Category Archives: Irish History

15 Best Towns To Visit In Ireland

In this month’s blog, you have the opportunity to learn about some of the 15 Best Towns To Visit In Ireland. Ireland as a country is dotted with endless beautiful towns and villages.

Ireland’s towns and villages are full of character, charm, culture and heritage that defines them as unique in their own right. Some of these towns sweep along the raw beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way to the hidden gems in Ireland’s Hidden Heart Land and Ireland’s Ancient East. The selected Best Towns To Visit in Ireland below has their own beauty that is full of creativity and uniqueness for you to experience.

This is the 15 Best Towns to Visit in Ireland

Doolin, Clare

Doolin is a small village in Clare located on the west coast about five kilometres from the towering Cliffs of Moher which lie southwest of the village. Doolin is an extremely popular place with travellers with its Irish bars which are famous for playing traditional Irish “Ceili” music nightly. It is also a village where you can access the famous Aran Islands from which are not too far offshore. Doolin is in the heart of the Burren and its home to an excellent gourmet trail of different food businesses. Doolin is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland especially in the summer months where it is thriving as a tourist destination with excellent accommodation options along with craft shops and activities.

Best Places To Visit In Ireland
McDermott’s Pub Doolin

Enniskerry, Wicklow

Enniskerry is located in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and only a short drive from Dublin. It is a fantastic base to explore Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, Sally Gap and Lough Tay (Guinness Lake). Enniskerry itself has some terrific cafes and tea rooms. The clock tower at the centre of the village frames the town, it is a great place to relax and unwind in a beautiful day and people watch. There is an excellent array of restaurants offering great choice and you can have the chance to try someplace new every evening.

places to visit in Ireland
Enniskerry

Kinsale, Cork

Kinsale can be known as Ireland’s Gourmet Capital. You will find exceptional seafood restaurants with fresh fish caught nearby. Great array of international food and if traditional Irish food is something you look for, Kinsale has excellent Irish food in abundance. You will find excellent bars with traditional Irish music throughout the summer months. Kinsale is also famous for its arts and crafts and will find a diverse collection to choose from. While there it is worth a drive out to the Old Head of Kinsale which offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Best Places To Visit In Ireland
Kinsale

Ardmore, Waterford

Ardmore is situated on one of Ireland’s oldest Christian site and is ideally situated on the coastline of Ireland’s Ancient East trail. The village is extremely picturesque and has won many Tidy Town awards. Ardmore boasts a wide range of accommodation options with excellent food in the restaurants and fun pubs to visit. Ardmore boasts five beautiful beaches to choose from. The town also has a lovely cliff walk to enjoy panoramic views of Ardmore Bay and boast one of the finest Round Towers in Ireland built on the 12th century. For water enthusiasts, a great way to see the coastline is by sea kayaking. If long walking is of interest it has the St Declan’s Way ancient pilgrimage walk from Ardmore to the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary and the total distance is just over 90km.

Best Places To Visit In Ireland
Ardmore

Dingle, Kerry

Dingle is based in the western peninsula of Kerry. Dingle is famous for old-style Irish bars and is a mecca for seafood. It has also a thriving arts scene there with the Other Voices music festival being held there every December. Dingle has managed to retain its charm over the years in spite of its popularity. In recent years it has become famous for being a film destination with Star Wars being filmed in the area. Worth renting a bike or driving back west of Dingle and head for Slea Head, you will not be disappointed in the breath-taking scenery. If you are an Ice – cream fan, Murphy’s homemade ice cream with a selection of different flavours is well worth stopping at.

Best Places To Visit In Ireland
Dingle

Kinvara, Galway

Kinvara is a scenic town on the southern shores of Galway Bay and gateway to the Burren. Kinvara is translated as “The Head of the Sea”, was once a thriving port village and lots of trade went through it for the necessities of life such as food and turf fuel in the 19th Century. Kinvara can be one of the best places that you can visit in Galway with its close proximity to Galway city, it is buzzing in the weekends with an excellent array of pubs and restaurants. Kinvara is also home to Dunguaire Castle and is one of the most popular places to visit in Galway.

Best Place To Visit in Ireland
Kinvara

Kenmare, Kerry

Kenmare is located on the picturesque famous Ring of Kerry. As a town it has got something for everyone from its excellent choice of restaurants, bars and cafés with superb accommodation options. Kenmare is beautiful in summer when the town park gardens are in full bloom with its stunning rhododendrons collection. The town itself is beautifully situated as a great starting point for a drive along the Beara Peninsula. With golf courses, horse riding, trekking and unspoilt scenery, it is one of Europe most natural unspoilt places to visit.

Best Place To Visit in Ireland
Kenmare

Gwedore, Donegal

This town may be small and it is situated remotely in the tranquil setting of Donegal in the north-west of Ireland.  Gwedore is a Gaeltacht town with its first language spoken being Gaelic and is one of the largest places in Ireland that speak Gaelic and as a result of this, it is the heartbeat of Irish culture. Surrounded by rolling hills and mountains and long stretches of sandy beaches this is a very peaceful place and a great place to clear your head from daily life. An excellent site in Gwedore is Glenveagh National Park and Castle.

Best Places To Visit in Ireland
Glenveagh National Park, Gwedore

Adare, Limerick

Adare in Limerick is regarded as Ireland’s prettiest villages. The main street in Adare is dotted with an array of beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries ruins and beautiful village park which is a great place to take a peaceful walk. The pretty thatched cottages on the main street are part of the charm of Adare and why is it a great place to visit. The town is full of historical landmarks such as Desmond Castle that dates back to the 12th century and Adare Manor which is today a luxury hotel and golf resort which re has opened in the last number of months after a two-year upgrade. With a great array of accommodation options, boutiques, craft shops and bars the village has lots to offer.

Best places to visit in Ireland
Adare

Lismore, Waterford

Lismore is located in the Sunny South East in the county of Waterford. Lismore is a stunning town situated in the lush countryside on the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains and is one of Waterford’s most historical towns. You can spend time here exploring Lismore castle and the gardens the town’s main tourist attractions which are over 800 years old. The castle which was built in medieval times and build on a steep hill above the town, providing excellent views over the town. Time can also be spent exploring the woodlands around the River Blackwater.

Best Places in Ireland
Lismore Castle and Gardens

Dalkey, Dublin

Dalkey located on the south side of Dublin city and it is home to the likes of Bono, Van Morrison, Enya and many others in the music and arts industry. In the past Vikings had a port in Dalkey which was first constructed in the 8th century. Dalkey and its neighbouring Killiney are considered one of the most affluent neighbourhood in Ireland to reside in. Today Dalkey is full of castles from its past and with a pleasant array of restaurants and bars to choose from. Close by is Killiney Hill which is an excellent place to go visit and get breathtaking views out over Dublin Bay. A peaceful village enclave not too far from the hustle and bustle of Dublin City Centre.

Best Places to Visit in Ireland
Dalkey Village

Carlingford, Louth

This coastal town along the east coast of Ireland is on Ireland’s Ancient East no more than one hour north of Dublin. The town gets its name from the Old Norse which can be translated to “narrow sea inlet of the hag”. This town is surrounding by rolling hills and has roots to the Viking past with the towns’ street showing evidence of the medieval age. Carlingford offers adventure or a complete quiet retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It has great live music in the bars and activities groups of friends or family. Also, it is known for its quality of fishing that can be fished from the place with oysters and crabs are often caught off the nearby harbour.

Best Places to visit in Ireland
Carlingford

Clifden, Galway

Clifden is located in Connemara and is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland if you are heading back west of Galway city exploring the national park. Not too far from Clifden is Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions. Clifden may be small in stature but it packs a punch with its collection of restaurants and bars. It also has lots of arts and craft shops for you to stop at.  Highly recommended is the “Sky Road” offering unparallel views over Clifden Bay.

Best Places to Visit in Ireland
Clifden

Kilronan, Aran Islands

Kilronan is the main village on Inis Mor on the largest island of the three Aran Islands and is one of the most picturesque spots in Ireland. This was a fishing port for the Aran fisherman and presently the main function of the port is that of a ferry terminal and a place for festivals. As one of the most unique and diverse places to visit in Ireland, this should be on everyone’s itinerary to Ireland and one of the best places to visit.  Kilronan has an excellent range of restaurants, serving seafood and traditional Irish bars and music.

Aran Islands

Birr, Offaly

Birr is most famous for its castle and also it is one of the most scenic places to visit in Ireland with the heritage that it has on offer. The town itself was developed around Birr Castle estate of the Parsons family. Birr is known as one of the best Georgian towns in Ireland with its wide streets and makes for a charming place to visit. Along with Birr Castle and its grandeur, it is well worth taking a walk around the estate grounds where you can be captivated with the formal gardens and the Great Telescope.

Best Place to visit in Ireland
Birr Castle and Gardens

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Ireland and its towns and villages is to visit, immerse yourself in the history and heritage of the places.  Contact us today for a quotation from our dedicated travel advisors who will be able to help you create your ideal trip to Ireland and answer any questions you may have. We can tailor your itinerary on any of our Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

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Top 10 Things To Do on Ireland’s Ancient East

This month’s blog gives you the opportunity to learn about some of the Top 10 Things to Do on Ireland’s Ancient East. Ireland’s Ancient East starts on the south of Ireland by Cork’s Spike Island and takes in Cahir & Kilkenny Castle, Rock of Cashel to the Boyne Valley, Newgrange and Glendalough on the East Coast through to the northern region of Ireland to counties of Cavan and Monaghan and much much more in between. The aim is to have a memorable experience while on the trail & you will gain inspiration from the places that will map your journey. Discover the legends and stories and let you discover your own Ireland’s Ancient East!

Source: Discover Ireland

Dublin is an excellent base to plan your immersive journey on Ireland’s Ancient East. Dublin is a city that is full of history with tales and stories.  With an abundance of history here, take a guided tour of Trinity College and see one of Ireland’s great cultural treasure in the Book of Kells. Along with its many more popular renowned attractions Guinness Storehouse, James Joyce Museum, Christchurch Cathedral, Kilmainham Gaol &  Glasnevin Cemetry, the options are endless for you.

Trinity College - Ireland's Ireland East
Trinity College – Book of Kells

Top 10 Things to Do on Ireland’s Ancient East

Glendalough, Co Wicklow
Glendalough is one of the top things to do on Ireland’s Ancient East and is one of the most important monastic sites in ancient Ireland. St. Kevin founded the Christian monastic settlement in the 6th century; from there developed into what could be termed a “Monastic City”. What you will see presently are buildings that survive from the 10th to the 12th century. In spite of various attacks from the Vikings, Glendalough thrived as a great foundation for learning until the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1214 A.D. Also close by to the monastic settlements you can visit the visitor centre and listen to the audiovisuals and see the model monastic city on display.

Glendalough National Park - Ireland's Ancient East
Glendalough National Park

Newgrange, Co Meath
When you think and imagine ancient Ireland, Newgrange is one of the things that springs to mind immediately. This is one of the main attractions that can be found on Ireland’s Ancient East trail and within one hour of Dublin City Centre. The attractions also include Knowth & Dowth but to get to these you will need to go to the visitor centre via a short bus journey. Newgrange is the only attraction that is accessible to the public with a chamber. Newgrange is really popular during winter solstice but to get tickets for the event is challenging but worth going to watch for the memorable experience.

Newgrange Ireland's Ancient East
Newgrange

Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly
Clonmacnoise is located near Shannonbridge in County Offaly and is a top attraction on Ireland’s Ancient East trail. Wander through the ruins and it will give you images of the saints and scholars of Ireland’s Golden Age of learning. Founded by St Ciaran in the 6th century, it became a special place for learning and religion. Clonmacnoise is full of heritage and tales to capture your imagination. You will find ruins of round towers, graves, churches and celtic crosses. The Clonmacnoise graveyard is still in use and religious studies are regularly held on site in a modern chapel and was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1979.  Visiting will give you a true feeling of the history of Ireland.

Clonmacnoise Ireland's Ancient East
Clonmacnoise

Kilkenny Castle, Co Kilkenny
A great place to visit on Ireland’s Ancient East trail is the historic medieval city of Kilkenny. In the heart of the city is Kilkenny Castle and its gardens. As you enter the castle, it can feel like you are stepping back in time to the 12th Century, which has been remodeled and restored to its 1830 state. Kilkenny is strategically situated on the River Noire and dominates the “High Town” of Kilkenny City. With its beautifully maintained gardens and surrounds, Kilkenny Castle makes for the perfect attraction and to get romanised and transported to medieval times. Also, the castle is the start of the Medieval Mile in Kilkenny City which takes you on a journey through the heart of the city to St Canice’s Cathedral to the famous Smithwick’s Brewery.

Kilkenny Castle Ireland's Ancient East
Kilkenny Castle

Rock of Cashel,  Co Tipperary
This is a stunning group of buildings of the medieval style set upon looking over the town of Cashel Co Tipperary in the area known as the Golden Vale. The Rock of Cashel consists of a 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th-century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. This attraction is one for everyone to put on their to-do list when traveling Ireland Ancient East. The attraction comes with audiovisual shows and exhibitions.

Rock of Cashel Ireland's Ancient East
Rock of Cashel

Spike Island, Co Cork
Spike Islands is a Winner of Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2017 at the World Travel Awards! Spike Island is located off the town of Cobh County Cork. It has a varied history over the past 1300 years from being a 6th-century Monastery, a Fortress and during Victorian times, the largest convict depot in the world. With the rich history, there is something for everyone and learn about Ireland’s ancient past. Habitants on the island have included monks and monasteries, rioters and redcoats, captains and convicts and sinners and saints. Why not take the scenic ferry ride from Kennedy Pier in Cobh and enjoy the guided tour of the island and enjoy the surroundings while enjoying the views from the café.

Spike Island - Ireland's Ancient East
Spike Island

Carrickmacross Workhouse
Carrickmacross Workhouse is located in the northern location of Ireland’s Ancient East in the heart of the historical barony of Farney in County Monaghan. This Workhouse has been meticulously restored and tells a lot about Ireland’s history and heritage during that time. The reason for building these workhouses was for the poor of Carrickmacross town and the nearby parishes of Donaghmoyne, Inniskeen, Killanny, Magheracloone, Magheross and part of Bawn in 1841. During this time in Ireland population was close to 9 million with 3 million living in a state of destitute due principally to the evictions by British landlord. Carrickmacross Workhouse was one of a total of 130 built between 1841 & 1843 to house poor in society. In order to enter the Workhouse, you had to surrender any land where living conditions were poor and rules were strict and families were separated and forbidden from seeing each other without prior permission. The food was poor, and the hard physical work had to be undertaken. For people admissions to the workhouse became a last resort in life and became known as a “Poor Man’s Jail”. Definitely worth a visit if you want to immerse yourself in Irish History.

Carrickmacross Workhoue Ireland's Ancient East
Carrickmacross Workhouse

Cavan Burren Park, Co Cavan
One of the “Hidden Gems” of Ireland’s Ancient East and a top thing to put on your itinerary if you are in the area. The Cavan Burren Park is located in County Cavan. This park opened in 2014 but has been here for centuries before that, this is a perfect attraction if you are interested in the outdoors and with a good pair of outdoor footwear you can explore the glacial boulders, rock art,  and explore the ancient times of Cavan Burren Park. It is certainly worth the journey and it is away from the traditional tourist trail so you will not be caught in the midst of huge crowds. What will attracts you here is mainly the natural landscape with sights such as the Giants Cave constructed over 4,000 years ago.

Cavan Burren Park Ireland's Ancient East
Cavan Burren Park

Waterford’s Viking Triangle
Waterford’s Viking Trail is located on the “Sunny South East” of Ireland. Waterford is Ireland’s oldest cities and only city in Ireland that Oliver Cromwell did not conquer. The cities Viking Settlement date back to 914. Visit Reginald’s Tower where you will get a chance to see the full set Viking weapons that have survived in Ireland. To learn more about the Viking Trail, visit the Medieval Museum and immerse yourself in the Viking era in Ireland.

Waterford Viking Trail
Waterford Viking Trail

Waterford’s Greenway
The Waterford Greenway opened in March 2017 and is an excellent attraction to the Waterford region and to Ireland’s Ancient East and definitely one of the top things to do while exploring the “Sunny South East”. It is 46km of off-road cycling and walking trail along the old railway line. This route will give you the chance to experience the natural landscape of Ireland while your journey takes you across three viaducts from the river to sea.

Waterford Greenway Ireland's Ancient East
Waterford Greenway

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Ireland’s Ancient East and explore the surrounding places that are on the trail is to visit by yourself.  Contact us today for a quotation from our dedicated travel advisors including some or all of these locations  – We can tailor your itinerary around what we have to offer on Ireland’s Ancient East Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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10 Top Things to Do in Mayo – 2018

Mayo is a hidden gem of a county on the Wild Atlantic Way situated on the Western Seaboard of Ireland.  It has lots to offer to all visitors with its stunning landscapes and diverse range of scenery it has many points of interests. It is steeped in history and culture. This below is some recommendations of the “Top 10 Things To Do in Mayo” and why it is a place to put on your itinerary to visit this coming 2018 in Ireland.

Mayo offers a range of outdoor activities ranging from exploring the Greenways by cycling or walking. Also excellent opportunities for, angling, mountain climbing,  and water sports such as surfing or paddle boarding. One of the hidden gems of Mayo is Achill Island with its breath-taking landscapes, its people, and natural fauna – This Island will not disappoint you with lots things to do and explore.

Source: Dream Culture by Kevin MacLeod

10 Top Things To Do in Mayo

The Great Western Greenway

This is the perfect way to explore the area, be it walking or cycling part of the Wild Atlantic Way with 42km of Greenway along the old Westport to Achill railway line. What better way to escape the urban life and travel the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in Ireland. Perfect place to start this trip is from Westport and it takes you to villages of Newport, Mulranny and finishes up in Achill Island.

The Great Western Greenway
The Great Western Greenway

Atlantic Drive on Achill Island

This is a first-rate way to see the natural beauty of Achill Island. It is a special mystical drive that takes in the rugged scenery of the island with beautiful beaches and rugged cliffs with excellent opportunities to stop off and take some panoramic pictures. The island is blessed with many nice traditional pubs, restaurants serving beautiful nutritious traditional Irish food. Achill Island is perfect for a day trip or overnight stay.

Achill Island
Achill Island

Westport

Westport name comes from Cathair na Mart meaning “stone fort of the beeves”. It is situated on the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland. The current town center as it stands today was designed in Georgian architecture style in the 1780s by James Wyatt. The town layout was urban design incorporating medieval principles. Westport is famous for its collection of traditional Irish bars, selection of quality restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts.  Combined with a vibrant friendly local population it makes for the perfect place to stay.

Westport Town Centre
Westport Town Centre

Westport House and Garden

Westport House is one of Ireland’s most loved heritage attractions. It is possible for visitors to view one of the finest places built in the 16th Century in Ireland with 30 rooms available to tour. This house dates back to Grace O Malley the Pirate Queen of Connacht who ruled the land and sea around the estate. The original foundations of Westport House were built in 1650 by Colonel John Browne and his wife Maud Burke, Grace O Malley’s great – great – granddaughter.

Westport House & Gardens
Westport House & Gardens

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick is locally known as the “The Reeks” situated 10 km from the town of Westport. If hiking or hill walking is your interest this is a mountain that will not disappoint. The mountain is regarded as Ireland’s Holy Mountain. The mountain offers spectacular views of Clew Bay, Achill Island, and surrounding areas.  It is best advised to climb during the summer months between (April – September). The mountain rises 762m above sea level and generally takes approximately 4-5 hour round trip.

Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick
Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick

National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock

Knock Shrine in Gaelic Cnoc Mhuire “Hill of Mary” is a very important holy place in the village of Knock. It is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage and National Shrine where it has been observed that there was an apparition of Saint Joseph, Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and Jesus Christ in 1879. During the time that this happened Ireland had been coming to the end of the great famine and the 1870s saw the beginning of land reform which changed Irish rural life with the events of Knock happening at the beginning of the Land War.

National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock
National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock

Ballintubber Abbey

This is one of the earliest church to be founded after Saint Patrick came down from Croagh Patrick established in 1216 and it is only the church in the Irish state founded by an Irish king that is still in use. This abbey has quiet the history, the abbey was burned by the Normans, seized by James I and suppressed by Henry VIII. To add to this historic abbey, the roof was burned by Oliver Cromwell soldiers in 1653 and not fully restored until 1966 but even so, there was no roof, the mass was continued to be said. It is some feat to have the abbey celebrating mass continuously for the past 800 years which is the only church in Ireland to do so.

Ballintubber Abbey
Ballintubber Abbey

National Museum of Country Life – Castlebar

This is an award-winning Museum of Country Life and is home to the National Folklife Collection.  This museum is spread out over four floors showcasing rural Ireland in the hundred years between the Great Famine and the end of the 1950s. One learns about traditional clothing of the Aran Islands, folklore objects and a selection of photographs depicting the living environment of the people working on the land and sea. Also, visitors get to learn about the resources people used in that time and the skills that were required to live in rural Ireland.

National Museum of Country Life – Castlebar Things to do in Mayo
National Museum of Country Life

Fishing on the River Moy

River Moy is one of the most productive river systems in Ireland. It is approximately 100km long which drains the catchment of over two thousand square kilometers. Within this river fishing system is some excellent lough such as Conn and Cullin with also streams and lakes. The Moy river is famous for being one of Ireland’s premier Salmon rivers and the great thing about it is that it offers a great range of quality angling to suit all tastes and budgets. The Moy estuary is also excellent for sea trout that can exceed four pounds and can be caught on fly and bait. The fishing season is from February 1st – September 30th and it is important to check with ghillies and owners to confirm the local rule.  If you are interested in sampling Ireland’s world-renowned fishing, the River Moy offers you all this and more.

Fishing on the River Moy
Fishing on the River Moy

Surfing in Blue Flag Beaches

If water sports are something that gives you the idea of your dream holiday, Mayo has this in abundance and more. Mayo gives ample opportunity to enjoy the renowned Irish waves and a chance to surf them. There are waves for all levels of surfers from beginners up to experienced.  Beatra beach an arm of land extending into Clew Bay not far from Westport is an excellent place to surf and many surf schools in operation in these places too. If going off the beaten track and away from the masses then Bellmullet or Achill Island is the place to be. Enjoy the windswept beaches and try and bag a big wave in Keel Strand in Achill Island.  There are lots of other options too such as paddle boarding or windsurfing to enjoy. Bring or rent a wetsuit, as Irish waters are quite cold!! Definitely one of the memorable things to do while in Mayo

Surfing on Achill Island
Surfing on Achill Island

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Mayo in Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today – We can tailor your itinerary around what we have to offer in Mayo alongside our Wild Atlantic Way Self Drive or Chauffeured tours. We can customise your trip to suits your needs and wants & create your own unique experience in Mayo and the Wild Atlantic Way that will make it your dream holiday to Ireland.

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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Top Things to do in Cork

Looking for places to visit in Cork? Check out our list for our top 7 recommended things to do in the famous Rebel County!

Boasting the second biggest city and largest county in Ireland, Cork is one of the most prominent places in the Emerald Isle. It is also home to some beautiful scenery and some fantastic tourist attractions so we decided to pick out 7 of the top  things to do in Cork below!

Blarney Castle & Blarney Stone             

Blarney - Top Things to do in Cork
Blarney Castle

Where else could we start a list of the top things to do in Cork but with Blarney Castle and the Blarney stone? The famous stone of eloquence is situated at the top of the magnificent Blarney Castle and folklore has it that anyone who kisses it acquires the gift of eloquence or as we say in Ireland, the gift of the gab! Surrounding the castle are beautiful gardens for you to take a stroll through at your own leisure.

Cobh Heritage Centre

Cobh Heritage Centre - Top Things to do in Cork
Cobh Heritage Centre – Annie Moore statue

Another must visit during your time in Cork is the Cobh Heritage Centre which is located about 25km southwest of Cork City, in the town of Cobh. Here you are given the opportunity to learn about life in Ireland during the 18th& 19th centuries where mass emigration, the famine and criminal transportation are the main themes. The centre also hosts an exhibition on the history of the Titanic; Cobh was the last port of call before it made its final faithful voyage across the Atlantic.

Spike Island

Spike Island - Top Things to do in Cork
Spike Island

Known as Ireland’s Alcatraz, Spike Island is also located near Cobh, just off the coast. Originally founded as a military instillation it later became a prison which was in operation until the 1980’s. In 2015 the island was re-opened as a tourist attraction & it was recently crowned as Europe’s leading tourist attraction. Tours of the island take in the fort, prison cells and the gun emplacements. An after dark tour is also available for those who would be interested in a more edgy but fun experience.

English Market

English Market - Top Things to do in Cork
English Market

Of course one of the best things to do in Cork is to sample the local cuisine and the best place to start is at The English Market in Cork City Centre. Surrounded by beautiful 19th century architecture the market is famous for supplying local specialities such as drisheen (a type of blood pudding), spiced beef and buttered eggs. Even Queen Elizabeth II decided to pay a visit to the market in 2011 to see what all of the fuss was about!

 Garnish Island

Garnish Island - Top Things to do in Cork
Garnish Island

Garnish Island is situated in Bantry Bay just off the West Cork coast. The island is renowned for its beautiful gardens, Martello Tower and exotic plants, most of which are rare to Ireland. A short scenic ferry cruise, departing from the village of Glengarrif, takes you out to the island. One thing to keep an eye out during the journey are the seals who frequently visit the rocks on the southern shore of the island.

Jameson Experience

Jameson Experience - Top Things to do in Cork
Bottles of Jameson at the Jameson Experience

For any whiskey fans then the Jameson distillery in the town of Midleton in East Cork should definitely be on your bucket list. A guided tour of the distillery begins with a short film to give you a brief background to Jameson’s history before a guide takes you through the distilling process from start from finish. At the end of the tour each participant receives a free glass of whiskey (those who are 18 and over!).

Cork City Gaol

Cork City Gaol - Top Things to do in Cork
Cork City Gaol

Rounding off our list of top things to do in Cork we come to Cork City Gaol. Located within walking distance from the city centre, the museum gives you the opportunity to see what life was like inside one of Ireland’s most famous jails during the 19th & 20th centuries. Exhibitions including lifelike figures, sound effects and furnished cells make it an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Cork is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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Halloween in Ireland

Halloween in Ireland originated in the ancient Celtic world as a pagan festival known as Samhain and has since become a day that is celebrated worldwide.

Halloween in Ireland is still a significant holiday especially due to the fact that the last Monday in October is designated as a public holiday. Below we look at some of the popular Halloween traditions in Ireland from both past and modern times.

Barmbrack        

Barmbrack - Halloween in Ireland
Barmbrack

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish Halloween custom where yeasted sweet bread is prepared with sultanas and raisins. Barmbrack contained various items that had been baked into the brack and these carried predictions for the future year. Finding a pea in your piece of barmbrack meant you would never marry, a stick predicted that you would have an unhappy marriage (a stick to beat your partner with!), a piece of cloth often referred to as a ‘rag’ meant you would be poor, a small coin for wealth and a ring meant you would be married before the next Halloween. Even today, no Halloween in Ireland is complete without having a few slices of Barmbrack!

Colcannon

Colcannon - Halloween in Ireland
Colcannon

Next on our list is Colcannon, a traditional Irish potato and cabbage dish that is often eaten at Haloween in Ireland.  The dish gets its name from the Irish word cal ceannan, which when translated means white headed cabbage. The dish usually includes kale, green cabbage, bacon and floury mashed potatoes. Similar to the barmbrack, items were placed into the Colcannon which were used to give predictions for the coming year.

Samhain Bonfire

The Halloween bonfire which we have come accustomed to in modern day celebrations was in fact the centre of the Samhain festival. Legend goes that each village would have a bonfire where people would sacrifice crops and animals in return for protection for themselves for the coming winter. Before the main bonfire could be lit all fires around the village had to be quenched. Only after the main bonfire had been extinguished could the villager’s then re light their own fires.

 Jack O Lantern

Jack O Lantern - Halloween in Ireland
Jack O Lantern

An ancient Samhain tradition that can still be seen during Halloween today is the Jack O Lantern. Folklore has it that hundreds of years ago an Irishman called Jack conned the Devil into buying him a drink for exchanging his soul. However when Jack finished the drink he proceeded to cover himself in crosses meaning the devil was unable to get his soul. When Jack died he was refused entry to heaven for his behaviour. He then encountered the devil who refused him entry to hell but grudgingly giving him an ember so he could see as his walked throughout the night. Every Halloween since, people carved out turnips and placed a candle in them to ward off the wandering Jack. It was from this that the Jack O’Lantern came into existence. Although in Ireland we no longer carve out turnips it is thought that this is where the practice of carving pumpkins originally came from.

Haunted Houses

Loftus Hall - Halloween in Ireland
Loftus Hall

One of the more modern Halloween traditions in Ireland is visiting haunted houses & castles over the Halloween period. Events are held around Ireland where people gather in supposedly haunted houses & castles in the hope of encountering some spirits! Some of the most famous spooky attractions around Ireland where these events take place include Loftus Hall, Charleville Castle and Charles Fort, Kinsale.

Read more about some of Ireland’s most spooky attractions here

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If you are interested in experiencing Halloween in Ireland contact us today for a competitive quotation. One of our experienced travel advisors will be happy to answer any queries that you may have.

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5 Things to do in Donegal

Our Recommended Top 5 Things to do in Donegal

County Donegal, located in the North West of Ireland is one of Ireland’s most rural county’s with a rugged coastline littered with beautiful cliffs, national parks and castles making it a county with an authentic charm like no other. For those who are looking for a brief escape from it all it is difficult to find a more suitable place to relax and rewind. Donegal recently topped National Geographic’s Cool List for 2017 and here are our top 5 recommended things to do in Donegal:

Slieve League Cliffs

Situated on the South West coast of Donegal, the majestic Slieve League Cliffs are one of the highest oceanic cliffs in Europe with the top of the cliffs reaching a towering 600 metres. As you walk towards the top of the cliffs there are magnificent views across Donegal Bay towards the mountain base in Sligo and Mayo with Glencolmcille being visible to the North West.

Slieve League - Top Things to do in Donegal
Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal
Glencolmcille Folk Village

Glencolmcille Folk Village offers you the opportunity to catch a glimpse as to how daily life has varied in Donegal throughout the past few centuries. Thatched cottages, each a replica from a particular century filled with furniture and artefacts of that period, a fully reconstructed school house and a pub/shop give you a real perspective as to how people survived in the remoteness and hardship of life in Donegal.

Glencolmcille - Top Things to do in Donegal
Glencolmcille Folk Village, Donegal
Inishowen Peninsula

One of the most popular things to do in Donegal is to explore the Inishowen Peninsula. Situated on the Northern tip of County Donegal, it is the largest peninsula on the island of Ireland. This scenic drive is the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way and has a scenic driving route of its own, the ‘Inishowen 100’. One of the highlights of the route is Malin Head which is the most Northerly point of Ireland is also where scenes from Star Wards: The Last Jedi was shot in 2016.

Malin Head - Top Things to do in Donegal
Malin Head, Donegal
Glenveagh National Park & Glenveigh Castle

Glenveagh national park is the second largest national park in Ireland with over 16,000 hectares of land for you to explore. Recommended sights and activities within the park include the 19th century Glenveagh Castle while six walking trails within the park varying in length from 1km to 8 km with all trails providing different views and levels of difficulty for walkers.

Glenveagh National Park - Top Things to do in Donegal
Glenveagh National Park – Donegal
Grianán of Aileach

The Grianán of Aileach is a hillfort on top of the Greenan Mountain on the Inishowen Peninsula. The ringfort dates back to the 6th century and was the seat of the Kingdom of Aileach and one of the royal sites in Gaelic Ireland. From the top of the hillfort there is a breath taking view across Lough Foyle & Lough Swilly as well as the entire Inishowen Peninsula.

Grianan of Aileach - Top Things to do in Donegal
Grianan of Aileach, Donegal

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Donegal in Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –

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Top 10 things to do in Ireland

Here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Ireland that we get asked for consistently over and over again. It is important not to try and visit too many places in Ireland on one trip, talk to our sales representatives about how you can make the best of your time here so that you can visit the places that are important to you but also not go home feeling like you need another vacation! There is so much to see & do in Ireland so please do not limit yourself to just these attractions however these are the places we get asked for a lot;

Top 10 things to do in Ireland

  1. Visit Dublin & The Guinness Storehouse
Things to do in Dublin - Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Storehouse

2. See the Cliffs of Moher

Places to visit in county Clare Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

3. Drive the famous Ring of Kerry

View-from-Molls-Gap Ring of Kerry
View from Moll’s Gap, Ring of Kerry

4. Take a boat trip to the Aran Islands

Horse and Trap, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands
Horse and Trap, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands

5. Tour the Stunning Connemara Region

Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park

6. Check out the Festival City of Galway

Galway Pub, Top 10 Things to do in Ireland
Galway Pub

7. Visit the famous Giant’s Causeway & Causeway Coast

Giant's Causeway, Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway

8. Visit Belfast City & Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast, Belfast

9. Visit Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle, Cork

10. Visit the Boyne Valley & Newgrange

Newgrange, Boyne Valley, Top 10 things to do In Ireland
Newgrange, Boyne Valley
Get in Touch-

Learn more about the top 10 things to do in Ireland by taking your own trip here! Contact us today to arrange your own vacation in Ireland including some or all of these fantastic locations!

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Wonderful Waterford!

Waterford is located in Ireland’s Sunny South East, and is one of Ireland’s oldest cities. Founded by Vikings in 914 A.D., a part of its ancient walled core still remains. The city is most famous for one of its exports, Waterford Crystal, a legacy of the city’s glass making industry.

Before you set off sightseeing in Waterford you might want to sample a Blaa, a large, soft, and fluffy bread roll that is exclusive to Waterford!

Waterford Viking Triangle is the city’s Cultural and Heritage quarter and many of its visitor attractions are here. The quarter is characterised by narrow streets, atmospheric public spaces and a collection of cultural & historic attractions.

On your travels you may wish to pay a visit to;

Reginald’s Tower

This landmark building is the only monument named after a Viking. Situated at the apex of the Viking Triangle, the tower was originally part of the cities defences. The building was once used as a mint, a prison and military store; it now displays an exhibition on Viking Waterford.

Reginalds Tower Waterford Ireland
Reginald’s Tower
The Bishops Palace

The Bishop’s Palace is located in Cathedral Square and gives the visitor an insight into the Georgian and Victorian periods in Waterford.  The first two floors are laid out as a historic house with displays of 18th century glass, silver, furniture and paintings.  The oldest piece of Waterford Glass in the world is a highlight.

Bishop Palace Museum Waterford, Ireland
Bishop Palace Museum
The Medieval Museum  

The Medieval Museum is located between Cathedral Square and the Bishop’s Palace in the heart of the Viking Triangle. The Museums main architectural features include two medieval chambers, a 13th century Choristers’ Hall and a 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault. One of the museum’s most precious artefact is the only surviving piece of clothing worn by Henry VIII, a cap of maintenance.

Medieval Museum Waterford Ireland
Medieval Museum
Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal is locally referred to as “the people’s theatre” and has been the traditional venue in Waterford for the arts throughout generations. The theatre is the home of several amateur societies and has hosted the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera since its foundation in 1958.

Theatre Royal, Waterford, Ireland
Theatre Royal, Waterford, Ireland
House of Waterford Crystal

The origins of crystal production in Waterford date back as early as 1783 when George and William Penrose began producing extremely fine flint glass that became world-renowned. Waterford Crystal continues this tradition and its facility in the city offers visitors the opportunity to take guided tours of the glass making process from start to finish.  The on-site crystal store showcases the world’s largest collection of Waterford Crystal.

09-Waterford Crystal 3

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Waterford in Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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10 Castles in Ireland to Visit

There are thousands of Castles in Ireland, Some of them you can even Stay In! You will see ruins randomly scattered around the Irish countryside as you make your way around. Many of them are ruins or on private land so you may not be able to visit, but there are plenty that open their gate to prospective visitors:

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Castles In Ireland to Visit - Bunratty
Bunratty Castle, County Clare

Bunratty Castle is one of the most fully furnished castles in Ireland. You can walk through several of the rooms inside and they appear to be left as they would have been by the MacNamara family who built the castle back in 1425. Outside the castle walls there is a folk park which recreated rural life as it was in the 19th century. Make sure to leave a few hours to visit the castle and all of the surrounding cottages.

Blarney Castle & Gardens

Blarney Castle , County Cork
Blarney Castle , County Cork

Blarney Castle is probably the most famous of all the Castles in Ireland. According to legend if you climb the ramparts to kiss the Blarney Stone it is said to bestow the gift of eloquence, otherwise known as ‘the Gift of the Gab’.

Dublin Castle

Castles in Ireland to visit - Dublin Castle, Dublin City
Dublin Castle, Dublin City

Dublin Castle was constructed in 1204 and was until 1922 the seat of the British Government administration in Ireland; it played a pivotal role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Today it houses The Chapel Royal, The Chester Beatty Library which displays artistic treasures from around the world and the State Apartments;  the venue for Ireland’s Presidencies of the European Union, Presidential inaugurations and prestigious functions.

Kilkenny Castle

Castles in Ireland to visit. Kilkenny Castle,  Kilkenny City
Kilkenny Castle,  Kilkenny City

Probably one of the most charmingly located castles in Ireland; Kilkenny Castle sits aside the River Nore. The ‘Long Gallery’ has a stunning 19th century hammer beam and glass roof and the gardens are lovely for a picnic on a fine day.

Trim Castle 

Castles in Ireland to visit - Trim Castle, County Meath
Trim Castle, County Meath

Trim Castle is the largest and most-preserved Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland.  Trim got its name from the Irish phrase ‘The Ford of the Elder Trees’, signifying that this was an important crossing point of the River Boyne.  Braveheart fans may recognise the castle from scenes in the film.

Dalkey Castle

Castles in Ireland to Visit. Dalkey Castle, County Dublin
Dalkey Castle, County Dublin

Situated 10 miles South of Dublin city centre the town of Dalkey has a 10th Century church and two 14th Century Norman castles, one of which houses The Heritage Centre. Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company runs live theatre performances involving visitors so it’s a fantastic castle to visit for families.

Cahir Castle

Castles in Ireland to Visit. Cahir Castle, County Tipperary
Cahir Castle, County Tipperary

Once the home of the powerful Butler family; this castle remains mostly complete, you can see its impressive keep, the tower and a lot of its original defensive structure with moat and portcullis still intact.

Glenveagh Castle  

Castles in Ireland to Visit. Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal
Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal

Situated in the midst of Glenveagh National Park on the edge of Lough Veagh is Glenveagh Castle, a late 19th century castellated mansion, built as a hunting lodge. Its construction in a isolated mountainous setting was inspired by the Victorian idea of a romantic highland retreat.

Carrickfergus Castle

Castles in Ireland to Visit - Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim
Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim

Besieged in by the Scots, Irish, English and French, this castle played an important military role as far as 1928 and to this day remains one of the best preserved castles in Ireland.

Ross Castle

Castles in ireland to Visit - Ross Castle, County Kerry
Ross Castle, County Kerry

Another scenic gem sitting prettily by the edge of Lough Leane in Killarney.  This Castle is a typical example of a stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. It is enclosed by a fortified bawn, its curtain walls defended by circular bordering towers, two of which remain.

The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit! Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these castles today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

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10 Castles in Ireland to Stay In

If you are interested in Castles to Visit in Ireland there are plenty but there are also some great castles in Ireland to stay in. Many of them offering an authentic Castle experience.

Check out our Castles & Manors Tours for ready made packages that include many of these great castles and learn more about each property below:

Dromoland Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Dromoland Castle
Dromoland Castle, County Clare

Dromoland Castle is one of the finest castles in Ireland to stay in, a 5-star luxury hotel located near Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare. It was the ancestral home of the O’Briens, who are one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood and direct descendants of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland in the eleventh century.

Ashford Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Ashford Castle (5)
Ashford Castle, County Mayo

Ashford Castle is a medieval castle that has been extended over the centuries and turned into a 5-star luxury hotel near the village of Cong, on the shore of Lough Corrib. The castles history stretches back as far as 1228!

Adare Manor

Castles-in-ireland-to-Stay-In-Adare-Manor-Dunraven-Stateroom-Bathroom
Adare Manor, County Limerick

Adare Manor is a manor house located in the village of Adare, County Limerick. The Castle was the former seat of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl. Although the present house was built in the early 19th-century, it retains some of the walls of the 17th-century structure. It is now the Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort, a luxury 5-Star resort hotel.

Ballynahinch Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Ballynahinch Restaurant 3 300mm Hi Res
Ballynahinch Castle, County Galway

Ballynahinch Castle located in Recess in the wilds of Connemara has an interesting history – it was built at some point between the end of the 18th century and the first decade of the 19th and is now a luxury 4-Star hotel and one of the loveliest castles in Ireland to stay in.

Markree Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Markree Castle Hotel
Markree Castle, County Sligo

Markree Castle, in Collooney in County Sligo is the family seat of the Cooper family, partially moated by the River Unshin. Today it is a small family-run 4-Star hotel.

Lough Eske Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Lough Eske Donegal Night
Lough Eske Castle, County Donegal

Lough Eske Castle is a 5-Star Castle Hotel near Lough Eske in County Donegal, Not far from Donegal Town. In 1861 the new Lough Eske Castle was built on the location of the old Brooke manor, which was itself a rebuilding of an original Jacobean house.  

Waterford Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Waterford Castle
Waterford Castle, County Waterford

Waterford Castle is located on an enchanting Island surrounded by the River Suir and this site was the ancestral home of the Fitzgerald Family for 800 years. The castle is now a delightful 4-Star hotel and a great option for a castle stay in Ireland.

Ballyseede Castle  

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Ballyseede Castle Hotel
Ballyseede Castle, County Kerry

 Ballyseede is a 4-Star Castle Hotel set on 30 acres of pasture and gardens, just a few minutes’ drive from the town Tralee. This castle is a great base to explore Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula.

Kilronan Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Kilronan Castle
Kilronan Castle, County Roscommon

Kilronan Castle, known previously as Castle Tenison, sits on forty acres of parkland on the shore of Lough Meelagh in County Roscommon. It is now a fantastic 4-Star hotel.

Cabra Castle

Castles in ireland to Stay In - Cabra Castle 1
Cabra Castle, County Cavan

The 4-Star Cabra Castle in Kingscourt in County Cavan was constructed in the first decade of the 19th-century. This building was formerly called Cormey Castle, after the local townland where it was built.

The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit! Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these castles today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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