gatesoftanhauser, your attitude is a prime example of how a minority of Americans give your nation the repuation of being ignorant and rude.
Europe is a big place with over 700,000,000 people (more than the US) in 55 countries. Please do us the courtesy of not lumping us all together as "Euros" - wtf is that anyway?? Euros are our currency, Europeans are the people who live in Europe.
I've been to Hawaii, Massachusetts and California, and have friends from Alaska, New York, New Hampshire and Oregon but I would never for a second consider to make sweeping generalisations on the 300,000,000+ people of America as a whole judged on the handful of people (very lovely people for that matter) I've met along the way.
And just as a point of note, you said you've spent little time in the UK - what has that got to do with gyms in Ireland? Sligo, Dublin, Kilkenny, Killarney and Doolin are all in the Republic of Ireland, not the UK. That's like me commenting on housing quality in Baltimore after spending a weekend in Boston.
I'd be intrigued to know exactly what was discussed during these conversations you've had with these "Euros" - given your blatant ignorance of current affairs and geography I'd highly doubt there was anything of any intellectual substance involved, but just for the record I can personal vouch for plenty of us "Euros" knowing plenty about weight lifting, not to mention the more famous names; Jill Mills, Andy Bolton, Mariusz Pudzianowski, Aneta Florczyk - any of those ring a bell?
I'm not for a second saying that you won't find ignorance about weight lifting in European cultures, you'll find it the same way if you were to stop any random person in any country in the world. Stop tarnishing everyone with the same brush just because your ego got a(n undeserved) nice little stroke getting asked if you were on the "The roidsss".
OP, I can't give you any info about gyms anywhere other than in Dublin. Do you know where exactly you're going to be staying in the city? There's plenty of gyms around but a lot of them don't allow for day-visitors, you'll need to get signed in as a guest. If you know where you're staying PM me and I'll see if I know of any decent gyms in the area.
And there's loads to do in all those places you mentioned - Guinness Brewery, Trinity College, oodles of museums and galleries in Dublin; Clifs of Moher and the Aran Islands at Doolin; Glencar waterfall, Kesh caves and Cairn park in Sligo; Kilkenny Castle and great pubs in Kilkenny; Muckross house and lake in Killarney; Giants Causeway at Bushmills. Give me a shout if you need any info about anything - agus failte romhat go hEireann