Everything you’ve heard is true: Ireland is a stunner. Everyone will argue over the must-sees, but you can't go wrong if you put the brooding loneliness of Connemara, the dramatic wildness of Donegal, the majestic mountains of Mourne and the world-famous scenery of counties Kerry and Cork on your bucket list.

History is everywhere, from the breathtaking monuments of prehistoric Ireland at Brú na Bóinne, Slea Head in Kerry and Carrowmore in Sligo, to the fabulous ruins of Ireland's rich monastic past at Glendalough, Clonmacnoise and Cashel. More recent history is visible in the Titanic Experience in Cobh and the forbidding Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.

Ireland’s main strengths are literature and music, and wherever you go you will discover an abundance of cultural expression. You can attend a play by a literary great in Dublin or toe-tap your way through a traditional-music session in a west-of-Ireland pub. The Irish summer is awash with festivals celebrating everything from flowers in bloom to high literature.

Irish friendliness is an oversimplification of a character that is infinitely complex, but the Irish are nonetheless genuinely warm and welcoming, and there are few more enjoyable ways of gaining a greater understanding of the island's inhabitants than a chat with a local.

Vantage hotels in Ireland

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