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Don your most comfortable shoes for Killarney, where town trails offer history lessons and country walks traverse Ireland's first national park: 26,000 acres of woodlands, sandstone mountains and low-lying lakes. In the town centre, Killarney House and Gardens provide a break for urban explorers. Renowned Muckross House, with its 15th-century abbey ruins and massive yew tree, is just outside the town. If your feet wear out, take in Killarney National Park's legendary scenery from a boat trip from Ross Castle.
The “little nest” of Kenmare is part of the famed Ring of Kerry, making it a prime stop for a spot of lunch and a pint. But before you go on your merry way, check out the area’s Bronze Age stone circle, one of the largest in southwest Ireland. The peaceful glens and streams of Gleninchaquin make a wonderful backdrop for a picnic, which you can work off on a walk along the Kenmare section of the Beara Way.
"The City of Tribes" provides a fun blast of the Ireland many first-time visitors expect. The compact city centre, with its winding streets, packed pubs and air of celebration, is easily walked - or pubcrawled. The west-coast city of almost 70,000 is home to merry bands of students, artists, writers and craftspeople, and is merriest during summer's Galway's Arts Festival. Don't miss shopping for Claddagh rings, the Druid Theatre or having a pint o' the black stuff at the atmospheric Tigh Neachtain pub.
A true family destination, Westport boasts magnificent scenery, golf facilities, recreational fishing, sailing and yachting, beach swimming, hiking and cycling trails, and (to top it all off) a placed called Pirate Adventure Park. What kid wouldn't love this place? Visit in September and you'll witness the exciting Westport Arts Festival, perfect for all ages. And Westport was Google Earth's first fully 3D town, so you can relive the memories from your computer when you get home!
You've probably heard that Guinness tastes better in Dublin (fresh from the factory), but what you may not know is that Dublin is a perfect destination for the whole family. No, we're not suggesting you let the kiddies drink a pint. Instead, take them to the Dublin Zoo, to feed the ducks in Stephen's Green or on a picnic in Phoenix Park. Scholars enjoy walking in the literary footsteps of such writers as Yeats and Joyce, while discerning shoppers have their pick of designer boutiques.
From the bustling charm of Galway City to the rugged, otherworldly Burren, Western Ireland offers a wonderful wealth of experiences. Exuberant Galway, City of Tribes, packs summers with festivals and packs pubs with locals and visitors. Westport is another charismatic town, full of colourful shopfronts, pubs and great restaurants. The near-lunar landscape of the Burren delights with its unexpected flora. Don't miss its Stone Age burial monuments, fishing village Ballyvaughan or cheerful Lisdoonvarna.
Woolacombe’s three-mile long beach is one of the best family beaches in the U.K. Build a castle in the clean sand, learn to surf, or go horseback riding on the beach. Boat operators offer fishing trips and tours—keep your eyes open for seals!
Amsterdam is truly a biker’s city, although pedaling along the labyrinthine streets can get a little chaotic. Stick to walking and you won’t be disappointed. The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein square. Pop into the Red Light District if you must—if only so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences a traveller can have, and the Van Gogh Museum boasts a sensational collection of works.