Best of Ireland Tour 12 Night

Below, you will find a list of the major touring attractions that exist in the areas of Ireland that you will be traveling through on your Best of Ireland Tour. While these attractions are on your tour route, the beauty of our 12 night self drive tours is that you can choose which of the attractions you wish to see. If there are attractions that you wish to include on your tour of Ireland but are not listed below, make sure to mention this to your dedicated tour advisor.

Aran Islands

Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. The largest island is Inishmore; the middle and second-largest is Inishmaan and the smallest and most eastern is Inisheer. Irish is a spoken language on all three islands, and is the language used naming the islands and their villages and townlands. Take a short ferry ride to Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands, and island rich in the language, culture and heritage of Ireland, unique in its geology and archaeology and in its long tradition of gentle hospitality. Here is a place to sense the spirit of Gaelic Ireland, to touch the past, but with all the comforts and facilities of the present. Aran will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians....read more

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland. It is near the River Martin. The castle originally dates from before AD 1200. It was destroyed in 1446, but subsequently rebuilt by Cormac MacCarthy, the King of Munster. It is currently a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and the battlements. There are many legends as to the origin of the stone, but some say that it was the Lia Fáil—a magical stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney about 8 km from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446. The castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the Stone and tour the castle and its gardens....read more

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Bunratty Castle (Irish: Caisleán Bhun Raithe, meaning Castle at the Mouth of the Ratty) is a large tower house in County Clare, Ireland. It lies in the centre of Bunratty village (Irish: Bun Ráite), by the N18 road between Limerick and Ennis, near Shannon Town and its airport. The name Bunratty, Bun Raite (or possibly, Bun na Raite) in Irish, means the 'bottom' or end of the 'Ratty' river. This river, alongside the castle, flows into the nearby Shannon estuary. From the top of the castle, one can look over to the estuary and the airport. Bunratty Castle is now a very popular tourist attraction. The interior has been furnished by Lord Gort with tapestries and artifacts from various eras in the castle's history. Some of the sights include the 'great hall', dungeons an...read more

Burren

Burren

The Burren is a unique karst-landscape region in northwest County Clare, in Ireland and one of the largest Karst landscapes in Europe. The region measures approximately 250 square kilometres and is enclosed roughly within the circle comprised by the villages Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna, It is bounded by the Atlantic and Galway Bay on the west and north respectively. Strictly speaking the territory of the Burren or barony of Burren only contains the villages of Lisdoonvarna, Ballyvaughan, Fanore, Craggagh, New Quay/Burrin, Bealaclugga (Bellharbour) and Carron. The definite article (making it "the Burren") has only been added to the name in the last few decades, possibly by academics, as it had always been called Boireann in Irish and Burren i...read more

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin is the elder of the city's two mediæval cathedrals, the other being St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is officially claimed as the seat (cathedra) of both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic archbishops of Dublin. In practice it has been the cathedral of only the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, since the Irish Reformation. Though nominally claimed as his cathedral, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin uses a church elsewhere, St Mary's in Malborough Street in Dublin, as his pro-cathedral (acting cathedral). Christ Church Cathedral is located in the former heart of mediaeval Dublin, next to Wood Quay, at the end of Dame Street . However a major dual carriage-way building scheme around it separated it from the original mediaeval str...read more

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair, lit. cliffs of the ruin, also known as the Cliffs of Coher from the Irish: Mhothair) are located in the parish of Liscannor at the south-western edge of The Burren area near Doolin, which is located in County Clare, Ireland. The cliffs rise 120 meters (394 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 meters (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower, eight kilometres away. The cliffs boast one of Ireland's most spectacular views. On a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay, as are the valleys and hills of Connemara. O'Brien's Tower is a round stone tower at the approximate midpoint of the cliffs. It was built by Sir Cornelius O'Brien, a descendant of Ireland's High King Brian Boru, in 18...read more

Cobh Heritage Centre

Cobh Heritage Centre

The Cobh Heritage Centre provides information on life in Ireland through the 18th and 19th centuries, the mass emigration, the Great Famine, and on how criminals were transported to Australia for petty crimes. It also has an exhibition on the history of the RMS Titanic, whose last port of call before it sank was Cóbh (then Queenstown). From 1848 - 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland - over 2.5 million departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration. This exodus from Ireland was largely as a result of poverty, crop failures, the land system and a lack of opportunity. Irish emigration reached unprecedented proportions during the famine as people fled from hunger and disease. Many famine emigrants went initially to British ...read more

Conor Pass

Conor Pass

The Conor Pass is the highest mountain pass in Ireland. It is situated on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, on the road that crosses the peninsula between Dingle Town and the coast the other side. The Mountains the Pass crosses are the Brandon Mountains and contain Ireland's second highest peak Brandon Mountain at 3127 ft. From Dingle Town the road runs some 4½ miles rising to 1500 ft as it winds its way to the pass. There are wonderful views of the coast. At the Pass there is a carpark where you are confronted with this magnificent sight. The road then carries on down towards Brandon Bay past cliffs, a waterfall and lakes ...read more

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

There are so many things to see, to do, to explore, to experience on the Dingle Peninsula . . . from almost 2,000 archaeological sites, to more walking than you could fit into a year, to Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who's been living at the mouth of Dingle Harbour since 1984. There is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Because of the peninsula's remote location, and lack of specialised agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments. It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be impressed by its archaeological heritage. When one ...read more

Doolin

Doolin

A small fishing village, also known as Fisherstreet, on a sandy bay some 3km from Aill na Searrach, the northern end of the Cliffs of Moher. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals or 'fleadhanna' of Irish and international music. Lots of music pubs and restaurants. Overlooked by Doonagore Castle, an unusual circular tower within a walled bawn enclosure, which has been restored as a residence. Nearer the sea, Iron Age burial mounds dot the surrounding landscape. One of Doolin's claims to fame is that it is the main setting for the PlayStation 3 game Folklore. According to the game's storyline, the Netherworld, the world of the dead is a realm that can only be accessed from one place ...read more

Dublin

Dublin

Dublin is both the largest city and capital of Ireland. It is located near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin Region. Founded as a Viking settlement, the city has been Ireland's primary city for most of the island's history since medieval times. Today, it is an economic, administrative and cultural centre for the island of Ireland and has one of the fastest growing populations of any European capital city. The city has a world-famous literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights from Dublin include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. It is ar...read more

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle (Irish: Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath) off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, is a major Irish governmental complex, formerly the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922. Most of the complex dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171–1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800–1922). Upon establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the complex was ceremonially handed over to the newly formed Provisional Government led by Michael Collins. Dublin Castle fulfilled a number of r...read more

Dublinia

Dublinia

Dublinia Museum in Ireland is a heritage centre located in the heart of the medieval city of Dublin, Irelands capital city. There are three exciting exhibitions in Dublinia and a must see for any Vacation in Ireland. Viking Dublin takes the visitor back to life in the city in Viking times. See what life was like onboard a Viking warship, visit a Viking house and take a trip down a Viking street. Investigate burial customs explore the Viking legacy and much more. Our Medieval Dublin exhibition includes a busy medieval market, a rich merchant’s house, and a noisy medieval street. Find out about death and disease and see what Medieval Dublin looked like with a fascinating scale model of the town. History Hunters brings our exhibitions full circle and shows the visitor how we know about ...read more

Dun Aengus

Dun Aengus

Dún Aengus is the most famous of several prehistoric forts on the Aran Islands, of Co. Galway. Ireland. It is located on Inishmore at the edge of a 100-metre high cliff. Dún Aengus is an important archaeological site that also offers a spectacular view. It was built during the Bronze Age and dates from 1,000 B.C. or before. It has been called "the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe." The name "Dún Aengus" meaning "Fort of Aengus" refers to the pre-Christian god of the same name described in Irish mythology. The fort consists of a series of four concentric walls of dry stone construction. Surviving stonework is four metres wide at some points. The original shape was presumably oval or D-shaped but part of the cliff and fort have since collapsed into ...read more

Dunbrody Famine Ship

Dunbrody Famine Ship

The Dunbrody is a full-scale reconstruction of a 19th Century Famine ship, and authentic replica of the Three Masted Barque built in Quebec in 1845 for the Graves family of New Ross. Board the Dunbrody and walk in the footsteps of a group of Irish famine emigrants on their journey of hope across the Atlantic Ocean. Go below deck and enter the confined spaces, which would be home for passengers and crew for the 45-day voyage. Descend into the cargo hold where the exhibition describes the endurance, struggle and triumph over adversity of those 19th Century emigrants as epitomised by the story of the most famous emigrant sons of New Ross, President John F. Kennedy. These passengers were people desperate to escape the famine conditions in Ireland at the time and conditions for steer...read more

Gap of Dunloe

Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is a beautiful glacial valley in the Macgillacuddy Reeks mountain range, which dominate the skyline of Killarney. Here you may enjoy an energetic walk or cycle its rough path. The scenery all around the famousLakes of Killarneyis breathtaking and there are many viewing points around the lakes as you see above. The three main lakes of Killarney occupy a broad valley stretching south between the mountains. The three lakes and the mountains that surround them are all within the Killarney National Park. The Lower Lake is nearest to the town, it is studded with islands and has Muckross Abbey and Ross Castle on its eastern shore. Why not take the Gap of Dunloe Trip, by horseback or pony and trap through the Gap, and then by boat across the Killarney lake to Ross Castl...read more

Glendalough

Glendalough

Glendalough (Irish: Gleann Dá Loch, meaning Glen of Two Lakes) is a glacial valley located in County Wicklow, Ireland, renowned for its Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin, a hermit priest, and destroyed in 1398 by English troops. History of Glendalough Kevin, a descendant of one of the ruling families in Leinster, studied as a boy under the care of three holy men, Eoghan, Lochan, and Eanna. During this time, he went to Glendalough. He was to return later, with a small group of monks to found a monastery where the 'two rivers form a confluence'. His fame as a holy man spread and he attracted numerous followers. He died in about 618. For six centuries afterwards, Glendalough flourished and the Irish Annals contain references to the deat...read more

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse is located in the heart of the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, and is, according to the Guiness Storehouse Web site, Ireland’s No. 1 international visitor attraction. Since opening in November 2000, Guinness Storehouse has attracted over 4 million visitors from every corner of the globe. The Storehouse is laid out over seven floors surrounding a glass atrium taking the shape of a pint of Guinness. On the ground floor the massive exhibit introduces you to the four ingredients; water, barley, hops and yeast, all of which combine together to make a pint of Guinness. Visitors are also introduced to the fifth and vital ingredient, Arthur Guinness himself. As the visitor moves up through the building, they next encounter an exhibition on the history of...read more

Hook Lighthouse Centre

Hook Lighthouse Centre

The Hook Lighthouse (also know as Hook Head Lighthouse) is situated at the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, in Ireland, is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world. Operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Irish Lighthouse Authority, the Hook marks the eastern entrance to Waterford Harbour History The existing tower dates from the twelfth century, though tradition states that Dubhan, a missionary to the Wexford area, established some sort of beacon as early as the 5th century. The exact circumstance of the initial construction on the present structure are the subject of some controversy. It had been thought that the tower was constructed in 1172 by Raymond LeGros as part of his conquests in Ireland, both to establish the lighthouse and to serve as a fortre...read more

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle (Irish: Caisleán Chill Chainnigh) is a castle in Kilkenny, Ireland. It was the seat of the Butler family. Formerly the family name was FitzWalter. The castle was sold to the local Castle Restoration Committee in the middle of the 20th century for £50. Shortly afterward it was handed over to the State, and has since been refurbished and is open to visitors. Part of the National Art Gallery is on display in the castle. There are ornamental gardens on the city side of the castle, and extensive land and gardens to the front. It has become one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland. Kilkenny castle was the venue for the meeting of the General Assembly, or parliament, of the Confederate Ireland government in the 1640s. Awards and conferring ceremonies...read more

Killarney

Killarney

This little town is world-famous due to its exquisite location beside lakes and mountains.Take a horse-drawn jaunting car ride through the grounds of the Killarney National Park to Muckross House and Gardens. Tour the house with a local guide to learn about the history and lifestyles of previous owners and perhaps stroll through the gardens on the shores of Muckross Lake. As well as being a perfect location from which to explore the south western region of Ireland, for centuries the Killarney Valley has been recognised far and wide as Ireland's most beautiful destination - being aptly titled as "Heaven's Reflex". It inspired Poet Laureate Alfred Austin to write - "If mountain, wood and water harmoniously blent, constitute the most perfect and adequate loveliness that nature presents, ...read more

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol (Irish: Príosún Chill Mhaighneann) is a former prison, located in Kilmainham in Dublin, which is now a museum. It has been run since the mid-1980s by the Office of Public Works (O.P.W.), an Irish Government agency. Kilmainham Gaol has played an important part in Irish history, as many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed in the jail. The jail has also been used as a set for several films. When it was first built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol was called the 'New Gaol' to distinguish it from the old jail it was intended to replace - a noisome dungeon, just a few hundred metres from the present site. It was officially called the County of Dublin Gaol, and was originally run by the Grand Jury for County Dublin. Over the 140 years it se...read more

Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms

Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms

This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park. The house stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney's three lakes, famed world wide for their splendour and beauty. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape.Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water-colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was responsible for its design. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843.Originally it was intended that Muckross House ...read more

Powerscourt House & Gardens

Powerscourt House & Gardens

Powerscourt Estate is located near Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland, is a large country estate which is noted for its house and landscaped gardens, today occupying 19 hectares (47 acres). The house, originally a 13th century castle, was extensively altered during the 18th century by German architect Richard Cassels, starting in 1731 and finishing in 1741. A fire in 1974 left the house lying as a shell until it was renovated in 1996. The estate is today owned and run by the Slazenger family. It is a popular tourist attraction, and includes a golf course, an Avoca Handweavers restaurant, and a Ritz-Carlton hotel. The original owner of the 13th century castle was a man by the name of la Poer, which was eventually anglicised to Power. The castle's position was of strategic militar...read more

Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry

Admire breathtaking vistas of mountains, cliffs and beaches on Ireland’s most popular drive, the 100-mile Ring of Kerry. Starting from Killarney, heading around the Iveragh Peninsula and passing through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville (favourite holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin that now has a statue of him to commemorate his love of the place), Cahersiveen and Killorglin. Popular points include Muckross House (near Killarney), Staigue stone fort and Derrynane House, home of Daniel O'Connell. Just south of Killarney, Ross Castle, Lough Leane, and Ladies View (a panoramic viewpoint), all located within Killarney National Park, are major attractions located along the Ring. The complete list of major attractions along the Ring of Kerry includes: Gap of Dunloe, Bog Village, Rossbeigh B...read more

Titanic Walk

Titanic Walk

The Titanic Trail is a guided tour around the streets and environs of Cobh, revealing locations and incidents directly connected to the Titanic and many other aspects of the port's history. The actual building in which the White Star Line Cobh Oark Office was is visited. The very pier where Titanic passengers departed is seen. St. Colmans Cathedral, the Holy Ground, and the site of the landing of Lusitania victims are all pointed out to the visitor and interspersed with a multitude of emigrant, military and maritime history. The trail brings the whole era of Sailing Ships, departing emigrants (almost 3 million left from Cobh) and great military fleets to life in a way that leaves a lasting impression on the visitor. ...read more

Trinity College & Book of Kells

Trinity College & Book of Kells

Trinity is located in the centre of Dublin, Ireland, on College Green opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament (now a branch of the Bank of Ireland). The campus occupies 190,000m² (47 acres), with many buildings, both old and new, ranged around large courts (known as "squares") and two playing fields. The Library of Trinity College is a copyright library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 4.5 million books and significant quantities of maps, manuscripts and music. The Library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland. As a result of its historic standing, Trinity is a legal deposit library (as per Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003) for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and has a similar standing in Irish law....read more

Trinity College Dublin & Book of Kells

Trinity College Dublin & Book of Kells

Known as one of the oldest and most famous universities in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin is located in the centre of our capital city, Dublin, Ireland, on College Green opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament (now a branch of the Bank of Ireland). The College was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 and among its famous graduates are Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift. The campus occupies 190,000m² (47 acres), with many buildings, both old and new, ranged around large courts (known as "squares") and two playing fields. The Library of Trinity College is a copyright library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 4.5 million books and significant quantities of maps, manuscripts and music....read more

Waterford Crystal Centre

Waterford Crystal Centre

The iconic House of Waterford Crystal in the heart of Waterford city, comprises of a brand new manufacturing facility, visitor centre and retail outlet. Visitors can enjoy all aspects of the manufacturing process through the factory tour and learn about both historical and contemporary production techniques through direct interaction with the craftsmen and the audiovisual materials. The manufacturing facility contains a brand new continuous melt tank furnace that has been tailor-made to Waterford Crystal’s specifications, and produces two tonnes of molten crystal every day, which produces 45,000 high-end crystal pieces per year. It uses leading edge technology to deliver molten crystal of the highest quality for skilled master blowers to hand-shape and hand-blow into Water...read more

Aras an Uachtarain

Aras an Uachtarain

The original house was designed by park ranger and amateur architect, Nathaniel Clements in the mid eighteenth century. It was bought by the administration of the British Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to become his summer residence in the 1780s. His official residence was in the Viceregal Apartments in Dublin Castle. The house in the park later became the Viceregal Lodge, the "out of season" residence of the Lord Lieutenant (also known as the Viceroy), where he lived for most of the year from the 1820s onwards. During the Social Season (January to St. Patrick's Day in March) he lived in state in Dublin Castle. The house was left empty for some years, until the office of President of Ireland was created in 1937. In 1938, the first President, Douglas Hyde lived there temporarily while...read more

Avoca Handweavers

Avoca Handweavers

The birthplace of the Avoca experience, and the origin of the company name, Avoca Handweavers, this is a famous tourist destination, as well as a long time favourite among the Dublin and Wicklow communities. Built on the banks of the Avoca River from where it used to draw it's power, you'll find a large Avoca store and cafe, and a working handweaving mill. The mill itself dates from 1723, and is said to be the oldest extant manufacturer in Ireland. Many of the throws, rugs and scarves you'll find in the Avoca stores are woven at this mill. Initially the mill took the raw wool from the sheep of the surrounding hills and valleys and through a process of carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving transformed it into clothing and blankets for barter and sale. Visitors are welcome to see ...read more

Avondale House & Forest Park

Avondale House & Forest Park

Avondale House, Avondale, County Wicklow, Ireland is the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846–1891) one of the greatest political leaders of Irish history. It is set in a magnificent Avondale Forest Park of over 2 km² with tree trails and walks ranging in duration from one to five hours. The river Avonmore flows through the park. It is a Georgian house, designed by James Wyatt and built in 1777. It is notable for its fine plasterwork and still contains many original pieces of furniture. The American Room is dedicated to Admiral Charles Stewart (1778-1869), Parnell's American grandfather who commanded the USS Constitution (now moored in Boston Harbor) during the War of 1812.  The State purchased Avondale in 1904 and it was here that the first silvicultural ex...read more

Blasket Centre

Blasket Centre

The Great Blasket Centre on the mainland in Dún Chaoin, on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula, is an interpretative centre / museum honouring the unique community who once lived on the Great Blasket Island. This community produced an extraordinary amount of literature, referred to as The Blasket Library, which includes classics such as The Islandman, Twenty Years A Growing and Peig. The centre, which is operated by the Office of Public Works, was opened in 1993 and overlooks the panorama of the Great Blasket and its family of surrounding islands. The Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodaí in Irish - etymology uncertain: it may come from the Norse word "brasker", meaning "a dangerous place") are a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland, forming part of County Kerry. The...read more

Chester Beatty Library

Chester Beatty Library

The Chester Beatty Library was established in Dublin in 1950 to house the collections of mining magnate, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The present library, on the grounds of Dublin Castle, opened on February 7th 2000, the 125th anniversary of Sir Alfred's birth and was named European Museum of the Year in 2002. The Library's exhibitions open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. The rich collection from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe offers visitors a visual feast. The Library's collections are displayed in two collections: "Sacred Traditions" and "Artistic Traditions". Both displays exhibit manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts from the Islamic, East Asian and Wes...read more

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park (Irish: Páirc Naisiúnta Chonamara) is one of six National Parks in Ireland that are managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and local government. It is located in the west of Ireland within County Galway. Connemara National Park was founded and opened to the public in 1980. It features 29.57 square kilometres of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and forests. The entrance is situated on the Clifden side of Letterfrack. There are many remnants of human civilization within the park. There is a 19th century graveyard as well as 4,000 year old megalithic court tombs. Much of the land was once part of the Kylemore Abbey estate. Western blanket bog and heathland are the most common vegetation of Conn...read more

Crag Cave & Kingdom Falconry

Crag Cave & Kingdom Falconry

Crag Cave is a colourful wonderland of Stalagmites and Stalactites. It is one of the longest cave systems in Ireland, with a total surveyed length of 3.80kms The existence of the cave was known locally for years, but it was only discovered by cavers in the 1983. Kingdom Falconry offers visitors the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of majestic and awe-inspiring birds of prey - hawks, falcons and owls. The birds of prey will provide an educational and entertaining experience....read more

Dublin Writers Museum

Dublin Writers Museum

The Irish literary tradition is one of the most illustrious in the world, famous for four Nobel prize winners and for many other writers of international renown.  In 1991 the Dublin Writers Museum was opened to house a history and celebration of literary Dublin. Situated in a magnificent eighteenth century mansion in the north city centre, the collection features the lives and works of Dublin’s literary celebrities over the past three hundred years.  Swift and Sheridan, Shaw and Wilde, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett are among those presented through their books, letters, portraits and personal items. The splendidly restored Georgian house is a pleasure in itself with its sumptuous plasterwork and decorative stained glass windows. The museum holds exhibitions, readings and lunchti...read more

Galway

Galway

Galway is the only city in the province of Connacht in Ireland. In Irish, Galway is also called Cathair na Gaillimhe: "City of Galway". Galway city also has a reputation amongst Irish cities for being associated with the Irish language, music, song and dancing traditions - it is sometimes referred to as the 'Bilingual Capital of Ireland'. The city takes its name from the Gaillimh river (River Corrib) that formed the western boundary of the earliest settlement, which was called Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe, or the fort at the bottom of the Gaillimh. The word Gaillimh means "stony" as in "stony river". (the mythical and alternative derivations are given in History of Galway.) The city also bears the nickname City of the Tribes / Cathair na dTreabh, because fourteen[1] “Tribe...read more

House of Waterford Crystal

House of Waterford Crystal

The iconic House of Waterford Crystal in the heart of Waterford city, comprises of a brand new manufacturing facility, visitor centre and retail outlet. Visitors can enjoy all aspects of the manufacturing process through the factory tour and learn about both historical and contemporary production techniques through direct interaction with the craftsmen and the audiovisual materials. The manufacturing facility contains a brand new continuous melt tank furnace that has been tailor-made to Waterford Crystal’s specifications, and produces two tonnes of molten crystal every day, which produces 45,000 high-end crystal pieces per year. It uses leading edge technology to deliver molten crystal of the highest quality for skilled master blowers to hand-shape and hand-blow into Waterford Crysta...read more

James Joyce Centre

James Joyce Centre

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish expatriate writer, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922) and its controversial successor Finnegans Wake (1939), as well as the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). Although he spent most of his adult life outside Ireland, Joyce's psychological and fictional universe is firmly rooted in his native Dublin, the city which provides the settings and much of the subject matter for all his fiction. In particular, his tempestuous early relationship with the Irish Roman Catholic Church is reflected through a similar inner conflict i...read more

James Joyce Tower and Museum

James Joyce Tower and Museum

Joyce’s brief stay here inspired the opening of his great novel Ulysses, whose first chapter is set in this very tower.  The gun platform with its panoramic view, and the living room inside the tower, are much as he described them in his book.  Ulysses is a giant work of the imagination, both epic and hilarious, which immortalised Dublin and established Joyce as one of the greatest writers of the age. Joyce’s relationship with Ireland and the church and his unrelenting dedication to his art make his own life as enthralling as his books.  The museum’s collection includes letters, photographs, first and rate editions and personal possessions of Joyce, as well as items associated with the Dublin of Ulysses. The Joyce Tower is one of a series of Martello Towers...read more

Kilkenny

Kilkenny

Kilkenny is the county town of County Kilkenny in Ireland. It is situated on both banks of the River Nore, at the centre of County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-east of Ireland. Kilkenny City is administered by a borough council and has a Mayor. The population of the town and its environs is approximately 25,000. The majority of the population of Kilkenny City live outside the borough boundary. From an ecclesiastical foundation, Kilkenny was the ancient capital of the kingdom of Ossory. The town was established, then a city, in 1609 by royal charter. Kilkenny was the capital of Confederate Ireland between 1642 and 1649. The seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossory and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossory are in Kilkenny. Kilkenny is famous for its mediev...read more

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Visit Kylemore Abbey, a 19th century mansion with an exquisite chapel and reception rooms. The Abbey is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. It is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I. At Kylemore, the nuns opened their international boarding school and established a day school for local girls. They also ran a farm and guesthouse; the guesthouse was closed after a devastating fire in 1959. A section of the Abbey (the enclosure) is retained strictly for the nuns’ use and is not open to the public; here the nuns devote themselves to their monastic life of prayer and work. Originally called Kylemore Castle, it was built be...read more

Molly Gallivans Cottage & Farm

Molly Gallivans Cottage & Farm

At Molly Gallivan you will experience the simple lifestyle in rural Ireland before the days of electricity and modern conveniences. Molly’s enchanting cottage is over 200 years old. Her farm is complete with animals, fowl and traditional farm machinery. The house is over 200 years old! Originally a single story thatched cottage, part of which still remains, it was extended, raised and slated in the early 1900s. There has been little change since then. The house as it is today was home to one of Molly’s descendants until 1997. The large open hearth, where the fire rarely if ever went out, was the only energy source providing hot water, heat and cooking facilities. Molly Gallivan was widowed with seven small children Molly Gallivan had to call on all her resourcefulness ...read more

Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms

Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms

This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park. The house stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney's three lakes, famed world wide for their splendour and beauty. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape. Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water-colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was responsible for its design. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843....read more

National Gallery

National Gallery

The National Gallery of Ireland (Irish: Ghailearaí Náisiúnta na hÉireann) houses the Irish national collection of Irish and European art. It is located in the centre of Dublin with one entrance on Merrion Square, beside Leinster House, and another on Clare Street. It was founded in 1854 and opened its doors ten years later. The Gallery has an extensive, representative collection of Irish painting and is also notable for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masters painting. Entry to the gallery is free. The Gallery was unlucky not to have been founded around an existing collection, but through diligent and skilful purchase, by the time it opened it had 125 paintings, in 1866 an annual purchase grant was established and by 1891 space was already limited. In 18...read more

National Museum of Ireland

National Museum of Ireland

Collins Barracks could be said to be the National Museum of Ireland's largest artifact, having had a unique history all of its own in another life. It now completes the picture for the National Museum in Dublin and joins the two already famous buildings in the possession of the Museum. Collins Barracks has been completely renovated and restored to become the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History - charting Ireland's economic, social, political and military progress through the ages. Artifacts on display range from silver, ceramic and glassware pieces to weaponry, furniture, examples of folk life and costume. All of these are displayed with imagination in innovative and contemporary galleries, which entice you to go further, look harder and examine more closely. ...read more

National Stud & Japanese Gardens

National Stud & Japanese Gardens

The Irish National Stud (official name: Colucht Groighe Naisiunta na hÉireann Teo (The Irish National Stud Co. Ltd)) is a horse breeding facility based at Tully, Kildare, County Kildare, Ireland. It was formally established by incorporation on 11 April 1946 under the National Stud Act, 1945 and is owned by the Irish Government. The lands around Tully have been associated with the breeding of horses since about 1300, when it is likely that war horses were bred here for the Knights of Malta. However, the first record of the setting up of a stud farm is in 1900, when the lands were purchased from a local farmer James Fay, by Colonel William Hall-Walker, who later became Lord Wavertree. As 'Willie' Walker approached middle age, he turned his attention to the owning and breeding...read more

Shaw Birthplace Museum

Shaw Birthplace Museum

‘Author of many plays’ is the simple accolade to George Bernard Shaw on the plaque outside his birthplace.  His Victorian home and early life mirrors this simplicity. The first home of the Shaw family and the renowned playwright at 33 Synge Street has been restored to its Victorian elegance and charm, and has the appearance that the family has just gone out for the afternoon. The neat terraced house is as much a celebration of Victorian Dublin domestic life as of the early years of one of Dublin’s Nobel prize-winners for literature: full of the nostalgia and the atmosphere of another time.It was in this house, opened to the public in 1993, that Shaw began to gather the store of characters that would later populate his books, from the drawing-room where Mrs Shaw held ...read more

Skellig Experience

Skellig Experience

The Skellig Islands (Irish: Na Scealaga) are two small, steep and rocky islands lying about 16 km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. They are famous for their thriving gannet and puffin populations, and for an early Christian monastery that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The smaller island is Little Skellig (Sceilig Bheag in Irish). It is closed to the public, and holds Ireland's largest and the world's second-largest Northern Gannet colony, with almost 30,000 pairs. It is about 1.5 km east of Great Skellig. Also known as Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl in Irish), Great Sceilig is the larger of the two islands, rising to over 230 m above sea level. With a sixth-century Christian monastery perched on a ledge close to the top, Great Skel...read more