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Ireland is a country of romance and mist fueled by imagination, Guinness, music, pony treks, and a warm cuddle by the fire.  Our intrepid staff at Authentic Ireland has gathered impressions and information from clients (sometimes receiving more details than we needed!)  about the best places to kiss in Ireland.  Of course, we have done a bit of on-the-job research ourselves.  It was tough to narrow the list down to 20, but here they are:

1. The Cliffs of Moher.

If you like your passion infused with a bit of danger and drama, not to mention an occasional blast of exuberant wind, this is the place for you.  Hold tight to your sweetheart, don’t stand near the cliff’s edge, and kiss away.  You’ll receive happy smiles from those you meet. Moher seems to have that effect upon people. Authentic tip: For a sea view of the Cliffs take a boat trip from Liscannor or Doolin http://www.cliffs-of-moher-cruises.com/. A combined Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands daytrip is also possible.

2. Dingle.

You might find yourself walking the happy streets of Dingle with your sweetheart, looking in windows at fine weavings and pottery.  Suddenly the rain comes down and you forgot your umbrella.  Duck inside Lord Baker’s on Lower Main Street; it’s been a Dingle institution for over a century. Huddle up near the turf fire, share a delicious meal and order a couple of pints. Smile at your fine luck on this rainy day—a warm fire, good food, and a sweetheart.

3. Galway.

During the middle of July, Galway hosts The Galway Arts Festival.  If you don’t like crowds—avoid it.  But if you’re in the mood for a two-week, 24/7 party this is the place for you.  Music, theater, films, the Galway Bay to your back—you’re bound to have a romantic adventure

4. Dublin. 

Grafton Street is bustling with shops and terrific pubs day and night.  Should you wander to the end of Grafton near College Green, you’ll see the statue of Molly Malone, the gal who made the song famous.  Her statue is in shambles, and she’s sometimes called The Tart with a Cart.  Kiss here and head back to the bustling end of Grafton.  Turn your head quickly and look back—it’s said that Molly smiles upon lovers.

5. Doolin.

For a town of only several hundred people, this is one of the most rollicking places in Ireland.  There are only a few pubs, and all are quiet until 9:30.  Then they fill up, and music happens.  Lots of it.  It is a quintessential good time.  Put your sweetheart on your knee—the pubs can always use an empty seat—and stay until closing.  (During one of the sentimental songs, swoop in, nuzzle, and kiss the neck.)

6. Lisdoonvarna.

For those who’ve kissed everywhere there is to kiss, consider a visit to Ireland’s longest cave, just 5 KM northeast of Lisdoonvarna.  With 12 KM of passageways, there are plenty of places to slip into a cozy nook.

7. Waterford.

The Waterford Crystal factory.  We suggest a kiss in the parking lot.  Getting carried away inside this exquisite store could be quite a costly event!

8. Kilkenny.

A romantic town if ever there was one.  Black Freren Gate on Abbey Street is the last complete remnant of the crumbling Norman walls and gates.  Pass through the gate and kiss beneath it.  It is said that a kiss under a gate heals the past and bodes good luck for the future.

9. Glendalough.

“Valley of the Two Lakes” is a truly magical place.  There’s an ancient monastery that’s sits next to two deep, dark lakes.  On either side, steep hills rise sharply from the valley.  Thought by many to be one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland, it is the site where a monk named Kevin moved in 498, spending his nights on a tomb from the Bronze Age.  Come early and watch the sun rise, or come late and watch inky light fill the valley.  Either way, you’ll be enveloped in romance from the long-ago of Ireland. And that certainly deserves a kiss.

10. The Aran Islands.

One local told us that there are two things to do on islands with few roads and many stones–that’s to make babies or build walls.  Certainly building walls seems the least desirable of the two options for a visitor.

11. Connemara.

Mt. Errisbeg is an enjoyable two-hour walk up the hill from the idyllic fishing village of Roundstone.  Settle back with a picnic lunch, and take in the views of the Twelve Bens across the bay. Enjoy the lobster boats bobbing in the water. Take a blanket and spread out.

12. Sligo. 

Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. About 5KM from Sligo. One of the largest Stone Age cemeteries in Europe.  (It is about 700 years older than Newgrange, and less well-known.)  There are over 60 stone circles and tombs.  Many other dolmens and tombs are visible, but on private land.  Conjure up the ceremonies that must have happened here thousands of years ago. Imagine what’s beneath the ground you sit upon. Hold each other tight.

13. Athlone. 

Cruise the Shannon River on a Viking ship or take a shorter 1 ½ hour cruise.  When you’re finished riding the Shannon, walk behind the castle in Athlone.  There are plenty of cozy, off-beat restaurants—many of them right on the river.  Romance each other.

14. The Giant’s Causeway.

North of the town of Bushmills on the A2 coast road.  The name of this area is translated in Irish as The Stones of the Formorians.  According to legend, these were the first beings that lived in Ireland. The Causeway itself is made of about 40,000 huge, hexagonal stones.  The path disappears into the sea, only to emerge again in an island off Scotland.  These stones were formed 60 million years ago by molten lava.  And, off this coast, a sunken Spanish armada was recently found having crashed against the coast in 1588, filled with 10,000 objects.  Sunken treasure pushed beside eons-old stone in an area where the first Irish disappeared… it’s bound to bring out the romance in anyone!

15. County Laois. 

Rent a horse-drawn Gypsy caravan.  You’ll receive help choosing your route and your horse and off you go, indulging your Gypsy fantasies.  Savor the small, open roads but—if there’s any serious kissing to be done—pull over!

16. Dunluce Castle.

Part of the castle collapsed in 1639 during dinner, along with the servants and the meal.  The wall facing the land is built partly of old Spanish cannons.  And below the castle?  There’s a path that leads down to the Mermaid’s Cave.  Follow the path…

17. The border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

The border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Once marked by army checkpoints and lookout towers, nowadays the border is barely noticeable. Worth celebrating with a kiss and bear hug.

18. Armagh.

Founded in the year 445 A.D. by St. Patrick.  He chose this spot because he felt it was the center of pagan Ireland—a good place to begin converting the locals.  It’s also the burial site of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland who died in 1014 battling the Vikings.  A stroll down Georgian streets, lush, rolling gardens, huge cathedrals, and an odd figure dating from the Iron Age. A lovely city with its own rhythm—sort of like romance.

19. Ennistymon.

3 KM inland from the beach at Lahinch. The River Inagh and its fabulous, churning falls are magnetic.  At the south end of Main Street, step under the archway near the bridge.  The falls tumble down stepped stones and the water flies.  Get wet. Kiss here.

20. Spa Wells Health Center

Just  just south of Lisdoonvarna, this is the only natural spa in Ireland.  Surrounded by a shady grove, there’s an old-fashioned sulphur spring and pumphouse.  Saunas, mineral baths and massages are available, as are aromatherapy and reflexology.  When you finish dunking in the warm water, and follow that up with a massage, you’ll feel as if you’ve lost your bones.  Time to stumble into nearby Sheedy’s Country House and Restaurant for the night.  A natural mineral spa, excellent food, wine, and handsome rooms… It’s a fine way to celebrate love.

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