Top places to visit in Ireland
With its rich culture, panoramic landscapes and unique activities, it is no wonder that Ireland's many counties allure UAE nationals and residents
The island of Ireland is among the top travel destinations for people in the UAE. The heritage, culture, history, friendly locals and abundance of varied activities serve as highlights of many a memorable holiday.
The top locations of interest to UAE residents included the Republic of Ireland's cities of Dublin, Galway and Cork, as well as Northern Ireland's Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. Each exudes its own unique draw, encompassing an array of cuisines, experiences and landscapes that call out to travellers from the UAE.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, commented on the findings, saying: "It is evident surveys and studies conducted, that UAE residents, and especially Emiratis, harbour a deep love for the island of Ireland. As travel is now possible without a visa for UAE nationals, Ireland looks forward to welcoming more guests from the region to explore the culturally rich cities, diverse landscapes and historic landmarks."
Below are some of the key activities and sights for each of the UAE's most favoured locations:
Republic of Ireland: Galway
The city presents a plethora of activity to its visitors, from acclaimed monuments such as the 16th century masterpiece that is Dunguaire Castle, and the Taibhdhearc Gaillimhe or the Galway Theatre in English, which holds within it the history of the nation's extravagant drama and theatre. Children with a love for wildlife can enjoy a day spent with a number of furry animal friends at Burren Nature Sanctuary or Loughwell Farm Park, both of which are a short drive out of the city. Those in search of fantastic vistas can hop aboard the ferries to the beautiful Aran Island or drive to the Cliffs of Moher, where they can look out across the seemingly endless Atlantic Ocean.
Republic of Ireland: Cork
Amongst one of the friendliest cities in Ireland, Cork is a not-to-be-missed location. Visitors can make their way to Garnish Island, which boasts a microclimate unlike any other island, enabling it to shelter a unique variety of plant and wildlife. On the way is Seal Island, home to fur seals, rare birds and the occasional dolphin. For the adventurer, nighttime kayaking at Lough Hyne is available, where each paddle stroke will bring to life the enrapturing shine of bioluminescent plankton.
Northern Ireland: Belfast
Northern Ireland's capital, Belfast provides a number of activities in which to indulge. This includes learning all about the world's most famous ship, the Titanic, at the Titanic Belfast dedicated solely to the relic. Relaxing strolls can be enjoyed in the bountiful Botanic Gardens, while quirky nibbles and accessories can be found at St George's Market, the sole survivor of the golden era of Victorian covered markets, much to the joy of both adults and kids alike.
Northern Ireland: Derry/Londonderry
The historic city of Derry/Londonderry is packed with special attractions such as the Museum of Free Derry, which commemorates the 1960s civil rights era known as The Troubles. The Tower Museum, rich in regional historic items, is home to an open-air viewing platform, from which the city is displayed in its best light. Most captivating, however, is the Derry City Walls, which have remained intact since the 17th century, and whose seven gates and 24 restored canons can still be admired, even today.
Republic of Ireland: Dublin
The capital of the Republic of Ireland is the most popular city, and includes a range of attractions - from visiting iconic landmarks such as the Guinness Storehouse, to the vibrant Temple Bar with its dining and retail hotspots, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to potential avenues for exploring. As a family-friendly destination, children can enjoy the fun and educational museums and tours, with special attention given to the younger traveller, in the form of the entrancing Chocolate Warehouse, where they can learn about the history of their favourite food.
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