Go, Bruh! Getting to Ireland from RI is easier than 95 on a Thursday morning

Rhode Island and Ireland are pretty much bookends of the Atlantic Ocean, so it makes sense that these geographical cousins should be connected and mutually easy to get to. Thankfully, T.F. Green Airport has obliged us with just that through their partnership with low-cost international carrier Norwegian Airlines – but you probably already know that. This means that while visitors from Dublin and Cork can enjoy the best of what Rhody has to offer, Ocean Staters can head the other direction from as little as $115 (depending on the season), and become better acquainted with the Emerald Isle, seven days a week. It’s also a relatively straightforward trip; T.F. Green is a nimble, quick-moving airport, and the nonstop flight across the ocean takes just under six hours. You are there before you know it, and take it from me: It is less stressful flying to Dublin than it is negotiating rush hour traffic around Providence.

But what to do when you arrive over the ocean? This Irishman says try something different. Granted, the pubs of Temple Bar in Dublin and the riverside area of Cork will tempt you with all the craic* — and both are certainly worth a visit – but Ireland goes beyond the pull of a Guinness tap. Arriving in Dublin airport, you also land yourself 27 miles south of one of the most ancient manmade structures on the planet. Built around 3,200 BCE, the impeccably-preserved Newgrange is a Neolithic passage tomb designed to be in-tune with the solar cycles. Accordingly, Newgrange remains dark all year round, apart from Solstice when the sun’s light illuminates the inner chamber and highlights an incredible piece of knotwork carved on the back wall. Older than the Pyramids, Newgrange is the most Irish experience you are ever going to have, and since the (well-lit) guided tour also recreates the illumination, you get to witness this Indiana Jones-type trickery in real life.

Not your scene? Dublin is an exciting meeting of the old and the new, a city built by Vikings that today supports one of the most cosmopolitan societies in Western Europe. Alternatively, head farther north and aim for Antrim’s Atlantic coast. Down Cork way, you’re spoiled for choice. In the city itself, take your tastebuds on a walk through the English Market before venturing out across the country’s wild and rugged countryside on a pilgrimage to the Beara Peninsula. Sure, the ring of Kerry is only 90 minutes away… but be warned, there are tourists, and do you really want to spend your time in Ireland with Big Ron from Schenectady? If you do decide to go to the area, avoid the traps and visit places like Skellig Michael instead.

And here’s the one I shouldn’t be telling you about: Each year, the village of Miltown Malbay in Co. Clare hosts the Willie Clancy Summer School, aka, the world’s premier gathering of Irish musicians in one place at one time. If all the sounds of Ireland in the most local of settings takes your fancy — as it should — then make the two-and-a-half-hour trek from Cork this July 6 – 14 and go fully native. It’s something you won’t read about anywhere else, and will give you more Irishness in one go than if Saint Patrick dipped his fingers in your tea.

* banter, entertainment, stories. In this case, the more raucous kind.

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