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Aran Inspired

Birr Castle Demesne

Birr Castle in County Offaly is a magnificent old castle that has been the private family home of the Parsons family since the early 17th century. Unfortunately, as it is a private residence, the interior isn't open to the public. You may, however, visit Birr's “demesne” -- an old word used to describe the lands surrounding the castle. Unlike some other castle grounds, Birr demesne is not free, but it is a delightful demesne, particularly if you've got kids.

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Heywood Gardens

The beautifully landscaped Heywood Gardens are the most outstanding attraction of Ballinakill, a small Georgian village just south of Abbeyleix in County Laois. The park is actually the estate of mansion that no longer stands, called Heywood House, which was engulfed in flames in 1950 and demolished to make way for a school. Its gardens, nevertheless, remain a delight. There are actually two sets of gardens at Heywood -- the outer sprawling rustic park and woodland was constructed in the 18th century; the smaller formal Italianate gardens, which would have stood directly in front of the house, were constructed in the early 1900s.

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Sneem Village and Sculptures

Sneem is a pretty village located along the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry -- the most southwestern region of Ireland. It is a popular stop-off point for visitors travelling along the Ring of Kerry. The town's Irish name, An tSnaidhm (pronounced ahn tsneem)  translates to "the knot" in English. There are several explanations for this choice; one being the knot-like swirl that appears in the place where the Sneem River meets the currents of Kenmare Bay in the estuary below the town. The town has two churches -- St. Michael's, an attractive 19th century Roman Catholic church, and the Church of the Transfiguration, a Protestant church popular with visitors for its unusual weathervane in the shape of a salmon.

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Meeting House Square

Located in the heart of Dublin's hip Temple Bar district, Meeting House Square is a unique outdoor street venue. Hidden away off Essex Street, as you walk through the passageway that leads to Meeting House Square, you feel as though you are entering into a secret world. The plaza offers regular events, cinema screenings, performances, and product launches. It features a retractable roof that protects the audience from what is otherwise the curse of outdoor events in Ireland -- rain!.

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Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is a sumptuous 12th century building with a beautiful park, which together dominate the surrounding medieval town of Kilkenny. Unlike many other Irish castles, it has been fully restored inside. Visitors are charmed by the "Downton Abbey" style ambience of these rooms, although many are dismayed to learn they can't take photographs inside the building -- a rule enforced by the state owners to preserve paintings and other items from being damaged by camera flashes. Today, many of the castle’s rooms are open to the public. Most impressive is the Long Gallery, with its beautifully painted ceilings and extensive portrait collection of the Butler family members throughout the centuries.

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Kerry Bog Village

Kerry Bog Village is located on the Ring of Kerry, between Killorglin and Glenbeigh on the N70 road. The only village of its kind in Europe, it is a recreation of a typical 18th century bog village and offers visitors insight into the precarious living that was made in Ireland at that time. It is a leading tourist attraction with spacious parking and a restaurant. As the visitor walks through the village, they get the scent of peat burning in the hearths of the picturesque thatched cottages, and the impression is created that the they have genuinely entered an rural Irish burg from yesteryear.

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Inch in County Kerry is a long and scenic beach that unfurls before the wild Atlantic on the rugged southwest tip of Ireland. Inch is most notable for its 8 km (5 miles) stretch of golden sand, on a spit of land which extends into Dingle Bay. One of the most beautiful areas on Ireland's west coast, and the Dingle Peninsula is rich in history, mythology, and traditional Irish culture. It is also known as Inch Strand is a Blue Flag beach, awarded due to the quality and safety of its waters. The beach is popular with walkers, young families, and water sports enthusiasts. There is a lifeguard in attendance during summer months.

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Kerry County Museum

The Kerry County Museum, located in the Ashe Memorial Hall in the town Tralee, which has many interactive elements that are enjoyed by children. The museum features an extensive interpretive media centre that covers the history of the area, along with many medieval and prehistoric archaeological treasures. There are exhibits on Gaelic football, an important sport in Kerry, and an attractive film that covers Irish history from 1914 through 1965 in newsreel format. Another section is dedicated to the Antarctic explorer Tom Crean (1877 - 1937), a Kerry native. The museum also features an exhibition known as "Kerry: The Kingdom"

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Saint Anne's Park

Saint Anne's is a beautiful and popular, sprawling park situated between the suburbs of Raheny and Clontarf on the north side of Dublin. This gorgeous, romantic park is impeccably kept, and is particularly beautiful during the months of autumn. Saint Anne’s offers woodland paths popular with both walkers and joggers, and the park is heavily used by the public. The park is situated quite near to the northern coast of Dublin Bay and the Chestnut Pathway, which runs parallel to the Coast Road, is the most popular route taken by joggers, walkers and cyclists.

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The Iveagh Gardens

This  sumptuous Victorian park, once the private delight of a wealthy Dublin elite, is today free to everyone. It has beautiful flowers and charming"old world" garden features and a delightful waterfall. Visitor's favourites include an angel fountain, a sun dial and a maze. Minutes from Stephen's Green, an oasis from the city's hustle and bustle. Secluded and usually not busy, even during summer months.

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