The following counties are among the most widely visited in Ireland.
With their lively arts and culture attractions it's not hard to see why.
Here are IrishCentral's guide and recommendations:
Belfast City (in Irish, Beal Feirste) is the capital of Northern Ireland and is located in County Antrim, one of Ireland most visited counties. History and politics have always played a major role in the fabric of Belfast, and perhaps for that reason its citizens are among the most vivid and witty people you'll ever meet.
Unsurprisingly, Belfast is rich in culture, art, music, dance, sports, shopping, attractions and historical sites. City Hall, one of the main seats of power, is located on Donegall Square and dominates the area with its magnificent architecture of classical renaissance style and Italian marble interior. It was completed in 1903.
The Linen Hall Library, located on Donegall Square, was established in 1788. It houses an Irish collection of over 20,000 volumes and a Robert Burns collection. Visit and you'll be keeping company with many noted Irish authors.
The Crown Liquor Saloon is the most famous pub in Belfast and - frankly - one of the most beautiful pubs in the world. Featuring Victorian architecture, with the outside covered in thousands of colorful tiles, the inside decor has stained and painted glass, carved oak screens and mahogany furniture. Don't miss it.
The Botanic Gardens, the rose gardens and herbaceous borders were established in 1920 are unmissable. Two greenhouses dominate the gardens and the Palm House has a conservatory containing tropical plants like coffee, sugar, and banana plants. The Tropical Ravine has a high walkway that provides a great viewpoint.
Overlooking the city, Belfast Castle was built in 1870 and was the former home of the Donegall family, who gave the main square in the city center its name. The castle offers a spectacular view of the city. There is also a heritage center, antique shop, and children's play area on the premise.
County Clare in the Republic of Ireland is steeped in history, and it offers beautiful seascapes, landscapes, lakes, cliffs, caves and music. Highlights include The Burren (an ancient perfectly preserved landscape), The CLIFFS OF MOHER (700 foot high cliffs facing the wild Atlantic), and Bunratty Castle and Folk Park (an impressive castle dating from the early Middle Ages).
The Burren is over 500 square miles of limestone located in the northwest corner of County Clare. The area is a haven for botanists and ecologists because of the unique flora and rock. The ground surface is a floor of gray rock with long parallel grooves, known as grykes. There is an amazing variety of flora with Arctic, Alpine, and Mediterranean plants growing in spring and summer. For that reason there's also an amazing range of color in the flowers, ferns and mosses.
Alwee Caves were discovered in the 1940s. There are caverns, underground waterfalls, stalagmite and stalactite formations and remains of brown bears, which have been extinct in Ireland for thousands of years. The caves are open for guided tours.
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most spectacular sights of The Burren. These majestic cliffs rise more than 700 feet above the windswept Atlantic Ocean and stretch five miles along the west coast of Clare. Composed of shale and sandstone, the cliff's ledges make ideal roosting homes for birds. On a clear day you can see as far as the Mountains of Kerry, Connemara and the Aran Islands.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is one of the most complete and authentic medieval castles in Ireland. This being Ireland it also has a long and bloody history.
The castle is a combination of earlier Norman castles and the later Gaelic Tower Houses furnished with a fine collection of medieval furniture, artwork and ornate carvings. A four-course Medieval Banquet and entertainment with performers in traditional costume is offered in the evenings.
County Cork is the largest county in Ireland and Cork City is the second-largest city in the Republic. A unique and lively second capital, the distinctive people are as much an attraction as the place itself.
Saint Finbarr first built a monastery on the site that would later become Cork City in the year 650. The city grew along the banks of the River Lee at the point where it splits into two channels.
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