Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Freebies in Ireland


Dublin iWalks: Download your own free audio walking guide to Dublin. Simply download the podcast to your MP3 player or iPod from the visitdublin website and walk the city at your own pace to your own private soundtrack! With 12 guides in total and easy printable maps for each walk you can learn about Guinness, Temple Bar or James Joyce’s Dublin.

Parks and Gardens: Dublin is a green city – get out and about and visit the city’s many parks and gardens. Visit Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest park; St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin’s city centre ; Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square, gardens in Dublin’s Georgian quarters, even the National Botanical Gardens are open to the public free of charge!

Museums & Galleries: All Ireland’s National Museums are free of charge! Visit the Natural History, the Archaeology and History and the Decorative Arts and History Museums in Dublin and learn all about the country’s colourful past. Many Art Galleries are free too – try the National Gallery or Ireland’s Museum of Modern Art.

Markets: Ideal for getting to know the local people and discovering local products. In the Temple Bar quarter, Saturdays are reserved for markets : the Designer Market, Food Market, Book Market and more... Another must-see is the Moore Street Market, with its colourful displays and loud vendors and multi-cultural clientele.


St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast: Explore the treasures of this Irish-roman-style cathedral. Mounted on top of the cathedral is the new, modern spire, ‘Spire of Hope’, rising 100 metres above the city.

The Quarters: Belfast loves its quarters, each with its own theme or style. Queen’s Quarter, the student and residential area, with its famous university and the Ulster Museum (free entry, in construction until June 2009) ; the Cathedral Quarter and the Titanic Quarter, the ancient naval site where the celebrated liner was built.

St. George’s Market: One of Belfast’s oldest attractions, there has been a Friday market on the St. George’s site since 1604. Home to some of the finest fresh produce, this charming Victorian building attracts visitors from near and far to sample the delights of Friday and Saturday markets. Sample the produce, relax with a coffee and a newspaper against a backdrop of live jazz or flamenco music. This market is a real Saturday treat and a great outing for all the family.

Botanical Gardens and Greenhouse (Palm House): Constructed in 1830, the splendid greenhouse contains an assortment of plants from tropical regions and climates – explore for free!

Belfast Castle: situated on Cave Hill, the hill that dominates Belfast, Belfast Castle and its gardens dominate the city, offering a panoramic view of Belfast and the Lough. No admission fees.

Northern Ireland

Londonderry City Walls: A walk around the 400 year old city walls in Londonderry reveals a splendid city crammed full of history, heritage, interest and a vibrant cultural scene. This is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The Walls, which are approximately 1.5km in circumference, form a walkway around the inner city and provide a unique promenade to view the layout of the original town which still preserves its Renaissance Style street plan to this day.

The Causeway Coastal Route and the Giant’s Causeway (Co. Antrim): Discover a spectacular coastal passage that leads you to the Giant’s Causeway. This remarkable natural site is the top UNESCO World Heritage site in Ireland. Entry is free (although there is a fee for nearby parking).

Downpatrick Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Tomb: This 19th century gothic cathedral was constructed on a sacred site. Its cemetery contains the tomb of St. Patrick.

The Mourne Mountains: The melody and words 'Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea' of the popular song written by Percy French in 1896, have made the Mournes the best-known mountains in Ireland. An area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Mourne Mountains are the most picturesque in Ireland and were the inspiration for CS Lewis's Narnia tales. The perfect holiday location for the outdoor enthusiast.

The West and North West

Connemara National Park, Co. Galway: the park covers 2,957 hectares of magnificent landscape. The Interpretation Centre presents expositions on the fauna and flora, and a film. Visitors can make use of the hiking trails and picnic areas.

Hunt Museum, Co. Limerick: Entry is free every Sunday between 14:00 to 17:00. One of the most beautiful private collections of art and antiques in the world, ranging from Neolithic to modern times, and includes a range of works by Renoir, Picasso and Yeats.

Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo: The tradition of pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption. Croagh Patrick is renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. It was on the summit of the mountain that Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD and the custom has been faithfully handed down from generation to generation.

The Cliffs of Slieve League (Sliabh Liag), Teelin, Co. Donegal: The cliffs of Slieve League are situated on the west coast of Donegal. The highest cliffs in Europe, they also boast one of the best marine reserves.

Holy Cross Abbey, Co. Tipperary: It is difficult not to be impressed by the incredible location of the Holy Cross Abbey in Co. Tipperary. Its 12th century monastery is one of the most frequented pilgrimages in Ireland.

The South West

Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry: one of the most popular parks in Ireland, its history-rich scenery will leave you speechless. Walk amongst its 10.236 hectares to see its Torc Waterfall.

The Fitzgerald Park and Museum of Cork: This Park, where the Museum of Cork is also situated, extends for more than 7km2. You will find an excellent collection of plants and shrubs, and also a children’s playground.

Crawford Art Gallery in Cork: the city’s art museum, situated in the centre of Cork City in a spectacular building hosts a collection consists of over 2,000 Irish and European paintings and sculptures dating from the 18th century onwards.

Muckross Friary & Gardens, Co. Kerry: This Franciscan Friary was founded in the 15th century and is in a remarkable state of preservation. The cloister and its associated buildings are complete and an old yew tree stands in the centre.

The East and South East

Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough, Co. Wicklow: This 20,000-hectare park is a haven for walkers. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow: Glendalough (or Gleann Da Loch, meaning ‘The Glen of the Two Lakes’) is situated in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The ancient monastery on the site was founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Set in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and decorated crosses.

Kilmacurragh Arboretum in Co. Wicklow: Around the ruins of a fine Queen Anne style house lie 52 acres of wild Robinsonian gardens began in 1715 and further expanded with the advice of the Directors of the Botanic Gardens in Dublin during the 19th century. Rare trees and shrubs abound for you to explore. Admission is free.

Kilkenny Castle Gardens: This 12th century castle was built during the Victorian era. Although there is an entry fee to the castle itself, you can roam the gardens in their 50-acre park for free.

Tramore, Co. Waterford: Tramore, 8 miles (13 km) south of Waterford city, is one of Ireland's most popular seaside resorts. Situated on a hillside overlooking Tramore Bay, it has a fine promenade and a sandy bathing beach 3 miles (5 km) long.

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