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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What to do in Ireland

Poulnabrone Dolmen, :en:County Clare, :en:Irel...Image via Wikipedia

The Emerald Island is a fabulous place to visit and I have driven most routes of this green island and enjoyed every trip. Eire is known for many things, its genuine hospitality, the lush green fields and the traditional music, as well as Guinness and the non-stop raining, much of which is true although some of it is more of a myth and a legend.

There are a few places every tourist wants to go to and have to see, and then there are a few less touristy spots for the traveler who wants to drive on gravel roads in the middle of nowhere and get a feel for the true, rural Ireland.

1. Newgrange; this Neolithic tomb and the tombs around Newgrange are fascinating places to visit just north of Dublin. The entrance fees include guided tours to the tombs and the enthusiasm and expertise of the tour guides is first-class.

2. Cliffs of Moher; these beautiful cliffs in County Clare cannot be missed. They have recently built a new visitors centre and the security along the cliffs are much improved. All this can't take away from the stunning scenery though. On a good day you can see as far as the Aran Islands.

3. Killarney and the Ring of Kerry; I have grouped these together as you would visit these during the same trip. Killarney is a beautiful town set among the Kerry Mountains. It's close to the National Park and you can stroll to the Ross Castle or go to the Muckross House and Abbey. The Ring of Kerry is a beautiful scenic route which takes you along the peninsula.

4. The Burren; an area in Clare where you have limestone everywhere. Make sure to visit the Burren centre in Kilfenora and the Ailwee caves. The Poulnabrone Dolmen is a much photographed ancient monument and a stop here is a must.

5. Connemara National Park; rugged and dark is this part of County Galway. You can drive through the bogs or make your way along the more scenic routes. The sea town of Clifden is a lovely spot to visit with good accommodation.

6. The Aran Islands; Ireland at its most rural. You see stone houses after stone houses. Aran sweaters and other clothes as well as a variety of arts and crafts are for sale. You can rent a bike or go on one of the tours.

7. Donegal; a county less frequented by tourists, but one of Ireland's most scenic and beautiful spots. The recent economic boom has not left as much mark here as in other parts of the country so you will feel like you have traveled back in time.

8. New Ross; this little town in county Wexford has one of the best museums in Ireland. Namely the emigrant ship Dunbrody that once took Irish passengers over to America. This place is well worth a visit even if it's only to see the ship.

I often find that there are hidden treasures along the way. There are plenty of castles and abbeys hidden away along the smaller roads. Along the coast there are plenty of nice beaches to visit. Find an area you like to visit and then let the area dictate where to take you.

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  1. So are you constantly traveling or what? Amazing that you have so much info on so many different places!

  2. I love travelling and go to a few different places every year. Through the years I have been fortunate enough to see a lot of the world and I'm now sharing some of that here.