Lough Inagh the Walk to Maum Ean Oratory

Lough Inagh, nestled between the Maumturk and The Twelve Ben Mountains in the heart of Connemara, is situated in one of the most spectacularly beautiful valleys in Ireland. The mountain slopes rise precipitously from the valley floor, and many small streams cascade into the lake in a series of sparkling waterfalls. The R344 cuts through the valley, linking Recess to the south and Kylemore Lake to the north. The Western Way, a walking route that traverses the high country of Galway and Mayo,...

Moments An Excursion to Inishbofin

It has been said that Ireland's last unspoiled frontiers are its islands, and Inishbofin, on its own, makes a strong contribution to that claim. This small emerald-green gem lies 11km (7 miles) off the northwest coast of Connemara and offers not only seclusion but spectacular beauty, provided the skies are clear enough to deliver the not-to-be-believed views of and from its shores. Once the domain of monks, then the lair of pirate queen Grace O'Malley, later Cromwell's infamous priest-prison,...

Ireland Calendar Of Events

This sampling of events is drawn from 2004 schedules. Be sure to consult the calendars available from the tourist boards of Ireland and of Northern Ireland for 2005 they're usually released in January. The most up-to-date listings of events can be found at www. ireland.travel.ie and www.entertainment. ie for Ireland, and www.eventguide.ie and www.visitdublin.com for Dublin. Funderland. Royal Dublin Society, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. An annual indoor funfair, complete with white-knuckle rides,...

Sligo Town Essentials

GETTING THERE Aer Arann (& 01 814-5240 www.aerarann.ie) operates daily flights into Sligo Airport, Strandhill, County Sligo (& 071 916-8280 www.sligoairport.com), 8km (5 miles) southwest of Sligo Town. The bus to Sligo town from the airport will cost you under 3 ( 3.60), while you can expect a taxi to cost around 14 ( 17). Irish Rail, with its station on Lord Edward Street (& 071 916-9888 www.irishrail.ie), operates daily service into Sligo from Dublin and other points. Bus Eireann,...

Where To Dine Expensive

Coast INTERNATIONAL Tramore has always been the sleepy, sort of old-fashioned seaside resort that's endearing for the way it still exudes the innocence of holiday postcards from days gone by. A charming place, perhaps, but certainly not the epicenter of hip. So when supergroovy Coast opened in 2002, it injected a blast-your-socks-off WOW in foodie circles that resonated to Dublin and back in a nanosecond. Jennifer McNally and Turlough McNamara have created a dining room that is as chic and...

History

How the Irish Saved Civilization (Anchor, 1996), by Thomas Cahill, tells of a crucial window in European history after the fall of the Roman Empire. When Europeans languished, Irish scholars were instrumental in saving literature, especially the Gospel, and became not only the conservators of civilization, but also the shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western culture. Two excellent books by Tim Pat Coogan, The Irish Civil War (Seven Dials, 2001), and The Troubles...

Sports Outdoor Pursuits

BEACHES Barleycove Beach is a vast expanse of pristine sand and a fine view out toward the Mizen Head cliffs despite the trailer park and holiday homes on the far side of the dunes, large parts of the beach never seem to get crowded. Take R591 to Goleen, and follow signs for Mizen Head. There is a public parking lot at the Barleycove Hotel. Inchydoney Beach, on Clonakilty Bay, is famous for both its gorgeous, extrawide beach and the salubrious Inchydoney Lodge & Spa (& 023 33143), which...

Rips Phoning Around in Kildare

Many phone numbers in Kildare have changed in the past year and more changes are in the pipeline. If you have trouble getting through to one of the numbers listed, call directory assistance at & 11811. The Irish Pewtermill Ensconced in an 11th-century mill constructed for the nunnery of St. Moling after whom the village of Timolin (House of Moling) is named Ireland's oldest pewter mill makes for a nice diversion. Six skilled craftsmen cast traditional Irish, silver-bright pewter in antique...

Exploring Wexford Town

The best way to see the town is by walking the entire length of North and South Main Street, taking time to detour up and down the alleys and lanes that cross the street. The tourist office can supply you with a free map. You may want to start out by visiting the Westgate Heritage Tower (see below), which will provide you with valuable context and background information before you explore the rest of the city. The Bull Ring * In 1798 the first declaration of an Irish Republic was made here, and...

The Performing Arts

Cork Opera House Just off Lavitt's Quay along the River Lee, this is southwest Ireland's major venue for opera, drama, musicals, comedies, dance, concerts, and variety nights. The original century-old opera house was completely gutted by a fire in 1955 this 1,000-seat replacement opened a decade later. Emmet Place, Cork, County Cork. & 021 427-0022. www.corkoperahouse.ie. Tickets 17- 45 ( 20- 54) average 20 ( 24). Firkin Crane Cultural Centre Dating from the 1840s, this unique rotunda was...

Inexpensive

Ballinatona Farm tff (finds Like the region that surrounds it, this working dairy farm is a little-known treasure, just far enough off the beaten track to be spared the crowds that congest much of the southwest during the summer. While the landscape isn't wild and rugged like that of the West Cork coast, its gentler beauty is still magnificent. The energetic hosts, Jytte Storm and Tim Lane, know the region well and their excitement over its hidden delights is truly infectious. Just a 15-minute...

Where To Stay Dine

Ballymascanlon House Hotel A few years back, Best Western took over this stone-faced Victorian mansion dating from the early 1800s, formerly the home of Baron Plunkett. The house has been enlarged several times, including a new wing completed in the summer of 2003. The hotel stands on 52 hectares (130 acres) of award-winning gardens and grounds, a peaceful oasis just 4.8km (3 miles) south of the Northern Ireland border. Rooms vary in size but are decorated in traditional style with antiques and...

Moderate

Blindgate House Value Last year we added this fabulous new entry the immensely stylish, inarguably luxurious, and decidedly low-stress Blindgate House. Owner Maeve Coakley and designer Beatrice Blake have combined contemporary dark-wood furnishings, natural fabrics, wood flooring, and serene lighting to achieve an effect that feels wonderfully indulgent and calming. Guest rooms are spacious and elegantly simple, while providing modern conveniences such as satellite TV and modem connections. All...

Warning Late Night Crime

Crime in Dublin and most specifically late-night crime has been on the ascent in recent years. What's most alarming about these aggressions are the random, senseless acts of violence that can occur on any street in Dublin after dark. These attacks are often booze-fueled and happen on streets that are perfectly safe during the day. Be especially on your guard in the areas around O'Connell Street and Grafton Street after pubs' closing time. Never walk back to your hotel alone after this hour....

Seeing The Sights

In spite of its remote location, the Inishowen Peninsula circuit is one of the best-marked roads in Ireland, with all directions clearly printed in English and Irish, miles and kilometers. Among the many features of this 161km 100-mile route which runs from Letterkenny to Moville is a string of beach resorts like Ballyliffin, Buncrana, Greencastle, and Moville. Natural wonders include the Gap of Mamore, 8km 5 miles north of Buncrana, a pass rising to 240m 800 ft. and then slowly descending on a...

The Skellig Islands

A visit to these two crags rising precipitously from the sea, about 14km 8 miles off the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula, is sure to be one of your more memorable experiences in Ireland. Seen from the mainland, the islands have a fantastic aspect, seeming impossibly steep and sharp-angled. Yet it was on the highest pinnacle of the larger island, Skellig Michael, that a community of monks chose to build a monastery in the 6th or 7th century. They carved steps out of the rock to provide access...