Forbes has named Ireland as a destination to put on your bucket list, for that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As COVID-19 restrictions gradually start to lift around the world, many people are day dreaming about the day when they can travel again. And although your next vacation is realistically still some time away, now might be the perfect time to think about where you want to go when life gets somewhat back to normal.

Forbes travel journalist Larry Olmsted recommends that when we can travel again, we should aim to “travel better than before.” He suggests mapping out a multi-year travel plan to make sure you get to see the places and do the things that are most important to you. 

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“Life is short enough without not knowing when the next shoe will drop. A lesson to be learned right now is that if there are things you want to do in your life, you should get a move on it,” he writes.

In an ongoing travel series for Forbes, Olmstead presents 30 best bucket list destinations to consider, including Ireland.

Is Ireland on your bucket list? Credit: Getty Images

Is Ireland on your bucket list? Credit: Getty Images

The Emerald Isle is on many travelers’ top dream destinations list for several reasons. For the estimated 80 million people around the world with Irish roots, many simply wish to visit the homeland of their ancestors. 

But even for those without Irish roots, Ireland has much to offer, including beautiful scenery, castles and historic sites, vibrant culture and music, a “hot” food scene, the best beers and whiskies, and some of the world’s best golf destinations. And that's not even mentioning Ireland’s friendly, welcome people.

“Why Ireland? Because it is the land of 100,000 smiles and welcomes. Those who have visited find it the friendliest place on earth,” says Anne Scully, the president of luxury travel agency McCabe World Travel.

She adds: “To many American visitors it is their ancestral home, and the need to walk the land of their ancestors is so important to them. Ireland is also known for beautiful castles, fine hotels and welcoming B&Bs.”

Where to go once you get there? Dublin, Ireland’s thriving capital city which is full of attractions like the Book of Kells at Trinity College and the Guinness Storehouse, is the first stop for many visitors.

The Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin. Credit: Getty Images

The Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin. Credit: Getty Images

On the other side of the country, West Cork is “rich with history, the Dromberg Stone Circle stands there, and Kinsale is renowned as the gourmet capital of Ireland.” The famous Ballymaloe cookery school, in Shanagarry near Cork, is also here.

And when traveling on the Wild Atlantic Way, the spectacular scenery of the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula should not be missed.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland you can visit the capital city of Belfast, the Titanic museum, Bushmill’s whiskey distillery, Game of Thrones sites such as the “Dark Hedges,” and the spectacular Giant’s Causeway.

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According to Scully: “All of Ireland is a land to experience slowly, enjoying and savoring the joy of its people, the great food of their land and sea, and the hospitality of their lodgings. One trip is never enough - Ireland is always calling you back for more!"