Where the land is greener
A cruise to Ireland will fulfill all your romantic preconceptions. An uncommon geological richness and the warming effect of the Atlantic produce an astonishing diversity of terrain on this small island, which is splashed throughout with lakes and primeval bogland.
In the east, the crumpled granite of the Wicklow Hills sits in utter contrast to the horse-grazing plain of the Curragh just a few kilometres away, and in Connemara on the west coast, you can walk from beach to mountain to fen, from seaweed-strewn inlet to lily-covered lough, in a matter of hours.
Dublin is the Republic’s main entry-point, a confident capital whose raw, modern energy is complemented by rich cultural traditions, and which boasts outstanding medieval monuments and the richly varied exhibits of the National Gallery and National Museum.
South of the city, the desolate Wicklow Mountains offer a breathtaking contrast to city life. On Ireland’s southern coast, Cork’s shoreline is punctuated by secluded estuaries, rolling headlands and historic harbours, while Cork city itself is the region’s hub, with a vibrant cultural scene.
Stunning early Christian monuments abound, too, including the Rock of Cashel and atmospheric sites at Clonmacnoise, Glendalough and Monasterboice.