Friday 15 December 2017

Buried gems and lofty spires in Lonely Planet 'bucket list'

Brú na Bóinne 224
Brú na Bóinne 224
Cliffs of Moher 378
Trinity College 468
Giant’s Causeway 103
Titanic Belfast 424
Rock of Cashel 497

Jane O'Faherty

Six of Ireland's top attractions feature in a global "bucket list" of must-see locations.

Newgrange, Trinity College, the Cliffs of Moher and the Rock of Cashel all proved worthy of inclusion in a Lonely Planet compilation of best places to visit.

And in the North, both the Giant's Causeway and Titanic Belfast were included.

The sightseeing seal of approval comes as visitor numbers to Ireland continue to climb this year.

Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travelist includes 500 of the world's most striking locations, featuring everything from imposing temples to hidden gems.

The list has been years in the making, as its travel experts whittled down every single attraction in Lonely Planet's guidebooks to choose the world's "very best spots".

Entries in the top 20 include the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia (1), the British Museum in London (15) and the Galapagos Islands (19).

Irish man-made wonders fared best on the list - only two of the attractions were natural.

Brú na Bóinne, which comprises the ancient tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, ranked at 224. Other historical sites to make the cut were Trinity College Dublin at 468 and the Rock of Cashel at 497. The Cliffs of Moher secured 378th place.


In the North, the Giant's Causeway came in at number 103, while the Titanic Belfast was listed at 424.

Claire Tuffy of the Office of Public Works said a quarter of a million people visited Brú na Bóinne last year, and she was proud it made the list.

"There are very few places that you can stand in the exact same place that people 5,000 years ago stood in," she said.

"For people based in Ireland, I'd say come in the off-season - the winter months. There are some monuments that look better at different times of the year. Winter is most definitely Newgrange's time."

Katherine Webster, the director of visitor services for the Cliffs of Moher, said the iconic site's inclusion was down to the "great affection" people have for it.

"My favourite time is watching the sun setting around 4pm or 5pm. You see the sun going down in the west, and the light is reflected on the cliffs," she said.

The Rock of Cashel monument's supervisor, Elaine Moriarty, called the Lonely Planet honour "fantastic".

"In terms of Irish history, it would be unique and we had a political, religious and ecclesiastical history here."

Irish Independent

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