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King John’s Castle, County Limerick

Five irregularly spaced drum towers linked by massive walls are all that remain of the castle that King John built in the early 13th century to keep the peace in Thomond (as the area was then called) between the Norman settlers and the O’Brien clan, kings and later earls of Thomond. Two of the towers […]

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Southern Scotland

An enchanting region of Scotland that seems to slip off the radar for many international visitors, southern Scotland is often missed by the hordes scrambling to destinations further north. A shame – but also a wonderful part of its attraction. Crowd free castles to ramble around, miles of open countryside and small traffic-free roads along […]

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Lough Derg, County Donegal

For 1500 years’ pilgrims have been beating a path to this remote stretch of water set in a barren landscape. In the middle of the lake is the small Station Island, which is covered with buildings and looks – from a distance at least – like a detail from a Canaletto painting. The four storey […]

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Glen Clova, Angus & Dundee

The longest and loveliest of the Angus Glens stretches north from Kirriemuir for 20 miles, broad and pastoral in its lower reaches but growing narrower and craggier as the steep, heather-clad Highland hills close in around its head.   Jock’s Road is an ancient footpath that was much used by cattle drovers, soldiers, smugglers and […]

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Newgrange, County Meath

The most impressive Stone Age tomb in Europe stands on a hill above the Boyne’s fertile valley, part of a huge prehistoric cemetery known as Burgh na Boinne. It is older than Stonehenge, and even older than the Egyptian Pyramids. A pear-shaped mound, Newgrange reaches 36t high and about 300ft across, and is surrounded t […]

Howth Castle, Dublin
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Howth Castle, Dublin

A few minutes’ walk west of the village, is an irregular battlemented structure dating from 1564, but much restored by Francis Bindon in 1738 (his portrait of Swift hangs in the Castle) and by Morrison and Lutyens (1911) who added the pseudo-medieval west tower. Seat of the Earl of Howth until the death of the […]

St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney Islands
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St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney Islands

Founded in 1137 and constructed from local red sandstone and yellow Eday stone, fabulous St Magnus Cathedral should not be missed. The powerful atmosphere of an ancient faith pervades the impressive interior. Lyrical and melodramatic epitaphs of the dead line the walls inside and emphasis the serious business of 17th and 18th century bereavement.   […]

Florence Court, County Fermanagh
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Florence Court, County Fermanagh

Florence Court is one of the most important neo-classical 18th century houses in the country. It was named after Florence Bourchier-Wrey, who married John Cole in 1707. The property was inherited by their son, who was elevated to the Irish peerage as Baron Mountflorence in 1760. The present mansion dates from 1751-64, with wings added […]

Dunrobin Castle
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Golspie, East Coast

Golspie is an attractive town off the main drag, and would be a congenial option for a day or two.   One mile north of town is mighty Dunrobin Castle, the largest house in the Highlands (187 rooms). Although it dates to around 1275, most of what you see today was built in French style […]

Cahir Castle, County Tipperary
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Cahir Castle, County Tipperary

Cahir Castle is on an island commanding the Suir bridge, the largest of its period in Ireland, was built in the 15th century by successive members of the Butler family, lords of Cahir, on the site of a 13th century Norman fortress, restored in 1840 and 1964. It comprises an elaborate curtain wall between round […]