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EMERALD ISLE A GEM; The beautiful countryside, stunning lakes and a rich history of Killarney in Ireland make it the perfect getaway for those looking for a good craic.DO YOU KNOW A DESTINATION BRIDGET SHOULD FEATURE? CONTACT HER AT B.MCGROUTHER@ SUNDAYMAIL. CO.UK.



Byline: BRIDGET McGROUTHER

Isle give you some colour

A legendary 40 shades of green make up the Emerald Isle and Killarney in County Kerry is the most visited part, due to its stunning lakes and countryside.

Blarney in Killarney

BusRtling Killarney is full of souvenir shops, cafes and pubs. St Mary's Cathedral is impressive, while Ross Castle is worth a visit, with boat trips around Lough Leane and Inisfallen Island. If not travelling by car, hire one because buses are few.

What's the craic?

The Irish are famous for their friendly banter, humour and wit and there's no better place to enjoy the "craic" than in the pub, the hub of Irish social life. There is often traditional music playing, which adds to a great atmosphere. In late June and July, toes tap to the sounds of the Summerfest and Murphy's Irish American Festival, while the Puck Fair is in August.

Ladies of the lakes

It's Killarney's spell–binding scenery in the surrounding National Park that lures so many. The three spectacular lakes – Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and Upper Lake – have the muckle Macgillycuddy's Reeks mirrored in their waters – the highest mountains in Ireland. The Ladies' View was named after the awe–struck gasps made by Queen Victoria's female entourage in 1861.

Muck it up

Muckross Estate on the outskirts of Killarney has something for all the family. The yew tree, said to be as old as Muckross Abbey itself, still stands defiant among the ruins pillaged by Cromwell. Muckross House has formal gardens as well as traditional farms where blacksmiths, weavers and potters can be watched at work. There's also an animal farm.

Gush over this

A car park for Torc Waterfall is on the N71 road to Kenmare. Climb 100 steps or so to a higher viewpoint or take a circular walking route round Muckross Lake. It's also part of the 130–mile–long Kerry Way hiking trail.

Lord of the Ring

Drive round the 110–mile Ring of Kerry in an anti–clockwise direction to avoid queues. Places of interest include Daniel O'Connell's house and Charlie Chaplin's statue in Waterville, his top holiday spot.

Bay watch

The Dingle Peninsula, with its fuchsia and wildflower hedgerows, fishing villages and bottlenose dolphin, is worth a detour.

Kerry on to Killarney

Kerry Airport is a 15–minute drive from Killarney, Cork is about 75 minutes, while Shannon is two hours away. Aer Lingus fly from Glasgow to Cork; from Edinburgh to Shannon; and Edinburgh to Dublin, where there are plane, train or coach connections. P&O Ferries sail from Cairnryan and Troon to Larne in Northern Ireland and Stena Line sails from Cairnryan to Belfast.

Visit www.ireland.com

Last minute choice

Unsurprisingly, due to the recent floods and storms in Britain, holiday companies such as Holiday Villas Worldwide/Villas du Monde have been seeing a surge of bookings in areas where sunny weather is almost guaranteed. Their collection of hand–picked properties in destinations such as the Cote d'Azur, Provence and the Dordogne in France and the Costa Blanca and Costa Brava in Spain are popular. Visit www.world–villa.co.uk

Departures

Fuerteventura 3* La Tahona, AI, May 1,8,15,22, 7 nights, from Preswick, PS319

Turkey 3* Blue Park Marmaris, AI, May 26, 7 nights, from Glasgow, PS279

Tenerife 3* Blue Sea Callao Garden, AI, July 22, 11 nights, family of 3 PS1659, family of 4 PS2099, from Glasgow

Corfu 4* Mitsis Roda Beach, AI, May 5, 7 nights, from Glasgow, PS439 | www.holidayandflightcentre.com or tel 01698 425 444.

Lake Garda 3* Astoria Hotel, B&B, May 10, 7 nights, from Glasgow, PS299

Malta 3* Bella Vista, AI, June 3,10 nights, from Edinburgh, PS489 Turkey 4* Marmaris Palace, AI, April 28, 7 nights, from Glasgow, PS334

Majorca 4* Pionero Santa Ponsa Park, AI, June 1, 7 nights, from Glasgow, PS469

Bulgaria 3* Belleville, HB, May 30, 7 nights from Glasgow, PS299pp |

www.barrheadtravel.co.uk or tel 0141 222 2223.

CAPTION(S):

CHOICE Muckross House has a bit for all

DELIGHTS A typical Killarney summer sunset
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Apr 13, 2014
Words:694
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