Handa Island, Scotland
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Handa Island, Scotland

Since Handa Island was adopted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1962, it has become a mecca for British ornithologists and enthusiastic amateur birdwatchers. The island has the greatest concertation of seabirds in the north-west and at nesting time they are numbered in tens of thousands in a variety of species […]

Kylemore Abbey, County Galway
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Kylemore Abbey, County Galway

Sheltered by the slopes of the Twelve Bens, this lakeside castle is a romantic, battlemented Gothic Revival fantasy. It was built as a present for his wife by Mitchell Henry (1826-1911), who was a Manchester tycoon and later Galway MP. The Henrys also purchased a huge area of moorland, drained the boggy hillside and planted […]

Hill of Tara, County Meath
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Hill of Tara, County Meath

A site of mythical importance, Tara was the political and spiritual centre of Celtic Ireland and the seat of the High Kings until the 11th century. The spread of Christianity, which eroded the importance of Tara, is marked by a statue of St Patrick. The symbolism of the site was not lost on Daniel O’Connell, […]

Phoenix Park, Dublin
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Phoenix Park, Dublin

A little to the West of the city centre, ringed by a wall 11km (7 miles) long, is Europe’s largest enclosed city park. Phoenix Park is over 1700 acres in size. The name “Phoenix” is said to be a corruption of the Gaelic Fionn Uisce, meaning “clear water”. This refers to a spring that rises […]

Glin Castle
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Glin, County Limerick

This charming village on the banks of the Shannon is the seat of the Knights of Glin, a branch of the Fitzgerald’s who have lived in the district for seven centuries. Their first medieval castle is a ruin, but west of the village you can see their newer ancestral home, Glin Castle. Originally built in […]

Galty Mountains
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Glen of Aherlow, County Tipperary

The lush valley of the River Aherlow runs between the Galty Mountains and the wooded ridge of Slievenamuck. Bounded by the villages of Galbally and Bansha, the glen was historically an important pass between Limerick and Tipperary and a notorious hideout for outlaws.   Today there are opportunities for riding, cycling, rambling and fishing. Lowland […]

Four Courts, Dublin
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Four Courts, Dublin

Completed in 1802 by James Gandon, this majestic building was virtually gutted 120 years later during the Irish Civil War when government forces bombarded anti-Treaty rebels into submission. The adjacent Public Records Office, with documents dating back to the 12th century, was destroyed by fire.   In 1932, the main buildings were restored using Gandon’s […]

Kinvarra, County Galway
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Kinvarra, County Galway

One of the most charming fishing villages on Galway Bay, Kinvarra’s appeal lies in its sheltered, seaweed-clad harbour and traditional seafaring atmosphere. From medieval times, its fortunes were closely linked to Kilmacduagh, the powerful monastery and bishopric upon which the village depended.   The pier is bordered by a row of fishermen’s cottages. Kinvarra remains […]

Ormond Castle
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Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary

This sleepy market town has a distinctly old-fashioned air. In the 15th century, it was a strategic site commanding access west to Clonmel and southeast to Waterford, but after Tudor times the town sank into oblivion.   Ormond Castle, although once a fortress, is the finest surviving Tudor manor house in Ireland. It was built […]

St Stephen’s Green
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Southeast Dublin

Despite its location close to the old walled city, this part of Dublin remained virtually undeveloped until the founding of Trinity College in 1592. Even then, it was almost a hundred years before the ancient common land further south was enclosed to create St Stephen’s Green, a spacious city park.   The mid-18th century saw […]