\"Kiss

Kiss the Blarney stone - just one of the cultural hotspots in Ireland that won't burn a hole in your pocket Photo by: Google Images

The top ten must-see historic and cultural sites in Ireland

\"Kiss

Kiss the Blarney stone - just one of the cultural hotspots in Ireland that won't burn a hole in your pocket Photo by: Google Images

Photo gallery / The 10 must-see cultural Irish sites / Click here

In tough recession times both here and overseas, Ireland’s tourism may have slowed down, but HeritageIsland.com is providing travelers with guides and discounts to some of Ireland’s best historic and cultural spots.

There’s so much to do in Ireland, HertiageIsland.com has carefully picked out some of the most worth-while attractions to see, that not only education on Irish lore and legend, but also modern culture.

Here they are, split up by region:

DUBLIN:

Croke Park Experience

Home to the Gaelic Athletic Associate, Croke Park is the largest athletic stadium in Ireland. The historic stadium in the heart of Dublin has also been the venue for more than a dozen of Ireland’s biggest concerts, including U2, Neil Diamond and Tina Turner. Tour the stadium, which holds 82,300 people and take a look at the full pitch, 144.5 by 88 meters (roughly 158 by 96 yard). The museum at Croke Park holds 125 years of GAA history and is a must-see spot for any Gaelic sports fan.  

Guinness Storehouse

No trip to Dublin is complete without a trip to St. James Gate and the Guinness Store house. Travel up the 7 floors and learn how Arthur Guinness came up with his famous stout. Learn how to pour the perfect pint and get a free pint of Guinness on the top floor at the Gravity Bar. Don’t forget to take a look at the breath-taking view from the top, where you can see all of Dublin.

THE MIDLANDS (surrounding Dublin):

Powerscourt Gardens

Take a moment out of the cities and take in some of Ireland’s beautiful countryside. In Co. Wicklow, just outside of Dublin are the Powercourt Gardens, with more than 47 acres of beautiful gardens, topiaries, walking paths. The 18th century gardens and estate sit amongst the foothills of the Wicklow mountains.

SOUTHEAST (Tipparary-Waterford-Kilkenny-Carlow):

Brú Ború

Near the Rock of Cashel, the Brú Ború Cultural Centre teaches and informs about Irish music, song, dance and theater. The tradition of Irish music and performance has been taken all over the world by the Brú Ború center, including Chinam Japan and Australia. The center has an exhibit at the moment, “Sounds of History”, which explores the history and importance of Irish performing arts.

Dunbrody Emigrant Ship

See where the journey began for nearly 1/3 of the Irish population in the 19th century. In County Wexford, off the River Barrow, a replica of the Dunbrody ship is available for tours. Visitors can see what it was like for their centuries decades ago. The majestic tall ship still has original emigrant rosters and memorials as well as documents containing the ship’s history.

CORK/KERRY:

Blarney Castle

The most famous tourist spot in Ireland, the Blarney Castle is a short venture out from Cork City, County Cork. Though best known for the stone, Blarney Castle is a historic site with lots of information about pre-Christian times and battling clans in Ireland.  Those who venture to the top of the castle can lean (backwards) over the edge and kiss the Blarney Stone for the gift of gab, while others may just want to watch.

SHANNON REGION:

Cliffs of Moher

Recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, The Cliffs of Moher are a stunning tourist destination on the Atlantic Coast of Ireland. The cliffs range in height from 120 meters (394 feet) above the Atlantic, to 214 meters (702 feet). Tours of the cliffs include views from the edge and boat tours beside them. A lot of wildlife habitat near the cliffs which make for fun field spotting games.

Craggaunowen, the Living Past

This archeological open-air museum settled in County Clare, tells the story of Ireland’s most famous clan, the Celts. The historic site features many ancient dwellings and built structures dating back to the Bronze and Early Iron Ages. There is also a replica of the boat believe to be used by Ireland’s king Brendan, who discovered the Emerald Isle. Ring forts and castles are also on the Craggauowen grounds, which show the history and fortitude of the ancient Irish.

IRELAND'S WEST (Galway-Killary-Sligo):

Killary Cruises

There are beautiful panoramic views to be seen from Killary Harbor. Ireland’s on fjord, Killary Harbor features catamaran tours and cruises, which are still a smooth ride, even in rainy Irish weather. The fjord winds between Galway and Mayo and is a scenic yet relaxing tour of some of Ireland’s natural wonders.

NORTHERN IRELAND:

Enniskillen Castle Museum

Originally a Gaelic Maguire stronghold, the Enniskillen Castle Museum in County Fermanagh has been completely refurbished and is now a living museum, which re-enactors and dressed up tour guides. Special exhibits happen year-round and include artifacts and information about Irish history, art, music and archeology.

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