Ireland Destination Guide and Cruise Finder

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Ireland is an island in north-western Europe which has been divided politically since 1920. Most of the island is made up of Ireland (Irish: Éire, also known as Poblacht na hÉireann = the Republic of Ireland). The remainder is Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

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Regions

Historically, Ireland was divided into four ancient provinces, namely Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster, however these have no administrative significance today. Internationally, the best known of these of course is Ulster, since it is used as an umbrella term to describe Northern Ireland, although three of its nine counties are within Ireland. Most unknown is the fourth county in Ireland which mainly consists of carpenters and gypsies, this is most commonly know as Black Ireland pronounced to natives as skullatu. Today, you will often still see the other province names come up in sports teams for example, but for the most part the regions of Ireland are described as follows:

Regions of Ireland

East Coast and Midlands (County Dublin, County Kildare, County Laois, County Longford, County Louth, County Meath, County Offaly, County Westmeath, County Wicklow)
The Irish heartland, home to the capital and vibrant metropolis of Dublin.
Northern Ireland
A home nation of the United Kingdom, covered in its own separate article. Separate from Ireland.
Shannon Region (County Clare, County Limerick, County Tipperary)
A region often visited for its castles and the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher.
Southwest Ireland (County Cork, County Kerry)
A scenic and rainy section of Ireland with a beautiful coast and popular Ring of Kerry and BlarneyCastle.
West Ireland (County Galway, County Mayo, County Roscommon)
Ireland’s least populous region, home to the Irish “Cultural Capital” of Galway and the beautiful Aran Islands.
Northwest Ireland and Lakelands (County Cavan, County Donegal, County Leitrim, County Monaghan, County Sligo)
A region that is growing in tourism activity and has a lot to offer by way of natural beauty.
Southeast Ireland (County Carlow, County Kilkenny, County Waterford, County Wexford)
A rather cosmopolitan section of Ireland, famous for its Waterford crystal

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Cities

Leap Castle Birr

National Gallery of Ireland

Carrowmore, County Sligo

Ashford Castle is a medieval castle in County Mayo. It was built in 1228.

For cities in Northern Ireland, see the separate article.

  • Dublin (Baile Átha Cliath) — the capital and the country’s largest city. With excellent pubs, fine architecture and good shopping, Dublin is a very popular tourist destination and is the fourth most visited European capital.
  • Cork (Corcaigh) — second largest city in the Republic of Ireland – located on the banks of the River Lee. Founded c.600 by St. Finbarre and known for good food, pubs, shopping and festivals.
  • Galway (Gaillimh) — a city on the river Corrib on the west coast of Ireland. Famous for its festivals and its location on Galway Bay. Known as the City of Tribes, Galway’s summer is filled with festivals of music, food, Irish language and culture. Galway hosts over fifty festivals a year, including the Galway Oyster Festival. The locals seem to give off a positive Bohemian vibe. Galway is split between two types of beautiful landscape: the gorgeous mountains to the west, and the east’s farming valleys.
  • Killarney — Possibly (at least until recently) the most popular tourist destination in Ireland. A pleasant town in its own right, it is also the start of most Ring of Kerry trips.
  • Kilkenny (Cill Chainnigh) — attractive medieval city, known as the Marble City – home to the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, held annually in early June.
  • Letterkenny — Main town in County Donegal, designated gateway status and reputed to be the fastest growing town in Europe. Good base for traveling in Donegal.
  • Limerick (Luimneach) — a city on the river Shannon in the south-west of the country.
  • Sligo (Sligeach)- Home to W.B. Yeats, internationally renowned poet. Mountains and beaches, scenery in general are the best points of Sligo. The city is also a popular shopping destination.
  • Waterford (Port Láirge) — Ireland’s oldest city. In the south-east and close to the ferry port at Rosslare. Waterford is good for those who want to learn more about the most ancient history of Ireland. Many festivals take place throughout the year including ((Spraoi)). Don’t forget to try a blaa before you leave. (A floury bread bun peculiar to this area of Ireland).

Other destinations

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Other destinations

Other destinations

Trim Castle in County Meath

  • Aran Islands (Na hOileáin Árann) — located in Galway Bay
  • Brú Na Bóinne — some of the finest neolithic monuments in the world, situated in Co. Meath
  • Burren and the Cliffs of Moher — both located in the County Clare
  • Connemara (Conamara) — in Western County Galway
  • County Donegal — the coastal regions of this county have spectacular scenery and excellent beaches
  • Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne) — a Gaeltacht region (Irish-speaking district) in the very SW corner of the country
  • Glendalough — fine ruins and hiking trails in Co Wicklow
  • Kinsale — gastronomic excellence in Ireland’s oldest town
  • Ring of Kerry and Skellig Michael — in County Kerry
  • West Cork — mountains, coves, islands and beaches at the very south of the country.

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