Attractions in Ireland
Knappogue Castle & Walled Garden
Dating from 1817, the beautiful 1.25-acre garden is now restored. The tall and imposing walls of the walled garden have now been replenished.
The garden's main features include the pergola, the tranquil bandstand, and the rockery with fernery, shrubberies and pathways lined with herbaceous borders.
Located near Quin, County Clare 11km east of Ennis off the R469. Open viewing for viewing 7 days a week.
The National Botanic Gardens
Located in Dublin offer free admission or guided tours. The gardens were founded in 1795 by the Royal Dublin Society and taken over by the state in 1878.
Another great garden in Dublin is the Iveagh Gardens, close to St. Stephen's Green. This garden has been open to the public only a few years. The estate was built during the 18th Century.
County Wicklow is known as "The Garden of Ireland". It is home to the following magnificent horticultural wonders: Powerscourt Estate, Russborough, Mount Usher Gardens, Killruddery House and Gardens, and Avondale House and Forest Park. From May through July is the Wicklow Garden Festival
Powerscourt House, Gardens and Waterfall is located at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. Richard Wingfield, the Viscount of Powerscourt, created the gardens in the 1740's.
Muckross House and Gardens in County Kerry. Muckross House is a magnificent Victorian mansion built in 1843. The famed gardens are world-renowned. They are noted for the collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, a rock garden and the many walk ways along the shores of the lake.
The Victorian Gardens at Kylemore Abbey are located in Connemara, County Galway. A wealthy Englishman built it for his bride. After her sudden death, the property sat vacant. During WWII, the Benedictine Nuns purchased the estate. The National Trust operates the gardens at Mount Stewart in County Down, Northern Ireland. The gardens encompass 80 acres. It has a variety of different kinds of gardens and a vast array of plants.
Belfast City once you are in Belfast, take advantage of what it has to offer. Ulster Museum is noted for its Irish antiquities, Ulster history and displays of art, The Early Ireland Gallery (10,000 BC to 1,500 BC), and treasures from the Armada shipwreck, Girona.
Linen Hall Library, located on Donegal Square, was established in 1788. It houses an Irish collection of over 20,000 volumes and a Robert Burns collection.
Crown Liquor Saloon is the most famous pub in Belfast. The building is of Victorian architecture, with the outside covered in thousands of colorful tiles. The inside décor has stained and painted glass, carved oak screens and mahogany furniture.
The Golden Mile has restaurants, galleries, entertainment venues, and pubs.
Culturlann Macadam O'Fiaich, on the Falls Road, is Belfast's main Irish language arts center. There are many murals painted on the buildings that depict the plight of Irish Catholics from An Gorta Mor to the 21st Century.
Fernhill House: The People's Museum tells the history of the Protestants in the Shankill District. The murals painted on the buildings depict their story over the past 30 years.
Belfast Castle was built in 1870 and was the former home of the Donegall family. It offers a spectacular view of the city. There is a heritage center, antique shop, and children's play area on the premise.
County Clare, steeped in history, offers beautiful seascapes, landscapes, lakes, cliffs, caves and music. There is a multitude of activities to enjoy indoors and out. Here we have highlighted The Burren, The Cliffs of Moher, and Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
You can walk your way to the discovery of ancient civilization on a 26-mile sign posted "Burren Way" from Ballyvaughn to Liscannor. There are stone dolmens, ring forts, churches, crannogs, monasteries, and holy wells. The Burren has over 60 Stone Age burial monuments and 400 Iron Age ring forts.
Doolin is a very small port village where you can catch a ferry to the Aran Islands. It is famous for the quality of traditional music played in sessions at the three pubs.
The Cliffs of Moher just south of Doolin, are one of the most spectacular sights of The Burren. These majestic cliffs rise more than 700 feet above the wind swept Atlantic Ocean.
Dublin is a city steeped in history. Along with its rich past, Dublin has been made famous in song from "Molly Malone" (the Tart with the Cart), to "Summer in Dublin". It boasts of having the oldest pub in Ireland, "The Brazen Head", and the oldest university, Trinity College. It is a center of art and culture and is the largest cosmopolitan city in Ireland.
General Post Office (GPO), is located on O'Connell Street. It was the headquarters for the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the provisional government of Ireland in the 1916 Easter Rising.
Dublin Writers Museum is an 18th century restored mansion located at the north end of Parnell Square. The museum houses the works of some of Ireland's best writers, including: Behan, Joyce, Shaw, Swift, Widle, and Yeats.
Old Jameson Distillery, on Bow Street in Smithfield Village, tells the story of the "Water of Life". Guided tours are offered in the original distillery and at the end you get a taste.
All kinds of music abound in Dublin, including American Country-Western, Classical, Jazz, Rock and Traditional Irish known as a "session". There are several entertainment newspapers circulated throughout the city, which provide excellent entertainment information.
County Cork is the largest county in Ireland; Cork City is the second largest city in the Republic. Blarney Castle was built by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster in 1446.
To reach the Blarney Stone, you climb 120 steps to the roof. The stone is built into the outer face of a gap in the battlements.
Cork City is basically an island with 16 bridges, the River Lee flows around it.
Kinsale is a quaint fishing and resort town with a picture perfect harbour. There are wonderful narrow streets lined with colorfully painted buildings. It is renowned for its art galleries and gourmet restaurants.
Kinsale is considered the Gourmet Capital of Ireland. There is an abundance of accommodations to choose from ranging in price and amenities. Kinsale is a very popular tourist spot, especially during the high season.
At the Battle of Kinsale, in 1601, the English defeated the Irish with their Spanish allies. This marked the end of the Gaelic Aristocracy.
Galway City (Gaillimh) is known as the City of Tribes after 14 merchant families who controlled and managed the city in medieval times. It is situated along the River Corrib at the mouth of Galway Bay.
Spanish Arch is a relic of the Spanish influence that dominated the tribes of Galway. The Arch was built in 1584.
Connemara is located north of Galway City, at the western tip of the county. Connemara is known for its wild beauty. There are gorgeous islands, beaches and harbours. It is one of the most unspoiled regions of Ireland.
Clifden known as the capital of Connemara offers beautiful beaches, unique shops and antiques. John Darcy founded the town in 1812.
Roundstone is a fishing village situated in the heart of Connemara.
Aran Islands are located 30 miles off the Irish coast. It is a barren landscape comprised of exposed limestone terraces that ends in a shear 300-foot drop to the Atlantic Ocean.
Inishmore (Inis Moir), meaning Big Island, is eight miles long and two miles wide, and has a population of 900. The fort of Dun Aengus is built on the edge of a sheer southern cliff with a defense forest of sharp stone spikes.
Inishmaan. (Inis Meain), means Middle Island. It is three miles wide and two miles long, with fields bordered by high dry stonewalls, and marked by vast sheets of limestone rock. The island peaks at 300 feet and a series of giant terraces slope down to Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The island has a Gaelic speaking population.
County Kerry often referred to as "The Kingdom”. The climate in Kerry is more unique than other places in Ireland. The warm waters from the Gulf Stream bathe the coastline. The water is generally warm enough to swim in all year. Very beautiful flora flourishes here. The oak woods at Derrycunnihy and Tomies are the last of Ireland's primeval forests.
Dingle Town (An Daingean) is a fishing village that offers a wonderful selection of shops, restaurants and pubs with marvelous traditional music. This natural harbour is the area that Fungi the Dolphin comes to play, many times being the main attraction.
Killarney (Cill Airne, meaning church of the Sloes), dating back to 1604, is an area that now caters to the tourist. There are a multitude of places to shop, stay and enjoy a drink. Killarney is famed for its natural beauty in the mountains, lakes, and landscape.
The Ring of Kerry is located on the Peninsula of Iveragh (Uibh Rathach). It lies between Dingle Bay and The Kenmare River. It is 110 miles of gorgeous coastal and mountain scenery, enveloping the towns of Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Sneem, Kenmare, and Killarney.
County Mayo is located in the west of Ireland, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. There is diverse, unspoiled scenery from mountains to valleys, cliffs, and beaches with many attractions and activities that appeal to everyone.
County Meath has traditionally been known as the Royal County. This was the seat of the ancient Kings of Ireland at Tara. It is also the county where the Book of Kells originated, now housed in Trinity College, Dublin. In the Boyne Valley of County Meath are some of Ireland's most important archeological monuments, including the Megalithic Passage Tombs of Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Fourknocks, Loughcrew and Tara. Access to the sites are available at Bru na Boinne Irish Heritage Site.
Newgrange is the most famous of these prehistoric monuments. It was originally built around 3,100 B.C. and accidentally discovered in the 17th century.
Dowth, another monument, is 280 feet in diameter and 47 feet high. Inside there are two passage tombs and an early Christian chamber. While under excavation, these passage tombs are not open to the public.
County Offaly is situated in the Midlands, offers bogs, meadowlands, and undiscovered pleasure.
Clonmacnoise is located at Shannonbridge, on the banks of the River Shannon. It is one of the most famous monastic sites. Clonmacnoise began as an isolated monastery founded by St. Ciaran in 545 A.D. of the Blackwater.
Rock of Cashel dates back a thousand years before St. Patrick. It was the stronghold of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland in the 10th century. The ruin consists of a large cathedral, ancient round tower, and Cormac's Chapel. It is situated on the top of a rocky hill. Bru Boru is the interpretive center at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. Along with the history of the area, the center incorporates folk theater, a craft center, genealogy site, and an information center. Guided tours are also available.
The Ulster American Folk Park is located three miles north of Omagh, in Camphill. The Folk Park is an open-air living history museum and explores Ulster's links to the many famous Americans who trace their ancestry to the North of Ireland. The park is comprised of an indoor gallery with information on the causes and patterns of immigration. Outside are a variety of reconstructed buildings of 18th and 19th century Ireland
County Wicklow is often referred to as the "Garden of Ireland". County Wicklow has some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Ireland. It has spectacular views of mountains, valleys, lakes and coastline. Wicklow is located just south of Dublin and makes for a wonderful day trip or overnight stay.
HISTORY – IRELAND
The history of Ireland began around 8000 BC, with arrival of man from continental Europe, probably via a land bridge. Following the arrival of Saint Patrick and other Christian missionaries in the early to mid-5th century AD, Christianity replaced the indigenous pagan religion by the year 600.
For more than a century Viking invasions brought havoc upon the monastic culture and on the island's various regional dynasties, yet both of these institutions proved strong enough to survive and assimilate the invaders. The coming of Cambro-Norman mercenaries under Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed Strongbow, in 1169 marked the beginning of more than 700 years of direct Norman and English involvement in Ireland.
The overthrow, in 1613, of the Catholic majority in the Irish parliament was realised principally through the creation of numerous new boroughs, all of which were Protestant-dominated. By the end of the seventeenth century all Catholics, representing some 85% of Ireland's population then, were banned from the Irish parliament. Political power rested entirely in the hands of an Anglo settler-colonial, and more specifically Irish Anglican, minority while the Catholic population suffered severe political and economic privations. In 1801, the Irish Parliament was abolished and Ireland became an integral part of a new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
The Irish Parliamentary Party eventually won Home Rule int 1914, though suspended on the outbreak of World War I. In 1922, after the Irish War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the larger part of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom (UK) to become the independent Irish Free State — and after 1948 the republic, Ireland. The six north eastern counties, known as Northern Ireland, remained within the United Kingdom. The Irish Civil War followed. The history of Northern Ireland has since been dominated by sporadic sectarian conflict between (mainly Catholic) Nationalists and (mainly Protestant) Unionists. This conflict erupted into the Troubles in the late 1960s, until an uneasy peace thirty years later.
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