Ireland page 6-6




           Counties Of Ireland           




Sligo

County Sligo is one of the most engaging counties in Ireland. Within a small area County Sligo has a fine variety of mountain, lake and coastal scenery. In the west of the county the Ox mountains form a background to the coastal plain, while north of Sligo town the landscape is dominated by steep-sided and flat-topped limestone hills. The coast is main low-lying and is fringed by sandy beaches and low cliffs.

Near Sligo town, in beautiful Lough Gill, can be seen the like isle of innisfree immortalized in the Yeats' poem. Another beauty spot in the county is Lough Arrow, with its inlets and encircling hills.

For the holiday maker in Sligo there are seaside resorts such as Inniscrone and Strandhill, golf at Rosses Point and other centres. Excellent lake and river angling, hill climbing and many other interesting activities.

Sligo is a county in the Connacht province of Ireland, on the Atlantic Ocean. Owned by the MacDermott family until the 12th century, Sligo was subsequently under the rule of the DeBurgos, O'Donnells, and O'Dowds before being chartered as a county in 1579. The painter Jack Butler Yeats and his brother, poet William Butler Yeats, spent much time in Sligo as youths. The wonderful landscape that has become known as "Yeats Country" because of the poets deep connection with Sligo. Yeats' gravestone in Drumcliff bears the self penned epitaph "Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman pass by ".

Sligo has a varied landscape with fine coastline and beaches, Rosses Point and Strandhill, loved by Surfers, Mountains and wooded hills lakes, rivers and waterfall. It is easy to understand why as a schoolboy in London, Yeats longed for his native Sligo and he lovingly describes the county in his "Reveries over Childhood and Youth". One of the 4 Irish recipients of the Noble prize for Literature, Yeats is forever linked to Sligo, the rural west and was one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre in 1898, heralding the Irish Revival. The poet died in France and was buried there due to the outbreak of WWII . After the war, in 1948, his body was finally taken back to Sligo and reinterred in Drumcliff.

The town of Sligo is a seaport and commercial center. Just outside the town is Lough Gill, Yeats "Lake isle of Innisfree" Among the prehistoric sites in the area are Maeve's Mound, a huge cairn at Knocknarea, and megaliths at Carrowmore.

Sligo's history dates from the mid-13th century with construction of a castle and the 13th-century Sligo Abbey. The abbey was destroyed in 1641 when the town was sacked but now has been restored




Tipperary

Tipperary Ireland's largest inland county, has richly varied scenery in its hills and mountains, its plains and river valleys.

In the south are the Galtee Mountains, the Knockmealdowns and the isolated height of Slievenamon. Keeper Hill is the highest point among the various groups of hills in the north.

The middle of the county is a broad plain, through which the River Suir flows from north to south; and from this plain the rich land of the Golden Vale extends westwards into County Limerick. Apart from its scenery and its excellent facilities for pastimes such as angling, golf, mountain climbing, caving and hunting.

Tipperary was dominated by the Butler family from 1185 to 1715. Tipperary is Ireland's best recognized county, popularized in the World War One song 'Its long long way to Tipperary'. In fact, many songs commemorate Tipperary, The Tipperary Lass, The Forty Shades of Green, and Slievenamon, to name a few.

Tipperary has a long and fabled history, and when traveling there, must see is the fabulous ruins at the Rock of Cashel, once a seat of the kings of Munster, is the most notable landmark. The monastery at Holy Cross and the castle at Cahir.

Tipperary has beautiful lush mountain scenery and the most famous of these hills is known as the Devil's Bit, named for the bite taken out of it by the devil as he rode over Ireland, and the hunk he spat out is now the Rock of Cashel! The mighty River Shannon, Ireland's longest, flows through Tipperary, and Lough Derg, shown here is the biggest of its 3 lakes




Tyrone

One of the most beautiful of Ireland's inland counties. Tyrone has a fine variety of scenery, mountains and gentle hills, glens and river valleys, moorland and little plains.

There is some low land bordering Lough Neagh in the east, and in the river valleys in the north-west, but the rest of the county is hilly, and towards the County Derry border in the north and land piles up in the 2,000 foot peaks of the Sperrin Mountains.

This is a wild yet welcoming land of forests, mountains and a rich historic heritage. For a change of pace (and a spot of shopping) savor the atmosphere of busy towns such as Omagh, Dungannon and Cookstown. Autumn is the perfect time to motor through the Sperrins and you can stop off on the way at An Cregan Visitor Centre for refreshments.

In the northwest of Ireland, it's capital is Omagh, outside of which the Ulster Heritage Folk Park, attracts thousands of visitors annually, tracing their ancestry, or marveling at the realistic recreations of homes and implements which made up life in the past centuries in this area.

Set sail on a voyage of discovery where the story of our unique contribution to the New World is graphically encounted. There's also a great program of events at Halloween. Equally fascinating is the Ulster History Park that gives a close-up view of ancient Irish lifestyles. Similar in context to Williamsburg in Virginia, the folk park traces, among others, the lives of several US Presidents who hail from these northern counties, the most recent of whom is president Bill Clinton. In fact, several of the signatories to the US Constitution in 1776, were from this area!

Tyrone is one of the counties which make up the 'Six Counties' of the current Northern Ireland. Tyrone Crystal, similar to Waterford crystal is made here!




Waterford

County Waterford, on the south coast, combines many kinds of beauty in its scenery. Much of the north and centre of the county is mountainous, including the Comeragh range with its fine lake Corries; the rest consists mainly of gentle hillsand valleys. The coastline is a series of rugged headlands, cliffs and sand fringed bays;

Tramore is the best known of several attractive resorts. On the north and east the county is bordered by the pleasant River Suir; in the west the Blackwater Valley, with its flanking hills and numerous wooded stretches, provides the finest river scenery in Ireland.

The River Blackwater rises in County Kerry and flows eastwards through Cork and Waterford, turning southwards at Cappoquin to flow in Youghal Bay by a narrow estuary 15 miles long. The most beautiful part of the river is in County Waterford - from near Fermoy (County Cork) past Ballyduff, Lismore and Cappoquin to Youghal.

Waterford, in the south-east of Ireland, was probably one of the original settlements in Ireland by the original pre-Celtic nomads who came across the then-short channel from Europe. Followed successively by The Celts, and The Vikings and the Normans, Waterford with its naturally deep and safe harbors (like Dunmore East, shown here) was the obvious port-of choice for all trade and invasions.

Today Waterford still boasts a large Irish fishing fleet, at Dunmore east, and also some of Ireland's most pristine beaches. The towns that dot the coast, from Waterford city itself to tiny Woodstown, boast great restaurants, quaint pubs, antique and curio shops and much, much more. The world-famous Waterford Crystal has its home here.

County Waterford is a maritime county with no part of it being more than twenty five miles (40 km) from the sea. At it's widest points the county is fifty one miles wide and twenty seven miles long but contains a variety of landscapes and scenery that are rarely encountered in such a compact territory. The spectacular plateau of the Comeragh mountains rises up 2,600 feet above sea level in the center of the county.

The earliest proven settlers arrived in Waterford some 9,000 years ago. These were Mesolithic in culture and survived by hunting, gathering and fishing. There are sixteen such megalithic tombs, ten portal tombs (or dolmens) five passage tombs and one court tomb. Some 4,500 years ago the first metal using people settled in this part of Ireland. They brought the stone, box like structures tapering to one end, known as wedge tombs. They also had cist burials in stone lined pits, tumulaus burials and barrows.

About 500 years ago the warrior aristocracy considered to be Celts settled here, building strongly defended settlements in the hills and on promontories over looking the sea.

Waterford contains two hill forts and over twenty promontory forts. More common is the lightly defended iron age farmsteads known as raths, fairy forts or lio's. These were usually circular enclosures, frequently tree covered.




Westmeath

Westmeath is an inland county that contains some delightful scenery chiefly near the center of the county, where a number of lakes with wooded shores and surrounding hills provide many charming views. There are other lakes on the northern border and in the west is Lough Ree, a large expansion of the River Shannon, where the boundaries of Counties Westmeath, Longford and Roscommon meet. Much of County Westmeath is flat, and its highest point rises to a little more than 850 feet.

Home to great abbeys and Castles including Tullynally Castle, a 17th century Castle with numerous turrets and battlements. Westmeath has a rich history of wealthy landowners and Anglo Irish families who stayed for the rich grasslands and glorious rolling countryside. Today many dairy farmers are part of the make up of this county's vibrant agri-industry.

Early evidence of the importance of this county as a center for the farming sector are the large market towns of Athlone and Mullingar. Westmeath has an area of 1,763 sq. km (681 sq. mi).

The principal rivers are the Shannon and the Brosna, and numerous lakes, or loughs, are in the county, the largest of which is Lough Ree. Agriculture is the chief occupation of the inhabitants.
Several limestone quarries are here, as well as factories engaged in the manufacture of textiles, most notably wool tweed, cotton and linen goods. Situated on Ireland's central plain, the county is mostly flat with a high point of 276 m (906 ft).
Westmeath formed part of the ancient kingdom of Meath and became an independent county in 1541 Westmeath stretches from Lough Ree on the Shannon in the West to the shores of Lough Sheelin in the North East and southwards to Kinnegad and the Royal Canal.

Created a County in 16th century, Westmeath had, for the following hundred years a turbulent growth culminating in the renowned Siege of Athlone in 1691. The visual evidence of the 19th century history is perhaps best reflected in the edifices of Belvedere House and Tullynally Castle.

Its lakes are the county's greatest assets with fishing, cruising, watersports activities and shore amenities. There is a wealth of trout and coarse angling on the Westmeath lakes, Ennell, Owel, Derravaragh, Lene, Lough Ree and the River Shannon. Lough Derravaragh is forever associated with the mythological story of the Children of Lir who are said to have spent 300 years in isolation on its waters. metres in diameter




Wexford

County Wexford is in the south eastern corner of the country, with a long coastline on both the Irish sea and Celtic Sea. On the north it is bounded by the hills of County Wicklow and on the west by the River Barrow and the Blackstairs mountains. The River Slaney waters its fertile central plain.

Wexford's history goes back to pre-Christian times. Above all, the county is rich in memories of the 1798 rising, when insurgent pikemen fought heroically against overwhelming odds.

Wexford's name derives from Waesfjoed, a Norse word meaning estuary of mud flats. It thrived as a coastal county centered around Wexford town with lots of sea traffic mostly from England and Wales. The silting of Wexford Port in the Victorian era finished most of traffic which moved to Rosslare further south and still remains the county's main port. Today it is a ferry point with ships from France and Wales bringing holiday makes from all over Europe.

Wexford boasts that is the sunniest county in Ireland and has some of the sandiest stretches of beach in the country. Wexford is a maritime county located in the southeastern Republic of Ireland on Saint George's Channel. The population of the county is 102,000 there are four main towns: Wexford, Enniscorthy, Gorey and New Ross.

The landscape ranges from rolling countryside to mountains and from forests to rugged natural landscape. In the mountainous northwest, the highest point is Mount Leinster (796 m/2610 ft). The county coastline is low, irregular, and hazardous to navigation. Bannow Bay, Waterford Harbour, and Wexford Harbour are the chief inlets. The Slaney is the principal river of the county.

Wexford County is dotted with historic sites, Castles and Abbey's. The first part of Ireland to be invaded by Anglo-Normans in 1169, Wexford was subjugated by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. Wexford was one of the centres of the Irish rebellion of 1798.

The county provides some of the best leisure facilities available, Blue Flag Beaches, Angling, Water Sports and top class Golf Clubs. It also boasts magnificient hotels and restaurants and some of the best pubs in Ireland. For the holidaymaker in Wexford there are angling and canoeing on the River Slaney, climbing in the Blackstairs mountains, and hunting in several parts of the county.




Wicklow

The county of Wicklow, just south of Dublin, has great variety of scenery within its boarders. It is known as the 'Garden of Ireland'. In the east of the coastal area is low and sandy, except in a few places where it crops out in headlands;

Two of the country's main resorts, Arklow and Bray are along this coast. Central Wicklow is a mass of domed granite mountains, penetrated by deep glens and wooded valleys; it contains some of the finest scenery in Ireland.

To the west, the mountains give way to gentler country on the edge of the central plain. Wicklow has an area of 2,025 sq km (782 sq mi). The Liffey and Slaney rivers rise within the county. The dominant feature of the terrain is the Wicklow Mountains