|Bantry House, Banty, County Cork|
The Titanic Quarter in Belfast and in particular the new Titanic Museum stole the show in 2012. And while the 100th anniversary of that ill-fated voyage has passed, I think this superb visitor attraction will be just as popular in 2013. And while you are in Belfast, I would highly recommend taking a Black Cab Tour of the city, as it will give you a great (and neutral) insight to and understanding of the ‘troubles’.
In the wake of 2012’s dramatic final (and replay) of Galway V Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Hurling championship, a visit to Croke Park Museum and a tour of the holy ground, will be on a lot of people’s to-do list next year. And only a (head) stone’s throw away from there is the award winning Glasnevin Museum and graveyard tour is not to be missed.
I loved Mizen Head Lighthouse when I visited last summer (on a fantastic day) ditto Bantry House, magnificent and Gairinish Island also in Cork. It was totally magical as was Castle Ward and Mount Stewart Gardens on the Ards Pennisula in Northern Ireland.
It really is excellent but please do book your tickets online as it is a very busy attraction and visitor numbers are limited per hour. Also, there can be long queues for the Shipyard Ride so don’t worry about skipping it and moving on, it’s good but short.
Another tip, the Galley restaurant on the ground floor is chock-a-block, so book afternoon tea upstairs in the salon by the Grand Staircase, so you can enjoy it in peace and comfort at the end of your tour. Or else hop a cab downtown to the Crown Liquor Salon, for a beef in Guinness pie and a pint!
If you have only time to ‘do’ one visitor attraction in Ireland this is it! Bunratty has everything, a grand castle with medieval banquets, Irish cottages, farmyards, whole streets with traditional pubs, shops, and even a school where you can take lessons or join in a bread-making session.
It is a great value all-day out for couples and families, which you can combine with a trip to the Cliffs of Moher nearby for more savings.