Ireland rarely disappoints. Most who go expect to see a fertile landscape covered with rugged hills and primeval bogs, craggy coastline and rolling green grassland. They also expect warm welcomes, underpinned by the legendary Irish sense of humour and good nature. And almost always, Ireland delivers.
Of course, there is more to Ireland. It’s also a lively cultural centre, home to the great cities of Dublin and Cork, as well as an ancient mythological tradition. Almost all its counties are home to ancient ruins, including Neolithic sites and Celtic villages.
One of the best ways to get around Ireland is by bike. With an ample road network, little traffic and stunning landscapes to explore, a cycling holiday here reveals all the glory of the Emerald Isle. The Kerry coastline is a particular highlight. Cycle through the stunning Killarney National Park, past treasures including Muckross House and Lough Leane. You’ll glide past Ireland’s highest peak in the shape of Carrauntoohil and stop for lunch and refreshments at traditional stone villages, unchanged for centuries.
Further down the coastline you can find the famous Slea Head loop on the Dingle Peninsula and drink in the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a place once described by National Geographic as the ‘most beautiful place on earth’.
All across the country there are reminders of its incredible past. Ruined monasteries attest to the importance of religion here, with castles and tower houses a reminder of the unrest and oppression suffered by the Irish over the centuries. However, equally in evidence is the great upswing in Irish fortunes in the last two or three decades, when the economy boomed and Ireland pushed itself to the forefront of European economies.
These heady days might be slightly tempered now but the optimism and bright outlook remains, bolstered by a healthy tourism industry. With a country this beautiful, it is an industry that will always be in demand.
All of this is combined with an unhurried and laid back lifestyle – one that seems to perfectly suit its surroundings. Explore on two wheels and you’ll be fortunate enough to encounter people all over Ireland, always ready to help and explain more about your surroundings.
Located on the western edge of Europe, battered by the Atlantic, Ireland has long stood firm and thrived in its dramatic landscapes, and will continue to do so for long to come.
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