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Scenic Attractions in Ireland
Travel across the Curraun Peninsula to reach Achill Island, joined to the mainland by bridge.The parish of Achill includes Achill Island and parts of the Currane Peninsula in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. This area is steeped in history and, despite its remote location, has produced or attracted a rich array of famous people and fascinating characters. The area hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. With its Atlantic location, five Blue Flag beaches and breathtaking mountain landscape, Achill provides an unrivalled arena for outdoor activities and watersports of all types. Achill's romantic setting has also proved to be an inspirational creative retreat for artists and writers including Paul Henry, Hei...read more
The unique karst landscape of the Burren Region is home to Aillwee Cave and the Burren Birds of Prey, located in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. This stunning creation of nature was formed by the melt waters of a prehistoric ice age. The cave, carved out of limestone, cuts one third of a mile into the heart of the mountains. The story of Aillwee Cave began millions of years ago when streams sinking underground on Aillwee Mountain started dissolving channels through the lines of weakness in the limestone. About one million years ago the ice age began and from then until fifteen thousand years ago Ireland's climate alternated between arctic coldness and warmer periods, freezing and melting, freezing and melting over the centuries. This melting water roared and crashed its way through the Aillwee Cave greatly enlarging the passage and bringing with it large quantities of sand and silts which are still present in the inner cave. The earliest history of the cave is preserved in its roof. Aillwee is one of the most ancient caves in the Burren and perhaps in Ireland. ...read more
The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. The largest island is Inishmore; the middle and second-largest is Inishmaan and the smallest and most eastern is Inisheer. Irish is a spoken language on all three islands, and is the language used naming the islands and their villages and townlands. Take a short ferry ride to Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands, and island rich in the language, culture and heritage of Ireland, unique in its geology and archaeology and in its long tradition of gentle hospitality. Here is a place to sense the spirit of Gaelic Ireland, to touch the past, but with all the comforts and facilities of the present. Aran will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians....read more
The Ards Peninsula (from the Irish: an Aird) is a peninsula in County Down, Northern Ireland which separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel of the Irish Sea, on Ireland's northeast coast. A number of towns and villages are located on the peninsula, such as the seaside town of Donaghadee, with the surrounding area known as the Ards district. Newtownards, situated at the northern end of the peninsula, is the largest town in the area, while Portaferry is at the southern end of the Peninsula. It is largely situated in the Borough of Ards. The peninsula was once known as "The Ards", and was conquered by the Normans in the 12th century, with the Norman family Savage building a number of castles, and priories on the peninsula. Towns and villages of the Ards Peninsula include: Newtownards, Portaferry, Ballyhalbert, Ballywalter, Carrowdore, Cloghy, Greyabbey, Kircubbin, Portavogie. ...read more
Beara is a peninsula on the south-west coast of Ireland, bounded between the Kenmare "river" (actually a bay) to the north side and Bantry Bay to the south. It has two mountain ranges running down its centre: the Caha Mountains and the Slieve Miskish Mountains. The northern part of the peninsula from Kenmare to near Ardgroom is in County Kerry, while the rest forms the barony of Bear in County Cork The Beara Peninsula is steeped in myths and legends. The mountains and valleys are rich in archaeological sites such as stone circles, wedge graves and other relics from the past. We have scenic lakes cradled by gorgeous mountains and a rugged coastline with lots of great fishing spots. Linking all this together is the Beara Way walking trail, also a cycling route and the Ring of Beara for ...read more
Visit the Boyne Valley Visitor Centre to learn about the burial tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, both of which are over 5,000 years old and visit one of the tombs. Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Knowth and Dowth are similar mounds that together with Newgrange have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however, Newgrange is now recognised to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonia...read more
The Burren is a unique karst-landscape region in northwest County Clare, in Ireland and one of the largest Karst landscapes in Europe. The region measures approximately 250 square kilometres and is enclosed roughly within the circle comprised by the villages Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna, It is bounded by the Atlantic and Galway Bay on the west and north respectively. Strictly speaking the territory of the Burren or barony of Burren only contains the villages of Lisdoonvarna, Ballyvaughan, Fanore, Craggagh, New Quay/Burrin, Bealaclugga (Bellharbour) and Carron. The definite article (making it "the Burren") has only been added to the name in the last few decades, possibly by academics, as it had always been called Boireann in Irish and Burren i...read more
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a rope suspension bridge near, Ballintoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island. The site is owned and maintained by the National Trust, spans twenty metres and is thirty metres above the rocks below. Today the bridge is mainly a tourist attraction, with 227,000 visitors in 2007. The bridge is now taken down every year in late October or early November, depending on weather conditions, having been put up in March. Carrick-a-rede means 'rock in the road'. It is thought salmon fishermen have been erecting bridges to the island for over 350 years. It has taken many forms over the years. In the 1970s it featured only a single handrail and large gaps between the slats. A version of the bridge, tested up...read more
The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair, lit. cliffs of the ruin, also known as the Cliffs of Coher from the Irish: Mhothair) are located in the parish of Liscannor at the south-western edge of The Burren area near Doolin, which is located in County Clare, Ireland. The cliffs rise 120 meters (394 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 meters (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower, eight kilometres away. The cliffs boast one of Ireland's most spectacular views. On a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay, as are the valleys and hills of Connemara. O'Brien's Tower is a round stone tower at the approximate midpoint of the cliffs. It was built by Sir Cornelius O'Brien, a descendant of Ireland's High King Brian Boru, in 18...read more
The monastery of Clonmacnoise (Cluain Mhic Nóis in Irish, meaning Meadow of the Sons of Nós) is situated in County Offaly, Ireland on the River Shannon south of Athlone. It was visited by the Pope in 1979. The site can be visited for a fee, via an Interpretative Centre. The modern village of Clonmacnoise is beside the monastery on the R444 regional road 7 km north of Shannonbridge, County Offaly. Clonmacnoise was founded in 545 by Saint Ciarán in the territory of Ui Maine at the point where the major east-west land route through the bogs of central Ireland along the Eiscir Riada, an esker or moraine left by the receding glaciers of the last ice age crossed the River Shannon. Saint Ciarán had been educated by St. Finnian of Clonard and also by Abbot ...read more
Connemara National Park (Irish: Páirc Naisiúnta Chonamara) is one of six National Parks in Ireland that are managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and local government. It is located in the west of Ireland within County Galway. Connemara National Park was founded and opened to the public in 1980. It features 29.57 square kilometres of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and forests. The entrance is situated on the Clifden side of Letterfrack. There are many remnants of human civilization within the park. There is a 19th century graveyard as well as 4,000 year old megalithic court tombs. Much of the land was once part of the Kylemore Abbey estate. Western blanket bog and heathland are the most common vegetati...read more
The Conor Pass is the highest mountain pass in Ireland. It is situated on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, on the road that crosses the peninsula between Dingle Town and the coast the other side. The Mountains the Pass crosses are the Brandon Mountains and contain Ireland's second highest peak Brandon Mountain at 3127 ft. From Dingle Town the road runs some 4½ miles rising to 1500 ft as it winds its way to the pass. There are wonderful views of the coast. At the Pass there is a carpark where you are confronted with this magnificent sight. The road then carries on down towards Brandon Bay past cliffs, a waterfall and lakes ...read more
The Cotswolds is a large unspoiled region and one of the most enchanting natural settings in Britain, with its farm fields and rolling hills, it is a stunning area of Natural beauty. The area runs between six English counties, Bath, North East Somerset, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. It is dotted with small towns and villages built with Cotswold Stone (yellow limestone which is rich in fossils) acting as a common thread blending them into the landscape....read more
Since as far back as 3,000 BC, Croagh Patrick (Saint Patrick’s Mountain) has been known as a place of worship. Dating back to the time of Saint Patrick who apparently fasted and had penance here for 40 days and 40 nights. It is also said that it is here at Croagh Patrick where St Patrick our patron saint banished the snakes from Ireland forever!...read more
There are so many things to see, to do, to explore, to experience on the Dingle Peninsula . . . from almost 2,000 archaeological sites, to more walking than you could fit into a year, to Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who's been living at the mouth of Dingle Harbour since 1984. There is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Because of the peninsula's remote location, and lack of specialised agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments. It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be impressed by its archaeological heritage. When one ...read more
The cave was discovered in 1952 by J. M. Dickenson and Brian Varley of Craven Pothole Club, an English caving club based in the Yorkshire Dales. The cave quickly became a classic caving trip for visiting cavers. Doolin Cave is home to the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres (23feet) it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. The Great Stalactite, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier, is truly astounding. Visitors can hardly believe that it was formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years...read more
Dún Aengus is the most famous of several prehistoric forts on the Aran Islands, of Co. Galway. Ireland. It is located on Inishmore at the edge of a 100-metre high cliff. Dún Aengus is an important archaeological site that also offers a spectacular view. It was built during the Bronze Age and dates from 1,000 B.C. or before. It has been called "the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe." The name "Dún Aengus" meaning "Fort of Aengus" refers to the pre-Christian god of the same name described in Irish mythology. The fort consists of a series of four concentric walls of dry stone construction. Surviving stonework is four metres wide at some points. The original shape was presumably oval or D-shaped but part of the cliff and fort have since collapsed into ...read more
The stunning Falls of Feugh are located near Banchory in Aberdeenshire. The Falls of Feugh are a short walk from Banchory centre. There is a stone-built Bridge of Feugh footbridge spanning the river which is popular with visitors who watch salmon climb the natural leap as they make their way up the Falls during spawning season. The best months for spotting salmon leap are September to November and February to March....read more
Known in irish as Loch Lurgan or Cuan na Gaillimhe, Galway Bay is an significantly sized bay on the west coast of Ireland, located between the Burren to the North and County Galway in the province of Connacht.The bay itself is about 10 kilometers wide and 50 kilometers in length. Located on the west side of the Bay are the Aran Islands which consist of 3 Islands, Inishmore, Inisheer and Inishmann along with many other smaller islands....read more
The Gap of Dunloe is a beautiful glacial valley in the Macgillacuddy Reeks mountain range, which dominate the skyline of Killarney. Here you may enjoy an energetic walk or cycle its rough path. The scenery all around the famousLakes of Killarneyis breathtaking and there are many viewing points around the lakes as you see above. The three main lakes of Killarney occupy a broad valley stretching south between the mountains. The three lakes and the mountains that surround them are all within the Killarney National Park. The Lower Lake is nearest to the town, it is studded with islands and has Muckross Abbey and Ross Castle on its eastern shore. Why not take the Gap of Dunloe Trip, by horseback or pony and trap through the Gap, and then by boat across the Killarney lake to Ross Castl...read more
Take a short boat trip to Garinish Island, set in Bantry Bay. The island has 37 acres of gardens and is renowned for rich plant forms and varying colours, which look attractive in every season. Garnish is world renowned for its gardens which are laid out in beautiful walks and it has some stunning specimen plants which are rare in this climate. The Gardens are the result of the creative partnership of Annan Bryce and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. The island was bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953, and was subsequently entrusted to the care of the Commissioners of Public Works. Garinish Island is renowned for its richness of plant form and colour, changing continuously with the seasons. The vivid colours of Rhododendrons and Azaleas reach their peak during May and June, whi...read more
The Giant's Causeway (or Irish: Clochán na bhFómharach) is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is located on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland, about two miles (3 km) north of the town of Bushmills. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a National Nature Reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant's Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest a...read more
Glencolmcille or Glencolumbkille is a coastal town located on the southwest Gaeltacht tip of County Donegal, Ireland. Gleann Cholm Cille is still an Irish-speaking community though this is in decline English has became the predominant language in recent years. The name translates into English as the Valley of Saint Columba. Saint Columba is one of Ireland's three patron saints (along with Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid). Colm Cille and his followers lived in the valley and the ruins of several of their churches can still be seen there. Following a dispute with the church about the right to copy religious manuscripts, Colm Cille went into exile on the isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. The town was once famous as being the parish of controversial Father McDyer (1910-1987...read more
Located in the Wicklow mountains, is the early Christian monastic settlement of Glendalough also known as the Glen of the Two Lakes. It is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in Ireland. Glendalough is a glacial valley renowned for its early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin who was a hermit priest. His fame as a holy man spread and he attracted numerous followers. It flourished for six centuries after his death and the irish annals contain references to the deaths of abbots and raids on the settlement. ...read more
The Glengesh Pass sometimes known as the Donegal Pass is located in County Donegal in a section of the road that connects Glencolmcille to Ardara. It is a stunning setting with spectacular views and runs for about 15 miles taking in a few hairpen bends with narrow and windy roads along the way....read more
The Glens of Antrim are naturally unique - within twenty or so square miles you can enjoy a variations in natural landscape that includes glacial valleys, sandy beaches, vertical cliffs, tundra plateau, wooded glens, waterfalls and picturesque villages. Ancient sites and places of intrigue abound! Comprising nine glens, or valleys, that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. The inhabitants of the several glens are descended primarily from native Irish and Hebridean Scots. The Glens are an area of outstanding natural beauty and are a major tourist attraction in north Antrim. Principal towns in the Glens are Ballycastle, Cushendun, Cushendall, Waterfoot and Carnlough. Beginning with Glentaisie on the western side of Knocklayde, next in line of the glens comes Glenshesk on ...read more
The Atlantic Ocean has beaten our coast for millennia, shaping and moulding it to the whim of the tides for generations. The Atlantic Drive is a short, but very spectacular road around the Rosguill Peninsula. The spectacular beauty of the Grand Atlantic Drive will take your breath away. You will wind through Downings and Rosapenna an area of stunning natural beauty with its abundance of golden Atlantic beaches and rocky headlands. As it is only about 12km, you will best appreciate it if you walk or cycle. The walk can be comfortably accomplished in half a day. The Grand Atlantic Drive will take you past Granuaile’s Castle, once a watchtower for Ireland’s famous 16th Century pirate queen of Connaught. You will also drive past the spectacular Cathedral Rocks, mystical...read more
The Hook Lighthouse (also know as Hook Head Lighthouse) is situated at the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, in Ireland, is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world. Operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Irish Lighthouse Authority, the Hook marks the eastern entrance to Waterford Harbour History The existing tower dates from the twelfth century, though tradition states that Dubhan, a missionary to the Wexford area, established some sort of beacon as early as the 5th century. The exact circumstance of the initial construction on the present structure are the subject of some controversy. It had been thought that the tower was constructed in 1172 by Raymond LeGros as part of his conquests in Ireland, both to establish the lighthouse and to serve as a fortre...read more
Inis Meáin is the middle of the three main Aran Islands in Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland. It is part of County Galway in the province of Connacht. Inis Meáin has a population of about 160, making it the smallest of the Aran Islands in terms of population. It is also quieter and less touristy than its two neighbours Inishmore and Inisheer. It is, however, one of the most important strongholds of traditional Irish culture. The island is predominantly Irish-speaking and is part of the Gaeltacht. The island is an extension of The Burren. The terrain of the island is composed of limestone pavements with crisscrossing cracks known as "grikes", leaving isolated rocks called "clints". The limestones date from the Visean period (Lower Carboniferous), formed as sediments in a...read more
The Inishowen 100 is one of the best scenic drives in Ireland and gets its name from the approximate distance in miles of the signposted drive, which officially starts in Bridgend on the Inishowen Peninsula. Inishowen is a peninsula of 884.33 square kilometres (218,523 acres), situated in the northernmost part of Ireland. It is bordered to the north by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Lough Foyle, and to the west by Lough Swilly. It is joined at the south to the rest of County Donegal, the part known as Tír Conaill, and by County Londonderry. This part of Ireland has the most splendid coastal scenery with Inishowen being one of the highlights. Historically, the area of Derry west of the River Foyle also forms part of Inishowen, the Foyle forming a natural border. Most of Ini...read more
Bute lies in the Firth of Clyde. The only town on the island, Rothesay, is linked by ferry to the mainland. A rich diversity of flora and fauna can be discovered on the 15 miles long by 4 miles wide island. Architectural attractions on the island include the ruined 12th century St. Blane's Chapel on a site associated with Saint Catan and Saint Blane, who was born on Bute. Another ruined chapel, dating from the 6th century, lies at St. Ninian's Point. The eccentric Mount Stuart House is often cited as one the world's most impressive neo-Gothic House mansions, bringing many architectural students from Glasgow on day trips. Rothesay Castle was built 800 years ago by the hereditary Hight Steward of Scotland. ...read more
Skye or the Isle of Skye is place of extremes, plummeting sea cliffs and imposing headlands sit beside white coral beaches and black sandy shores, where lochs are as deep as mountains high. They say if you can’t make St Kilda, the North West of Skye comes very close. Skye is the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The coastline of Skye is a series of peninsulas and bays radiating out from a centre dominated by the Cuillin hills. The stunning scenery is the main attraction, but when the mist closes in there are plenty of castles, crofting museums and cosy pubs and restaurants to retire to. ...read more
Killary Harbour / An Caoláire Rua is Ireland's only "fjord". While it is known widely as Ireland's only fjord, it is disputed that it was actually formed by glaciers. It forms a partial border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is 16 kilometres long and in the centre it is over 45 metres deep. On its northern shore lies the mountain of Mweelrea, 817 metres high. Directly opposite, on the southern, Galway side and near the mouth of the fjord, lies the hamlet of Rossroe and the former An Óige youth hostel, now disused. This building was itself converted and extended for the purpose and was formerly a modest house which was used by Ludwig Wittgenstein, the famous philosopher, as a quiet place to write shortly after World War II. A plaque to this effect was unveiled ...read more
Loch Lomond is a freshwater loch lying on the Highland Boundary Fault, often considered the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands. Its surface area is 71 km2 (27 sq mi), and it has a volume of 2.6 km3 (0.62 cu mi). Of all lochs and lakes in Great Britain, it is the largest by surface area, and the second largest (after Loch Ness) by water volume. The loch contains thirty or more islands (depending on the water level). Several of them are large by the standards of British bodies of freshwater. Inchmurrin, for example, is the largest island in a body of freshwater in the British Isles. As in Loch Tay, several of the islands appear to be crannogs, artificial islands built in prehistoric periods.English travel writer, H.V. Morton wrote: "What a large part of Loch ...read more
Malin Head is the northernmost point of the island of Ireland. Malin is located at the top of Ireland and Inishowen peninsula. Malin Head also known as Cionn Mhálanna in gaelic is an historical place, it was visited by the Vikings, the ancient Celts and Saint Columbkille over the centuries....read more
Mizen Head (Irish: Carn Uí Néid), at the western extremity of the peninsula formerly known as the Ivagha Peninsula or Uíbh Eachach, is the south-westernmost point of Ireland, is one of the extreme points of the island of Ireland. It lies in west County Cork, Ireland, and is a tourist attraction. Located on the promontory are an old signalling station, a weather station, and a lighthouse. The signalling station, now a museum, is open to visitors. The "99 steps" are a long series of steps on the pathway across to the rocky outcrop upon which the station was built. The villages of Ballydehob, Goleen, and Schull are located on the peninsula. Contrary to popular belief, Mizen Head is not the most southerly point on the mainland of Ireland. Nearby Brow Head holds t...read more
Admire breathtaking vistas of mountains, cliffs and beaches on Ireland’s most popular drive, the 100-mile Ring of Kerry. Starting from Killarney, heading around the Iveragh Peninsula and passing through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville (favourite holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin that now has a statue of him to commemorate his love of the place), Cahersiveen and Killorglin. Popular points include Muckross House (near Killarney), Staigue stone fort and Derrynane House, home of Daniel O'Connell. Just south of Killarney, Ross Castle, Lough Leane, and Ladies View (a panoramic viewpoint), all located within Killarney National Park, are major attractions located along the Ring. The complete list of major attractions along the Ring of Kerry includes: Gap of Dunloe, Bog Village, Rossbeigh B...read more
The Skellig Islands (Irish: Na Scealaga) are two small, steep and rocky islands lying about 16 km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. They are famous for their thriving gannet and puffin populations, and for an early Christian monastery that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The smaller island is Little Skellig (Sceilig Bheag in Irish). It is closed to the public, and holds Ireland's largest and the world's second-largest Northern Gannet colony, with almost 30,000 pairs. It is about 1.5 km east of Great Skellig. Also known as Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl in Irish), Great Sceilig is the larger of the two islands, rising to over 230 m above sea level. With a sixth-century Christian monastery perched on a ledge close to the top, Great Skel...read more
One of Ireland’s must see attractions, Slieve League Cliffs also known in irish as Sliabh Liag, situated on the southwest coast of Donegal, are said to be the highest and one of the finest marine cliffs in Europe. To fully enjoy the spectacle of Slieve League it is best to leave your car at the car park and walk the few miles to the cliffs so as not to miss the exciting scenery of the area. There are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you walk towards the terrifyingly high top of Slieve League where the cliff face of Bunglas rises over 600m above the raging ocean. Experienced walkers only should venture beyond the viewing point onto One Man's Pass which loops around onto the Pilgrim's Path. Be sure to take in the Slieve League Mountain...read more
The Mourne Mountains are a granite mountain range in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland. It includes the highest mountains in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster. The highest of these is Slieve Donard at 850 metres (2,790 ft). The Mournes is an area of outstanding natural beauty and has been proposed as the first national park in Northern Ireland. The area is partly owned by the National Trust and see a large number of visitors every year. The name Mourne is derived from the name of a Gaelic clann or sept called the Múghdhorna. ...read more
Cross to Valencia Island by bridge to visit the Skellig Experience to learn about early Christian monks who braved a harsh existence on the rocky offshore islands. Continue your trip through the remote villages of Cahirciveen and Waterville. Valentia, one of the largest islands off the South West coast of Kerry, is joined to the mainland by bridge via the Portmagee Channel. The island is one of great beauty and contrast. The western part of the island is dominated by the barren, dramatic cliffs of Bray Head which command spectacular views of the Kerry coastline while the mild effect of the Gulf Stream results in Valentia's balmy climate and lush, colourful vegetation. In The Skellig Experience Centre you can experience many aspects of the offshore Skellig islands while remaining ...read more
The Wicklow Mountains, a must see for any Irish vacation are a range of mountains in the southeast of Ireland. They run in a north-south direction from south County Dublin across County Wicklow and into County Wexford. Lugnaquilla is the highest peak in the range at 925 m (3035 ft), Mullaghcleevaun at 847 m (2,780 ft) is the second highest, while the summit of Kippure is the highest point in County Dublin, at 757 m (2,484 ft). The River Slaney has its source southwest of Lugnaquilla and then flows south along the western slopes of the mountains for some 72 km (45 mi) before entering the St George's Channel at Wexford. The Turlough Hill power station is the only pumped storage hydroelectricity scheme in Ireland; it is located on the Wicklow Gap midway between Hollywood and Glendalough, whic...read more
Thanks for asking about our trip. Amazing. Wonderful. Fun. Magnificent. Great. Brilliant. And any synonym thereof.
Grab yourself a cup of tea or a Guinness - or two - put your feet up and loosen your tie and we’ll review the adventure and my impressions of Ireland.
The Cliffs of Mohr should be seen from land and from the water and from above. I was most impressed to see them from the water. They are beautiful. We did climb O’Brien’s Tower and saw the cliffs from there.
We did the Doolin Cave. I thought the man said 25 steps and I thought “We can do that after doing Cliffs of Mohr and O’Brien’s tower.” It wasn’t until we were ready to go on the tour that we found out it was 125 steps – down. What a price to pay to see a limestone formation figured to be 300 million years old. One thing for sure, I’ll never see anything like it again in my lifetime and “no”, I have no intentions to see it again unless they get rid of the 125 steps – one way.
Galway was fun. No one should miss the Connemara tour. You were so right to recommend taking some other tours so I didn’t have to drive everywhere. We never would have found everything we saw that day. It was a full day of sightseeing: the “Quiet Man Bridge” and replica cottage as well as the ruins of the original cottage, quaint villages, the stories, laughter, the peat trenches and walking on the bog, and most of all Kylemore Abbey. The sight of the reflection of that castle in the lake as you come out of the mountains is unforgettable. The gardens are beautiful. We had 3 hours there and it wasn’t enough. We took the ferry out of Galway to the large Aran Island. The only way to see the Island is by hiking or the pony trap. Our driver was Timothy and our horse Cappucino. What a wonderful afternoon, the outdoors, sun, sea air, fresh blackberries off the side of the road. We got to see some ladies knitting sweaters and mittens. Again, more stories and a better understanding of the people and culture. We did a 3 hour ferry tour of Galway Bay – history, fun, stories, drinks, and singing. The stories of the famine and the results were so interesting and intense especially as my family is from the Galway area and immigrated to the States in the mid 1800’s.
The best ring tour was the Ring of Dingle. We did a 4 hour tour with John O’Connor of Dingle which ended up being over 5 hours. After the tour he took us to a pub that served good food at a reasonable price on a Sunday evening and then picked us up and took us back to the hotel. He wouldn’t take any money for the extra tour time and the taxi ride back to the hotel. We saw the beehives, the Verder holdings and school, the stones, fairy rings, fort rings, the western most place in Europe, got drenched in the Atlantic in the waves (the beach where Ryan’s Daughter was filmed) – again not paying attention. It was a great afternoon. This is one tour I would do again and recommend to anyone.
Belfast was interesting and somewhat ….sad is the only word I can think of. It is kind of “dark” with an undercurrent of tension. We took a Black Taxi tour – the political one and went to the Shankill and Falls areas. One of the gates actually closed while we were there. The prison tour was excellent and made the history more alive. Belfast is not on my list of places to revisit but I would recommend the prison tour. The taxi driver was so nice and full of stories. He also told us to keep the tip. This was a recurring theme. The people were very nice especially at the Post Office.
Speaking of Post offices- a cute story… we went to the post office in Kinsale around 10 am and then back at noon. The lady there reminded us that they didn’t close till 5:05 pm if we had more to mail. We, of course, hasn’t been shopping yet but figured we were about done shipping boxes. Don’t you know, at 3:15 pm in we walk with 2 more boxes each. She just laughed and let us go to the front of the line. Again reminding us that we had 2 more hours to “shop and mail.” Back to the travellog.
Yes, we did the Rope Bridge – have the pictures and the certificate to prove it - as well as Giant’s Causeway. There is a bus down to the rocks at the Causeway and back. No bus to the Rope Bridge – it’s all pedal power. The views are wonderful. I have never seen rocks come out of the ground in columns. I recommend both of those attractions. Don’t forget Bushmills.
Dublin. Dublin. Dublin. What can you say? None of the superlatives are enough. There was more to see than what we could see in 4 days. Guinness, Trinity College, The Old Library, The Book of Kells. I spent two hours in the exhibit and could have stayed longer. The Hop-on Hop off tickets were a great purchase. We really used them. The Food, Folklore and Fairies dinner presentation was terrific. Being at the oldest pub in Ireland 1197 was an added bonus. The gentleman who does the presentation is quite a story teller. “ We may not believe in fairies but just in case….respect the fairies.” It is a 4 star evening which I wholeheartedly recommend. The GPO, Dublin Castle, the prison – so much history. To touch those walls where bullet holes can still be seen was an experience. I plan on returning to Dublin in a couple years to see what all I missed. The shopping was great!!
No trip to Ireland would be complete without a medieval meal. The Bunratty Castle is the place to go. What a fun night eating with a knife and your fingers. The entertainment was good. Not a dry eye in the house when they sang Danny Boy. The village was right out of a book complete with animals. A great place for families to visit. We did it in the early evening. There were real peat fires burning in the hearths and you were expected to add the peat if the fire was going out, which of course, I had to do.
There are so many stories and so many people willing to share those stories. Are you getting a theme here – stories – the very best part! Everyone was kind and helpful and you couldn’t have asked for anything better.
The accommodations you secured were very nice and, I don’t know how you did it, but got nicer as the trip progressed. Bea at the Atlantic in Doolin was so sweet. Her excitement about the soccer championship was infectious. The room was up the stairs but the room was very nice and she makes great French toast – one of my personal favorites.
Ireland…a country of cities and villages, highways and unnamed paved lanes, bacon and bread, potatoes cooked in every way imaginable, ruins and intact castles and cathedrals, laughter and sadness, light and dark, realism and fantasy, fairy rings and fort rings, Charles Fort, smiles and tears, war and peace, trains, cars, horse and traps, and buses and ferries, superstition and mysticism, feast and famine, rock walls, hedges and grazing lands, sheep and cows, mountains, sea and lakes. What more or less can I say?
Thank you for all your help in setting this whole trip of a lifetime in motion. We could not have done it without your guidance, input and recommendations. I am already recommending you to friends who have asked about the trip. I would make one suggestion. There is a National ticket you can buy to see attractions at a decreased or free rate. We asked about it at Giant’s Causeway and the gentleman told us all the attractions would be closed and it wouldn’t do us any good. Wrong. You might want to let people know something like that is available.
So now we have come to the end of this missive and I didn’t even kiss the blarney stone. That is for the next trip!! Obviously, I had a wonderful time and hope to plan another trip in a couple years to see what I missed and there was a lot that I missed.
I will include a couple pictures. You can use any part of this you want or put it in a file and on occasion pull it out to remind yourself of the happiness you brought to an old lady you never met.
Be well and thank you again.
Michelle Estadt, Wrangell, AK, USA