- CNN readers share their favorite views of Ireland
- Not to miss: The Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula and the Northern coast
- "Make notes for your next trip -- you will surely be returning," said Kevin Kane
The 39-year-old financial adviser from Havertown, Pennsylvania, has been back six times since, taking his now wife, brothers and mother on various trips that spanned nearly every county in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Ahead of St. Patrick's Day, Kane and other CNN readers shared their best memories and photos
from mesmerizing visits to the Emerald Isle.
The green and rugged Dingle Peninsula, in the southwest of Ireland, is Kane's favorite destination, he wrote, though "the Glens of Antrim are spectacular in November, the Ring of Kerry cannot be described adequately by James Joyce himself on a clear day in June, and the vibrancy of Galway and Westport are enough to recharge the soul as you wander joyfully from Tobercurry to Ennis."
Kane offered a few tips for the first-time visitor:
Don't be overly ambitious on your first trip. "Pick a few towns to stay in and do several days in each. One-hundred miles between towns is not a two-hour drive as you might expect. If there are no major motorways, it could easily become a harrowing four-hour trip for the novice European driver."
Talk to the locals in pubs. "Ask questions, don't fake a brogue, and listen to the suggestions they are sure to make about what to see in that immediate area. The Irish are fiercely parochial and love to show off their town's hidden secrets to tourists."
Do something off the beaten path. "Take a ferry out to an island to walk around a bit, find an Abbey ruin in a field to explore, take a flask of Jameson and hike up a mountain. Get lost in what Ireland is, and has to offer."
In summary, Kane said: "Keep your itinerary reasonable, soak up every minute you are there, and make notes for your next trip, for you will surely be returning. It's that kind of place."