Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

Ireland

Ireland is an incredible country full of culture, beauty and fun. The dramatic differences between the bustling cities and beautiful countryside makes for an epic holiday experience. If you’re a fan of traditional Irish music and dancing, walking in wide expanses of lush, green fields and awe-inspiring coastal scenery, then the Emerald Isle is the place for you!

Our first stop is the jolly city of Dublin. Walk across one of the most famous sites in Dublin, the Ha’penny Bridge. It opened in 1816 and was the first pedestrian path to bring people across the famous River Liffey. However, it came at a price – it cost half a penny to cross, hence the name. You can then go to Christ Church Cathedral. One of Dublin’s oldest buildings, Christ Church Cathedral was founded in 1030 and is home to the largest crypt in the UK and Ireland. The overpowering structure is a traditional look you will see all over Ireland with great, grey stones, a bell tower and a dungeon.

Then head to Trinity College – an architectural masterpiece with a zoological museum, theatre, science gallery and the famous Book of Kells. This book contains four Gospels of the New Testament that are more than a 1,000 years old.

When in Dublin, you have to experience traditional Irish dancing. The Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance. It was made famous by Michael Flatley and Jean Butler in the interval performance of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. They now do performances all across the world but it is even more magical to watch the show at the home of Irish dancing!

From Dublin, go to the Dingle Peninsula for some breathtaking views over the Atlantic Ocean, its beautiful beaches and craggy cliffs.

Then visit the last port of call for the Titanic. Cobh was the last stop for the Titanic to pick up passengers before tragedy struck in 1912. This port town was called Queenstown until 1920 when its name was changed. It’s a great place to learn more about the Titanic but also a lovely spot to watch ships pass by with an ice cream in hand.

Next stop is to kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle. The stone was built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in 1446. Legend has it that giving the Blarney Stone a kiss will give you the Irish gift of the gab. There is more to do at the castle other than kissing a stone. The castle itself is beautiful with a variety of gardens to explore and a brilliant lake to walk around.

If you want to connect more with the Irish countryside, then head to Killarney National Park. Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland and is famous for its beautiful lakes, of which there are three. You can rent a rowing boat on the lakes and take in the surrounding mountain scenery.

From here go to Newgrange. Newgrange is a passage tomb or ancient temple which is 5,200 years old – making it older than the ancient pyramid at Giza and Stonehenge. Built by Stone Age farmers, the monument’s central room was designed to be aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, which makes it the oldest ‘solar observatory’ in the world.

The biggest tourist attraction outside of Dublin are the Cliffs of Moher. These dramatic cliffs rise up 700 feet above the water and are truly impressive. The best thing is, you can walk the 8 km route along them to the town of Doolin and enjoy the fantastic views the whole way.

Our final stop of our Irish tour is the Rock of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel is a 12th century tower which sits atop a limestone rock. It is possibly the most breathtaking castle in Ireland and for hundreds of years served as the seat of the Kings of Ireland. A great way to end your Irish adventure.