March means St. Patrick's Day, and this annual celebration of all things Irish has put Ireland on the brains of many a traveler. Luckily, even if you can't make it to the Emerald Isle for St. Patty's, it's a stunning destination throughout the year. Rolling green hills, mysterious ancient ruins and magnificent castles await.
The Burren, one of Ireland's most bizarre landscapes, stretches across County Clare with its moss-covered limestone karsts, Stone Age burial monuments and rare assortment of wildflowers that bloom each spring. If you can pull yourself away from the festivities in Dublin, you'll be well rewarded in the beautiful Burren.
Just as dramatic as the Burren are Ireland's famous Cliffs of Moher, towering 400 feet above the ocean below. Stretching for eight miles along the Atlantic Coast, this region of the Emerald Isle isn't lacking in stunning views. Since it's only a three-hour drive from Dublin, you can easily make a day or overnight trip of it.
Volcanic activity millions of years ago led to the formation of the Giant's Causeway, a collection of more than 40,000 interlocking basalt columns stretching out into the sea. See this natural wonder of Ireland for yourself with a visit to the country's northern coastline.
Inishowen Peninsula, the largest peninsula in Ireland, sits at the far north of the island and is at once remote, rugged and steeped in history. Come here to enjoy some peace and solitude while exploring the remote region's ancient castles and ruins.
If picturesque golf courses and white sand beaches sound more your style, spend a weekend in Ballybunion, Southeast Ireland's coastal resort town. For a little St. Patrick's Day action, throw back a pint or three at one of the pubs along High Street.
Ireland is dotted with ancient sacred sights, and the monastic ruins of Clonmacnoise is one of the most important of them. Overlooking the River Shannon, the structures of Clonmacnoise date back to the sixth century when it became a major center of religion and politics.
Dublin is fun, but there's an irresistible charm in Ireland's smaller towns and villages. The winding cobbled streets and colorfully painted houses of Kinsale will draw you in, and the internationally acclaimed restaurants in what has been dubbed the "Gourmet Center of Ireland" will have you falling in love.
Gaze at the waters beneath your feet as you cross the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, and you'll understand one of many reasons Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle. From Carrick-a-rede Island, you'll enjoy unobstructed views across the water to Scotland.
Ireland is an undeniably beautiful country, and after a long day exploring, there's nothing quite as beautiful as a plate of crispy fried fish and chips with a cold pint of Guinness to wash it down. Rumor has it Leo Burdock's serves some of the best in Dublin.