Ireland quaint old villages

Dec 27th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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Ireland quaint old villages

Quaint old villages seem to be everywhere in England, but what about the Republic of Ireland? (Shannon is my airport.) Where will I find the best concentration of quaint villages, old churches, fewer tourists (for August 2004), scenic villages (not just a few isolated houses), maybe even narrow town streets, trees? Happy to drive anywhere in Ireland to see them.
mandate123 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 07:05 AM
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The quicket way to find villages like this in Ireland? Go back to the airport, fly to Birmingham or Bristol and drive 20 minutes in any direction.

Ireland - north or south - is almost totally devoid of the village with the 800 year old, continuously used, church at the centre, 500 y.o. inn at the other end of the main street, and the maze of timeless, cottages in between, following the medieval street plan.

The reasons are complicated, and going into them would hardly fit the spirit of Christmas. But while there are bits of villagey prettiness (I struggle to think of many, though doubtless others will nominate a few), they're not what Ireland's all about. Looking for them is like looking for magnificent mountain scenery in England, decent pubs in France or thatched cottages in Italy.

Look for glorious scenery, welcoming, relatively new, pubs, isolated Celtic churches, wonderful people and all the rest. Ireland: not an ersatz England
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 08:15 AM
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According to the Rough Guide to Ireland, "big houses with adjoining tied villages" is a recurrent theme throughout much of Ireland. Two villages fitting this description immediately come to mind: Enniskerry, in County Wicklow; and Strokestown, in Co. Roscommon. Both of these houses, by the way, are most worthy of exploration, and offer some fascinating insights into Anglo-Irish history.

But if it's "quaint old villages" you're seeking, then do consider the following partial list:

Inistioge, County Kilkenny (the backdrop for several feature films, including Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends);

Castletownshend, County Cork (During high season this village seems quiet and relaxed, and a stroll along its narrow streets and down to the waterfront, is a delight. Don't miss Mary Ann's Pub, described by novelist Edna O' Brien as the "best pub in the world");

Newport, County Mayo (consider staying at the upmarket Newport House, making a daytrip to Achill Island - memorable if clear weather is on your side);

and Roundstone, County Galway (with stirring ocean views, this village is a nice base for the glories of Connemara);

Best of luck.

DavidD is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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The reason Ireland doesn't have that many quaint old villages is because the English burned most of them.
Ann41 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 01:32 PM
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BTW, most residents in the West of Ireland *hate* the word "quaint" with a furious passion. It is in your best interest to try to avoid using it whilst in Ireland.
Ryn2691 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 01:45 PM
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I drove through County Leitrim a short time ago and I passed through many 'quaint villages'. I thought it was a most picturesque area, few tourists(most head for Kerry/Dublin/Galway). If you were into fisthing or cruising on the river it is the place to go. You can hire a boat on the river Shannon and stop off at different villages along the way. Absolute heaven! Another lovely village/small town is Westport, County Mayo. Beautiful scenery. The Aran Islands are supposed to be very worthwhile (haven't been, yet!), also Clare Island, off County Mayo would be worth a trip.
martina is offline  
Dec 28th, 2003, 07:55 PM
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It is not just those in western Ireland who detest "quaint". All over Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe the word is a problem. I know most Americans don't think they are being condescending when they call a place "quaint" - but to the residents that sounds just like fingernails on a blackboard. It sounds like their home is being compared to a theme park and is like a cute little movie set only there for the tourists.

"Quaint" has the same sort of meaning as "twee" - chocolate box cute. Try to avoid using it on your trip to Ireland . . . . . .
janis is offline  

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