A trip to Ireland is at once foreign and familiar. English-speaking visitors will appreciate the ease of communication with locals, though communication is not entirely free of obstacles. Differences in accent and terminology may be cause for confusion and the presence of Gaelic road signs can challenge travelers as well. Those that navigate the Emerald Isle find their travels well worth it. The terrain is diverse; mere miles separate vast green pastures and craggy coastlines.
Dublin, the capital of Ireland is a truly cosmopolitan center. Explore the streets of the city and wander among the Georgian buildings. Investigate the Irish Parliament and then stroll to the granite buildings of Trinity College, where you can view the decorated pages of the Book of Kells. A variety of shops are tucked away in alleys and street performers entertain passersby. The number of restaurants, old pubs and trendy cafes is almost overwhelming, though whichever one you pick will make a great stop for a refreshing pint and snack of soda bread.
Like many European countries, Ireland is striving to balance modern growth with historic preservation. Many imagine the nation a bucolic haven, with centuries-old stone buildings and winding country lanes. This Ireland still exists, yet the country must grow and evolve with the modern demands of a changing population. Georgian town houses remain next to newly-opened supermarkets. Small boutiques thrive as chain stores set up shop around the corner. Ireland is a destination for those looking to find impressive shopping and interesting cultural opportunities as well as quiet pubs and rolling green scenery.