Cultural Holidays in Ireland

Updated: April 27, 2020 | By | More

There are many reasons to plan a holiday to Ireland.  It truly is a land of adventure, activities, relaxation, and just plain fun.  In this article, however, we are going to focus on the side of Ireland that caters to those seeking a refined holiday with culture and history.  If this sounds like you, have a look at what Ireland has to offer.

Dublin Writer's Museum, Ireland
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons, created by landhere

The Arts

Celtic people have always had a love of music and the arts, and that tradition lives on today and is a part of Ireland’s national identity.  Music, dancing, art, theater, and literature are seemingly found around every corner in Ireland, whether historical or contemporary.

If literature is your thing, be sure to visit Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, which houses the Dublin Writers Museum as well as the National Library of Ireland.  You will also find the famous Literary Walks where you tour locations frequented by Ireland’s famous writers, sharing their works inspired by the locations.

Are you a lover of theater?  The Dublin Theatre Festival happens every autumn.  If you aren’t planning a fall getaway, however, don’t worry.  Dublin features the Gate Theatre, the Olympia Theatre, the Grand Canal Theatre, and Ireland’s National Theatre, the Abbey.  Outside of Dublin, you will also find the Royal Theatre in Castlebar, the George Bernard Shaw Theatre in Carlow, and a multitude of cultural arts centers throughout the country.

If you are a music lover, there are a wide variety of clubs and festivals to attend.  Rock enthusiasts may want to try the Academy in Dublin or Whelans, the Cruiscin Lan in Cork or the Roisin Dubh in Galway.  If festivals are your thing, Oxegen is Ireland’s premiere rock festival.  For other musical tastes, there is the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, the Wexford Opera Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival, the Body and Soul Festival, and the Sea Sessions, which is a mix of music and surfing.

The History

Ireland’s extensive, ancient history makes for so much to see and experience on your trip to the island.  The five thousand year old tomb at Newgrange, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is both a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight to behold, as well as an ancient mystery.  Was it a burial mound for kings?  Perhaps it was an ancient astrological calendar?  Maybe it was a site for rituals?  Whatever it was used for, there is no denying that is truly a must see for the history buff.

tomb at Newgrange, Ireland
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons, created by Jule_Berlin

Ireland boasts another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Skellig Michael, located off the Kerry coast.  This monastic site sits perched on a rock and dates all the way back to the 7th century!  There are so many ancient sites to behold in Ireland, many based in myth and legend.  You don’t have to look far to find burial mounds, fairy forts, standing stones, and the Bronze Age stone circles of Cork and Kerry.  You can also find the most extensive Stone Age site in the whole world, the Ceide Fields, in North Mayo.

Ireland is full of ivy-covered historic houses and ancient castles as well.  They are a true link to Ireland’s glorious past and visually stunning as well.  You will also find guided tours and activities inside, such as Westport House in Mayo’s adventure park, Desmond Castle in Kinsale’s International Museum of Wine, and the ability to go back in time with Bunratty Castle’s medieval banquets, where you don the garb of the period for a truly delightful and enlightening experience.

Finally, you will find no shortage of museums in Ireland.  Whether it be Kilmainham Gaol, once a prison and now a museum, to the Floynes Flying Boat Museum with its aeronautical focus, the plethora of distilleries with exhibits on making spirits, or the multitude of castle museums focusing on medieval times, you can find a museum catering to basically any interest.

So, as you can see, there is more to Ireland than golfing, dining, shopping, and pub crawls (though I recommend those as well,) and you truly can find an enlightening cultural experience when you book your next holiday to Ireland.

Irish holiday cottages are the ideal accommodation option for those on holiday in Ireland.  Visit the Owner’s Direct website before you travel to browse the options available to you.

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Category: Ireland, Travel Tips

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