Ancient legends, inspiring natural beauty and vibrant cities—see the highlights of this beautiful country with a complete journey through Ireland. Tours from Dublin on the Belmond Grand Hibernian train are sure to stay with you for a lifetime. Let y
Dublin enjoys one of the loveliest natural settings in Europe. Dublin attracts visitors from around the world with its old world charm and friendly atmosphere. Most of the architecture dates from the 18th century, when Dublin enjoyed great prominence and prosperity. Also of interest are stately Georgian houses which front Merrion Square. O'Connell Street is considered the commercial center of Dublin. Perhaps the most memorable feature of Dublin is the traditional pub, where visitors can enjoy conversation over fine Irish brew. The city also offers many fine parks, including St. Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park. National Gallery's renowned collection includes works by such famous masters as Rembrandt and Monet. Trinity College's Old Library is home to the most cherished treasure, the Book of Kells, a manuscript of the Gospels. Admire Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Enjoy the exhibits in impressive National Museum. Self-guided walking tours include Old City Trail, Georgian Heritage Trail and the Cultural Trail.
Nestled in southeast Ireland, Waterford combines low farmland and sandy coastlines with rugged landscape typical of County Cork. The town is an ancient Viking settlement whose roots go back to the 8th century. Even today there is a medieval feel about Waterford with its ancient fortifications, 18th century cathedrals, and fine Georgian houses, particularly around The Mall, George's Street and O'Connell Street. While the town is charming, it regained world recognition with the re-opening of the crystal factory offering once again the famous, exquisite glassware of the town's name. Take a walking tour of Historic Waterford to get an understanding of Waterford's complex history. The 70-foot Reginald's Tower was built in the 11th century. Climb the stone spiral staircase for a great view of the city. The ruins of French Church are part of a Dominican monastery built in 1240 AD given to Huguenot refugees in the 17th century. The Theater Royal and City Hall are considered architectural masterpieces by John Roberts.
Belfast is popular with travelers who come to discover the city’s physical beauty and renewed tranquility. Enjoy performances at the Grand Opera House, shopping along trendy Donegall Place and visiting numerous pubs along The Golden Mile. St. Anne’s Cathedral, also known as Belfast Cathedral, is the principal church of the Anglican Church of Ireland and contains stones from every county in Ireland. Located next to Europa Hotel, the Grand Opera House boasts an impressive mix of large productions of opera, ballet, musicals and drama. Known as the Big Ben of Belfast, the Albert Memorial Clock Tower was built in 1869 to commemorate the Prince Consort. Built in 1849 as one of Queen Victoria’s colleges, Queens University is one of the foremost universities in the British Isles. The classical-style building of Stormont, erected in 1928-32 to house the Parliament of Northern Ireland, stands 3.5 miles outside the city. The Prince of Wales Avenue is exactly one mile long and is bordered by rose beds containing 600 of the famous Korona roses noted for their scarlet blooms.
A town of churches, bridges and pubs, Cork is best known for Blarney Castle where you are invited to kiss the famed stone to acquire the "gift of gab." St. Patrick Street, the town's main thoroughfare, is good for shopping and people watching. See the Shandon bells in St. Anne's church. Those who are willing to climb the 134 winding steps to the top of the steeple will be rewarded with a wondrous view of the city, harbor and hills.
Developed by Lord Kenmare as a tourist town in the 18th century, Killarney is now the major tourist centre and accommodation base in Kerry. It is the centre for the Ring of Kerry tour, the focal point for the Killarney National Park and the Kerry Way Walking Trail.
Galway is a city, a county, and an experience to be savoured and remembered. The historic city of the tribes dances to a beat uniquely it's own. There is a certain chemistry and vibrancy to this friendly university city, which many delight in, and few forget. Music, festivals, horse racing, pubs, restaurants, shops, theatres and most of all -Galway people, combine to create this atmospheric medieval city of culture. From this pulsating heart the rest of the county flows.
Galway Bay, immortalised in song, its beauty unchanging. Scenic Gaeltacht areas including the Aran Islands. Connemara, with the picturesque town of Clifden as its capital. Mountains, castles and stone walls, banks of turf, long sandy beaches, clear lakes, joyful leaping streams and flowing rivers. The mighty Shannon, delightful countryside punctuated by pretty villages, traditional pubs.
Photo used with permission
from Joe Desbonnet, www.galway.net
Limerick City is magnificently sited on one of Europe's finest rivers, the River Shannon. One can only imagine the 9th century scenes, when fleets of Viking vessels sailed up the river to plunder and terrorise the monastic midlands. In later centuries these Norsemen settled and founded the trading port of Limerick.
To-day Limerick is a proud, progressive and thriving City with a charter older than that of London. Its castles, ancient walls and museums are testament to its dramatic past. Particularly worth viewing is Limerick's Emblem 'the Treaty Stone" and King John's Castle in its Heritage precinct as well as the magnificent Hunt Museum in Limerick's Custom House. This museum houses an internationally important collection of some 2,000 original works including pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Renoir and Picasso.
Limerick City is the Capital of the Shannon Region and is an excellent centre for shopping. It is also rapidly building a reputation for dining and the City has its own 'Good Food Circle' of restaurants. The City is also considered to be the sporting capital of Ireland with excellent facilities and passionate followers of all sporting activities. Limerick is an excellent holiday base, is just 30 minutes from Shannon Airport, and less than 20 minutes from attractions such as world-famous Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
Westport, designated one of Bord Failte's Heritage Towns, is situated in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay. One of the few planned towns in the Country, Westport was designed in the 18th Century by James Wyatt. It has become one of Ireland's established tourism centres, with many outstanding features, most notably the beautiful tree lined boulevard known as The Mall, running parallel to the Carrowbeg River.
Croagh Patrick, one of Europe's best know places of Pilgrimage, has provided a tough ascent for many pilgrims each year, climbing barefoot in the memory of St. Patrick, who spent forty days and forty nights fasting on the summit more than 1,500 years ago. A small church at the summit of the mountain welcomes penitents, while magnificent views of Clew Bay, with an island for every day of the week, provides inspiration for many walkers and visitors throughout the year.
Westport town boasts many tourist facilities. An excellent 18 hole Championship Golf Course is located on the Golf Course Road, just off the Newport Road, approximately one mile outside the town centre. This fabulous golf course guarantees excellent golf and scenic splendour.
Horse riding and Pony trekking is on offer all year round. Clay pigeon shooting, sea angling, hill walking, sailing and adventure sports are among the many other activities on offer to the visitor.
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Located in County Cork, Charleville is the second largest town between Limerick and Cork, and is connected easily by railway network. The historic town, founded in 1661, has numerous pubs and is probably best known for its cheese.
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