Staying in the large cities such as Dublin and Belfast has its advantages, however you can add value to your holiday by “going off the beaten track” and exploring the hidden gems of Ireland. You’ll also get the opportunity to experience the great outdoors as well as visit some of Ireland’s most breathtaking and unspoilt regions. Read on for more…
Our top “off the beaten track” destinations:
· West Cork – Located in the southwest corner of Ireland, West Cork is home to some of Ireland’s stunning scenery. Add to this beautiful seascapes and marvellous beaches with plenty of opportunities for relaxing, indulging in watersports, and enjoying the majestic sights and you’ll easily see why it’s such a popular holiday destination.
The towns of Clonakilty and Kinsale are well worth exploring. Kinsale is often dubbed the “culinary capital of Ireland”, with wonderful restaurants serving the best of locally sourced produce. You could take a trip to the Old Head at Kinsale and marvel at the awe inspiring coastal scenery, and also fit in a trip to Charles Fort, and see its magnificent structure.
Travelling west from Kinsale, you’ll reach the town of Clonakilty, famed for its traditional Irish music and its “black pudding”. There’s plenty to do and see in the area, and you can enjoy the popular bars and enjoy the local Irish music!
In the whole West Cork area, there are many activities to explore, with plenty to see, with other charming towns such as Bandon, sparkling views of Bantry Bay, Glengarriff Skibbereen, and the wonderful Inchydoney beach all waiting for you to explore!
Find out more about West Cork.
· Dingle and West Kerry – Following the routes N71, N22 and N72 will take you from Clonakilty to Dingle, the town at the heartland of West Kerry. Dingle is filled with charming pubs, good restaurants and you are assured of some great traditional Irish music here! It’s fair to say that Dingle is very busy in the summer time.
Leaving Dingle and heading west will take you to the marvellous Dingle Peninsula, a wonderful backdrop to the town with stunning scenery. In the summer, you could take in a trip to the uninhabited Blasket Islands, located off the coast of Dingle. For the archaeological explorer in you, there are several prehistoric sites in the area, you can see plenty of beehive huts located along the main road on the peninsula, and near Murreigh you can visit the Gallarus Oratory.
No visit to Dingle is complete without a boat to trip to see the famous dolphin “Fungi”. He has long been a resident of the waters around Dingle Bay!
· Travelling north from Dingle, you’ll be further enchanted by the wonderful scenery, and taking the car ferry from Tarbert in North Kerry to Killimer in County Clare will give you a wonderful view of the Shannon Estuary. The next “off the beaten track” destination we recommend is a trip to the Aran Islands, located off the coast of Counties Clare and Galway.
From Clare, the best way to get there is from the pier at Doolin, a small village, with a great tradition in Irish music. Close to Doolin at Liscannor are the majestic Cliffs of Moher, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean – you can also check out the new Interpretive Centre located here!
The passenger ferry to the Aran Islands is a pleasant trip during the summer and you have your pick of the three islands that you want to visit! The larger island of Inismore is home to the prehistoric fort of Dun Aengus, an impressive stone fort that borders the Atlantic Ocean. The smaller island of “Inis Meain,” is the middle of the group of the three islands.
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland and haven’t sorted out some where to stay yet, check out our Ireland Accommodation page.
If you had to choose your favourite part of Ireland – what would it be? As always we’d love to hear from you.