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Shannon and the Southwest of Ireland

Shannon and the South West of Ireland

Whether you hire your car at Shannon Airport, or you are driving a rental car from Dublin, Cork, Galway or any other Irish airport, the Shannon region is well worth a visit. Located where the River Shannon - the longest river in the UK and Ireland - meets the Atlantic Ocean, Shannon airport is located in the southwest of the island, a region considered to be one of Ireland's many beauty spots.

The following locations are just some of the highlights of this region, located in the vicinity of Shannon airport, which we at CarHire.ie have selected as being of major interest. Most of the locations mentioned below are within an hour's drive of Shannon airport.

Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare

Built in 1425, Bunratty (Bun Raite) Castle overlooks the River Shannon, and is the most well-known and complete mediaeval castle in Ireland. Originally a Viking settlement, the first wooden structure built here was surrounded by a moat, which was replaced by the Normans in the 13th century with first a wooden, then a stone building. The present castle is the fourth or fifth structure to occupy this location, which is also close to the River Ratty (which lends the castle its name).

The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

You may recognise the Cliffs of Moher when you see them: these spectacular, majestic sea cliffs are one of Ireland's most famous attractions, and feature in many of its promotional brochures, postcards and images of Ireland.

Rising from the Atlantic Ocean to a height of almost 200 metres, the cliffs stretch along eight kilometres of coastline, from Hag's Head to O'Brien's Tower. Their name derives from an ancient promontory fort, Mothar, which stood in the region but has since been demolished.

Aillwee Cave

Aillwee Cave, near Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, is a karst limestone cave complex in the Burren region (see below). Once home to hibernating bears, which have been extinct in Ireland for over 1,000 years, the cave also boasts beautiful ancient caverns and under many spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations. Guided tours are available.

The Burren, Co. Clare

The Burren, a bleak but beautiful landscape of limestone rock, sparse soil and unique geology, flora and fauna, is an area of about 100 square miles in the northwest of county Clare.

The Burren, which gets its name the Gaelic Boireann, meaning rocky place, is also home to many archaeological relics - including megalithic tombs, dolmens, burial chambers, raths (ring forts) and stone cashels.

The Burren is paradise for any botanist, ecologist, or archaeologists - or for anyone fond of scenery and tranquillity. The Hunt Museum, Limerick CityLimerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and there is much to do and see here. One of its main attractions is the Hunt Museum, Ireland's greatest private collection of art and antiquities.

The museum houses over 2,000 original works of international acclaim, from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Artists featured include Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Roderic O'Conor, Jack B. Yeats, Robert Fagan and Henry Moorel. The collection of Irish archaeological material ranges from Neolithic flints and Bronze Age material, while artefacts from ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt are also on display.

Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry

Once described by the National Geographic as "the most beautiful place on earth", the Dingle Peninsula is a place of intense allure, with green landscapes, rocky hills, long sandy beaches and majestic cliffs. The warm Gulf Stream reaches the peninsula, giving has a wonderful mixture of sometimes rare and unusual flora and fauna.

The peninsula is one of Ireland's Gaeltacht areas, which means that Irish (Gaelic) is still spoken here.

The Dingle Peninsula stretches from Tralee to Slea Head, Europe's closest land point to North America. You will need at least four hours to travel the peninsula's 30 mile road circuit, as you will undoubtedly want to stop off at many of its beauty spots.