East & Dublin
Feast your senses on bewitching scenery, fantastic city life, sensational sporting events and compelling historical sights
Take your pick of the country’s top sporting events and entertainment
The Barrowline, The Grand Canal, and The Royal Canal are all wonderful areas of natural beauty and very beautiful places to walk.
If you fancy testing your skills against the wilds of nature, try the white water stretch at Ballymahon, County Longford.
The Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, is a place of great natural beauty. At its heart lies Carlingford, a medieval town of narrow streets and castles on the shores of Carlingford Lough.
The Royal Canal, Lough Ree and River Shannon all provide beautiful scenery along the many cruising ways in the area.
Take one, three and five day trail rides through the Slieve Bloom Mountains to explore Ireland’s hidden treasures, from Cromwell’s Camp to the Ridge of Capard.
Fairyhouse is the home of Ireland’s premier National Hunt race, the Powers Gold Label Irish Grand National, which is run every year on Easter Monday.
Tench is widely distributed in the loughs, rivers and canals of the region. Pike is a speciality, with the Shannon, the River Inny, Lough Derravaragha and the Gowna Lakes offering some of the best action in Ireland.
The biggest sports museum in Ireland houses an excellent interactive exhibition on Irish life and heritage.
The East Coast and Midlands boasts lots of golf clubs where you can take to the course by day and enjoy luxurious accommodation by night. Try Ballymascanlon Golf Course in County Louth; Nuremore Hotel Golf and Country Club in County Monaghan; County Cavan Golf Club; Druid’s Glen Golf Resort in County Wicklow; Portmarnock and Castleknock Golf Clubs in Dublin; and the famed K Club in County Kildare, which will play host to the 2006 Ryder Cup.
The Curragh Racecourse in Kildare has been the headquarters of horse racing in Ireland since the first race took place in 1741. It’s also one of Ireland's premier sporting venues and is home to the undisputed highlight of the Irish racing calendar, The Curragh Irish Derby. Fairyhouse in County Meath is the home of Ireland’s premier National Hunt race, the Powers Gold Label Irish Grand National, which is run every year on Easter Monday. And the Irish National Hunt Festival in Punchestown, County Kildare is a four-day spectacle that attracts the cream of National Hunt racehorses from across Europe.
Take to the road in Wicklow and Portaloise, County Laois, and see Ireland at your own pace with a truly unique and memorable holiday.
A four-day spectacle (late April/early May) that attracts the cream of National Hunt Racehorses from across Europe.
Walk the Wicklow Way or the Slieve Blooms to experience the wild and rugged countryside of this wonderful region.
Carlingford Lough, County Louth, boasts a natural beauty that makes activities such as sailing, fishing and walking all the more breathtaking. Likewise, Dublin Bay is a breathtaking place to take out a sailboat, with marinas dotted up and down the shoreline.
Dublin’s waters may look icy, but that doesn’t put off the locals who swim at South County Dublin spots like Seapoint (with its Blue Flag), and the 40ft at Sandycove right throughout the winter – Christmas Day even sees swimmers taking the plunge by the dozen.
There are seven sales spread throughout the year, and even if you’re not quite in the market for a thoroughbred, it’s definitely worth a look.
With its compact size, Dublin is ideally suited for exploration on foot. Try a traditional music or a historical walking tour.
Get close to farm animals and slide up to some sea life with kids’ attractions in the great outdoors
Hugely popular bowling complex with six bowling lanes, championship pool tables, video games and jukebox.
A must for all teddy bear lovers, you can browse for bear accessories, bear-making kits and cuddly bears, and take part in teddy bear making classes or watch a bear being created.
Be a native for a day at the Causey Farm with a host of traditional Irish activities, including turf cutting, bodhrán classes, céilí dancing, sheepdog demonstrations, cow milking and brown bread baking.
Take a 9km rail trip through Blackwater Bog on a 3ft narrow gauge railway.
With over 700 animals and birds from around the world, Dublin Zoo is set in a beautiful landscape of 66 acres
An award-winning exhibition that recreates the sights and sounds of medieval Dublin.
Get up close to a wide selection of farm animals and fowl with horses, deer, goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, donkeys, ducks, geese, doves, peacocks and hens.
These tranquil formal gardens boast over 400 different roses, but the real draw for the kids is the raucous tropical bird garden and the mini zoo with camels, monkeys and racoons.
Older children will relish the chance to drive a four-wheeled All Terrain vehicle around the muddy Monaghan countryside. The trail includes an underground tunnel with splash, overhead bridges, a water splash drive, bumpy ground, and muddy ditches.
Set amid 958 acres of land, the National Stud includes the Irish Horse Museum, and the beautiful Japanese Gardens.
Haunting yet compelling, Kilmainham Gaol is one of the largest unoccupied gaols in the world and was at the centre of some of Ireland’s most heroic and tragic events from the 1780s to the 1920s.
Founded by master ventriloquist Eugene Lambert, this theatre presents puppet shows designed to delight.
A small mineral island that rises gently out of the Bog of Allen, Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park provides a unique and fascinating insight into the development of the Irish people over 9,500 years.
This is a large 6ft-high hedge grown on Ballinafagh Farm to mark the Millennium. The Millennium Maze comes in the shape of St Brigid’s Cross and has over one-and-a-half miles of paths to lose yourself amongst.
Pack in all of Dublin’s attractions with a bus tour that takes in the Guinness Storehouse, Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo, the Irish Whiskey Trail at the Old Jameson Distillery, Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick’s Cathedral and more.
Boat hire, barge trips, bicycle hire, barbecue hire, fishing rod hire and a coffee shop are just some of the facilities on offer here.
The Dublin-born author of Dracula lived very near to this new hi-tech centre, which is devoted to his life and works.
The magnificent Dublin Horse Show is Ireland’s largest equestrian event featuring riders from across the globe.
Explore the magical world of the ocean without having to get your toes wet. This excellent centre has over a hundred different marine species including the fearsome red-bellied piranha and leopard sharks.
At the Guinness Steam Museum you can visit marvel at “live steam” engines, explore the walled garden, and enjoy a multi-media information channel and a hands-on area.
For a particularly peculiar view of the city, take to the water in a reconditioned World War II amphibious “Duck” vehicle and explore Dublin’s historic sights on land. Plus, you can also enjoy scaring unsuspecting passers-by with the rather boisterous Viking Splash Tour “roar”!
Culture & Festivals
Enjoy elegant country houses, award-winning museums and exquisite design centres
It’s been going since 1953 and is now the premier amateur drama festival in Europe. Sit back and enjoy some excellent productions during the month of May.
Avondale House was the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), one of the greatest political leaders in Irish history. It’s a beautiful Georgian house in over 500 acres of magnificent forest park.
This beautiful Georgian house is enhanced by a 100m herbaceous border, parterre, nature trail and tree folklore trail.
Culture-loving types should head to County Monaghan for eight days of drama in March.
Castletown kicked off a revolution in Irish architecture and is one of the largest and most splendid country houses in Ireland.
Have a look at some splendid crystal from Cavan Crystal, or if that doesn’t take your fancy you can choose from other crafts including tableware, furniture, textiles, pottery and ceramics, jewellery, wood, linen, ironcraft and sculpture.
This award-winning County Museum explores the history and culture of County Louth.
Nestling in the shade of Kaedeen Mountain in County Wicklow, Dwyer McAllister Cottage was the spot where the famed rebel Michael Dwyer fought the British before escaping over the snow-covered mountains.
Nestling among Monaghan's intimate rolling hills, the parish of Inniskeen has long been a home to poets and remains largely unchanged from the turn-of-the-century landscape that inspired Patrick Kavanagh, one of Ireland's foremost literary figures.
Located by the sea near the pretty village of Sandycove, the James Joyce Tower (the setting for the first chapter of Ulysses) was used by the author as a residence and is one of a series of impressive Martello towers built to withstand a possible Napoleonic invasion.
Located in a restored 18th-century market house, this multi-media exhibition centre takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of Kildare.
These beautiful gardens include a pets’ corner a sandpit playground, woodland walks, lake and wildflower meadow.
Licenced in 1757, Lockes produced triple distilled Irish whiskey for over 200 years. Today it’s the last remaining example of a small pot still distillery in Ireland.
This delightful stone-walled thatched building set in East Cavan is a charming location for a cultural tourism centre. One of the earliest court tombs in Ireland lies close by at Cohaw.
The beautifully grand National Gallery houses Ireland's national collection of Irish art and European Masters. The more recent addition of the modern Merrion Wing has enlivened the gallery with a bright, dynamic space.
Ireland’s new museum on the banks of the River Liffey is home to a glittering national collection of decorative arts and history.
The National Concert Hall is Ireland’s most prestigious music venue offering weekly performances by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.
Seat of the Earls of Longford, this Gothic Revival castle is still occupied by the family. A Tibetan and a Chinese garden have been added to the extensive grounds.
Eating, Drinking & Luxury
Discover your own secret hideaway with some of Ireland’s most idyllic, romantic and luxurious places to stay
Set in an idyllic spot in Mullingar, the Belfry is housed within a spectacular Georgian Gothic church. Using only fresh local and organic suppliers, the food is a delightful combination of modern Irish and traditional French.
A Dublin institution, Bewleys may have undergone a transformation of late but it’s still an excellent place to grab a cup of coffee in the heart of Dublin’s shopping precinct.
A delightful and authentic castle that dates back to 1760, Cabra Castle is nestled into 88 acres of gardens and parkland, and enjoys its own nine-hole golf course. Rooms are elegant and luxurious, especially the Lord’s Chamber and the delightful courtyard bedrooms.
This beautiful Italian mansion located in magnificent parklands is justly famous for cuisine that uses the best homegrown produce. The house can be rented out exclusively for the ultimate in privacy and seclusion, but bed & breakfast is also available for the less extravagant.
This superb hotel has been recently refurbished and is widely regarded for its ambience, luxury and unique home-cooked breakfasts.
Nestled into the Dublin Mountains, Johnnie Fox’s is a delightful ramshackle pub with plenty of nooks and crannies and a history that stretches back to 1798.
This award-winning spot has built a steady reputation for innovative Irish/French food, and is definitely worth visiting for its Michelin star cuisine.
For those after a more intimate experience, you’ve just got to chow down in the intricate environs of La Stampa.
Leave your stress behind at this stylish new contemporary hotel with luxurious state-of-the-art bedrooms, fusion cuisine, spa treatments and a unique Time Bar in a three-story atrium.
This award-winning restaurant serves up delectable modern Irish cuisine using fresh local produce with the emphasis on seafood, oysters, lobster, veal and game.
Rathsallagh is a large country house, converted from Queen Anne Stables in 1798, with its own championship golf course. It’s set in a peaceful oasis of 530 acres of rolling parkland with thousands of mature trees, lakes and streams.
Just two hours from Dublin city centre, the relaxing four-star Slieve Russell Hotel is set in 300 acres, including 50 acres of lakes, and offers both an 18-hole PGA championship golf course and a nine-hole par three course.
Delightfully romantic and secluded, Tinakilly House is a secret hideaway only 29 miles south of Dublin. A four-star country house hotel and restaurant, it’s internationally renowned for excellent fresh food in elegant Victorian surroundings.
Gay & Lesbian
Find your way around the region’s vibrant gay scene, from festivals to fabulous bars
Lesbian night on the first Saturday of every month in the Irish Film Institute, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
Alaf stands for A Lesbian Arts Festival, with music, visual arts, poetry, drag, theatre comedy and film. It usually takes place over the first weekend in April, although check dates before you travel.
A fabulous, over-the-top visual and aural explosion held annually on St Patrick’s weekend.
The newest, flashiest bar to hit Dublin’s gay scene.
Parade with outdoor concerts and events in June.
Exclusively gay and lesbian guesthouse located in the centre of Dublin.
A stylish, elegant, airy bar with plush sofas and a straight-friendly vibe.
A plethora of screenings are held annually at this very popular festival held at the Irish Film Institute.
Mixed gay, lesbian and straight bar with hip décor and a laid-back vibe.
Cool, plush surrounds and good tunes. This gay club night is on every Bank Holiday Sunday night.
Trendy bar with gay night every Saturday.
Upstairs at The Spirit Store, George’s Quay, Dundalk. Big Club night monthly on Thursday nights.
Friday nights are women only.
One of Dublin’s longest running gay bars, The George is now an institution with a bar and nightclub over two levels. Dubliners still head there for Bingo with a twist on Sunday nights.
New women’s bar next door to Yello.
Bright, fashionable bar with good atmosphere.
Enjoy top shopping with excellent crafts and elegant designer clothing
A treasure chest of everything you could possibly want with witty and pretty children’s clothes, excellent food goods from the renowned Avoca Café, elegant knitwear and original crafts.
Part of Dublin’s charm lies is its excellent selection of hip, elegant boutiques with eclectic designer names giving each a highly individual feel. Try Tulle in the George’s Street Arcade; Costume on Castle Market; Ave Maria on Clarendon Street; Rococo in the Westbury Mall; and Smock in Old City, Temple Bar.
A massive 3,500sq ft showroom filled with high-quality handcrafted crystal.
Try the inner Dublin suburb of Ranelagh for chic clothes stores, maternity wear, and delis; Donnybrook is good for upmarket boutique Havana as well as delis, galleries; further south Blackrock has a cluster of good clothes shops and a weekend market; Dun Laoghaire is a bustling town with a rake of clothes shops, two shopping centres, and a good weekend farmer’s market in the People’s Park; the nearby Glasthule is now a buzzy shopping destination with famed deli Caviston’s.
Excellent women’s designer store stocking an eclectic range of top-name labels.
As well as producing good quality silverware with cutlery, gifts and jewellery, Newbridge also creates an extensive range of homewares, as well as a quality range of glass and cutlery from Irish designer Paul Costelloe.
A craft and coffee shop housed within a recently restored 19th century building.
Fascinating and compelling, this region is at the very centre of Ireland’s history
One of the most important sites in the history of Ireland, this spot marks the place where the Battle of the Boyne was fought in July 1690 between King William III and his father-in-law, King James II. The area also contains the three exceptional passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to 3200BC and was built by the people of the New Stone Age.
This 1885 cut-stone railway station is now home to a visitor centre. The centre houses a fascinating archive of memorabilia including original tickets, timetables and special railway artifacts, and is an ideal spot for railway enthusiasts and children.
This exceptional cathedral dates back to around 1030. The crypt, which dates back to 1171/2, is one of the largest medieval crypts in Ireland and the UK, and is a haunting and atmospheric spot.
One of Ireland’s most famous monastic sites founded by St Ciaran in the sixth century, Clonmacmoise is situated on the water meadows of the River Shannon.
Resounding with legends and folk tales about giants, the fascinating Cooley Peninsula has been inhabited for thousands of years and is rich in prehistoric sites.
Amazingly, an Iron Age bog road that was built in 148BC close to the River Shannon was uncovered at this spot. It’s one of the largest oak roads to have been discovered in Europe, and this centre tells its story.
On the north shore is Bull Island, which supports one of the most important nature conservation sites in Ireland. Northwards are the two pretty coastal towns of Malahide and Howth. On the south, lies the pretty town of Dalkey and the surrounding area of Killiney, which has its own bay overlooked by the Vico Road and it has been likened to the Bay of Naples. Dun Laoghaire, also on the south, has two Victorian piers that draw visitors in their droves.
Located close to Portlaoise, Emo Court was designed by the architect James Gandon in 1790 for the first Earl of Portarlington, and is a magnificent example of neo-classical style.
Glendalough has a mystical beauty that seduces everyone that visits. The valley is misty and verdant, the lakes are glassy and the Visitor Centre contains a good exhibition on the story of St Kevin and his sixth-century monastic settlement.
The Hill of Tara, located 48km northwest of Dublin, dates back more than 5,000 years to the Neolithic age. Tara is known in both myth and history as the traditional seat of the High Kings of Ireland.
These beautiful gardens have been in the Madden family for over 250 years and extend to 500 acres of woodland, pasture and a lake that offers rowing, fishing and swimming.
Killruddery is the most successful, and most beautiful, Elizabethan Revival mansion in Ireland. The gardens are the oldest in the country, and are amongst the most important in these islands.
Around five kilometres from Cavan town, Killykeen Forest Park is a delightful 600-acre haven for birds and wildlife. It also contains historical sites including an Iron Age ring fort, and is an ideal spot for outdoor activities, such as sailing, canoeing and orienteering.
Take the opportunity to explore remote lakes and rivers, including the tranquil Shannon-Erne waterway with some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country, and an atmosphere of pure tranquility.
The Midland Lakes are justly famous for the quality of their brown trout fishing and are a must for all “lock style” enthusiasts.
Occupying a beautiful 48-acre site on the banks of the Tolka River, the gardens are a favourite with Dubliners and contain over 20,000 different plant species.
Old Mellifont is the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland, founded in 1142 by St Malachy of Armagh. Its most unusual feature is the octagonal Lavobo, which dates back to around 1200.
A must for anyone interested in the poet’s life and work, this centre houses exhibitions on local history, has a 60-seat audio-visual theatre, and a special research library.
Dublin's playground and the largest urban enclosed park in Europe with a total area of 1,760 acres. Livestock graze peacefully on pasturelands, deer roam the forested areas and horses settle scores on polo fields. Bliss…
Located in a stunning natural setting at Enniskerry, this is a magnificent period home dating from mid-18th century, overlooking wonderful terraced gardens and an ornamental lake.
The west of Longford is bordered by the Upper River Shannon. Rising in County Cavan, the river flows 250km to the sea at Limerick, making it the longest river in the British Isles.
Sally Gap is one of the two east-to-west passes across the Wicklow Mountains and offers both drivers and walkers truly spectacular views across mountains and glens.
The Slieve Bloom Mountains are beautifully scenic with quiet roads and a labyrinth of walking trails and forest tracks plus miles of rivers and a number of lakes.
Born in 640AD in Mullagh, County Cavan, Saint Killian became a missionary to Wurzburg in Germany and was later martyred there in 689AD. This exhibition details his life and times, as well as the work of Irish missionaries in Germany in the sixth and seventh centuries.
The Bog of Allen is an important part of Ireland’s natural heritage. It began to form 12,000 years ago after the last ice age, when open lakes were gradually filled with peat to form fens.
Fingal takes its name from the Irish Fine Gall, meaning fair-haired foreigner, and is a historic region with old world and rural charm.
One of the most important exhibits on show at the Cavan County Museum, the Killycluggin Stone is believed to have religious significance associated with fertility. Discovered on a farm in 1921, it’s thought to be Bronze Age in origin.
Carrickmacross Lace is a delicate Irish craft dating back to 1816. The tradition was kept alive by the St Louis sisters for 100 years and is internationally renowned for its beauty and skill. The sleeves of Princess Diana’s wedding dress were trimmed with Carrickmacross Lace.
The River Liffey is one of the main features of the city and has undergone considerable regeneration in recent years. It rises in the Sally Gap near Kippure in County Wicklow, travels 125km through the centre of Dublin, into Dublin Bay and finally the Irish Sea.
An impressive sight built on 150ft-high limestone outcrop situated on the Portlaoise-Stradbally Road. The Rock of Dunamaise is one of the great fortifications of Ireland and Vikings, Normans, English and Irish have fought over its possession.
Sweeping and spectacular, the National Park covers a total area of around 20,000 hectares and is filled with dipping valleys, verdant scenery, pretty lakes and misty forest.
This museum relates the stories of the families who lived and died in the workhouse after the Great Famine and land war.