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Many of Ireland's quintessential sights grace the West, the least populated region of the island that includes the counties of Clare, Galway, and Mayo. Photos of Clare's Cliffs of Moher often adorn ads for Irish tourism, and the sight of these cliffs on a clear day is as impressive as any sight in Ireland. Clare also has the rolling limestone area called The Burren that has eroded in intriguing patterns and is dotted with ring forts and megalithic tombs. Much of the West's most spectacular landscape lies in Galway, with Connemara's rocky mountains, fields, bogs, and white-sand beaches leading the way. Off shore, the Aran Islands represent ...

Many of Ireland's quintessential sights grace the West, the least populated region of the island that includes the counties of Clare, Galway, and Mayo. Photos of Clare's Cliffs of Moher often adorn ads for Irish tourism, and the sight of these cliffs on a clear day is as impressive as any sight in Ireland. Clare also has the rolling limestone area called The Burren that has eroded in intriguing patterns and is dotted with ring forts and megalithic tombs. Much of the West's most spectacular landscape lies in Galway, with Connemara's rocky mountains, fields, bogs, and white-sand beaches leading the way. Off shore, the Aran Islands represent one of Ireland's most impressive archaeological sites, especially the Iron Age settlement of Dún Aengus.

Galway city is an energetic place with a thriving art scene, where arts festivals occur just about around the clock in the summer. Mayo gets less attention from visitors than Galway, but the county's landscape is just as dramatic: rugged coastlines with sheer cliffs, rocky islands, exquisite beaches, and the sacred mountain of Croagh Patrick, the peak where St. Patrick fasted for 40 days. Achill Island, reachable by causeway from the Curraun Peninsula, has narrow roads that twist around the island's mountainous contours with spectacular views and lead to beautiful beaches.

Larry Habegger
About the Expert

Larry Habegger is Triporati's editor-in-chief and executive editor of Travelers' Tales, where he has edited or coedited dozens of books including Travelers' Tales Australia and Ireland.

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Larry Habegger for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: North-western Europe occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland. It is bordered by Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) to the north, by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and by the Irish Sea to the east.
  • Language: English and Gaelic
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Limerick
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, early fall, late spring, Christmas/New Year's holiday season