Those who seek the luck of the Irish can find it tucked away in a rather unexpected place, nearly 6,000 kilometers away from Ireland.
Newfoundland, the rugged island province of Canada, has been called "the most Irish place outside of Ireland" due to its many similarities to the Emerald Isle. Perhaps the most notable of them is that almost all of its residents are descended from Irish fishermen who settled there in the 1700s and 1800s. By that history alone, it is already worthy of its appellation.
But the local color and rural vibe of Newfoundland is what really substantiates the comparison. According to writer Jennifer Hough, Newfoundland feels like Ireland from a time past, "when people left their doors unlocked, hitchhiked without fear, and had time to stop and talk to one another." Time appears to move at its own pace there, which is a pertinent observation considering that the province has its own time zone.
Then there are the Newfoundlanders themselves, who possess the same quintessential Irish spirit that the world has come to know and love. Like their Irish counterparts, they love talking about the weather, flexing their Celtic wit and charm at the dinner table, and sharing stories over pints and music. They also fancy a good nosy, which often keeps them busy on otherwise mellow days.
But most of all, they are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet; so much so that once you're in their company, you'll hope they never pull the "Irish goodbye" on you. Thankfully, that's usually not how they roll anyway, because when Newfoundlanders have visitors, they bring out the red carpet in true Irish fashion. God help you if you're actually Irish – they might never want you to leave.
Prospective first-timers to Newfoundland will want to consider starting at St. John's, the island's capital city. One might assume that it's a dull and dreary place simply because it's a working port, but don't be mistaken — St. John's is brimming with old-world charm, complete with architectural marvels and cobblestone streets that lend it a classic European feel.
On a leisurely tour of the city, you'll come across a number of notable sights in the downtown area, including 19th-century buildings, vintage shops and boutiques, and the colorful Victorian houses on "Jellybean Row." There are also several seafood restaurants to dine at, like Oliver's or Chafe's Landing, where you can get a taste of some world-famous Atlantic fish.
Clear your evening plans for a night out on George Street, which has the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America. Then, catch the stars at Signal Hill, which offers arguably the best panoramic view of the city on the island.
If those experiences don't thrill you enough, you can always opt for an adventure in one of the province's national parks, which boasts some of the best landscapes in the country. Newfoundland may not have the Cliffs of Moher, but it has a plethora of natural wonders that are just as breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
Gros Morne, for example, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to ancient fjords, soaring mountains, and giant glaciers, which you can experience up close and personal on guided hikes or boat tours. One of the best locations in the area is Western Brook Pond, a 16-kilometer lake that is nestled between billion-year-old cliffs and cascading waterfalls. The scenic views alone are enough to give you a lasting dose of adrenaline.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg — there's so much more to explore in Newfoundland, and nothing compares to seeing it with your own eyes. Suffice it to say that Newfoundland deserves a place on your travel bucket list, for its Irish appeal and for all its glory and grandeur.
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