Situated at the mouth of Donegal Bay and overshadowed by the Bluestack Mountains, Donegal has a unique beauty. From Slieve League, the highest sea cliffs in Europe, to the miles of golden sandy beaches, the region provides activities ranging from high octane water sports to unforgettable country strolls. It is home to the O'Donnel Clan, known for its castle built in 1474. Some say that some of the most important decisions concerning Ireland's freedom were taken within the walls of this castle.
With over 1000 years of history Dublin has experienced many changes, particularly in the last decade. European Union membership and increased prosperity have transformed Dublin into a multicultural city with a thriving economy, ranking it among the top tourist destinations in Europe. An hour walk from the top of Grafton Street, across the Liffey, up O'Connell Street, and farther into north Dublin is a walk through time and, also a glimpse of some of the pieces that must eventually fit together.
Recommended Stay:At least 3 nights Must See`s:
Trinity College and the Book of Kells, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Castle, the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery, Temple Bar, St. Stephen's Green and the National Museums and so much more!
Killarney (Cill Airne in Irish) is the gateway to the Ring of Kerry and is one of best places in Ireland to explore the outdoors. The attractive town is outshone by the Killarney National Park and the surrounding countryside with its mountains, lakes, woods and overall beauty. Killarney town has charming architecture and style reminiscent of the late nineteenth century and offers the fine restaurants, gift shops and traditional pubs. About 6 miles west is the Gap of Dunloe with steep sides and deep glacial lakes, it offers spectacular scenery. The Ring of Kerry meanders around the Iveragh Peninsula with sensational views, especially at Caherdanial where you will find Ireland's only beach pub. At regular intervals you will come across restaurants, cafes and gift shops majoring in Irish crafts. Another landmark is the Ross Castle, a square medieval tower which was built by the O'Donoghues in the 15th century, situated on the shores of Lough Lein. Muckross House and Gardens are also worth a visit.
Recommended Stay: At least 3 nights
Ring of Kerry, Muckross House and Gardens, Three Lakes of Killarney - Lough Léin, Muckross Lake, Upper Lake, Ross Castle on Lough Léin, Killarney National Park, Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, Torc Waterfall, Town of Killarney and much more!
Galway City known as the `city of the tribes` is a thriving, bohemian, cultural city on the western coast of Ireland. It is a popular seaside destination with beautiful beaches and long winding promenade and has a buzzing cosmopolitan city centre. The city is a joy to explore with its labyrinthine cobbled streets, colorful shop facades and busy café/ bar culture. The city is renowned for its thriving Irish Theatre, arts, music and culture scene and Galway plays host to a number of internationally renowned festivals throughout the year. Eyre Square is Galway`s best known sight. Nearby are Kylemore Abbey, Ashford Castle, the Aran Islands and Connemara National Park.
At least 3 nights
Kylemore Abbey, Ashford Castle, Connemara National Park, Aran Island, the Burren region across Galway Bay, Lynch Castle, Galway City Museum, the National Aquarium, Salthill beach, Spanish Arch, festivals like the annual Galway Arts Festival and much more!
Limerick City is a city of contrasts having a Medieval core and an intriguing history and yet is also a thriving commercial and tourist centre. The river Shannon flows majestically beneath the city's three bridges. The main sights are the King John's castle, built between the 12th and 16th century and St Mary's cathedral. Other highlights include the Old Exchange facade and Almshouses, located on King's island. Close by are Bunratty castle and Folk Park, one of Ireland's leading tourist attractions.
Founded in the late 6th century by Saint Finbarr, Cork is Ireland's second largest city. A famous landmark is the Shandon Steeple of St. Ann's Church, which contains the Bells of Shandon. Other interesting places to visit are the English market in the centre of the city, the University founded in 1845 and the very steep St Patrick's Hill, from the top of which are magnificent views over the entire metropolis. The River Lee flows through the city forming one of the world's largest natural harbours.
At least 2 nights
The Shandon Bells, Saint Finbarr`s Cathedral, the City Gaol, The English Market and the nearby Blarney Castle and Cobh Harbor.
Founded by the Vikings in 914 AD, Waterford was Ireland first city, older than any of the major Nordic capitals of modern Europe, including Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. It has a distinct medieval atmosphere with narrow alleyways, splendid Victorian and Georgian buildings, ancient Norman walls and look out towers. Today, Waterford is one of the most interesting cities in Ireland and is best known for its World famous Waterford Crystal Factory, producing the finest of handmade crystal.
Ireland's smallest city both by area and population, Kilkenny is a beautiful medieval city with narrow streets, well-preserved churches a great castle on a hilltop and many old buildings. Kilkenny is a shopper's delight, being the national center for crafts and design, with perhaps the country's best selection of pottery, woodwork, jewelry, and other handmade items. It has also a lively nightlife and a real entertainment circuit (including several comedy festivals throughout the year).
Dating back to the Middle Ages, the second-largest city of Ireland, Belfast has a rich history. Nestled beside the River Lagan and Belfast Lough, it has a lovely setting, often called "the Hibernian Rio,"a long natural inlet ideal for the shipping trade. One of the last great oceangoing liners, the famous Titanic, was built here in the world famous Belfast Shipyard. Take a stroll and admire the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian architecture, dominated by the magnificently domed City Hall.
Offering softly rolling green fields, long, sweeping seascapes, and vibrant little towns, the `Kingdom` has a maze of blissfully quiet country lanes each of which has a story to tell - Around every corner, a piece of history unfolds amidst the most beautiful of scenery. There are tiny fishing villages, early Christian ruins, and Ireland`s highest mountain. Located in the extreme southwest of Ireland, offers outstanding and magnificent sceneries such as the Ring of Kerry and a very well-preserved eighteenth-century century port in Tralee, its capital town.
MUST SEE`S IN COUNTY KERRY: Ring of Kerry, Muckross House and Gardens, the Blasket Centre, Kerry Bog Village Museum, Killarney National Park, the Skellig Islands, and Ardfert Cathedral.
Clare is the County of seascapes and landscapes, offering two of Ireland`s natural attractions: The Burren, with its great mystery and beauty due to its geology, flora, caves, archaeology and history and the dramatic stretch of coastline, including the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and quaint seaside towns such as Lahinch and Kilkee. Also worth visiting are charming villages like Killaloe, a lovely village at the foot of the Slieve Bernagh Hills, and home to a picturesque inland marina. Killaloe Cathedral dates from the 13th century. And for Irish music, be sure to visit town of Doolin - famed for its tradition of Irish music: It features pubs where they host musicians of high standard playing frequently both during the day and the evening. This is also an excellent place for those fascinated by the country`s ancient history, as it`s littered with historic and prehistoric sites, from the Poulnabrone Dolmen to Bunratty Castle.
MUST SEE`S IN COUNTY CLARE: Cliffs of Moher, the Aillwee Cave, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Craggaunowen, Clare Archaeology Centre - Dysert O'Dea Castle, and Clare Heritage and Genealogical Centre.
This is serene, lovely Ireland, with arresting seascapes and inland scenery that ranges from lush and green to barren and mountainous. Americans still identify it with the 1951 John Ford film The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O`Hara. The setting for the film was the town of Cong. The northern part of Mayo has the greatest concentrations of Stone Age tombs, also known as the megaliths, all over Europe. A trail of permanent sculpture from the Moy Estuary to the Mullet Peninsula has been created to preserve the ancient landscape. Among them is the mysterious 5,000-year-old settlement at Ceide Fields. Also worth a visit are the religious shrine at Knock, and some of Europe`s best fishing waters at Lough Conn, Lough Mask, and the River Moy. Ballina, Mayo`s largest town, calls itself the home of the Irish salmon. And Westport is a little resort town guaranteed to steal your heart.
MUST SEE`S IN COUNTY MAYO: Cong, Ceide Fields, Knock, Ballintubber Abbey, National Museum of Country Life, Knock Folk Museum, Croagh Patrick, and the Davitt Museum.
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