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The Beara Peninsula, in County Cork, among the 25 finalists for the Irish Times top vacation locations in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

Competition heats up in search for Ireland’s top vacation destination - from beach resorts to idyllic country villages

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The Beara Peninsula, in County Cork, among the 25 finalists for the Irish Times top vacation locations in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

DERRY CITY

Nominated by Peter J Mackenzie, who wrote: “Derry has so much to see and do. Great live music in so many venues and a growing quality hospitality industry, and a great base to explore the natural beauty of Donegal on one side and the splendour of the Causeway coast.”
 
DINGLE, CO KERRY

Nominated by Kylie L Smith, who wrote: “In all the places I have been in the world Dingle, with its narrow streets, colourful housing and glorious peninsula, is the best. Friendliness oozes from its people, shops and eating and drinking places (of which there are many!).”

DUBLIN CITY

Nominated by Kate Rooney, who wrote: “Although not the most attractive county, Dublin is the best to actually spend time and money. You don’t need empty beaches, you need entertainment and action to have a good holiday.”
 
DUNMORE EAST, CO WATERFORD

Nominated by Daragh Hickey, who wrote: “When the sun comes out, get your spot on Ireland’s classic town beach and share a day with folks who built sandcastles and hunted crabs on this strand just like their accompanying grandchildren do now.”
 
GOUGANE BARRA, CO CORK

Nominated by Joan Healy, who wrote: “Wake in the morning to the sound of birdsong, watch the trout jumping in the lake, walk the crags of the mountains before a sumptuous meal. Peaceful, tranquil Gougane Barra has a magnetic attraction.”
 
GWEEDORE, CO DONEGAL

Nominated by Seán Mullin, who wrote: “The sheer, narrow inlets mash the surf into slosh pits of creamy foam next to beaches of smooth rocks which clack and rustle with each monster wave. I’m in New Zealand now. I still compare everywhere I go here to Gweedore.”
 
INIS MEAIN, CO GALWAY

Nominated by Nicole Trewartha, who wrote: “It feels remote, removed from the rest of the world, and the sky somehow seems larger than anywhere else in Ireland as there is nothing to interrupt your view. But the people are warm and generous. There are no strangers here.”
 
INISHBOFIN, CO GALWAY

Nominated by Hugh McMahon, who wrote: “From the minute you get off the ferry you know that you are in a magical place. The scenery, the Atlantic air and the pace of life allow you to leave behind the mainland and the personality you inhabit there.”

KILLARNEY, CO KERRY

Nominated by Maighread Forde, who wrote: “The view is the first thing that takes your breath away. But one can’t holiday on views alone. Around Killarney you can walk, take boat trips on the lakes, cycle, tour Muckross House or Ross Castle, go to the playground or the pet farms, go horse racing, golfing, fishing, run a marathon or learn to cook.”

KINSALE, CO CORK

Nominated by George Harding, who wrote: “Cork might be Ireland’s second city, but Kinsale is its first town. Known as the gourmet capital of Ireland, it has restaurants to suit every taste, from the award-winning Fishy Fishy, to high-end fish-and-chippers.”

 
THE LAKELANDS OF CO FERMANAGH

Nominated by Patricia Thirgood, who wrote: “Fermanagh is so green and not always wet, with amazing walks, lovely lakes, mountains sea breezes, and even the G8.”
 
LOOP HEAD PENINSULA, CO CLARE

Nominated by Mary Redmond, who wrote: “Beautiful, wild and unspoilt … with three beaches , the wonderful cliff walk in Kilkee, and loop head walk at the light house and the ruins of Carrigaholt Castle.”
 
LOUISBURGH, CO MAYO

Nominated by Catherine Duffy, who wrote: “Louisburgh, nestled under Croagh Patrick, is where Westport people go on holidays. For the painter, the pilgrim, the photographer, the forager, the fisherman, the foodie, the walker, the geogologist, the historian and the child there is no better place.”
 
RIVER SHANNON

Nominated by Jennifer Joyce, who wrote: “Time slows down on the Shannon. Enjoy the pace of your boat as you travel through Loughs Derg, Ree, Allen and Erne. Cruise, then drop in to any of the picturesque harbours for a meal, or cook on board and enjoy the peace.”
 
ROSSLARE STRAND, CO WEXFORD

Nominated by Ray Corish, who wrote: “Rosslare Strand is in the heart of Ireland’s sunniest county, far enough from the Greater Dublin Area for holiday makers to relax and yet within striking distance via the N11.”
 
STRANDHILL, CO SLIGO

Nominated by Megan Boyle, who wrote: “A holiday destination for all ages, whether you just want to walk on the beach, take a seaweed bath, have a nice bite to eat or a surf lesson, climb the mountain and hit the pubs for a great night of music and madness.”
 
THE GLEN OF AHERLOW, CO TIPPERARY

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