The emerald landscape of Ireland remains the major draw for people travelling here; the timelessness of its rolling hills and the unspoilt wilderness attracts more people to visit annually than actually live on the island.
The capital, Dublin, on the banks of the River Liffey is an historic, vibrant city. Stroll through the streets of Georgian buildings; visit Dublin Castle, Trinity College and sample the national drink in Temple Bar.
Cork, the second largest city, has a long seafaring tradition, which feeds into the region's exceptional reputation as the gourmet heart of Ireland. Blarney Castle, containing the fabled Blarney Stone, said to bestow the gift of the gab on anyone who kisses it, is a short drive from town.
The natural attractions of Beara Peninsula, County Derry and Connemara and Killarney National Park are world-renowned and favourites with walkers and cyclists.
Galway in the west of the country is wild and haunting, with craggy cliffs, empty beaches and access to the remote Aran Islands the main draws. Soaring mountains and pretty lakes provide distraction inland. The huge limestone plateau at Burren in the north west is wind and weather-lashed but retains a stark beauty.