When Ireland is mentioned in any 20th-century conversation, what comes to mind is usually Game of Thrones. After all, HBO’s biggest-budgeted show did film many epic scenes on this green island throughout the show’s runtime. Those who have been here often praise the country for its scenic beauty and vibrant culture. There is also a lot of history on this Celtic island.
In light of COVID-19 restrictions, there are travel conditions to consider, but what are some things to do once you reach this magical island? And will the luck of the Irish be with you?
What are the current travel restrictions?
As such, with any flights in the age of COVID-19 pandemic, you risk having your flight delayed or, worse, cancelled. With that in mind, as an international traveller, you are required to fill out a form called the COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, which should be completed before your departure.
Those visiting Ireland should also have accepted proof of vaccination and a minimum of six months recovery period from a COVID-19 infection. As with most countries, you’ll also need to present a negative PCR result. For more information on requirements, click here.
Best time to travel to Ireland?
Now that we’ve gotten the boring stuff out of the way (aka COVID-19-related things), when should you visit Ireland? They say the best time to go is between March to May and September to November. Unless you really love the cold, then what could be more magical than visiting Ireland at Christmas?
Which city to go to?
It’s hard to pick just one with so many places to choose from, so we have narrowed it down to the types of places you can opt for.
Best for any traveller: Galway
This harbour town on the west coast of Ireland is adorned with stone-clad buildings that ooze history. Some of Ireland’s most extraordinary castles are situated here too!
Best for the traveller looking for fun and relaxation: Cork
The locals here will passionately tell you Cork is the actual capital of Ireland, and whether it’s true or not, this second-largest city in the country is worth a visit. You’ll find plenty of history to soak in, and there are hip restaurants like Market Lane to indulge in all kinds of gastronomic delights.
Best for the budget traveller: Dublin
The capital of Ireland is pretty friendly on the wallet, so if you’re looking to save some coin, here is where you need to go. Dublin’s also very accessible, so you can easily plan day trips from here.
Best for the Game of Thrones fan: Belfast
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Belfast is a must-visit as it was the primary location for filming HBO’s most-watched series. Some tours will take you to locations where Winterfell, Iron Islands, and Cushendun Cave were filmed. You can even rent a car or jump on a train to Banbridge to visit the Game of Thrones Studio. While it’s not part of the Game of Thrones movement, the Titanic Studio is also worth a trip.
What to eat when in Ireland?
It would be sacrilegious to visit this rich-in-history country without trying some of their staple dishes. Forget the burgers and fries, and tick these typical Irish dishes off your list instead.
Fry: slang for traditional Irish breakfast
This big and hearty breakfast plate consists of eggs, toast, mushrooms, baked beans, black (sometimes white) pudding, rashers, and Irish sausages! A meal like this will fuel you up before you go exploring any Irish city.
As its name suggests, the battered sausage is beaten and then deep-fried and can commonly be found at any fish and chips shop.
Black and white pudding
What springs to mind when the word pudding is mentioned is usually the typical sweet and custard-like stuff. Not in Ireland! Expect a meat-based dish coated in spices and grains like oatmeal. Please keep in mind if you have dietary restrictions that this food is often pork-based, and the black pudding gets its colour from pig’s blood.
A typical Irish dish that’s often served as comfort food and traditionally served on Halloween eve, Colcannon is a creamy dish made of mashed potatoes, cabbage, and some form of pork. Leeks, chives, scallions, and onions are also usually added to the mash!
Made up of cubes of beef, onions, tomato paste, stock, winter vegetables, and of course, Guinness, this traditional stew is slowly cooked and often served with Irish bread. Yum!
While this list doesn’t even cover half of all the interesting things you can do in Ireland, it certainly will spark some travel inspiration!