Dublin, Wicklow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Meath, Westmeath, Antrim, Donegal
One of Europe’s most thrilling capitals, Dublin impresses on every level. Vibrant, youthful and energetic; the city pulsates with a compelling mix of cosmopolitan and traditional, a gripping fusion of hip and history, Lose yourself in one of its thousand bars all bursting with engaging characters in search of the ‘craic’. Crammed with a glut of boutique hotels, great shopping and chic restaurants and chock-full with museums and historical buildings, the capital doesn’t miss a trick.
With a glut of boutique hotels, great shopping, mighty bars and some of the country’s most sophisticated restaurants, Dublin is fast becoming the premier city destination in Europe. Wander the maze of cobbled streets in Temple Bar, slurp a ‘pint of plain’ in the Guinness storehouse, marvel at the world famous Book of Kells, lose yourself in the Chester Beatty library – Dublin will not disappoint.
Wild and wonderful Wicklow, a county of spectacular glacial valleys, towering mountain passes and forested glens. It is the land that time forgot with magnificent early Christian sites sharing the landscape with the elegant country homes of eighteenth century nobility. Lose yourself amongst the lush, rolling hills of the ‘garden of Ireland’, in which are nestled intimate villages, cascading waterfalls and dark, rippling lakes.
Snugly tucked underneath bustling Dublin, Wicklow performs its role as green retreat to delightful perfection. Vanish over the towering gaps and enter a magical world of babbling brooks and wooded thickets, of affable villages and languid taverns. Time trickles by here, the land being parcelled out between ancient Christian sites and courtly period houses.
Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford is juxtaposition of medieval walls and elegant Georgian houses, of cobbled alleyways and modern thoroughfares. It contains the wondrous Waterford Crystal where you can marvel at the miraculous transformation of glowing-hot balls of glass into diamond-cut crystal.
The Vikings first visited here in 852AD and tourists have being coming ever since. Reginald’s Tower dominates the skyline, gazing over the bustling River Suir and the narrow medieval lanes of the Viking’s triangle. Waterford Crystal?
Ireland’s hidden gem, Westmeath is a closely guarded secret. It is filled with beautiful lakes, lazy villages, intriguing period houses and gorgeous forest parks. The county possesses a wealth of attractions from the whimsical mansion house of Belvedere with it’s sinister past to the emerald green Fore valley and it’s seven wonders.
Bashful in nature, Westmeath is Ireland’s best-kept secret. Legends abound in this beautiful county splattered with innumerable lakes, from the jealous walls of Belvedere House and the Children of Lir on the shores of Lough Derravaragh to the Seven Wonders of Fore and the Gothic romance of Tullynally Castle.
Corkonains are among the most friendly and hospitable people in the world and most visitors end up building a lifelong infatuation with Cork’s gentle charms. Oh, and make sure you pack a hefty appetite; the food in Cork is second to none. West Cork’s Atlantic battered coastline boasts a beautifully rugged natural beauty and is peppered with idyllic seaside villages.
Cork City is over 800 years old and is an artistic city home to the Cork Opera House and numerous galleries and theatres. Snug bars hosting impromptu traditional music sessions neighbour chic restaurants serving Atlantic catch and racks of Kerry lamb. Wild and epic landscape pours in every direction across the county from the capital. Plant a smacker on the Blarney Stone and gain the ‘gift of the gab’ to enable you to compete with the sharp wit of the Corkonians.
Kerry is picture perfect, mythical Ireland – craggy cliffs overlooking perfect harbours, sleepy villages crammed with a cast of characters, multi-coloured cottages, sheep-filled traffic jams, tiny taverns filled with amiable locals pounding out wild traditional music. Kerry will stir the blood and lift the soul.
Unevenness – the land of chattering dolphins, beautiful women called Rose
and oh by the way the King is a goat! Indeed this is a Kingdom with a difference! Windswept and wild, rugged and romantic – this is the mythical Ireland of dreams.
Weathered mountains, sheep studded hills, bogs and remote villages; all jaggedly sewn together by stonewalls and pounded by the mighty Atlantic forms the spellbinding beauty of Galway. Carved out of this tremendous landscape is legendary Galway City itself. Bohemian, funky and laid-back – revellers drink, sing and dance themselves around the curved, cobblestone lanes of this city steeped in history.
Galway is special, simple as that. Amidst a pulsating knot of winding, cobbled streets a carnival atmosphere is created every day. Enchanting street performers spout poetry, juggle fire and beat bodhráns while the sound of fiddles, bagpipes and harps spill from the open doors of its medieval taverns. And that’s just the city! It is encased in a county of overwhelming beauty.
Mayo is pioneer country; it is like stepping back in time. Bare beaches, abandoned bogs and deserted dwellings scatter across this county of alluring beauty. Whether it’s joining the thousands of barefoot pilgrims trudging their way up Croagh Patrick, meeting the ghost of John Wayne in Cong, praying for miracles in Knock or falling in love with the beauty Queen of Leenane, Mayo is the place to escape the demands of the modern world,
Mayo is Galway’s quiet relation, whilst travelling through it you sense that you are forging new ground. Misty mountains, silent lakes, deserted, beaches and desolate bogs all combine to create a mythical, magical land. Mayo leaves behind the stresses and demands of the modern world.
Clare is perfect desolation, the indescribable Burren flings it’s jagged limestone rocks from the plunging Cliffs of Moher as far as the eye can see. Hidden amongst this craggy desert are a bundle of prehistoric monuments, blankets of wildflowers and delightful villages like Corofin, Ballyvaughan and the secret mecca of Irish traditional music – Doolin.
From her regal Cliffs of Moher defiantly challenging the awesome Atlantic to her exceptional Burren smothering the very Earth, Clare is a beguiling beauty. Explore the Ailwee caves which burrow for endless miles into her very heart, feast like a King at Bunratty Castle or discover the source of Irish traditional music and unearth the terrific essence of Clare.
Perched precariously on the outer tips, Donegal has a powerful sense of the final Irish frontier. Indeed, whilst buffeted and pummelled by the mighty elements on the outer reaches of Malin Head you experience an epic end-of-earth feeling. Donegal’s is a sheer beauty of gnarled promontories, desolate beaches and meandering streams.
Donegal’s untamed landscape is so fierce that at times it appears to threaten to engulf all in its wake. Miraculously however, some spellbinding gems strive amidst their hostile environment- quirky Ballyshannon town clasping the benevolent River Erne, Glenveagh National Park and it’s might oaks or Bloody Foreland and its crimson sunsets.
Meath is Ireland’s most enduring link to it’s mighty past as an island of saints and scholars; its amazing relics stand defiant ignoring the ravages of time and invading armies. Brú na Bóinne is one of the most extraordinary sites in the world, the jewel in it’s crown is the mind blowing Newgrange. All of these gems lie under the epic shadows of the Hills of Slane and Tara, the sacred dwellings of St. Patrick and the gods,
The Royal County possesses a glut of regal treasures to prove the merits of its lofty moniker. Newgrange is one of the most extraordinary sites in the world; a visit inside this 4,000-year-old passage tomb is an unforgettable experience. Its knolly neighbours are no historical slouches either – the Hill of Slane is the site where St. Patrick proclaimed Christianity and the Hill of Tara was once residence to the pagan gods.
Kilkenny welcomes visitors like long lost family, a few days here and you feel like a local, perhaps it’s because they have being entertaining guests since Norman times. Kilkenny is Ireland’s cosiest city, its winding medieval lanes secretively slumbering astride the meandering River Nore amongst rolling green hills, while Kilkenny Castle maintains it’s watchful vigil over the bustling town.
Kilkenny City is Ireland’s most authentic medieval towns; Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey have being residing here since the thirteenth century. Remarkably these ancient structures rest seamlessly with hip bars, chic restaurants and fashionable boutiques. Pull up a high chair, grasp your pint of Kilkenny and make lifelong friends with the soon to be familiar locals.
Antrim is a treasure trove of scenic beauty, its peculiar black basalt and chalk white landscape is pocketed by magnificent castles slumbering in deep, forested glens. It is also possesses in the Giant’s Causeway of one of the most curious and remarkable geological sites in the world. Belfast is the pounding heart of the county, rejuvenated and confident, she’s sparkling once again.
Rejuvenated, confident and hopping, the soul of Antrim, Belfast is gleaming once again. Sup a Guinness in one or three of its elegant Victorian pubs before setting out to catch all the city has to offer. Antrim itself is spectacularly beautiful with a host of fantastic sights such as The Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, the entire North Antrim Coast….oh and you can sneak around Bushmills famous distillery!