1. Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Shannon, County Clare
If you have only time to ‘do’ one visitor attraction in Ireland, this is it! Absolutely excellent, fantastic castle, medieval banquets, Irish cottages, farmyards, streetscape with traditional pubs, shops, school etc, great good value day out for all the family.
2 Butlers Chocolate Experience, Clonshaugh, Dublin
What’s not to like about a Willa Wonka-style experience with suspended walkway tour over the factory floor and all the chocolate you can eat?
3 Crawford Art Gallery, Cork City
A smashing selection of superbly curated Irish Art, just the right amount in a wonderful city centre location and admission is free!
4 Croke Park Museum, Dublin
Probably the best guided tour in Ireland, especially if you know nothing at all about Gaelic Games? The only carbon neutral stadium in the world? And top of their game right now, with a momentous Dublin win in 2011.
5 Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Dublin
The only recipients of a Thea award in Ireland, excellent modern museum with superb multi-media, as well as the personal touch which is so important when dealing with a subject like this...
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6 Irish National Stud, County Kildare
Her majesty Queen Elizabeth enjoyed her visit here in May 2011, very interesting and informative background to one of our favourite national past times and the adjoining Japanese gardens are an absolute delight in early Spring.
7 Lismore Castle Gardens, County Waterford
What a dreamy garden, immaculate vegatable and flower gardens bursting at their neatly boxed seams while big blousely rambleing roses ran away with themselves over the castle walls. Great coffee and homemade cakes too...
8 Old Jamesons Distillery, Dublin
Another excellent guided tour where you are led through the whole process of whiskey distilling from the grain to the glass and its effect on the social history of this cobbled streeted area of Dublin, very generous whiskey tastings…
9 Museum of Country Life, Castlebar, County Mayo
Another free museum I cannot recommend highly enough and it’s free! You could happily spend the day here finding out how people lived in rural Ireland not so very long ago.
10 Swiss Cottage, Cahir, County Tipperary
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 which you can walk to along the riverbank.
By Susan Byron, author of www.irelands-hidden-gems.com