IRELAND is the only country we can visit if double-jabbed without having to pay for pricey testing.
As part of the Common Travel Area, the pre-departure and Day 2 tests normally needed for overseas travel are not required.
Here, Rob Crossan suggests five fab getaways beyond Dublin for those who have had both vaccines.
IRELAND’S West Coast capital is known as the “city of the tribes”, due to the 14 families that dominated maritime trading life here.
Learn about this and more at the City Museum (galwaycitymuseum.ie) before exploring the fairy fort, lakes, wildflower meadows and nature trail at Brigit’s Garden (brigitsgarden.ie) just outside the centre.
The best spot for a pint, where you will also be surrounded by history, is Tigh Neachtain (tighneachtain.com) – there’s free live music at weekends and craft ale from the Galway Hooker Brewery.
CHECK IN: Standing grandly amid 200 acres overlooking Lough Corrib, the Glenlo Abbey Hotel is one of the most sumptuous hotels in Ireland.
Just three miles from Galway, this is a Julian Fellowes fantasy of abbeys, towers and tranquil grounds.
There are even falconry and archery lessons to take part in on the immaculate lawns.
The Glenlo Abbey Hotel has B&B doubles from £225 per night. See glenloabbeyhotel.ie.
YOU could easily spend a week in this so-called “rebel city”.
With the River Lee flowing through the centre, it’s a great place to explore on foot.
Start with the Crawford Art Gallery (crawfordartgallery.ie), which is home to the neoclassical Canova casts – these plaster sculptures came here direct from the Vatican in Rome.
Take an eerie tour through the preserved fortress of the 19th century Cork City Gaol (corkcitygaol.com), then unwind with a pint of Murphy’s (the city’s native beer) and some traditional music at the Sin E pub on Coburg Street (corkheritagepubs.com).
CHECK IN: The Imperial Hotel has welcomed big names including Charles Dickens and Sir Walter Scott.
The beautiful Grace Kelly-inspired afternoon tea is a steal at £32pp.
The Imperial Hotel has B&B doubles from £173 per night. See imperialhotelcork.com.
GREAT pubs, an impressive 1192 castle and the fact that it’s small enough to tackle in a day make Kilkenny a great spot for a quick getaway – it’s only 90 minutes from Dublin by road.
Artist studios now fill the yard of Kilkenny Castle (kilkennycastle.ie), but it’s the medieval building that really impresses, with grand staircases, ornate bedrooms and a tapestry room.
After climbing its three floors, take a seat at Nowlan Park to watch the Kilkenny Cats hurling team, before heading on a stroll around the Medieval Mile, a maze of cobbled alleyways
CHECK IN: The 17th century Lyrath Estate is just ten minutes from town – an enchanting manor house with modern rooms.
The private cinema, games room and huge spa will keep the whole family entertained.
The Lyrath Estate has B&B doubles from £71 per night. See lyrath.com.
PRETTY riverside walks and a rejuvenated quayside earned Limerick the status of National City of Culture in 2014.
Kids will love exploring the 12th century King John’s Castle (kingjohnscastle.com) where you can shoot squash balls out of mini cannons.
There’s also a Milk Market (milkmarketlimerick.ie) on Mungret Street selling local produce.
If you’re an Irish whiskey fan, grab a dram in Flannery’s pub round the corner – there are more than 100 to pick from (flannerysbar.ie).
CHECK IN: The central Savoy hotel is every bit as sleek and swish as its London namesake, albeit on a more homely scale.
Ther chic hotel has bedrooms decorated in shades of purple and red, and a lavish bar with parquet flooring and potent cocktails.
The Savoy in Limerick has B&B doubles from £162 per night. See thesavoycollection.com.
SUPPOSEDLY the oldest city in Ireland, Waterford has Viking and Norman buildings as well as a surprisingly lively nightlife.
Fish restaurant McLearys (mclearys.ie) is a great spot for dinner – the daily catch comes straight from the local fishermen.
Pay a visit to the House of Waterford Crystal (waterfordvisitorcentre.com) to learn how its shimmering glassware is created or head to the Medieval Museum (waterfordtreasures.com) which has ancient artefacts from the earliest days of the city’s history.
CHECK IN: Located on the quay, The Granville Hotel is a 17th-century treasure with old-style furnishings and thick drapes.
The full Irish breakfast is a knockout, served up with a local bread known as Waterford blaa.
The Granville Hotel has B&B doubles from £103 per night. See granvillehotel.ie.
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