foraging and cooking class in County Waterford, or learn how to handle fantastic, freshly caught fish at the Mourne Seafood Cookery School in County Down.
Feeling creative? Then try a basket-weaving class with Ciaran Hogan in Spiddal, County Galway. Alternatively, turn your hand to some jewelry making at a workshop at NI Silver in Holywood near Belfast, or learn the craft from jewelry maker Cormac Cuffe at his school in Monkstown, County Dublin.
Which Ireland experiences are you adding to your solo travel list?