The mischievous charm of Ireland’s people lures many travellers to Dublin, the city that has a wink in its eye and a thriving pub culture. And Ireland’s mythic countryside – craggy cliffs and rolling emerald fields – has a scenic and sentimental attraction for all those Aussies with Irish roots.
Many visitors do a city stopover with a whistlestop tour of the Ring of Kerry, but Ireland’s counties are brimming with vibrant local culture and historical flavour. One of my favourites is Kilkenny in the south-east, most famous for its devotion to the arts and glorious 12th-century castle (yes, I’m a huge castle geek).
Storytelling is the lifeblood of Celtic culture, so you’ll want to tap into the tales that don’t come any taller. First exhibit: 14th-century local, Alice Kyteler, who went through four husbands, probably poisoned them, and was branded a witch (her house is now the higgledy-piggledy Kytelers Inn pub). “Eyewitnesses swore they saw her flying around the town, sure,” assures our guide Connall with an impish grin.