Category Archives: Self Drive Tours Ireland

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

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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 –

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 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!

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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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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International+353 69 77686

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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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Skellig Islands: What to Know Before You Go

What you should know about the Skellig Islands before you plan your trip

About the Skellig Islands            

The Skellig Islands are two small extremely steep and rocky islands situated about 13km west of Bolus Head on the Ring of Kerry. The larger of the two islands Skellig Michael is open to the public, the smaller one is not but can be seen and photographed from Skellig Michael. A Christian Monastery was founded on Skellig Michael between the 6th and 8th century and remained occupied until the 12th century. The remains of the monastery, and most of the island, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Recently the island was featured in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.

Skellig Islands Hut
Skellig Islands Beehive Huts
How to Get to the Skellig Islands

You can only take a boat trip that docks on the island in the summer season which is between May 12th and October 2nd and the boat trips are always subject to weather conditions on the day. Outside of this time period it may be possible to do a perimeter boat tour which allows you to see the island close up but won’t stop to let people off.

The crossing takes about 40 minutes to an hour but can take longer depending on weather. There are contact details for the local boatmen that have a permit to run Skellig Island trips on the Office of Public Works website. The Skellig Experience Visitor centre also runs cruises around the island without landing on it.

Before you go to the Skellig Consider the Following:
  1. It’s a seriously hard climb! There are more than 600 steps to the summit and they are extremely steep. There are no handrails and the rocks can be dangerous, especially if wet.
  2. If you decide to go, then you really have to make the climb or you will be waiting at the bottom with no shelter for the boat to return.
  3. Along the climb there are intermittent little plateaus where you can take a rest but they are not really suitable to wait for long periods of time.
  4. There is no toilet on the island or on the boats. Go before you go!
  5. What to bring? Good walking shoes or boots, a jacket, some food, water and sunscreen.

Please watch the following safety video produced by the office of public works:

Skellig Experience Visitor Centre

If you can’t make it to the Skellig Islands we recommend that you visit the Skellig Experience located just off the bridge from Portmagee to Valentia Island. Here you will find exhibitions on all aspects of the Skellig Islands as well as a 14 minute film presentation.

Contact the Irish Tourism Group –

The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit!  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

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10 Stops to Make on Your Ring of Kerry Tour

The Ring of Kerry, a 180km circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula in Ireland’s southwest, is quite possibly Ireland’s most well-known driving route. Superb Mountains and coastal settings combined with vibrant towns and villages will make this tour one of the highlights of your Ireland vacation.

All of our Self Drive tours include a detailed suggested itinerary which will help you decide what to see or what to leave out. For those who wish to take a break from driving we can arrange a bus tour through this route.

The 10 Stops to Make on your self-drive or Escorted Ring of Kerry Tour are;

 

  1. Killorglin

Killorglin is the first town you will meet when you begin your Ring of Kerry Adventure! Home to the famous ‘Puck Fair’, Ireland’s largest and the world’s oldest market fair. The town has some nice restaurants and shops and pretty riverside views.

Rosbeigh Strand, Glenbeigh, Ring of Kerry
Rosbeigh Strand, Glenbeigh, Ring of Kerry
  1. Glenbeigh & Rosbeigh Beach

The mountainous backdrop here is glorious, and the half circle of hills from Seefin to Drung Hill, nicknamed the “Glenbeigh Horseshoe” is one of Kerry’s finest mountain walks.  Near to Glenbeigh Village you will find Rosbeigh Beach with its lovely sand dunes and shale walks.

  1. Cahersiveen

This is the principal town on the Ring of Kerry and birthplace of the famous Catholic Emancipator Daniel O’ Connell. Pay a visit to ‘The Barracks’, Cahersiveen Heritage Centre which gives an insight into the life and times of Cahersiveen.

Geokaun Valentia Island Ring of Kerry
Geokaun, Valentia Island
  1. Valentia Island

You can reach Valentia  by the car ferry from Cahersiveen from April to October. Outside of this time take the bridge across to the island from the pretty harbour village of Portmagee.  There are a few places to visit on the island including the village of Knighstown with its beautiful period buildings, Valentia Island Lighthouse and Geokaun Mountain & Fogher Cliffs; Valentia’s highest point and a superb spot to enjoy 360 degree views of the island and beyond!

  1. Skellig Experience Visitor Centre & The Skellig Islands
Skellig Islands, Ring of Kerry
Skellig Islands, Ring of Kerry

Skellig Michael also known as the Great Skellig is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island was featured in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. At the summit of the 230m high rock there is a 6th century Christian monastery and stone beehive huts which the monks who inhabited the island lived in. Boat trips to the islands can be taken from Portmagee pier. Trips to Skellig are not for the feint hearted  however as there are 670 stone steps to climb before you reach the top! You can learn more about the Skelligs at the Skellig Island Visitor Experience which is located on Valentia Island near the bridge across to Portmagee.

  1. Ballinskelligs

Ballinskelligs or “Baile na Sceilge” is one of the few remaining Irish speaking areas in this region of Kerry. Southwest of the village you will find Bolus Head, which looks over St. Finan’s Bay and the Skelligs. The ruins of Cill Rialiag, an early Christian monastic settlement are located nearby. Ballinskellig Beach known locally as Ladies Beach is a stunning place to relax or take a long beach walk!

Charlie Chaplin Statue, Waterville, Ring of Kerry
Charlie Chaplin Statue, Waterville
  1. Waterville

Waterville is a lovely little village overlooking stunning Ballinskelligs Bay and nestled on the beautiful Lake Currane.  The town was a favourite holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin and his family who used to holiday here. They first visited the town in 1959 and came back every year for over ten years.

Derrynane House Ring of Kerry
Derrynane House
  1. Caherdaniel and Derrynane House

Caherdaniel is small but striking and perhaps set in one of the most scenic locations on the Ring of Kerry, on the shore of Derrynane Bay. Derrynane House is the ancestral home of Daniel O’ Connell, a 19th century politician who achieved Catholic emancipation for the Irish people. The house is now a public museum.

  1. Kenmare

Kenmare town was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty and has a history of lace making, demonstrations of which can be seen at the town’s Heritage Centre.  One of the most striking features of the town is its colourfully painted houses and shops. There are lots of nice restaurants, pubs and craft shops here also.

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

Moll’s Gap is a pass on the road from Kenmare to Killarney. Here you will find unrivalled views of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains. Nearby you will find Avoca Handweavers which sells Irish giftware and local food produce.

To discover these locations and more on your own Ring of Kerry tour, contact us today:

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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7 Irish Ghosts to Visit This Halloween!

Irish folklore and stories were describing ghosts, monsters and banshees long before they were made into blockbuster films. It is not surprising therefore that we have our fair share of haunted castles in Ireland as well as, some eerie and frightening locations to visit! Here is a list of 7 Irish ghosts that you just might bump into on your travels here in Ireland:

Anne Tottenham at Loftus Hall

Loftus Hall is a mansion house on the Hook peninsula in County Wexford which is said to be haunted the ghost of young Anne Tottenham. The story goes that Anne had an encounter with the Devil, fell ill and was confined to her room for the rest of her life. Throughout the years there have been several reported sightings of her ghost.

7 Ghosts to visit in Ireland -Loftus hall 1
Loftus Hall

Lady Maud Plunkett, Her Husband & Jester Puck at Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle is just outside Dublin City, built in 1185 by King Henry the II for the Talbot family, the castle is said to have five ghosts including that of Maud Plunkett and her husband Lord Chief Justice. The castle jester, Puck who is said to have been murdered by one of the Talbot family, on occasion also makes an appearance!

7 Ghosts to visit in Ireland -Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle

The White Lady of Charles Fort, Kinsale

About two miles outside the town of Kinsale lies Charles Fort, an old army barracks and reported home to ‘The White Lady’. The story goes that this unfortunate lady married a soldier of the barracks who was shot on the day of their wedding. Overcome with grief, she jumped to her death, still wearing her white wedding dress. Her lost soul has been spotted wandering the grounds, wedding dress and all.

Red Mary at Leamanach Castle

7 Ghosts to visit in Ireland -Leamaneh_Castle_Ireland_12283094446_o 1
Leamaneh Castle, By Tony Webster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Leamaneh Castle is a ruined castle located in Kilnaboy in the Burren Region of Country Clare. It is said that the ghost of Máire Rúa (Red Mary) roams the grounds.  According to local legend Red Mary wed 25 men, killing each one in turn. Eventually, after murdering her final husband she was captured and sealed into a hollow tree. The frightening apparition of her red-haired ghost is said to be still seen at Leamaneh today.

Little Harriet at Charleville Castle

7 Ghosts to visit in Ireland - Charleville_Castle,_Tullamore,_Co_Offaly_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1357659 1
Charleville Castle by Sarah Gallagher [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Charleville Castle is a Gothic-style castle located in County Offaly. The castle is believed to be occupied by a little ghost girl named Harriet who died tragically in the castle in 1861. Her eerie childlike laughing and screams have been reported by many people throughout the years. Others are sure that they have seen the image of a golden aired little girl in a blue and white dress.

The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit! 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 Of The Most Popular Things to Do In Dublin

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 Most Popular Things to do in Dublin to help you decide what to take in when you Visit!
Dublin is our capital city and the starting point for a lot of people’s journey around Ireland. Founded by the Vikings in 998AD, the city has a varied and interesting past and quite a few stories to tell. If it is your first trip to Dublin, you might want to tick a few of these famous visitor spots off your list:

Visit Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol is one of the biggest unoccupied prisons in Europe, it is now a museum and access is by guided tour. When it opened in 1796, the prison was one of the most modern of its time. Since then it has housed many political prisoners including those associated with the 1916 Easter Rising. Tours can get very busy and if you plan to visit, do call ahead or book tickets online.

Things to do in Dublin -Kilmainham Gaol exterior - door and flag pole
Kilmainham Gaol exterior – door and flag pole
See Glasnevin Cemetery

The Glasnevin Cemetery opened in 1832 and contains monuments and graves of some of Ireland’s most prominent national figures including Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Maude Gonne, Luke Kelly of the Dubliners and many more. Onsite, in the world’s first cemetery museum visitors can learn about the history and the lives of more than 1.5 million people that are buried in the cemetery.

Things to do in Dublin -Glasnevin Museum Interior
Glasnevin Museum Interior
Visit the Museums & Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle was built in 1204 and was until 1922 the seat of the United Kingdom government administration in Ireland. Today it houses The Chapel Royal, The Chester Beatty Library which displays artistic treasures from around the world, The Revenue Museum which offers an interesting history of tax collection in Ireland and the State Apartments;  the venue for Ireland’s Presidencies of the European Union, Presidential inaugurations and prestigious functions. The grounds of the site are free to explore, admission to the State Apartments is by guided tour only and tickets can be purchased in the Upper Castle Yard in advance.

Things to do in Dublin -Exterior of Chapel Royale, Dublin Castle
Exterior of Chapel Royale, Dublin Castle
Walk Around Trinity College & See the Book of Kells Exhibition
Things to do in Dublin -Trinity College Old Library
Trinity College Old Library

Trinity College was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, it is Ireland’s oldest university and has had many famous students including Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift. Visitors to the College can enjoy guided tours of the magnificent Old Library and Book of Kells Exhibition. You cannot pre-book tickets and the line can get very long for entry, do arrive early if you plan to visit

Have a pint at the Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s busiest attractions and one of the most popular things to do in Dublin. The museum is set out over seven floors which surround a glass atrium in the shape of a pint of Guinness. The exhibition covers the process of making Guinness, right through to the marketing, sales and distribution of the finished product. The seventh floor houses the Gravity Bar with fantastic views of Dublin City.

Things to do in Dublin - Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Storehouse
Enjoy The (Free Entry) National Museums of Ireland

Three out of our four national museums are located in Dublin; The Museum of Archaeology and the Natural History Museums are located quite close to each other off Kildare Street and the Decorative Arts and History Museum is located at the Old Collins Barracks on Benburn Street. All of these museums are free entry and well worth a visit!

Things to do in Dublin -Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum
Visit Christchurch Cathedral & Dublinia

Christchurch Cathedral is the elder of Dublin’s two cathedrals, the other being St. Patricks. The cathedral famously contains the tomb of Strongbow, a medieval Norman-Welsh warlord who came to Ireland at the invitation of King Diarmuid MacMorrough. The cathedral also contains the largest Crypt in Ireland and amongst the things you will find there are secular carvings and the mummified corpses of a Cat & a Rat, commonly nicknamed Tom & Jerry! The adjacent Dublinia Exhibition is especially great for kids but enjoyable by most anybody, it covers the period of Dublin’s history from the arrival of the Anglo Normans to the closure of the monasteries in the 1540s.

Things to do in Dublin -Dublinia
Dublinia
See The GPO & New GPO Museum

The General Post Office (GPO) is the headquarters of the Irish Post Office and one of O’Connell Streets most prominent buildings. During the Easter Rising of 1916, the GPO famously served as the headquarters for the rebellion leaders. The new GPO Witness History Museum documents the buildings history and brings the events of the Easter Rising to life.

Things to do in Dublin - GPO Witness History
GPO Witness History
Do Some Shopping on Grafton Street
Grafton Street Performer
Grafton Street Street Performer

 

Characterised by energetic buskers and talented streets artists, Grafton Street and the surrounding streets contains some of the best shopping to be had in Dublin. There are also lots of nice cafes and bars in this area. Nearby at Meeting House Square there are often theater and film screenings and on Saturdays there is an excellent organic food market.

 

Check out the Night Life at Temple Bar

Temple Bar is one of the best places to be in Dublin by night! Home to some of Dublin’s best traditional music bars and restaurants as well as some great art galleries, popular watering holes include The Palace Bar, The Temple Bar Pub, Oliver St. John Gogarty’s and The Auld Dubliner.

Things to do in Dublin -The Temple Bar Pub, Temple Bar
The Temple Bar Pub, Temple Bar

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about all the things to do in Dublin 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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The Aran Islands

What are The Aran Islands and why are they interesting?

The Aran Islands; Inishmore (Irish Spelling Inis Mór), Inisheer (Inis Oírr) and Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) are located off the coast of Galway.  The islands lie about 13km (8 miles) from the coast of Galway. This distance to the mainland has made the islands far more traditional than the rest of Ireland. Many traditional farming and crafts can still be seen on the island and the people speak Irish as their first language here.

The landscape on the Aran Islands may be like nothing you have seen before. It is karst and rocky and you will find land made fields surrounded by stone walls.

The Aran Islands Inisheer (Inis Oirr)
The Aran Islands Lanscape, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)

How to get to the Aran Islands –

This information was a bit long for this blog post so please see our separate post on How to get to the Aran Islands

Some Aran Island Traditions –

Clothes – The Aran Islands are famous of course for the traditional Aran Sweater but some other clothes are also unique to the island; the men for example wore a woven belt called a Crios and leather shoes called Pampooties! You can find out more about traditional Aran dress in the Stitches in Time exhibition at the Aras Eanna centre on Inisheer.

Land Making – The land on the Aran Islands is karst and rocky so the locals have to create land, they do this by mixing sand and seaweed and placing on top of rocks to create fertile soil.

Currachs, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)
Currachs, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)

Currach Boats – you may see these lying on the beaches on Aran Islands, they are a traditional Irish boat with a wooden frame over which animal skin would have been stretched over, although modern Currachs are now covered with canvas. These Currachs were a lifeline for Aran natives in times before motor powered boats and ferry crossings.

Day Trip or Stay Overnight?

Many of our clients take day trips to the Aran Islands. We recommend getting the morning ferry or flight and taking the evening ferry home. Make sure you leave in plenty of time and arrive at your departure point about 30 minutes early. The ferries usually leave on time and the journey to ports can sometimes take longer than expected. Calculate the time it will take you to get from your location to the port and add an hour to it!

There is ample accommodation on all of the islands, should you wish to stay overnight. There is a hotel on Inishmore as well as several good B&Bs, Inisheer has a small hotel/guesthouse and several good B&Bs and Inishmaan has several good quality B&Bs.

Get in Touch with us about booking your Ireland package including the Aran Islands and we can secure you the best available accommodation.

Aran Islands & Disabilities –

Although some of the ferries may have wheelchair access, access to the ferry is often by floating pontoon which may not be suitable for wheelchair users, depending on tides. The best thing to do is to check with the ferry company a few days in advance.

The islands themselves are not totally disabled friendly, the tour companies on the ground do not have wheelchair adapted buses and the ground can be quite uneven in places and so is not ideal for maneuvering wheelchairs around.

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about the Aran Islands is to visit yourself. Contact us today to book your trip!

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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