Ireland's top ten tourist attractions in 2013 - Where to go and what to see in Ireland


While it has retained its excellent, permanent collection of Irish Art, in particular works by the celebrated Limerick native it is constantly staging new and exciting exhibitions. All of which are free!

The new restaurant Zest is first class, great confectionary, surprising salads, hearty innovative soups and the best value coffee and water I have found anywhere in the country. 

10. Swiss Cottage Cahir, County Tipperary is picture postcard lovely. This restored Cottage Orné, is one of only two in Europe. Designed as a pastoral idyll, similar to the Trianon of Versailles, it was built by Richard Butler of nearby Cahir Castle as a kind of summer house (although he never slept in it) to be enjoyed on family outings. No expense was spared, the wallpaper in the drawing-room having been the most expensive in Europe at the time when it was originally decorated. 

Having fallen into disrepair and almost lost to the nation, it has been completely and faithfully restored to its former glory, thanks to a kind American lady benefactor and the Office of Public Works, who now look after the property. You can reach it by road or by walking along the charming riverbank walk from Cahir Castle.