Republic of Ireland
A Land of Spectacular Scenery and home of Storytellers
The republic of Ireland is a destination like no other in the world, and will undoubtedly leave you feeling totally in love with all its charms. Nowhere are the locals more proud or willing to welcome visitors to their homeland. Known as Europe’s largest green space, there is such a diverse landscape with mountains and lakes, picturesque villages and crumbling castles. Dublin is the capital city and whilst it may be small in size it has certainly gained an international reputation for its beating heart and authentic vibrant nature.
The Republic of Ireland lends itself to exploration, discovery and adventure through a multitude of self drive touring possibilities. The Wild Atlantic Way is a spectacular, untamed and majestic coastal touring route crossing nine counties. On the other side, The Ancient East gives visitors the chance to immerse themselves into mysteries and folklore and travel through time on a wide variety of routes and multi-centre stays.
A holiday to Ireland combines a picture perfect setting with a long history and abundant culture; and you are guaranteed a genuine and warm welcome from the locals wherever you go. Add to this that there always seems to be a festival or celebration happening there is no better time to visit than 2020!
The Ancient East – Folklore, forts and friendly faces
You will probably have heard the catchphrase that everyone in Ireland has a story to tell and nowhere is this truer than in the Ancient East of Ireland; with tales of legends and tragedies, invasions and rebellions, and of river monsters and heroes. The majestic river Shannon which, flows through 11 counties, is entrenched in myth and is often at the heart of many a fable. Hear tales of river Gods and queens; such as Queen Maeve and her death at the hands of a single slingshot fired from one mile away and the drowning of Sionann who gave this river her name.
The East of Ireland has 6000 years of recorded history, from the Vikings to the Normans to the Georgians. The landscape is equally as rich with mountains and woodlands and the green rolling hills which have become synonymous with this fantastic country. There are many cities and towns which make this part of Ireland a truly exciting touring destination, we recommend you make the most of your visit and stay in a couple of different places.
Dublin is a literary haven, fully deserving of its accolade of UNESCO City of Literature. Walk in the footsteps of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and William Yeats and marvel at the must see exhibition of the Book of Kells, currently on display at the Old Library at Trinity College. Dublin appeals to all the senses, from the riverside setting to the leafy green parks to the delectable smell of Guinness permeating the streets and the very essence of the city from the famous Guinness Storehouse. Experiences here are authentic; stop by at the Brazenhead Pub for some candlelit storytelling over dinner, and then join in the craic in the infamous Temple Bar.
Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and is perhaps most famous for the world renowned Waterford Crystal, which has been lovingly made since 1783. No other city tells the history of Ireland as well as Waterford. Explore the Viking Triangle; Reginald’s Tower and the 10th century fortifications or marvel at the Georgian architecture. Many festivals take place throughout the year, such as the Spraoi International Street Arts Festival in August when the town is filled with street arts and spectacle performers. There are also many other music, arts, food and even horse riding festivals taking place throughout the year.
Cork is best explored on foot and feels more like a town than a city. On the banks of the River Lee, Cork is a proud city, bustling with coffee shops, museums and pubs and is known for its artisan food markets and craft beers. Discover the history of the Titanic in the Old White Star Line offices, explore Elizabeth Castle and brave a visit to Cork City Gaol. From here take a day trip to the seaside town of Cobh and Blarney Castle.
Often referred to as the ‘Marble City’ Kilkenny is a medieval city with Kilkenny Castle at it’s South and St Canice’s Cathedral to the North. Stroll down the “Medieval Mile”, one of the greatest concentrations of medieval architecture in the world. Kilkenny is another extremely walkable city, best to be explored on foot. There is also a vibrant night life and Kilkenny was recognised as Ireland’s Foodie Destination of the Year 2018.
Wicklow is at the heart of Irelands Ancient East; it is extremely scenic and offers visitors a feeling of real remoteness. Nature lovers, archaeologists and historians and those seeking the great outdoors will love exploring Wicklow National Park, home to the Wicklow Mountains, the monastic settlement of Glendalough (meaning Valley of the two lakes) and deep woodlands
The Wild Atlantic Way (Western Ireland) – Raw rugged beauty
The untamed terrain of the west is magnificently beautiful. Here you can find fjords, glacial lakes, mountains, nature reserves and a multitude of offshore islands, most of which are accessible by ferry. Clew Bay alone reportedly has some 365 islets and islands, one for every day of the year!
The Wild Atlantic Way spans nearly the whole western coast line of Ireland. It is the world’s longest coastal touring route measuring 2500km from Inishowen, Donegal to Kinsale, West Cork. In the West it is all about the Atlantic; there are blue flag beaches, Blueway snorkel trails and perfect surf. The Wild West is also home to some of the highest cliffs in Europe.
This part of Ireland is also a real bird watchers paradise with over 450 species on record. Little Skellig, off the coast of County Kerry, is home to the second largest colony of Gannets in the world. Dingle, also in County Kerry is home to one of Ireland’s marine celebrities: Fungie the dolphin. After first making an appearance in 1983 he has become a well loved inhabitant, and even has a statue in his honour. Grey seals, dolphins and otters can also be found along this coastline.
This is a truly mystical part of Ireland that will leave you feeling rejuvenated, captivated and in awe of the sheer power of Mother Nature.
Donegal is a real “off the beaten track” destination and has been the location of many films such as Star Wars: Episode VIII. Many of parts of Donegal are Gaeltacht – or Irish speaking regions, making it the perfect place to go to immerse yourself in Irish culture.
Once ruled by 14 merchant families in the 13th century Galway is known as the “City of Tribes”. Undoubtedly bohemian and with a strong pub culture, this city attracts many artists, musicians and in 2020 will become the European Capital of Culture. Yet Galway still retains it medieval charm, remnants of its past include the medieval city walls and the 16th Century Spanish Arch. St Nicholas Church is also where Christopher Columbus is said to have worshipped in 1477. There are also many summer festivals to coincide your visit with, such as the Galway Arts Festival, Galway Oyster Festival and Galway Film Fleadh. In fact, Galway has been accredited as a UNESCO city of film.
Voted the ‘Best place to live’ in 2012 by the Irish Times, Westport is a truly bustling and vibrant town where everything is on your doorstep. Westport is perfect for families with plenty of blue flag beaches, and a Pirate Adventure Park at Westport House. Right at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, County Mayo has many majestic landmarks dotted along its coastline including Croagh Patrick (considered to be the holiest mountain in Ireland), Clew Bay, Achilles cliffs, Stags of Broadhaven and the sea stack Dun Briste.
“There once was….” The link between this form of poetry and the Irish city of Limerick is somewhat unknown, and perhaps a little dubious, but Limerick is without doubt worth visiting. The city has a rich history and heritage, being almost 1,100 years old and having transitioned from Viking settlement to medieval walled town, to Georgian town to the modern metropolis we see today.
Killarney has become a world class fishing and golfing destination and is a very popular stop on the infamous Ring of Kerry. Situated on the north eastern shore of Lough Leane, Killarney borders the Killarney National Park. This stunning national park is home to MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland, as well as Muckross House and Gardens. The area is peppered with cathedrals, abbeys and castles and is central to local conservation and research.