Review hotel prices in Ireland for cheap deals, we are an Irish hotel price comparison website. A céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) awaits the lucky visitor to the Emerald Isle. The country will entertain you with its Irish traditions and rich cultural background. Having once been ruled by Celtic chieftain tribes and then invaded by the Vikings/Normans/English.
The land and its people have built up so many ancient treasures to show off and awe-inspiring stories to recite. Plus Ireland is the birthplace of such exquisite delights like Riverdance, The Book of Kells, U2, Irish Coffee, Guinness and Father Ted. You can tell that the “craic will be ninety” from the moment you step foot on the very soil that St Patrick drove the snakes from!
As well as being able to soak up the country’s special atmosphere, the visitor is bound to pick up ‘the gift of the gab’, after romancing the Blarney Stone in Cork by kissing it! Once kissed the visitor will have a way with words that may put him/her on a verbal/literary platform along with other great ‘wordy’ Irish geniuses like Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Brendan Behan, Oliver Goldsmith, George Bernard Shaw, Patrick Kavanagh, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker and Seamus Heaney!
With over eight thousand miles of rivers, two thousand miles of cost, and thousands of fish-laden lakes, Ireland is an angler’s paradise. In fact, the River Shannon alone runs through much of the country, being over two hundred miles long, and is a great way of touring the country by means of pleasure cruiser. The river also connects with many of the country’s canals, including the Royal and Grand canals in Dublin and the Shannon Erne Waterway, linking the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
One of the highlights of a visit to Ireland is a trip to the humble pub! Ireland has a pub for every six hundred people, with over seven and a half thousand pubs in the country to choose from. Some of the most popular pubs in the country include O’Donoghue’s in Dublin, a famous traditional Irish pub with a reputation for some of the best traditional Irish music sessions in the city, Johnnie Foxes pub, which sits high up in the Dublin Mountains and know for it’s lively ‘Hooley Nights’, and Moran’s Oyster Cottage thatched pub in Galway, famous for its seafood dishes.
For those who want to seek out the ‘real’ Ireland, then a visit to the country’s Gaeltacht regions of Mayo, Kerry, Donegal and Galway is a must. In Gaeltacht towns like Gweedore in Donegal, the Aran Islands off the Mayo coast, Dunquin in Kerry and Spiddal in Galway, the Irish language is mainly spoken. Only ten percent of the Irish people converse regularly in Irish and so you may miss out on hearing this wonderfully melodic language if you only visit the main suburban cities.
Those lucky enough to be in Ireland on the 17th of March can soak up the amazing atmosphere of the annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. In fact the celebration has now turned into a week long festival of outdoor Céilí dancing, funfairs, fireworks shows, story-telling, walking tours, art exhibitions and craft beer and food markets…all culminating in a huge, colourful parade through the streets of Dublin City Centre. The festivities attract over a million people out onto the streets! Remember to bring your shamrock and silly leprechaun hat!
If the cultural sightseeing becomes overwhelming, then a trip to one of the many GAA stadiums around the country to watch a Gaelic hurling or football match will have you shouting along with the passionate locals, as soon as the national anthem has ended! The sport of hurling is supposedly the fastest field game on the planet and the skill involved will amaze those witnessing the game for the first time.
For a country so small and on the very edge of Europe, it has so much to offer the visitor! The width of the island of Ireland is only one hundred and seventy miles and its length is only three hundred miles, so you can easily see as much of the country as your stamina allows…once you don’t overindulge in too much Irish craic the night.
Athlone is the largest populated town in the Irish Midlands. Much of the city’s charm is based around its location on the River Shannon…indeed quite a few visitors enter the city by means of pleasure cruiser on the river.
One of the more unusual ways of exploring the river and riverside attraction is by taking the Viking Cruise from the Quay beside Athlone Castle, which goes to Lough Ree or to the historic site at Clonmacnois. Athlone Town Shopping Centre is one of the biggest shopping centres in the country and is complimented across town by The Golden Island Shopping Centre.
The main shopping street in the city is Church Street. Entertainment seekers in the city will be well catered for with a nice selection of bars and nightclubs to choose from. Popular bars include Sean’s Bar, Larry’s Bar and The Malt House.
The main nightclubs in town include Club Viva and The Prince of Wales Karma Club. For a bite to eat, the most popular restaurants in town include La Cucina di Angelos Restaurant, Thyme Restaurant, The Locke Restaurant and the Al Mezz Restaurant. Athlone’s trendy Left Bank area is a haven for quaint cafes, restaurants and bars. Leisure seekers can also visit Athlone Leisure World for a spot of bowling, snooker or the Quasar laser game.
The city has immersed itself in the arts and has three main theatres, an artist’s studio and a school of music, and hosts a number of popular annual festivals including a literary festival and an all-Ireland drama festival. For those more interested in outdoor activities, the Mount Temple Golf and County Club or the Athlone Equestrian Centre might take your fancy.
Those wishing to venture outside the city but remain in the county (Westhmeath) can spend an afternoon visiting the Kilbeggan Distillery, the oldest whiskey distillery in the world, or take a pleasurable walk through the wonderfully formal Georgian estate of Belvedere House Gardens and Park in nearby Mullingar.
1. Athlone Castle: Situated in the heart of the city beside the River Shannon, this thirteenth century castle has been converted into a highly impressive interactive museum. The main focus of the exhibits is to tell the story of the 1691 siege of the city. The top of the castle has fabulous views across the Shannon and there is an informative visitor centre onsite. The castle is closed on Mondays.
2. Moydrum Castle: Located outside Athlone City in Moydrum, this picturesque, ivy clad castle ruin will make an excellent addition to the intrepid visitor’s holiday photo album. The castle on the cover of the U2 CD Unforgettable Fire is one and the same!
3. Sean’s Bar: Once certified by The Guinness Book of Records as being the oldest pub in the country, Sean’s Bar has won many awards and has entertained thousands of national and international visitors with its Irish craic! Particularly renowned for its traditional music sessions, the bar can be found in the city’s Main Street and was previously owned by Culture Club’s Boy George.
4. The Luan Gallery: Contemporary art gallery next to the River Shannon. The gallery’s main focus is promoting the visual arts, including music, and is host to many travelling exhibitions. Its programme is varied and changes regularly.
5. Saint Peter and Paul’s Church: Baroque and classical styled Catholic church located on Saint Peter’s Square, with two wonderful towers and many eye-catching stained glass windows.
6. Little Museum of Memories: Local volunteer run museum which is attempting to preserve the social history of Athlone. As well as the exhibits on display, the volunteers organise craft workshops, talks and tours. This small museum is located on Lloyd’s Lane.
7. An Dun Transport and Heritage Museum: Outside the city centre in Doon village, this intriguing museum houses privately owned, mainly transport related exhibits, with a particular emphasis on early farming, displaying old tractors, combine harvesters and other farming memorabilia. Penny Farthing bikes and side cars are also on display.
Ireland’s largest Gealtacht area, Donegal is the outdoor capital of Ireland, offering golfers, surfers, cyclists, walkers and anglers everything and more to fulfill their wildest dreams! Throw in the cultural highlights of art galleries, heritage centres, museums, visitor centres and a replica famine village and you can see why Donegal is such a popular tourist destination. The thriving seaside town of Bundoran will enthral the family with its beach, the largest indoor water park in Ireland (Waterworld), amusement centres, adventure park, restaurants, pubs and clubs!
Donegal Airport is located in Carrickfinn, 45 minutes from Letterkenny and 71 kilometres from Donegal Town. The only operator flying into Donegal Airport is FlyBe (operated by Loganair), who operate flights to Dublin Airport and Glasgow International Airport. The nearest major airport to Donegal is The City of Derry Airport, 87 kilometres away.
1. Doagh Famine Village: Open from March to end of October, this amazing outdoor museum replicates the story of the Irish Famine. The guided tour takes 45 minutes and will take the visitor to The Haunted Rooms, The Irish Wake, The Orange Hall, The Mass Rock, The Republican Safe House and The Travelling Community Building.
2. Glenveagh National Park: Glenveigh National park is a 16,000 hectare wonderland located northwest of Donegal Town. Inside the park is a stunning 19th century castle where guided tours last approx 30 minutes. The award winning Glenveagh National Park Visitor Centre offers the visitor an audio visual display, restaurant, toilets and baby changing facilities. Admission to the park and visitor centre is free.
3. Donegal Castle: Located on the banks of the River Eske in the centre of Donegal Town, the hugely impressive Donegal Castle has guided tours every hour. Connected to the Flight of the Earls by history, the imposing castle is wonderfully furnished with Persian rugs and French tapestries.
Other popular tourist attractions in Donegal: Cliffs of Slieve League, Dunlewey Lakeside Centre, Iosas Centre & Celtic Prayer Garden (Muff), Saint Patricks Purgatory (Lough Derg), Grianan Ailigh Monument Centre (Burt, Inishowen), Tory Island, Cruit Island, Arranmore Island, Waterworld (Bundoran), Tullyarvan Mill (Buncrana), Drumboghill Stone Fort and Dunfanaghy Workhouse.
Originally a Viking settlement, Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland with a population of over one million people. Despite its ever increasing cosmopolitan population, visitors are still bound to bump into someone they know somewhere on their city travels! Internationally renowned for producing some of the world’s finest authors, Dublin is steeped in culture and has some of the finest Georgian buildings in Europe.
Most of its galleries and museums are free to enter and it has the best shopping streets in the country, Grafton Street and Henry Street. The city has music and theatre venues to suit every eclectic taste, and if that’s not enough, the buskers around the city will entertain you with their antics! The city also organises many local festivals/events including the Jameson Film Festival, Bloomsday Festival, the Taste of Dublin food festival, Dublin Writers festival, the Dublin Theatre Festival and the Dublin Horse Show.
Also renowned for its lively pub culture, a lone visitor can enter any pub in Dublin and almost immediately become involved in a lively discussion with the pubs patrons about the city’s imponderables, like the weather, football or politics! There are over one thousand pubs in Dublin, all serving the best pint of Guinness in the world! Some are even brewing their own concoctions, mixing oysters with stout and other mouth watering bevies!
The more popular traditional Dublin pubs are O’Donoghue’s, The Brazen Head, The Long Hall, McDaid’s, Mulligan’s, The Old Stan, Kehoe’s, The Auld Dubliner and The Palace Bar. If it’s a party atmosphere you’re seeking, then some real pub craic can be found in the trendy Temple Bar area, which can be found just across River Liffey, on the Southside of town.
The cuisine in Dublin has changed dramatically over the years due in the main to the influence of its new multinational resident population Once the home of the infamous Dublin Coddle (sausage, bacon, potato and onion based stew) and Dublin Bay Prawns, the city’s restaurants are equally likely to serve you some fine French, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Spanish, Moroccan, Portuguese or Thai delicacies! Some of the best restaurants in Dublin, although not the cheapest, include The Trocadero, Shanahan’s on the Green, Patrick Guilbaud’s, Chapter One, Locke’s Brasserie, L’ecrivian, The Unicorn, Bon Appétit and Thornton’s.
Although the city does not have its own metro, it does have the benefit of a light rail tram system (The Luas), a Dublin Area Rapid Transit rail network (The Dart), an expansive bus network operating over two hundred routes (Dublin Bus) and over twelve thousand taxis! A recently introduced bicycle rental system, offering over five hundred bikes at forty bike terminals throughout the city centre, has proved extremely successful among locals and visitors alike.
Another more novel way of seeing the city is by way of the Viking Splash Tours, which use vehicles that travel across land and water. Compare great hotel deals for your trip to Dublin for the cheapest prices, whether you’re planning a family break, mid-week or weekend getaway.
1. The Guinness Hop Store: Visit the home of the world’s favourite stout over seven floors in the city’s most popular attraction, which has attracted over four million visitors to-date.
2. Trinity College: Historic city centre university. Home to The Book of Kells, as well as over two thousand other historic books. Also home to over sixteen thousand students!
3. Abbey theatre: The most famous theatre in Dublin, hosting classic Irish plays like The Field, and shows like Riverdance.
4. Croke Park: Take a tour of this enormous stadium and interactive museum, the home of Irish Gaelic football and hurling.
5. Glasnevin Cemetery: Visit the museum and take the guided tour, the focus of which is mainly based around the leaders of the 1916 rising and nationalist rebellion.
6. Temple Bar: Dublin’s ‘Latin Quarter’ and home to many traditional and ethnic restaurants, cafes, pubs, an art centre, and touristy shops.
7. Dublin Zoo: Located in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, nearby to the President of Ireland’s residence, Dublin Zoo has over six hundred animals, restaurants and shops.
8. The National Museum of Ireland: Archaeological museum located in the heart of Dublin’s City Centre which includes some bog bodies on display.
9. The National Gallery of Ireland: Includes works by Yeats, Rembrandt, Picasso and also houses a popular restaurant.
10. The Natural History Museum: Enchanting museum filled with Irish stuffed animals, insects, fish, birds and the skeleton of a giant whale!
11. The Chester Beatty Library: Previous winner of the European museum of the year award, this wonderful building has thousands of books, manuscripts and paintings on display.
12. Kilmainham Gaol: A very enjoyable if creepy tour inside this infamous jail/gaol.
With an amazing 366 lakes, as well as the Erne and Shannon rivers, County Cavan is an angler’s paradise! Add in the Breffni Mountains, the drumlin countryside and the amazing Coilte-run forest and lake walks, and you have all the ingredients for a fantastic adventure holiday. Home to many exciting festivals, including the extravagant and ever-so scary, Virginia Pumpkin festival. County Cavan is also part of the cross border Marble Arch Geopark, an area of exceptional geological heritage. Some of the top tourist attractions include the Cavan County Museum, Dun Na Ri Forest Park and the famous lakes and rivers of Cavan.
Cavan County Museum
Located on the Virginia road entering Ballyjamesduff, this former convent building, houses exhibition galleries of local cultural artefacts, some dating back as far as the Stone Age. Some of the more popular artefacts on display include The Three-Faced Corleck Head, Killycluggin Stone and Medieval Dug-Out Boat. A coffee and craft shop are also onsite!
Dun Na Ri Forest Park
Just outside Kingscourt, on the Carrickmacross road, is this 565 acre heritage-filled parkland on the River Cabra. Some of the attractions in Dun Na Ri Forest Park include Toba na Splinne Holy Well, Cromwell’s Bridge, The Ice House, Fleming’s Castle Ruins, Sarah’s Well and Sarah’s Bridge. You might also spot some grey and red squirrels, rabbits, mink and otters on your journey!
Lakes and Rivers
With a lake for every day of the year and rivers in abundance, County Cavan is an angler’s paradise! The fish most likely to end up at the end of your line are Roach, Bream, Rudd, Perch, Pike and Eels. The larger of the lakes include Lough Gowna, Sillan, Lough Erne, Oughter, Lough McNean and Lough Ramor. Trout can also be caught in Annagh Lake, Moyduff Lake, Lough Acurry (Grousehall) and River Erne (Belturbet), among others locations.
Other Cavan Visitor Attractions
Cavan Crystal Showroom, Drumlane Monastery, The Shannon-Erne Waterway, The Castle Lake Demesne (Bailieborough), Virginia Pumpkin Festival, Bear Essentials (Bawnboy), Killenkere Visitor and Pet Farm and Tanagh Outdoor Adventure Centre (Rockcorry).
The second largest populated city in the Republic of Ireland, Cork is often referred to by its proud ‘Corkonians’ as ‘the rebel city’ or ‘the real capital of Ireland’. The city is situated next to the River Lee and has a total of twenty-nine bridges crossing over the river within the city alone!
Nestling in-between counties Kerry, Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick, Cork is the largest county by area in the country and is one of the richest in terms of cultural and natural attractions, from gothic castles and cathedrals to dramatic mountain ranges, rivers and lakes. Indeed some people even think it has its own language, such is the distinct tone of the Cork accent!
Due to its southerly position, Cork’s weather is slightly sunnier than cities to the north of the country. Due to its proximity to one of the biggest natural harbours on the planet, the city is rarely adversely affected by lying snow. One of the biggest events the city hosts is the Cork Jazz festival every October, which draws over forty thousand revellers into the city’s venues, including the iconic Cork Opera House and Everyman Theatre.
Jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Stephan Grappelli have performed at the festival. Part of the festivities includes free jazz workshops and a very lively city centre parade.
As well as having a multitude of city attractions like Cork City Gaol, the city is only a short distance away from many of the county’s other treasure spots including Cobh harbour, where the titanic made its final stop before perishing in the icy Atlantic waters, Kinsale Town, considered the gourmet capital of the country, and Sherkin Island, which has a Franciscan friary and a regatta, and can be visited by taking a ferry from Baltimore.
The local cuisine specialities of the city include pig trotters (boiled pig’s feet), tripe and disheen (black pudding). The county’s famous black pudding, Clonakilty pudding, dates back to 1880 and its recipe is guarded as seriously as that of Coca Cola! Cork is also known for its two international renowned stouts, Murphy’s and Beamish.
Shopping within the city is a joy with retail outlets in abundance to suit every shopping crave. Patrick Street is the city’s premier shopping street, but for a real taste of Cork, a visit to the enthralling English Market is a must.
1. Jameson Heritage Centre: Based in Midleton, about twelve miles outside Cork City Centre, the visitor can enjoy a Jameson whisky tasting session, after taking the tour of the old distillery. A restaurant and craft shop are also onsite.
2. Blarney Castle: Where all visitors can kiss the Blarney Stone and inherit ‘the gift of the gab!’ this magnificent castle was built by Irish chieftain Cormac MacCarthy and is located only eight kilometres from Cork City.
3. The English Market: Indoor eighteenth century market filled with exotic delicacies and used by many renowned chefs to source their ingredients.
4. Cork City Gaol: Amazing interactive experience in this nineteenth century jail/gaol filled with wax dummy inmates and sound effects.
5. Fota Wildlife Park: Expansive seventy acre animal theme park, only a twenty minute drive from Cork Town. Restaurant and shop also onsite.
6. Pulses of tradition: Highly acclaimed tradition Irish music and dance show in Cork’s Triskel Arts Centre in Tobin Street in the city centre. Check website for show dates.
7. St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral: Historic neo-gothic Church of Ireland cathedral appropriately located on Bishop Street, designed by famous architect William Burges. Looks stunning when floodlight at night.
8. University College Cork: Wonderfully architectural, historic university with a quadrangle. The University also has lovely church with amazing stained glass windows situated on the grounds.
9. Bells of Shandon: Clock-faced bell tower offering fabulous views of the city at the top of the tower, after you climb the one hundred and six steps to get there! Visitors also get the chance to ring the bells themselves.
10. Cork Opera House: Wonderful venue for opera, theatre, popular music, musicals, film and comedy performances. The Opera House has a nice restaurant onsite as well.
11. Fitzgerald Park: Located in the Mardyke in Cork City is this pleasant public park retreat beside the River Lee, with a playground, sculptures, gardens and a fountain.
12. Spike Island: History-filled island in Cork Harbour, most recently used as a juvenile prison, which closed in 2005. Organised tours around the prison take place during the summer months.
The cultural heartbeat of Ireland, and often called The City of the Tribes because of the dominance of fourteen prominent merchant families back in the thirteenth century. Galway city and county is a popular holiday destination, not just with international visitors but also with Irish nationals.
Renowned for its popular international festivals and meetings, Galway continues to attract thousands upon thousands of eager visitors each year.
The most popular annual events include the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Races and the Galway International Oyster Festival. If oysters are not your thing, there are many other culinary delicacies to wet the appetite in the city, particularly in the Michelin star Aniar restaurant in Galway’s west end, or at the popular Galway farmers market in Church Lane.
Outside the city, the pub food can also be extremely tasty, typically using the best of local Connemara ingredients. Salthill, located just a stone’s throw from Galway City, deserves a special mention, as it is a wonderful family-orientates holiday resort. Along with its impressive beaches and two kilometre long promenade, Salthill also offers visitor a selection of amusement arcades, Galway Atlantaquaria, which is the largest aquarium in Ireland, restaurants, bars and shops, Galway Leisureland entertainment complex, a fun fair, public park, casinos, a bandstand, restaurants, bars and shops!
Visitors to Galway City will also be mesmerised by the additional wonders the county has to offer within the ever-popular Connemara region. With mountain ranges, lakes, the wild Atlantic Ocean and picturesque towns like Clifden and Roundstone, Galway County will not fail to impress. Off the county’s coast lies the gaeltacht Aran Islands where the Irish language is spoken, access to which is by boat from the Galway docks.
Another worthwhile visit outside of the city limits is to Dunguaire’s Castle Medieval Banquet in Kinvara, where visitors can visit this sixteenth castle during the day or attend the sumptuous candlelit banquet in the evening.
1. Eyre Square: In the heart of Galway City Centre this haven of ‘relative’ tranquillity was opened in memory of US President John F Kennedy and is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, bars and shops. The park has a pretty impressive fountain and is host to a wonderful Christmas market.
2. Spanish Arch: Located on the banks of the river Corrib, this historic city wall arch was built in the sixteenth century and incorporates a wood-carved sculpture called The Madonna of the Quays.
3. Quay Street: Fantastic and very lively cobblestoned street crammed with craft shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and buskers. Car free zone.
4. Galway City Museum: City Centre museum celebrating the city’s heritage, containing over one thousand artefacts. Admission is free to all visitors and the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
5. Galway Cathedral: Renaissance-styled, domed Catholic cathedral with eye-catching stained glass windows, John F. Kennedy mosaic, statues and gift shop. Also hosts the odd musical concert.
6. Hall of the Red Earl: Unusually situated under the stilts of Galway’s Customs House are the remains/artefacts of this once great hall, where the earl would hand out favours to the locals.
7. Galway University: The National University of Ireland, whose students included President Micheal D. Higgins, Hollywood actor Martin Sheen and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, has a wonderful gothic quadrangle, many historic buildings and an enormous campus with over seventeen thousand students.
8. Thomas Dillon’s Jewellers: Visit this iconic jewellery shop, originators of the Irish Claddagh Ring, which dates back to the eighteenth century.
9. Nora Barnacle House: City museum commemorating the wife of literary genius’s James Joyce, who spent her early days living in this tiny house.
10. Saint Nicholas Collegiate Church: The biggest still functioning medieval church in the country, this fourteenth church has plenty to enthral the visitor including the Knight Templar Tomb. The great Christopher Columbus supposedly attended the church to worship and the hoof marks from his horses can still be seen on the floor.
The city was voted as Ireland best tourism city in 2013 by Failte Ireland. The city’s nightlife scene is legendary, the most popular pub in town is Langton’s, which also serves scrumptious food and has a rockin’ nightclub. Other venues of note include; The Pumphouse Bar, which hosts traditional musical evenings and has an upstairs beer garden and The Venue Nightclub, a hectic dance venue!
Kilkenny City is best known for its wonderfully entertaining annual festivals. The internationally acclaimed Kilkenny Arts Festival takes place in August and typically hosts jazz, traditional, rock and popular music concerts, theatre shows like The Taming of the Shrew, dance extravaganzas, exhibitions, and parades using the world famous Macnas group.
The Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival is Ireland’s premier comedy festival with impressive line-ups that have included Dara O’Briain, Tommy Tiernan, Dylan Moran and Ardal O Hanlan, and usually tales place at the end of May/beginning of June. Another popular Kilkenny City festival which takes place in May is The Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival, which continues to attract top blue grass, rockabilly, cajun and other musical genre artists from the America and further afield.
Food lovers can take the Taste of Kilkenny Food Trail and visit many of the more popular restaurants, and cafes within the city and county, including Café Sol, Zuni Restaurant and The Thatch Pub. There are even two Michelin star rated restaurants in the city, Campagne and Lady Helen! Speciality foods produced within the county, which are easily available at source or through local fine food shops, include Cramers Grove Ice Cream, Mileeven Honey, Keoghs Model Bakery stone oven breads and cakes, Glasrai and Goddies chocolates, The Truffle Fairy truffles and Knockdrinna cheeses.
Kilkenny is a city and county that will keep you fit, if healthy outdoor activities are your thing! Go horse riding at Dunville Farm House Equestrian Centre, quad racing and clay pigeon shooting in Country Quads, caving in Dunmore Caves in Ballyfoyle, or enjoy a heritage walking tour, some angling or a sheep dog demonstration, all at in Jerpoint Park in Thomastown. Canoeing and kayaking can be experienced on the Barrow River with Go With The Flow, or why not take a swing at golfing at Pococke Golf Course in Kilkenny City.
1. The Kilkenny Way: One of the most popular things to do in Kilkenny, The Kilkenny Way experience will enlighten you about the sport of Irish Hurling and then wine and dine you with some luscious Irish lamb stew and stout in the Legends Hurling Bar in Nowlan Park Stadium. The home of probably the greatest hurling team in the country;
2. Kilkenny Castle: Situated beside the River Noir, this eight hundred year old castle has an enormous stylish courtyard, medieval tower, themed rooms including The Chinese Bedroom, gift shop and more. Guided tours take approximately forty-five minutes.
3. Saint Canice’s Cathedral: Historic gothic cathedral with stunning round tower with amazing views at the top, and a graveyard with uniquely carved headstones. The cathedral is used periodically for concerts and as a venue for the Kilkenny Arts Festival.
4. Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum: Eighteenth century gardens located outside the city in the quaint village of Inistioge. Get lost in time strolling past the formal rockeries, yew walk, rose garden, walled garden and conservatory. Or simply enjoy the ambience in the tea room or have a jolly good picnic in the gardens.
5. Castlecomer Discovery Park: Again, located not far from Kilkenny City, is this eighty acre park of mixed woodland with a craft yard, visitor centre, café and adventure playground.
6. Black Abbey: This thirteenth century Dominican Order Catholic priory contains a statue of Saint Dominic, colourful stained glass windows, a glass encased Holy Trinity sculpture, and some really ancient creepy coffins.
7. Rothe House: City Centre ancient merchant’s house converted into a wonderful museum with artefacts showing how these people lived back in the seventeenth century.
8. Butler Gallery: A city centre art gallery with works by great Irish artists including Louis le Brocquy and Jack Butler Yeats.
9. The Tholsel: Sixteenth century town hall building, originally used for taking tolls, with large, outside covered arched area, typically used by buskers or as a public meeting spot!
Killarney is the true birthplace of Ireland’s tourist industry. Its natural beauty, friendly people, welcoming pubs and restaurants have all combined to push the town to the forefront. The overriding image of the town is the humble jaunting car!
And there is no better way of experiencing the true Killarney than by taking a jaunting trip through Muckross House and Gardens. Just outside the town is the Gap of Dunloe, often described as the most picturesque tour within the country.
Typically starting at Kate Karney’s Cottage (traditional Irish bar, restaurant and gift shop) the tour of the gap can be on foot, by horseback, jaunting car or car, and can take from one and a half hours up to seven hours, depending on how you go!
Those wishing to step a little further afield, but staying within the county (Kerry) can take the internationally renowned Ring of Kerry trip, visit the wonderful gaeltacht town of Dingle/Daingean and swim with Fungie the dolphin, or take in the amazing views of Skellig Islands on the Iveragh Peninsula!
Entertainment within in town is legendary. The Celtic Steps show in the Gleaneagle Hotel has drawn widespread acclaim with its classic, traditional Irish dancing and music show. The INEC venue in the town often draws popular national and international acts to the town, ideal for those looking for a big show like Riverdance, Van Morrison or Meatloaf!
Of course the real craic can be found in the towns traditional pubs, where stout and traditional music reign! The town has over forty pubs and some of the more frequented pubs include Buckley’s Bar, Molly Darcy’s and The Laural’s Bar and Restaurant. Some of the town’s more popular restaurants include Rozzer’s Restaurant, The West End Restaurant and Treyvauds. Fastfood outlets like McDonalds, Subway and Burger King are also plentiful in the town. The best fish n’ Chips are supposedly to be had from Quinlan’s Fish and Chips on the High Street.
Those interested in an activity-based holiday will be blown away by the quantity and quality of options Killarney and its nearby villages and towns have to offer. Try a round of golf in Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, tackle an assault course in Eclipse Ireland Adventure and Equestrian Centre, a horse trek in Killarney Riding Stables, a mountain climb on Macgillicuddy’s Reeks, or a trek across the vast Killarney National Park. If your preference is to ‘sit and watch’, the Killarney Racecourse or Tralee Greyhound Track are for you.
1. Muckross Abbey: Located inside Killarney National Park, this fifteenth century abbey was originally a Franciscan friary, which was eventually ransacked by Cromwell’s soldiers in the seventeenth century. Now in ruins, the remaining structure and old graveyard, with ancient high crosses, is still a favourite destination for visitors of the town.
2. Killarney National Park: Over ten thousand hectares of stunning natural beauty, this park has it all, including a mountain range, lakes, waterfalls, red deer and a selection of nature trails. Within the park, Carrauntoohil Mountain, part of the park’s Macgillcuddy’s Reeks Mountain range, is Irelands highest mountain.
3. Muckross House and Gardens: This nineteenth century Victorian house is a must see, as are the amazing gardens surrounding it, the traditional farm, and the Muckross Pottery and Weavers facilities onsite. The house tour gives the visitor a real insight into the history of the house and those who have lived there since its construction.
4. Torc Waterfall: Beautiful eighteen metre waterfall about eight kilometres from the town. Visitors can continue the climb past the waterfall up to the top of Torc Mountain, where the views of the surrounding lakes and mountains are simply stunning. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
5. Ross Castle: Located on Ross Island, this historic fifteenth century castle is supposedly the last stronghold to be defeated by Cromwell. Wonderfully picturesque in its lake and mountainside setting, the tour of the castle is very popular during summer months, so get there early.
6. Killarney Falconry: Get up close and personal with these magnificent birds of prey, where visitors can feed the hawks directly from their arms! Specially arranged ‘Hawk Walks’ are also available.
7. Saint Mary’s Cathedral: Wonderful nineteenth century gothic Catholic church with large spire. The church has a wonderfully peaceful ambience and is ‘miraculously’ lit up when the sunrays pierce the colourful stained glass windows.
A medieval city, once conquered by the Vikings, Limerick city is also very much a trendy, vibrant university city, with one of the youngest populations in the country. Situated on the River Shannon, the city has been awarded as the 2014 National City of Culture.
Like Dublin City, Limerick City has its own O’Connell Street, which is a particularly fine example of classic Georgian architecture. The city also has its own city centre public park, called The Peoples Park, with gazebos, a fountain, a bandstand and a playground…for kids only!
The city has many wonderful shops to visit, particularly in Cruises Street, and has the usual collection of out of town shopping centres and malls, but for a really unique experience a visit to the Limerick Milk Market is a must. The market has a vast array of fine food stalls and retail outlets and operates an eclectic flea market on Fridays. The majority of shops and stalls in the market only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Those with kids might be interested in attending the market’s all weather family fair on Sundays, when face painters, jugglers and other wonderfully creative people entertain one and all. Limerick is a proud sporting county, excelling in both Gaelic hurling and Munster rugby. On match days the city is literally buzzing with excitement and passion! Limerick Racecourse and Limerick Greyhound Stadium are also exciting options for the sporting visitor to wager the odd euro or two. Both venues have excellent dining facilities as well as the obligatory bar!
The nightlife in the city is well catered for with a vast selection of cosmopolitan and traditional bars, restaurants and nightclubs to indulge the senses. Popular pubs include The Cornmarket, Charlie Chaplin’s, and The Locke Bar. Top restaurants include The Cornstore Restaurant, Foleys Olde Irish Pub and Chargrill Restaurant, and Freddy’s Bistro. And if you have enough energy left and want to lose a few calories with a dance, some of the more popular nightclubs include Icon Nightclub,
The Market Nightclub and Trinity Rooms. Festivals in the city include the wonderfully titled Pig n’ Trotter Tag Rugby Festival, and The Gospel Rising Music Festival. Those interested in theatre have the options of attending a thrilling play at either The Lime Tree Theatre or The Belltable Arts Centre. Limerick University also houses a fine 1,000 seated concert hall and is used as a base for the incredibly talented Irish Chamber Orchestra.
1. King John’s Castle: This impressive eight hundred year old castle was constructed to protect the bridge over the Shannon River into Limerick City. Inside the castle, which offers amazing views over the city from its towers, is a visitors centre, interactive displays and a café.
2. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park: So much to see and do here! Visit the castle during the day to witness its fifteenth century splendour, and then return in the evening for an incredible evening banquet to the sound of musicians in period costume. The attached folk park is also a must see, where actors take part in a reconstruction of nineteenth century life inside a brilliantly constructed replica village. Bunratty is a fifteen minute drive from Limerick City.
3. The Hunt Museum: Located in the city’s customs house, this museum is crammed with wonderful treasures going back to ancient Egypt and the stone age period. Items on display also include works by Picasso and Da Vinci! The museum has a café onsite.
4. University of Limerick: Wonderfully picturesque with an extremely large campus, this historic university has many attractions worth visiting including the Glucksman Library, the Music Hall and of course the Pavilion Bar for some well deserved refreshments.
5. Thomand Park Stadium: Home to the mighty Munster rugby team, this modern stadium lies outside the city centre and offers an impressive stadium and museum tour. Even better is to visit the stadium during match day and take in the full blooded atmosphere.
6. Limerick City Gallery of Art: Contemporary city centre museum situated inside The Peoples Park. The museum contains nearly three thousand posters of an historical nature, as well as contemporary drawings and works of art from over four hundred artists.
7. Lough Gur: Situated inside one of the country’s main archaeological sites, the area contains the largest stone circle in the country, ring forts, crannog remains and so much more. A modern visitors/heritage centre is onsite offering refreshments and gifts.
8. Saint Mary’s Cathedral: Historic Church of Ireland cathedral which contains the largest alter in the country, beautiful chandeliers and an eight-belled belfry.
The city has a fine selection of entertainment venues, including The Model Arts Centre, which is one of the country’s best contemporary art centres. Inside this award winning building are artist’s studios, two substantial art exhibitions, a digital cinema, music venue, café and book store. Shops in the town tend to be more boutique than department store in size. However, there are a nice selection of cafes, bookstores, antique shops, bars and restaurants to keep you occupied!
Fans of William Butler Yeats will be thrilled at how celebrated he is in the county. The Yeats Memorial Building, located in Hyde Bridge in the town, has a reference library, art gallery, poet’s parlour and audio visual presentations. A trip to Drumcliff graveyard, not far outside the town, is where you’ll find his humble resting place. For wining and dining, Sligo does not disappoint. Pubs in the city with traditional Irish music nights include McGlynns and Foleys. Hargadons pub on O’Connell Street is supposed to serve the best pint in town!
Some of the city’s more popular restaurants include Shell’s Café, Rugantino, Tricky’s McGarrigles, and Montmartre. As the city has its own Sligo IT College, the nightclub scene is in safe hands! Popular nightclub haunts include The velvet Room, The Clarance, and Toffs. Some of the county’s major festivals include the SÓ Sligo Food & Cultural Festival in June and the Rosses Point Shanty and Seafaring Festival, also in June. In addition, Sligo has been chosen to host the country’s biggest traditional Irish music and dance festival, The Fleadh Cheoil, this August, 2014, which will no doubt attract huge crowds into the city.
If you fancy a trip off the mainland, without going over sea, a visit to Coney Island is a must. At low tide you can drive across the sand to the island where you can visit Gowan’s pub for a pint of the black stuff, spend some time on a secluded beach, sit on Saint Patrick’s Wishing Chair, or simple take in the mesmerising views from the island. Back on the coast, Sligo has some wonderful beaches, the more popular being Rosses Point, Strandhill, Mullaghmore and Streedagh Beach. And if it’s lakes that move you, a boat trip across Lough Gill on the Rose of Innisfree boat is to be recommended, where you will see the picturesque Isle of Innisfree.
1. Carrokeel: Ancient megalithic tombs, over five thousand years old, in the Bricklieve Mountains. The trip up the mountains can be a little unnerving as the road (or lack of!) is not great, but the experience of being able to access these wondrous tombs makes the perilous journey worthwhile.
2. Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery: One of the largest megalithic cemeteries in Europe, with tombs as old as six thousand years! A visitor centre is onsite and guided tours around the cemetery are available.
3. Sligo Abbey: Pretty impressive ruins of this once proud thirteenth century abbey, right in the city centre. The high alter remains intact inside. Bram Stoker is understood to have been inspired by the abbey to write Dracula! Guided tours available
4. Voya Seaweed Baths & Spa: For a completely different experience, why not take some time out by visiting these luxurious seaweed baths, located in Strandhill.
5. Tobernalt Holy Well: This ancient Penal Times holy well is a great place for reflection and is truly atmospheric at night when it is candlelit. Entry is free; Hawks Well Theatre: The city’s premier theatre and home to many entertaining evenings of theatre, music, comedy, dance or pantomime. The cosy theatre can accommodate over three hundred patrons.
6. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception: Nineteenth century city centre, Norman-styled Catholic cathedral. Its tall eight-belled tower can be seen from many parts of the town.
7. Sligo Folk Park: Wonderful recreation of an old village street with shops. A museum, exhibition hall, cottage, farmyard and coffee shop are also onsite.
8. Dolly’s Cottage: Go back in time with a visit to this tiny two hundred year old, traditional Irish thatched cottage. Dolly’s Cottage is located an eleven minute drive from Sligo Town, in Strandhill.
9. Glencar Falls: About eight miles from Sligo, this pretty waterfall is believed to be the location that Irish poet WB Yeats wrote about in his poem, The Stolen Chid.
10. Eagles Flying: Located in Ballymoate town, witness the eagles flying next to you with their enormous wingspans. There’s also pet zoo onsite for the younger ones!
Tipperary town is located only a few miles from the stunning Glen of Aherlow, between the Slievenamuck Hills and the imposing Galtee Mountains, and is as vibrant a town as any in Ireland! The birthplace of Ireland’s extremely popular Gaelic Athletic Association games of hurling and football, Tipperary is crammed with castles, abbeys, caves, mountains, public gardens and glens, and has a deserved reputation of breeding some of the best horses in the country. For the genealogy buffs, Ballyporeen in County Tipperary is the ancestral home of US president Ronald Regan! Some of the most popular tourist attractions include, the Rock of Cashel, Mitchelstown Caves and Cahir Castle.
Rock of Cashel
This spectacular collection of medieval buildings is located 500 metres from Cashel Town. Guided tours of approx 45 minutes will show the visitor around the Gothic Cathedral, Round Tower, Romanesque Chapel, High Cross and Hall of The Vicars Choral. Make sure to bring your camera!
Mitchelstown Caves are located 16 kilometres from Cahir, next to the GalteeMountains, and contain nearly 3 kilometres of underground passages! Guided tours will take the visitor into three huge caverns, where rock formations, including the impressive column, The Tower of Bable, can be seen. Great family attraction!
One of the best preserved Castles in Ireland, CahirCastle is located on an island on the River Suir. You will be amazed at the castle’s features, including the huge walls, moat, towers, turrets and dungeons! An impressive audio visual presentation will give the visitor details of the Castle’s history, including the fact that it was surrendered to Cromwell in 1960.
Other Tipperary Tourist Attractions
South Tipperary County Museum, Franciscan Friary, Hore Abbey, Cashel Heritage Centre and Folk Village, The Glen of Aherlow, Swiss Cottage, Hollycross Abbey and Lough Derg.
Waterford is one of the oldest cities in Ireland and is situated at the head of Waterford Harbour. The city centre has a superb selection of bars, restaurants, shops and tourist attractions to suit everyone’s taste.
Those wishing to venture outside the city will find a host of exciting places to spend an afternoon including Dunmore East, probably the county’s prettiest village with its many thatched cottages, or a trip to the wonderfully imposing Dungarvan Castle.
A unique way of soaking up the county’s natural beauty is by means of the six kilometre railway trip through the Suir Valley from Kilmeaden station in restored historical carriages. The county has some amazing beaches a short drive outside the city centre.
The most popular beach is Tramore Beach, which has an amusement park and an indoor Splashworld water theme park nearby. Other popular beaches include Dunmore Beach and Clonea Beach in Dungarvan.
If sports are your thing, the city and county have a lot to offer, including a greyhound track (and restaurant) in Kilcohan Park, for a great family evening out, some pretty amazing county golf clubs, including Waterford Castle Golf Club and Tramore Golf Club, rally driving in Dungarvan, riding stables, bike tour operators and an adventure centre in Ardmore, catering for those who love to rock climb, kayak and abseil!
Those fond of horse racing can visit the Tramore racecourse. Waterford also has a proud tradition in Gaelic, particularly hurling and some very passionate games can be discovered with a visit to Walsh Park Stadium on match days.
Waterford really comes to life with music and theatre and has a great choice of festivals and theatre venues to engage all tastes, including the international street arts festival called The Spraoi Festival in August. Some of the more popular arts and theatre venues include the Theatre Royal, the Red Kettle Theatre Company and the Garter Lane Arts Theatre.
If you are more interested in treating your taste buds, then the West Waterford Festival of Food running in Dungarvan in April is for you, as are the many farmer markets scattered throughout the county.
1. The People’s Park: Over sixteen acre, city centre public park, with bicycle lane, bandstand, playground, walking track, pretty water themed structure, skateboarding area, and more! There is even a café at the entrance to the park grounds in the old gate lodge, called Park Lodge Café.
2. House of Waterford Crystal: Factory visit attraction at the home of one of the world’s most iconic crystal brands. The tour encompasses a visit to the mould room, blowing department, hand carving, cutting and engraving areas, and finishes off at the retail shop, where you can grab a piece of the action for your display cabinet! The tour takes about an hour.
3. Waterford County Museum: Dungarvan-based museum populated with exhibits reflection the proud culture and traditions of the county and its peoples. Entry is free and there is a children’s play area onsite.
4. Waterford Museum of Treasures: Extremely popular city centre, award winning museum, located on Cathedral Square. Artefacts on display reflect the city’s one thousand year old history. The audio guide is particularly useful.
5. Christ Church Cathedral: Church of Ireland Georgian cathedral with rather terrifying tombs/catacombs! Occasionally hosts musical performances. The enormous organ and wonderfully colourful stained glass windows are worth the visit alone.
6. Bishops Palace: Medieval museum and historic architectural building with exhibits including the oldest piece of Waterford Crystal on the planet! There is a popular café in the museum’s map room.
7. Waterford Nature Park: Large nature park on the Tramore Road, not far out of out of Waterford City, with walkways and up to twenty thousand shrubs for the gardening enthusiast to admire.
8. Reginald’s Tower: Historic Norman round tower with spiral staircase taking the visitor to a number of ancient artefact-filled rooms. At the top of the tower is an interesting audio display.
9. The Clock Tower: One of the city’s iconic sites, this nineteenth century gothic tower clock is situated off Waterford Quay and is definitely worth a photograph or two! The clock’s dials are four feet long!
Situated on the east coast of Ireland, the county has so much to see and do. Known internationally for its annual Wexford Opera Festival in October, the city also offers fine dining, lively bars and artisan food markets.
Throw in the castles, parks, beaches, islands, activity and sporting based pursuits, and you can bet the lucky visitor will leave Wexford with a head…and camera filled with happy memories!
Wexford is home to some of the finest beaches in the country, including the now world famous Curracloe Beach, where the impressive beach battle scenes to the Hollywood blockbuster, Saving Private Ryan, were filmed. Duncannon Beach and Ballinoulart Beach are also worth a visit.
And if a seaside family holiday is top of your list, then the lively Courtown resort is your answer. Courtown is like an open-air Butlins, with something to suit young and old! Amusement rides, golf, a sandy beach, bowling, a harbour with one of the finest fish n’ chippers in the country, and a forest park all await the fun-seeking Courtown visitor.
For those who are more ‘hands-on’, Wexford offers the visitor a mind-warping selection of pursuits! Golfers will love the range of fine courses in the county, including St Helens Bay Golf Club, Bunclody Golf Club, Rosslare Golf Links and Wexford Golf Club. Adventurists will enjoy Gravity Forest Park, which has one of the finest rope courses in the country.
If cookery is your thing, then a visit to Dunbrody Cookery School will hit the spot! Anglers and divers can avail of facilities at Wexford Boat Charters, while those preferring to be carried across land will enjoy a visit to the Shelmalier Stables. Go-karting, paintball and kids adventure centres are also available in the county.
Nature lovers will also be spoilt for choice in the county with a visit to Wexford Wild Fowl Reserve, which has a visitors centre and secretive ‘tower hide’ to carry out your bird watching unnoticed. Walkers and horticultural lovers will enjoy taking The Wexford Garden Trial, and those who like their gardens a little less formal can visit the nearby Saltee Islands, where nearly four hundred different bird species have been known to ‘hang out’.
1. Hook Lighthouse: One of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, Hook Lighthouse, located on Hook Head, is one of the oldest lighthouses on the planet that is still in use. Climb the one hundred and fifteen steps to the top and marvel at the views.
2. Wexford Opera House: Take a guided tour of this large opera house with two theatres, and see the dressing rooms, artists pit and more. Considered to be one of the grandest opera houses in Europe.
3. Dunbrody Famine Ship: Outside Wexford City, in the town of New Ross, lies this beautiful replica of a nineteenth century famine ship (often referred to as coffin ships due to the number of fatalities during the long cramped voyage), which would have carried emigrants to America. Actors onboard add to the authenticity of the experience.
4. The Kennedy Homestead: Located in New Ross is the preserved birthplace and home of John F Kennedy’s great grandfather. An audio visual presentation and original exhibits, including telegrams, add to the home’s nostalgic atmosphere.
5. Dunbrody Abbey & Hedge Maze: The kids will enjoy this one! A wonderful yew hedge maze, doll’s house and pitch and putt course are all onsite, topped off with an amazing 1210 AD Cistercian abbey.
6. Irish National Heritage Park: Located in Ferrycarrig, this natural place of tranquility will revive the senses! Onsite are a heritage centre and restaurant. The kids will love the replica medieval settlements and villages.
7. Johnstown Castle Garden: Located just outside Wexford City is this enormous, nineteenth century turreted castle. The castle is not open to the public but access to the beautiful formal gardens is allowed and worth the trip alone! There’s also an interesting agricultural museum onsite.
8. Enniscorthy Castle: A castle steeped in history that includes stories about famous Irish rebellions, the Normans and Queen Elizabeth I! The roof of the castle offers fabulous views over the local town. The museum inside covers three floors.
9. Wexford Arts Centre: Located in the city centre this busy arts centre has always something on show, be it a theatre performance, comedy act, musical recital, art exhibition or creative workshop! A café and gift shop are onsite.
Known as The Garden of Ireland, Wicklow is a visual fest to the eye with its mountains, rivers, lakes and beautifully arranged public gardens. It’s no surprise that many successful films and TV series’ have used its beauty to add to their cinematic ambience, including P.S. I love you, Excalibur, Barry Lyndon and Ballykissangel. Some of our favourite tourist attractions include; Powerscourt House and Gardens, Glendalough Visitor Centre and Avoca Handweavers Mill, see below:
1. Powerscourt House and Gardens
Set against the canvas of the Sugarloaf Mountain and only 20 kilometres from Dublin City, Powerscourt House and Gardens will amaze! Within this 47 acre wonderland, The Italian, Rose and Kitchen Gardens, as well as Ireland’s highest waterfall, are simply breathtaking. The restored Palladian-styled house has a very informative audio visual movie about the house’s complex history and outside is a wonderful terrace café. The gardens are open between 9:30am and 5:30pm every day. Highly recommended, something of interest for all ages. Bring your camera to capture some great memories!
2. Glendalough Visitor Centre
One of the most visited attractions in Ireland, Glendalough is filled with heritage and beauty. Located in a glaciated valley in the Wicklow Mountain’s National Park, the stunning lakes, monastic remains, round tower, and ancient Irish stone crosses, are a sight to behold. The visitors centre has an exhibition and audio visual presentation to wet the appetite before you head out into the wild!
3. Avoca Handweavers and Mill
Why not visit this picturesque working mill, with a colourful gift store, two award winning cafés with terraces and a gourmet food hall and deli, all located on the the Avoca River. Avoca is 21 kilometres from Wicklow town and 66 kilometres from Dublin.