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  • Galway serves as a jumping off point for Western Ireland

    2010-05-25

    The Irish countryside has a reputation for some of the most beautiful natural views in all of Europe. Yet navigating the vast stretches of land is problematic without a city to serve as a base for accommodations and meals.

    Unlike some of Ireland's more modern cities, Galway has embraced its storied heritage. It's known as the "city of the tribes," for the fourteen families who used to rule over the county.

    Salthill is a popular tourist destination in Galway, with a promenade featuring shops and restaurants. It's also home to a concrete diving board that extends right over the Atlantic Ocean.

    Galway's main selling point is its location. From here, it's quite easy and convenient to get to a variety of castles and villages in the surrounding counties. Tours frequently leave for more rural areas like the Cliffs of Moher.

    The Aran Islands, a small archipelago off the coast, are world-renowned for their beauty, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. Like much of the mainland, remnants of forts and castles dot the landscape but don't spoil the natural beauty of these tiny islands.

    Wherever travelers end up, they should head back to Galway at night. The nightlife is vibrant, and the city's pubs have quite a reputation.

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