Which places do you need to see when you holiday in Ireland?
Tucked away in Europe’s western outreaches, Ireland is worth the journey across the roiling Irish Sea. Here are five places not to miss.
The Wild Atlantic Way
Driving the length of Ireland’s western coast, from County Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula to Kinsale in County Cork, is a wonderful way to gauge the variety of scenery. The route has more than 150 signposted ‘Discovery Points’, ranging from the historic to the gastronomic via the geographic. You can visit ancient castles, eat fresh-from-the-sea Galway oysters, and watch gulls and gannets navigate the air currents around towering sea cliffs.
James Joyce, WB Yeats and Oscar Wilde assured Ireland of its place in the annals of literature. There are a variety of ways to discover more about your favourite writer, from pub tours to a visit to the Yeats Collection at http://www.nli.ie/yeats/ Dublin’s National Library of Ireland. The Dublin Writers Festival, held annually in May, is a great place to discover the newest talents.
Ireland is world-renowned for its golfing facilities, and its coastal links courses will challenge even the most experienced golfer. Handicaps aside, the sea winds and sudden rain showers make navigating the dunes on these courses an experience like no other. Fortunately, most courses are equipped with excellent club houses or summer houses, such as those available from http://www.morrowsectionalbuildings.com/summer_houses, to shelter from inclement weather and enjoy some Irish craic.
This UNESCO world heritage site in County Antrim has been drawing visitors from beyond Ireland since the 19th century. The spectacular stepping stones, which begin at the cliff and vanish beneath the sea, are volcanic in origin, while the myths surrounding their creation are almost as violent. This is a beautiful place to visit – and photograph – at any time of year; however, in the summer houses in Northern Ireland near the Causeway are particularly popular as holiday rentals.
Christian pilgrims have been visiting Croagh Patrick, which translates as St Patrick’s Stack, in County Mayo for 1,500 years. Thousands still make their way to this holy mountain to remember St Patrick’s 40-day fast at its summit and his subsequent legendary banishment of snakes from the country. The views across to Clew Bay and the south Mayo countryside are sure to inspire even the most irreligious.a