Anyone who has ever visited Ireland during the fall knows what a wondrous time it is. It’s a time for crisp city strolls along meandering rivers like the Liffey, Lagan and Shannon, and when iconic attractions gain new perspectives.
Take Belfast, where the sinking of the RMS Titanic, one of the most enduring tragedies of all time, is commemorated with an immersive visitor experience, Titanic Belfast. Located at the same dock where the ship was constructed, it houses a 3D cave, theater and observation center in nine interactive galleries. In Dublin, the best-known attractions are all within ambling distance of each other. Start at Trinity College (established 1592) and venture past medieval Temple Bar to get to Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral and Phoenix Park. Down in Cork, ring out the Shandon Bells in St Ann’s Church and become part of this ancient tradition.
Histories and cultures are also honored in the world-class museums around the island such as the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Northern Ireland, the Crawford Gallery in Cork, the Dublin Writers Museum and the National Museum of Ireland, also in Dublin.
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The island of Ireland has earned its reputation as a bastion of ancient culture and deep-green natural splendor. Day trips combine the two and are all the more bewitching under an auburn fall sky. The coastal towns (Howth and Cushendun to name two), glacial valleys and Neolithic tombs on Dublin’s doorstep make for some awe-inspiring trails and suit all levels of ability. Outside the cities, castles and stately homes open their centuries-old doors to warmly welcome travelers from afar. Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow is one popular Palladian house surrounded by pristine gardens and an ornamental lake, while castles from Crom to Lough Eske make for some exceptional stopovers.
The culinary scene in Ireland ranges from historic markets built in the 1800s to Michelin-star restaurants and everything in between. At bustling markets like St George’s in Belfast and the English Market in Cork, farm-fresh produce, meats and locally sourced seafood are served against striking Victorian backdrops. Indulge in award-winning restaurants such as OX in Belfast or the Michelin-starred Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin. For those who like to wet their whistle, tours of distilleries (Bushmills in Antrim is Ireland’s oldest) and breweries (none more iconic than the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin) are a must.
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