Views in Glendalough, County Wicklow

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The pub, traditional music and of course the beautiful great outdoors; Ireland still has it all according to the Lonely Planet’s Top 25 Experiences in Ireland.

Lonely Planet the influential guide publishes a Discover Ireland booklet today which states that along with Australia, Thailand and Italy Ireland is one of the world’s top holiday destinations.

It is certainly no shock that at number one in the top 25 experiences is the Irish pub. The guide describes the pub as the where the “social heart beats, and where you’ll find out what makes this country tick".

Dublin comes in at second place. The guide says it has grown into “a proper metropolis with all of the distractions and dressings of a major international capital, but in doing so has managed that rare skill of retaining the friendliness intimacy and feel of a provincial town”.

Many of the top 25 are areas of amazing natural beauty such as Connemara, Glendalough, the Ring of Kerry, Sea cliffs at Slieve League (Co Donegal) and the Antrim coastal walk.

A proper Irish meal only scrapes on to the list in 25th place. Irish food “has finally come of age, offering up some outstanding dishes” says the guide. It also names County Cork as the cuisine capital of Ireland.

Some counties such as Derry, which only makes an appearance at number 24, might have something to say about the ordering of the list. The list’s editor, Clifton Wilkinson, insists that he composed the list in no strict order.

“The authors as they are travelling around will have a look and they will talk to tourists to find out what they think is their top experiences, and that is how we come up with our top list" said Wilkinson.

“The spirit of Ireland is what it has always been: the welcome of the people, the pubs, the food the different attractions are just as good as ever and that is what we wanted to get across."

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The Lonley Planet’s Top 25 Experiences in Ireland are:

1 The pub
2 Dublin
3 Traditional music
4 Connemara
5 Glendalough
6 Golf
7 Clonmacnoise
8 Galway city
9 Brú na Bóinne
10 Dingle
11 Vinegar Hill (Co Wexford)
12 Cork
13 Rock of Cashel
14 Black taxi tour (Belfast)
15 Ring of Kerry
16 Kilkenny
17 Surfing the northwest
18 Sea cliffs at Slieve League (Co Donegal)
19 Antrim coastal walk
20 Castles and stately homes
21 Ardmore (Co Waterford)
22 Co Clare
23 Loughcrew
24 Derry
25 A proper Irish meal