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Aran Inspired

Ballytarsna Castle

In the 1990s, Texan John Carignan purchased Ballytarsna Castle, one of Ireland's innumerable ruins and lovingly restored it to its former glory using traditional Irish stone masonry techniques. Ballytarsna is located just north of the town of Cashel, which is dominated by the larger and more famous castle, the Rock of Cashel, visible from the tower's 5th floor. While the castle and its lands are now completely private, the Carrigans, who live there, invite guests to book rooms via the AirBnb website -- it is perhaps the only Irish castle that can be booked in this way.

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Roscrea Town

 Roscrea is a picturesque town located at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. It is an old market town, with so many well preserved and restored medieval buildings that it has also earned distinction as a Heritage Town. Roscrea is part of the area nicknamed, “Ely O’Carroll Country”, named from two Irish families who controlled most of the area until the 17th century, when the English seized their land and wealth. Roscrea’s most popular attraction is the Roscrea Castle and Damer House, the latter erected within the original castle fortifications in the 18th century.

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Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle is situated on a small, rocky island in the River Suir in County Tipperary – a natural spot for fortified structures since the third century. With many stairways and passageways to explore, Cahir is one of Ireland's largest and better preserved castle ruins.  Its proud facade has provided the distinctive settings for the movies such as Barry Lyndon and Excalibur.

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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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Clonmel is the county town of Tipperary in southeastern Ireland and is widely known as a popular centre for shopping. It is also the largest town in Ireland that is not a port or harbour.Clonmel is first mentioned in Irish historical records in 1185 as a manor ruled by Lord William Fitzadlem de Burgo. The town was fortified in 1319, using money authorized by Edward II. In 1650, Cromwell’s forces tried in vain for nearly three weeks to gain entry into Clonmel before finally succeeding.

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Holy Cross Abbey

Originally the site of a Celtic monastery or hermitage, Holy Cross Abbey was established in 1169 according to the Cistercian Rule by King Donal O’Brien. The Cistercian Tradition, first brought from France to Ireland by St. Malachy, had spread rapidly upon its arrival in Ireland, and the original Holy Cross monks came here following the establishment of Monasteranenagh in County Limerick. The Cistercians operated under a silent, self-contained rule, so the monastery was planned to include everything needed to sustain life, including plenty of land to grow crops and raise livestock. The abbey building itself was shaped in a square, and included the church, sacristy, kitchen, refectory and chapter house. There was plenty of room to accommodate stores of food and other supplies.

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Mitchelstown Cave

Located just east of Mitchelstown, this multi-cavern natural wonder is considered one of the most dramatic in all of Europe. It features stalactites and stalagmites, huge drip stone formations, and many fine columns, including a famous 30-foot high formation known as the Tower of Babel. A guided tour winds its way through two caverns, called House of Lords and House of Commons, for a distance of nearly a half-mile. The columns, stalactites and stalagmites are created when limestone dissolved in rainwater accumulates inside the caves when the water evaporates. The process takes more than a thousand years to result in a complete formation.

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Holy Cross Gardens

Holy Cross Abbey Gardens are located on the grounds of the Cistercian Abbey founded in 1169. They contain a set of Stations of the Cross erected in memory of St. Padre Pio, a Capuchin priest who bore the stigmata (physical wounds of Jesus Christ) for fifty years. Padre Pio lived in San Giovanni Rotondo, in Italy. In 1918, he received the stigmata, which he described to his spiritual advisor as a vision where he saw a person with the stigmata, wounds dripping blood. After the vision disappeared, Padre Pio found himself with the same bleeding wounds, which he experienced nearly every day for the rest of his life, or nearly fifty years.

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Located in North County Tipperary, the name Mauherslieve mathair sliabh is correctly translated "mother mountain" -- although it is also referred to as sacred hill. On its welcome sign, the nearby village of Rearcross proclaims itself to be the land of ancient tombs, beautiful scenery and deer sanctuary. The surrounding group of mountains is known as the Slieve Felims, the highest of which is Callaun Hill at 426m. There are some 20 tombs and cairns located at the tops of the mountains here, and the views, even after a long climb, are exceptionally beautiful. There is also plenty of undisturbed forestland to serve as a habitat for the deer.

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The Rock of Cashel

The word Cashel is derived from a Gaelic  word meaning “fortress” and it’s not hard to see why. The Rock of Cashel lays claim, with much justification, to the title “most spectacular archaeological site in Ireland”. Situated just outside Cashel town in County Tipperary, this limestone mound rises 200 feet into the air, giving an ominous and towering presence to the fortifications perched on top. These include the ruins of a castle, a cathedral, an abbey, a chapel, a round tower, high crosses and several other structures, all of which are enclosed within an impressive stone wall. The Rock’s history goes back to the fourth century AD, when it was the royal seat of the Eoghanachta clan, originally from Wales, and ultimately conquerors of the Munster province.

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