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Irish villages vie for annual 'Tidy Town' crown

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Photographs by Rick Steves’ Europe/PAT O’CONNOR

Ireland’s legendary green countryside is the backdrop for the coastal town of Kinsale, a winner in the annual “Tidy Town” contest.

When someone asks me about visiting Ireland, I tell them not to miss the southwest coast. This is the place to experience the wonders of the Gaelic language and old Irish civilization, as well as the country's contemporary charms. It's the most mystical, Celtic, spiritual and rugged region of Ireland -- and the towns along the way are just plain cute. There's even a competition for the best-kept town.

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On the colorful streets of Dingle, you’ll hear a steady beat of Irish folk music ringing out through vibrant pubs like Dick M... + Enlarge

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