The best way to get to Northern Ireland’s famous Giant’s Causeway is by taking the magnificent Causeway Coast driving route. Starting in Belfast, the road wraps around the nine Glens of Antrim, winding between charming coastal villages and stunning scenic locations.
Source: Discover Northern Ireland
Places to visit on the Causeway Coast –
Built-in 1177, this castle is one of the best-preserved medieval buildings in Northern Ireland. The castle has an impressive 17th-century cannon display and lots of historical information about the buildings eventful history including tales of besieging by Scots, English and French.
The Gobbins is a cliff-face path at Islandmagee. It runs across bridges, past caves and through a tunnel along The Gobbins cliffs which are recognised for their rich geology and birdlife. Those not wishing to walk the cliff path could enjoy the Visitor Centre and learn about The Gobbins through the on-site exhibition.
Nestled at the foot Glenarm, the first of the Nine Glens of Antrim you will find the picturesque village of Glenarm with its sandy bay and beautiful Georgian Streets. Not far away is Glenarm Forest Park, an 800-acre nature preserve and Glenarm Castle where you can visit the Castle’s Walled Garden.
Carnlough is a pretty town with a lovely harbour and prominent historic hotel. Take the steps going uphill next to the Harbour Lights building to the stunning Cranny Falls.
Ballycastle has some beautiful view, a pretty harbour and a sandy beach simply called Ballycastle Beach! Fair Head, Ballycastle’s headland rises to 196 metres out over the bay and is the subject of many scenic Northern Ireland photographs. A short drive will take you to the pretty inlet at Murlough Bay.
A short ferry from Ballycastle will take you across to Rathlin Island, the Causeway Coast’s only inhabited offshore Islands. There are some nice walks to be taken around the island and a visitor centre where you can learn more about the island’s history.
Carrick- A – Rede Rope Bridge
You may have seen pictures of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which links the small island of Carrickarede to the mainland. Some fantastic views are awarded to those brave enough to take on the rope bridge but if this particular stroll doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are some nice cliff walks that can be done in the area instead!
The Giant’s Causeway
Last but certainly not least, the Causeway Coast’s most famous attraction, the Giant’s Causeway! According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill.
Book your Causeway Coast Tour Today-
The best way to learn about the Causeway Coast and the island of Ireland is to visit yourself by a Self Drive or Chauffeur Tour. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
County Donegal, located in the North West of Ireland is one of Ireland’s most rural counties with a rugged coastline littered with beautiful cliffs, national parks and castles making it a county with an authentic charm like no other. For those who are looking for a brief escape from it all, it is difficult to find a more suitable place to relax and rewind. Donegal topped National Geographic’s Cool List for 2017. Here are our top 5 recommended things to do in Donegal.
Slieve League Cliffs
Situated on the South West coast of Donegal, the majestic Slieve League Cliffs are one of the highest oceanic cliffs in Europe with the top of the cliffs reaching a towering 600 metres. As you walk towards the top of the cliffs there are magnificent views across Donegal Bay towards the mountain base in Sligo and Mayo with Glencolmcille being visible to the North West.
Glencolmcille Folk Village
Glencolmcille Folk Village offers you the opportunity to catch a glimpse as to how daily life has varied in Donegal throughout the past few centuries. Thatched cottages, each a replica from a particular century filled with furniture and artefacts of that period, a fully reconstructed schoolhouse and a pub/shop give you a real perspective as to how people survived in the remoteness and hardship of life in Donegal.
One of the most popular things to do in Donegal is to explore the Inishowen Peninsula. Situated on the Northern tip of County Donegal, it is the largest peninsula on the island of Ireland. This scenic drive is the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way and has a scenic driving route of its own, the ‘Inishowen 100’. One of the highlights of the route is Malin Head which is the most Northerly point of Ireland is also where scenes from Star Wars: The Last Jedi was shot in 2016.
Glenveagh National Park & Glenveigh Castle
Glenveagh national park is the second largest national park in Ireland with over 16,000 hectares of land for you to explore. Recommended sights and activities within the park include the 19th-century Glenveagh Castle while six walking trails within the park varying in length from 1km to 8 km with all trails providing different views and levels of difficulty for walkers.
Grianán of Aileach
The Grianán of Aileach is a hillfort on top of the Greenan Mountain on the Inishowen Peninsula. The ringfort dates back to the 6th century and was the seat of the Kingdom of Aileach and one of the royal sites in Gaelic Ireland. From the top of the hillfort, there is a breathtaking view across Lough Foyle & Lough Swilly as well as the entire Inishowen Peninsula.
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The best way to learn about Donegal in Ireland is to visit yourself through a Self Drive or Chauffeur Tour. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
Cork has the second biggest city in Ireland and Cork County is the largest county in Ireland. It is also home to some beautiful scenery and some fantastic tourist attractions so we decided to pick out 10 of the top things to do in Cork below!
Looking for places to visit in Cork? Check out our list for our top 10 recommended things to do in the famous Rebel County!
Blarney Castle & Blarney Stone
Where else could we start a list of the top things to do in Cork but with Blarney Castle and the Blarney stone? The famous stone of eloquence is situated at the top of the magnificent Blarney Castle and folklore has it that anyone who kisses it acquires the gift of eloquence or as we say in Ireland, the gift of the gab! Surrounding the castle are beautiful gardens for you to take a stroll through at your own leisure.
Cobh Heritage Centre
Another must visit during your time in Cork is the Cobh Heritage Centre which is located about 25km southwest of Cork City, in the town of Cobh. Here you are given the opportunity to learn about life in Ireland during the 18th& 19th centuries where mass emigration, the famine and criminal transportation are the main themes. The centre also hosts an exhibition on the history of the Titanic; Cobh was the last port of call before it made its final faithful voyage across the Atlantic.
Known as Ireland’s Alcatraz, Spike Island is also located near Cobh, just off the coast. Originally founded as a military installation it later became a prison which was in operation until the 1980s. In 2015 the island was re-opened as a tourist attraction & it was recently crowned as Europe’s leading tourist attraction. Tours of the island take in the fort, prison cells and the gun emplacements. An after-dark tour is also available for those who would be interested in a more edgy but fun experience.
Of course one of the best things to do in Cork is to sample the local cuisine and the best place to start is at The English Market in Cork City Centre. Surrounded by beautiful 19th-century architecture the market is famous for supplying local specialities such as drisheen (a type of blood pudding), spiced beef and buttered eggs. Even Queen Elizabeth II decided to pay a visit to the market in 2011 to see what all of the fuss was about!
Shandon Bells, St Anne’s Church
On the north side of Cork city, across the cities famous River Lee, St Anne’s Church constructed in 1722 and is famous for its Shandon Bells tower. The 18th-century bells are still in use presently and are widely regarded as one of the top things to do in Cork. St Anne’s Tower is a distinctive sight overlooking Cork’s skyline. There will be an opportunity for visitors to ring the bells from the first floor and enjoy unrivalled views out over Cork city and beyond.
Blackrock Castle Observatory
Blackrock Castle Observatory is certainly worth a visit when in Cork city. The castle is located in the beautiful scenic suburb of Blackrock on the banks of the River Lee. This structure is said to be the oldest still in use in the city and will give you an excellent appreciation of the maritime history in Cork. It is very interactive and features a planetarium, a cinema and a host of interactive exhibits. The village is also a great place on a Sunday between 10am -2pm for the Sunday Market which offers a great range of foods to experience on your way to the castle observatory.
Garnish Island is situated in Bantry Bay just off the West Cork coast. The island is renowned for its beautiful gardens, Martello Tower and exotic plants, most of which are rare to Ireland. A short scenic ferry cruise, departing from the village of Glengarriff, takes you out to the island. One thing to keep an eye out during the journey are the seals who frequently visit the rocks on the southern shore of the island.
Jameson Distillery Midleton
For any whiskey fans then the Jameson distillery in the town of Midleton in East Cork should definitely be on your bucket list. A guided tour of the distillery begins with a short film to give you a brief background to Jameson’s history before a guide takes you through the distilling process from the start from finish. At the end of the tour, each participant receives a free glass of whiskey (those who are 18 and over!).
Cork City Gaol
Rounding off our list of top things to do in Cork we come to Cork City Gaol. Located within walking distance from the city centre, the museum gives you the opportunity to see what life was like inside one of Ireland’s most famous jails during the 19th & 20th centuries. Exhibitions including lifelike figures, sound effects and furnished cells make it an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.
St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral
This is a beautiful gothic style cathedral located about 10 minutes walk from the heart of Cork city. Designed by architect William Burges in 1862. It is certainly worth a visit while in Cork and is one of the top things to do. It is constructed with Cork limestone and the interior walls are made of Cork marble. You will come across beautifully stained glass and intricately carved icons in the walls.
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The best way to learn about Cork and its sights and attractions is to visit yourself. We offer a range of ways to see Cork from Self Drive, Chauffeur or Rail. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
Clare is a county on the heart of the west coast of Ireland located along the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route. With a varied terrain ranging from rolling countryside to the Atlantic coastline. County Clare is an excellent place to discover culture in Ireland. The county is blessed with places to visit – from the UNESCO Burren, Cliffs of Moher Geopark, award-winning Loop Head and some historic towns like Bunratty, Killaloe and Ennis.
Read about the 10 Places to Visit in County Clare
The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland’s most visited attractions and when you will visit you will see why! The cliffs rise to a height of 120 metres above the Atlantic Ocean and even reach 214 metres at the highest point near O Brien’s Tower, an observation tower built by local landlord Cornellius O’ Brien. The views are stunning and on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and even as far as Connemara!
On the opposite side of County Clare in the East, you will find Lough Derg. There are two Lough Derg’s in Ireland, the other one is in Donegal. Lough Derg in Clare is the second-biggest lake in the Republic of Ireland and the third-biggest on the island of Ireland. It shares is shores with northwest Galway and eastern Tipperary. On the Clare side, some nice places to visit along the lakeshore include Killaloe, a picturesque town with nice bars and restaurants and a 13th-century cathedral, Scariff and Mountshannon where you can take a boat trip across to Holy Island in the centre of the lough.
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Bunratty Castle is the most complete Castle in Ireland, it is completely furnished on the inside giving the visitor a real sense of what the castle would have looked like for residents in the 15th century. Bunratty Folk Park which surrounds the castle is a reconstructed village where buildings like the rural farmhouse, the village shop and post office and several different types of traditional cottages have been recreated. The folk park gives a fantastic insight into what life was like for different segments of Irish society in the early 19th century. If you are staying in Clare region, think about visiting Bunratty at night to take part in one of their famous medieval banquets. Advance booking is required for this and we can book this for you as part of any tour visiting Clare.
This attraction is especially good if you have children with plenty of parkland to run around in and a collection of unusual animals such as wild boar! On-site the primary feature is a reconstructed Crannog; an artificial island on which people built houses, kept animals, and lived in relative security from rival clans, a ring fort. The attraction also has a souterrain which is an underground tunnel used for storage or to hide from would-be attackers, a fulacht fia which was used for cooking in the Bronze Age and Craggaunowen Castle, a typical example of a fortified tower house built in 1954.
The Burren – UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Burren refers to the regions of Clare and south Galway which share a unique karst landscape known for its rare species of flora and fauna. The main towns in the Burren region are Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corfin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna. The Burren National park is located in Corofin, here you will find five marked walking trails that take you through many different fascinating and beautiful habitats, such as limestone grasslands, hazel/ash woodlands and limestone pavements. If you plan to visit the national park, a good place to start is the Clare Heritage Centre in Corofin. In the village of Balllyvaughan consider visiting Ailwee Caves, a cave system consisting of over a kilometre of passages leading into the heart of a mountain.
This is perhaps the most photographed attraction in Clare after the Cliffs of Moher. It is situated 8 km south of Ballyvaughan, about 10 km north-west of Kilnaboy. The structure dates from the Neolithic period, and excavations which uncovered the remains of sixteen adults and six children have shed light on burial customs of Clare’s early farming communities
The Loop Head Peninsula
The Loop Head Peninsula at the very tip of southwest Clare is a scenic coastal drive which takes in the coastal villages of Kilrush, Carrigaholt, Kilbaha, Loop Head, Kilkee and Kilrush – the entire journey is a distance of around 81 km. Top sights to take in include Loop Head’s main town Kilkee which was frequented by the likes of Charlotte Bronte and Alfred Tennyson and Carrigaholt which has outstanding sea views. One of the most beautiful natural features on the peninsula are the Bridges of Ross on the western side of Ross Bay harbour, looking north to the Atlantic Ocean. At the very tip of the peninsula, you will find Loop Head and its famous lighthouse.
Clare is a very popular surfing destination and it is known throughout the world as a surf destination. Fanore, in particular, is famous for surfing and water sports. Fanore is a small little village and it has accommodation options along the beach to stay and enjoy the waves and ocean. It does not matter your surf ability – with surf schools available it caters for everyone and don’t be afraid to try and catch a wave on The Wild Atlantic Way!
Aillwee & Doolin Caves
County Clare is blessed with its unique landscape in the Burren area and it has some of the most famous caves in the country. Take a tour at the Aillwee Cave and explore the winding passages, chasm, rock formations and waterfalls. Doolin Cave is famous for its Great Stalactite and you will get the chance to go underground by 200 feet and be transported back 350 million years.
Scattery Island can be reached by boat from Kilrush pier during the summer season with guided tours available free of charge. It is a monastic island and named after the mythical monster on the island. It was St Senan who founded the monastic settlement on the island in the 6th century. Over the years the islands have been attacked by the Vikings and others but in spite of this the round tower, cathedral and oratory can still be seen. The last island dwellers left in 1978 for the mainland; who were river pilots and gifted currach handlers. The ruins of the village remain with streets and several churches remaining. On the island also is a Holy Well which has healing properties.
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The best way to learn about the 10 places to visit in Clare is to discover by yourself! Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
What are The Aran Islands and why are they interesting?
The Aran Islands; Inishmore (Irish Spelling Inis Mór), Inisheer(Inis Oírr) and Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) are located off the coast of Galway. The islands lie about 13km (8 miles) from the coast of Galway. This distance to the mainland has made the islands far more traditional than the rest of Ireland. Many traditional farming and crafts can still be seen on the island and the people speak Irish as their first language here.
The landscape on the Aran Islands may be like nothing you have seen before. It is karst and rocky and you will find land made fields surrounded by stone walls.
Clothes – The Aran Islands are famous of course for the traditional Aran Sweater but some other clothes are also unique to the island; the men for example wore a woven belt called a Crios and leather shoes called Pampooties! You can find out more about traditional Aran dress in the Stitches in Time exhibition at the Aras Eanna centre on Inisheer.
Land Making – The land on the Aran Islands is karst and rocky so the locals have to create land, they do this by mixing sand and seaweed and placing on top of rocks to create fertile soil.
Currach Boats – you may see these lying on the beaches on Aran Islands, they are a traditional Irish boat with a wooden frame over which animal skin would have been stretched over, although modern Currachs are now covered with canvas. These Currachs were a lifeline for Aran natives in times before motor powered boats and ferry crossings.
Day Trip or Stay Overnight?
Many of our clients take day trips to the Aran Islands. We recommend getting the morning ferry or flight and taking the evening ferry home. Make sure you leave in plenty of time and arrive at your departure point about 30 minutes early. The ferries usually leave on time and the journey to ports can sometimes take longer than expected. Calculate the time it will take you to get from your location to the port and add an hour to it!
There is ample accommodation on all of the islands, should you wish to stay overnight. There is a hotel on Inishmore as well as several good B&Bs, Inisheer has a small hotel/guesthouse and several good B&Bs and Inishmaan has several good quality B&Bs.
Get in Touch with us about booking your Ireland package including the Aran Islands and we can secure you the best available accommodation.
Aran Islands & Disabilities –
Although some of the ferries may have wheelchair access, access to the ferry is often by floating pontoon which may not be suitable for wheelchair users, depending on tides. The best thing to do is to check with the ferry company a few days in advance.
The islands themselves are not totally disabled friendly, the tour companies on the ground do not have wheelchair adapted buses and the ground can be quite uneven in places and so is not ideal for maneuvering wheelchairs around.
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The best way to learn about the Aran Islands is to visit yourself. Contact us today to book your trip!
We’ve compiled a list of the 10 Most Popular Things to do in Dublin to help you decide what to take in when you Visit!
Dublin is our capital city and one of the most multicultural cities in the world today and a must visit for anyone visiting Ireland. Most international traffic arrives through Dublin airport so most people will enjoy at least a few days in the city and explore all the attractions that it has to offer. Founded by the Vikings in 998AD, the city has a varied and interesting past and quite a few stories to tell. If it is your first trip to Dublin, you might want to tick a few of these famous visitor spots off your list:
Visit Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is one of the biggest unoccupied prisons in Europe, it is now a museum and access is by guided tour. When it opened in 1796, the prison was one of the most modern of its time. Since then it has housed many political prisoners including those associated with the 1916 Easter Rising. Tours can get very busy and if you plan to visit, do call ahead or book tickets online.
See Glasnevin Cemetery
The Glasnevin Cemetery opened in 1832 and contains monuments and graves of some of Ireland’s most prominent national figures including Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Maude Gonne, Luke Kelly of the Dubliners and many more. Onsite, in the world’s first cemetery museum visitors can learn about the history and the lives of more than 1.5 million people that are buried in the cemetery.
Visit the Museums & Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle was built in 1204 and was until 1922 the seat of the United Kingdom government administration in Ireland. Today it houses The Chapel Royal, The Chester Beatty Library which displays artistic treasures from around the world, The Revenue Museum which offers an interesting history of tax collection in Ireland and the State Apartments; the venue for Ireland’s Presidencies of the European Union, Presidential inaugurations and prestigious functions. The grounds of the site are free to explore, admission to the State Apartments is by guided tour only and tickets can be purchased in the Upper Castle Yard in advance.
Walk Around Trinity College & See the Book of Kells Exhibition
Trinity College was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, it is Ireland’s oldest university and has had many famous students including Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift. Visitors to the College can enjoy guided tours of the magnificent Old Library and Book of Kells Exhibition. Online booking is recommended and you can purchase tickets here. Visitors with pre-booked tickets will be allowed access at their allocated time-slot. For a more enjoyable experience, you are better off purchasing your tickets online.
Have a pint at the Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s busiest attractions and one of the most popular things to do in Dublin. The museum is set out over seven floors which surround a glass atrium in the shape of a pint of Guinness. The exhibition covers the process of making Guinness, right through to the marketing, sales and distribution of the finished product. The seventh floor houses the Gravity Bar with fantastic views of Dublin City.
Enjoy The (Free Entry) National Museums of Ireland
Three out of our four national museums are located in Dublin; The Museum of Archaeology and the Natural History Museums are located quite close to each other off Kildare Street and the Decorative Arts and History Museum is located at the Old Collins Barracks on Benburn Street. All of these museums are free entry and well worth a visit!
Visit Christchurch Cathedral & Dublinia
Christchurch Cathedral is the elder of Dublin’s two cathedrals, the other being St. Patricks. The cathedral famously contains the tomb of Strongbow, a medieval Norman-Welsh warlord who came to Ireland at the invitation of King Diarmuid MacMorrough. The cathedral also contains the largest Crypt in Ireland and amongst the things, you will find there are secular carvings and the mummified corpses of a Cat & a Rat, commonly nicknamed Tom & Jerry! The adjacent Dublinia Exhibition is especially great for kids but enjoyable by most anybody, it covers the period of Dublin’s history from the arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the closure of the monasteries in the 1540s.
See The GPO & New GPO Museum
The General Post Office (GPO) is the headquarters of the Irish Post Office and one of O’Connell Streets most prominent buildings. During the Easter Rising of 1916, the GPO famously served as the headquarters for the rebellion leaders. The GPO Witness History Museum documents the building’s history and brings the events of the Easter Rising to life.
Do Some Shopping on Grafton Street
Characterised by energetic buskers and talented streets artists, Grafton Street and the surrounding streets contains some of the best shopping to be had in Dublin. There are also lots of nice cafes and bars in this area. Nearby at Meeting House Square, there are often theatre and film screenings and on Saturdays, there is an excellent organic food market.
Check out the Night Life at Temple Bar
Temple Bar is one of the best places to be in Dublin by night! Home to some of Dublin’s best traditional music bars and restaurants as well as some great art galleries, popular watering holes include The Palace Bar, The Temple Bar Pub, Oliver St. John Gogarty’s and The Auld Dubliner.
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The best way to learn about all the things to do in Dublin is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a free quotation including some or all of these locations today. We can tailor your itinerary on any of our Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.
Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
This month’s blog gives you the opportunity to learn about some of the Top 10 Things to Do on Ireland’s Ancient East. Ireland’s Ancient East starts on the south of Ireland by Cork’s Spike Island and takes in Cahir & Kilkenny Castle, Rock of Cashel to the Boyne Valley, Newgrange and Glendalough on the East Coast through to the northern region of Ireland to counties of Cavan and Monaghan and much much more in between. The aim is to have a memorable experience while on the trail & you will gain inspiration from the places that will map your journey. Discover the legends and stories and let you discover your own Ireland’s Ancient East!
Source: Discover Ireland
Dublin is an excellent base to plan your immersive journey on Ireland’s Ancient East. Dublin is a city that is full of history with tales and stories. With an abundance of history here, take a guided tour of Trinity College and see one of Ireland’s great cultural treasure in the Book of Kells. Along with its many more popular renowned attractions Guinness Storehouse, James Joyce Museum, Christchurch Cathedral, Kilmainham Gaol & Glasnevin Cemetry, the options are endless for you.
Top 10 Things to Do on Ireland’s Ancient East
Glendalough, Co Wicklow Glendalough is one of the top things to do on Ireland’s Ancient East and is one of the most important monastic sites in ancient Ireland. St. Kevin founded the Christian monastic settlement in the 6th century; from there developed into what could be termed a “Monastic City”. What you will see presently are buildings that survive from the 10th to the 12th century. In spite of various attacks from the Vikings, Glendalough thrived as a great foundation for learning until the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1214 A.D. Also close by to the monastic settlements you can visit the visitor centre and listen to the audiovisuals and see the model monastic city on display.
Newgrange, Co Meath When you think and imagine ancient Ireland, Newgrange is one of the things that springs to mind immediately. This is one of the main attractions that can be found on Ireland’s Ancient East trail and within one hour of Dublin City Centre. The attractions also include Knowth & Dowth but to get to these you will need to go to the visitor centre via a short bus journey. Newgrange is the only attraction that is accessible to the public with a chamber. Newgrange is really popular during winter solstice but to get tickets for the event is challenging but worth going to watch for the memorable experience.
Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly Clonmacnoise is located near Shannonbridge in County Offaly and is a top attraction on Ireland’s Ancient East trail. Wander through the ruins and it will give you images of the saints and scholars of Ireland’s Golden Age of learning. Founded by St Ciaran in the 6th century, it became a special place for learning and religion. Clonmacnoise is full of heritage and tales to capture your imagination. You will find ruins of round towers, graves, churches and celtic crosses. The Clonmacnoise graveyard is still in use and religious studies are regularly held on site in a modern chapel and was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1979. Visiting will give you a true feeling of the history of Ireland.
Kilkenny Castle, Co Kilkenny A great place to visit on Ireland’s Ancient East trail is the historic medieval city of Kilkenny. In the heart of the city is Kilkenny Castle and its gardens. As you enter the castle, it can feel like you are stepping back in time to the 12th Century, which has been remodeled and restored to its 1830 state. Kilkenny is strategically situated on the River Noire and dominates the “High Town” of Kilkenny City. With its beautifully maintained gardens and surrounds, Kilkenny Castle makes for the perfect attraction and to get romanised and transported to medieval times. Also, the castle is the start of the Medieval Mile in Kilkenny City which takes you on a journey through the heart of the city to St Canice’s Cathedral to the famous Smithwick’s Brewery.
Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary This is a stunning group of buildings of the medieval style set upon looking over the town of Cashel Co Tipperary in the area known as the Golden Vale. The Rock of Cashel consists of a 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th-century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. This attraction is one for everyone to put on their to-do list when traveling Ireland Ancient East. The attraction comes with audiovisual shows and exhibitions.
Spike Island, Co Cork Spike Islands is a Winner of Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2017 at the World Travel Awards! Spike Island is located off the town of Cobh County Cork. It has a varied history over the past 1300 years from being a 6th-century Monastery, a Fortress and during Victorian times, the largest convict depot in the world. With the rich history, there is something for everyone and learn about Ireland’s ancient past. Habitants on the island have included monks and monasteries, rioters and redcoats, captains and convicts and sinners and saints. Why not take the scenic ferry ride from Kennedy Pier in Cobh and enjoy the guided tour of the island and enjoy the surroundings while enjoying the views from the café.
Carrickmacross Workhouse Carrickmacross Workhouse is located in the northern location of Ireland’s Ancient East in the heart of the historical barony of Farney in County Monaghan. This Workhouse has been meticulously restored and tells a lot about Ireland’s history and heritage during that time. The reason for building these workhouses was for the poor of Carrickmacross town and the nearby parishes of Donaghmoyne, Inniskeen, Killanny, Magheracloone, Magheross and part of Bawn in 1841. During this time in Ireland population was close to 9 million with 3 million living in a state of destitute due principally to the evictions by British landlord. Carrickmacross Workhouse was one of a total of 130 built between 1841 & 1843 to house poor in society. In order to enter the Workhouse, you had to surrender any land where living conditions were poor and rules were strict and families were separated and forbidden from seeing each other without prior permission. The food was poor, and the hard physical work had to be undertaken. For people admissions to the workhouse became a last resort in life and became known as a “Poor Man’s Jail”. Definitely worth a visit if you want to immerse yourself in Irish History.
Cavan Burren Park, Co Cavan One of the “Hidden Gems” of Ireland’s Ancient East and a top thing to put on your itinerary if you are in the area. The Cavan Burren Park is located in County Cavan. This park opened in 2014 but has been here for centuries before that, this is a perfect attraction if you are interested in the outdoors and with a good pair of outdoor footwear you can explore the glacial boulders, rock art, and explore the ancient times of Cavan Burren Park. It is certainly worth the journey and it is away from the traditional tourist trail so you will not be caught in the midst of huge crowds. What will attracts you here is mainly the natural landscape with sights such as the Giants Cave constructed over 4,000 years ago.
Waterford’s Viking Triangle Waterford’s Viking Trail is located on the “Sunny South East” of Ireland. Waterford is Ireland’s oldest cities and only city in Ireland that Oliver Cromwell did not conquer. The cities Viking Settlement date back to 914. Visit Reginald’s Tower where you will get a chance to see the full set Viking weapons that have survived in Ireland. To learn more about the Viking Trail, visit the Medieval Museum and immerse yourself in the Viking era in Ireland.
Waterford’s Greenway The Waterford Greenway opened in March 2017 and is an excellent attraction to the Waterford region and to Ireland’s Ancient East and definitely one of the top things to do while exploring the “Sunny South East”. It is 46km of off-road cycling and walking trail along the old railway line. This route will give you the chance to experience the natural landscape of Ireland while your journey takes you across three viaducts from the river to sea.
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The best way to learn about Ireland’s Ancient East and explore the surrounding places that are on the trail is to visit by yourself. Contact us today for a quotation from our dedicated travel advisors including some or all of these locations – We can tailor your itinerary around what we have to offer on Ireland’s Ancient East Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.
This month’s blog gives you the opportunity to learn about some of the “Best Day Trips From Dublin” city centre. All of the day trips are accessible through public transport or your own self-drive vehicle and all journey times are within one hour of the city. These attractions offers a chance to explore the fantastic scenery, views over Dublin Bay and the Wicklow mountains. Grab some traditional Irish food and drinks while enjoying the local ambiance and famous Irish hospitality.
We can customise your trip to suit your needs and wants & create your own unique experience in Dublin and Ireland that will make it your dream holiday while here. If you book a trip with Irish Tourism your itinerary will contain directions and details to all the attractions and give you all the information for booking DART rail & bus travel.
Best Day Trips From Dublin
Howth Village & Lighthouse
Howth is located approximately 16km from Dublin City Centre located on the northern boundary of Dublin Bay and is widely regarded as one of the best day trips from Dublin. Howth is a traditional small fishing village with many things to do and see. The village is easily accessed by public transport. Either take the 31A bus from Talbot St in the city center or enjoy the coastal views and relax on the light rail DART service from the city center to Howth Dart Station. Howth is a foodie dream with its range of restaurants. It is famous for its seafood. If you have been dreaming of Fish & Chips in Ireland, Howth is the perfect place to try them at “Beshoff” restaurant, it is a Dublin institution for Fish & Chips. If you are looking for a nice walk or hike, Howth Head is the place to put on your itinerary. There is a walk for every level of walker. There are four route options, explore the “Bog of Frogs” loop for scenic views of cliffs, Lambay Island and Baily Lighthouse.
Bray Head Cliff Walk to Greystones
The easiest way to do this beautiful walk is to catch the DART rail to Bray Co Wicklow from Dublin city centre. If you are interested in rail travel this is certainly worth a visit and one of the best day trips from Dublin. You will see some of the best views along the east coast of Ireland as the rail journey takes you along Killiney Bay home to musicians Bono and Enya. On route, you can hop off at Killiney if you want to break up your journey and venture up to Killiney Hill on the south side of the city. This gives you spectacular views of Dublin Bay and Killiney village is a beautiful village to stroll around and explore. This cliff walk is widely regarded as one of the highlights of walking in Wicklow, this linear walk is well maintained and can be done by all levels of walking fitness. Just follow the Red arrows, it is 7km long and give yourself 2.5 – 3 hours to complete the walk. You can start the walk from Bray or Greystones and can catch the DART rail line back into Dublin city center once finished.
Wicklow Mountains National Park & Glendalough
Wicklow is known as the “Garden of Ireland” for its temperate environment for growing its diverse range of fauna such as rare orchids to the wild and majestic Peregrine Falcon. The National Park contains an area of 20,000 hectares and is famous for the Sally Gap which is a winding road perfect for long distance and cycling enthusiasts. Wicklow Mountains National Park runs a variety of activities for all ages either individual or a groups. It is situated just south of Dublin and is one of the best day trips from Dublin if you are into the outdoors and a fan of nature. The Wicklow Mountains are full of wide open vistas full of streams feeding into spectacular lakes. The park offers many walks and trails for all walking levels and is full of recreational amenities. One of the most visited parts of the Park is the picturesque valley of Glendalough, where the ancient monastic settlement of St Kevin is located.
Malahide Castle & Gardens
Malahide Castle & Gardens is situated in one of Ireland’s most beautiful and well-known award-winning towns. Malahide is easily accessible by public transport and is one of the best places from Dublin city centre to visit. The best mode of transport would be the DART rail system or alternatively, you can catch the bus. Malahide has lots to offer, it is a heritage village, has a marina, cafes, world-class restaurants, famous pubs and beautiful sandy beaches along with the jewel of the crown a national attraction in Malahide Castle. This premier attraction is set on 260 acres of lush gardens. This 12th-century castle had been home to the Talbot family for over 800 years. Over the last number of years, the attraction has undergone a huge refurbishment and reopened in 2012 with a state of the art visitor center and garden upgrade.
Clontarf is a seaside village about 3km from Dublin city centre. It is easily accessed by public transport with the Dublin Bus Route (104, 130, 32X, 53) or it is one stop on the DART rail line. Alternatively, you can rent a bike in the city and explore Clontarf by bike, catch the sea breeze and take in the views. Clontarf has a great array of pubs, restaurants, and cafes. Some of the highlights of Clontarf are visiting St Anne’s Gardens and its award-winning Rose Garden. Walk or bike the famous Promenade and explore the natural bird habitat of Bull Island and have a picnic, take a swim or windsurf on Dollymount strand offering panoramic views of Dublin Bay & City. If golf is something that you enjoy, Clontarf offers a great links test at the famous Royal Dublin Golf Club, Ireland’s oldest golf club. Clontarf is also famous as the place Brain Boru was victorious over Leinster & Norse Dublin on Good Friday 1014 AD.
Trim is situated 55km from Dublin city in the neighboring County of Meath in the heart of the historical rich Boyne Valley. Trim Castle offers the perfect day trip from Dublin, don’t worry about needing a car if you do not have one, you can take the Bus Eireann’s 111 bus route which provides regular service. The castle took over 30 years to construct by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter as the home of the Lordship of Meath. It is Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman castle situated on the south bank of the River Boyne. In the year 2000 after an extensive period of excavation and restoration, it opened to the public. Also, it was the backdrop to some scenes of Mel Gibson’s famous Braveheart film. Trim is a designated heritage town, is regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful towns and it offers something for everyone and is the perfect tonic for relaxation and calmness.
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The best way to learn about Dublin and explore the surrounding places is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation from our dedicated travel advisors including some or all of these locations today – We can tailor your itinerary around what we have to offer in Dublin alongside our Ireland Ancient East Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.
Mayo is a hidden gem of a county on the Wild Atlantic Way situated on the Western Seaboard of Ireland. It has lots to offer to all visitors with its stunning landscapes and diverse range of scenery it has many points of interests. It is steeped in history and culture. This below is some recommendations of the “Top 10 Things To Do in Mayo” and why it is a place to put on your itinerary to visit this coming 2018 in Ireland.
Mayo offers a range of outdoor activities ranging from exploring the Greenways by cycling or walking. Also excellent opportunities for, angling, mountain climbing, and water sports such as surfing or paddle boarding. One of the hidden gems of Mayo is Achill Island with its breath-taking landscapes, its people, and natural fauna – This Island will not disappoint you with lots things to do and explore.
Source: Dream Culture by Kevin MacLeod
10 Top Things To Do in Mayo
The Great Western Greenway
This is the perfect way to explore the area, be it walking or cycling part of the Wild Atlantic Way with 42km of Greenway along the old Westport to Achill railway line. What better way to escape the urban life and travel the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in Ireland. Perfect place to start this trip is from Westport and it takes you to villages of Newport, Mulranny and finishes up in Achill Island.
Atlantic Drive on Achill Island
This is a first-rate way to see the natural beauty of Achill Island. It is a special mystical drive that takes in the rugged scenery of the island with beautiful beaches and rugged cliffs with excellent opportunities to stop off and take some panoramic pictures. The island is blessed with many nice traditional pubs, restaurants serving beautiful nutritious traditional Irish food. Achill Island is perfect for a day trip or overnight stay.
Westport name comes from Cathair na Mart meaning “stone fort of the beeves”. It is situated on the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland. The current town center as it stands today was designed in Georgian architecture style in the 1780s by James Wyatt. The town layout was urban design incorporating medieval principles. Westport is famous for its collection of traditional Irish bars, selection of quality restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts. Combined with a vibrant friendly local population it makes for the perfect place to stay.
Westport House and Garden
Westport House is one of Ireland’s most loved heritage attractions. It is possible for visitors to view one of the finest places built in the 16th Century in Ireland with 30 rooms available to tour. This house dates back to Grace O Malley the Pirate Queen of Connacht who ruled the land and sea around the estate. The original foundations of Westport House were built in 1650 by Colonel John Browne and his wife Maud Burke, Grace O Malley’s great – great – granddaughter.
Croagh Patrick is locally known as the “The Reeks” situated 10 km from the town of Westport. If hiking or hill walking is your interest this is a mountain that will not disappoint. The mountain is regarded as Ireland’s Holy Mountain. The mountain offers spectacular views of Clew Bay, Achill Island, and surrounding areas. It is best advised to climb during the summer months between (April – September). The mountain rises 762m above sea level and generally takes approximately 4-5 hour round trip.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock
Knock Shrine in Gaelic Cnoc Mhuire “Hill of Mary” is a very important holy place in the village of Knock. It is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage and National Shrine where it has been observed that there was an apparition of Saint Joseph, Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and Jesus Christ in 1879. During the time that this happened Ireland had been coming to the end of the great famine and the 1870s saw the beginning of land reform which changed Irish rural life with the events of Knock happening at the beginning of the Land War.
This is one of the earliest church to be founded after Saint Patrick came down from Croagh Patrick established in 1216 and it is only the church in the Irish state founded by an Irish king that is still in use. This abbey has quiet the history, the abbey was burned by the Normans, seized by James I and suppressed by Henry VIII. To add to this historic abbey, the roof was burned by Oliver Cromwell soldiers in 1653 and not fully restored until 1966 but even so, there was no roof, the mass was continued to be said. It is some feat to have the abbey celebrating mass continuously for the past 800 years which is the only church in Ireland to do so.
National Museum of Country Life – Castlebar
This is an award-winning Museum of Country Life and is home to the National Folklife Collection. This museum is spread out over four floors showcasing rural Ireland in the hundred years between the Great Famine and the end of the 1950s. One learns about traditional clothing of the Aran Islands, folklore objects and a selection of photographs depicting the living environment of the people working on the land and sea. Also, visitors get to learn about the resources people used in that time and the skills that were required to live in rural Ireland.
Fishing on the River Moy
River Moy is one of the most productive river systems in Ireland. It is approximately 100km long which drains the catchment of over two thousand square kilometers. Within this river fishing system is some excellent lough such as Conn and Cullin with also streams and lakes. The Moy river is famous for being one of Ireland’s premier Salmon rivers and the great thing about it is that it offers a great range of quality angling to suit all tastes and budgets. The Moy estuary is also excellent for sea trout that can exceed four pounds and can be caught on fly and bait. The fishing season is from February 1st – September 30th and it is important to check with ghillies and owners to confirm the local rule. If you are interested in sampling Ireland’s world-renowned fishing, the River Moy offers you all this and more.
Surfing in Blue Flag Beaches
If water sports are something that gives you the idea of your dream holiday, Mayo has this in abundance and more. Mayo gives ample opportunity to enjoy the renowned Irish waves and a chance to surf them. There are waves for all levels of surfers from beginners up to experienced. Beatra beach an arm of land extending into Clew Bay not far from Westport is an excellent place to surf and many surf schools in operation in these places too. If going off the beaten track and away from the masses then Bellmullet or Achill Island is the place to be. Enjoy the windswept beaches and try and bag a big wave in Keel Strand in Achill Island. There are lots of other options too such as paddle boarding or windsurfing to enjoy. Bring or rent a wetsuit, as Irish waters are quite cold!! Definitely one of the memorable things to do while in Mayo
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The best way to learn about Mayo in Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today – We can tailor your itinerary around what we have to offer in Mayo alongside our Wild Atlantic Way Self Drive or Chauffeured tours. We can customise your trip to suits your needs and wants & create your own unique experience in Mayo and the Wild Atlantic Way that will make it your dream holiday to Ireland.
Here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Ireland that we get asked for consistently over and over again. It is important not to try and visit too many places in Ireland on one trip, talk to our sales representatives about how you can make the best of your time here so that you can visit the places that are important to you but also not go home feeling like you need another vacation! There is so much to see & do in Ireland so please do not limit yourself to just these attractions however these are the places we get asked for a lot;
Top 10 things to do in Ireland
Visit Dublin & The Guinness Storehouse
2. See the Cliffs of Moher
3. Drive the famous Ring of Kerry
4. Take a boat trip to the Aran Islands
5. Tour the Stunning Connemara Region
6. Check out the Festival City of Galway
7. Visit the famous Giant’s Causeway & Causeway Coast
8. Visit Belfast City & Titanic Belfast
9. Visit Blarney Castle
10. Visit the Boyne Valley & Newgrange
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Learn more about the top 10 things to do in Ireland by taking your own trip here! Contact us today to arrange your own vacation in Ireland including some or all of these fantastic locations!