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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What To Do in Ireland?

You can do what every other tourist has done when visiting Ireland - go to the usual places to visit, see the recommended things to do in Ireland.  

You've got a lot of great options. There's Newgrange. Dublin Castle. Tara. The Blarney Stone. Guinness Storehouse. Cliffs of Moher. The Book of Kells and Trinity College. Dublin Zoo. The National Aquatic Centre. Fota Wildlife Park. St. Patrick's Cathedral. Kilmainham Gaol. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The Rock of Cashel. Kilkenny Castle. Christchurch Cathedral. The Old Jameson Distillery. Powerscourt House and Gardens. Connemara National Park. The Aquadome. The National Wax Museum. Dublinia.

These are all fantastic tourist sites, where you can learn all about Ireland, travel the length and breadth of the country  finding fun things to do, and go back home with pretty much the same holiday experience, the same boxes ticked on your 'Things to do in Ireland' checklist, and the same holiday photographs as all your friends, family and neighbours who have visited Ireland over the years.

Or, you can Discover Ireland for yourself.  You can find your own way.  You can have a different experience, a unique visit, see some tourist sites that are not on the standard guide to 'Fun Things to Do in Ireland'.  Things like this...

Roscommon Castle (photo courtesy of Gary Dempsey)

Or some of these...
Kilronan Castle Reception Room

Zipit Forest Adventures, Lough Key Forest Park
Abbey Hotel Spa and Jacuzzi

County Roscommon, in Connaught (Mid West of Ireland) is easy to get to - served by 3 bus routes, 2 rail lines, a 2 hour drive from Dublin and just 30 minutes from Knock Airport.  You can get your flight to Dublin, Shannon, or Knock airport, and be here in no time at all, passing through some of the most breathtaking landscape Ireland has to offer along the way.  Cross the River Shannon, and you're here, ready to discover the myriad of things to do in Roscommon and the Midlands.

Kids at Glendeer Pet Farm

And right in the heart of Roscommon, we have a place that encapsulates human interaction with Ireland through the ages, from the first hunter gatherers 8 or 9,000 years ago, through the Stone Age Neolithic settlement and burial mounds, the Bronze and Iron Age Ritual and Royal landscape, the sacred Celtic and Gaelic kingship and sovereignty rites.

Rathcroghan Landscape (photo courtesy of Gerry Bracken)

We have the home of Queen Maeve (Medb) warrior Queen of Connacht, the starting point and bloody climax of the famous Tain Bo Cuailnge, the Cattle Raid of Cooley, sacred centre for Druidic teaching and and magical practice.  Gaelic Kings ruled from Rathcroghan, clans and septs rose and fell, and went on to rule all Ireland as High Kings.  Some of our most perfect national treasures were made here, in this centre of learning and craftsmanship for all of Ireland.

Cross of Cong, commissioned by Turlough O'Connor

And now, Rathcroghan is one of the largest, least interfered with, most multi-layered complex archaeological and mythological landscape we have remaining to us, not just in Ireland, but in Europe.  All the tourist information and maps you will need are available at the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre in the Medieval village of Tulsk, along with a great little café, and gift shop filled with crafts and books.

Rathcroghan Main Mound, Southern View (courtesy Gary Dempsey)

Roscommon is the county to put a smile on your face, and a story to take home.  If your interests lie with family history or genealogy, you can visit the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House and Gardens (just ten minutes from Tulsk and Rathcroghan), or you can check out all the things to do with a packed Programme of Festivals and Events, and everything you ever wanted to know about visiting Roscommon (including an excellent Trip Planner facility) can be found on the Tourism Information Site below.  Enjoy!  And don't forget to let us know how you found it with a Trip Advisor Review!

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