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Video courtesy of Discover Ireland Tourism

Ireland is the perfect place to visit. With its physical and spiritual qualities, relaxing pace of life, beautiful and varied scenery, and a sea which is never far from sight. Most of the hills and mountains rise up around the coast, while the middle of the country boasts a great limestone plain, gently rolling in parts, and scattered with inlets. When visiting, you will lose yourself in wilderness and beauty, the charm of Ireland and its people. Of course, decent whiskey and a great pint of beer are always close at hand!

Is Ireland’s capital and it has a wealth of attractions, most within walking distance of each other. Central Dublin is divided into three sections – Southeast, the heart of the modern city and home to prestigious Trinity College; Southwest – site of the old city around Dublin Castle; and North of the Liffey – the area around imposing O’Connell Street, a busy thoroughfare with a fine mix of architectural styles.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. St. Patrick is said to have baptized his followers here and you will see an inscribed stone in the nave’s south west corner marking the saint holy well.

Dublin Castle stands in the heart of old Dublin and was a symbol of English rule for seven centuries. On the first floor of the castle are the luxury State Apartments, including St. Patrick’s Hall. These rooms, with Killybegs carpets and Waterford glass, served as home to the British-appointed Viceroys of Ireland.

Christ Church Cathedral stands dramatically on a high slope near Dublin Castle. One of the city’s grandest buildings, the Cathedral hosted the first reading of English liturgy in Ireland.

If you prefer to spend some time shopping, nearby Grafton Street hosts Brown Thomas department store. Numerous side streets off Grafton (such as Anne Street and Duke Street) offer smaller craft and antique shops.

Ireland’s third largest city, Cork, owes its early growth to its ideal situation as a port. The waterways where ships came to transfer cargoes eventually became the modern streets and thoroughfares one sees today. No tour of Ireland seems complete without a visit to Blarney Castle, located just five miles north of Cork city. It is from the parapet walk one of the battlements that one can lean over backwards to kiss the famous stone and be blessed with the “gift of the gab”!
The town of Kenmare is famous for its traditional lace. During the famine years, nuns from the local convent, St. Clare’s, introduced lace-making to create work for women and girls. Kenmare is also an excellent base for exploring the Beara Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry, one of Ireland’s best-known drives.

The Dingle Peninsula offers some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery. A drive around the area will take at least a half-day and will reveal fascinating antiquities ranging from Iron Age stone forts to inscribed stones, early Christian oratories and beehive huts.

On Ireland’s south coast, has been an important place throughout history. Today, it is Ireland’s fourth largest city and well-known for its crystal factory, the largest in the world. Production of Waterford crystal began in 1729; but the oldest of today’s factories dates from 1952 when the craft was revived after a production gap of 100 years.

While in Waterford, you may want to visit Reginald’s Tower, hosting the city’s Civic & Maritime Museum. The Tower has walls ten feet thick that still bear the scars of cannon assault. In its time, it has been a prison and a mint as well as a defensive fortification.

In the western part, you will find the enchanting Connemara country, known for its sturdy breed of pony. An area of unparalleled scenic beauty, the Connemara is dominated by rocky mountains called the Twelve Bens. Clifden, Connemara’s main and “prettiest” town, is situated on the Atlantic coast and boasts a magnificent mountain background. Its profile is enhanced by the tapering spires of its two churches.

Galway city is the largest in the west of Ireland. It is at the head of Galway Bay, where the river Corrib flows from the Lough down to the sea. Across the wide entrance to Galway bay lie the three Aran Islands with their distinctive Irish-speaking communities. Galway has always been the chief trading post for the islands.

The famous Cliffs of Moher are a must-see attraction in Co. Clare. Soaring almost 700 feet above the sea, the cliffs extend some five miles along the Atlantic coast. The best views are from O’Briens Tower and on a clear day, you can see across the open waters all the way to Co. Galway and the distant mountains of Connemara.
There’s no such thing as a perfect time to visit Ireland. The summer months are considered high season for visitors. They come for the long sunny evenings, parks in full bloom and eating al fresco in cafés. There are also festivals around every corner in summer.

Autumn and spring are mid-seasons, you will see bronze-burnished leaves about in autumn, while spring sees nature kick into gear and flowers blossom. Winter you can enjoy a walk through a national park on a clear, crisp winter’s day seeing nature at its most impressive.

July is the hottest month in Dublin with an average temperature of 16°C (60°F) and the coldest is January at 5°C (41°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 6.3 in May. The wettest month is August with an average of 80mm of rain.

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