Ireland, known for centuries as the "Emerald Isle" because of its lush covering of grass, is one of those rare islands that is host to two separate nations. In the south, the Republic of Ireland has its capital at Dublin, while the northern quarter of the island is called Northern Ireland and is a part of the UK. This mix of Irish and British on the island is part of what has given Ireland its distinctive culture and history.
Holiday homes in Ireland offer visitors a chance to explore three World Heritage Sites including the Giant's Causeway, an interesting geologic structure composed of 40,000 basalt columns that interlock to form what resembles stepping stones along the coast and out into the sea. Located in Northern Ireland, it is the result of a volcanic eruption millennia ago.
The most common region for tourists to visit is Dublin, which features popular attractions including the Trinity College Library, where visitors can have a first-hand look at the Book of Kells, a New Testament illuminated manuscript of the four gospels that dates from approximately the year 800. Also in Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse, where over four million visitors have learned about the art of making this famous beer.
One of the most visited single sites in Ireland is Blarney Castle, where daring tourists can be dangled by their feet while they kiss the fabled "Blarney Stone," which is said to grant the gift of the gab to those who make the pilgrimage to see it.