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Quaint homesteads and medieval ruins are just a short walk away from the boats rocking gently in the Irish breeze. Should the rain begin to patter, there's likely a cozy pub or bed and breakfast where travelers can escape the passing storm. Such a town can be found in many places along Ireland's coastline and has become one of the touchstones of tourism to the Celtic nation. It's the quintessential Irish village, and it exudes the warmth and charm seemingly down every avenue.
Locating the best Irish villages isn't too difficult, given their prevalence and the many travel guide lists claiming to have found the best of the best. For those who need some introduction, though, here are three commonly praised hamlets worth a stop:
A view from Dingle's pier looks out onto a boat-speckled harbor. Turning landward reveals sloping waves of green hill. This town, located in County Kerry, is actually one of the biggest towns on the Dingle peninsula and enjoys some robust tourism. Yet, it still maintains its quiet charm thanks to its medieval stone architecture, cozy diners and many pubs in oddly domestic locations. As Lonely Planet noted, many pubs also function as shops, meaning two different types of patrons may find what they're looking for in the same Dingle storefront.
Dingle is home to a popular aquarium, as well as St. Mary's Church and the nearby Trinity Tree, in which artists have carved faces into a sycamore with three trunks. It's also a good place to start explorations of the greater Dingle peninsula. Horseback riding, bicycling, sailing and even diving are possible from Dingle, though the latter requires the right gear for the cold Irish water.
?This town is another gem on the water, home to medieval ruins at the opposite end of the country in Northern Ireland. Frommer's notes that its ancient name of Cuan Aighneach translates to "Haven of the People with the Perfect Reputation." While it may not be possible to vouch for the heavenly aspect of its people, the town certainly seems to be a fantastic escape. Views of the water and the mountainous terrain are great, but Carlingford's stock-in-trade seems to be its castle ruins and the boutique shops situated among its charming streets.
?Here, travelers take a departure from seaside life for a town situated on the banks of a river. Strolling through town, across its 18th-century bridge and among its churches, makes for a relaxing afternoon. According to Inistioge's official website, fishing and boating along the Nore river are also allowed, thuogh a fishing license must be acquired at nearby O'Donnell's pub.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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