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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.
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.
"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!
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.
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!
Perched on the hem of the Atlantic in Ireland's southwest, charming Dingle looks out over Dingle Bay to the Blasket Islands. Chock full of friendly pubs where live traditional music plays, the Irish-speaking area fills to the brim with tourists on weekends and through summer. Another regular visitor to Dingle's Gulf Stream-warmed waters is Fungi, the dolphin, the town's unofficial mascot. Popular tourist attractions include the beaches, Mount Brandon and Ballydavid and Ballyferriter villages.