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Aran Inspired

Abbeyshrule Cistercian Abbey

 The ruins of the Cistercian Abbey at Abbeyshrule were once part of a much larger community of buildings, not visible today except for the outline stones of quite a few foundations. This was the first Cistercian site in Longford County, and the fifth in the country following the first very successful settlement at Mellifont. The Abbeyshrule monastery was funded by the O’Farrell family, and the site is scenically located along the River Inny, just east of Ballymahon. The name comes from the English word “abbey” and the Irish word sruth, which means “river,” because of its close proximity to the river. The graveyard adjoining the abbey contains the remains of a large number of ancestors of today’s southern County Longford families.

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The Shannon River

The Shannon is the longest river in all of the British Isles, and runs from County Cavan to Limerick, where it merges with the sea. The river is internationally renowned among anglers for its salmon and trout fishing. Its name is derived from the mythical character Sionan, who is said to have drowned in it after committing the travesty of eating the Salmon of Knowledge, a privilege reserved only for males. The River Shannon played an integral part in Irish history, from the first Neolithic settlements along its banks, through the Celtic period, when it separated and protected warring tribes from each other, through the Viking era, when it provided access to the inner parts of the country for their invasions.

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Dromineer is a small village in the Shannon River region of North County Tipperary, on the shores of Lough Derg. Formerly called the Port of Ormond, it is a popular tourist destination, known for its harbour and marina. Visitors enjoy cruises on the lake, overlooked by a 13th-century tower-house style castle that once belonged to the O’Kennedy clan. They also enjoy sunbathing, windsurfing and water skiing, as well as visiting the attractions on nearby piers. The village is also home to Lough Derg Yacht Club. Formed in 1836, it claims to be the third oldest yachting organization in the world.

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Drumboe Woods and Drumboe Castle

The dense, unspoiled woodlands of Drumboe are a special place of natural beauty in this wild part of northwest Ireland. The woods are located on the outskirts of  Stranorlar and its "twin town" Ballybofey  -- one town leads into the other. Drumboe is maintained by Coillte, the state agency responsible for forestry -- in this case cultivating Scots pine, spruce, larch,and birch trees. The River Finn passes quietly through this untouched area, and a small bridge passes over the water, leading into the twin towns.

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Lough Derravaragh

Lough Derravaragh in county Westmeath, 10 miles / 12 km from Mullingar, is a beautiful, shimmering, freshwater lake. Also known as Donore Lake, it is one of the highest situated large lakes in Ireland, at about 210 feet above sea level -- which gives it a dominating aspect over the neighbouring countryside. Lough Derravaragh is an exceptionally good pike lake and, while fishing from the shore is possible, boats are preferred by local anglers. Roach, bream and trout stocks are also plentiful. Tip: Be familiar with the laws and permits required for coarse fishing in Ireland before setting out, especially if you are angling for pike.

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Ladies' View

This spectacular panorama along the Ring of Kerry is located 12 miles from Killarney on N71 roadway. The viewing area received its name during the 1861 visit of Queen Victoria to Ireland, when it was named upon the exclamations of her awestruck entourage of ladies. The monarch was a guest at nearby Muckross House. Part of Killarney National Park, Ladies View offers a marvellous view of the valleys, lakes and hills below, including Black Valley, the Upper and Middle Lakes, McGillycuddy Reeks and the Gap of Dunloe.  The weather makes a difference – the clearer the day, the more breathtaking the view. A perfect spot for picture taking, the site also includes the Ladies View Café and a friendly gift shop where conversation can make the time pass quickly while waiting for the weather to clear.

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Lough Leane

The lake is dotted with other uninhabited islands and fringed with wooded slopes. The river Laune drains Lough Leane to the north towards Killorglin and into Dingle Bay. All three lakes lie in a mountain-ringed valley, starting in the Black Valley. The mountains composing the ring are Corrauntookil (1,038 m), Purple Mountain (832 m), Mangerton Mountain (843 m), and Torc Mountain (535 m). The surrounding Killarney National Park offers a variety of sites of interest along the lakes, which highlight both natural and religious points of interest. Killarney Town Centre is merely a mile from the shores of Lough Leane, whose noteworthy islands include Lake cruises leave Ross Castle and boats can be hired for the trip to Innisfallen.

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Glencar Waterfall and Lake

The beautiful, romantic Glencar Waterfall in County Leitrim is well hidden off the road between Sligo and Manorhamilton/Enniskillen, at the bottom of Kings mountain. With a drop of about 50 feet, it is a small but enchanting cascade -- its lush foliage and craggy, layered rocks offering offering a "lost world" atmosphere. The waterfall has two stages, with the shallower, stepped pool the first you will encounter as you begin ascending the slope. A charming walkway and wooden handrail helps you climb towards the top so no special footwear is required, although there are a lot of steps involved, which may be difficult for those with mobility problems.

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The ancient beauty spot of Glendalough is a popular retreat for Ireland's city dwellers. As soon as you get there, it’s easy to see why. In the heart of county Wicklow, and only about 45km from the stressful capital city, lies this magical green valley. Glendalough's tranquillity derives from two shimmering glacial lakes nestled between lush, sloping mountains and fairytale waterfalls. Indeed, the name derives from the Irish (Gaelic) Gleann Dá Locha, meaning valley of the two lakes. The transcendent, fertile beauty of the landscape here makes it easy to understand why Wicklow is often referred to as the Garden of Ireland.

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Lough Boora Discovery Park

Set in a peat bog that feels miles from anywhere, Lough Boora Discovery Park in County Offaly is a wonderful attraction for outdoors lovers and families with kids. With 50 km (40miles) of pathways that offer routes that accommodate a short stroll to a lengthy cycle, the Lough Boora Parklands host different types of visitors. Wild, natural and peaceful, these wetlands are visited by a range of species, from dragonflies to the endangered grey partridge.

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