Ireland is known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich Irish culture that’s rooted deep in traditions passed down from generation to generation.
Even Johnny Cash spoke of the beauty of The Emerald Isle in his song, “Forty Shades of Green.”
And if you’ve ever met a person born and raised in Ireland, you can’t help but be charmed by their outgoing nature and thick Irish accent.
I mean let’s face it… the Irish are a likeable group.
They’re a hard-working and honest people—and they really do know how to have a good time.
What’s not to love?
If you’ve ever been to Ireland, you know they have a deep affection and respect for Saint Patrick, otherwise known as the patron saint of Ireland.
In fact, Saint Patrick is credited for helping bring Christianity to Ireland, with his journey to reach the Irish spanning all throughout the country.
And truth be told, he’s been to some pretty cool spots.
So, in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, we’d like to recommend you take a tour of Ireland… but not like the tours you’d find offered on a random tourist site.
You see, most people will encourage you to visit Ireland the “tourist way” – ya know, hit up a few pubs in Dublin, kiss the Blarney Stone, etc.
But there’s so much more to Ireland when you venture off the beaten path.
So if you’re looking for an Irish adventure and want to experience the best Ireland has to offer, check out these recommended “must see” sites and discover Ireland through the eyes of Saint Patrick.
Captured and forced into slavery, Saint Patrick’s journey in Ireland started off rocky with his teenage years spent as a poor shepherd boy.
It was said Slemish was his first home.
Legend has it that during this time as a slave, Patrick was forced to work in grueling conditions, bearing tough weather and isolation. But also during this time as a shepherd on Slemish Mountain, Patrick spent many hours deep in prayer where he discovered God in a real way – and we now know that this moment changed the course of history in Ireland forever, as Patrick would later take his newfound faith to the Irish people.
Slemish Mountain is located in County Antrim in Northern Ireland and is actually home to an extinct volcano!
Today, travelers can visit Slemish Mountain year-round – and hike to the top in just a couple of hours.
In fact, on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day), Irish folks still make their way to the top as a pilgrimage to pay tribute to Saint Patrick.
The Irish love their traditions!
Located just south of Dublin, Wicklow is known as “the Garden of Ireland”.
And in Wicklow, it’s all about the scenic views.
Whether you want to relax on a beach or hike a mountain, you can do it all in Wicklow.
The Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest national park in Ireland and hosts historical spots like Glendalough Valley, also called “the valley of two lakes,” and is rated one of the most beautiful destinations in all of Ireland.
If hiking is your thing, you have nine separate marked trails to choose from – some lasting up to four hours long.
Not much of a hiker?
Sit back and enjoy the scenery like the Powerscourt Waterfall, which is situated in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains and is Ireland’s largest waterfall.
So, what’s the connection to Saint Patrick?
It was said that Saint Patrick first came back to Ireland as a missionary in 432 AD… and he landed in Wicklow!
Nicknamed “the Reek,” this gigantic 2,507ft mountain is known as the holiest mountain in Ireland, attracting over 1 million pilgrims a year!
In fact, on the last Sunday of July, it’s estimated that 25,000 people make the journey to the top of this mountain in honor of Saint Patrick.
It was on this very mountain all the way back in 441 AD where Saint Patrick fasted and prayed for 40 days—following in the footsteps of Christ—in hopes of helping make Ireland a Christian country.
This mountain is absolutely breathtaking and is a must-hike if you are in western Ireland!
Rock Of Cashel
Also called “St. Patrick’s Rock,” it was here Saint Patrick was said to have baptized King Aengus who became Ireland’s first Christian ruler.
Located in Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel is one of the most visited sites in all of Ireland.
The breathtaking castle is historic, and although various renovations often take place to preserve this medieval structure, it is open to the public year-round.
Pro-tip: Since this is one of the hottest tourist destinations, get there early in the morning to beat the crowds.
Known as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, Saint Patrick is said to have established a church in this tiny city.
Two stunning cathedrals reside in Armagh and are named after Saint Patrick – St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral.
If you’re into massive buildings with brightly colored stained-glass windows and historical church tradition, both sites are a must-see.
Once In A Lifetime Experience
So if you’re looking for the ultimate adventure, consider touring Ireland through the eyes of Saint Patrick.
Full of rich traditions and breathtaking landscapes, Ireland has something for every Proud American Traveler.
By experiencing the Emerald Isle through Saint Patrick’s eyes, you’re bound to have a greater appreciation for all things Irish.
Are you inspired to tour Ireland by following the footsteps of Saint Patrick? Which sites are you looking forward to seeing most?
Tell us in the comments below!