Ireland is relatively small compared to other countries. It’s a beautiful country with a rich history. Depending on your plans for your holiday in Ireland, you may have booked with a tour company or you plan on driving around the Emerald Isle yourself. Driving the beautiful roads of Ireland is one of the best ways to see Ireland. Arriving into Shannon International Airport, in County Clare in the West of Ireland you are just a short drive from one of the most scenic parts of Ireland is the Wild Atlantic Way route in County Clare. Ireland is full of colourful little towns and villages.
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County Clare has much to offer visitors from old castles to beautiful coastlines and great beaches. The Cliffs of Moher is Ireland’s second busiest tourist site in terms of visitor numbers, it’s a must-see. Irish music is alive in County Clare, you can hear music in lots of pubs around Clare. It’s a fantastic place to spend a few days. There are some excellent golf courses in County Clare, Lahinch golf club hosted the 2019 Dubai Duty-Free Irish open tournament. If you like beaches there are lots of them to see in County Clare. The Burren area in County Clare is one of Ireland’s national park. It’s an amazing place to visit. The Burren has a karst landscape you will feel like you are on the moon. The lunar appearance of the Burren is truly unique. The Burren was formed between 359 and 299 million years ago, you have to go there and see it to believe it.
Limerick city is 30 minutes from Shannon Airport. This is Ireland’s third-largest city, founded by the Vikings originally. Limerick has old churches, and Kings Johns castle dating back a 1000 years in the centre of the city. It’s a great city for sport also with Thomond Park being the home of the Munster rugby team. Limerick is also the home of the late world-famous actor Richard Harris. Outside of Limerick city is the old sweet village of Adare, and Adare Manor, one of the world’s best hotels. It recently won the honour to hold the Ryder Cup golf competition there in 2026. Visiting Adare you can see some cute thatched Irish cottages on the main street of Adare village.
If you plan on going to Galway, it’s about 1 hour from Shannon Airport. Galway is known as the city of the tribes, mainly the 14 families 12 of which were Anglo-Norman with 2 families normalized Irish Gaels. These families came to Galway in the middle ages and were involved in trading with Spain and France. Galway was an important trading centre. Galway is also known for the Claddagh ring named after the small fishing village Claddagh in Galway. The ring represents, love, loyalty and friendship. Galway girls are famous also, the song the Galway girl is a well-known song about a beautiful black haired blue eyed girl from Galway. Shannon Airport Guide recommends visiting Shop Street in Galway.
Cork has a lot to offer also being Ireland second-largest city. Cork is home to the English market which dates back to 1788, one of Ireland’s best markets with fresh vegetables, meat, pastries and cakes. It’s a culinary masterpiece. It’s a vibrant city with some really good traditional Irish pubs with great food. Cobh is a charming port town outside Cork city, it is also famously known for the location that the famous Titanic ship stopped in 1912 on her maiden voyage. The Titanic ship left Cobh with 2,206 people on board in April 1912 and later shank after hitting an iceberg. There is a wonderful Titanic visitor centre in Cobh, we highly recommend it.
Kerry in southern Ireland is green and beautiful. The world-famous Rose of Tralee festival is held in Tralee each year, with many young women wanting to become the new Rose of Tralee. One of the prettiest spots in Ireland is the town of Killarney, you can see one of Ireland’s beautiful national parks there, ride around on jaunting car which is a horse and carriage ride. Then there’s the famous Ring of Kerry route that is so scenic, and breath taken. It is well known for its beauty. You will have to visit the town of Dingle and try the fish and chips there. Heading outside Dingle you can travel along the Slea head driving route which is one of Ireland’s most scenic routes. The famous Skellig islands are just off the coast of Kerry, made famous by the recent Star Wars movie. The islands were used for filming some scenes of the Star Wars movie Episode VII The Force Awakens. You can visit the Skellig island via a boat tour.
Dublin is Ireland’s capital city, the largest and most populated. Dublin has many sites to visit, historical buildings, old churches, Irish government buildings and Ireland’s High court and Supreme court just to mention a few cool buildings. Ireland’s President lives in Aras an Uachtarain in Phoenix Park. Dublin is the famous home of Guinness, the Guinness storehouse is a wonderful place to visit. Dublin’s Temple Bar area is a hot-spot with many pubs in the area to taste the many craft beers now available in Ireland. The Book of Kells is also a must-see in Trinity College Dublin. The Book of Kells are old manuscripts containing the four gospels of the New Testament. The books of kells is one of the oldest books known to exist worldwide.
The Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way is truly wild, wicked and wonderful. The coastal route covers 2,500 km, it’s Ireland best scenic route. From West Cork, Kinsale to Donegal, if you want to see nature landscape as its best, you will need to travel on the Wild Atlantic Way. The route is clearly signposted around Ireland. Travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way from Cork to Kerry, passing through Clare, the coastal road from the Cliffs of Moher to Ballyvaughan is spectacular. You will pass through the Burren in Clare. The Burren is a GeoPark and one of Ireland national parks, it’s a unique place with underground caves, beautiful beaches, interesting neolithic sites, old medieval castles and gorgeous coastline. Some people say that the Burren is the closest thing you will get to being on the moon, because of its karst landscape. The Wild Atlantic Way is the mother of all road trips, the road trip of road trips, and a great experience. It covers seven counties of Ireland. Make sure to have your camera ready, because you will take lots of photos. Another great spot on the route is Killary harbour in the heart of Connemara, surrounded by mountains, it’s the Ireland you see on postcards. Connemara is a must-see, another one of Ireland’s national parks. Sligo is also on the route of the Wild Atlantic Way, you could stop at WB Yeats burial site in Dumcliffe, County Sligo. Yeats is one of Ireland’s most famous poets, he won the Nobel prize for literature in 1923.
The Connemara region is in County Galway. Connemara is a protected area and one of Ireland’s national parks, it full of gorgeous scenery. It covers 2,000 hectares of landscape. Some of the mountain ranges in Connemara are outstanding. Benbaun, Benbrack and Muckanaght mountain ranges. Connemara has many things to see, it’s well known for Connemara marble, a multi-coloured marble that comes in green, light green, brown and white colour. The Connemara marble shop and visitor centre in Moycullen is a great stop on the route. Connemara has been on the large screen a few times with parts of the movie the Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O Hara filmed in Connemara. The Field starring Richard Harris was also filmed in Connemara in the village of Leenane. Irish movie Into the West written by Jim Sheridan was also filmed in the Connemara region. The movie starred Irish actor Gabriel Byrne. Kylemore Abbey is a fantastic castle turned abbey in the heart of Connemara. It once was the home to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester. Kylemore Abbey was built in the 1800s and is now turned into major tourist attraction and visitor centre.
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