Ireland

Ireland, the "Emerald Isle," is sure to put a sparkle in your eye. You'll love its friendly people, laid-back culture, often-tragic yet fascinating history, and its rugged, romantic landscapes. This is "the land of saints and scholars" and boasts more Nobel Prize winners for literature than any other country in the world. Dublin was designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, the state museums , there are endless outdoor pursuits to enjoy countrywide such as horse riding, golf, and sailing to name a few, remote wild islands to explore, and of course, the famous Irish "craic",

Trinity College:Ireland's oldest university, Trinity College in Dublin is one of the country's ancient treasures. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity is a world within a world, once you enter the gates and cross the cobblestones it's as if the modern thriving city outside simply melts away. A stroll in and around the grounds is a journey through the ages and into the hushed world of scholarly pursuit. Many shop and office workers take their lunchtime sandwiches here during summer months simply to escape the hustle and bustle outside. The college is famed for its priceless treasures including the awe-inspiring Book of Kells (on permanent exhibition) and the mind-boggling Long Room (the inspiration for the library in the first Harry Potter movie).

The Cliffs of Moher:So many superlatives have been used to describe these magnificent cliffs it's hard to find the right words. Vertigo-inducing and awe-inspiring spring to mind and they are indeed both of these things as well as being utterly wild and ruggedly beautiful. For those who've read up on the Emerald Isle prior to visiting, the cliffs will be familiar, starring as they do in countless postcards and guidebooks. Yet no image can ever do them justice. This is Ireland's most visited natural attraction and with good reason. About one and a half hours by car from Galway, in neighbouring County Clare, the cliffs are visited by close to a million people from across the globe each year. They stretch for eight kilometers along the Atlantic and rise some 214 meters at their highest point. Take a walk along the trail to experience the raw power of nature at its most majestic.

Dalkey and Killiney:Escape the city for a while, jump on a DART (Dublin's light rail system) and head for charming Dalkey/Killiney, a mere 25-minutes southbound from the city center. The picture-postcard village of Dalkey attracts visitors from around the world, perhaps something to do with the eclectic arty population, including such figures as Bono of U2, singer/songwriter Enya, filmmaker Neil Jordan, and a host of other artists and writers. Indeed, the village is so famous that Michelle Obama stopped off here during her 2013 visit with her daughters to have lunch at Finnegan's with the U2 singer and his family. There's a wonderful Heritage Center, set in a castle, and spectacular walks along the coast and up onto adjacent Killiney Hill. A ferry service starting in summer 2014 will bring you across to beautiful Dalkey Island, just a couple of minutes from Coliemore Harbour. In recent years, friendly and intimate Dalkey Book Festival has attracted giants of the literary world each June.
The Aran Islands:Originally brought to world attention in 1934 by the fictionalised documentary Man of Aran, these islands have been entrancing visitors ever since. This is a taste of Ireland as it once was. Gaelic is the first language, there are a mere 12,000 inhabitants, and once ashore, you'll feel as if you're in a time warp. There are three islands, the largest being Inishmore, then Inishmaan, and the smallest is Inisheer. Wild, windswept, rugged, and utterly unique, the islands offer a visitor experience quite like no other. Once experienced, the great stone fort of Dun Aonghasa and the towering cliffs of Aran will never be forgotten. The local culture is quite different from that of the mainland, the archaeological heritage cannot be found elsewhere and the rich scenery is simply breathtaking.
Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, located about one kilometre north of theRiver Boyne. It was built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice. It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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