Ireland is a country with a history that goes back thousands of years and a young population, ancient myths and a modern, high-tech economy. Everybody has their own favorite version or versions of the Emerald Isle, and a trip to Ireland is a chance to see these in person. With ancient tombs and henges, historic cities, churches and castles, stunning natural beauty and friendly pubs, the only problem will be finding time enough to see and experience everything. Signing up for Celtic tours is one way to make sure that you get to see the major sights.
Visiting Ireland with Celtic tours
Ireland is an old country with a young population, making it a fascinating place to visit. Whether or not you can claim an Irish heritage, there is something about the richness of the culture and history that speaks to the human experience. There are ancient sites like Newgrange and Tara, churches, castles and grand houses, lively towns and small seaside villages, and universities with a rich history.
Any visit to Ireland must take in the pubs and the music and the cheerful friendly conversation that the Irish call craic. Irish beer is justly famous and beer enthusiasts can?t miss a tour of the Guinness Storehouse in St. James? Brewery in Dublin, where the beer has been produced since 1759. Ireland is also a shoppers? paradise with quality linens and wool, tweeds, crystal, china and jewelry. Avid shoppers should bring along an extra bag to hold all their purchases.
History and natural beauty
Irish history goes back thousands of years, with the earliest traces of this past are contained in mysterious Neolithic sites like Newgrange, Tara and the standing stones, dolmens, tombs and fairy forts scattered across the island. With an area of 32,595 square miles, Ireland is the third biggest island in Europe. It has more than 3,000 miles of largely unspoilt coastline, as well as other landscapes of stunning beauty.
Among many other stops, three must-see destinations that any,Celtic tours will include are the following:
This prehistoric passage tomb and ritual center is located in the Boyne River valley and is dated to around 3200 B.C. It?s part of complex known as Bru Na Boinne or the Boyne Palace. The tomb itself is kidney shaped, with a long passage leading to an inner chamber. The surrounding kerbsrones are carved with designs like the Celtic spiral. Newgrange may have served some ritual purpose because each year on the Winter Solstice, sunlight falls at an angle that lets it reach through the passage to the far wall of the inner chamber. Sixty people are chosen each year, out of the thousands who apply, to spend the night inside the structure and witness the event.
- The Book of Kells
This beautifully illuminated medieval manuscript is on display in the Library at Trinity College in Dublin. The text dates to around 800 A.D. and contains the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin. The decorations include Christian iconography combined with Celtic knots, human and animal figures, plants and mythical beasts.
- Kissing the Blarney Stone
Castle tours will take you to Blarney Castle, where daring visitors can actually kiss the Blarney Stone. Be warned, however: you have to hang upside down over a parapet to reach the stone. The word and its connotations became part of the English language due to Queen Elizabeth I?s exasperation with the Lord of Blarney and his habit of expressing himself in diplomatically long-winded speeches without committing himself to anything.
With so much to see and do, a good way to fit it all in is to sign up for Celtic tours, which offer a variety of vacation packages. Tour options include private guided tours and chauffeur tours for those who prefer to set their own pace.