Being in social isolation doesn't stop us dreaming of all the places we'd like to visit; in fact now we've got even more time to daydream. Escape on a virtual vacation to bring a little piece of Ireland to your living room.

The smell of the ground after rain, the warm murmur of laughter and conversation in a packed pub, the salty tang of butter melting into fresh soda bread; these are the things you need to experience in person. But until you can travel again, immerse yourself in the best movies, novels, virtual reality or even get creative in the kitchen to build up your excitement for the next trip.

A beach on a sunny day
Derrynane Beach on southwest corner of the Ring.of Kerry. © Pete Seaward/Lonely Planet

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Best movies

History lovers:
Black '47: Shot in the style of a Western, a soldier seeks revenge for the cruel treatment of his family during the Irish Famine.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley: This Ken Loach-directed drama follows two brothers through the War of Independence and the Civil War.
Hunger: Arguably the best performance of Michael Fassbender's career, an utterly devastating portrait of one of Northern Ireland's most painful episodes

Comedies:
Waking Ned: an entire village conspires to hide the death of a lottery winner in the hopes of splitting the money. An absolute classic.
The Guard: Brendan Gleeson's unconventional police officer pairs up with Don Cheadle's FBI agent for a buddy cop movie with a twist.
Handsome Devil: two dramatically different teenagers become best friends at an elite boarding school in Dublin.

Four men and a boy raise a glass to the sky in the middle of a field. They are all wearong suit and looking in the same direction
Waking Ned © TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo

Romance:
The Quiet Man: this romantic view of Ireland through an American lens may not be the most accurate but its sweeping view of the landscape and charismatic leads make for a dreamy afternoon's viewing.
Once: two buskers fall in love while walking the streets of Dublin after dark.
Sing Streeta teenager in 1980s Dublin tries to impress a girl by setting up a band.

Listen

The newest urban street sounds:

Traditional Irish songs:

Best Novels

Contemporary classics:
Normal People - Sally Rooney:
 two students attending Trinity College navigate love and class.
The Spinning Heart - Donal Ryan:  the economic collapse of the early 21st century is the catalyst for tension and drama in a rural Irish village.
Milkman - Anna Burns: a unique narration evokes the tribal tensions that invade personal lives during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Shorter reads:
Young Skins - Colin Barrett : an intertwined collection of short stories of modern rural life.
100 Poems - Seamus Heaney: 100 of the Nobel Laureate's most cherished poems
Notes to Self - Emilie Pine: a raw collection of essays that was an Irish bestseller last year

Best Podcasts

Candelit Tales: A podcast celebrating the rich history of Irish mythology.

West Cork: A Serial-style investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier and its effect on the idyllic locale of West Cork (available on Audible).

The Irish Passport: for anyone interested in current affairs with a blend of history and culture.

Food

Warm and comforting, every Irish granny has a different recipe for the perfect Irish stew (and everybody prefers their own). Try your hand at Dublin coddle in this recipe on how to make Irish stew.

Best Videos

Drinks

The warmth of the coffee, coldness of the cream and kick of whiskey make an Irish coffee the perfect end to a meal (or start to a day, depending on how you're feeling). Make it yourself with our recipe for the perfect Irish coffee.

Cultural Highlights

The Long Room library in Trinity College

National Gallery of Ireland

Epic Landscapes

The Cliffs of Moher

Ailwee Caves

Shop Online

Do some online browsing with these Irish shops who ship internationally (please note there may be some delays or restrictions due to COVID-19).

Jam Art Factory - Irish prints, cards and gifts from a variety of local artists

Standún - knitwear (including Aran Sweaters), handmade jewellery, local artwork

More reads

How learning Gaeilge in Ireland expanded more than my vocabulary
Land of the green sheen

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