We encourage all of our clients, particularly those who plan to sightsee, to consider purchasing a guide book to Ireland in advance of their departure. The following three guides provide comprehensive information to travelers: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland / Dublin, Frommer’s Ireland, and Fodor’s Ireland. Lonely Planet, Michelin, and Insight Travel Guides are additional publications to consider. Each volume has a distinct layout and tone but all include general tourist information. Online descriptions and reviews of these and dozens of others are available at conventional sites including: www.amazon.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com.
If you would prefer to read the content online, a great deal of tourist information is available at:www.fodors.com and www.frommers.com. Both sites host travel forums that are brimming with personal anecdotes, suggestions, and advice ranging from sightseeing itineraries to restaurant recommendations. For more restaurant related information, the following sights are useful for Ireland: the Bridgestone Guideswww.bestofbridgestone.com and Georgina Campbell’s www.ireland-guide.com.
Included below are several dozen websites that we have gathered from the thousands available. It is our hope that many of our travelers will have the chance to peruse one or more of these sites in advance of their trip.
Please note, however, that this document is produced for information purposes only. Pioneer Golf in no way endorses or recommends the material contained therein; these websites were both accurate and accessible at the time that this document was prepared.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
www.visitdublin.com: Dublin Tourism has merged with Fáilte Ireland (Ireland’s national tourism board). This is a comprehensive guide to the capital city, including attractions, events, entertainment, dining, and maps.
www.dublinsightseeing.ie/citytour.aspx: Website for the very popular hop on hop off city bus tour. Additional bus tours that venture beyond the city include those traveling north of the city (to the seaside villages of Malahide and Howth) and others that travel south (to the oldest town in Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, and farther south to Bray, the village of Enniskerry, and the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens).
Locations of interest:
- www.abbeytheatre.ie: The Abbey Theatre was founded in 1903 by W. B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory with a manifesto “to bring upon the stage the deeper emotions of Ireland.” The Abbey Theatre is the cradle of the Irish literary movement and has produced some of the most significant and crucial plays of the 20th century.
- www.cccdub.ie: Christ Church Cathedral, founded ca.1030, is one of the oldest and most recognized landmarks in Dublin. The medieval crypt is one of the largest in Britain and Ireland.
- www.dublincastle.ie and www.cbl.ie: websites for the Dublin Castle and Chester Beatty Library. There are guided tours of the state apartments, undercroft and the chapel royal. The grounds are also home to the Garda (Police) Museum and the Revenue Museum. Located inside the castle grounds, the Chester Beatty Library is a hidden gem. It holds a rich collection of artistic treasures from many of the world’s cultures and religions.
- www.dublindocklands.ie: Dublin Docklands is quickly becoming a must-see destination on any sightseeing trip to the capital. View the replica of a famine ship, the “Jeanie Johnston,” and the Famine Memorial Statues on Customs House Quay. This is an appropriate location to commemorate the famine since one of the first voyages of the famine period sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day in 1846. To the east of the famine memorial is the World Poverty Stone, a commemorative stone marking the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of World Poverty.
- www.writersmuseum.com: Explore Dublin’s literary heritage at the Dublin Writers Museum where literary celebrities from the past three hundred years are brought to life through their books, letters, portraits and personal items. The building, a restored Georgian mansion on Parnell Square, is a treasure in itself. The sumptuous plasterwork in the first floor Gallery of Writers is worth a visit alone. If that doesn’t tempt you, the lunches at the Café might. Also located beneath the museum is one of Dublin’s locally revered restaurants, Chapter One.
- http://museum.gaa.ie: Founded in 1884, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA Museum at Croke Park) passes on traditional Celtic games of hurling, Gaelic football, and camogie to today’s youth. The GAA Museum was established to commemorate, recognize, and celebrate the GAA’s enormous contribution to Irish cultural and social life and of course to Irish sport. Games held at Croke Park are sure to be sell outs, particularly for the All Ireland Finals in September each year.
- www.gate-theatre.ie: The Gate Theatre has been, artistically and architecturally, a landmark building for over 250 years. It has offered Dublin audiences an introduction to the world of European and American avant-garde theatre as well as classics from the modern and Irish repertoire. Orson Welles, James Mason, Geraldine FitzGerald and Michael Gambon began their acting careers at the Gate.
- www.guinness-storehouse.com: Discover the story of this international brand at the manufacturing home of Guinness for the past 250 years at the Guinness Storehouse on James’s Street. Take a photo at St. James Gate and taste a complimentary perfect pint in the dizzying 360 bar which overlooks the city.
- www.hughlane.ie: Discover the life and works of Dublin born artists such as Francis Bacon and Sean Scully at the Dublin City Gallery. The Hugh Lane Gallery houses the foremost collection of Irish and International modern and contemporary art in Ireland. Admission to the Dublin City Gallery is free.
- www.jamesjoyce.ie: Housed in a restored townhouse, built in 1784, the James Joyce Centre reveals the inspiration behind the characters and scenes in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The life and works of James Joyce are celebrated here year-round, but especially on Bloomsday, June 16th, each year. Walking tours of Joycean Dublin can also be scheduled with the center.
- www.heritageireland.ie/en/Dublin/KilmainhamGaol: Kilmainham Gaol is one of the largest unoccupied jails in Europe. The history of the jail includes some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s emergence as a modern nation from the 1780’s to the 1920’s.
- www.dublincity.ie/RecreationandCulture/DublinCityParks/VisitaPark/Pages/MerrionSquarePark.aspx:Merrion Square, once the preserve of local privileged key holders, is now a public park. The construction of the Georgian houses at Merrion Square began in 1762 and soon became a fashionable address for the aristocracy and the professional classes.
- www.jamesonwhiskey.com: Explore the history of the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield and discover the legend that is John Jameson. Impress your friends with the fascinating facts behind this smooth Irish whiskey’s journey from barley to bottle.
- www.heritageireland.ie/en/Dublin/PhoenixPark and www.heritageireland.ie/en/Dublin/ArasanUachtarain/Now the residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin started as a modest brick house for the Phoenix Park Chief Ranger in 1752. The exhibition presents the architecture of the house and details the lives of its illustrious inhabitants. Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe.
- www.stpatrickscathedral.ie and www.marshlibrary.ie: Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was built on the site of a church dating back to 1121 and is adjacent to a well that St. Patrick used to baptize locals. This cathedral was built in 1220 and is a tribute to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. As an Anglican church it is a place of worship, but the church welcomes tourists. Founded in 1701, Marsh’s Library was the first public library in Ireland. The library contains over 25,000 books relating to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, covering medicine, law, science, travel, navigation, mathematics, music, surveying and classical literature. See their website for current exhibits.
- www.heritageireland.ie/en/Dublin/StStephensGreen: Located in the heart of the city center, Saint Stephen’s Green fosters a reconnection with nature. On a fine day lounge on the soft grass, stroll through fountains and flowers, and, if you have any bread leftover from lunch, make your way to feed the ducks.
- www.templebar.ie also www.tascq.ie: Temple Bar, located on the south bank of the River Liffey, is home to more than 50 cultural organizations. Public streets and spaces host lunchtime performances and, on Saturdays, visit the food market, book market, and the Cow’s Lane Fashion and Design Market.
- www.tcd.ie/about/trinity/bookofkells/: Trinity College is renowned worldwide due to the contents of The Old Library. Pages from the highly decorative monastic Book of Kells and Book of Durrow created in the 7th and 8th centuries are displayed and are a popular attraction.
Ireland’s East Coast is home to the following golf courses: County Louth, Druids Glen, K-Club, Portmarnock, Royal Dublin, St. Margaret’s, the European, and the Island.
Locations of interest:
- www.heritageireland.ie/en/midlandseastcoast/BrunaBoinneVisitorCentreNewgrangeandKnowth/: Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre in Newgrange and Knowth is a UNESCO World Heritage site. These Neolithic and megalithic passage tombs are older than the pyramids in Egypt. Access is by guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. This attraction is extremely popular with many touring groups visiting Ireland in the summer months; it is essential to purchase tickets many months in advance, as it can be sold out.
- www.carlingford.ie: Carlingford Lough is a preserved medieval town; many of the historic buildings are close to well-regarded restaurants and cozy pubs. The town is on a protected inlet of salt water which provides spectacular views of Slieve Foy and the Mourne Mountains.
- www.drogheda.ie: Drogheda, known as the “Gateway to the Boyne Valley,” is associated with an extraordinary number of significant events in the history of Ireland including the Battle of the Boyne, St. Oliver Plunkett, Poynings Law, Cromwell’s Siege, and the surrender of the Irish Chieftains to the English King.
- www.enniskerry.ie: Enniskerry, a picturesque village south of Dublin, is an ideal base to explore County Wicklow. Built to accompany the nearby Powerscourt Estate, the clock tower and the charming village triangle are attractive features. Superb teashops as well as a host of picture-postcard cottages are a delight to discover. The wooded country around Enniskerry offers some fine forest walks.
- www.glendalough.ie: the Glendalough Valley was carved out by glaciers, and the two lakes, from which Glendalough gets its name, were formed when the ice melted. This scenic valley is home to one of Ireland’s most impressive monastic sites founded by St. Kevin inthe 6th century.
- www.heritageireland.ie/en/MidlandsEastCoast/HillofTara: Hill of Tara, best known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, has been an important site since the late Stone Age when a passage-tomb was constructed there. Tara was at the height of its power as a political and religious center in early AD.
- www.howthismagic.com: Howth Head, originally an island, is connected to the mainland via a narrow strip of land, or tombolo, and forms the northerly bound of the great crescent of Dublin Bay. Hikers make for the ancient cairn on Howth summit, where, on clear days, the Wicklow Mountains can be seen with Dublin city below. Howth also features extensively in the works of James Joyce.
- www.malahidecastle.com: Malahide Castle, set on 250 acres of park land in the pretty seaside town of Malahide, was both a fortress and a private home to the Talbots for nearly 800 years, until 1973. You can also see the Fry Model Railway, which is one of the world’s largest miniature railways.
- www.millmount.net: Millmount Museum and Martello Tower are located at Millmount in the center of Drogheda. The area is rich in heritage dating back over 3,000 years while the town itself is over 800 years old.
- www.irish-national-stud.ie: National Stud and Japanese Gardens, located in the Curragh area, is a 1,000 acre farm that has been a stud farm since 1900 and is home to some of Ireland’s finest thoroughbreds. The Japanese Gardens were planned to symbolize the ‘Life of Man.’ Saint Fiachra’s Garden is a commemorative garden to St. Fiachra, Patron Saint of Gardeners. A visit to the Curragh would not be complete without a trip to the Horse Museum. Here, a state of the art modern exhibition tells the story of man and horse uniting for sporting competition.
- www.powerscourt.ie: Powerscourt Demense and Gardens, Ireland’s most famous house and gardens, combine grandeur with delicacy and refinement. Although gutted by fire in 1974, it has been reborn as a tourist destination. Today the public continues to enjoy the gardens which first began to take shape over two and a half centuries ago. The charming walled garden, the striking terraces, fine statuary and varied trees are linked by carefully designed walks and set in the magnificent surroundings of the Wicklow Mountains.
- www.seamusenniscentre.com: Seamus Ennis Centre, dedicated to the memory of the Irish musician, folklorist and music collector, plays host to some of today’s foremost musicians, songwriters and artists. This venue’s intimate performance space is regarded by many as one of the Irish music scene’s best keep secrets, the Parlour, the Cottage Café, and adjacent rooms throughout the Cottage all provide a home and inspiration for stories, art, poetry, music, song and dance.
NORTH and NORTHWEST IRELAND
This region is home to the following golf courses: Ballyliffin, Bellmullet (Carne), County Sligo, Donegal, Enniscrone, Portsalon, and Rosapenna.
Locations of interest:
- www.achilltourism.com: Despite its remote location, Achill Island continues to attract tourists. Pristine beaches, scenic drives and a wide variety of flora and fauna can be found on this intriguing island.
- www.museumsofmayo.com/ceide.htm: The Céide Fields Visitor Centre in North Mayo is a unique experience. Visitors can indulge in a vast prehistoric landscape, a natural wild ecology of blanket bog, dramatic cliffs, and coastline.
- www.discoverireland.com/gb/ireland-things-to-see-and-do/listings/?fid=FI_1660: Croagh Patrick’s conical shape soars majestically above the surrounding countryside. Magnificent views of Clew Bay and the surrounding south Mayo countryside are spectacular from all stages of the ascent of the mountain.
- www.donegaltown.ie: Donegal Town (or Dhun na nGall, which means ‘fortress of the foreigners’) was founded by the Vikings. Donegal Abbey and Donegal Castle were built in the 15th century by Nuala O’Brien and her husband, Red Hugh O’Donnell, the last prince of Tyrconnel. Today it is a thriving market town.
- www.discoverenniscrone.ie: Enniscrone, a lively seaside resort on the shores of Killala Bay, with pristine, blue flag winning (an award bestowed on beaches with high water quality and low pollutants) beaches and seaweed baths. Enniscrone is also noted for its golf course.
- www.glenveaghnationalpark.ie: Glenveagh National Park and Castle is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains and pristine lakes in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. One of six national parks in Ireland, it encompasses 16,000 acres.
- www.knock-shrine.ie: On the 21st of August 1879, Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. The apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old. From this miraculous occurrence Knock Shrine has grown to the status of an internationally recognized Marian Shrine.
- www.letterkenny.ie: Letterkenny is one of the fastest growing towns in Europe and is vibrant with year-round entertainment.
- www.lissadellhouse.com: Lissadell House & Gardens is a family home that was restored without any public funding. Lissadell is famous as the childhood home of Constance Markievicz, her sister Eva Gore Booth and her brother Josslyn Gore Booth. Constance was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, and was the first woman to be elected to Dail Eireann, where she served as Minister for Labour. Eva was a poet of distinction and an active suffragist. Josslyn transformed Lissadell into one of the premier horticultural estates in Europe. Sligo born poet W. B. Yeats was friendly with the Gore Booth sisters and stayed at Lissadell in 1893 and 1894. He immortalized Lissadell and the Gore Booth sisters in his poetry.
- www.discoverireland.com/gb/campaigns/yeats-trail/: W.B. Yeats spent much of his childhood years in Sligo where the landscape informed so much of his poetry. The Yeats Trail will appeal to those who love grand old houses, magnificent scenery, a fine flavor of Irish culture, and great stories.
- http://voyaseaweedbaths.com/: Seaweed baths have been a tradition in Ireland for hundreds of years and are Ireland’s only indigenous spa therapy. Voya Seaweed Baths has grown out of a very successful family-run seaweed baths business in Strandhill, Co. Sligo.
WEST and SOUTHWEST
This region is home to the following golf courses: Adare, Ballybunion, Connemara, Dingle, Dooks, Doonbeg, Dromoland Castle, Fota Island, Killarney, Lahinch, Old Head, Ring of Kerry, Skellig Bay, Tralee, and Waterville
Locations of interest:
- www.adare-ireland.com: The village of Adare is one of Limerick’s special places. There are beautiful surroundings on both sides of the street beside the river Maigue. The thatched roof cottages, Tudor style houses, beautiful gardens, and ivy clad medieval churches combine to create a picture perfect village. For those who want to linger and learn more visit the heritage centre and step back in time.
- www.heritageireland.ie/en/West/DunAonghasa: The three Aran Islands, Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer, are about 15 miles west of the Galway Coast. A visit to the Aran Islands will be a rare chance to experience rural life and sheer raw beauty. Take a ferry or flight to these (still Gaelic speaking) Islands to see the fort of DunAonghasa, or simply purchase an Aran sweater from its place of origin. Inish Oirr/ Inis Mean/ Inish Mor by ferry www.aranislandferries.com, by air www.aerarann.com. It is also possible to get a ferry from the village of Doolin to the Islands with www.doolinferries.com.
- www.blarneycastle.ie: Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy. The invitation is simple: kiss the Blarney stone and never again will you be at a loss for words. The stone is not the only attraction; you will be drawn to ramble about the timeless and mystical Rock Close and gardens.
- www.shannonheritage.com/EveningEntertainmentsbyShannonHeritage/BunrattyCastleMedievalBanquet/: Explore the acclaimed 15th century Bunratty Castle and 19th century Bunratty Folk Park. Bunratty Castle closes each day at 4pm to prepare for the Medieval Banquet. Join the Earl of Thomond in the splendor of the main guard of Bunratty Castle for a dinner experience not to be missed!
- www.cliffsofmoher.ie: Cliffs of Moher stand at some 700 feet over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. Peer slightly over and you will definitely feel dizzy.
- http://www.cobhheritage.com/emigration-famine/:From 1848 to 1950 more than six million adults and children emigrated from Ireland and over 2.5 million of those departed from Cobh. Many famine emigrants went initially to British North America (now Canada) because of fare structures and government regulations, but the majority subsequently settled in the United States. The Titanic and the Lusitania are just two of the many liners and ships which visited this historic port town. Cobh Heritage Centre traces the evolution of maritime traffic to and from Cobh beginning with depictions of the early coffin ships to the latter day luxurious transatlantic liners.
- www.coolepark.ie: Coole Park and Visitor Centre, now a nature reserve, was the home of Lady Augusta Gregory, dramatist and co-founder with Edward Martyn and W.B. Yeats of the Abbey Theatre.
- www.dingle-peninsula.ie: Dingle Peninsula has much to offer the visitor: almost 2,000 archaeological sites, more walking than you could fit into a year, and Funghi, a bottlenose dolphin who’s been living at the mouth of Dingle Harbor since 1984. As a market town and fishing port, Dingle has long been well supplied with pubs; in recent years the number has hovered around 52, and the variety is almost as great as the number. Dingle is also renowned for its restaurants, most of which offer excellent local seafood. The Conor Pass is also worth seeing and on one of Kerry’s “soft days” (when the temperature is mild and it drizzles with light rain) you may see a harpist or a horse and cart along the pass.
- www.galwaytourism.ie: Galway City, Ireland’s student capital, is also the country’s party capital. The city comes to life after dark with traditional music emanating from every corner. It is also the friendliest city in the country attracting backpackers by the thousands every year. A particularly good time to visit is during last two weeks in July when the Arts festival is taking place.
- www. killarney.ie and www.killarneynationalpark.ie: Near Killarney Town there is an expanse of rugged mountainous country including the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, which rise to a height of over 3,280 feet. At the foot of these mountains nestles the Lakes of Killarney. Here, where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, lies the 26,000 acre Killarney National Park. The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies gives the area a special beauty.
- www.kinsale.ie: Kinsale was the site of a battle in 1601 that was a turning point in Irish history. For over 300 years it was a garrison town and port of consequence, leaving a legacy of Georgian and Victorian architecture. Although it has more recently become known as a foodie town, it is also a top class location for sailing and watersports as well as golf.
- www.ringof kerrytourism.com: The Ring of Kerry is a route which meanders and skirts the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula. It includes the following locations: Killarney, Ross-Maine, Cahersiveen, The Skelligs, Waterville, Caherdaniel and Kenmare. 176 kilometers in circumference, it takes about four hours to complete (without stops). In summertime, this is a popular drive for many visitors to the Kerry region. It may be a little congested and take longer than estimated to complete.
Northern Ireland is home to the following golf courses: Ardglass, Ballycastle, Castlerock, Malone, Portstewart, Royal Belfast, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Warrenpoint
www.discovernorthernireland.com: website created by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board that includes comprehensive information on the country including the most popular attractions, activities, entertainment, shopping, and dining. Also included is a list of tours (sightseeing, historical, arts / culture, and food tours as well as self-guided walking and driving tours).
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/local-to-you/northern-ireland/: the National Trust is a UK conservation charity that protects historic places (houses, architectural remains, mills, pubs) and spaces (coastline, forests, moorland, nature reserves). The most popular regions are featured here, including the Antrim Coast (home to the World Heritage site Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Portstewart Strand and Bann Estuary), mid-Ulster (home to well-preserved 17th and 18th century homes as well as a printing press and linen mill that date from the same period), the Fermanagh Lakelands (home to three National Trust properties: the 18th century mansion Castle Coole, Crom, a 2,000 acre nature conservancy, and Florence Court, a Georgian mansion with surrounding park) and County Down (location of the Mountains of Mourne as well as several nature reserves and gardens).
www.gotobelfast.com: is the official website for the Belfast Tourist Information Board. This comprehensive guide includes information on the history of the city (2012 marks the centenary of the launching of the Titanic from Belfast port), descriptions of the four quarters of the city as well as its enclaves, Belfast’s literary and musical history, as well as a full list of attractions, events, entertainment, and restaurants / pubs.
www.culturenorthernireland.org: the website of Culture Northern Ireland may be the most accessible guide to the arts in the country. The site includes a comprehensive list of events and attractions featuring performing and visual arts as well as sporting events and those related to the history and heritage of the country. Reviews and features (including articles and artist profiles) are plentiful.
Locations of interest:
- www.belleek.ie: Belleek Pottery, established in 1857, has had a central role in the cultural and commercial heritage of County Fermanagh. Nestled on the banks of the River Erne, this imposing building was renovated in 1988 and now features a museum and showroom. One of the oldest and most prestigious pieces of Belleek ever produced, the Belleek International Centre Piece, which was featured at the Paris Exhibition in 1900, is on display.
- http://www.banbridge.com/Visitor/Places-to-Visit/Bronte-Homeland.aspx: the Bronte Homeland Interpretive Centre, located about fifteen miles west of Royal County Down Golf Links, is housed in the late 18th century schoolhouse and church of the Bronte family and highlights the life and work of Patrick Bronte and his three poet / novelist daughters.
- www.bushmills.com: Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest, has been producing whiskey for the last 400 years. Visitors can observe the craft and skill of making Irish whiskey, as well as enjoy a complimentary sample.
- www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-carrickarede: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a suspension bridge outside of Ballintoy, about two hours north of Royal County Down. The bridge, about 100 feet above the rocks, spans a chasm of about 65 feet.
- www.whatsonderrylondonderry.com/: Derry City is the only remaining walled city on the island. Derry is an old city with a young heart and has a brimming creative arts and music scene.
- www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/places_to_visit_home/historic-monuments/dunluce.htm: Dunluce Castle, a medieval castle built dramatically close to the edge of a headland along the Antrim Coast. Located on the site of an Irish fort, its rich and varied history can be traced back to early Christians and the Vikings.
- www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/: Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage site, is located on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. It is an area of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns created in the aftermath of an ancient volcanic eruption.
- www.discovernorthernireland.com/mournes: the Mourne Mountains are the highest granite peaks in Northern Ireland.
- www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-downhillestate: Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demense,located on a cliff top near Castlerock, offer spectacular views. The temple was built in 1785 as a summer library for the Bishop of Derry. The architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy and is surrounded by the beautiful Downhill Demense.
- www.uftm.org.uk: Ulster Folk and Transport Museum offers visitors a view of the way of life in an Ulster town in the early 1900’s.