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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.
There once was an Irish city… You might think "naughty poem" when you hear the word Limerick, but in truth the city inspires so much more than just knowing giggles. Medieval castles and churches give the city a grand feel, while the pubs crawl with lively locals and students who are all craving just one more pint of Guinness. The Hunt Museum boasts a collection of pieces from history's most important and influential artists, while the Foynes Flying Boat Museum will marvel visitors of all ages with its whimsical flying machines.
Kilkenny is over 400 years old, but it sure doesn’t show its age. Yes, it's an awe-inspiring throng of medieval cathedrals, castles, abbeys and other massive stone buildings, but Kilkenny loves to party. An endless stream of arts festivals celebrating theater, comedy, bluegrass and dance is constantly pumping the city with new life, toe-tapping energy and international flavor.
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.
Donegal Town is a fairytale of a place, featuring a charming harbour, serene beaches and stoic stone remains of centuries past, like those of 15th-century Donegal Abbey. Stern-looking Donegal Castle, recently restored to its one-time Gaelic glory, is the crown jewel of the area. If you’re looking for souvenirs, snag a hand-woven tweed or carpet, the signature goods of the area. For a good craic, the pubs of The Diamond area are a sure bet.
Thanks to the addition of an international airport in 2001, Marsa Alam is fast becoming a premium tourist destination, especially for scuba divers. The waters here are brimming with marine life and pristine dive sites. Landlubbers, don’t miss the Emerald Mines and the Temple of Seti I at Khanais.