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How to get the most out of your Ireland vacation

For a truly amazing trip to Ireland allow yourself to be completely immersed in the Irish atmosphere. Don't rely too heavily on the guidebooks and such. The Irish Travel Advisors's team has the following insider hints for discovering the real Ireland.

Get local advice from the people that you meet as much as possible. They, of course will know best, as to where you should dine, the best pubs for music, best places for shopping etc. If you are in Ireland over the weekend and you have some time, ask if there are any local Gaelic matches being played in the area. Local games are really competitive and great fun to watch. This will really give you a taste of Irish life. Have a look out for local magazines & newspapers also to find out if there are any interesting festivals or events in the area. You might find a few events on the unusual side, like the wife carrying competition in Sneem, County Kerry or the Banjo Festival in Tullamore, County Offaly!

Do one spontaneous activity to ensure that you never forget your trip to Ireland. Try and do one thing during your Ireland vacation that is outside of your normal routine and is a completely new experience. This could be anything from reciting your own poem at a literary pub crawl, in front of a room full of people to navigating a cruiser on the river Shannon. You could perhaps learn a new skill and explore your creative side. Try some of the Irish traditional crafts such as pottery or basket making & create your own handmade gift to take home. If the outdoors is where you are most comfortable then the choice of adventure experiences are endless. For the very active visitors there is mountain biking, rafting, surfing and rock climbing. Those who prefer soft adventure activities experience hiking, pony trails or cycling.

Sample the local cuisine and seek out the artisan and gourmet restaurants. During your Ireland vacation, look out for great local restaurants and food producers. There has been a great food revival in Ireland over the past decade and there is huge pride in locally produced foods. Ask advice from those you meet as to which restaurants to visit and try to choose local items on the menu where possible. Seafood is a great speciality in Ireland especially on the west coast. At the weekends you can find great country markets with artisan producers. Even if you are not buying, enjoy the atmosphere, the aromas and the samples!