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Things to do in South West Ireland

Things to do in  South West Ireland

Welcome to South West Ireland

The Blarney Stone, Ring of Kerry, and Jameson Distillery are the main draws for travelers visiting this oft-overlooked part of Ireland. But those who stay longer than a day in the rugged southwest discover national parks replete with peaks, lakes, and woodland; towns with famously friendly locals; and clifftops featuring meandering walkways where you’re more likely to cross paths with sheep than people.

Top 10 attractions in South West Ireland

#1
Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

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Killarney National Park, with idyllic lakes and ancient woodlands backed by the serrated MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, is an area of stunning natural beauty. The park is also historically significant, with two heritage buildings on-site: Ross Castle, a 15th-century fortress-turned-hotel, and Muckross House, a stately Victorian estate.More
#2
Cobh Heritage Centre (The Queenstown Story)

Cobh Heritage Centre (The Queenstown Story)

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The port town of Cobh, formerly known as Queenstown, was the departure point for millions of Irish emigrants who left the country between 1848 and 1960. Housed in the town’s Victorian train station, the Cobh Heritage Centre chronicles the often-heartbreaking journeys of Irish emigrants during the Great Famine and beyond.More
#3
Gallarus Oratory

Gallarus Oratory

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Gallarus Oratory is Ireland's best preserved early Christian church. The exact year of its construction is not known, but it is believed to be more than a thousand years old. The church is located five miles from Dingle Town on the Dingle Peninsula in southwestern Ireland. It was constructed entirely from dry stone masonry and resembles an overturned boat. This church is one of the highlights of the scenic Slea Head Drive. Along the scenic drive, visitors will also see views of Smerwick Harbor, the Three Sisters and Mount Brandon.Visitors will be able to see a church that has not been restored because it hasn't needed to be. The stones were carefully fitted together without the use of mortar, and aside from a small sag in the roof, the construction has held up for centuries. You can enter the oratory through a 6.5 foot doorway, and there are two stones with holes that once held a door. The nearby visitor center shows a 15 minute audio-visual presentation about the Gallarus Oratory, and there is a gift shop.More
#4
Ross Castle

Ross Castle

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A vision on the shores of Lough Leane, the 15th-century Ross Castle was built as a medieval fortress for an Irish chieftain named O’Donoghue, and was said to be one of the last strongholds to fall to the brutal English Cromwellian forces in the mid-16th century. The ruin has been restored, and features lovely 16th- and 17th-century furniture.More
#5
Blasket Islands

Blasket Islands

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Off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, a group of abandoned sandstone islands rise out of the Atlantic Ocean. For hundreds of years, the Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodai) were home to an Irish-speaking population; however, in 1953 the Irish government decided that, due to their isolation, the islands were too dangerous for habitation and ordered a mandatory evacuation.More
#6
Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel

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The fifth-century home of the kings of Munster, the Rock of Cashel—or St. Patrick’s Rock, as it’s also known—is now home to a collection of religious monuments, including a roofless medieval cathedral and a 12th-century chapel. Set atop an elevated knoll, the site commands excellent views over the green, grassy Irish countryside.More
#7
Treaty Stone

Treaty Stone

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On October 3, 1691, William III of Hanover of England and King James II (William’s father-in-law) signed a peace treaty to end the Siege of Limerick and the Williamite-Jacobite War, securing religious freedom for Catholics. According to local legend, the treaty was signed on a block of limestone on the bank of the River Shannon near the Thomond Bridge. While the treaty was ultimately rejected by both English and Irish Parliaments (giving Limerick the nickname City of the Broken Treaty), the stone remains.In 1865, the Mayor John Rickard Tinslay of Limerick commissioned a pedestal for the Treaty Stone just across the river from King John’s Castle, and it has sat there ever since. Carved into the pedestal is an image of the castle, topped with a dome and cross, to indicate that Limerick was a cathedral city.More
#8
Bishop's Palace

Bishop's Palace

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The Bishop’s Palace is one of the three museums known as the Waterford Treasures located in the Viking Triangle in Waterford, Ireland. It was designed in 1741 by architect Richard Castles, one of Ireland’s greatest architects. The front of the palace overlooks the town wall, which forms part of the palace’s terraced garden. The ground floor and first floors of the palace are furnished as an elegant 18th century townhouse and feature period furniture, beautiful fireplaces and rare paintings.The museum tells the history of Waterford from 1700 to the mid-20th century, with an entire floor dedicated to stories about Waterford’s Home Rule story, World War I in Waterford and the War of Independence in Waterford. It also displays unique pieces such as the Penrose Decanter, the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal, dating to 1789, and the only surviving Bonaparte “mourning cross,” one of just 12 crosses produced upon Napoleon’s death in 1821.More
#9
St. Colman's Cathedral (Cobh Cathedral)

St. Colman's Cathedral (Cobh Cathedral)

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With its 328-foot (100-meter) spire and imposing facade, this large neo-Gothic cathedral—also known as the Cobh Cathedral—dominates the skyline of the harbor town of Cobh. The cathedral is famous for its 49-bell carillon, the only such instrument in Ireland and one of the largest of its kind in Europe.More
#10
Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poulnabrone Portal Tomb)

Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poulnabrone Portal Tomb)

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The Burren area of County Clare offers more questions than answers. It’s a vast countryside of karst limestone and millennia of human existence, and a place that leaves you shaking your head at the mysteries it holds inside. At a place like ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen (also known as the Poulnabrone Portal Tomb for the two thin, vertical portal stones that support its 12-foot capstone) the first question that arises is how it was built in the first place. Dating to Ireland’s Neolithic period, the dolmen structure is estimated to be over 5,000 years old. When the area was excavated in 1985 to repair a crack in a stone, the remains of over 25 people—including adults, children, and an infant—were found buried by the Poulnabrone Dolmen, and along with items such as a stone axe and bone pendants, helped to date the portal tomb to around 3,600 BC. Today, when visiting this mystical and ancient site in the fields of County Clare, there’s a profound sense of historical unknown that’s held in the silence of the stones.More

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Top activities in South West Ireland


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