It may be our closest neighbour, but with its rolling green hills, quaint villages, traditional pubs and windswept beaches, Ireland is a world away - and the perfect destination for those seeking a change of scenery without having to pay for an expensive long-haul flight.
Many people make the mistake of travelling to Dublin and thinking they've seen Ireland. The bustling capital does have a lot to offer, but for a glimpse of the real Emerald Isle, holidaymakers need to venture outside the city.
Nestled in the south-west of Ireland, Cork is the country's largest county and a place steeped in cultural heritage.
Cork is a favourite among celebrities and in recent years has attracted the likes of George Clooney and Moby. TV presenter Carol Vorderman and Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons both have homes there and are regularly seen pottering around local shops and restaurants.
Part of its appeal undoubtedly lies in the fact that holidaymakers visiting Cork can be surfing on the beach one day and shopping the next.
From the bustling streets of the city centre to the stunning harbour of Kinsale and tiny villages dotted along the coastline, Cork has an excellent range of holiday options on offer.
Situated in west Cork, the vibrant town of Clonakilty is one of the county's must-visit destinations.
Reminiscent of Balamory, with its brightly coloured houses, narrow streets and beautiful coastal inlets, it is known as the 'beach centre' of Cork and is home to the stunning Inchydony Strand, where holidaymakers can enjoy watersports activities and even try their hand at surfing.
Clonkailty is also home to the legendary De Barras Folk Club, which was last year named by the Guardian as one of the best traditional pubs in Ireland.
Its walls are covered with instruments previously owned by some of the world's finest musicians and littered with photographs of the many famous faces that have enjoyed a pint of Guinness there - most notably the late Noel Redding. The former Jimi Hendrix bassist lived out his later years in Clonakilty and could regularly be seen sitting outside the bar, guitar in hand.
Situated on the west coast of Ireland, Kerry is one of Ireland's most scenic counties and a dream destination for those who love to explore the great outdoors.
With its craggy coastline, rolling green hills and breathtaking peninsulas, Kerry is particularly popular with walkers.
Some of its most popular attractions include the Blasket Centre, where visitors can learn about the origins of the Irish, the Gap of Dunloe, which was formed during the last ice age and Ross Castle, which was constructed in the 15th century on the shores of Lough Leanne.
Kerry is also home to the aquatic legend that is Fungi the Dolphin. Perhaps a testament to how appealing the area is, Fungi turned up in Dingle Harbour in 1984 and has been there ever since.
Fungi is something of a local celebrity and has been credited with giving the area a major tourism boost. He can regularly be seen entertaining the crowds with his friendly antics and those visiting the town can buy Fungi souvenirs, have a picture taken at the Fungi statue and even enjoy a Fungi pizza - though needless to say, it does not contain dolphin.
Galway is the cultural heartland of Ireland and is a vibrant and bustling place, home to soaring mountains, picture-perfect lakes and, according to Discover Ireland, some of the friendliest people in the country.
A visit to Galway is not complete without taking in the nearby Aran Islands; Inis Mor, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr.
The islands are steeped in history and holidaymakers can learn more about them by visiting the Aran Centre near the village of Kilronan.
Other famous attractions in Galway include Kylemore Abbey, Killary Fjord and Connemara National Park, which is home to red deer and native Commemara ponies.
Galway is an ideal destination for those who enjoy attending festivals and cultural events. July sees the city's streets come to life for the annual Galway Arts Festival, which was founded in 1978 and attracts artists and performers from across the globe.
Visitors can expect to see everything from comedy performances to dance workshops and traditional music sessions, with something on offer for holidaymakers of all ages.
What are you waiting for?
So, if you're looking for an easily accessible destination that's less than an hour away and home to windswept beaches, ageing rock stars and friendly dolphins, then look no further.
The land of poets and scholars is right on your doorstep, so get packing.