The Latin Quarter is Galway's lively nightlife center, with stone-paved streets, brightly painted pubs, a party-hearty university crowd, and some of the city's best restaurants. There are strings of flags crisscrossing above, overflowing flower boxes in front of second-story windows, Irish sweater shops packed with tourists, and numerous street performers -- ranging from magic show comedy routines to more traditional musical acts. In short, it is the place to be after dark, and one of Galway's biggest draws for visitors. Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: The House Hotel

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Ireland Travel: 10 Attractions You Don't Want to Miss (10 of 10)

 The Latin Quarter is Galway's lively nightlife center, with stone-paved streets, brightly painted pubs, a party-hearty university crowd, and some of the city's best restaurants. There are strings of flags crisscrossing above, overflowing flower boxes in front of second-story windows, Irish sweater shops packed with tourists, and numerous street performers -- ranging from magic show comedy routines to more traditional musical acts. In short, it is the place to be after dark, and one of Galway's biggest draws for visitors.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: The House Hotel
The Ring of Kerry, a 111-mile stretch of road looping around the Iveragh Peninsula, is one of Ireland's best-known tourist attractions. Visitors flock here for the dramatic views of the coast and unspoiled countryside, and most give themselves a full day for the drive to allow plenty of time at the towns, sights, and lookout points along the way. One popular stop is O'Carroll's Cove Beach Bar & Restaurant, located on a picturesque beach.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: Sheen Falls Lodge This remarkable geological formation created by lava flow around 60 million years ago is the top tourist attraction in Northern Ireland, and it's easy to understand why: The 40,000 basalt columns that make up Giant's Causeway truly are a natural wonder, and look like they belong to an alien landscape or a surrealist painting.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: Bushmills Inn The Book of Kells, located at Trinity College, is an illuminated manuscript produced by Celtic monks around 800 A.D., and is famous for the quality and richness of its illustrations. More historically significant books can be viewed in glass display cases in the aptly named 200-foot Long Room of the Old Library. The room itself is as much of an attraction as the books, with a stunning barrel-vaulted wooden ceiling, two floors of floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves, about 200,000 volumes on display, and dozens of marble busts of famous thinkers (the one of Jonathan Swift by Louis Francois Roubiliac is the most notable).
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel Tourists come from the world over for the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone. Some consider Blarney Castle a tourist trap, and it's true that during peak season it gets packed with camera-toting crowds. But it can actually be quite a fun stop, especially if you come first thing in the morning or during a less busy month: It's one of the only chances many visitors get to actually climb around inside a real castle. The main structure standing today dates to the 15th century, and visitors can crawl into a small passageway in the dungeon, up the narrow, winding stairs, and stop by the murder hole where hot oil would have been tossed on intruders below.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: The River Lee Hotel This cluster of three islands in Galway Bay feels almost untouched by time, and gives visitors a taste of authentic Ireland -- where traditional Irish is still spoken; the hills are lined with hundreds upon hundreds of ancient stone walls, supported only by gravity; a prehistoric stone fort still stands imposingly on a cliff's edge, with nothing standing between visitors and the vertigo-inducing drop to the sea; and the occasional thatched-roof cottage can still be seen dotting the landscape. Of course, the natives to these islands help along this stuck-in-time perception to bolster tourism -- the main economic activity here -- by offering horse-drawn carriage rides and selling Aran Islands sweaters and crafts at every shop.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: Ashford Castle The Cliffs of Moher embody what many visitors think of when they think of Ireland: A rugged green coastline and sheer cliffs plunging into the sea. The views of these cliffs have been drawing visitors for over 175 years; Cornelius O'Brien, a member of Parliament for County Clare, built O'Brien's tower as an observation deck for visitors in 1835. The Cliffs are over 700 feet high at some points, and extend almost five miles along the Atlantic ocean. Visitors can walk along paved paths and stairs to experience the views; in addition to the cliffs, it's possible to see the Aran Islands on a clear day.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: The House Hotel This Tudor-style mansion built in 1843 by the heir of a copper mining fortune is noteworthy for its spectacular setting facing Muckross Lake and Killarney National Park. Guided tours inside the house take about 45 minutes, and provide an interesting introduction to Victorian country life for wealthy landowners.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: Sheen Falls Lodge This former 19th-century castle is set on a lake a surrounded by the ruggedly beautiful mountains, bogs, and woodlands that Connemara is known for. It's this natural beauty that allegedly first enchanted Mitchell and Margaret Henry on their honeymoon to the region, and inspired Mitchell to build Kylemore Castle for his wife as a present. Today, the main draws at Kylemore Abbey are the grounds and majestic exterior of the structure. Only five rooms inside the castle have been restored for visitors, and while they provide an interesting glimpse into Victorian life at the castle, they're quick to tour.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay:  Ballynahinch Castle Hotel This historic brewery turned tourist mecca is located in the slightly gritty Liberties neighborhood to the west of the city center. Despite not being in the heart of things, it still draws swarms of tourists intent on drinking a Guinness at the spot of its first inception. Guinness is no longer actually brewed here, but it is served in abundance --- at all of the dining venues, including the circular Gravity Bar, which offers 360-degree views of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows. Numerous exhibits about brewing and Guinness history are displayed in the seven-story Storehouse; tours are self-guided.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: The Merrion Hotel The Latin Quarter is Galway's lively nightlife center, with stone-paved streets, brightly painted pubs, a party-hearty university crowd, and some of the city's best restaurants. There are strings of flags crisscrossing above, overflowing flower boxes in front of second-story windows, Irish sweater shops packed with tourists, and numerous street performers -- ranging from magic show comedy routines to more traditional musical acts. In short, it is the place to be after dark, and one of Galway's biggest draws for visitors.
Oyster's Pick for Where to Stay: The House Hotel
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