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Cities & Towns in Ireland
Located in the scenic south west of Ireland, the village of Adare dates back to 1200 A.D. It is widely known as a major Irish tourist attraction and is regarded as one of the prettiest and most picturesque towns in Ireland. During its long history, Adare, as a strategic location, has been the subject of many conquests, wars and rebellions. The old town of Adare, which stood on the northern bank of the river Maigue, near the Desmond castle, was destroyed during the 16th century wars. The present village was built in the 19th century. The early developments were very haphazard but from about 1820, streets and buildings were laid out according to the then Earl of Dunraven’s design. He built houses and rented them, under various agreements, to his tenants, working on his estate lands.&nb...read more
Armagh is a large settlement in Northern Ireland, and the county town of County Armagh. It is a site of historical importance for both Celtic paganism and Christianity and is the seat, for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland, of the Archbishop of Armagh. Although classed as a medium-sized town, Armagh was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994. Its population of 14,590 (2001 Census) makes it the least-populated city in both Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland and the fourth smallest in the United Kingdom....read more
Belfast (from the Irish: Béal Feirste meaning "Mouth of the (River) Farset")is the capital city of Northern Ireland and the seat of devolved government and legislative assembly in Northern Ireland. It is the largest urban area in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster, the fifteenth-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second largest city on the island of Ireland. The city suffered greatly during the period of disruption, conflict, and destruction called the Troubles, but latterly has undergone a return to a sustained period of calmness and growth. Originally a town in County Antrim, the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888. The name, Belfast, is the anglicised version of the Irish Béal Feirste, which ...read more
Blarney is a village in south of Ireland, located just 8km of Cork City. Blarney is set in beautiful wooded countryside, steeped in history and magical charm offers the visitor a host of wonderful things to do and places to discover. The Centre of the village is dominated by The Square which is one of the finest things that impresses the first time visitors. Blarney is one of the few villages in Ireland which has such a fine amenity, and today it continues to be a focal point of village life. Blarney village is a major tourist attraction in County Cork. For many visitors one of the priorities is to kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in order to receive the gift of “the Blarney” or known as the “gift of the gab” as the locals call it. “There i...read more
Clifden is a town on the coast of County Galway, Ireland and being Connemara's largest town, it is often referred to as "the Capital of Connemara". It is located on the Owenglen River where it flows into Clifden Bay, set between the Atlantic Ocean, 12 Ben Mountains and preserved boglands. The town is linked to Galway city by the N59 and is a popular tourist destination for those touring Connemara. An area at long last recognised as a new popular destination and not just a place to 'breeze through'. Enhanced by spectacular scenery, championship golfing, horse-riding, walking, cycling, hill walking, beaches, fishing, scubadiving, painting, national parks, abbeys, castle ruins and over 5,000 years of living history. Peruse the many shopping choices in Clifden from sweater shops, quality gift ...read more
Cork is the second largest city in the state and the third most populous on the island of Ireland. The city is built on the River Lee, which flows through Cork city in two main channels, so that you find yourself constantly crossing bridges and hence Cork City's coat of arms bears the motto 'A Safe Harbour for Ships'. St. Finbarr is the founder and patron saint. He founded a monastery in the seventh century where St. Finn Barre's Cathedral now stands, and it grew into an extensive and wealthy establishment. It attracted the attention of the Viking sea-pirates who raided and burned the infant city, but returned in later years t...read more
Derry or Londonderry (Irish: Doire or Doire Cholm Chille, meaning Oak wood of Colm Cille), often called the Maiden City, is a city in Northern Ireland. The old walled city of Londonderry lies on the west bank of the River Foyle with the location of old Derry on the east bank, the present city now covers both banks (Cityside to the west and Waterside to the east) and the river is spanned by two bridges. Derry was the last city in the British Isles to be enclosed with defensive walls, and has the most complete series of city walls in the islands. It is one of the few cities in Europe that never saw these fortifications breached. Derry is very near the border with County Donegal in Ireland. The city has had a very close relationship with what is now County Donegal for centuries. The person tr...read more
Dingle is a harbour town set on the Dingle Peninsula in South-West of Ireland. The town also is gateway to the Gaeltacht where Gaelic is the first language. This unique town is full of surprises and waiting to be discovered. The town is renowned for its restaurants, most of which offers excellent local seafood. There is a wide variety of restaurants in Dingle, from burgers and chips to fine dining. Most places today have several vegetarian selections in their menus. Dingle has long been well supplies with pubs, in recent years the number has hovered around 52. There are large, modern pubs and pubs so small that five’s a crowd. At night, the town comes to life as the strains of the bodhran, tin whistle, the fiddle and the accordion fill the night air as the Guinness flows. ...read more
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
Downpatrick is one of Ireland's most ancient and historic towns. It takes its name from a fort which once stood on the hill that dominates the town and on which Down Cathedral stands. Ptolemy, about the year AD 130, includes it (in Latin) as Dunum in his list of towns of Ireland. The old name of the town was Rath Celtair named after the fictional warrior of Ulster called Celtchar who resided there and who fought alongside Ulster King Conchobar mac Neasa (Conor Mac Nessa) and is mentioned in the Ulster Cycle and, in particular, the Táin Bó Cuailgne . The name was superseded by the name Dún Lethglaise then Dún Dá Lethglas which in turn gave way, in the 13th century, to the present name of Dún Phádraig (anglicised as Downpatrick) - from the town's connection with the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick was reputedly buried here in 461 on Cathedral Hill, within the grounds of Down Cathedral. His grave is still a place of pilgrimage on St Patricks Day (17 March each year). The Saint Patrick Visitor Centre in Downpatrick is purpose-built to tell the story of St Patrick....read more
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
Edinburgh, the inspiring capital city of Scotland, where centuries of history meet a vibrant, cosmopolitan city in an unforgettable setting. Situated in Lothian, on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh is rich in associations with the past and has many historic buildings, including Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the churches of St. Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate, and an extensive Georgian New Town built in the 18th century. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town are jointly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city hosts the annual Edinburgh International Festival, which is one of many events that run between the end of July and early September each year. The best known of these events are the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival, the ...read more
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 “Tribe...read more
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and the third largest in the United Kingdom. It is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands.Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become one of the largest seaports in Britain. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies. In Glasgow, Scotland’s city of style, you can find world-class attractions, museums and galleries, stunning architecture, works by renowned designer and artist Charles Rennie...read more
Kenmare (Irish: An Neidín) is a small town in the south of County Kerry, Ireland. The Irish name for the town 'An Neidín' translates into English as 'The Little Nest'. The name Kenmare is the anglicised form of Ceann Mhara "head of the sea", which refers to the furthest point inland reached by the sea. Kenmare is located at the head of Kenmare Bay sometimes called the Kenmare River (An Ribhéar) where the Roughty River (An Ruachtach) flows into the sea, and at the junction of the Iveragh Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula. The traditional Irish name of the bay was Inbhear Scéine from the celtic inver, which is recorded in the 11th Century narrative Lebor Gabála Érenn as the arrival point of the mythological Irish ancestor Partholón. It is also...read more
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
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
The medieval town of Kinsale is not just about food, it’s also about traditional bars, beautiful buildings, narrow streets, shops and galleries and lots of activities on land and sea. You'll find Kinsale's not just a place - it's more a state of mind! Drive to Kinsale, a delightful old town on a narrow inlet of the sea. Formerly a fishing and merchant town, today it is popular for sailing and gourmet food. Join a local guide for a short walking tour to see some historic places. Start at Charles Fort to understand the importance of Kinsale’s location for trading and defense and then walk around some of the old streets. Kinsale can easily claim its place amongst Ireland's most historic locations for this has been a centre of population, commerce, trade and fishing far beyond memo...read more
Limerick is located in the Mid-West Region of Ireland and is also part of the province of Munster. Limerick City is the hub and capital of the Shannon Region and the 3rd largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Its colourful and fascinating history is evident everywhere and proudly maintained. From the times more than a thousand years ago, when the Vikings first developed it, to the present day, Limerick has been the greatest seaport of the west of Ireland. Its magnificent river, the lordly Shannon, has been part of one of Ireland's oldest routes. In early medieval time’s hermits, heroes, soldiers, raiders, students and pilgrims, all travelled along this 'water highway' from the Atlantic Ocean through to the Irish midlands and beyond. Buildings ancient and historical, middle-aged an...read more
Listowel is a market town positioned in the very heart of North Kerry in County Kerry, Ireland. Listowel is situated on the River Feale at the head of the North Kerry limestone plain, about 28km (17miles) from the county town, Tralee. Town’s long history dates back to 1303 where it first appears in the Plea Roll. The town developed around Listowel Castle, fortress to the Fitzmaurice family, and its significant Square. The last bastion against Queen Elizabeth I in the Desmond campaign, Listowel Castle was built in the 15th century and was the last fortress of the Geraldines to be subdued. It fell after 28 days siege to Sir Charles Wilmot on the 5th November, 1600, who had the castle's garrison executed in the following days. The castle became the property of the Hare family, the...read more
The village of Roundstone lies on the western arm of Bertraghboy bay in Connemara, Co. Galway, 48 miles (77km) north-west of Galway city. The village is beautifully set on one of the most spectacular coastal drives in Europe overlooking the Atlantic at the foot of Errisbeg Mountain. Enjoy the views of the island-dotted Atlantic coastline and the Clifden bog from Errisbeg, a small mountain behind the village of Roundstone. The vicinity is rich in points of historical, geological and scenic interest. The remains of numerous early Christian settlements have been found on the islands along this coast. At the northern point of Inishnee, the long island across the bay from Roundstone, stand the remains of an ancient monument to Saint Brendan. From the island’s southern, point, an impressiv...read more
St Andrews is a former royal burgh on the east coast of Fife in Scotland, named after Saint Andrew the Apostle. The town is home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the English-speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. The University is an integral part of the burgh, and during term time students make up approximately one third of the town's population.There has been an important church in St Andrews since at least the 8th century, and a bishopric since at least the 11th century. The settlement grew to the west of St Andrews cathedral with the southern side of the Scores to the north and the Kinness burn to the south. The burgh soon became the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, a position which was held until the Scottish Reformation. The famous cathedral, the...read more
Waterford City is the capital of the Sunny South East of Ireland and Ireland's oldest city. The city hosts a number of festivals during the year including the ever-popular Spraoi. A natural playground for Arts, Golf, Water Sports, Equestrian, Walking, Angling and Cycling enthusiasts, Waterford City and County offer the complete holiday experience. Waterford City was founded by Viking traders in 914 and it has an exciting medieval flavour and riverside bustle. The Waterford Museum of Treasures tells the 1000-year-story of Waterford from the treasures of Viking Waterford at Reginald's Tower, the oldest civic urban building in Ireland, to the story of Georgian Waterford at the Bishop's Palace from 1700 to 1970.Waterford Crystal Visitor CentreWaterford City is the home of Waterford Crystal, a ...read more
Westport is a town in County Mayo in Ireland. It is at the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland. Westport, designated one of Bord Failte's Heritage Towns, is situated in the shadow of Croagh Park. One of the few planned towns in the Country, Westport was designed in the 18th Century by James Wyatt. It has become one of Ireland's established tourism centres. The famous pilgrimage mountain of Croagh Patrick, known locally as "the Reek" lies some 10km west of the town near the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey. The mountain presents a striking backdrop to the town. Croagh Patrick, one of Europe's best known places of Pilgrimage, has provided a tough ascent for many pilgrims each year, climbing barefoot in the memory of St. Patrick, who spen...read more
Before the year draws to a close, Nicole Erasmus and I would just like to thank you and Gerry O’Leary (our fantastic tour guide) for a fabulous Best of Ireland Tour.
Both yours and Gerry’s attention to detail, friendliness and efficiency was superb. Nicole and I loved every minute of our tour and cannot wait to return to Ireland. In the meantime we are highly recommending the tour to our family and friends.
We would also like to commend Gerry on his knowledge of Ireland, his willingness to listen and for going the extra mile to ensure that Nicole and I were always happy, well-fed and at the right place at the right time. We could not have asked for a better tour guide! Please thank Gerry again on our behalf.
Thanks and God Bless from sunny South Africa,
Nicole Erasmus and Julia Sharples.
Julia Sharples, Cape Town, South Africa