Travel Ireland

Trip Through Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way

Here comes almost middle of December, and the weather in Ireland is not as delightful as other part of the year. But to cheer up everyone’s mind from the grey depressive cold weather, here is an article with a couple of photos from Ireland by TravelingMom.com. And obviously Ireland is still beautiful, even during the winter times.


Inspired by the beauty of Ireland, legendary country singer Johnny Cash wrote his popular ballad, Forty Shades of Green. Ireland is a magical land of spell bounding beauty, rich historic sites and welcoming people. Road-tripping through the countryside is one of the best ways to explore historic sites, connect with engaging locals, and see every one of those 40 shades of green. But don’t be surprised when a few sheep and cows join you along the way.

The Green Grass of Ireland, Photo by Gregory Holder

The Green Grass of Ireland, Photo by Gregory Holder

The Wild Atlantic Way through Ireland

Driving through Ireland is an experience like none other. For one thing, you are driving on the left side of the road which takes a bit of practice along the narrow winding streets through out the country. Ireland is best explored slowly taking in all the sights and sounds along the way which includes craggy cliffs, ancient rock fences, and impossibly green pastures filled with contented sheep and cows.

There are several driving routes to choose from but one of the most amazing is the Wild Atlantic Way. The

TMOM-disclosure-graphiclongest coastal tourist route in the world, the Wild Atlantic Way stretches over 2,750 km (1,700 miles) along Ireland’s coastline through six distinctive regions. The route travels through coastal villages and towns, past towering cliffs including the iconic Cliffs of Moher, castles, and historic sites that tell the story of this enchanting country.

Beginning in County Cork in the colorful town of Kinsale and ending on the Beara Peninsula where sheer granite cliffs collide with the sea and millions of seabirds take refuge in estuaries, it would take several weeks to travel the entire route. But, even if you only have a few days you are certain to get a taste of Ireland’s magic. Here are a few of my favorite stops along the route.

Road Tripping with Sheep, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Road Tripping with Sheep, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Culinary Delights in Colorful Kinsale

Originally a medieval fishing port, Kinsale is ideally situated on the southwest coast of Ireland making it a popular location for sailing and deep-sea fishing and the perfect start to the Wild Atlantic Way. The town is filled with brightly painted cottages, Georgian architecture and hanging baskets full of flowers in every imaginable color. Narrow medieval streets wind past restaurants and pubs that have contributed to Kinsale’s international acclaim as the culinary capital of Ireland. Kinsale is the oldest town in Ireland and was the sight of the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 – a battle that altered the course of Irish history.

Colorful Kinsale, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Colorful Kinsale, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Hiking and Golf in the Old Head of Kinsale

After tasting some of the culinary treats of Kinsale, leave the world behind and head west to the Old Head of Kinsale where towering sea cliffs rise hundreds of feet above the Atlantic Ocean.   This is a good spot to park the car and explore on foot. The Old Head of Kinsale Loop is a gentle 6km (3.7 miles) walk that takes in a circular route around the head amid the dramatic cliffs. This is home to The Old Head Golf Links – one of the most prestigious golf courses on the planet where you can practice your game surrounded by the crashing waves of the wild Atlantic Ocean.

Beaches of the Dingle Peninsula, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Beaches of the Dingle Peninsula, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Exploring History Along Slea Head Drive

Any stretch along the Wild Atlantic Way makes an excellent road trip, but one of my favorites is the Slea Head Drive, a circular route around the geographically blessed Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land juts into the Atlantic Ocean and has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Familiar to movie buffs as the location of the movie Far and Away, this remote section of Ireland is filled with numerous archaeological monuments dating back to the Stone Ages.

There are also cottages abandoned during the tragic Potato Famine and early Christian landmarks including stone churches and beehive huts once home to monks. Marked by a crucifix facing the sea, the tip of the peninsula is the westernmost point of Ireland and overlooks a stunning beach with powerful waves crashing on the craggy cliffs.

Photo by Gregory Holder

Cottages along Slea Head Drive, Photo by Gregory Holder

Delightful Dingletown

Slea Head Drive begins and ends in the delightful town of Dingle. Characterized by hilly streets and brightly painted houses, the layout of the streets still reflect its origins as a walled borough. Although the town is known as a fishing port, the pubs of Dingle are one of its best experiences – and it has over 50 to choose from. There you will find plenty of traditional Irish folk music, local characters and lots of “craic” a/k/a fun.

A Road Trip to Share with the Grandkids

My visits to Ireland have been with my boyfriend and we have enjoyed every minute. But when my grandkids are a little older, road-tripping through Ireland will be in our travel plans. I have a feeling one of their favorite experiences will be the sheep and cows that join us for the drive – my favorite kind of traffic jam.
Read more at https://www.travelingmom.com/get-know-ireland-road-trip-along-wild-atlantic-way/#DuCxI4FgJoGXdgHY.99

Ireland and the Most Beautiful Beaches in Europe

beaches of Ireland

Top European Beaches without Tourism

Talking about the the most beautiful beaches in Europe, I have to say that there is a quiet lot of them, and each one have the special characteristic feel, appearance and design. Obviously the majority of people would picture the beaches in Mediterranean sea, Spain, France, Italy, Greece. But those may be beautiful, but packed with tourists, hotels, beach bars and the people that are trying to sell you something. Its not really ideal idea of the most beautiful beach. And unfortunately there is probably neither one beach in the Med where you could enjoy the quiet and peace for whole day long.

But there is one country in Europe where you can find the beaches without tourism at all, out of civilization, where you rarely meet someone.

Its Ireland.

The tourism in Ireland is still very small. There are hundreds of big and small hidden beaches all over the country. Its nothing strange when you go the beach and when look around you find yourself completely alone there and that’s really magical. But of course, there is always price to be paid. Compared to Mediterranean, the weather in Ireland is much colder over the year. On the spring or summer is hotter, but sometimes there is still cold wind blowing. Even though you can be lucky and get two or three weeks of very hot weather up to 30 degrees, and swimming in the Atlantic ocean is very refreshing, because the temperature of Atlantic is also much lower than Mediterranean sea.

The best beaches in Ireland are spread over the whole West coast, going from North, Donegal, down to Kerry and Cork. Down below are just a few beaches of the west coast of Ireland picked by SkyScanner. But as I said there’s hundreds more, and I’m going to put together the list of beaches of the Irish west coast very soon.

 Beaches in Ireland to Visit

1. Easkey, Co. Sligosurfer on  Easky beach

The fact that the headquarters of the Irish Surfing Association is at Easkey might tell you something – this beach is pounded by consistently good waves. As well as offshore winds, there are two reef breaks here, one by the mouth of the Easkey river, the other east of the ruined castle: both are ideal for experienced surfers. There are currently no public toilets here, though a plan to provide some (and showers) is currently being discussed. McGowan’s pub, on the village’s main street, is a good place for a pint after riding the waves.

2. Keem Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayobeach County Mayo

The Atlantic could easily be mistaken for the Med at Keem Bay, where the horseshoe of white sands is flanked by velveteen green cliffs. It’s worth the steep drive up and over the clifftops to reach this Blue Flag strand; while you’re enjoying sinking your toes into it be sure to look up every once in a while – you might just see a basking shark offshore. A small truck is sometimes here selling sweets but you’ll need to bring your own sandwiches if you’re planning on staying the day. There are toilets, back up the hill.

3. Coumeenole Beach, Dunquin, Co. Kerrybeach county Kerry

Gently sloping golden sands fill in the gaps between the protruding rocky fingers of the cliffs on the Dingle Peninsula, once described by National Geographic as “one of the most beautiful places on earth”. The currents in the water here are notoriously strong, so choose dry land over a swim – the rugged cliffs make an appealingly dramatic backdrop to a leisurely stroll anyway. There are no facilities here and no shops in the village of Dunquin (where most people speak Gaelic only) so bring everything with you; umbrellas, sun hats, scarves, sunglasses, a flask of tea, biscuits, water, walking boots etc. – and be prepared for whatever the Irish weather may throw at you.

4. Brandon Bay, Co. Kerry

The surf’s almost always up at Brandon Bay, where the long sweep of golden beach is open to the North Atlantic – and its swell. Consequently this has become something of a hub for watersports, with every type of surfing from wind to wave seen here most days. Want to join in? Take a lesson with Jamie Knox Watersports. You can refuel afterwards at O’Connor’s pub where lunch (11am–6pm) and dinner (7–8.30pm) are served.

5. Glanleam Beach, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry

The Wild Atlantic Way this may be, but Glanleam Beach sits in an improbably subtropical bubble. This is all thanks to the warm Gulf Stream and its position at the foot of a sheltered valley, which makes for a mild climate – and more sunbathing days. After a day on the sands here be sure to explore the gardens of Glanleam House, home to exotic plants such as lily of the valley and ferns. There is parking and restrooms here too.

6. Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay, Connemara

On a sunny day Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay could be mistaken for the Caribbean – granted, with some imagination, but almost, we promise! The twinset of white sand crescents sit back-to-back with a few hundred metres of flat green fields between them. The sand here is made up of the shells of sea creatures named foraminifera, giving it a pure white colour. You won’t find dangerous currents here, making both beaches ripe for a swim. There are no facilities close by (besides parking) so stock up at Ferron’s Supermarket in the village of Roundstone, three miles away.

7. Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

Lush green fields roll down to the island of Inchydoney (connected to the mainland by two causeways) and its pristine sands. The two arcs of white powder you’ll find here are broken up by Virgin Mary’s Point (and the end of the road), while Inchydoney Surf School makes use of the consistent waves offshore to teach beginners how to find to their feet on a surfboard. There are public toilets next to the beach, while wheelchair users are welcome to use those in the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, which overlooks the sands and also has Dunes Pub and Bistro for local seafood dishes (food served 12–9pm). It’s not easy getting to Inchydoney – public transport runs as far as Clonakilty but you’ll need to get a cab to reach the sandy spit – but these beautiful beaches are well worth the slog, plus you can always treat yourself to a massage at the lodge and spa at the other end.

8. Dunmore East, Co. Waterford

You’ll want to bring your snorkel to Dunmore East; the sheltered coves along the coastline here seem to collect sealife and beg for exploration. Swim along the coast from one cove to the next before drying off on the south-facing sands of Councillor’s Strand. There are lifeguards here from June to August. You’ll find a large car park and good public facilities here, as well as the fabulous Bay Café, where open crab sandwiches are served at tables perched above the harbour.

Via http://www.skyscanner.ie/

What Are the Ireland’s Top Tourism Towns? Its Tralee and Lismore

Lakes of Ireland

The Most Visited Towns and Places in Ireland

The tourism in Ireland has grown significantly for the last 20 years, and more and more people are tempted to visit this wild and beautiful Island in the North Atlantic. The tourism is slowly picking up year by year, but still, the revenue from tourism is small compared to some other European Countries, especially South Mediterranean Countries. On the other hand, the real beauty of quiet almost uninhabited places of West Coast of Ireland but also South-West and East, is magic and stunning. Its not very rare when you find yourself alone on the yellow sandy beaches without hotels, bars and tourists, or on the tops of the hills where the whole country is just spread around you.

The tourism is mainly focused on the Cities and Towns, Such as Dublin, Cork, Tralee, Kilkenny, Galway or Sligo, where the majority of visitors would go to experience the Irish culture and entertainment. But the real beauty is out there in the wild and still untouched nature.

Winner of National Tourism Towns by Failte Ireland – Independent.ie

Tralee, Co. Kerry, was unveiled as Ireland’s best large tourism town, while Lismore, Co. Waterford, won the best small tourism town accolade.

The winners, who receive a tourism development grant of €5,000 each, were chosen from a shortlist of 10 towns commended for impressive performances in reaching out to visitors and creating the “best possible” tourism experiences.

The full shortlist was as follows:

  • Adare, Co. Limerick (small)
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford (small)
  • Clonakilty, Co. Cork (small)
  • Kenmare, Co. Kerry (small)
  • Lismore, Co. Waterford (small)
  • Cobh, Co. Cork (large)
  • Killarney, Co. Kerry (large)
  • Kilkenny (large)
  • Tralee, Co. Kerry (large)
  • Sneem, Co. Kerry (small)

Nine out of the ten shortlisted towns are from Munster.

Also notable is the fact that neither of last year’s winners – Kinsale and Westport – made the cut at the fourth annual awards, held at Dublin’s Morrison Hotel.

“The people of Tralee and Lismore truly understand tourism and value their visitors,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring. “Ultimately, this shows in the quality of what they have to offer and in the warmth of their welcome.”

“In Kerry, tourism is everybody’s business and in Tralee almost 1,000 people are now directly employed in tourism related enterprises,” said Kieran Ruttledge of Tralee Chamber Alliance and Tralee Tidy Towns, accepting the award on his town’s behalf.

“The people of Lismore are constantly looking for ways to make the tourism experience as inclusive as possible and to encourage exploration of Lismore town and the general West Waterford area,” said Mary O’Brien of Lismore Tidy Towns.

The Tourism Towns Award was designed by Fáilte Ireland to promote Irish towns and villages working hardest to enhance their appeal to tourists.

The scheme “is not about recognising those towns that do best from tourism but rather those that do their best for tourism,” said Orla Carroll, Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Strategic Development.

A panel of ‘secret shoppers’ visited each of the shortlisted towns to measure their tourism performance and the level of welcome to visitors.

via http://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/tralee-and-lismore-unveiled-as-irelands-top-tourism-towns-34233710.html

Ireland

snowy hills in Ireland

Lakes of Ireland

South West of Ireland by Junior Braun

west coast ireland Roses Point

Beauty of Atlantic West Coast of Ireland

west coast ireland Roses Point

South West and North West of Ireland is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of Ireland, combining the Midlands and East. Especially when traveling from Donegal via Sligo and Galway down to South, Connemara and Kerry. Its just evergreen country, and if the one catches the good sunny weather combined with the refreshing Atlantic breeze, its the absolute paradise, giving the impression and feel of being in completely different country. The whole west coast trip could be found as The Wild Atlantic Way, and its the very popular destination for hikers, fishermen or surfers. Fishing and Surfing is very popular in the many places of the west coast, offering one of the world best surfing destinations such as Strandhill, Co. Sligo (northwest) or Augris Head and Easky, Co. Mayo (northwest). Easky is also very famous fishing destination, where even the celebrities such as Sean Connery occasionally goes for holiday fishing. Also a couple of movie makers loved to show the beauty of west coast of Ireland in their movies.

A Brazilian film maker who lives in Ireland has produced a fantastic video that showcases the South West Coast of Ireland. The video by Junior Braun includes some of the most striking areas of natural beauty in Ireland, including the Ring of Kerry. Kerry was recently named as the most popular destination for Irish people wanting to take a holiday in Ireland.

Braun’s video also features places like Kilkenny, Tipperary, Cork, Clare and Limerick. The video montage includes shots of striking scenery, wildlife, castles and ancient monuments. Junior Braun lives in Dublin and has spent years working in film making in South America and won the award for the best short film in the UAP Film Festival of Argentina 2014.

He moved to Ireland as he wanted to improve his English. However, once he arrived he was taken aback by the beauty of the country. His video shows just how much he has immersed himself in Irish history and culture.

 

Tourism in Ireland – Castles and Old Sites of Ireland

Undiscovered Ireland

Ireland and its still almost undiscovered side of ancient historic castles, ruins, buildings and sites is great and highly recommended destination. Some of the prehistoric sites are one of the oldest in Europe, even on the planet, reminding the different smaller versions of Stonehenge, the massive stones laid across each other would be the oldest. These places are hardly noticeable, as thousands of years of rough weather and climate of the North Atlantic. The tourism is the most of the year quiet, on some places even whole year, meeting just a few tourists who are mainly coming to experience cultural life.

Irish Castles – Top Castles of Ireland

Most castles you’ll see in Ireland are less than ostentatious; they were not built to be the royal palaces that you’ll find in Britain, as Ireland has had no royalty for a thousand years. Instead they were fortified homes for chieftains, or Anglo Norman settlers and were designed primarily for defence.
Many of these castles are medieval in origin, dating from the 11th to the 15th century. While some of the more elaborate and elegant castles you may find owe their origins to the flamboyant Georgian era or the neo gothic revival in the Victorian Age.

Ireland’s two most popular castles are Bunratty Castle and Blarney Castle, and these are also two of the most visited tourist attractions in Ireland, outside of Dublin.

Bunratty is located in County Clare, close to the River Shannon and Shannon Airport. This castle is famous for its medieval banquets that for many visitors to Ireland, from the United States in particular, present a great last night in Ireland before returning home via Shannon Airport. Bunratty Castle dates back to the 14th Century and once belonged to the O’Brien Clan, who were the High Kings of Munster. Today the castle forms the centerpiece of an excellent Folk Park outlining Ireland’s history with a recreated 19th Century Irish town.

Blarney Castle in County Cork is home to the famous Blarney Stone which, according to legend, bestows the gift of eloquence and Irish charm – or as we say; “the gift of the gab”. For years countless numbers of people have descended on this 15th Century castle and climbed its tall tower to kiss the blarney stone.

Most of Ireland’s large castle residences are now lavish castle hotels that have entertained dignitaries from Princes to Presidents.Ashford Castle and Dromoland Castle are two of Ireland’s leading and most luxurious hotels.

Situated on the banks of Lough Corrib in County Mayo, Ashford Castle is a majestic building of Victorian neo gothic architecture, though the castle’s history dates back to 1228 when it was founded by the Anglo Norman de Burgo family. The Guinness family also owned Ashford Castle and the castle has hosted the Prince of Wales George V and President Ronald Reagan on his state visit to Ireland.

Dromoland Castle also recently had a presidential visit from George W. Bush. Situated in exquisite grounds in County Clare; Dromoland dates back to the 16th Century and is the ancestral home of the O’Brien Clan and Brian Boru the last High King of Ireland. Like Ashford, Dromoland Castle offers the utmost in five star luxury and is steeped in historic character.

Two other historic Irish castles with a special interest of their own are Glin Castle in County Limerick and Ballygally Castle in County Antrim, both of which are reputed to be haunted castles.

Glin Castle sits on the banks of the River Shannon and this elegant 18th Century castle has been home to the Knights of Glin, the Fitzgerald family for over 700 years. But Glin Castle is also home to a friendly ghost, nicknamed Gerald.
Ballygally Castle is situated along the scenic Antrim coastline and dates back to 1625. The central tower of this stark and austere castle is said to be haunted and though there is a bedroom there, nobody has ever braved the full night.

You’ll find more detailed information on Ireland’s castles and Ireland’s visitor castles throughout this website, and we have put a number of suggested self drive itineraries that enable you to visit Ireland’s top Castles and add that touch of luxury to your Ireland Vacation.

article from http://www.discoveringireland.com/castles-in-ireland/

The most recommended destination to visit some of these old sites is west coast of Ireland, from the south whole the way up to the north. Especially Ring of Kerry, Connemara National Park, and Sligo.