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Republic of Ireland: Frommer's Favorite Experiences

Sailing Ireland's West Coast: Spectacular coastal scenery, interesting harbor towns, and an abundance of islands make the west coast a delight for cruising sailors.

Horseback Riding in Donegal: The wild and woolly coast of Donegal offers the perfect scenic backdrop for trail riding, and as varied a terrain -- beaches, countryside, mountains -- as you'll find anywhere.

Drinking a Hot Whiskey at Davy Byrnes Pub: In Ulysses Joyce describes the main character, Leopold Bloom, stopping in at this Dublin pub for a Gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy. "He raised his eyes and met the stare of a bilious clock. Two. Pub clock five minutes fast. Time going on. Hands moving. Two. Not yet." Today the clock is said to be kept 5 minutes fast, in honor of Bloom and Joyce.

Exploring ancient Newgrange: Poised atop a low hill north of the River Boyne, Newgrange is the centerpiece of a megalithic cemetery dating back 5,000 years. The massive mound and passage tomb were constructed, it seems, as a communal vault to house cremated remains. The tomb's passage is so perfectly aligned with the solstice sun that the central chamber, deep within the mound, is illuminated for several days at the winter solstice.

Walking through a Bog: The Slieve Bloom Way, Ireland's largest and most unspoiled blanket bog, rises gently above the peat fields. Its beauty -- gentle slopes, glens, rivers, waterfalls, and bog lands -- is subtle but persistent, and it is comparatively untouched. You can have it more or less to yourself, apart from its deer and foxes, and an occasional frolicking otter.

Visiting the Dublin Writers Museum: With Joyce's typewriter, handwritten letters from Brendan Behan to friends back home, and early flyers from the Abbey Theatre when it was run by Lady Gregory and Yeats, this museum is heaven for bookish types. You can spend hours reading the memorabilia, and marveling at the trivia. The only thing it lacks is a good shop.

Strolling through an Irish Garden: In County Wicklow, Powerscourt Gardens is set amid the natural splendor of the Wicklow Hills just outside of Dublin. The sprawling, manicured gardens and the wild beauty of the Powerscourt waterfall make this a great day's outing, and a respite from the noise and congestion of the city. In County Cork, a ferry conveys visitors from a rhododendron-framed bay in the town of Glengarriff to Garinish Island, the unlikely site of a fine Italianate garden, Ilnacullin.

Pub Crawling: The pursuit of the pint takes on cultural significance in Ireland. Ornate taps fill tankards and mugs in pubs that serve as the social heart of every village and town. The Abbey Tavern and Brazen Head are famous Dublin haunts.

Sea Kayaking in West Cork: In Castletownbere on the dramatic, rugged Beara Peninsula, Beara Outdoor Pursuits specializes in accompanied trips out and around Bere Island and as far as Glengarriff. You can play it as safe or as rough as you want.

Bicycling in the Southwest: The peninsulas and islands of Cork and Kerry are perfect for cycling, with an abundance of beautiful places to visit. Roycroft's Stores in Skibbereen, County Cork, rent bikes that are a notch above the usual rental equipment.

Walking the Donegal Coast: The rugged headlands of Donegal are the most spectacular in Ireland, and the best way to explore them is on foot. Among the finest walks are Slieve League, Malin Head, and Horn Head.

Kissing the Blarney Stone: Despite the mobs of tourists who besiege Blarney Castle daily, this majestic tower house is worth a visit. While you're there, check out the Badger Cave and dungeons at the tower's base, as well as the serpentine paths that wind through the castle gardens. Need we mention the Blarney Stone? You sidle in under the upper wall with your head hanging over a 10-story drop. You kiss it. It's a thing people do.

Wandering through Glendalough: Nestled in "the glen of the two lakes," this atmospheric monastic settlement was founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, who was looking for seclusion and certainly found it here. The setting is endlessly scenic, with lakes and thick forests surrounding it. Although quite remote, Glendalough suffered numerous assaults from the Vikings and English forces, and eventually faded away. Today its stone ruins collude with the countryside to create one of the loveliest spots in Ireland.

Re-enacting Battles at Cahir Castle: One of the largest of Ireland's medieval fortresses, this castle is in an extraordinary state of preservation. Tours explain some fascinating features of the military architecture, and then you're free to roam through a maze of tiny chambers, spiral staircases, and dizzying battlements.

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