Tag 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.

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International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

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Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

About Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

Inisheer (Inis Oírr) is the smallest and most easterly of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland. The entire island is about 8km squared and has a population of around 300. Like the other Aran Islands the spoken language is Irish although locals can typically speak both English and Irish.

When you arrive on the island there are usually coaches lined up, waiting to take potential customers on tours around the island which feature the major visitor attractions. There is a small fee for these tours, payable directly to the driver.  You can also usually take a tour of the island by horse and trap which is more expensive than the bus tour. You can also hire a bike to get around on the island if you prefer.

The main village is called Baile an Lurgáin and you can walk to it from the pier.  In the village you will find the local shop, pubs, B&Bs and restaurants.

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

The Wreck of The MV Plassey: The MV Plassey ran into Finnish Rock on Inisheer in 1960 and the entire crew were rescued by a group of local men. The wreck was made famous when it featured in the opening credits of Father Ted.

Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands
Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands

O’Brien’s Castle: This castle ruin is located on one of the highest points of the island overlooking the beach and pier. This castle is thought to have been built in 14th century.

An Trá Beach: As you approach Inisheer by boat you can’t miss seeing the white sandy beach known simply as ‘An Trá’ which in English means ‘The Beach’! On a fine day, the water is a beautiful shade of blue.

Áras Éanna Arts Centre: Inisheer has a dedicated arts and culture centre which displays traditional Irish and modern arts. The centre has a programme of events and exhibitions from artists resident on the islands which changes frequently.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inisheer?

Learn more about Inisheer by spending time there. Contact us today for a quotation including Inisheer today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

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Tracing the Potato Famine in Ireland

 

Potato famine in Ireland Map, Places to Visit
Potato famine in Ireland Map, Places to Visit

About the Potato Famine in Ireland

Between 1845 and 1852 our population was reduced by about 20% due to the impacts of the Potato Famine in Ireland, also known as The Great Famine or in our native language ‘An Gorta Mór’. It is estimated that about one million people died from starvation during this period and another million emigrated to America and other countries. It is no surprise therefore that the potato famine has left its mark on the country and remnants of this poignant period in Irish history remain evident to this day.

famine-memorial-by-william-nolan

In this post we will provide you with the names and information of some of the best places that can be visited today to learn more about the potato famine in Ireland

Strokestown Park Famine Museum
Strokestown Park is an 18th century Palladian mansion, and home of the Packenham Mahon family from 1653 until 1979. The Famine Museum is located in the stable yard and was established when an archive of papers relating to the management of the estate during the 1840s was discovered. This collection is now regarded as the best archive on the Potato Famine in Ireland and all documents are on display in the museum. The mansion house may also be visited and this gives a sense of what life was like for the richer, more fortunate people of this time.

The Workhouse Dunfanaghy & the Irish Workhouse Centre Portumna
Workhouses had an important part to play during the famine times in Ireland. These were the places that the completely destitute went as a last resort, when the only alternative was to die of starvation. Families typically ended up here if they were evicted from their homes due to non-payment of rent. Once families entered a workhouse they were split up, oftentimes never seeing their loved ones again. There are two great museums in Ireland that tell the story of the workhouse in authentic buildings that once served as workhouses for their communities; The Dunfanaghy Workhouse in County Donegal and the Irish Workhouse Centre County Galway.

Dunfanaghy Workhouse by Willie Angus
Dunfanaghy Workhouse by Willie Angus

The first inmates of the Dunfanaghy workhouse were admitted in 1845 and parts of the building were restored and converted to exhibition space in the 1990’s to tell the story of the famine in the area. This story is told through the Wee Hannah Exhibition, which details the life of local girl Hannah Herrity as she struggled through the famine years and lived for a while in Dunfanaghy Workhouse.

Portumna Children in Workhouse
Portumna Children in Workhouse

The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna is one of the most complete workhouses left in Ireland. The best way to see this exhibition is by guided tour where guides take you through every aspect of workhouse life from entry to the waiting hall to the girls and boys dormitories and laundry rooms. Discover what life was like for the inmates in what many refer to as the most feared and hated institutions ever established in Ireland.

Coffin Ships; Jeanie Johnston & Dunbrody
The ships that carried the emigrants escaping to North America and other countries were often referred to as Coffin ships due to the high mortality rate amongst lower class travellers. These ships were often overcrowded and disease ridden with shortages of food and water a common occurrence. Two of this type of ship can be seen in Ireland today, the Dunbrody in New Ross & the Jeannie Johnston in Dublin.

Jeanie Johnston at sunset Daniel Dudek Corrigan
Jeanie Johnston at sunset Daniel Dudek Corrigan

Situated close to the Famine Memorial (pictured with the introduction) in Dublin’s Custom House Quay, the Jeanie Johnston made 16 emigrant journeys to America between 1847 and 1855, it carried more than 2,500 people with no loss of life which is unusual for a ship of this kind. Your tour guide will show you the ships main features and tell you stories about some stories of the passengers that travelled upon it giving a sense of what the arduous journey to America from Ireland would have been like at that time.

The Dunbrody
The Dunbrody

The Dunbrody is a similar type of ship moored at New Ross in county Wexford. Here you discover what life was like on board through guided tour with costumed performers and detailed exhibition models. Listen to accounts from a steerage and 1st class passenger as they explain the harsh realities of life aboard the ship. As well as the ship tour, at Dunbrody you can visit the Irish America Hall of Fame which details the contributions of Irish men and women to the history of the United States.

Skibbereen Heritage Centre

Skibbereen was very badly affected by the great famine, losing about a third of its population to starvation, disease and emigration to America. The heritage centre in Skibbereen has a great exhibition commemorating the Great Famine in Skibbereen. The Exhibition depicts the potato Famine through primary source accounts given at the time showing government policies and how they impacted the community. Reports from the relief committee and their efforts to lessen the suffering of local people are presented alongside reports of how the global community responded to the crisis.

Cobh Heritage Centre
Cobh Heritage Centre

Cobh Heritage Centre
The port of Cobh was the most important port of Emigration from Ireland during the mass exodus between 1848 and 1950. Cobh Heritage centre details this exodus through informative exhibitions and several short films. The main attraction is a replica of cross sections of an emigrant’s ship showing what life was like for the various classes on board; the passengers cramped in steerage quarters, the comfortable first class cabins and even prisoner’s quarters where those who were being transported to Australia for their crimes were held. This exhibition tells you about the Irish famine and its causes and helps you to understand why so many people felt they had to leave their friends and family in Ireland for ever.

Bunratty Folk Park

On the grounds of Bunratty Castle you will find Bunratty Folk Park, a reconstructed village which includes shops, streets and houses that reflect the social status of their occupants, from the poorest one roomed dwelling not unlike those lived in by tenants during the famine period to a fine example of a Georgian Residence built for the Studdart Family in 1804. What’s great about Bunratty Folk Park is that reconstructed cottages from different areas of Ireland can be explored and their subtle differences encountered.

Bunratty Cottage Interior
Bunratty Cottage Interior

The National Museum of Country Life
The National Museum of Country Life is located near Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The Museum houses the National Folk-life Collection and portrays the lives of ordinary people in the hundred years between the Great Famine and the end of the 1950s. Here you will see the clothes that people typically wore during these times, their culture and traditions. See how people worked the land and sea and discover the trades essential for the survival of the community including the blacksmith, carpenter, thatcher, and cobbler.

National Museum of Country Life, Mayo
National Museum of Country Life, Mayo

 

Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about the potato famine 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
www.irishtourism.com

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