Ireland is really a country where most guests desire to get out and explore the countryside. Obviously, its capital city, Dublin, is suave and cosmopolitan and provides its own brand of Irishness to visitors, as well as some in the country’s top sightseeing spots.
But several travelers picture Ireland as a place of rolling green hills, thatched roof cottages and roving sheep, and although this simplistic imagery could maybe be regarded a trifle cliché, there is a great deal to draw the visitor to Ireland’s small towns, including these top 5 fairly sweet spots that no visitor should miss.
This pretty small village in County Limerick has been designated as an “Irish Heritage Village” for its historic architecture, as it features a wonderful collection of thatched roof cottages. These traditional Irish homes employ bound reeds for roofing and have unmistakable white-washed walls. Adare can also be home to Adare Manor, a 19th century mansion that’s now an upscale hotel.
The sweet small town of Westport is County Mayo’s crown jewel along with a favorite destination among domestic and international tourists for its upmarket shops, tidy streets and colorful shop fronts. Westport’s proximity to nearby Crough Patrick, one of Ireland’s highest mountains, at the same time as various lakes and blue flag beaches further improve is draw as a base for holidaygoers. And famed 19th century travel writer, William Makepeace Thackeray wrote that it was the “most gorgeous view” he actually saw.
County Kerry is arguably Ireland’s most favorite tourist location, and heading the verdant Ring of Kerry is Killarney, the county’s capital city and one of the most charming, vibrant small towns in Ireland. It may be said that Killarney has more pubs per capita than any other city around the island, and I’d nicely believe it, with dozens of pubs, bars and restaurants to cater to just about every drinking need. Killarney is upmarket however sweet and unpretentious, includes a beautiful cathedral and is situated in the edge of the national park that provides days of hiking, fishing and boating.
County Cork’s Kinsale is a city of gourmet foods and colored doors. For a small town, it includes a hearty number of upmarket dining places and bistros, as well as playing host to an annual gourmet meals festival. On the southeast coast or Ireland, Kinsale is a coastal town with a large yachting marina, producing it an ideal destination for those interested in sea tourism and activities.
Clifden is to County Galway what Kinsale is to Cork, except instead of the sweet bay, Clifden has sweeping sea vistas from atop rocky bluffs. Set out about the tip of a peninsula inside the surreal and rugged landscape of Connemara, Clifden can be a charming city of B&Bs, cute cafes and shops where you go to buy wool sweaters not as souvenirs, but because you need to have them. Thought possibly not as easily charming being a town like Westport, Clifden is the type of location you go when all you want is often a perfectly peaceful and amazingly scenic escape.