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Republic of Ireland

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Table of contents

Things to do and see in Ireland

Dublin

Dublin is the capital of Ireland and it’s the economic centre of the country. The city has had a troubled past with high unemployment, but since joining the European Union it has seen an unprecedented growth as unemployment is at an all-time low. The key industries include electronics, tele services, retail and tourism. Dublin boasts the youngest population in Europe (with 41% under 25 years and 69% under 45 years). It’s a city on the rise and with its famous landmarks it’s definitely worth a visit.

 

Temple Bar

The cobbled stone Temple Bar district is Dublin’s cultural quarter of the city.  This where on weekends you will see the hen and stag nights out and about getting drunk at one of there many pubs in the district.  This area is busy year round and the district brims with bars and clubs so you are never to far from your next Guinness. If it’s live music you are after this is the area.  You will find traditional Irish folk to even your heavy metal. For more information go to www.templebar.ie

 

 

Croke Park

Croke Park is Ireland's largest and most iconic sporting arena and its the third lasrgest stadium in Europe with a capacity of over 82,000. The highest attendance ever recorded at an All-Ireland Senior Football Final was 90,556 at the 1961 Offaly v Down final. Since the introduction of seating to the Cusack stand in 1966, the largest crowd recorded has been 84,516.

It's also headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and it showcases Ireland's national games of hurling and Gaelic football. The area now known as Croke Park was originally an Athletics Course known variously as the City and Suburban Racecourse and "Jones Road" sports ground, the original home of Bohemian F.C.

During the Irish War of Independance on November 21, 1920 Croke Park was the scene of a massacre by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). The Police, supported by the British Auxiliary Division entered the ground, shooting indiscriminately into the crowd killing or fatally wounding 14 during a Dublin-Tipperary Gaelic football match. The dead included 13 spectators and Tipperary's captain, Micheal Hogan. Posthumously, the Hogan stand built in 1924 was named in his honour. These shootings, on the day which became known as Bloody Sunday, were a reprisal for the assassination of 14 British Intelligence officers, known as the Cairo Gang, by Micheal Collin's 'squad' earlier that day. Becasue of this event Croke Park is very sacred ground. England played Ireland in a rugby game there in 2007 with a mixed reaction and in 2011 the Queen came to sacred ground, which was seen as a way for the two countries to move forward.

If you are wanting to do a tour of Croke Park you will have the chance to visit the dressing rooms, walk pitch side via the players' tunnel and take a seat in the VIP area. The guides will also take you to the Players Lounge, corporate suites, and finally to the media centre on the top tier of the stadium where you can enjoy a spectacular bird's eye view of Croke Park. For more information on Croke Park go to www.crokepark.ie

 

 

Guinness Storehouse

What more can you say this is where the world famous Guinness is brewed daily. The storehouse was opened in 2000, but the brewery has been there since 1759, brewing out ‘black gold’ and putting Ireland on the map internationally. I would definitely recommend a tour of this brewery and see how they manage to make 4 million pints of Guinness each day.  Entry to the Guinness Storehouse is through a pint glass-shaped atrium capable of holding 10,000 pints of stout, and there is a free pint of the magic brew for every visitor at the end of the tour in the spectacular Gravity Bar, which is located on the top floor and offers spectacular views across the city. Admission is EUR13, but subject to change. For more information on the Guinness Storehouse go to www.guinness-storehouse.com

 

 

Trinity College

Founded in 1592 by a small group of Dublin citizens who obtained a royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I of England, Trinity College is Ireland’s most prominent university, with a list of alumni that includes Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. It has played a somewhat controversial role in Irish politics and religion, since, until 1873, only Anglicans could enroll as full members of the university to obtain degrees and scholarships; Catholics were not even permitted to use the library. Today it’s the most famous university in Ireland and it’s a great place to go chill and watch the world go by in the universities court yard. For more information on Trinity College go to www.tcd.ie

 

 

Dublinia

Dublinia brings the early history of Dublin vividly to life. Located in the heart of the medieval quarter, this award winning heritage centre reveals the amazing story of the vikings and the turbulent tale of Medieval Dublin. Unearth the city's past at the History Hunters exhibition and see Dublin from a new perspective. For more information go to www.dublinia.ie

 

 

Dublin's City Hall - The Story of the Capital

'The Story of the Capital' exhibition offers an introduction to Dublin's colourful past. It traces the evolution of the city from before the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170 to the present day in interactive touch screens. For more information go to www.dublincity.ie/dublincityhall

 

 

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

This pub crawl lasts just over 2 hours and it stops at four pubs.  If you like poetry you will like this pub crawl.  For more information on the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl go to www.dublinpubcrawl.com

 

 

The Dublin Pass

This offers free entry into over 30 of Dublin’s top visitor attractions, and free transport with Air coach from Dublin Airport to the city.  Passes are available for 1, 2, 3, or 6 days and prices range from €17 for a child up to €89 for an adult.  For more information on the Dublin Pass go to www.dublinpass.ir 

 

 

Dublin Bus

This Hop on – Hop off tour of Dublin is a 1 hour 15 minute fully-guided tour. The first departure is at 9:30 and it all tours stop 21 times at some of Dublin’s most tourist attractions. For more information go to www.dublinsightseeing.ie

 

 

CitySightseeing Dublin

This award winning Hop on – Hop off tour Company shows you some of the amazing sights in Dublin and tickets are valid for 24 hours. For more information go to www.irishcitytours.com  

 

 

The Old Jameson Distillery

Located at the Bow Street Distillery on Smithfield in Dublin, this is your chance to try some whiskey and here the story of the company. The company was founded in 1780, by John Jameson and it was then that he set new standards in whiskey making with his triple distilled, smooth Irish whiskey.

When you do a tour, you can experience Irish whiskey making just as it was 200 years ago on a fully guided tour, which is done in several languages. After the tour you can browse around the gift shop or sit down at their bar for a drink. Admission is €11, but subject to change. For more information on The Old Jameson Distillery go to www.jamesonwhiskey.com

 

 

Dublin Zoo

Open year round from 9:30am and its a great day out if you have the kids with you. This is your chance to discover a fabulous world in the heart of Dublin where every day is different and where everyone can experience the excitement of animal adventure at first hand.

Follow the footsteps of the elephants on the Kaziranga Forest Trail, chill out in the Arctic and feel the heat of the South American House. Then wander through the African Plains before visiting the Family farm. There are monkeys and tigers, lemurs and spiders, crocodiles, birds and bats to name just a few of the rare and exotic animals that can be seen on a visit to the Dublin Zoo. For more information on the Dublin Zoo go to www.dublinzoo.ie

 

 

Glasnevin Museum

Glasnevin Museum tells the story of modern Ireland through interactive exhibitions and engaging cemetery tours. There are a million stories in Glasnevin Cemetery, including Daniel O'Connell, Micheal Collins, Charles Stewart Parnell, poets, writers, rebels and revolutionaries. For more information go to www.glasnevinmuseum.ie

 

 

Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship - Famine Museum

Stepping aboard the Jeanie Johnston is a step towards understanding the daunting experience of the millions of people who crossed the Atlantic Ocean seeking survival and hope in the 'New World' of North America. For more information go to www.jeaniejohnston.ie

 

 

National Museum of Ireland - Natural History

The National Museum of Ireland was opened in 1857 as the museum of the Royal Dublin Society. It has developed as a cabinet style zoological museum with animals from all over the world. For more information go to www.museum.ie

 

 

National Wax Museum Plus

The National Museum Plus is an exciting interactive visitor attraction located in the heart of Dublin's City. The centre has been designed to deliver an interactive experience taking you on a journey through Irish history, culture and heritage. For more information go to www.waxmuseumplus.ie

 

 

Rathfarnham Castle

A 16th Century Castle, built as a comfortable and defensible residence for Adam Loftus, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin and founder of Trinity College. The Castle was remodelled in the 18th Century and has fine interiors by the renowned architects Sir William Chambers and James 'Athenian' Stuart.

 

 

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Founded in 1191, Saint Patrick's Cathedral has contributed much to Irish life throughout its long history. For more information on Saint Patrick's Cathedral go to www.stpatrickscathedral.ie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galway


The self-proclaimed "Gateway to Western Ireland," Galway is the picture-perfect town. Galway has much to offer in the way of sightseeing and recreation, making it one of the country's most popular weekend getaways. It’s a huge university town as it has a young student population, which helps make it one of the best places to go out in Ireland. You should go take a walk along the Salmon Weir, which is (obviously) located by the water. It has some great cafes along the water and great views.

Galway's history dates back to what is called 'The tribes of Galway', which were 14 merchant families who dominated the life of the city from the 13th - 19th century. These families were of mixed origins namely Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'Arcy, Dean, Ffront, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martyn, Morris and Skerrett. Today, fourteen of the cities roundabouts are named after the tribes names in the Irish language.

 

 

Spanish Arch, East Bank

This is one of Galway's most historical landmarks and the Spanish Arch was originally an extension of the town wall from Martin's Tower to the bank of the Corrib to protect the town's quays. In the 18th century an extension of the quays called 'The Long Walk' was created which allowed access from the town to the new quays.

 

 

Galway City Museum

The Galway City Museum is based in an award winning architectural building at the spectacular location of the Spanish Arch in Galway City. It provides an insight into the unique culture and heritage of Galway City and traces the history of the City of the Tribes. For more information on the Galway City Museum go to www.galwaycitymuseum.ie

 

 

Medieval Wall and Towers

A major section of Galway's medieval town wall runs through the ground floor of Eyre Square Shopping Centre. It dates back to the 13th century when the wall was built by the Normans to protect themselves from the native Irish.

 

 

Aughnanure Castle

This impressive 16th-century castle is flanked by two branches of the Drimmeen River. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and worth a look when you are visiting Galway.

 

 

Lynch's Castle

It was the home of the Lynch family and named in honor of the first mayor of the city. It was fortified against neighboring tribes and dates back from the late 15th century. It stands at the corner of Abbeygate Street and Shop Street. There are interesting coats of arms and stone works on the front of the walls as well as beautiful fireplace inside.

 

 

Eyre Square: John F. Kennedy Memorial Park

This is the city's largest green space and site of a speech delivered by John F. Kennedy in 1963 when he visited the city. He was the first American President to visit Ireland while he was in office. he received the freedom of Galway on that occassion and there is a plaque in the park to commemorate his visit. This is one of the most visited areas of Galway.

 

 

The Browne Doorway

The name Browne is one of the original families of Galway and it has stood in Eyre square for nearly a century. It was removed from an old mansion in Lower Abbeygate Street and bears the arms of the Browne and Lynch Families, dated from 1627.

 

 

Dunguaire Castle

Located on a rocky outcrop on the southern shores of Galway Bay, Dunguaire Castle overlooks the picturesque village of Kinvara and the mystical Burren region. It is one of Ireland's most photographed castles.

Dunguaire Castle was built in 1520 and it was originally home to the O'Hynes clan and it takes its name from the nearby ancient fort of Guaire, King of Connaught.

In 1924, the castle was bought and repaired by Oliver St. John Gogarty, the famous surgeon and literary figure. It became the venue for meetings of literary revivalists such as W.B. Yeats, his patron Lady Gregory, George Bernard Shaw, Edward Martin and J.M. Synge.

In 1954 the castle was acquired by Lady Christobel Ampthill, who completed its restoration. Today the restored castle gives an insight into the lifestyle of the people who lived there from 1520 to modern times. For more information on Dunguaire Castle go to www.shannonheritage.com

 

 

The Fountain

It was erected in 1984 to commemorate Galway's Quincentenary, this distinctive rush coloured sculpture represents the sails of a Galway Hooker, which is Galway's traditional sailing boat. It symbolises the importance of the sea and maritime trade in the development of the city.

 

 

Nora Barnacle House, No.8, Bowling Green

The home of Nora Barnacle who married the world famous novelist James Joyce. Joyce regularly visited this house and wrote poetry and articles about the city and its people.

 

 

Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas

Located on the corner of Shop Street and Lombard Street, which is in the centre of town. It was built by the Anglo-Normans in 1320 and enlarged in 1486. Christopher Columbus is believed to have worshipped here before his famous voyage to the 'New World'.

The church contains many great carvings and relics of the Middle ages. It has a bell of eight peals, which one was made in 1590 and another made in 1631.

 

 

Galway Cathedral

The Galway Cathedral is located on the banks of the River Corrib in Galway City. It was the most recently built of Europe's impressive stone cathedrals and is a centre of a vibrant community. It was built on the site of the old Galway Gaol and it is built in cut limestone in a combination of classical and traditional design and has Connemara Marble flooring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cork


Located in the south of the country it’s an important sea port for the country. Originally built on a swamp, Cork is a bustling city that has loads to offer like great pubs that play great live music.

Cork is has pedestrian laneways and narrow streets, small boutiques, gourmet food shops and as mentioned allready some fantastic pubs and bars. Its known for its culinary flair and vibrant cultural scene and was the winner of the European Capital of Culture in 2005. Whaever you are looking for Cork and its residents will surely show you the time of your life.

 

Blarney Castle

Located 8km from Cork City, this castle is home of the famous Blarney Stone and was built in the 10th century. It’s believed that this ancient Scottish stone has special powers. Kissing the stone can only be achieved by leaning back over a rather intimidating drop whilst holding onto an iron railing. Those who make the effort, however, are said to inherit the gift of eloquent speech; in fact, the word ‘Blarney’ was introduced into the English language by Elizabeth I of England and means ‘pleasant talk, intending to deceive without offending’.

Today most of the castle is in ruins, but if you would like to see it admission is EUR6, but subject to change. For more information on Blarney Castle go to www.blarneycastle.ie

 

 

English Market

Located between Grand Parade and Patrick Street is the English Market, where Old Cork is alive and well and its an area where there are loads of stalls, and cafés are located. If you like pubs this is the best area as well, as Cork is believed to have a great live music Irish scene.

The market itself is a gourmet hub selling fresh produce, organic meats and other special treats. The origins of the market date back to James I in 1610, but the present building dates from 1786. The locals treat it as the place to meet, eat, shop and have a drink.

 

 

Cork City Gaol

This is a chance for you to step back in time to see what 19th / early 20th Century life was like inside and outside prison walls. There is a historical experience that is brought to life with amazingly likelike figures, furnished cells, sound effects & fascinating exhibitions. For more information on the Cork City Gaol go to www.corkcitygaol.com

 

 

Blackrock Castle Observatory

The Blackrock Castle was originally built on the Lee in 1582 by the residents of Cork as a watch tower and fort to guard the river entrance from pirates and other invaders.

In an exciting collaboration between Cork City Council and the Cork Institute of Technology, Blackrock Castle has opened as Blackrock Castle Observatory, Space for Science. Cosmos at the Castle is an international ward-winning interactive astronomy exhibit in the Castle.

 

 

Crawford Art Gallery

This art gallery has a permanent collection of over 2000 works ranging from 18th-century Irish and European paintings and sculptures to contemporary video installations. There is an impressive Irish Art area where works date around the 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

 

The Cork City Pass

The Discover Cork City Pass gives you the chance to see some of Cork's key tourist attractions and activities at a reduced price. The Discover City Pass is free and is available at the Cork City Tourist Office.

 

 

 

 

 

Killarney


Located in the south-west of the country and nestled in a mountain valley on the edge of a glorious lake is Killarney. This area has been a top tourist destination since the 17th century, as it has everything you would be looking for out of a holiday. If you like fishing, hiking, scenery or great Irish pubs then you are in the right place.

 

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park internationally renowned for its scenic beauty and scientific interest and the park is spread over 25,000 acres. It encompasses the three Lakes of Killarney and mountains and woods that surround them. There is a natural oak woodland area that has is unique in Ireland has interesting plants growing around them. You will also find waterfalls and the Muckross House and Gardens, which you can read about that below. It's a amazing area and worth a visit if you are in the Killarney area.

 

 

Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms

Set in a beatiful and spectacular surroundings, is Muckross House. Here you will find landscaped grounds that feature exotic trees and shrubs around well-tended lawns and are home to a craft centre and tradtional farm depicting the Kerry working life as it was in the early 20th century.

 

 

Muckross Abbey

Muckross Abbey was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary for the Observantine Franiscans by Donal McCarthy Mor and is in a remarkable stte of preservation. The tower was added after the church was built and is the only Franciscan tower in Ireland which is wide as the church.

It has a violent history and has been damaged and reconstructed many times. The friars were often persecuted and subjected to raids by marauding groups. Today the abbey is mainly roofless, although is still well preserved.

In 1652 the monks were driven out by the Cromwellians and in the 17th and 18th centuries, it became the burial place for prominent County Kerry poets O'Donogue, O'Rathaille and O'Sulleabhain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rest of Ireland


Cliffs of Moher

The majestic Cliffs of Moher is Ireland’s most visited natural attraction and a magical place that has captured the hearts of millions of visitors every year. The Cliffs rise to over 214m / 700 feet at the highest point and range for 8 kilometeres or 5 miles over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of Co. Clare.

The Cliffs take their name from a ruined promontory fort "Mothar" which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower at Hag's Head.

The Cliffs were formed about 320 million years ago, during a time called the Upper Carboniferous period, when this area was much warmer and was situated at the mouth of a large river. The river flowed down bringing mud and sand with it, eventually dumping it all over this area where it settled and eventually formed the rock layers you see today. It goes without saying that this is a must attraction when you visit Ireland and for more information on the Cliffs of Moher go to www.cliffsofmoher.ie

 

 

O'Brien's Tower

O'Brien's Tower stands near the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher 214m at Knockardakin. It was built in 1835 by the landlord of the locality, who's name was Cornelius O'Brien and was a descendant of the first High King of Ireland. Brian Boru and a member of the O'Brien clan.

O'Brien built the tower as an observation platform for the visitors who were even then coming to see the Cliffs of Moher. The tower was originally made up of four seperate sections but these have now been reduced to two with the existing archway, which bears the O'Brien crest that was added later.

The tower was restored in 1970 and most recently in 2008 and it is once again being used as a viewing point for the Cliffs and the Aran Islands. On a clear day the view encompassess the coast of Connemara to the north across Galway Bay and the Clare coastline to Loop Head and beyond in the south to the Kerry Mountains. It's a magical area of Ireland and worth a visit.

 


The Ring of Kerry

If you have come to Ireland looking for the beautiful scenery then this is where you want to go. The county is blessed with the finest scenery in Ireland and the stunning Ring of Kerry is a 180km scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula, with numerous diversions along coastal roads and out to islands, like Skellig Michael.

If you start your journey in Killarney and travel to Killorglin, then continue southwest to the picturesque village of Glenbeigh. Travelling to Kells Post Office one has a panoramic view of Dingle Bay, the Blasket Islands and Kells Bay. You will also pass Gleesk Viaduct which is a relic of the Great Southern and Western Railway Line, which ran from Cathersiveen to Farranfore Junction. The cliff section of the road offers spectacular views of the Blasket Islands and the Dingle Peninsula. Cahersiveen is home to the Old Barracks Heritage Centre, also take time to visit the spectacular Cathergal and Leacanabuaile Stone Forts.

 

 

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is Ireland's premier visitor attraction and richly deserves to feature on the itinerary of every visitor to the Shannon Region. Here, you can soak up the heritage and lifestyles of by-gone Ireland, in a relaxed, yet stimulating and inspirational environment.

Bunratty Castle was built in 1425, houses exquisite 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries and works of art. Medieval banquets are held in the banquet hall, year round.

Rural and urban life in 19th century Ireland is recreated, within the 26-acre Bunratty Folk Park, where visitors can experience the lifestyles of the poorest subsistence farmers to that of the gentry classes. The folk park features farmhouses, a watermill, a church, a village street and magical walled garden.

Step into the tearoom and savour the taste of home made apple pie and scones, or if you want something a bit stronger you can check out Mac's pub. For more information on Bunratty Castle & Folk Park go to www.shannonheritage.com

 

 

Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are Gaelic Speaking Islands which lie about 6 miles off the west coast of Clare . It is the last outpost of Gaelic civilisation where Irish is still the spoken language. The islands are famous for their culture and history which include many ancient monuments and  settlements dating back to 3000BC. The Aran Islands are made up of three Islands, Inishmaan, Inishere and Inishmore with a combined native population of 1500 people.

If you would like to Visit the beautiful Aran Islands, which lie off the coast of Galway. There are daily ferries and Aer Aran Islands flies there several times a day if you are looking to see this beautiful part of Ireland from the air.

 

 

The Rock of Cashel

Located in Tipperary, The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, long before the 11th Century Norman invasion, but most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th Centuries.

According to legend, the rock was created when the devil spat out a piece of mountain he had bitten off during a battle with St Patrick. Today, thousdands of people from all over the country come to see it.

 

 

County Donegal

Located in the north-west of Ireland in the border region with the province of Ulster. It's a welcoming area or Ireland that draws millions of visitors every year. Below are a few of the things to see in this beautiful area of Ireland:

The Donegal Castle is located in the centre of Donegal Town and is a fine surviving example of a 17th-century Scots Planter fortified home and has been carefully restored and furnished.

The Glenveagh Castle has the most remarkable gardens, which are part of Glenveagh National Park. There are woodland and pleasure grounds, Italian and Belgian-style gardens and terraces with antique sculptures have all been skillfully interwoven against a beautiful Donegal landscape.

 

 

Kilbeggan Distillery Experience

The Kilbeggan Distillery Experience offers an opportunity to see a fully operational traditional Irish pot still distillery, while enjoying a tour of the old distillery which dates back to 1757. For more information go to www.kilbeggandistillery.com

 

 

Dunbrody Famine Ship

Visitors to New Ross, County Wexford will immediately be drawn to the magnificent sight of the historic Famine ship Dunbrody towering over the quayside. Alongside this full scale replica of the original ship is the new state of the art Irish Emigration History Centre. For more information go to www.dunbrody.com

 

 

 



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