Ireland is a road-tripping dream come true. Its small size means it’s easy to get around while taking in countless sites, stories, and, of course, pubs. Don’t forget the pubs. You can whip through deliriously green farmland, get lost between loughs and mountains, or zig-zag along the Wild Atlantic Way. Whichever direction you’re headed, here are some experiences you are sure to have along the way.

1

Ponder if Giant’s Causeway is worth the drive

Especially as it’s all the way over in Northern Ireland. But the answer is yes, yes it is.

2

Inevitably hit a traffic jam

Just not the kind you thought.

3

Guzzle Guinness in some adorable, colorful, cobbled alleyway

You can tip back a pint of the black stuff pretty much anywhere but with towns that look like this, you can pick some especially excellent backdrops to do it in.

4

Try a Murphy’s. Once.

Guinness will call you back. In fact, this rich beer will get better and better as you go and soon enough you’ll understand why it feels so right to wind a day down with one in your hand.

5

Wake up with some new neighbors

This particular scenario has a better chance of happening if you have a camper van to call home, but it’s also entirely possible should you pass out in an open field, perhaps after one too many Guinness (or Murphy’s), so don’t count yourself out.

6

Worry that you’ll never see a straight road again

From the moment you deviate from the highway you’re going to be subjected to twists, turns, and roads so narrow you wonder why they bothered with a line down the middle. You may not get from A to B straight as the crow flies, but the extra time spent winding through villages and hamlets is worth it.

7

Sleep in a an actual castle one night.

Even if you’re on a budget, it’s still possible to stay in an actual castle (Ireland has so many) for the night. It’s totally worth it to feel like royalty for an evening.

8

Wander the woods and get slightly terrified

It starts off as an innocent lovely stroll through a woodsy area, and ends with some fog inevitably rolling in and then all those stories you heard somewhere, once upon a time, about bogmen and things that live in the swamp start to seem like maybe they had some truth to them.

9

Wonder how normal sized cars are supposed to fit down these roads

But just have a little faith and squeeze along. You’ll fit. But get good insurance on that rental just in case.

10

Discover that Ireland has some pretty epic beaches

I, for one, didn’t think of the Emerald Isle as a beach destination. And while it’s never going to be the tropics, there are wide swaths of sand waiting for a roam, and even some excellent surfing spots (you will just need a wetsuit).

11

Weather a storm or two

It’s not exactly predictable weather up here, but boy, do the storms know how to put on a show. The best view is always from the closest pub, if you ask me.

12

Get completely lost

Don’t worry - it’s a good thing. You’ll probably discover some hidden gems along the way. Plus getting lost in Ireland is like bowling with bumpers - it’s a small island, there’s only so far you can stray.

13

Just casually stumble upon some ancient ruins

Because you can’t throw a rock very far here without hitting some other neolithic rock formation. Ireland has been inhabited a very, very long time and it’s hard to forget when around any corner is another tomb, monastery, or ruin.

14

Cozy up in a snug and meet the locals

A snug is a pretty adorable term for a cozy booth inside a pub. It is like the heart of the pub, and the pub is the heart of the town, so if you hunker down here, you’ll be in the thick of things. Inside pretty much any pub in Ireland, you’ll find kind-hearted Irish folk catching up, winding down, or just shooting the breeze. If you’re willing to say hi and join it, it’ll pay off in spades.

15

Get incredibly jealous that people actually live in a place like this

After getting cozy in a snug, step outside and just accept that Ireland might have the rest of the world beat for cheerful, colorful buildings. Some of them look like straight up movie sets, just too perfect, too adorable. But nope, they’re real, so Instagram away and make the world jealous that you at least got to visit.

16

Get swept up into the music and dancing

Irish music is absolutely mesmerizing. If you do a little research you’ll find times and places for music and never know when it’ll just roll into an all night folk dance party and community jam session.

17

Feel teeny tiny at the Cliffs of Moher

They seriously are giants, these cliffs. And no, there’s no railing. So in addition to feeling small, you’ll have your stomach in your throat.

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