Aran Islands

Just a 40 minute boat ride from the mainland (or an 8 minute flight with Aer Arann), the desolate beauty of the Aran Islands feels far removed from contemporary life. An extension of the limestone escarpment that forms the Burren, the island has shallow topsoil scattered with yellow buttercups, white-petalled daisies and spring gentian, and jagged cliffs that are pounded by surf. On the cliff tops, ancient forts such as Dún Aengus on Inishmórand Dún Chonchúir on Inishmaan are some of the oldest archaeological remains in Ireland.
A web of ancient stone walls (1600km in all) ensnares all three islands like a stone fishing net. These walls serve the dual purpose of keeping sheep and ponies in, and providing a repository for stone dug from the ground to make way for grazing and harvests. The islands also have a smattering of earlyclocháns (dry-stone beehive huts from the early-Christian period), resembling igloos made from stone.

Aran Islands

Inishmór (Arainn in Irish, meaning ‘Big Island’) is the largest and most easily access­ible from Galway. The island is home to one of Ireland’s most important and impressive archaeological sites, as well as some lively pubs and restaurants, particularly in its ­little township Kilronan.
The smallest island, Inisheer (Inis Oírr; ‘Eastern Island’), with an impressive arts centre, is also easily reached from Galway year-round and from Doolin in the summer months. Hence Inishmaan (Inis Meáin; ‘Middle Island’), in the centre, tends to be bypassed by the majority of tourist traffic, preserving its age-old traditions and evoking a sense of timelessness.

Although high summer brings a maddening number of tourists, services on the islands are few. Only Inishmór has an ATM (with limited hours and a propensity to run out of cash), and the majority of places don’t accept credit cards (always check ahead). Restaurants, including pubs that serve food, often reduce their opening hours or shut completely during winter. However, winter lets you experience the islands at their wild, windswept best.

Patrick Pearse Cottage

A small restored cottage overlooking the breathtaking lakes and mountains of Connemara, used by Patrick Pearse (1879-1916) leader of the 1916 Rising, as a summer residence and summer school for his pupils from St Endas, in Dublin. Accompanying Pearse on a visit to Ros Muc in 1915 was Desmond Ryan, a former pupil, who later wrote of the enthusiasm engendered by Pearse in his visits there: "The Twelve Pins came in sight and Pearse waved his hand here and there over the land, naming lake, mountain and district away to the Joyce Country under its purple mist." Patrick Pearse Cottage Ryan also recalled the long walks and cycle rides through the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht and the stories told by Pearse that had been recounted to him by local story tellers. The interior although burned during the War of Independence has been reconstructed and contains an exhibition.

Coole Park

Coole Park is a nature reserve of approximately 1,000 acres (4 km2) operated by the Irish National Parks & Wildlife Service and is located a few miles west of Gort, County Galway, Ireland. The park contains extensive woodlands and a series of turloughs with 6 kilometres of signposted nature trails plus a formal walled garden. The park was formerly the estate of Lady Gregory before being sold to the Irish state in 1927.

Coole Park

Coole Park is part of the Coole - Garryland Complex Special Area of Conservation and the whole of the park is designated a Special Protection Area for birds under the EU 1979 Birds Directive. The grounds are open to the public all year round and a visitor center operates during high season (April to September inclusive).

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's top Visitor attractions and are a designated UNESCO Geo Park. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. The Cliffs of Moher take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower.

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are home to one of the major colonies of cliff nesting seabirds in Ireland. The area was designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Birds under the EU Birds Directive in 1986 and as a Refuge for Fauna in 1988. Included within the designated site are the cliffs, the cliff-top maritime grassland and heath, and a 200 metre zone of open water, directly in front of the cliffs to protect part of the birds' feeding area. The designation covers 200 hectares and highlights the area's importance for wildlife.

Eyre Square

The origin of the square comes from medieval open space in front of town gate, known as The Green. Mostly markets took place in northern part of the space. The earliest endeavour to glamourize it were recorded in 1631. Some ash-trees were planted and park was enclosed by wooden fence. In 1801 General Meyrick raised stone wall around the square, which was later known as Meyrick Square.

Eyre Square

In the middle of the 19th century the whole park underwent a redevelopment in Georgian style. In the 1960s full-scale reconstruction started and iron railings were removed and raised around the backyard of St. Nicholas' Church. In 1965 the park reopened with a new name: John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. The plot of land that became Eyre Square was officially presented to the city in 1710 by Mayor Edward Eyre, from whom it took its name. In 1965, the square was officially renamed "Kennedy Memorial Park" in honour of US President John F. Kennedy, who visited Galway city shortly before his assassination in 1963. A redevelopment work of the square began in 2004. The square reopened on 13 April 2006.
The finished square received Irish Landscape Institute Design Award in 2007.