Who doesn’t love St Patrick’s Day?!? A chance to hear all those gorgeous accents and have some ‘craic’. There’s no doubt the pubs, restaurants and even streets will be awash with green, white and orange, with Guinness on special promotion in every shamrock adorned pub.
But there’s so much more to Ireland than just Guinness and Dara O’Briain (although we love both), so here’s a look at some of the other things that make Ireland so great.
Lily O Brien’s
Let’s start this round up in fitting style with a salute to this chocolate producer. Forget Switzerland, yes they make great clocks but quite frankly their chocolate has nothing on the scrumptious treats you’ll find here. From sophisticated, grown up, decadent chocs to the fabulous ‘Uglies’ “Knobbly, irregular little bundles of yummy ugliness.” We’ve never met an O Brien’s chocolate we didn’t like.
Yes indeed, there’s more to Ireland than sitting around drinking Guinness and Baileys… There’s Magners too! This fantastic drop of appley goodness is to many the taste of summer. Although it goes down well at any time of year, Magners Cider is the perfect accompaniment to festival fuelled fun in between bursts of manic summer dancing.
Yes the Irish have an amazing sense of humour but they also have incredible style. Mix the two together and you get Hairy Baby who create brilliant T-shirts, hoodies, mugs and more. Funny, fierce and utterly bonkers they look at life through distinctly Irish eyes and get the rest of us smiling.
The ‘Barn Dance’ festival is a quite simply brilliant weekend and shows just how good Ireland is at having a great night out. Top acts from across Ireland come together for a festival that has a BYOB policy and says of itself; “When all other doors are shut and prohibition takes hold, come away with us to our magic world”. Undoubtedly one of the best nights out of the year.
Funny, sharp and often full of celeb gossip and news, one of the best things about this brilliant and often irreverent website is that you can enjoy it from anywhere in the world. Mostly covering Irish related stories they are a great inclusion on your Facebook likes list, for hilarious updates and daily posts linking through to some often jaw dropping articles.
Perhaps not as well known outside of Ireland as the Big G (Guinness), Barry’s Tea is probably drunk by more of the population on a daily basis and is considered by many to be the bedrock of a nation obsessed with “just a quick cuppa”. In fact it’s so highly regarded that it’s a wonder it’s not administered intravenously to anyone suffering from that most terrible of Irish afflictions, “a raging thirst”.
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37 Dawson St
One of our favourite watering holes in a country that is jam packed with brilliant pubs. Great food, great atmosphere and a great night out can all be found at 37 Dawson St, Dublin. With décor like an explosion at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and top tunes it’s one of the places in Europe to eat, drink and be merry.
Another great night out but this time in festival form, which means you can actually make a whole weekend of it. BARE in the Woods is musically a pretty eclectic collection of top acts from across Ireland and Europe. Not only is it attracting some big names these days, the price is really reasonable so you can enjoy the festival atmosphere without needing to re-mortgage to get there.
Perhaps one of our favourite reasons to visit Ireland. There are crisps and then there are Taytos! Could it really be something to do with the famed Irish potatoes or is it just an amazing baking process? We’re not sure, but what we do know is that they are worth every minute of the ferry/flight/swim to get our hands on a packet of these bad boys.
For those that have never been, Dublin is one of the most stylish cities in Europe. That might appear a bold statement but Dubliners really know their fashion. The city has become a powerhouse of creativity and top designing talent and many of them flock to Carousel which is undoubtedly one of our favourite stores that specialises in retro and vintage inspired clothes, bags, jewellery and more.
Definitely not for the fainthearted Run-a-Muck is Ireland’s toughest physical challenge. A huge obstacle course that takes no prisoners as competitors push themselves over and through some seriously mucky and muddy terrain. Many groups opt to run for charity helping to raise hundreds of thousands of Euros for great causes, it’s also popular with hen parties often raising money for those who are sadly missing from the bride’s big weekend.
Fluent in 3 Months
Fluent in 3 Months is the amazing language learning tool that has been making major noise (in lots of different languages). This fantastic language system can help novices start to pick up any language instantly and with the right application you’ll be speaking like a native. Unlike that embarrassing friend we all have that insists on doing bad accents wherever you go “Ah Oim Oirish so Oi am to be sure to be sure…”. “Pack it in!”
O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausage Co
Cork is a superb city, the people are friendly, the ‘craics fierce’ and you’ll find some of the best sausages on the planet! O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausage Co have been using family recipes that have been passed down to a third generation of sausage makers. They pack a whopping 75% meat which is rare in a banger but the proof is most definitely in the tasting and these O’Flynn’s sausages taste gooooooood.
Impossible to navigate without a bucket load of ‘Aaaaah’s and ‘Soooo cuuuute’s this Dublin Zoo is a wonderful place to spend a few hours in the city. Especially handy if you’re looking for something to relax after a little too much St Patrick’s cheer the zoo has a huge range of exhibits as well as being an important link in the global chain of captive breeding to support endangered species and help increase numbers in the wild.
Another fantastic spot to spend a Sunday morning (or any morning come to that) is the Cupan Tae. An original Irish tea shop, its teas hold the magic qualities associated that are the answer to any Celtic crisis. And when it’s served somewhere as gorgeous as this it’s easy to believe. Add to that some of their fantastic cake and no matter how you entered you really will feel ready to face the world again.
The Stormy Teacup
Another of our favourite spots to rest a while in Ireland is Limerick’s Stormy Teacup. This sleek and funky tea shop serves the most amazing brews, order yourself a ‘Silk Road’ with its rich mix of tea and aromatic petals. Or if calories are no object then load up on one of their speciality hot chocolates with all the trimmings and a slice of gorgeous cake.
St Patrick’s Day
It would be rude of us not to at least mention St Patrick’s Day. Yes we know it is the obvious Irish connection but it is possibly the world’s greatest party. And yes we know more people celebrate New Year’s Eve but for a party of truly spectacular proportions you need a river a Guinness and the spirit of the Irish behind it. Without doubt it’s one of the best nights on any calendar.
Another fantastic Irish tradition is the horses. The luck of the Irish might not always bless every punter to lay a bet, but a day at the races is a fantastic event. Standing on the rail as the horses thunder past, you can literally feel the earth trembling underfoot. And if you should have yourselves a lucky flutter then its ‘cocktails o’clock’ (which sounds pretty Irish itself).
The 3rd Policeman
“Antiques ain’t what they used to.” There’s actually a grain of truth in our cheekiness because many younger home owners have their eye on more retro and chic items rather than dainty or expensive porcelain or furniture. If you love things vintage but can’t afford museum prices then The 3rd Policeman has an amazing collection of the weird and wonderful in its whacky but lovable emporium. It’s a must for any Dublin shopping trip.
Poitin is a drink that is perhaps not as well known outside of Ireland as it should be. Traditionally made from distilled potatoes (often in illegal stills) it was the drink of the working classes. While the modern drink will still put hairs on your chest, Glenalough have taken the core of the original drink and created a gloriously smooth tipple. They’ve also gone on to create some amazing whiskey and fabulous botanical gin. We’ll drink to that!
If you love Irish humour then you simply must get ThePotato.ie into your newsfeed to catch up on what are some of the most ridiculous but utterly brilliant news stories of the week. Yes some/most of it they make up as they go along but if you need a lift from the ‘real’ news then the potato’s surreal take on the world is the perfect tonic.
Another night out that can make any trip to Ireland truly special is the Bailey in Cork. Live music, big sporting events, fantastic cocktails and really funky décor make it the ideal choice for ladies who want a bit of style on their big night out.
Funky Christmas Jumpers
Everyone loves a Christmas jumper but not as much as these guys. They really have taken the humble Xmas wooly pully to extremely trendy lengths and in doing so have become the funky festive sweater of choice for stars such as Rita Ora, Harry Styles, Rory McIlroy, Niall Horan and Tony Hawks.
Did you know that the world’s most popular social media site has its European HQ in Ireland? And they’re not the only ones, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Dell and Intel are all among the major technology companies that have been attracted to Ireland because of its low corporate tax rates.
Bailey’s have taken chocolate, coffee and alcohol and mixed them all together to create liquid heaven. For those that weren’t completely sold in that one sentence let’s break this down; they have mixed three of the most important food groups and made them gorgeously drinkable. So good in fact that you’ll even find a bottle round your nan’s at Christmas. And we love them for it!
And finally… Irish Men
The accent, the charm, the cheeky boyish smiles…