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Aran Inspired

Kilbeggan Distillery / Locke's Distillery

Kilbeggan Distillery, also known as Locke's Distillery, is located in the small town of Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, just off the main route from Galway to Dublin. It claims to be the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery. The distillery produced Irish malt whiskey from 1757 until 1954. Reopened in 1982 as a visitor attraction and museum, 85% of the original machinery remains intact.

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Kilmore Quay

Perhaps the most striking and visually pleasing thing you’ll notice about the village of Kilmore Quay is the abundance of 18th and 19th century whitewashed cottages, replete with thatched roofs – many of which are available for rental. While the atmosphere here is peaceful and rural, you’ll find plenty of enriching and inspiring ways to spend your visit. The Quay is the center of village life – here you can shop for locally created Irish crafts and art, and participate in events such as the annual seafood festival, held each July.

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Ulster American Folk Park

To fully experience Irish life as it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s, visit this extremely popular outdoor attraction. As soon as you enter, you’ll be immersed in this turbulent period of Irish history. You’ll see demonstrators dressed in period costumes and engaged in daily activities such as weaving, spinning and forging, or baking bread on peat fires. At the middle of the park sits an old whitewashed cottage, currently serving as a museum. This is the ancestral home of Thomas Mellon, born in 1813.

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Lynch's Castle

This Town Castle is Galway's best example of a fortified house, built by the prosperous Lynch family in the 16th century as protection from the raids of the chieftains of the 14 Tribes. Spanish decorative motifs are visible on its stones, along with decorative windows and the Lynch family coat of Arms. The Lynches were a wealthy family, many of whom served as Galway mayor.

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Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum

At first glance, the Strokestown Park House looks like most other 18th century Irish estates. But when you enter this house – the world that the Pakenham Mahon family lived in from 1600 until 1979 – you’ll notice a marked difference.  For three centuries, family members have lived and died here, and an amazing number of original possessions remain on the property and available for inspection. This creates a sense of family continuity that makes a visit to the estate special. The children’s area exhibits are especially poignant, featuring items such as 1930’s copybooks filled with notes and a variety of children’s toys.

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Monaghan County Museum

Considered one of the finest in Ireland, the Monaghan County Museum houses a vast collection of exhibits, ranging from megalithic artifacts to contemporary art. Winner of both the National and European Museum Awards in 1980, it serves the county and the entire country as a preservation site for many treasures. Visitors come here from all over the world to see the Cross of Clogher, a religious relic made of bronze that dates from the 15th century.

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Carrigglas Manor House

This striking, gothic style manor house made from attractive blue-gray limestone was built in 1837 by Thomas Lefroy, and to this day has remained within the Lefroy family. To visit Carriglas is to experience firsthand the charm of gracious country living in this part of Ireland, as it was in the 19th century. Thomas Lefroy was romantically linked to the author Jane Austen, and many believe that he was the inspiration for the character Mr. Darcy in her novel, Pride and Prejudice.

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Lough Gur Stone Age Centre

Lough Gur is widely renowned as one of Western Europe’s important archeological centres. Humans have continuously inhabited this area ever since the Neolithic Age, and many treasures were discovered on the shores when the lake level was lowered in the 1800s. The exhibit items and presentations you’ll see here illuminate the story of humanity in this region over a period of nearly 5,000 years.

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Sliabh An Iarainn Visitor Centre

This Heritage Centre, located in the Sliabh An Iarainn and Arigna mountains, gathers a variety of cultural exhibits under one roof. Here you can learn about the institutions and industries important to the local people over the years – specifically iron and coal mining, the lakes and canals, and the Cavan & Leitrim Railway. An impressive audiovisual presentation lays out the historical background of the area, and gives the viewer a sense of the area’s unique beauty.

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Dunmore Cave

This unique and interesting series of caverns in the limestone hills near Kilkenny City was designated as a national monument in 1940, but has been known to man since at least the 9th century and formed over a period of perhaps millions of years. It stands on Castlecomer plateau above the Dinin River Valley and contains some of the largest and most widely recognized calcite formations in all of Europe and certainly in all of Ireland.

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