Southern Gems

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

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

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

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

Kinsale

Kinsale

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

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 ...read more

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 (25,425 acres) of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, Oak and Yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks....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

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

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

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

Foynes Flying Boat Museum

Foynes Flying Boat Museum

Drive through the outskirts of Limerick and along by the River Shannon to Foynes to visit the Flying Boat Museum. In the early days of flight, during the 1930’s and early 1940’s, this was the landing place for Pan Am Clippers from the United States and Europe. The museum recreates the infancy of aviation through displays of memorabilia. The Foynes Flying Boat Museum, housed in the original terminal building in Foynes, recalls that nostalgic era when Foynes became the centre of the aviation world from 1939 to 1945. On July 9th 1939, Pan Am's luxury Flying Boat, the "Yankee Clipper" landed at Foynes to become the first commercial passenger flight on a direct route from the USA to Europe. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, this quiet little town on the Shannon became the focal...read more

Knappogue Medieval

Knappogue Medieval

Knappogue Castle was built in the 15th Century in 1467 by Sean macNamara and is a superb example of a medieval tower house. The Castle stands near the village of Quin in Couny Clare and has a long history from being a battelfield to a stately residence. The Castle became the seat of the MacNamara Clan and remained in their power until 1659 when it was seized by Cromwells parliament, however it was restored to the MacNamara Clan after the monarchy was restored....read more