Erin is a place of great beauty and natural attractions, as well as exciting nightlife, shopping, and dining. The 2020 tourism brochure even notes that “visitors will be spoilt for choice, with attractions including gardens, galleries, and museums, as well as world-class eateries and traditional pubs.” While there is a lot to do and see in Erin, it’s not necessarily easy to navigate the city. Being a first-time visitor or new resident can be a little difficult. To make your life easier, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 things you need to know about Erin. Read on for more information.
1. Where is it?
Erin is located in northwestern Ireland, not far from Dublin. The geography of the country is stunning, with jagged mountain ranges cutting across plateaus, lush green forests, and crystal clear waters. If you get the chance, you should travel to this part of Ireland – it’s one of Europe’s great outdoors!
Of course, being in the vicinity of Dublin makes getting to Erin a cinch. Ireland is well connected to the rest of Europe by road, rail, and air, and the country’s capital, Dublin, is only an hour and a half away by car. There are direct flights from major European hubs to Dublin, and the drive is gorgeous. You’ll want to make the trip at least once in your life. Once you’ve been there though, it’s difficult to think of not wanting to go back.
Getting around Erin is easy enough. The city is situated on a peninsula, so you’ll find it relatively convenient to travel around by car. The major roads – including the N2, N18, and N84 – run through the center of town, providing easy access to all parts of the city. The bus system is extensive, with stops all around the city and in some places, like Derry, there is even a bus lane.
As for rail, the country is steeped in history, and the Irish railway network, including the famous Dublin Curragh Line, dates back to the 1840s. In the mid-20th century, a large network of Irish railways was closed down due to lack of passengers, which hurt the economies of the area greatly. Fortunately, train travel has seen something of a revival in recent years, and while it might not be as convenient as before, there is still a small but loyal train fan base.
2. How to get there?
There are several options for getting to Erin. The quickest way from Dublin is to take the M1, which runs directly through the center of the city before emerging onto the N11, bypassing all of the city’s traffic. The journey takes only about 50 minutes and costs less than £10.
Alternatively, you could take the N11, which connects Dublin to Galway. The road passes through some of Ireland’s most stunning landscape, offering some great photo opportunities. It also provides access to the Aran Islands, famous for their rugged beauty and isolation. These are the islands that inspired the legend of the Irish Fairies.
A third option is the N18, which connects the N11 to the coast, passing through towns like Clonakilty, Castlebar, and Skibbereen. For a more scenic route, you could take the R700, which starts in the west and terminates in the north of the country near Galway. On this road, you’ll pass many picturesque and historic towns, some of which you might not be able to make it to otherwise.
Getting to Erin is easy enough. You just need to decide which option you want to take, considering the time of year and what kind of vehicle you have. In summer, it might be best to travel by sea, especially if you want to reach the Aran Islands. In winter, however, the best option would be to take the land route through Dublin or Galway.
One more thing you should know about Erin is that there is an abundance of outdoor activities available. Hikers, mountain bikers, and cyclists can join the Clifden Cycle Route, a 74.5 km long recreational road that starts in the south of the country and leads to the northern town of Innishannon. It was named “one of Europe’s Greatest Mountain Rides” by British newspaper The Guardian, and it’s not difficult to see why.
3. What is the climate like?
Erin has a temperate climate. The weather stays consistent all year round, so residents can enjoy the mild winters and cool summers. Winters are cold but comfortable, averaging around 5 degrees Celsius, while summers are warm but not overwhelmingly hot, reaching a peak of 21 degrees Celsius. The climate is so conducive to outdoor activities that even in winter, you’ll be able to go for a walk or a bike ride.
The only downside to this climate is that it can be wet. Rainfall is common during winter and while it might not seem like a lot of rain, it can still soak through your clothing easily and leave you dripping wet. If you’re visiting in winter, bring some extra clothing and be careful where you walk. You might get wet if you go outdoors without an umbrella or raincoat.
During the summer months, however, it’s a different story. The country is greener and more lush than usual, and while there is still a good deal of rainfall, it doesn’t soak into the ground as easily. Be careful when you are driving or walking outdoors during this time of year as the weather can be unpredictable and you might slip and fall on a patch of mud or a puddle of water.
4. Is it dangerous?
Ireland is generally a safe place to visit, however, you should still exercise caution if you choose to go there. The majority of the crimes that occur are associated with drugs or alcohol, so if you plan to go to Erin, keep away from places where there is a lot of drug activity (as they will most likely be illegal). Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places or at night. Look out for pickpockets and don’t wear expensive-looking jewellery or watches. If you do get robbed, call the police and file a complaint.
5. How do I get around?
There is a lot of public transportation in Erin. Buses run frequently, connecting all of the major towns and cities, so it isn’t difficult to get around. Dublin is well served by public transportation, and if you don’t want to drive, there are several options available. Bikes are also a great way to get around, as there are many scenic roads and lanes for cyclists to explore. Hikers can also join the Clifden Cycle Route, which is a paved road that runs for much of the year, making it easy to access. There is also a bus lane on many streets, so even with traffic, it’s possible to get a bus directly to your destination.
Getting around is easy enough. There are many options available, and with so much praise for the bus service in Erin, it’s obvious that the public transportation system there is highly developed. If you don’t want to drive or cycle, there is also a great deal of pedestrian activity in the city. Especially as it gets darker, more people walk around the town center and the streets become more lively. If you are new to the city, take the bus or walk to your destination, and save your car for when you want to go on a longer trip.
6. Where can I shop?
The largest town in Erin is Galway, so you’ll definitely want to make a stop there. Indeed, like many other Irish towns, Galway is famous for its shopping centers, filled with boutiques, fashion stores, and eateries.
If you visit in the summer, you’ll find plenty of outdoor markets, selling local produce, including food and flowers. If you want to purchase something specific, you can also find numerous small specialty shops around the center of the city. For those looking for unique gifts, you can find plenty of Irish products for sale in Galway.
There are also great department stores in Galway, including Spencer’s, which is a massive complex with four floors of exclusive brands and products, all under one roof. If you are looking for a wider selection of products, nearby Naas is home to The Broadway, one of Ireland’s largest shopping malls. There is also a large Tesco supermarket in the town.
7. What are the restaurants like?
If you visit Erin during the summer, you’ll find numerous restaurants and eateries around the city’s center and along the seafront. The food in these places is great, and a real showcase for the local produce. You’ll also find high-end restaurants and eateries, as well as traditional Irish restaurants and pubs.