Ireland – My Home
There are several sites you just have to see when you travel to Ireland – from the windswept Cliffs of Moher to the rain-soaked Aran Islands. If ancient history is your thing, Ireland has plenty of it. For sheer unadulterated, natural, beauty try the entire county of Kerry. But there is more to Ireland than countryside and rocks, as any number of attractions in Dublin, such as Trinity College and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
To narrow the list down to 10 is quite a challenge, and there’s some that could be on the list, but I’ll keep them as a secret for my clients. Nevertheless, this list reflects an array of tourist attractions from Ireland, with something for everyone. If there’s somewhere you want to visit that’s not on this list, I can make it happen.
The Ring of Kerry
For many people around the world, the Ring of Kerry drive encapsulates their image of Ireland: ancient monuments, romantic castles, spectacular gardens and colorful towns and villages. The stunning scenery, dramatic coastline, charming locales and ancient archaeological treasures have been featured in postcards, film, poetry and song.Here, the idealized view of Ireland as a land of rural greenery and natural beauty springs to reality. Tourists come to Kerry to experience this rare dip into a lifestyle foreign in pace, philosophy and spirit. Each twist and turn on a drive around the Ring of Kerry reveals new sights – windswept cliffs, breathtaking scenery, spectacular lakes, rich flora and fauna, green and yellow checkered hills and unspoiled beaches.
Killarney is a vibrant town with the most beautiful surroundings. The area is best known for its woodlands, lakes and waterfall and magnificent views of the mountains. The town is full of enthusiastic and friendly locals. It has a lively music scene and there are plenty of pubs to explore. It makes an ideal base for exploring the Ring of Kerry and surrounding area. The town is steeped in history and heritage and there is plenty to see and do. The attractions are
- Ross Castle
- Killarney National Park Entrance
- Muckross Castle and Gardens
- Torc Waterfall
- Ladie’s View
A popular activity is to take a ride in a traditional jaunting car. You will not be disappointed with a visit to Killarney and it will leave you planning your next trip back.
The Cliffs of Moher
The most famous and breathtaking part of Ireland’s craggy west coastline is the Cliffs of Moher area, which feature some of the most breathtaking views on the entire island.The Cliffs stretch for almost 5 miles and rise up to 702 feet over the waters of the Atlantic ocean. The amazing view from the Cliffs includes the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, The Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk Mountains.
The landscape and seascape of the Cliffs of Moher have, for centuries, welcomed a multitude of visitors; close to 1 million people per year now travel to this iconic location.But don’t get the wrong impression – just because many people flock to the site, this in no way spoils the experience of being there; it’s easy to forget your surroundings and lose yourself in nature as you stand near the edge of the majestic cliffs.
Kinsale is a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, Ireland, which also has significant military history. Located some 25 km south of Cork City on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it sits at the mouth of the River Bandon and has a population of 2,257, which increases substantially during the summer months when the tourist season is at its peak and when the boating fraternity arrive in large numbers. Kinsale is in the Cork South–West (Dáil Éireann) constituency, which has five seats. Kinsale is a popular holiday resort for Irish and overseas tourists. Leisure activities include yachting, sea angling, and golf. The town also has several art galleries and a school of English. The town is compact with a quaint air of antiquity in the narrow streets. There is a large yachting marina close to the town centre. The town is known for its restaurants, and holds an annual “Gourmet Festival”.
At Waterford Crystal they practice two types of cutting, Wedge Cutting and Flat Cutting. Advances in technology mean that today they use industrial diamond tipped wheels to cut the crystal, the diamond wheel gives a high quality and cut to the crystal. The Master Cutter must rely on his own skill to judge the amount of pressure that is required to hold the crystal to the wheel; too much pressure will cause a cut through to the other side. Each of their craftsmen has trained for a minimum of 8 years to master their craft. They are responsible for giving each piece the clear and sparkling cut that is the distinctive hallmark of Waterford Crystal.
At Bunratty Castle everywhere is open for you to explore! You will be charmed as you visit the farm houses and cottages and watch the tasks of rural Irish families. Make sure you see the baking of the griddle bread next to the fire and tasting it hot with fresh creamery butter. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. The gardens at Bunratty Folk Park have been restored to their former glory. The gardens are modeled on the original Regency period garden which supplied fruit, vegetables, and flowers to Bunratty House (built in 1804) and are refurbished in typical Victorian style. This is your opportunity to experience one of the great gardens of Ireland.
The Burren, which is formed by limestone karst plates (in other words, it’s a great big rocky mass) is one of Ireland’s most famous natural attractions.The limestone terrain holds a special fascination for geologists and botanists for its Mediterranean and alpine plants. Described as a botanist’s paradise, the Burren has one of the most diverse and beautiful floras in Ireland: 635 different plant species (including 22 of Ireland’s 27 native orchids) have been recorded here.The region also has a number of more rare and elusive species such as the carnivorous pine marten, the snake-like slow worm and the rare lesser horseshoe bat, as well as over 100 breeding birds and almost all of Ireland’s native butterfly species.The diversity of species is due to a happy coincidence of natural and cultural factors. As well as the unique growing environment provided by the thick limestone and thin soil, low impact traditional farming practices such as the ancient practice of winter grazing contribute to the presence of this rich flora. The European Union has designated most of the Burren as a Special Area of Conservation, a title reserved for the finest natural environments in Europe.
The Skellig Islands are two small, steep, and rocky islands lying about 13 km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. The larger of the two is Skellig Michael (also known as Great Skellig) and, together with Little Skellig, are at the centre of a 364 hectares (900 acres) Important Bird Area established by BirdWatch Ireland in 2000. Skellig Michael is also famous for an early Christian monastery that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Skelligs were recently used by the Lucas Film company to film the recent installment of Star Wars.
The Blasket Islands
The Blasket Islands – In the 1920s and 1930s the Blasket Island writers produced books which are deemed classics in the world of literature. They wrote of Island people living on the very edge of Europe, and brought to life the topography, life and times of their Island. They wrote all of their stories in the Irish language. Sadly, the Blasket Island community declined as a result of the persistent emigration of its young people, until eventually the Island was abandoned in 1953 when only 22 inhabitants remained.
The Great Blasket Island remains uninhabited today, but visitors can travel by ferry over to this remote and wildly beautiful place and spend several hours or all day marvelling at its natural beauty and what remains of years of human endeavour.
Cobh (formerly Queenstown) is a pretty seaside town in County Cork, Ireland. Cobh was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. These included Annie Moore and her two brothers – the first immigrants to be processed on Ellis Island in New York. On 11 April 1912 Queenstown was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic as she set out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage.
Set on 15 acres and beautifully restored, this is where the true heart of Irish whiskey beats. This old distillery is a unique experience with some of the buildings dating back to 1795. Take a journey through history and see the old kilns, mills and malting, water wheel and old warehouses. The Jameson Experience in Midleton is one of the top attractions in Cork.