Rathlin Island, County Antrim
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Rathlin Island, County Antrim

A short boat trip away from Ballycastle harbour is Rathlin Island, said in legend to have been dropped into the sea by the mother of the legendary hero Finn MacCool, on her way to Scotland. The habitation of this 6 mile long, L-shaped island is ancient – flint implements and a porcellanite factory that may […]

The Old Forge, Knoydart Peninsula, West Highlands
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Knoydart Peninsula, West Highlands

The Knoydart Peninsula is the only sizeable area in Britain that remains inaccessible to the motor car, cut off by miles of rough country and the embracing arms of Lochs Nevis and Hourn – Gaelic for the lochs of Heaven and Hell. No road penetrates this wilderness of rugged hills – Inverie, its sole village, […]

Ardmore Old Cathedral , Ardmore , County Waterford
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Ardmore, County Waterford

The seaside village of Ardmore stands on a promontory known mainly for its association with St Declan, the 5th century missionary who brought Christianity o this part of Ireland. St Declan is said to have been at sea when, in answer to prayer, a floating rock with his bell and vestments appeared near the boat. […]

Isle of Jura, South Argyll
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Isle of Jura, South Argyll

Jura lies off the coast of Argyll, long, dark and low like a vast Viking longship, its billowing sail the distinctive triple peaks of the Paps of Jura. A magnificently wild and lonely island, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all – as George Orwell did in 1948. Orwell wrote his masterpiece […]

Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire
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Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire

The ruins of Dunnottar Castle are spread out across a grassy promontory rising 50m above the sea. As dramatic a film set as any director could wish for, it provided the backdrop for Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet, starring Mel Gibson. The original fortress was built in the 9th century; the keep is the most substantial remnant. […]

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Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny

Graiguenamanagh (pronounced Graig-na- manna) means ‘dwelling of the monks’. The monks in question were sensible enough to place their abbey in the lee of 1703ft Brandon Hill, in the wooded valley where the Rivers Barrow and Black Water meet. This is the valley whose peace Sean O’Faolain so evocatively described. The River Barrow is crossed […]

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Blarney Castle, County Cork

This 15th-century castle is the mecca of first-time visitors to Ireland, who hope to win the gift of eloquence by kissing the Blarney Stone. The magnificent keep, with Walls 85ft high and 12ft thick at the base, was built in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy, and withstood many sieges during the 16th and 17th centuries. The […]

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Tralee, County Kerry

The Rose of Tralee International Festival, which any woman With even remote Irish connections may enter in the hope of becoming the ‘Rose of Tralee’, has made the chief town of Kerry famous, The event is accompanied by a week of pageantry, music and merrymaking. ‘The Rose’ is also the subject of a love song, […]

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Slane, County Meath

Looking north across the Boyne, Slane is a pretty sight. The main road sweeps down beside a ruined church to a long, narrow bridge, and beyond that, on a hillside, rises the well-planned 18th-century village. The octagonal focal point where the roads meet at its centre is distinguished by four dignified Georgian houses built diagonally […]

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Clonfert, County Galway

A village in the vale of the River Suck, Clonfert became known for the monastery founded on this site by Brendan the Navigator in AD 563. Clonfert monastery was a famous centre of learning, but was destroyed five times between its foundation and the 12th century, by Vikings and by fire. However, much of the […]