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Destination: The 10 Best Things to Do in Ireland Itinerary- Dublin - Roscommon - Connemara - Achill - Cliffs of Moher - Kinsale - Cobh - Kilkenny - Dublin
by Ellen McNulty

1. Fly over Ireland: As the night sky lightens and the mists dissolve, Ireland appears. Nothing heightens the senses as your first glimpse of the Emerald Isle. Many shades of green can be spotted in postage-stamp pastures, framed by stone walls. Yes, it really is that green. Arrive in Dublin.


2. Go to a pub: Pubs are great places for a quick meal or for tea or coffee or soda and a great place to talk with the locals. The pubs are gathering spots for the local Irish community, not alcohol-fueled bars. By the way, you can generally bring a child into most pubs at any age. Many Irish pubs have traditional music evenings once a week. Go. No doubt, you'll meet a colorful group of eccentric Irish characters, who will be long-remembered after you return home.

Hear a storyteller: The Seanchi of old, the Irish word for storyteller, entertains even today with oral tales of fairies, Celtic warriors, and legendary deed-doing. Find a pub with turf fire glowing, where tales are presented and songs sung, a perfect setting in which to take you back through the romantic mists of time. You'll listen as history comes alive. A great one- the Brazen Head, Dublin (nightly except Monday, May-September).

3. Newgrange: Just north of Dublin is an historic site older than the Pyramids! Newgrange – the large cairn, or burial site – was erected during the Stone Age. Legend has it that the people here worshiped the sun, because the Newgrange tomb is situated so that the sun shines into the chambers on the shortest day of the year, December 21. 

4. Stay in a castle – We have many choices, but  a favorite is Kilronan Castle. One of Ireland’s most luxurious deluxe castle hotels, located in Roscommon Ireland, the ancestral home of the legendary Colonel King Tennison. It is one of a few Irish castle estates that can trace its history back to royal families. This secluded, luxury, hotel is majestically set on the shores of Lough Meelagh, surrounded by over forty acres of breathtaking Irish scenery, lush green pastures, ancient forests and historical points of interest. Approached by a meandering drive that passes acres of magnificent lawns, the luxury hotel overlooks a glistening lake which commands the panoramic beauty of the surrounds. Other castles.

5. Visit Achill Island:The windswept Achill Island, on the west coast of County Mayo, is associated with a female pirate (Grace O'Malley), 5,000-year-old megalithic tombs, and promontory forts. The site that stays with you, however, is the Deserted Village. There are approximately 80 ruined stone houses in the village. Each house consisted of just one room, and this room was used as kitchen, living room, bedroom, and even stable. Once a thriving community, the village was a victim of the famine and became abandoned. It is reachable by road.
6. Stay at a manor house: Located throughout Ireland, these charming country house hotels are full of character and personality and are some of the most stylish and unique places to stay in Ireland. The country house hotels exude that special combination of nostalgia, tradition, and homey atmosphere in comfortable and luxurious surroundings. Enjoy leisurely breakfasts, country walks, and cozy log fires. Relax in drawing rooms with deep sofas .In   Connemara Stay at Renvyle House – Manor house

7. Behold the Cliffs of Moher: The rugged Cliffs of Moher, looming above the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean far below, offer spectacular scenic vistas. A visit to the Cliffs, one of the most outstanding coastal features of Ireland, previously required a wind-blown scramble up a rocky incline. Now, a state-of-the-art visitor center describes the geology and history of the area and provides an indoor viewing platform of nature’s glory and the nesting grounds for many Atlantic sea birds. The Cliffs of Moher are just north of Shannon.

8. Visit Kinsale in County Cork: County Cork is filled with unique gourmet specialty producers – cheesemakers, basket weavers, and even an old fashioned English food market. Cork's pretty coastal town of Kinsale is just one of many places serving up mouthwatering seafood. Walk the colorful narrow cobbled streets down to the harbor, see the colorful shopfronts, and enjoy the scenic views. Visit the star-shaped Charles Fort with its spectacular views and learn about Ireland's history. The Old Course, one of the region's most challenging golf courses, is here, too. Known as the Pebble Beach of Ireland, the course juts into the Atlantic and rises hundreds of feet above high dramatic cliffs. It is surrounded by ocean on all sides

9. Visit Cobh: Cobh (pronounced cove) in the southwest was originally a small fishing village, and then the base for the British Navy. Many of the ships that sailed to America departed from Cobh, so if your ancestors hailed from Ireland, they may have left from here. The heritage center documents the hopes and aspirations of those who traveled from here. It is a very moving experience. Cobh is a picturesque town, and it's associated with the loss of the Titanic and the Lusitania. The graveyard for many of the victims is in the town. Now, it is a port of call for many cruise ships around Great Britain and Ireland, with shore excursions to nearby Blarney Castle or Kinsale.

10. Kilkenny: Kilkenny dates from the sixth century. What makes the town important today is that it is the finest example of a medieval town in Ireland, with a cathedral, a castle, and even a craft shop housed in the stables of the castle, where some of Ireland's finest designs are made. The town, just one and a half hours southwest of Dublin, is haunted by the spirit of Dame Kyteler, who was hanged for witchcraft in the 14th century. The spirit resides at Kyteler's Inn, but it roams the streets of Kilkenny as well. Have a pub lunch at Langton's, Ireland’s "Pub of the Year" for many years. In fact, it won so many times that the owners were asked to withdraw from the competition to give someone else a chance. Then, travel home from Dublin.

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