Ireland Vacation Ideas

Ireland Vacation Ideas #1:

To get a taste of how real Irish people live, try visiting the small town of Dunmore in County Galway. Located on the N83, on the route to Galway City, Dunmore has only a few thousand residents but eight pubs and a nightclub! There are the usual historic sites in and on the outskirts of the village, such as the monastery and the abbey but nothing spectacular.

In the village there is a small supermarket, a butcher`s shop, a general store, a petrol station and two takeaways.

So why would anyone want to visit Dunmore? The answer is not obvious from the description but it is actually a hidden gem, like hundreds of other villages throughout Ireland. Meat from the butchers is very fresh and tastes superb, the village is clean and the Guinness is amazing!

Still not convinced? What cannot be described is the warm and friendly atmosphere throughout, the impromptu sing songs in the pubs, the "characters" in the village and the sheer diversity where the village post office doubles as an undertakers or farm supply shop! It cannot be beaten and you just have to experience it for yourself.

Ireland Vacation Ideas 2:

Ballyshannon is the oldest town in Southern Ireland, situated on the Erne Estuary in County Donegal. An island in the estuary called `Inis Saimer` is said to be the landing place of the first inhabitants of Ireland. It is the birthplace of the rock and blues guitarist Rory Gallagher, who died in 1995. To commemorate his life, there is a bronze statue of him in the town centre, the Rory Gallagher Museum and an annual music festival.

Other festivals are held throughout the year, the biggest being the Ballyshannon Carnival in October and the Folk Festival held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Home made refreshment is offered by friendly local pubs, cafes and restaurants and accommodation of all types can be found in and around the town.

There are plenty of interesting excursions and activities, including the Five Oaks Ranch which offers western trail rides (suitable for all abilities) on genuine, imported American Quarter Horses. Make Ballyshannon one of your Irish vacation ideas.

Ireland Vacation Ideas #3:

Set in beautiful County Clare, Loop Head is quite remote, making it the ideal place for a complete getaway. The coastline is rugged with ranges of `sea stacks` up to 240 feet high and a hidden peninsula that could easily be the edge of the world! Loop Head has no shops, technology or even signposts but there is plenty to see in terms of nature as it is abundant with wildlife, birds and beautiful flora.

It is actually possible to stay in an actual Lighthouse, but be prepared for a total lack of facilities. Guests are expected to enjoy their stay without the benefits of TV, telephone or microwave! To escape from isolation for a while, travel to the nearby fishing village of Carrigaholt, dominated by its five storey `tower house` castle.

Most of the locals still speak their native tongue and serve traditional Irish dishes designed to satisfy even the biggest appetite. A very popular mini excursion from Carrigaholt is a two hour boat trip to watch dolphins swimming and playing in the Shannon Estuary.

Ireland Vacation Ideas #4:

Moving down to the south coast, Waterford and its surrounding areas are well worth a visit. Home to the world famous Waterford Crystal, the city is divided into various cultural quarters, the oldest of these being `The Viking Triangle`. The triangular shape is created by a 10th century fortified wall which contains the original narrow mediaeval streets and architecture.

Over the last few years, several well known restaurants have taken up residence in this part of the city, no doubt taking advantage of the character of the area. There is just as much to explore outside of the city, with many popular excursions available. These include The Comeragh Mountains, Dungarvon & The Copper Coast, The Gaultier Coast Drive, Lismore & The Vee and The Suir Valley.

Ireland Vacation Ideas #5:

No trip to Southern Ireland is complete without a visit to the `fair city` of Dublin. There is of course plenty to see and do in the city itself, but better still, use it as a base and visit some lesser known places. To make the most of doing this it is best to rent a 4x4 vehicle.

If possible, avoid arranging Dublin-based car hire as it could prove costly, it is best to research and find a suitable vehicle in a town or village outside of the city. Three highly recommended road trips are:

  • The Boyne Valley - historic relics and settlements dating back to 500 BC - includes The Hill of Tara, Drogheda, Newgrange and Monasterboice.
  • The Kildare Tour - a mixed bag - Castletown, Kildare Town,
  • The Irish National Stud and The Japanese Gardens.
  • The Wicklow Mountains - 4x4 needed for diverse landscapes! - includes Calgary Bog, Roundwood, Glendalough, The Military Road, Glencree and Enniskerry.

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