When you head to the Emerald Isle there are a few things you will be keen to see and do above all else. Sure, spotting a leprechaun would be nice and you wouldn’t say no to a pint of creamy Guinness but there are some incredible, legendary places to check out too. What about Dunluce Castle in Ireland’s north and other mysterious spots? There are plenty of these places to choose from.

Charming Dunluce Castle in Ireland

This beautiful, ruined castle is in Northern Ireland. If you are ever in this part of the world then you really need to make the effort to head over and see this stunning medieval castle.

The first Dunluce Castle in Ireland was built in the 13th century and since then it has had a long and frankly incredible history. Numerous battles. A shipwrecked Spanish Armada shi. A kitchen that collapsed into the sea. A town around it wiped from the map.  These are just some of the highlights of the Dunluce Castle in Ireland story to date.

Dunluce Castle 4

Getting to Dunluce Castle in Ireland

I passed this legendary place while driving the Antrim Coast Road from Belfast past the Giant’s Causeway.  I knew nothing about it and just saw this incredible ruin appear in the most dramatic setting possible – with it’s impossibly steep drops down to the sea. Get ready for some of the best selfies of your life!

Giant's Causeway

Talkative Blarney Castle

Ever wished that you could talk more freely and eloquently? We Irish call this the “gift of the gab”.  You can supposedly gain this power by kissing the Blarney Stone, housed in Blarney Castle.

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The Blarney Stone is a large block of limestone, built into Blarney Castle, just a few miles away from Cork. It has been here since the mid 15th century.  In that time, millions of tourists from all over the planet have kissed it. In fact, the word “blarney” is now used by many people to mean a way of speaking in a flattering, witty and clever way.

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It used to be that you got held by the ankles and went down head first to kiss the stone but I kissed the Blarney Stone just by holding on to the iron railing and leaning back. Get ready to start talking endlessly as soon as you do this.  I bent every ear I met for days/weeks after, true story.

Spectacular Ross Castle, Ireland

As you are probably starting to see, this lush, green island is crammed full of fascinating and historic castles. Another one of these you will want to take in is Ross Castle in Ireland.

To see this glorious 15th century Irish castle you need to go County Kerry. Here, you will find a lovely looking building this is filled with history and incredible tales.

Ross Aglow

For example, it is said that one of the previous owners either jumped or was sucked out of a window and sent to the bottom of the nearby lake along with his horse and books. In fact, he is said to be still live down there, keeping an eye on the place while presumably reading all day long.

Ross Castle, Ireland

Another legendary tale from Ross Castle in Ireland is that people believed that it could never be conquered until a ship attacked it from the lake, which was considered impossible. When a boat was taken to the lake during the Irish Confederate Wars the locals couldn’t believe their eyes and quickly surrendered.

Ross Castle, Killarney National Park, Ireland

These days, it is simply a gorgeous castle in a lovely setting in a part of Ireland you really should get to know.

Bunratty Castle, Ireland for a Banquet

One of the great things about these Irish castles is that they each offer something different and unique. With Bunratty Castle, you get to see a beautiful structure in County Clare as well as enjoy a medieval banquet.

Bunratty Castle

One of the most popular castles in Ireland.  One of the main draws is the fun medieval banquet which they have been serving up since the 1960s, coupled with live entertainment.

Singing at Bunratty Castle Traditional Irish Night

Near Bunratty Castle is the equally enchanting Bunratty Folk Park. A living museum showing how locals lived in the past. There is a lot to do, so definitely add it to your list of Irish castles to visit.

Bunratty Castle - Ireland

 

There are even more castles dotted around Ireland than featured here. The more I visit the more I understand this amazing country, its history and timeless legends.

 

Here are our top 5 places to visit in Munich – Enjoy

Munich (München in German, Minga in Bavarian) is the capital of Bavaria, one of Germany’s most popular states, and also one of the most exciting cities in Germany with lots of amazing places to visit. Its slogan is “München mag Dich”, –  Munich loves you. Are you planning a trip to Munich? There are plenty of stunning places not to be missed when visiting this lovely city.

Bavaria,  is known as the ‘Texas of Germany’ and Munich is usually filled with tourists from different parts of the world especially on weekends and during summer vacations. There is lots of great hotel accommodation scattered all over the city so you won’t have to worry about booking a luxury stay.

Here is our own personal favourite list of places not to be missed when planning your next trip to Munich.

Munich Places To Visit 1 – Hofbräuhaus

Founded in the mid-17th C, the Hofbräuhaus was formerly known as the Royal Brewery. It is one of the city’s most significant institutions.

Munich Places To Visit
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If you are a beer enthusiast, you shouldn’t miss out on visiting this amazing place.

Munich Places To Visit
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Whenever you are planning your next trip to Munich, visit the Hofbräuhaus to do nothing but enjoy delectable local meals, exotic drinks and listen to live music.

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Munich Places To Visit 2 – Allianz Arena

Built specifically for the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted in Germany, the Allianz Arena is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world.

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Sports fans will be delighted and thrilled at the amazing things the stadium has to offer.

Munich Places To Visit
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Home to FC Bayern Munich, arguably one of the world’s most powerful football clubs, the stadium can accommodate an estimated number of 66,000 people.

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Seeing a live football match in the stadium promises to be a remarkable experience.

Allianz Arena
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There are regular tours to the stadium whenever you’re unable to see a match. Affordable and luxury hotel accommodation where visitors can spend a night is available.

Allianz Arena
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Munich Places To Visit 3 – Marienplatz

Marienplatz prides itself as the oldest tourist attraction in the city. Marienplatz was formerly used as an execution ground and also one of the country’s oldest wheat markets.

Munich Places To Visit
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Presently, it is an impressive public square and attracts a large number of tourists from different parts of the world who visit to relax and enjoy the numerous cafés scattered all around.

A sort walk from Marienplatz is the Victuals Markets, also worth a visit.

Munich Places To Visit
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Munich Places To Visit
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Marienplatz is also famous for it’s Christmas Markets.

Munich Places To Visit
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It’s a perfect spot for people watching. Your trip to Munich would be incomplete without visiting Marienplatz.

Munich Places To Visit
The very cool Marienplatz ubahn Station via

Munich Places To Visit 4 – Olympiapark

Built on the site of an abandoned airfield, complete with rolling green hills shaped from the rubble of the 2nd World War, is Munich’s impressive, sprawling, spiderweb of an Olympic venue for the 1972 summer games and is definitely worth a visit.  

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It really does look like a giant spiders web, complete with early morning dew.  

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There is also the tower which you can climb for spectacular views, or eat in it’s revolving restaurant, there’s ice skating, the Olympic swimming pool, jogging tracks, grassy picnic areas, the BMW museum, and many other attractions and activities.

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You can get there easily by train.  Entering the grounds is free, with a small charge for climbing the tower and some of the other attractions.

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Munich Places To Visit 5 – Theresienwiese

Of course we cannot list the best Munich places to visit without including that most famous and German of celebrations, Oktoberfest, held at Theresienwiese

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Oktoberfest is held every year at Theresienwiese in Munich and runs for 17 days from around mid September to the first weekend in October, hence the name Oktoberfest, and involves a sizeable amount of beer consumed, in tankards you could almost swim in.

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Love it, or hate it, it really is one of those things not to be missed and experienced at least once, plus you don’t have to like beer, (though you must like crowds).  There’s also the food, the parade, the carnival, the rides, the kitsch, including traditional dress, so get those lederhosen out of the closet. 

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Speaking of former closets, there are always ‘gay days’ organised at the start of the festival and they take place from the first Sunday, in the Bräurosl tent.

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Munich Places To Visit
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Theresienwiese is also a great place to go at any time of the year for it’s flea markets and Christmas markets, both of which are a must.  There are often around 40,000 visitors at any one time and 3000 sellers, so it’s an impressive market.

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Our Top 5 Munich Places To Visit – by David John
Cover Image via – All Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0

This concludes our Top 5 Munich Places To Visit. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

Munich Places To Visit
Oktoberfest via

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If there is one thing even better than exploring the world it is discovering magical places in your own country. Despite having grown up in Scotland I knew nothing of the magical island of Iona until I set foot on it. Island of Iona

ISLE OF IONA’ by MISHIMOTO is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Island of Iona is a tiny strip of land off the west coast of Scotland. Despite its insignificant size it played a big part in the history of Scotland. First of all, the Irish monk Columba set up a monastery here in the 6th century, which would be the religious centre of the region for centuries. It is also claimed that many ancient Scottish, Irish and Viking kings are buried here. To get here you need to take a ferry from the sleepy coastal town of Oban to the sleepier island of Mull. A quick bus trip to the other side of the island and you can hop on a short ferry trip to the positively laid back isle of Iona. Just before getting on this second ferry I can recommend the tiny second hand book shop someone has opened in their garage in this village. I picked up a copy of The Thirty Nine Steps which, for some reason, became the perfect companion on the island and is now inextricably linked to Iona in my head. Things to Do in Oban on the Way Island of Iona

Oban’ by Roy Lathwell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

On your way here it is recommended to spend a day or two in Oban. It is a cool little town with the most bizarre Roman style folly perched on top of it (see above picture). I decided to try a whisky in a small pub here and buy some tartan souvenirs, almost completely forgetting by this point that I had lived all of my life in this country to date. I was starting to feel like a tourist in my own country and I was loving that there were so many things to do in Oban. You can see the glorious isle of Iona right in front of you as soon as you head there on the second ferry. It is only 1 mile (2 km) by 4 miles (6 km) and counts with a population of just over 100 but it has a cultural legacy far greater than that. You may have once seen the beautiful Book of Kells, currently held in Trinity College in Dublin. This is a fantastic example of the fine religious art carried out here. As well as the ancient royals buried here, the late Labour leader John Smith also found his resting place on Iona. The graveyard is filled with Celtic crosses that have stood there for centuries and make it feel like a mystical, legendary place.

The Island of Iona – Includes joining the Sheep on the Beach

Island of Iona

Oban’ by Roy Lathwell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is a fascinating island with a lovely Abbey, deserted beaches and a peaceful, spiritual feel. Lots of pilgrims make the trip to Iona each year but when I went the only other visitors were a few Irish and Australian backpackers. Together we joined some sheep for a stroll along a beach and climbed the island’s highest point, which is a punishing 101 metres (331 ft) above sea level. There aren’t a lot of places to stay and eat here, so booking a room in advance is a good move. Once you get here you will find that it is a completely different type of travel destination from most of the popular places on the planet for travellers to see. This isn’t an action-packed destination where you will rush around to tick world famous sights off your to-do list. Instead, you will find that it is a spiritual, relaxed place to pass a couple of days and forget about the modern world for a while. Doesn’t that make it sound like the kind of place you would love to explore one day?

 

 

 


Iona’ images above by Roy Lathwell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Island of Iona – By Robert Bell

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Yes, really.  That’s my advice. You get to experience the joy of discovering stunning new places by chance.  Places you never knew existed before.   Places like Logarska Valley in Slovenia. Who wouldn’t want to spend a few days there?  There are many hidden gems of breath-taking natural beauty, tucked away off the usual beaten track, not well known or talked about.

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Travel Europe and experience the beauty of places like Logarska Valley, Slovenia.

I’m often amazed at the discovery of beauty and splendour in places as I travel Europe that I just happen to ‘stumble upon’ as I wasn’t following any set schedule or plan and kinda just going wherever the wind was blowing me.

That might sound frivolous, lazy or careless to some, I know, but actually no.  The point I’m trying to make is, don’t have too many expectations and plans of fitting in lots of particular destinations and activities.

Take your time as you travel Europe or travel anywhere.   Just be in the moment, wherever you are.   It sounds pretty darn obvious I know, but when I first started to travel Europe I had so many expectations. so many places listed that I wanted to see.  I didn’t want to miss out on anything.  In hindsight that eagerness meant I missed out on a hell of a lot.   Eventually, I realised that even though there very well could be a better camping spot or hostel around the next bend, it will still be there tomorrow, so it can stay in tomorrow, as I’m happy enjoying where I am right now.

That’s the times I remember and look back on fondly, the times I was in the moment, happy to be in the moment.

All the times I was rushing to be somewhere else,  to make a deadline, those are long since forgotten. And I did have many of those, way too many.

There’s nothing new in anything I’ve said, but I still need to remind myself.  It’s amazing, even now, how often I forget my own wisdom.

There’s still so much I haven’t seen, so many places I haven’t been.  I will continue to travel Europe and travel everywhere, but I no longer care, as I once did, if I don’t manage to do it all this trip, and I no longer try, and now I always, always have a great time.

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