My parents love to travel so I thought that planning a trip to Ireland for them for their 50th wedding anniversary would be fun for me to do and give them a great deal of pleasure as well as provide some wonderful memories to talk about, now that they no longer have children at home. I knew that a trip to Ireland would be something that they would really enjoy, not because we are of Irish descent, but because they love seeing different places and love history. There is so much beauty and history in Ireland that it would be a win-win trip.
Ireland is relatively small. Located in Western Europe, it occupies approximately 5/6 of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is slightly larger than West Virginia with an area of 70,280 sq km. The temperature in Ireland is relatively cool like their home in Washington State, the official language is English, and the religion is mainly Catholic, all of which make it a very comfortable place for my parents to navigate.
The easiest place for me to get a flight into for my parents was Dublin, so I planned for their tour of Ireland to begin in that city with a visit to the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. It is where one can find the Archbishop of Dublin and was founded by St. Laurance O'Toole. It was built by the Vikings and was the location of the coronation of Lambert Simnel as King Edward VT, a boy pretender who sought unsuccessfully to overthrow King Henry VII of England.
Their next stop was to be Dublin Castle. Most of the main castle dates from the 1700's, but Dublin Castle has existed on this site since the 12th century. The crypt of the Chapel Royal is used as an arts center and they often hold concerts there. The castle is normally open to the public so it is possible to get in and see St. Patrick's Hall, the Throne Room and the apartments. The last person to stay at the castle was Margaret Thatcher.
Both of my parents are avid gardeners and so I planned for them to visit Belvedere house and gardens in Mullingar, located in Westmeath. The gardens are home to the Jelous Wall and acres and acres of forests that attract thousands of visitors each year. Belvedere House has been fully restored and is open to the public and the nearby Park Hotel offers 4 star accommodations.
My father has often spoken of visiting the Aran Islands that are located in Galway Bay. There are several forts that date back to the Iron Age on the island of Inis Mor. These forts include Dun Aengus and Dun Duchathair. These are great tourist attractions during the summer, but since there is no direct ferry service from the town of Galway, it will be necessary to take a bus to Rossaveal. The best ferry service is the Queen of Aran sevice that is run by the islanders.
Since this trip is planned for summer, August to be exact, I routed my parents through Kilgorin in the heart of Kerry. It is there that one of Irelands' most unusual street fairs occurs in August. This fair is said to be associated with the English Leader Oliver Cromwell. Apparently while the English were pillaging, they routed a herd of goats. The goats ran to the hills, but the male goat, or puck, got separated and instead of heading into the hills, he went to Kilgorin where he proceeded to warn the town to the coming danger and they were able to defend themselves from that danger. It is in honor of this goat and his warning that there is now a yearly festival with 12 hours daily of free family entertainment.
All in all, I think that Ireland is perfect destination and that my parents will thoroughly enjoy the trip. I hope this information provides you with ideas to plan a similar trip for yourself or your loved ones.