West Ireland

 
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Along with robust outdoor adventure, West Ireland welcomes visitors with traditional music, dance, festivals, celebrations, cuisine and hospitality.

West Ireland

More About West Ireland

Overview

County Clare: Set with postcard-perfect villages like Doolin and Lisdoonvarna, the lunar landscape of the Burren, and the towering Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, is pure tourist gold. Its capital, Ennis, is renowned for its annual Fleadh Nua (Fla-noo-a), in which hundreds of traditional Irish music and dance performers compete. Less formal sessions take place in Doolin's three pubs. Along the mouth of the great Shannon River, and just across the border from County Limerick, the so-called Castle Country is dotted with ruins.

County Limerick: Before you ask, there's no direct connection between Limerick and the five-line verse form known as a limerick, which was first popularized by the English writer Edward Lear in his 1846 Book of Nonsense. Limerick City, at the head of the Shannon estuary, is the republic's third-largest (population 75,000). It has undergone considerable revitalization since the days recounted in Frank McCourt's memoir, Angela's Ashes. The area around its cathedral and castle is dominated by mid-18th-century buildings with fine Georgian proportions.

County Mayo: Cong, County Mayo is Ireland's third largest county, with coast on three of its four sides, and the River Moy and the huge expanse of Lough Conn and Lough Cullin on the fourth. Bright lights are to be found in Castlebar and Westport, lively towns of great charm. The rest of the county has long empty roads leading to isolated shorelines, stunning vistas from remote peaks, and silent ghostly valleys that stretch along for miles. This is a relatively undeveloped destination, where the natives still provide a glimpse of the Ireland of old.

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Planner

County Clare: It is said to rain in the west on at least 300 of the 365 days in the year. It may be damp, but it’s rarely very cold, with a mean daily temperature around 43° in January and February, the chilliest months. In July and August, the warmest months, average temperatures are around 60°. Mid-May to mid-June is the best time to see wildflowers in the Burren.

County Limerick: The best times to visit are April to June and September and October. July and August are busy months. March is chilly, with daily temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Although May and June are the sunniest months, the average high in June is 65°. For the best chance to stay dry, visit in May and September. The days in November through late March are short and damp.

County Mayo: There is a local saying in the Westport area: if you can't see the summit of Croaghpatrick, then it is raining; if you can see it, it is about to rain. Between November and February, many places close for the winter and the days are short and overcast. In fact, you could have your umbrellas out constantly during all times but the warmest months, July and August, when the average temperatures are around 60°.

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Top Experiences

  • County Clare : Top Experiences

  • The Cliffs of Moher : Rising from the sea to a height of 700 feet, these cliffs—standing in silence over the wild Atlantic—give you a new understanding of the word "awesome."

  • The Burren : This 116-square-mile expanse looks like a lunar landscape. As far as the eye can see are vast, irregular slabs of fissured limestone, known as karst. In spring, an astonishing variety of wildflowers blooms in the cracks between the rocks.

  • Foot-Tapping in Doolin and Ennis : Tap your foot in time to "trad" Irish music—those heavenly strains of traditional Irish folk music—and sip your pint as you while away an afternoon and maybe an evening as well, in one of Doolin's or Ennis's noted music bars.

  • Castle Country : Built in 1460, massive Bunratty Castle has been restored and decorated with 15th- to 17th-century furnishings. To the north are Knappogue, a beautiful medieval tower-house castle, and Craggaunowen Castle, a 16th-century tower house.

  • County Limerick : Top Experiences

  • Adare : This village dotted with thatch cottages is one of Ireland's prettiest. Perhaps it's more accurate to say it's one of England's: in the 1820s–30s an Anglo lord, the third earl of Dunraven, attempted to transform it into “the perfect rustic village.” The abode of many a Dunraven is now the luxurious Adare Manor and Golf Resort.

  • King John's Castle : It was built by the Normans in the early 1200s and bears traces of a 1691 bombardment. Climb the drum towers for a view of Limerick City and the Shannon. Inside, a show illustrates the Limerick and Irish history; an archaeology center has excavated pre-Norman houses.

  • Georgian House and Garden : This restored Limerick City row house is full of Georgian furnishings, and its garden has been planted in a manner true to the time. The coach house at the back gives onto a lane and has displays relating to the filming of Angela's Ashes.

  • County Mayo : Top Experiences

  • Georgian Style : On an inlet of Clew Bay is a gentrified, Anglo-Irish heritage town. Its Georgian origins are defined by broad streets skirting a gently flowing river and a lime-fringed central avenue called the Mall. The showpiece is Westport House and Country Park, a stately 18th-century home built on the site of an earlier castle.

  • Island Adventure : Clew Bay is said to have 365 islands, one for every day of the year. The biggest and most interesting is Clare Island, at the mouth of the bay. In fine weather the rocky, hilly island affords beautiful views south toward Connemara, east across Clew Bay, and north to Achill Island.

  • Rural History : The Museum of Country Life, in Turlough, focuses on rural Ireland between 1860 and 1960. At this, the only branch of the National Museum outside Dublin, you’re immersed in a world before the internal combustion engine, electrification, indoor plumbing, and increased education transformed people's lives and expectations.

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Rental Cars

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Shannon Airport
Shannon, Ireland (Republic), M SNN
Telephone: (353) 61-715600
Monday-Friday Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Dublin Airport
Dublin, Ireland (Republic), L D
Telephone: (353) 1 605-7500
Monday-Friday Hours: 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday Hours: 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday Hours: 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Dublin City Centre
Dublin, Ireland (Republic), 8
Telephone: (353) 1-605-7501
Monday-Friday Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Rates Include

  • Rates include the daily rental rate, unlimited mileage, taxes and service fees.

Renter Qualifications

  • Renters must be at least 25 years of age at the time of the rental.
  • Major credit card in own name. Debit cards are not accepted.

Accident Protection Plan

  • Optional insurance plans are available to book directly through Avis at the rental location.


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Shannon Airport
Shannon, Ireland (Republic), M SNN
Telephone: (353) 061-704914
Monday-Friday Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Dublin Airport
Dublin, Ireland (Republic), L D
Telephone: (353) 01-8445848
Monday-Friday Hours: 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday Hours: 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Dublin City Centre
Dublin, Ireland (Republic), L 1
Telephone: (353) 01-8366577
Monday-Friday Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Rates Include

  • Rates include the daily rental rate, unlimited mileage, taxes and service fees.

Renter Qualifications

  • Renters must be at least 25 years of age at the time of the rental.
  • Major credit card in own name. Debit cards are not accepted.

Accident Protection Plan

  • Optional insurance plans are available to book directly through Enterprise at the rental location.


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