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A view of Port Bantry Ireland from the water

Bantry, Ireland

One of the longest inlets on the Atlantic coast of Ireland, Bantry Bay sits in the southwest corner of the country, in County Cork. This is postcard-perfect Ireland, with sweeping sea views, lush landscapes and colorful villages. The picturesque harbor towns of Bantry and Glengarriff lie on the Beara Peninsula, to the north of the bay and home to the Ring of Beara—a pleasant alternative to the more famous, though also more crowded, Ring of Kerry.Depending on your fitness level and schedule, the region can be covered on foot via the Beara Way hiking circuit, or by car on the serpentine Healy Pass road. Either will offer plenty of photo opportunities and charming towns along the way for a gourmet meal or a session at a local pub. Historic estates, traditional farms and ancient ruins have been preserved and restored for all to see, and the area's protected natural wonders are perfect for a scenic walk or a picnic. Here, the Emerald Isle’s famed green expanses are punctuated with Italianate gardens, candy-colored houses and crystal-clear lakes mirroring blue (or, more often, gray) skies. This is Ireland at its most wild, woolly and wonderful.