An American student’s guide to the best tourist attractions in Dublin - PHOTOS
Hint: don’t go out of your way to see the Molly Malone statue
Sligo - Yeats county, beautiful and wild. Might be difficult to get around without a car or a tour bus. Also visit the Neolithic tombs.
The Aran Islands - You need at least an overnight stay if you’re coming from Dublin; ferries leave Galway in the morning and come back in the evening, so you have to start in Galway the morning of your trip.
Hostels are cheap, and you can easily explore Galway the evening you arrive. On the Aran Islands, rent bikes and ride around.
This is the stereotypical Ireland you’ve fantasized about, and one of the most solid bastions of the Irish language. The other most beautiful place I saw in Ireland (the first is Killarney). The cliffs off the island of Inis Mór compare well with the Cliffs of Moher, so although the tourism gods might curse you, I think you should skip the Cliffs of Moher and just do the Aran Islands if you only have time for one. On Inis Mór, definitely hike up to the prehistoric fort Dún Aonghasa, and definitely send your mom a knitting pattern from the island; the famous Irish clan patterns originated in the Aran Islands, although whether the clan patterns are authentic is in doubt.
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PHOTOS - An American student's guide to the best tourist spots in Dublin slideshow