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.
Killarney is one of the best places in Ireland to explore the outdoors. The town is nestled in a valley with a magnificent landscape of lakes and mountains. Don't miss the park's three lakes: the Lower Lake surnamed "the lake of learning", the "Middle Lake" or "Muckross Lake", and the "Upper Lake". 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.
Galway is the most prosperous city in Ireland. It has everything a major cosmopolitan city has to offer, in a more relaxed atmosphere than other big cities like Dublin or Belfast. 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. From Galway you can arrange a trip to the Aran islands, three small islands just off the coast.
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.
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.
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