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Ireland Attractions


In the stable block next to Bantry House, the 1796 Bantry French Armada Centre relates the story of the French Armada’s attempt to invade Ireland in 1796. It failed and a model of one of the armada’s ships that sank in Bantry Bay is on display—a very interesting look at a little-known pie... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

If the weather is inclement, concentrate on the Derrynane House with its furnished rooms, audio-visual presentation, museum, and tearooms. But if the weather is fine, spend your time outdoors walking along the sandy beach of Derrynane Bay and crossing the narrow strip of sand that separates the... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Achill Island is Ireland’s largest offshore island. Traditionally, the Achill islanders traveled to Scotland as migrant farmworkers during the summer; but now the population that has not been enticed away by emigration, remains to garner a meager living from a harsh land. This was the hom... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

On leaving the Cliffs of Moher, head north toward, but not into, Lisdoonvarna. Follow the coastal road around Black Head, where the rocky Burren spills into Galway Bay—to Ballyvaughan, where you turn right following signs for the Aillwee Caves on the bluff above. The visitors’ cente... more

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You travel 5 kilometers of the Dingle Peninsula’s straightest road, known as An Bóthar Fada—The Long Road. It must have seemed a very long road for farmers walking to town.... more

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If you are planning to visit the Aran Islands, take the coastal route through Spiddal to Rossaveel where two ferry companies operate a shuttle service to Kilronan on Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands. (Island Ferries, tel: 091 561767 and 091 568903.) Until a decade or so ago, tim... more

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Follow the coastline to the village of Ardmore. Beyond the neatly painted houses clustered together lies the Ardmore Monastic Site. The well-preserved round tower used to have six internal timber landings joined by ladders, and at the top was a bell to call the monks to prayer or warn of a host... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

On Achill Island, take the first turn to your left, signposted for the windswept Atlantic Drive, where you drive along the tops of rugged cliffs carved by the pounding Atlantic Ocean far below. The “drive” ends at Knockmore where scattered houses shelter from the biting winds.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Accommodation signs for nearby Oughterard alert you to watch for a right-hand turn to Aughnanure Castle. Approaching the castle, you may be greeted, as we were, by a friendly family of goats snoozing on the wooden footbridge before the castle gates. Aughnanure Castle was the stronghold of the f... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The main road takes you through the Vale of Avoca to the “Meeting of the Waters” at the confluence of the rivers Avonmore and Avonbeg. Detour into Avoca to visit the Avoca Handweavers. You are welcome to wander amongst the skeins and bobbins of brightly hued wool to see the weavers ... more

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Travel south through the village of Rathdrum where sturdy stone cottages line the street, and continue through the crossroad following signposts for Avondale House, the home of Charles Stewart Parnell. Parnell was born into the ruling Anglo-Irish gentry; but, due in part to the influence of his... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

A narrow road winds down to the very picturesque Ballintoy Harbour, a sheltered haven for boats surrounded by small, jagged, rocky islands... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

If you travel south of Sligo, consider visiting either Ballintubber Abbey, a beautifully restored church dating back to 1216, or the village of Knock.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Situated in the southwest region of Ireland, on the borders of counties Tipperary, Limerick and Cork, Ballyhoura Country is an area of undulating green pastures, woodlands, hills and mountains. The ancient and unspoilt landscape, an abundance of significant heritage sites, thrilling outdoor act... more

  • Property Recommended

Some 7 kilometers farther south of Cahermacnaghten, you come to another ring fort, Ballykinvarga. You have to walk several hundred meters before you see the Iron-Age fort surrounded by its defensive, pointed stones known as chevaux de frise, a term derived from a military expression describing ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The somber, windowless Bank of Ireland began life in 1729 as the seat of the Irish parliament.... more

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From Glengarriff, the road winds upwards and, glancing behind, you have a spectacular view of Bantry Bay lying beyond a patchwork of green fields. Rounding the summit, the road tunnels through a large buttress of rock and you emerge to stunning views of sparse, rocky hillsides.... more

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Arriving at the waterfront in Bantry, you come to Bantry House. Like so many other Irish country houses, it has seen better days, but the present owner, Egerton Shelswell-White, makes visitors welcome and gives a typed information sheet—in the language of your choice—that guides you... more

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If you do not stop along the way, it will take you between two and three hours to drive the Beara Peninsula, where the scenery is wild, but gorgeous. From Kenmare, a minor road (R571) takes you along the north shore of the peninsula to Ardgroom, a picturesque village nestled beside a little har... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Belleek, on the far north shore of Lough Erne, is famous for its ornate, creamy pottery: porcelain festooned with shamrocks or delicate, spaghetti-like strands woven into trellis-like plates. You can tour the visitors’ center and then browse at the factory shop. (Open May–Sep.) ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Youghal, retrace your steps towards Waterford to the bridge that crosses the River Blackwater, and turn sharp left (before you cross the river) on Blackwater Valley Drive, a narrow road which follows the broad, muddy waters of the Blackwater through scenic wooded countryside. The “drive... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

About a half-hour drive north of Kinsale lie Blarney Castle and its famous tourist attraction, the Blarney Stone. The gardens are beautiful, there’s several well-signposted walks, the village is adorable with its shops round the village green, and there’s a great shopping opportunit... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Kissing the Blarney Stone, by climbing atop the keep and hanging upside-down, is said to confer the “gift of the gab.” Even if you are not inclined to join in this backbreaking, unhygienic pursuit, the castle is worth a visit.... more

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Follow the railings of Trinity College to the Kilkenny Design Centre and Blarney Woolen Mills, fine places to shop for Irish crafts and clothing.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

There’s a great shopping opportunity in the town of Blarney at Blarney Woolen Mills for all things Irish, particularly knitwear. ... more

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In clear weather a ferry from Dunquin takes day-trip visitors to and from Great Blasket Island. The little village on the island is mostly in ruins, and paths wander amongst the fields where the hardy islanders struggled to earn a living—a café offers the only shelter. (Ferry sails... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

A large, white crucifix marks Slea Head, which affords the first view of the Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodaí), alternately sparkling like jewels in the blue ocean and disappearing under dark clouds a moment later. Around the point, the scattered village of Dunquin (Dún Chaoin) and the Blasket... more

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In the library, a display center houses the jewel of Trinity College, the Book of Kells, a Latin text of the Four Gospels. A page of this magnificent, illuminated manuscript is turned every month and if you are not overly impressed by the page on display, return to the library bookshop and brow... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

If you decide not to visit the Guinness Brewery on Thomas Street, cross diagonally from the Dublin Walls to the Brazen Head in Bridge Street, where you can enjoy that same brew in Dublin’s oldest pub. There has been a tavern on this site since Viking times, though the present, rather dila... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Kenmare is full of excellent shops: Brenmar Jon sells top-of-the-line fine knitwear.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

There are several interesting shops in Dingl such as Brian de Staic’s jewelry store containing exquisite gold and silver jewelry inspired by Dingle’s flora and ancient Celtic motifs.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Brown Thomas, a large department store on Grafton Street, is popular with visitors.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

If you overnight in or near Cashel, be sure to enjoy Brú Ború, a foot-tapping evening of traditional Irish entertainment in the theater below The Rock of Cashel.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Bunavalla pier is where boats leave for the Skellig Islands.... more

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An interesting history and guide to the castle is available at the entrance. As the majority of castles in Ireland stand roofless and in ruins, it is a treat to visit a 15th-century castle that has been restored so beautifully. The authentic 14th- to 17th-century furniture in the rooms gives th... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Bunratty Cottage, opposite the Bunratty Castle, offers a wide range of handmade Irish goods.... more

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To help you appreciate this unusual landscape, first visit The Burren Display Centre at Kilfenora, which offers a film on the geology and rare flora and fauna of the area. Models explain the pattern of settlement and the geological makeup of the area, and show the non-botanist what to look for.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Bushmills and the Giant’s Causeway are well signposted from the outskirts of Coleraine. (One of the delights of traveling in Northern Ireland is that the roads are well paved and the signposting frequent and accurate.) Bushmills (see listings) is famous for its whiskey—a whiskey spe... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Continuing uphill from Kilmalkedar Church, the field to your right contains the ruins of the Chancellor’s House. Park your car by the gate on the right that follows the little lane (not signposted) and walk into the farmer’s field to examine the waist-high foundations of the Caher D... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From the Aillwee Caves retrace your steps a short distance down the road towards Ballyvaughan and take the first turn left, passing Gregans Castle hotel and up Corkscrew Hill, a winding road that takes you from a lush, green valley to the gray, rocky landscape above. Take the first turn to the ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Cahir Castle has stood on guard to defend the surrounding town of Cahir since 1375. A guided tour explains the elaborate defensive system, making a visit here both interesting and informative. A separate audio-visual presentation provides information about the castle and other monuments in the ... more

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The normal routing of the Ring is to travel from Cahersiveen to Killorglin and then on to Killarney and return to Kenmare. However, our suggested route for your return to Kenmare is to take a right-hand turn to Caragh Lake (5 kilometers before your reach Killorglin) and follow the narrow lanes ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

At the first road bend after leaving Ballintoy village, turn sharp left for the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This is one of the famous things to do in Ireland: walk high above the sea across a narrow, swinging bridge of planks and ropes that joins a precipitous cliff to a rocky island. Hardy fis... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Carrickfergus Castle is a sturdy Norman castle overlooking the boat-filled harbor The castle was built as a stronghold in 1178 by John de Courcy after his invasion of Ulster; then taken by King John after a siege in 1210; fell to the Scots in 1316; and was captured by the French in 1760. Life-... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

To reach Cork from Cobh, take the Carrigaloe-Glenbrook ferry from Cobh across Cork Harbour. This ferry can save you an hour's driving time around the edge of Cork Harbour, and you'll avoid the hassles of driving through Cork's generally heavy traffic. The ferry runs from 7:15am to 1... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Farther inland from Carrowmore take the Boyle road (N4) 30 kilometers south of Sligo to Castlebaldwin, where you turn right following signposts for Carrowkeel. At the end of a mountain track, you come to Carrowkeel, a 4,000-year-old passage tomb cemetery. There are 13 cairns covering passage to... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Seven kilometers to the southwest of Sligo town, sitting in fields on either side of a narrow country lane, are the megalithic tombs of Carrowmore. Wander amongst the cows and explore the little stone circles and larger dolmens which make up what is reputed to be the largest Bronze-Age cemetery... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The great cliffs of Downpatrick Head are near the Stone-Age settlements at Céide Fields (pronounced “kay-jeh”) are being excavated. Under the peat has been unearthed the most extensive Stone-Age settlement in the world, with walls older than the pyramids, a vast site which on... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Walk along Dame Street past Dublin’s most famous 1960s “modern” building, the Central Bank, which looks like egg boxes on stilts. Go under the bank and you are in Temple Bar.... more

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About 3 kilometers east of Kinsale, the impressive, 17th-century Charles Fort stands guard over the entrance to its harbor. It takes several hours to tour the five bastions that make up the complex. The ordnance sheds are restored and hold a photographic and historical exhibition about the fort... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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