Further Afield: Town & Country

Think of Ireland as a big little country. Or a little big country.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

Whichever way you put it, the experience is the same – all of the best sights, landscapes, castles and coasts are within easy reach of vibrant city hubs like Dublin, Galway, Cork and Belfast.

Take Dublin. An hour or so south of the airport transports you back in time to the sixth-century monastic settlement of Glendalough. The round tower and religious ruins here are nestled in the middle of Wicklow Mountains National Park, with beautiful lakes, serene landscapes and several hiking trails for the more adventurous!

Wicklow is known as Ireland’s garden county, and alongside the rugged landscapes, it hides away some of the country’s finest mansions... Georgian gems like Powerscourt (which you may recognize from The Count of Monte Cristo movie) and Russborough House, which once welcomed guests like Fred Astaire, Jackie Kennedy and Mick Jagger.

Just 40 minutes north of Dublin, you'll come across Brú na Bóinne in County Meath, a 5,000 year old ancient passage tomb that pre-dates the Great Egyptian Pyramids. 

Belfast is likewise super-connected with the sights. From here, it’s about an hour and 15 minutes to the Causeway Coast, where a spectacular series of basalt columns form Northern Ireland’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway. Locals believe this unique site was formed by the mythical giant, Finn McCool, but could it be ancient volcanic eruptions instead? After following the twists and turns of this coastal drive, and passing the ruins of the majestic Dunluce Castle, you can debate the issue over a drop of whiskey at the Old Bushmill’s Distillery...

Or perhaps you’re flying direct from the US to Shannon International Airport? This western hub provides quick and easy access to iconic attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and the Ring of Kerry. Whether you head north or south, a roving adventure awaits – a uniquely Irish mix of history and the here-and-now that will have you back in the city for dinner.

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