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Lough Corrib, County Galway, Republic of Ireland
Lough Corrib, County Galway, Republic of Ireland

Holiday Cottages in Republic Of Ireland

Discover the delights of Ireland

Arriving in Ireland is like stepping into a warm hug from your favourite aunt. It doesn't matter if you've never visited before and have absolutely no Irish roots, you'll feel like you belong and that they're happy to have you stay. The Republic of Ireland is brilliant! "Craic" is a word you will hear a lot. It means fun, and there is plenty of craic to be had everywhere. Music, food, friendly hospitality, and thousands of years of history have created a world in which it is an utter pleasure to immerse yourself.

As well as thriving cities, with Dublin being the capital, Ireland has six National Parks, including Connemara, Killarney, and the Wicklow Mountains. Bru na Boinne, and Skellig Michael are both protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and there are countless other pockets expertly maintained so they can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

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North and West IrelandSouth and West IrelandCentral and Eastern Ireland
 

North and West Ireland

North and West Ireland
North and West Ireland

Sligo, Monaghan, and Donegal are all part of the North West of Ireland - a rugged landscape packed with ways you can send your adrenaline levels rocketing sky-high, as well as places you can allow your pulse to slow right down. Holidays are a time for trying something new, so wriggle into a wetsuit and go bog snorkelling, or clamber on horseback and gallop across a pristine Atlantic Ocean beach. Other parts of the North West worth exploring include Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, and Cavan. If you're into a sport, chances are you'll be able to do it here!

It isn't all about being active. Sligo is one of the region's main cities. As well as shops and bars, it has a number of theatres and a booming arts scene. Mayo's largest towns are Castlebar and Ballina. They make a convenient base for a self-catering holiday in Ireland, as does Roscommon, with its location in the geographic middle of the country.

Ireland's west coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. It's marked by the Wild Atlantic Way - a touring route which runs from Donegal in the north, past Galway and Clare, and down to Kerry and Cork in the south. Whether the day is sunny and calm or stormy and dramatic, it's always incredibly beautiful.

Many visitors come to Ireland not only for a taste of the craic, but to research their family background. There are several excellent resources to help do this, including the South Mayo Family Research Centre in Ballinrobe. There is always something going on in Ireland, whether it's horse racing or a music festival.

South and West Ireland

South and West Ireland
South and West Ireland

The ancient kingdom of Munster covers Ireland's entire south west corner. St Patrick sent several years there there during his quest to spread Christianity. Munster's culture has been shaped not only by the native Gaels, but also by Vikings and Normans. Gaelic is widely spoken, and the region is renowned for its traditional music.

You're likely to have heard of Munster's main towns and cities: Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Tipperary. Counties Kerry and Clare are also here, offering a wide choice of places to stay, shop, eat, and explore. Munster is so huge that it's hard to narrow down its best bits, but you should certainly see the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney's lakes, Cobh's colourful buildings and bustling harbour, and the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in Cork.

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Central and Eastern Ireland

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Central and Eastern Ireland

Leinster is the final of Ireland's four major regions. You might say we've saved the best until last as this is where Dublin is, but truthfully, there's no "best" place in Ireland because it's all pretty fabulous! While you could easily wear yourself out with a fortnight in the city, Dublin has so much going on you won't exhaust its many attractions. Things you must see to get a proper taste of Ireland include the Guinness Storehouse, the National Gallery, Farmleigh House, St Patrick's Cathedral, St Stephen's Green, the shops of Grafton Street, and the bars and markets of Temple Bar.

Heading out of the city, you can have your pick of wonderful destinations such as Wicklow, Wexford, Kildare, and Laois. The gardens of Powerscourt House in Enniskerry have been voted as some of the best in the world, while a trip to the Derryglad Folk and Heritage Museum in Athlone will give you an entertaining educational insight into Leinster's history.

A world of warning: time slows down in Ireland, in the nicest possible way. If you pack your schedule too tightly you'll miss the opportunity to savour this country the way it should be.