When readers ask me where they should go on their first solo trips, I always say Ireland. Ireland is perfect for solo female travelers. I've been to Ireland three times, all solo, and always had an amazing time.
My first solo trip was to Ireland when I was 19. After several Guinness and live music-filled days, Ireland had earned a place as one of my favorite countries- it really is a beautiful, surprisingly rugged place with lots of good-hearted (and handsome) locals.
In in my mind, Ireland is the perfect first-time solo travel destination for solo female travelers. Here's why:
a. It's English-speaking
b. The locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming
b. There are oodles of fascinating ruins and sites, as well as great culture and music
c. Ireland's less expensive than other English-speaking destinations such as as Australia or the U.K.
d. And it's a small, safe country that you can cross in 3 or 4 hours
In my pre-blogging days, I was much less vigilant about taking photos- hence why I literally didn't take one picture of Dublin or Galway. But here is my coverage of the wonderful, windblown day I spent biking around Ennismore, the largest of the Aran islands.
A bike which was mode of transportation for the day as well as a source of frustration… Stumbling upon a Celtic graveyard… Stopping for some delicious fish chowder and brown bread…
Buying a Celtic wraith t-shirt and Claddagh ring…
Biking to Dun Aengus, a beautiful Celtic fortress ruin…
Overall it was a perfect day of solitude, blustery weather and a quiet kind of joy you feel when you've done someone really good for yourself, all on your own.
Also- before I left the island, there was a magical moment when an Irish boy welcomed me into his bike shop to escape the rain. After we chatted for about an hour he asked me if he could kiss me, and as I had a boyfriend at the time, I was forced to decline. Sadness.
Since then I have returned to Ireland twice. And I can safely say that all three of my solo trips to the Emerald Isle have been amazing.
Is Ireland safe for female travelers?
So please, think about Ireland if you've never traveled alone before but might want to try. I promise you won't regret it- and maybe, just maybe, a cute Irish guy will pull you out of the rain. And in that case I implore you to give him a kiss or two.
For more of my Ireland coverage: A Grand, Google-Filled Weekend in Dublin's Fair City, My 22nd Birthday in Cork, Ireland, A Journey to the West- Dingle, Ireland, Dingle II: Irish Heritage and Craggy Cliffs, A Mini Irish Road Trip