When Lonely Planet voted Ireland the ‘World’s Friendliest Place’ where “anything’s possible” it confirmed a common perception of the people of Ireland as warm and welcoming. A nation of storytellers and talented musicians, the mystical charm of the Emerald Isle has lured visitors from across the globe for centuries. But once you land in this magical spot, where do you go for the warmest welcome? We take a look at the top six friendliest places to visit once you arrive in Ireland.
Awarded sixth place, down from the top spot last year, as the ‘Friendliest City in the World’ for Travel and Leisure magazine, Galway has it all. Traditional pubs, breath-taking scenery and stunning walks along the Wild Atlantic Way, this world-renowned beauty spot also has some of the nicest people on Earth. Warm welcomes, helpful tips from locals and mouthwatering cuisine all add to the charm of Galway. After being chosen to host the European Capital of Culture in 2020 the air is filled with pride across this western county, leaving the people of Galway only too happy to welcome you.
Also known as the ‘marble city’ Kilkenny is a truly precious spot. Voted by ‘Conde Nast’ travel magazine as one of the friendliest cities in the world this vibrant place is bursting with tempting tearooms and busy bars. The smallest in Ireland, Kilkenny feels more welcoming than bigger cities across the country, which is why it has made our list as one of the friendliest places to visit. A perfect combination of city life and a more traditional laid back pace will leave anyone staying in Kilkenny with a ‘best of both’ experience.
4. Swords, Co. Dublin
A housing boom during the Celtic Tiger may have left Swords with a population higher than most towns in County Dublin but it is, in fact, the people of Swords who afford it one of the friendliest places in Ireland to visit. A strong community, an impressive shopping centre and pubs that open later than most areas mean that this small but buzzing town is a sure hit with tourists. The locals take great pride in the area with Swords Tidy Town voluntary group winning a silver medal and a Diversity Award in the Supervalu Tidy Towns competition last month. Everyone who visits Swords will receive a warm welcome, especially if you’re up for lending a hand to keep it looking pretty!
3. County Fermanagh
Awarded by the Big Lottery’s Big Lunch as the ‘Most Neighbourly Place in the UK’ Co. Fermanagh’s rural communities come in at third place. The Game of Thrones territory is understandably popular with tourists but it offers so much more than a glimpse of the Dark Hedges. The stunning waterways and landscapes of this northern county make this a perfect spot for a weekend break while the people of Fermanagh will make you feel more than welcome during your stay. The warm sense of community affords it a definite spot on our list of friendliest places to see.
2. Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Described on Trip Advisor as the ‘Friendliest Place in Ireland’ Nenagh, the largest town in North Tipperary, is one of Ireland’s hidden gems. Located on the way to many popular spots, Nenagh has been hailed as the perfect stop off for food, chat or if you’re lucky a complementary portion of Irish bread pudding in Andy Flynn’s. With a wide variety of sports on offer, you may be tempted to stay a bit longer in this town for all seasons with locals only too happy to sign you up for your next thrill.
1. Ennis, Co. Clare
Nominated by Clare County Council for the ‘Retail Excellence Friendliest Town Awards’ Ennis has to take first place. As host to the world-renowned Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann this summer the pretty streets of Ennis town came alive with talented musicians and Irish dancers, creating the friendliest of welcomes.
The pubs offer live music, shelter from the rain and the perfect pint to enjoy with the locals who were more than happy to chat and share their excitement at hosting the most important event in the traditional music calendar. The festival stalls sold tasty snacks while fun games for children offered a simple charm often lost these days. Superb musicians entertained the crowd from the main stage and everyone sang along to familiar ballads as if they were old friends.