Review: InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel

I adore the South of France, it’s like a playground for luxury travel and the gorgeous city of Bordeaux in the South West of the region is definitely one to include in your visit. Stay somewhere as stunning as the city itself at the InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel. Location The hotel lies on … Continue reading Review: InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel

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Best Things To Do In The Historic City Of Edinburgh, Scotland

Things To Do In Edinburgh

Best Things To Do in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Home to scholars, authors, philosophers and murderers, Edinburgh is an ancient city like no other. Built at the base of a volcano, Scotland’s capital boasts a dark & twisted history.

Edinburgh has quickly become a vibrant hub of art, theatre, and creativity in recent years, with great festivals and events taking over the world stage.

On top of this, you can catch a glimpse of every century on every street in Edinburgh. It’s like walking into one of your favorite books.

From the Royal Mile to Arthur’s Seat, a stroll through the city will take you on a journey through time, showcasing the best of medieval architecture and into dark alleyways with dramatic stories of their own…

Edinburgh might seem small at first, but once you start to explore, you’ll quickly realize just how many cool things there are to do here!

I’ve traveled to Edinburgh multiple times now, and it’s become one of my favorite international cities.

Best Things To Do In Edinburgh

Visit Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Overlooking the entire city, the world-famous Edinburgh Castle is the most iconic historic site in Scotland.

With parts of this magnificent building dating back to the 12th century, it’s clear to see why it was voted as the top UK Heritage Attraction in the British Travel Awards and is Scotland’s number one paid-for tourist attraction.

Not only can you take a guided or audio tour of the castle and it’s dramatic history, but you can also visit the National War Museum where you will discover 400 years of Scotland at war through personal accounts, military artifacts, and treasured collections.

On top of that, the castle is also home to the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles, so get ready to lose track of time in this historic wonderland!

Walk The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile

Edinburgh’s most famous street

When you’ve finished admiring the history and grandeur of Edinburgh Castle, head on down the street and walk the Royal Mile.

The Royal Mile is considered the historic heart of Edinburgh. A cobblestoned street lined with ancient taverns, cathedrals, parliament, shops, and the dark narrow alleyways that helped inspire Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.

The route connects two royal residences Edinburgh Castle and the palace of Holyrood House, with tons of interesting things to do and see along the way.

Buy yourself a traditional Scottish kilt, or stop into the Scotch Whisky Experience to learn about (and taste of course!) a wide variety of flavors from different parts of the country.

My personal favorite is Laphroaig, a single-malt peaty flavored whisky from Islay.

Eat Some Sheep Guts!

Things To Do In Edinburgh: Haggis

Scottish Haggis – Don’t knock it until you try it

Haggis is a savory pudding of Scottish origin, containing sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach. Still feeling hungry?

The traditional way to eat this classic Scottish dish is with sides of “neeps & tatties” (turnips and potatoes).

In other parts of Scotland, you’ll find traditional ‘salt & vinegar’ when you walk into a local takeaway, but Edinburgh locals choose to go down the ‘salt & sauce’ route. Nobody really knows what flavor the sauce is, but apparently, you can’t go for fish and chips without it!

Last but not least, Deep Fried Mars Bars. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, and once you’ve tried it I am sure you will happily knock that one off your bucket list and never feel the need to do it again…

Ghost Hunting In Graveyards

Edinburgh Ghost Tour

Visiting George MacKenzie at Greyfriar’s Kirkyard

If only the dead could talk. Well in Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetery they not only talk to you, but will also bite, kick, and strangle you!

Regarded as one of the most haunted places in the world, Greyfriars holds about 400,000 corpses piled into the shape of a hill overlooking the city.

It’s literally a mountain of bodies, and many of these people did not die well… some weren’t even dead yet when they were buried here!

George MacKenzie is the most famous and “active” resident, nicknamed the MacKenzie Poltergeist. He’s been known to cause bruises, burns, scratches, and even broken bones on his living victims!

There have been 450 documented attacks — it’s a ghost hunter’s paradise.

Another notorious cemetery is Canongate Graveyard, where you’ll find the resting place of some of the city’s most famous figures, including David Rizzio, the lover of Mary Queen of Scots. Or even James Douglas, 3rd Marquess of Queensberry – the infamous Cannibal of the Canongate.

Celebrate At Hogmanay

Hogmanay Edinburgh

3 days of New Year celebrations!

The Scottish certainly know how to throw a party, so there is no better place to ring in the new year. Forget about new years eve, the Hogmanay celebrations take over the city for 3 full days of spectacular events, great music and amazing crowds from every corner of the globe.

Grab a firelit torch and join in with the thousands of annual marchers who take to the streets or marvel over the incredible fireworks and live music at Edinburgh Castle.

The famous procession is led by a burly squad of Shetland Up Helly Aa’ Vikings wielding flaming sticks. Behind them, 8,500 others carry torches made from burlap & beeswax. It’s quite a show!

And if you feel the need to re-energize after the madness? Spend the first day of the new year leaping into the freezing waters of the River Forth for the Loony Dook! It’s a bit crazy, but tons of fun.

The Fringe Festival

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Street Performers take over Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Edinburgh is known internationally as the Festival City, with 11 major events taking place throughout the year. Five of these events take place in the month of August, transforming the city into one big street party!

One of the most famous of them all is the Fringe Festival – The world’s largest arts festival which attracts thousands of performers to take to hundreds of stages all over the city.

This year there were over 3,548 shows taking place in 317 venues throughout the city, so you may find it a little difficult to figure out where to begin. I would recommend starting your Fringe adventure at the Pleasance.

Free Harry Potter Walking Tour

Harry Potter Walking Tour Edinburgh

Are you a wizard or a muggle?

There are normal Edinburgh walking tours if you are interested in learning about the city, but if you want to learn more about a specific character… Harry Potter to be exact, then where better than the birthplace of this world-famous book!

The Potter Trail will give you your own wand when you join your robed guide on a journey to discover the magical locations that inspired many characters and scenes.

Not only will you catch a glimpse of where JK Rowling wrote the books, but you’ll also see where Lord Voldemort is buried, take a trip down Diagon Alley, and have a chance to be sorted outside the school which inspired Hogwarts.

The best part about this tour is that it’s completely free of charge!

Hike Calton Hill

Cool Things to do in Edinburgh

Dugald Stewart Monument on Calton Hill

If you’re a photographer looking for a great view of the city, this is my favorite spot for sunrise in Edinburgh if you’re lucky with clear skies!

Located just past the East end of Prince’s Street, Calton Hill is home to many monuments like the National Monument Of Scotland, the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument, and the City Observatory.

The Scottish Government itself is located at the base of the hill at St. Andrew’s House. The hill is also used for special events throughout the year, like the Beltane Fire Festival held on April 30th.

Just know the hill has a reputation for seedy characters and the occasional crime. So I’d recommend visiting with more than one person, and not late at night!

The Royal Military Tattoo

Royal Military Tattoo

Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh’s Royal Military Tattoo attracts more than 1,200 performers from over 48 countries, so you can be sure to expect a world-renowned experience like no other.

Showcasing the talents of military bands and performers from every corner of the globe, the Tattoo has been televised in more than 40 countries, with an annual television audience of over 100 million viewers.

These incredible performances happen every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays throughout August.

The whole thing is set in one of the most incredible venues of all time, Edinburgh Castle, so nothing beats watching it in person! Tickets sell out fast, so I’d recommend booking them in advance before your trip.

Explore Creepy Underground Vaults

Edinburgh’s Underground Tunnels

Edinburgh’s Spooky Tunnels: Would You Visit?

Edinburgh is well known for its dark and twisted past — home to some of the most haunted places in the world. The narrow streets of the city’s old town provide the perfect setting for stories of cannibals, body snatchers, and ghosts.

But what lies below is even more terrifying! Beneath the streets of Edinburgh lies a maze of creepy underground tunnels and vaults that were once used for untold horrors — robberies, torture and murder.

The vaults were once a haven for the poorest of Edinburgh’s citizens, as well as a hideout for criminals.

After getting closed off with rubble to deter their use, some of these long-forgotten secret passageways were excavated and opened for spooky underground tours.

Climb The Scott Monument

Scott Monument Edinburgh

The higher you climb, the better the views

The iconic Scott Monument is among the largest monuments to a writer anywhere in the world and is undoubtedly one of the first things you will see on your arrival in Edinburgh.

Standing tall in the center of the city, the monument was created after the death of Sir Walter Scott in 1832.

Make sure to bring your camera, because each of the 4 floors gives you incredible panoramic views over Edinburgh, only getting better with each stair that you climb.

Delve into the history of Scott, one of Edinburgh’s finest writers, in the monument’s Museum Room on the first floor, or in The Writers’ Museum nearby, which is free from Wednesday to Sunday.

Visit Camera Obscura

Things to do in Edinburgh: Camera Obscura

Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura on the Royal Mile

Waiting in line outside Camera Obscura you’ll find excited children ready to dive into an array of illusions, tricks, and puzzles.

But you’ll also find a bunch of over-excited, fully grown photographers who come for the Camera Obscura itself, a Victorian invention that eventually led to the modern camera.

In 1850s Edinburgh, cinema hadn’t been invented yet, but the locals were left speechless by Maria Short and her life-like moving pictures of the city.

A lot has changed since then, but the team at Camera Obscura are still collaborating with artists, inventors, and technical wizards, to bring you even further into their world of wonder and delight.

Catch A Show At Bedlam Theatre

Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh

Neo-gothic Bedlam Theatre

Scotland’s Bedlam Theatre building houses the oldest student-run theater in Britain. It was named after the Bedlam Mental Institute that used to be nearby.

Once the New North Free Church built in 1849, it was eventually given to Edinburgh University who turned it into a fun 90 seat student theater to perform plays and improv comedy.

If you’d like a little dose of local Scottish comedy while you’re visiting, this is the place to be. When Edinburgh University is in session, you can catch The Improverts every Friday night at 10:30pm.

Go Skiing Or Snowboarding?!

Things to do in Edinburgh: Snowsports Centre

Get your adrenaline pumping!

If you are looking for something a little more adventurous to get your adrenaline pumping, hop on a bus out to the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, set on the hillside of Pentland Hills Regional Park.

As Britain’s biggest artificial ski slope, they’ve got something for everyone, with 2 main slopes, 3 beginner slopes, and freestyle features.

If you’ve never skied before, but are up for the challenge, start with some lessons and work your way up to the main slopes. You can always just ride the chairlift up too for the spectacular views or walk across the Pentland Hills.

Scottish National Galleries

Scottish National Galleries

The perfect location for a rainy day in Edinburgh

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, the Scottish National Galleries are home to some of the best collections of fine and modern art in the world, including masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Monet, and Van Gogh, amongst many others.

If that wasn’t enough, the galleries themselves are some of Scotland’s most beautiful buildings, with neoclassical architecture dating back to the 1820’s.

The Scottish National Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art and the Portrait Gallery are the perfect locations to get lost in on a rainy day in Edinburgh, with endless art collections, exhibitions, and events taking place every week.

Unwind In A Famous Bookshop

Find Some Bookstores

Edinburgh has Inspired Many Writers

Edinburgh is home to some of the most famous authors of all time, so it’s no surprise that the city became the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature back in 2004.

With Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop, it’s clear to see how storytellers such as J.K Rowling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Iain Banks found inspiration in this historical city.

Head down to the famous Armchair Books or ‘McNaughtan’s Bookshop & Gallery’, grab a book, find a quiet corner, a comfy couch and you are set for a day of delving into the minds and imaginations of Edinburgh’s finest authors.

Cycle From City To Sea

Things to do in Edinburgh: Rent bikes

Cycle through Edinburgh’s best neighbourhoods

Although Edinburgh is known for its dramatic landscape and incredible architecture, you’ll find some of the most breathtaking views as you wander beyond the city boundaries.

Pick up a rental bike in the city center and make your way through Stockbridge and Leith, down the course of the Union Canal river.

You’ll get to experience the Scottish scenery many tourists miss out on during their time in Edinburgh.

Make sure to stop off in one of the many towns along the way such as the ancient Dean Village, and warm up with a nice cup of coffee, before hitting the fresh seaside breeze.

Hike Up Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh

Hike on a former active volcano

This historic city is also a fitness junkie’s dream, with mountains, forests, seaside escapes and former active volcanoes on its doorstep. Just minutes away from Edinburgh city center, is the famous Arthur’s Seat.

As you climb to the top, the basalt rock below your feet is a constant reminder that this incredible hill was once overflowing with lava more than 350 million years ago.

At a height of 251 meters, Arthur’s Seat looks out over the city, providing some of the best views of the Castle and the Old and New Towns.

It is a moderate hike, with different routes depending on the level of difficulty you want, so even if you don’t have a lot of experience, it’s definitely worth the trek. If you plan your climb for a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of the highlands in Northern Scotland.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia

The former floating residence to the Queen

Once you have explored the city center, it’s time to delve into some of the incredible local neighborhoods! Ask any of the locals and they will point you in the direction of Leith, Edinburgh’s creative, diverse and buzzing waterfront town.

It is believed that this hotspot is home to some of the best culinary experiences in Scotland, and is renowned for its traditional pubs, seafood bistros, galleries, and thrift shops.

While you’re there, take a walk along the riverside and you will discover the award-winning Royal Yacht Britannia – the former floating residence to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years, which has sailed over 1,000,000 miles around the world.

Pink Flowers At The Meadows

The Meadows of Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Famous Student Hotspot

Located beside Edinburgh University’s central campus, The Meadows are famous among the locals for being the go-to spot to relax and unwind within the hustle and bustle of the city center.

On a warm spring or summer’s day, this large green space is filled with students, families and tourists all soaking in the beauty of pink cherry blossoms as they come into bloom.

Soon after, the pink petals begin to fall and scatter themselves like a blanket covering the Meadows.

If you’re planning your trip to Edinburgh later in the year, autumn is just as beautiful as the green leaves that line the avenues transform into many different shades of red as they prepare for the winter snow.

Grab A Slice In Civerinos

Civerinos Edinburgh

Possibly the best pizza in Scotland!

Just a stone’s throw from The Meadows, you will find a little pizza joint with a big crowd. Civerinos seems to be everyone’s favorite ‘neighbourhood pizza bar’.

They sell by the slice, but if you’re really feeling like you want to leave in a food coma, you can try 5 different varieties and get the 6th slice for free.

My personal recommendation would be the classic Civerinos Slice or the Menace to Society, but they are always adding new additions to the menu so you never know what to expect!

Where To Stay In Edinburgh

Although Edinburgh is a small city, there is a wide variety of accommodation available at all price points. Here are some suggestions for where to stay while you’re in town:

BUDGET
Edinburgh Hostel
West End Hostel
Clean rooms, good breakfast and easy to walk to everything.

Check prices & availability:
Booking.com / TripAdvisor.com

MID-RANGE
Edinburgh Mid-Range Hotel
Motel One Edinburgh-Royal
Large rooms, comfortable beds and friendly staff. Great location.

Check prices & availability:
Booking.com / TripAdvisor.com

MID-RANGE
Edinburgh Mid-Range Hotel
Jurys Inn Edinburgh
Super comfortable hotel in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town

Check prices & availability:
Booking.com / TripAdvisor.com

LUXURY
Edinburgh Luxury Hotel
Principal Charlotte Square
Luxurious interiors and excellent food in city centre location.

Check prices & availability:
Booking.com / TripAdvisor.com

Edinburgh Travel Tips & Advice

  • Make sure to have the exact coins ready for your Edinburgh bus trip, as they do not give you change. Unlike some of the other transportation methods, you can’t pay by bank card or smartphone.
  • The best time to visit Edinburgh for sunshine is between May and August, with warmer temperatures and tons of festivals (especially August for festivals). If you visit during December and January, the city is much quieter and you might get to experience some winter snow.
  • Scottish pounds are slightly different to the English version, so be aware that you may have difficulty using Scottish pounds as currency in other parts of the United Kingdom.
  • Edinburgh Airport is about 35 minutes away from the city center. The easiest way to get into the city is by using the airport Bus (Fare: Single £4.50, return £7.50) or the tram line (single £6.00, return £8.50). They both depart for the city every 10 – 15 minutes.

Bonus Travel Video! Exploring Spooky Edinburgh

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new Adventure Travel Videos!

(Click to watch Spooky Streets of Edinburgh on YouTube)

USEFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR EDINBURGH
Plan Your Trip: VisitScotland.com & Edinburgh.org
Skyscanner.net – My favorite place to book cheap airline flights
RentalCars.com – Great site for comparing car rental prices
Booking.com – Book affordable accommodation in Edinburgh
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Scotland
Suggested Reading: The Ghosts Of Edinburgh

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Great Things To Do In Edinburgh -- tips and ideas for your trip to Scotland! More at ExpertVagabond.com
Great Things To Do In Edinburgh -- tips and ideas for your trip to Scotland! More at ExpertVagabond.com

Any questions about things to do in Edinburgh? Do you have other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

How I Became Irish: Claiming Dual Citizenship By Descent

How to Get Your Irish Citizenship

Claiming Irish Citizenship by Descent

Travel Tips

The Irish love to travel. So for years, whenever I met someone from Ireland during my adventures around the world, I’d proudly proclaim to them over a few beers that “I’m Irish too!”

Apparently, I learned much later, the Irish hate this. Whoops!

The United States is a country of immigrants, and most of us lack a truly long family history here. So we cling proudly to the heritage of our ancestors.

I think we’re subconsciously trying to anchor ourselves to places with more history & culture than our own young country has.

While I may not have been born in Ireland like my new drinking buddies, I was just trying to start a conversation and find a way to relate.

However now, after a bit of work, it’s official. I’m truly an Irish citizen!

How did that happen you ask? Well, I became an Irish Citizen by descent, and if you have Irish parents or grandparents, you can too.

The result is a 2nd (EU!) passport, and all the benefits that entails.

Claiming Irish Citizenship through Relatives

My Grandmother’s Old House in Ireland

Irish Citizenship By Descent

There’s something like 40 million people living with Irish heritage in the United States. I’m guessing many of them don’t realize they might be eligible to become Irish citizens.

From 1820 to 1860, almost 2 million Irish immigrants made their way to America looking for a better life, and this mass migration has created a unique opportunity for Americans looking to gain Irish citizenship.

While most countries allow people to claim citizenship if their parents came from the country, Ireland goes several steps further.

Under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1956, people born outside Ireland can claim citizenship, if their parents were born in Ireland, but ALSO if a grandparent was born there.

So if you’re an American (or any nationality really) with an Irish grandparent, you have the right to claim Irish citizenship under this law.

This was my case. My Grandmother on my Father’s side was born in Ireland, and immigrated to New York in 1930.

Applying For Irish Citizenship

The Irish Passport Application

How To Apply

If your parents are Irish, you are automatically entitled to citizenship. But if you’re applying because a grandparent came from Ireland, you have to establish proof of lineage with documentation.

I’ve covered the basics below, but for official instructions from the Irish Embassy, click here.

STEP 1: Collect Your Documents

  • ORIGINAL Birth Certificate of your grandparent
  • ORIGINAL Marriage Certificate of your grandparent
  • ORIGINAL Death Certificate of your grandparent (if applicable)
  • ORIGINAL Divorce Certificate of your grandparent (if applicable)
  • ORIGINAL Birth Certificate of your parent
  • ORIGINAL Marriage Certificate of your parent
  • ORIGINAL Death Certificate of your parent (if applicable)
  • ORIGINAL Divorce Certificate of your parent (if applicable)
  • COPY of parent’s passport/ID (must be notarized)
  • COPY of your passport/ID (must be notarized)
  • Your ORIGINAL birth certificate
  • Your ORIGINAL marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Your ORIGINAL divorce papers (if applicable)
  • (3) ORIGINAL documents showing Proof of Current Residence (utility bills, bank statements, lease) You don’t need to live in Ireland.
  • (2) Passport Photos (must be signed by your witness)

Collecting all these original documents requires the most work out of this entire process. You may have to track down relatives who have them, or order new ones from the proper officials.

Baptismal Certificate Workaround

For me, locating an ORIGINAL Birth Certificate for my deceased Grandmother was the most difficult part. Because she never had one!

During the early 1900’s, many children in Ireland never received official birth certificates, especially in more rural areas. Because doing so required traveling to the nearest big city.

Instead, local churches recorded births with Baptismal Certificates. My Grandmother was one of these, being born in a small coastal village to a family of fishermen.

In this instance, you can still apply for citizenship, but you must first search for your grandparent’s birth certificate through the General Registrar’s Office anyway.

You’ll receive a letter back saying they couldn’t find it.

Finally, forward this “we can’t find one” letter along with an original copy of the church baptismal certificate (with church stamp) when you send in your application and all your documents.

STEP 2: The Application

Once you have all your lineage documents ready, fill out the online citizenship application.

When finished, the application is submitted to the Irish government electronically. You’ll also get a PDF version that you must print out and sign, which will be mailed in with all those documents you collected earlier.

But you won’t mail everything in until after the next step…

STEP 3: Find A Professional Witness

You’ll need a legal witness to help you complete the whole application process. They must fill out Section E of the application, sign your passport photos, witness you sign the application, and provide their professional contact information (business card) for follow up later.

There are only a few types of people who can be your legal witness:

  • Clergy/Priest
  • Police Officer
  • Lawyer
  • Medical Doctor
  • School Principal
  • Judge
  • Bank Manager

In my case, a police officer who’s a family friend acted as my legal witness. However your primary care physician or local bank manager should be easy to convince too. It’s not too difficult. It just can’t be a family member.

STEP 4: Mail Everything To Ireland

This can be a bit nerve-wracking. You’re going to mail a bunch of personal, sensitive, original documents overseas to Dublin.

I recommend sending everything via FedEx, with tracking, just to be safe. It’s not cheap, but you don’t want that stuff getting lost in the mail!

Don’t worry, once the whole citizenship process is complete, the Irish Government will send all those precious original documents back to you.

STEP 5: Apply For An Irish Passport

Once your Irish citizenship application is approved, you’ll eventually receive an official Irish Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) in the mail.

Congratulations, you’re Irish! Go have a Guinness to celebrate!

You’ll need your new Foreign Birth Registration document to apply for an Irish Passport, which is a separate step.

The actual Irish passport application must be mailed to you from the nearest Irish consulate (you can’t download them online).

  • Fill out the passport application.
  • Have a legal witness watch you sign it.
  • Provide 4 passport photos (2 signed by the same witness)
  • Include your ORIGINAL (American) Birth Certificate
  • Include your new IRISH Foreign Birth Registration
  • Include a COPY of your Passport/ID
  • Include (1) Proof Of Residency document (utility bills, bank statements, lease)
  • Pay Application Fee via Cashiers Check or Money Order
  • Mail Everything to the nearest Irish Consulate
Cathedral in Ireland

The Pretty Irish Port Town of Cobh

How Much Did Everything Cost?

Obtain Original Documents: $150 USD (varies depending on your needs)
Citizenship Application Fee: €287 Euros ($337 USD)
FedEx Everything To Dublin: $60 USD
Irish Passport Application: $125 USD

TOTAL COST: $672 USD

How Long Did It Take?

After first applying for Irish Citizenship, I received my Foreign Birth Registration document in the mail 5 months later. This was even after I was asked to fix part of the application (it needed a more recent signature).

Most reports online say it takes 5-6 months for this step.

Once I applied for my Irish Passport, it was an additional 4 months before that showed up at my door.

So the total process from start to finish took about 9 months, not including the time needed to track down any required family documents, like original birth/death/marriage certificates.

What About Other Countries?

Ireland is not the only country with an ancestry law like this. While it may be one of the easiest 2nd citizenships to obtain — Italy, Spain, and Portugal have similar laws on the books.

So if you have grandparents from any of those countries, I’d recommend doing more research and look into the requirements. You may still have a chance of snagging an elusive and coveted EU passport!

Just keep in mind that some countries do not allow DUAL citizenship like Ireland does, meaning that while you may be able to become a citizen of another country through ancestry, you might be required to give up your American citizenship in return.

Two Passports

Why Get Dual Citizenship?

The Benefits Of Dual Citizenship

So why go through all this trouble to obtain a 2nd citizenship? Is having two passports even legal? These are questions I’ve been asked a few times now.

Yes, owning two passports is legal in most countries, including Ireland & the United States. However it depends on the country.

Dual citizenship has always been a dream of mine, mainly because it opens up your options. I mean, who doesn’t want more opportunities in life?

It gives you additional freedom for travel and international living.

Freedom To Live In EU

The Republic of Ireland is a member of the European Union, and under EU rules, anybody with citizenship in one country is allowed to visit, settle, and work in other EU countries, without restrictions.

Ireland has a long, relatively peaceful history. It remained neutral during the world wars, keeps out of global politics, and is one of the most relaxed places to live, should I ever choose to move there.

It has cheap universal health care (along with other EU countries), no mandatory military service, some of the lowest corporate tax laws in Europe, a friendly population, and a beautiful countryside.

Generally I try to keep this blog free of politics. But after the election of Trump, the Brexit vote, and a rising trend of nationalism worldwide, I don’t mind admitting that it’s nice to have the option of living in the EU.

I’m not the only one taking advantage of this Irish law. There’s about 10 million non-resident Irish passport holders out there.

More people than ever are applying for Irish Citizenship too, especially after what’s been happening in the United States and the United Kingdom.

It’s Freaking Cool!

Yeah, I have two passports. Just like Jason Bourne and James Bond. How fun is that!? Where do I sign-up for my secret agent watch & Aston Martin DB5?

I’m proud of my Irish heritage too. Ireland is an amazing country, with fun traditions and a fascinating history. My family and I had a wonderful time tracing our roots in County Cork & visiting my grandmother’s old house.

As an Irish citizen, I can pass this privilege on down to my (possible future) kids one day, and they can pass it on to their kids. Who knows what our world will look like then.

Dual citizenship also helps me get one step closer to becoming a Citizen Of The World, someone who thinks & acts beyond borders. True freedom.

Travel Benefits

As a professional traveler, having the option to travel on two different passports has perks. Irish citizens get visa-free access to 175 countries, and Ireland’s passport is one of the most powerful in the world.

For example, it’s easier to visit some countries (Cuba, Iran, Bolivia) as an Irish citizen than it is as an American citizen.

Basically, dual citizenship from Ireland has some pretty unique benefits.

Many people spend years and tens of thousands of dollars trying to become EU citizens, so if you have the privileged option to do it in 9 months for $700, I highly recommend you take advantage of the opportunity!

You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Now I just need to work on my Irish accent… Sláinte!

Any questions about obtaining Irish citizenship by descent? What’s your opinion of dual citizenship? Drop me a message in the comments below!

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

Review: Safari At Zaina Lodge In Mole National Park

Taking a safari in a more unusual destination is a great way to gain a really genuine safari experience; to really feel your environment and, of course, to get up close and personal with the wildlife. This can certainly be said for Zaina Lodge which is located in Mole National Park in Ghana. Location Zaina … Continue reading Review: Safari At Zaina Lodge In Mole National Park

The post Review: Safari At Zaina Lodge In Mole National Park appeared first on Luxury Travel Diary.

Restaurant Review: Culinary Boutique Cafe Dubai

Restaurant Review: Culinary Boutique Cafe Dubai

The next time you’re in Dubai take a break from your usual beach days, shopping and partying to do something a bit different; try a unique culinary experience and enjoy delicious gourmet food and a fabulous cooking class at the rather wonderful Culinary Boutique. About The Culinary Boutique The café is situated in the very … Continue reading Restaurant Review: Culinary Boutique Cafe Dubai

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The Best 10 River Nile Cruises In Egypt

Ever since I watched Agatha Christies “Death On The Nile”, I wanted to cruise this magnificent river in style and luxury, just like in the movie. Choosing the best Nile river cruise is not easy. There are so many ships (more than 400 are licensed to cruise the Nile!), so many levels of luxury and … Continue reading The Best 10 River Nile Cruises In Egypt

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Terror As Ryanair Struggles To Land In Storm Force Winds

Terror As Ryanair Struggles To Land In Storm Force Winds

My house was battered by storm force winds earlier this week, but the experience of the weather was far more frightening for passengers in the sky. This terrifying footage shared by the sun online shows a Ryanair plane approaching Dublin airport. As the plane flies down towards the runway in the choppy winds, things are … Continue reading Terror As Ryanair Struggles To Land In Storm Force Winds

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Top 10 Best Airlines For First Class

Top 10 Best Airlines For First Class

Which is the very best airline in the world of long haul First Class? In fact, many airlines are dropping their most First Class cabin and are instead upping their game in the world of Business Class. The airlines that still offer a First Class product mainly offer them on their most ‘high-yield’ routes with … Continue reading Top 10 Best Airlines For First Class

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Bargain of The Week; 90% Off A Stay On This Beach!

Bargain of The Week; 90% Off A Stay On This Beach!

Experience luxury on this beach for a fraction of its rack rate. Up for grabs this week is a 3 night stay at akyra Beach Club Phuket , on the best strip of the beautiful Natai Beach. The winner and their guest will be staying in a spacious Deluxe Suite, which features an oversized king … Continue reading Bargain of The Week; 90% Off A Stay On This Beach!

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