Regarded as one of the most discreet locations in Europe for long, Ireland has become a popular tourist destination. Split into two countries and four provinces, the whole island has a variety of both landscapes and cultural backgrounds which draws thousands of visitors every month.
Ireland is relatively small compared to countries like Germany, France and Spain. Its small size makes travelling there very handy. In the city, visitors will find public transportation more expensive than in other countries; however, an overall good service is provided.
By the 1970s, Ireland was mostly a rural country; this amazingly contrasts with the current large and complex motorway system. Economic growth gave birth to urban development during the early 2000s; the current national motorway system connects the island in every direction, allowing vehicles to enter small localities where no cars could enter thirty years ago.
Irish Railways in the Republic and NI Railways in Northern Ireland are the main companies providing inter-city railway transportation. Travelling by train might be a little more expensive than bus, but trains are faster and more comfortable.
There are several companies that offer inter-city buses, frequently to and from Dublin, stopping only at some of the main airports. As a result of the growing tourism industry, coach companies have liaised with tour operators to offer views of scenic routes in different languages. Groups of tourist from all over the world admire the marvels of the Irish countryside during the high season.
Being an island, a number of ferries come and go on a regular basis; most of them head to the United Kingdom. Dublin, Belfast and Cork are the main ports of Ireland.
Ireland has a fair amount of international airports. Dublin, as the capital city of the Republic, hosts the largest airport on the island; in the west, Shannon Airport offers direct transatlantic connections with the American Continent; Cork, in the south, is the second largest city in the Republic and has its own airport; finally, in the capital or Northern Ireland, Belfast Airport offers flights all over and across the United Kingdom to continental Europe.