You’ve already proven lucky in love, but why not keep your streak going? Luck is what’s on tap in Ireland. And once you spend a few days on the Emerald Isle, you’ll begin to understand just how lucky you are. One of the country’s greatest treasures is its people. The Irish are genuinely interested in others’ stories and are quick to tell theirs. That’s probably why some of the best experiences are often had inside a local pub. But there’s also a fabulous world beyond the brew that’s worth exploring. Glorious castles and storybook villages dot pastoral countrysides and dramatic coastlines you’ve seen only in the movies.
What to Do
Dublin Although Dublin is a big city, its distinct neighborhoods wrap you in their embrace and create a small-town experience. That said, you can see quite a bit of the city on foot in a couple of days. Obviously a pub stop is in order, Other famed Chester Beatty Library, Christ Church and St. Patrick’s cathedrals, Dublin Castle, and the Guinness Storehouse (there’s a killer view of the city from the Gravity Bar).
Galway, Killarney and Beyond Since Ireland is a country of manageable size, it’s easy to take off by rental car and see many fantastic spots in a few days. The southern curve of the country from Dublin to Galway is scattered with some of the island’s best offerings. the Rock of Cashel, a cluster of formidable ruins with a stately history. Blarney Castle; here’s where you take a break from kissing each other and plant one on the famed stone. Gap of Dunloe, near Killarney, is your next must-see. This narrow mountain pass formed by volcanic activity gives you one stunning photo op after another. And in terms of spectacular scenery, the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s pot of gold. These dramatic bluffs will convince you that the earth is flat and you’ve reached the end of the world.
Dingle Couples looking to disappear for a while should make a beeline for picturesque Dingle, on the west coast. This seaside escape isn’t overrun with tourists and has plenty of options for shopping, eating and drinking — at a leisurely pace.
Home to inspiring historic figures like William Wallace (brought to life by Mel Gibson in Braveheart), Mary Queen of Scots and writer Robert Louis Stevenson, the country also gave us tartan, bagpipes, golf and single-malt scotch. Plus, how can you not love a country whose official animal is the unicorn?
Wedding Requirements Scotland’s natural beauty is enhanced by its ease: There are no residency requirements, and no language barrier. Religious and spiritual ceremonies can be performed anywhere, as long as the celebrant agrees. Also, because Scotland’s weather is so unpredictable and the summer season is so short, outdoor venues get booked far in advance, so plan ahead. Forego the champagne and make your wedding toast with single-malt scotch whisky; the country has approximately 100 distilleries.
What to Do
Edinburgh Scotland’s capital city is dominated by a thousand-year castle that sits high on a hill in the city center. Make this your first stop on a city tour, both for the historical overview (the austere St. Margaret’s chapel dates to the 12th century, and is the city’s oldest structure) and the incredible vistas. There’s plenty to see outside the castle walls, too, from the winding, narrow streets of medieval Old Town to the stately Georgian townhomes in the New Town district. Book a hotel within walking distance of the Royal Mile, a cobblestone street lined with shops and restaurants that leads down from the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, a museum and the private residence of Britain’s ruling family. The city’s population nearly doubles every August, thanks to the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest festival for the performing arts.
Inverness and the Scottish Highlands Scotland’s cities are fascinating, but to get to know the country’s soul, head north. A boating tour of famed Loch Ness is worth it for the beauty alone. Further north is the quaint town of Inverness, where rolling hills are great for hiking and stately manor houses-turned-inns provide royal accommodations.
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