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The main advantage to living in a small country like Ireland is that getting away for the weekend is not difficult. Dublin is just a few hours' drive from the beaches of Donegal, the nightlife of Belfast, the country roads of West Cork or the festivals of Galway.
Belfast’s turbulent political history has long overshadowed its many attractions. Still, anyone travelling there will find a welcoming city and an active nightlife. The compact city centre allows for easy access to attractions like the Opera House and the Giant Wheel.
Cork City has plenty to offer visitors, like a climb of St Anne’s Church Tower to ring the famous Bells of Shandon or a walk out to the Glucksman Gallery. The city centre lines up along the River Lee, giving easy orientation to visitors. Annual highlights include the Guinness Jazz Festival, the Midsummer Festival and the International Choral Festival.
The mountainous wilds of Donegal are among the most beautiful areas of the country. Surfers, kayakers, hikers and lazy tourists alike flock to this county all year round. Towns like Bundoran offer all the typical summer entertainment while the Blue Stack Mountains are perfect for getting away from city smog. Surfers can find some of the best breaks in Europe waiting for them along the western coast between Donegal and Clare.
The City of the Tribes spreads across and around Galway Bay with winding, medieval streets to draw people in. Summertime sees some of Ireland’s largest festivals with Galway Races well known for scenes of indulgence. The Oyster Festival and the Arts Festival cater to a different crowd, but both times are perfect for getting to know Galway and its people.