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Sitting in the crooked mouth of River Liffey on the east coast of Ireland, Dublin is fringed by jagged mountainscapes and a vast stretch of farmland. While its centre heaves with crammed pubs and pointed spires, a short trip outside its borders will find you tasting the salty sea breeze in coastal towns and winding around narrow country roads. If you’re after a change of scenery or looking to be spun tales of the country’s rich Gaelic heritage, spend a day touring some of its most defining locations.
One of Ireland’s most visited attractions, the Cliffs of Moher cut a ragged line on the edge of picturesque County Clare. This full-day trip will give you the opportunity to see them in all their craggy, grass-topped glory from the vantage point of twisting coastal paths. Once you’ve immortalised the rugged landscape with your camera and gazed across the ocean to the Aran Islands – rocky isles that guard the gaping jaw of Galway Bay – you will continue on to characterful Doolin with its traditional pubs and sunset-coloured spectrum of shops.
See for yourself why County Wicklow has earned the title ‘Garden of Ireland’. The first stop on the trip is the archaeologically rich Baltinglass, where you can explore the mossy Romanesque stonework of its 12th-century Abbey ruins. Later, you’ll get a taste of rural farming life with a visit to a working sheep farm – complete with a demonstration that shows off the sheep-herding prowess of a trusty border collie. After lunch in an idyllic country village and a stop at an 11th-century monastic site (the dwellings of monks or nuns), you’ll arrive at the wanderlust-inducing Wicklow Gap, one of Ireland’s highest mountain passes, complete with serpentine streams and crowds of emerald fir trees.
Travel back through the history of Belfast on this insightful tour of Northern Ireland’s capital. Led by an experienced guide, you’ll discover the story behind the Titanic, visiting the shipyard where it was built and which now serves as a monument to its memory. An absorbing first-person perspective of The Troubles is also given by loyalist fighters-turned taxi drivers on the city’s famous Taxi Tours, providing you with unparalleled insight into life during the city’s dark recent history. This is all topped off with a chance to discover the vibrant centre of modern-day Belfast, with time for a pint in a traditional pub and a bit of souvenir shopping.
Channel your inner Stark as you step into the bloodthirsty world of Game of Thrones. Giving fans the chance to literally put themselves in the characters’ shoes (or cloaks, at least), the tour blurs the line between fantasy and reality as it guides you through a dense forest – seen on screen as the site of the Wildling camp and shadowy Wolfswood – set with spidery trees and creeping tangles of roots. Tuck into lunch by the waters of Strangford Lough and roam the turreted site of Old Castle Ward (or should we say Winterfell). A popular Instagram-worthy highlight is Inch Abbey, where Robb Stark became King in the North.