Choosing where to go on vacation can be daunting when there are so many beautiful places to visit. I don’t know about you but I don’t get a lot of vacation days let alone an actual chance to use them. That’s why choosing where to go can make all the difference in the enjoyability and nourishing quality of those limited but cherished vacation days.
If you’re like me, then the idea of stepping into a castle steeped in the folklore and folktales of our childhood surrounded by natural beauty is an alluring vacation. Especially if you aren’t big on high temperatures climates and would rather steer clear of tropical vacations.
If that’s the case you may want to consider vacationing in Ireland or Scotland. Both Ireland and Scotland have a beautiful amount of scenery and a rich history that makes them ideal vacation destinations. But,
Ireland – What it Has to Offer
A Scenic Beauty
In Ireland, everywhere you go is surrounded by massive expanses of rolling green hills with barely a house in sight. The roads are small and unimposing on the land around it, and the natural growth transforms each and every house into a picturesque scene you expect to see in an art museum painting.
During the fall the cobblestone houses are covered with thick creeping ivy vines in the middle of changing their colors. With the green at its base fading upward into a deep, vibrant red. It made each and every house breathtaking as we drove from one destination to the other.
Cliffs of Moher
Then there are places like the Cliffs of Moher. Where the cliffs overlook an expanse of farmland on one side, hill after rolling hill, distant stone fences cutting the green into sections. Everywhere I looked cherished the natural beauty of the land. Even the main building was built in a hillside like a hobbit hole right out of R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
Yet the true beauty lies on the other side of the cliff where it oversees the ocean. Where wave upon wave of cerulean blue crashes against the base of the cliffs with, if you are lucky, the sound of Puffin’s singing their mating calls.
One of the most breath-taking places in the entire country is Blarney Castle just outside Cork City. It is truly one of the most popular castles to visit in Ireland and has been for generations.
On the property, you can walk in the fairy glade amongst the ancient ogham stones, crouch inside the witch’s tree or walk down the wishing steps. The trees are massive and the gardens striking and serene. Of course the castle is most famous for the ritual of kissing the Blarney Stone and attaining the ‘Gift of the Gab’.
Scotland – What it Has to Offer
Scotland is not short on scenic beauty either. Though the main difference between it and Ireland is that the industrial revolution did not have as big an impact on Ireland as it did Scotland, leaving Scotland’s land more developed. Even so, there are still plenty of places to go in Scotland for stunning views of the land.
For example, you can hike at the Cairngorms National Park or the peak at Ben Nevis. In Glencoe are some of the most beautiful mountain valleys I have ever seen. All those earthy brown and green tones budding out of the earth in towering mounds before you, protruding towards a stunningly blue sky filled with slow-moving, gold and white lined clouds.
And of course, we can’t forget about Loch Ness. Not only is it well known for the infamous Loch Ness monster, but the lands surrounding it offer a lot in the way of scenic beauty including one of Scotland’s largest castles.
One of the largest castles in Scotland can be found on the banks of Loch Ness. Overlooking the water’s edge lies the ruins of Urquhart Castle, where you can go on a tour of the castle and its grounds.
The lake’s open expanse and distant surrounding land masses give the illusion of staring off into an ocean, with the castle beautifully situated against the immaculately maintained sun-kissed green grass and the deep blues of the lake pressing against the sky. Its weather-beaten, crumbling walls only add to the natural look of things rather than distract or diminish its beauty.
Beauty comes in more forms than one. If you have an appreciation for Victorian architecture then Glasgow is a must-stop on your visit through Scotland. The city buildings have a Victorian beauty, having once been considered the second city of the empire. If you are looking for a trip with a mix of both natural and architectural beauty then Scotland may be the right choice for you.
Conclusion – Which is More Beautiful?
For me, Ireland might be one of the most visually stunning place I have ever been to. As a nature lover, I loved how unimposing the buildings and roads were on the surroundings. Despite traveling a lot, each car drive was every bit as impressive a sight as the tourist attractions. Green field after green field, you can understand why it is called The Emerald Isle
I had also found myself wanting to spend more than one day enjoying each place we visited while there. I wound up taking two days to discover every inch of the Blarney castle grounds and would have spent a third had my significant other not booked the Cliffs of Moher.
And I do have to admit that the heavy folklore surrounding everything made it that much more impressive for me.