There’s much more to Ireland than Guinness and rolling countryside, although there’s that too. Here are some suggestions of what to do and where to go from a BBC Travel list.
Start in Dublin with a visit to Trinity College's beautiful Old Library, where you can view one of the world's oldest manuscripts, the famous Book of Kells. The Irish are known for possessing phenomenal literary gifts, having spawned four Nobel Prize winners for Literature. If you’re in Dublin on the 16th of June, join in the Bloomsday festival devoted to James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses. Then head for an expertly pulled Guinness at Mulligan's.
A visit to Galway on Ireland's west coast is also a must. This young, lively college town makes an excellent base for trips to the Aran Islands and Connemara. One of the best things about the town is its pubs. Enjoy the old-fashioned charm at The Crane and Taaffe's, or The Blue Note. Visit the unspoilt idyllic Aran Islands, off the west coast, where Irish is the main language. Inishmór, the largest island is home to Dún Aengus, an ancient stone fort and the two smaller islands, Inishmaan and Inisheer are even more secluded.
Lastly, head to the plains of Tipperary and prepare to be dazzled by the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland's most spectacular castles. The Castle is a gem, containing a 12th-century Romanesque chapel and a 13th-century Gothic cathedral.
Budget airline Ryanair flies to Dublin from a number of UK airports, to Cork from Liverpool and London’s Stansted and Gatwick airports, and to Knock from Bristol, East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds and London.