Cliffs of Moher: At the edge of Western Ireland, along the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, staring off into the horizon towards North America, you’ll find the Cliffs of Moher, one of the most iconic natural sites in all of Ireland. These cliffs rise vertically over 700 ft. over the Atlantic waves and are quite a sight to behold. Walk along the edge, travel by boat up towards the rough rocks, or catch yourself in a wind-swept ravine as you brave the elements when you come face to face with this natural wonder.
Check out Braunaunmore, a towering stone structure, or sea stack that sprouts up from the water.
Or take a drive from atop O’Brien’s Tower; you can climb O'Brien's Tower for the highest vantage point on the cliffs. O'Brien's Tower is a round stone tower at the approximate midpoint of the cliffs. It was built by Sir Cornelius O'Brien, a descendant of Ireland's High King Brian Boru, in 1835, as an observation tower for the hundreds of tourists that frequented the cliffs even at that date. From atop that watchtower, one can view the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, the Maum Turk Mountains and the Twelve Bens to the north in Connemara, and Loop Head to the south.
Bunratty Castle: This beautiful and formidable castle was built in the 15th century by a royal clan known as the MacNamaras. Its most important residents were the O’Briens, Earls of Thomond, who lived here from the early 16th century, until the 1640’s. The castle was abandoned in the 19th century, but it managed to retain many of its original settings. Check out the splendid north solar chamber (the term “solar” was used to during the Middle Ages to describe an upper chamber).
Bunratty Folk Park: Located near the grounds of Bunratty Castle, Bunratty Folk Park features a meticulous recreation of a rural village in Ireland at the end of the 19th century. Within the grounds, you will find a whole range of domestic architecture from a larbourer’s cottage, an old corn mill, to an elegant Georgian cottage.
King John’s Castle: One of Ireland’s most beautiful and historic castles, it was founded by King John in 1200, not long after the arrival of the Norman invasion. This imposing castle features five drum towers and solid curtain walls. While the castle may not have a wildly impressive inside, the outside exterior is really something.
Across the castle from Thomond Bridge, you will find the Treaty Stone, which marks the spot where the treaty of Limerick was signed in 1691.
St. John's Cathedral: This impressive church has the tallest spire in Ireland, measuring out at an amazing 308 ft. and is a must visit. Built in 1861 and designed by the architect Philip Charles Hardwick, it has been in continuous use since. The most recent restoration work carried out was in 2003/2004 on the roof and exterior stonework. It is a Catholic cathedral; the city's other cathedral, St. Mary's Cathedral is Anglican.
Thomond Park: One of the Ireland's most famous sporting arenas; the proud home of Munster Rugby, who are twice crowned European champions and have beaten the world's best in this stadium including the mighty All Blacks of New Zealand, arguably the world’s toughest rugby union squad, and defending Rugby World Cup champions. It has a new modern music bar and great facilities for young and old. When it comes to sports in Ireland, one must experience a rugby game, as it is one of the great spectacles of contact sports.
Rock of Cashel: This rocky stronghold rises dramatically out of the Tipperary plain. Centuries ago, it was a symbol of royalty and priestly power for more than a millennium. From the 4th to the 5th century it was the seat of the Kings of Munster, whose kingdom extended over much of southern Ireland. In 1101, they handed Cashel over to the Church, and it flourished as a religious center until a siege by Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1647.
Dromoland Castle: Once a 16th century castle, now a 5-star hotel in County Clare, Ireland, this magnificent structure is one of Ireland’s most beautiful castles. Among the sprawling grounds, you’ll find a golf course, verdant gardens, stone turrets, and the highly-rated, Michelin-star rated Earl of Thomond Restaurant.
In 1551, Dromoland was listed in the will of Murrough O'Brien. In 1543, he had been granted the title of first Earl of Thomond by Henry VIII, King of England. Murrough bequeathed Leamaneh Castle to his third son Donough MacMurrough O'Brien. He also gave him the castle and lands at Dromoland. In 1582 Donough was hanged in Limerick on charges of rebellion. The government decided that all his property would be forfeited to the Queen.
The mansion is designed in a "baronial" or "gothic revival" style. It has four linked irregular castellated turrets. A gothic porch to the north front displays the O'Brien coat of arms. The western portion faces out to the lake, and the east towards the hill where Thomond House now stands. In 1902, the 15th Baron Inchiquin, Lucius, took the old 17th century gateway from Leamaneh and erected it at the entrance to the large walled garden. A long curving drive leads from the gateway and classical lodge, passing north of the lake and round to the front door of Dromoland Castle.
Dromoland has hosted such guests like former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former South African President Nelson Mandela, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Bono, Muhammad Ali, Bono, Johnny Cash, and Irish dancing extraordinaire, Michael Flatley.
The Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge: Located inside a Victorian residence, The Mustard Seed is one of the prettiest restaurants in the country. Renowned for its equally impressive service and excellent cuisine. The menu mixes both classical and modern Irish fare. Sample the local filet of beef and pan-fried sea bass.
Copper and Spice: The stylish and attractive Copper and Spice features an extensive menu the dishes out the finest in both Indian and Thai cuisine. To heighten the experience, order up combo-platters such as meat-samosa, dim sum, and chicken satay.
Hampton Grill: Located in the heart of Limerick, the Hampton Grill is a convenient place to stop inside for lunch on Nicholas Street. With a menu that focuses mostly on grilled meats, including steaks, chops, lamb, and veal, this place will surely satisfy the “meat and potatoes” kind of guy!
Town Hall Café: Situated inside the Old Ground Hotel, built from the well-restored town hall of Ennis in County Clare, the Town Hall Café offers a charming bistro with home-style meals. Open for lunch and dinner; sample the fillet of beef with grain mustard, sea bass with couscous, or a sumptuous rack of lamb. For dessert, try the parfait made with one of Ireland’s best flavors, Bailey’s Irish Cream. Be sure to make reservations.
Morrisseys Seafood Bar & Grill: Housed within a handsome grey building is a fourth generation family-run bar and restaurant, located in the village of Doonbeg in County Clare. An informal place which serves up traditional Irish fare, mostly steak and seafood. For a little more exotic taste, try the crab chowder or Thai green curry.
Earl of Thomond: Located on the grounds of the exquisite Thomond Castle, the Earl of Thomond is an award-winning restaurant in County Clare of international renown. This restaurant offers a relaxed but elegant dining experience. Innovative cuisine is served with tradition and a hint of creative flair in this 5-star Irish castle restaurant.
From the a la carte menu, sample the free range chicken and prawns, foie gras with smoked ham, or the roast pigeon with bacon. The main menu features rooster potato gnocchi, risotto with chorizo, dry-aged Irish sirloin, or the fillet of John Dory.
Fig Tree Restaurant: Also located inside the opulent Dromoland Castle Hotel, the Fig Tree offers a more informal dining experience; a great place to unwind before or after dinner with a cocktail in your hands. Simple items like the club sandwich, roasted vegetable salad, and wild mushroom ravioli will surely satisfy anyone’s discerning palate.
Hunt Museum: Located in the Old Customs House, this fine museum is home to a collection of great antiquities of Ireland, as gathered by noted archeologist, John Hunt. Some of the noted exhibits include items from the Bronze Age, including gold jewelry and ancient shields. You can also find Celtic brooches and the 9th century Antrim Cross.
Limerick Museum: This city museum is located inside a fine 19th century granary building. Inside, one can marvel at this homage to Limerick’s history and traditions; exhibits include lace-and-silver makings to rugby-related memorabilia.
Aubars Bar Bistro & Nightclub: This modern establishment offers up a bar, bistro, and nightclub all rolled up into one. The décor is both contemporary and stylish, while the cuisine borders along the side of traditional Irish fare. Do try the ribeye steak with béarnaise sauce and chips!
Charlie Malone's (Charlie's): Relatively quiet normally, but on Monday nights, the crowds from Mary I, generally a group of students from Mary I, will play Irish Trad late in the night. The barmen here will make you feel quite at home.
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This coverage is designed to protect your investment on all featured self-drive and customized bookings. You may cancel your trip up to 72 hours prior to departure for any reason and you will receive a refund equaling the full amount of all payments made, less any Travel Protection Plan Cost and fees. Passengers who chose to rebook their vacation and originally booked airfare must rebook air on original air carrier. Coverage goes into effect on the day the premium is received. The cost of this coverage is 9% of your total trip cost and must be purchased at time of booking. Full description of coverage can be found by visiting http://tripmate.com/wpF421W. Pre Departure notice of cancellation must be made during normal business hours (9AM to 5:30PM, Monday - Friday and 10AM - 6PM Saturday, Eastern Time) by calling (800) 495-5220. Note: Inside 72 hours prior to travel, full cancellation penalties will apply. Plan fees are not refundable at any time.
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