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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It could be argued that there are few places in Ireland that rival the beauty and charm of Killarney. The town is located with the awesome MacGillycuddy Reeks, as its backdrop overlooking the town.
What makes Killarney special is that it has all the amenities that a big city has from a great selection of bars, restaurants combined with a festival atmosphere. In addition, the mountains and countryside are all close by so it is easy to get out and explore your surroundings. In this blog post, we have put together a selection of our favourite things to do in Killarney.
Our Favourite Things To Do in Killarney!
Red Deer and Sea Eagle Watching in Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park sits right alongside Killarney town. The park is ideal for walking, cycling or running and you can also get a jaunting car (pony and trap) around it. In the park, you will have a chance to catch a glimpse of the Wild Red Deers, the last remaining of the indigenous herd in existence in Ireland.
While in the park, keep a lookout for the white-tailed sea eagles that were reintroduced into the park in 2007 after they became extinct during the Victorian age. These birds are a great sight to behold if you are lucky to catch a rare sight of them.
Visit the Gap of Dunloe and Black Valley
A visit to Killarney and Kerry is not complete without a visit to the Black Valley and Gap of Dunloe. These are two of the most popular attractions that are located close to Killarney. There are many ways to see the scenic landscape from a trap and pony, car, walking or cycling. Enjoy the quiet serene roads and experience the incredible views of the Lakes of Killarney, MacGillycuddy Reeks, Purple Mountain, Ladies View and Muckross Park. We recommend that you grab a bite to eat at Kate Kearney’s Cottage and then experience the Gap of Dunloe, Black Valley and discover some special memories.
Muckross House and Gardens
Located in the heart of Killarney National Park is Muckross House and Gardens. This 19th century Victorian Mansion offers breathtaking views over the surrounding lakes. Close to the house, walk around a traditional farm which will give you a picture of what a working farm was like back in Ireland in the early 1900s. You can also see Muckross Abbey ruin which was constructed in the 15th century close to the picturesque Lough Leane. Walk or cycle the park surrounding the house and take some amazing pictures.
Ross Castle is located within a short distance from the town centre. The castle was built by the O’Donoghue Mor clan (family) during the 15th-century. The structure overlooks Lough Leane and during the Middle Age period in Europe, the castle was a stronghold of the Irish Chieftain clan. Ross Castle is open to the public during the summer months and is a very popular attraction and should be on everyone list of things to do in Killarney.
Explore Torc Waterfall and Torc Mountain
The waterfall is located just over 2.5km from the Killarney National Park entrance and only a 5-minute walk from the N71 Killarney and Kenmare Road. Torc Waterfall measures 20 metres high and 110 metres in length and the waterfall originates at the Owengarriff River where it drains from the Devil’s Punchbowl lake at Mangerton Mountain. The waterfall is one of Killarney’s most well-known attractions, it can get very congested during the summer months so be patient.
If you are feeling energetic and enjoy hiking, it is worth hiking Torc Mountain. Continue walking past Torc Waterfall and it will lead you on the trail to the mountain. It takes around two hours roundtrip and it is worth it with some breathtaking views out over Killarney town and the surrounding areas.
Climb Carrauntoohil – Ireland’s Highest Mountain
Carrauntoohil is situated among the Macgillycuddy Reeks and covers an area of 100 square kilometres. It is Ireland’s highest mountain at a height of 1,039m. Like any mountain, one needs to be prepared before embarking on the mountain. Read about the usual mountain safety procedures before attempting any climb – have enough clothing, food and water and phone fully charged. The weather is changeable and can be dangerous, so if you don’t have a lot of experience mountaineering, you may be better off booking an experienced hiking guide. It is a challenging climb but well worth it, where at the summit you can see out over Killarney, Cork and Limerick on a clear day.
Tour the Ring of Kerry and Skellig Ring, Molls Gap and Ladies View
The world-famous Ring of Kerry or Iveagh Penninsula as it is also known by is a must-do when in Kerry and planning your top things to do in Killarney. Killarney is the gateway to starting the drive. This amazing driving route allows you will travel 180 to 200km of the most unspoilt and beautiful landscape around, stopping at quaint town and villages as you go. Pass through Killorglin, home of Puck Fair, Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Derrynane, Sneem and Kenmare and back into Killarney through Molls Gap and Ladies View. Take your time on the journey and give yourself a full day to enjoy it so you will not rush through it.
If you have time you should detour off the Ring of Kerry in Caherciveen and take in the unmissable Skellig Ring scenic drive. The beauty of this is that there are no big bus coaches allowed on it, so it is less congested. You will get a chance to visit Skellig Chocolate Factory, producers of premium chocolate and the factory offers great views of Skellig Michael where the latest instalment of Star War films was filmed.
Killarney Pub and Craft Brewing
Part of the unique charm and attraction of the town is the selection of bars that have a great selection of good quality food and Irish music. A recent addition to the pub scene in Killarney is the Killarney Brewing Company and they have created craft brewery that is reminiscent of the age-old craft beer production that goes all the way back as far as the 1800s. All the craft beers are additive and preservative free and include a range of lagers, ales and stouts. It is located on the Muckross Road, less than 10 minutes from the centre of the town.
Boat Trip of the Lakes of Killarney
One of the best ways to experience the true beauty of Killarney National Park is from the water. On each of the three lakes that are located in the national park, you will be able to experience what the park has to offer from the vantage point of being on the water and get a grasp of its full size. There will be a chance to see Innisfallen Island, Library Point, Governors Rock, Old Copper Mines, Innisfallen Abbey and White Tailed Sea Eagles which can be seen regularly over the lake.
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The best way to learn about Killarney, its sights and attractions are to visit yourself. We offer a range of ways to experience Killarney as it is one of our most visited destination on our tours. All our Self Drive, Chauffeur or Rail take in Killarney and County Kerry. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these attractions 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 –
Dublin is full of attractions that will enhance your travel experience in Ireland with exciting things to do in Dublin. The city is small in comparison to other major cities, but it still has plenty of choices and offers days of sightseeing. This blog post is a continuation from our previous blog 10 of The Most Popular Things to do in Dublin. Dublin has a long eventful history from Viking invasions, civil wars and rebellions just to name a few! Dublin is close to beautiful beaches and mountains, and are all within thirty minutes or less from the city centre. This makes the city special by giving yourself a big city feeling as well as getting lost in nature and the outdoors if you wish.
10 More Things to Do in Dublin
Epic The Irish Emigration Museum
Dublin has many great attractions but a visit to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum should be on everyone’s to-do list. The museum will take you on a journey through Ireland as a country of emigration. Learn about the reasons why 10 million people left Ireland and the impact that it had on the world. You will understand Irish culture through this very interactive museum. After a visit to EPIC, you will be fully informed of the influences Irish history on international society.
The Brazen Head – Dublin’s Oldest Bar
Part of the great charm of Dublin is its variety of bars and what each offers. They give you a unique insight into the Irish drinking culture of past and present. The Brazen Head is Dublin’s oldest pub and it is full of charm and character. Through the history of the bar, if the walls could talk, there would be many a good story to be told!! This 12th-century pub has entertained customers including Daniel O’ Connell, Michael Collins and James Joyce to name a few. It is the perfect place to enjoy some fresh ales on tap and some delicious Irish dining.
Enjoy a Food Tour
Ireland has a proud tradition of producing high-quality food and Dublin has a great sample of international eateries to suit all tastes. Like anyone on vacation, eating is part of daily life and it is important to find good, nutritious and locally sourced produce. A great way to learn about the Dublin food scene is to take the Delicious Dublin Walking Tour that is done by Ketty Elisabeth of the French Foodie in Dublin blog. Another good option worth considering is Fab Food Trails. The guides on this tour are well-known food critics and will be able to inform you about Dublin’s artisan food scene.
Walk on the Great South Wall
While on vacation sometimes, it is about exploring away from the well-known locations and finding some off the beaten track places — The Great South Wall fits into this category. This amenity is quite close to the city centre so there is no need for a car or anything and it is great to walk all the way out to Poolbeg Lighthouse. There is some walking through industrial warehouses but it’s worth it as it offers amazing views of Dublin Bay, Sandymount Strand and Dublin Mountains. Dublin Bay’s Great South Wall dates back to 1716 and is part of Dublin’s heritage and definitely one of the things to do in Dublin.
Little Museum of Dublin
Another museum that is worth a visit in Dublin is The Little Museum which tells the history of the Irish capital over 100 years. In 2011 this museum was launched with historic objects donated by the Irish people and currently, it has over 5,000 artefacts in the collection. For this, it is nicknamed the “people’s museum”. This museum is highly regarded and it is one of the top museums in TripAdvisor’s ratings and Irish Times newspaper voted it as “Dublin’s best museum experience”. You will have the chance to see the cultural and social history of Dublin in the 20th Century.
Teeling Whiskey Distillery
Ireland is well known for its fine quality whiskeys. The Teeling Whiskey is the newest addition to Dublin in over 125 years. It is located in the heart of Dublin City and the distillery is a fully functional pot still refinery producing over 500,000 litres of spirits each year. The distillery is extremely innovative and are able to craft distinctive whiskeys with their intelligent fermentation and techniques. What makes this distillery special is that you will be able to see how a real distillery works. This is a great opportunity to discover everything you want to know about whiskey and distilling in Ireland.
Croke Park Stadium Tour & GAA Museum
Croke Park is Ireland’s biggest stadia with a capacity of over 82,000 and is home to Ireland’s National sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling. You can take a stadium, museum tour and learn about the varied history that the Gaelic Athletic Association and how it played an important role in Ireland’s history. During the summer months, the stadium is a hive of activities and if in Ireland during the weekend of a game, it is worth a visit and to hear the Irish people explode into colour as they support their counties. This stadium and museum tour is highly interactive and gives a great experience of learning about the national sports in Ireland and its influences in Irish society.
National Botanic Gardens & John Kavanagh “The Gravediggers”
Located in the suburb of Glasnevin approximately less than half an hour from Dublin City Centre. If gardens are of interest to you and want to take time out from the hustle and bustle of the city — The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland are an ideal oasis of calm and beauty. Entry to the gardens is also free. You can wander through the extensive collection of plant species and cultivars from all over the world. Very close to the botanic gardens is John Kavanagh “The Gravediggers” which is built into the walls of Glasnevin Cemetery one of the most famous cemeteries in Ireland. It gets its nickname from gravediggers who used to come in for a few drinks after digging. This bar is one of the oldest bars in Dublin and very popular as a location in the film industry and commercials.
Phoenix’s Park & Dublin Zoo
Phoenix Park can take great pride in being the largest enclosed park of any capital city in Europe. The park was originally formed as a royal hunting park in the 1660s and it opened to the public is 1747. On a visit to Phoenix Park, you will come across some fallow deer that can still be seen today. The actual size of the park in 1,750 acres. Inside the park, you will find some beautiful stately homes, such as Áras an Uachtaráin — home of the President of Ireland and the America Ambassador has a residence there. It is one of the great things to do on a visit to Dublin, with the park only a half a mile from Dublin City Center. It is also home to Dublin Zoo, which offers a great experience while on a visit to the park. It is great for walking, cycling, exploring nature and for recreational running.
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If you want to learn about things to do in Dublin and Ireland, come and discover for yourself. Contact our travel team today for a quotation including some or all of these Dublin attractions 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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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!
Ireland is famous for Halloween and some ghostly places to visit since its origins date back to the ancient Celtic Festival of Samhain. The origins of Samhain are from Celtic pagan roots and is a festival in Gaelic and its meaning is the end of the harvest season and the beginning of Winter. This festival is traditionally celebrated from October 31st to November 1st. In this month’s blog are some recommended places to visit in Ireland at Halloween to that will not disappoint.
6 Places to Visit in Ireland at Halloween
Derry Halloween Festival
Around the globe places vie as to where is the best place to celebrate Holloween. Think of Transylvania, home of Dracula or Salem Massachusetts for its heritage of witches. Derry can be regarded as one of the best destinations when it comes to celebrating Halloween, the city is truly one of the most memorable places to visit during Halloween season. The city of Derry packs a punch when it comes to Halloween and in 2015 USA Today named Derry as the “best Halloween destination in the world”. Derry as a city is full of creativity and puts on a spectacular show with creative costumes. This history of great costumes comes from the people of the city with its heritage of shirt factories. The festival usually runs annually from the 26th of October to the 3rd of November and there is something for everyone and with a mix of music and harvest markets for foodies.
Westport House Halloween Festival
Westport House located on the West of Ireland in Co. Mayo which promises to scare you during Halloween season. This festival is normally happening on the 27th to the 31st of October annually. It is a perfect treat for individuals or all the family and has something for everyone to enjoy. During the festival for Halloween, the Estate House is transformed into a spooky old mansion and visit the dark dungeons where Pirate Queen Grace O’ Malley locked up her prisoners. There is lots more to this Halloween festival and worth a visit.
Spirit of Meath Halloween Festival
This festival happens all around Meath County in the historic Boyne Valley from 6th of October up until 4th of November annually. It is one of Ireland’s biggest Halloween festivals and a short drive from Dublin city centre. The festival goes from Haunted Hills to Eerie Graveyards, Tour of Shadow to friendly witches to spells and terrifying Terror Houses. You can visit during the day and be spooked at night. The Spirit of Meath Festival makes for an electrifying display of Halloween horrors.
Bram Stoker Festival
This festival offers 4 days of adventure usually between 26th – 29th of October and has something for everyone with its gothic programme of events in Dublin city. There are some free and some ticketed events for families and adults. This a great way to experience Halloween in Dublin’s capital city. Bram Stroker was the creator of Dracula’s and worked in Dublin Castle as a clerk. This Halloween festival celebrates the thrill of Halloween and the mysterious after dark and looks into the legacy of Ireland’s most valued authors.
The Crumlin Road Gaol – Belfast
This is a great place to enjoy the Halloween fever on the island of Ireland. The Crumlin Road Gaol offers the ultimate Halloween ghostly experience from its history from when it opened in 1846 and closed in 1996. For over 150 years it was a fully operational prison and has lots of eerie stories that you will learn about. A great way to enjoy this is to take a tour and learn about all aspects of the Gaol from the tunnels linking the courthouse on one side of Crumlin Road to the hospital, graveyard to the hanging cell and Governor’s office. This prison has had over 25,000 prisoners, with 17 men executed and has witnessed deaths, marriages, births and have and has been the scene of escapes, hunger strikes and riots.
Kilmainham Gaol – Dublin
Halloween and prisons become very popular as places to visit as they are famously haunted buildings and Kilmainham Gaol is not different. Ghostly tales surround the prison and it has been said that lights have mysteriously been turning on and off in the prison chapel. The prison is a symbol of Ireland’s past from militant and nationalism from the rebellion in 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922 -23. The leaders in these rebellion movements were detained in Kilmainham and sometimes executed. Opened in 1796 as the County Gaol for Dublin and it closed its door in 1924. This is truly a great place to visit in Ireland as a Halloween attraction or any time of the year and experience some of Ireland history and listen to the ghosts of the past.
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The best way to learn about Halloween in Ireland is to visit! 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.
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 –
Ireland is known as one of the most romantic places in the world. When you think of old-school romance Ireland is a place that pops to the front of your mind. There are places all over Ireland, full of excitement, magic, mystic and the adventures that romance brings. In this month’s blog, you will have the opportunity to learn about some of the 6 most romantic places in Ireland to visit.
“What the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow” – Irish writer James Stephens (1882 – 1950)
Whatever your length of holiday, Ireland provides charm and romance in all regions of Ireland. At Irish Tourism, we have excellent packages available for romantic Castle and Manors tours. With an influx of honeymooners every year to Ireland we can tailor a package to suit your needs and wants that you are looking for on a romantic Honeymoon break that can include a castle stay.
6 Most Romantic Places in Ireland to Visit
Causeway Coast Co Antrim
This area on the island of Ireland is widely regarded as one of the most scenic and romantic places in Ireland to visit. Lonely Planet has named it in their 2018 ranking as one of the best regions in the world to visit. On this Causeway Coast, you get to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Giants Causeway to the Carrick – a – Rede Rope Bridge offering breathtaking views of the coastline. Dunluce Castle is an iconic medieval ruin castle on the Causeway coast. Built in the 1550’s MacQuillan family. This caste is full of charm and comes with lots of history and stories.
Connemara, County Galway
Connemara is situated just one hour west of Galway city, is one of the beautiful and romantic places in Ireland to visit. As you drive back into the heart of the Connemara region you can’t help but not be engulfed in the romance of the area with its rugged landscape and is easy to see why it is one of the most romantic places in Ireland. To signify its romance stature it was the film location of The Quiet Man, a romantic comedy. Connemara has everything you need to enjoy some special time with a loved one from a cosy thatched pub, pretty secluded beaches, mountain, forest walks and adventure.
Ring of Kerry
Kerry located on the Southwest Coast of Ireland and it is famous for its 180km Ring of Kerry drive with is a stunning array of photo opportunities throughout the drive. Panoramic pictures of bays, inlets, lakes and the highest mountain range in Ireland in the Macgillyicuddy Reeks with the highest mountain being Carrauntoohil. The most recent famous attraction off the Ring of Kerry road on the southern part is the Skellig Ring where you can see Skellig Michael where the recent Start War films have been filmed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Detour off from the town of Caherciveen and return to the Ring of Kerry road from Ballinskellig area and continue towards the village of Waterville made famous as the holiday vacation place of Charlie Chaplin. Kerry is widely regarded as one of the most romantic places in Kerry to visit.
Lough Eske, County Donegal
If you are looking to experience romance in Ireland, Donegal is an excellent choice to pick. National Geographic has recognised this and in 2017 put it on the top of the Cool List for 2017. Lough Eske is a small lake located northeast of Donegal town. You have the beautiful Lough Eske Castle if you want to treat yourself and your partner to a nice romantic setting. Also, there is Harveys Point Hotel nestled in the heart of the Blue Stack Mountains and also on the waters of Lough Eske, rated as the Top 4* Hotel in Ireland by TripAdvisor. It is the perfect place to visit when in Ireland on a romantic break.
Powerscourt, County Wicklow
Powerscourt is surrounded by the Wicklow Mountains and is a truly magical place to experience and explore. Powerscourt Estate less than one hour south of Dublin City; the estate is full of romance and grandeur with splendid gardens filled with spectacular flowerbeds, lakes, walking path for romantic strolls and endless green spaces. A short drive away is Ireland’s highest waterfall which is the perfect place for a romantic walk, take photos and also a beautiful place for a picnic with a loved one.
Gougane Barra, County Cork
Gougane Barra National Park is set in 1,000 acres in the unspoilt landscape it is an ideal location for romance in Ireland. Gougane Barra National Park is located just over an hour west of Cork City. This is a special place and it is not so crowded so you are guaranteed some quiet romantic time. It has some beautiful walks that take you down by the picturesque lake. You will find a small church that was once a Christian monastery founded by St Finbar, the patron saint of Cork. If you want some extra adventure you can enjoy cycling, fishing or boat trips that are very romantic.
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The best way to learn about Ireland, its charm and romance that it offers from the place is to visit and experience them yourself and your loved one. Contact us today for a free quotation from our dedicated travel advisors who will be able to help you create your ideal romantic trip to Ireland and answer any questions you may have. We can tailor your itinerary on any of our Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.
In this month’s blog, you have the opportunity to learn about some of the 15 Best Towns To Visit In Ireland. Ireland as a country is dotted with endless beautiful towns and villages.
Ireland’s towns and villages are full of character, charm, culture and heritage that defines them as unique in their own right. Some of these towns sweep along the raw beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way to the hidden gems in Ireland’s Hidden Heart Land and Ireland’s Ancient East. The selected Best Towns To Visit in Ireland below has their own beauty that is full of creativity and uniqueness for you to experience.
This is the 15 Best Towns to Visit in Ireland
Doolin is a small village in Clare located on the west coast about five kilometres from the towering Cliffs of Moher which lie southwest of the village. Doolin is an extremely popular place with travellers with its Irish bars which are famous for playing traditional Irish “Ceili” music nightly. It is also a village where you can access the famous Aran Islands from which are not too far offshore. Doolin is in the heart of the Burren and its home to an excellent gourmet trail of different food businesses. Doolin is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland especially in the summer months where it is thriving as a tourist destination with excellent accommodation options along with craft shops and activities.
Enniskerry is located in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and only a short drive from Dublin. It is a fantastic base to explore Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, Sally Gap and Lough Tay (Guinness Lake). Enniskerry itself has some terrific cafes and tea rooms. The clock tower at the centre of the village frames the town, it is a great place to relax and unwind in a beautiful day and people watch. There is an excellent array of restaurants offering great choice and you can have the chance to try someplace new every evening.
Kinsale can be known as Ireland’s Gourmet Capital. You will find exceptional seafood restaurants with fresh fish caught nearby. Great array of international food and if traditional Irish food is something you look for, Kinsale has excellent Irish food in abundance. You will find excellent bars with traditional Irish music throughout the summer months. Kinsale is also famous for its arts and crafts and will find a diverse collection to choose from. While there it is worth a drive out to the Old Head of Kinsale which offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Ardmore is situated on one of Ireland’s oldest Christian site and is ideally situated on the coastline of Ireland’s Ancient East trail. The village is extremely picturesque and has won many Tidy Town awards. Ardmore boasts a wide range of accommodation options with excellent food in the restaurants and fun pubs to visit. Ardmore boasts five beautiful beaches to choose from. The town also has a lovely cliff walk to enjoy panoramic views of Ardmore Bay and boast one of the finest Round Towers in Ireland built on the 12th century. For water enthusiasts, a great way to see the coastline is by sea kayaking. If long walking is of interest it has the St Declan’s Way ancient pilgrimage walk from Ardmore to the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary and the total distance is just over 90km.
Dingle is based in the western peninsula of Kerry. Dingle is famous for old-style Irish bars and is a mecca for seafood. It has also a thriving arts scene there with the Other Voices music festival being held there every December. Dingle has managed to retain its charm over the years in spite of its popularity. In recent years it has become famous for being a film destination with Star Wars being filmed in the area. Worth renting a bike or driving back west of Dingle and head for Slea Head, you will not be disappointed in the breath-taking scenery. If you are an Ice – cream fan, Murphy’s homemade ice cream with a selection of different flavours is well worth stopping at.
Kinvara is a scenic town on the southern shores of Galway Bay and gateway to the Burren. Kinvara is translated as “The Head of the Sea”, was once a thriving port village and lots of trade went through it for the necessities of life such as food and turf fuel in the 19th Century. Kinvara can be one of the best places that you can visit in Galway with its close proximity to Galway city, it is buzzing in the weekends with an excellent array of pubs and restaurants. Kinvara is also home to Dunguaire Castle and is one of the most popular places to visit in Galway.
Kenmare is located on the picturesque famous Ring of Kerry. As a town it has got something for everyone from its excellent choice of restaurants, bars and cafés with superb accommodation options. Kenmare is beautiful in summer when the town park gardens are in full bloom with its stunning rhododendrons collection. The town itself is beautifully situated as a great starting point for a drive along the Beara Peninsula. With golf courses, horse riding, trekking and unspoilt scenery, it is one of Europe most natural unspoilt places to visit.
This town may be small and it is situated remotely in the tranquil setting of Donegal in the north-west of Ireland. Gwedore is a Gaeltacht town with its first language spoken being Gaelic and is one of the largest places in Ireland that speak Gaelic and as a result of this, it is the heartbeat of Irish culture. Surrounded by rolling hills and mountains and long stretches of sandy beaches this is a very peaceful place and a great place to clear your head from daily life. An excellent site in Gwedore is Glenveagh National Park and Castle.
Adare in Limerick is regarded as Ireland’s prettiest villages. The main street in Adare is dotted with an array of beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries ruins and beautiful village park which is a great place to take a peaceful walk. The pretty thatched cottages on the main street are part of the charm of Adare and why is it a great place to visit. The town is full of historical landmarks such as Desmond Castle that dates back to the 12th century and Adare Manor which is today a luxury hotel and golf resort which re has opened in the last number of months after a two-year upgrade. With a great array of accommodation options, boutiques, craft shops and bars the village has lots to offer.
Lismore is located in the Sunny South East in the county of Waterford. Lismore is a stunning town situated in the lush countryside on the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains and is one of Waterford’s most historical towns. You can spend time here exploring Lismore castle and the gardens the town’s main tourist attractions which are over 800 years old. The castle which was built in medieval times and build on a steep hill above the town, providing excellent views over the town. Time can also be spent exploring the woodlands around the River Blackwater.
Dalkey located on the south side of Dublin city and it is home to the likes of Bono, Van Morrison, Enya and many others in the music and arts industry. In the past Vikings had a port in Dalkey which was first constructed in the 8th century. Dalkey and its neighbouring Killiney are considered one of the most affluent neighbourhood in Ireland to reside in. Today Dalkey is full of castles from its past and with a pleasant array of restaurants and bars to choose from. Close by is Killiney Hill which is an excellent place to go visit and get breathtaking views out over Dublin Bay. A peaceful village enclave not too far from the hustle and bustle of Dublin City Centre.
This coastal town along the east coast of Ireland is on Ireland’s Ancient East no more than one hour north of Dublin. The town gets its name from the Old Norse which can be translated to “narrow sea inlet of the hag”. This town is surrounding by rolling hills and has roots to the Viking past with the towns’ street showing evidence of the medieval age. Carlingford offers adventure or a complete quiet retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It has great live music in the bars and activities groups of friends or family. Also, it is known for its quality of fishing that can be fished from the place with oysters and crabs are often caught off the nearby harbour.
Clifden is located in Connemara and is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland if you are heading back west of Galway city exploring the national park. Not too far from Clifden is Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions. Clifden may be small in stature but it packs a punch with its collection of restaurants and bars. It also has lots of arts and craft shops for you to stop at. Highly recommended is the “Sky Road” offering unparallel views over Clifden Bay.
Kilronan, Aran Islands
Kilronan is the main village on Inis Mor on the largest island of the three Aran Islands and is one of the most picturesque spots in Ireland. This was a fishing port for the Aran fisherman and presently the main function of the port is that of a ferry terminal and a place for festivals. As one of the most unique and diverse places to visit in Ireland, this should be on everyone’s itinerary to Ireland and one of the best places to visit. Kilronan has an excellent range of restaurants, serving seafood and traditional Irish bars and music.
Birr is most famous for its castle and also it is one of the most scenic places to visit in Ireland with the heritage that it has on offer. The town itself was developed around Birr Castle estate of the Parsons family. Birr is known as one of the best Georgian towns in Ireland with its wide streets and makes for a charming place to visit. Along with Birr Castle and its grandeur, it is well worth taking a walk around the estate grounds where you can be captivated with the formal gardens and the Great Telescope.
Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about Ireland and its towns and villages is to visit, immerse yourself in the history and heritage of the places. Contact us today for a quotation from our dedicated travel advisors who will be able to help you create your ideal trip to Ireland and answer any questions you may have. We can tailor your itinerary on any of our Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.