8 Of The Best Outdoor Swimming Spots in Ireland

8 Of The Best Outdoor Swimming Spots in Ireland

This summer has been amazing so far in Ireland and because of that, outdoor swimming has been super popular. A trip to Ireland doesn’t always conjure up images of lazy beach days and sunshine but this summer it really has been just that.

If you are heading to the Emerald Isle for a holiday or are already here then you’ll definitely want to read about 8 of the best outdoor swimming spots in Ireland below.

The 6 Most Scenic Parts of Ireland


Ireland is a breathtakingly beautiful country that has been blessed by mother nature in so many ways. From the dramatic cliffs to the sandy beaches, the rugged mountain ranges to the pretty towns and cities, there are sights for all to see and Ireland's scenery is so interesting and varied it will keep young to old happy. We’ve selected our favourites, most scenic parts of Ireland below and hope you enjoy visiting them as much as we do.


1.Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

If visiting the ocean is your thing then the Cliffs of Moher in Country Clare will definitely float your boat. Of all of Ireland’s scenery along its coast this is the most dramatic and most beautiful.

Stretching for five miles along the Atlantic coast, these 400 foot cliffs offer spectacular views out to sea and its here that you’ll experience nature at its finest. Think salty sea air, the crashing ocean waves below, bird cry all around you and the wind whistling past you.

Its a gorgeous spot to come and gather your thoguhts, but do remember that in the summer months it can get quite busy so plan wisely. During the winter you may get lucky and have some alone time up on the cliffs.



2.Cobh, Co. Cork Cobh is a gorgeous little town in County Cork and it a lovely spot to see some of Ireland’s scenery. The town is full of candy-coloured houses that line the beautiful sea-front. Many cruise ships stop off here too so you’ll often catch huge ships heading for the port. Pay a visit to the cathedral, visit the Titanic Museum which is significant because Cobh was its last port of call in 1912 and wander the chcoclate box streets. 3.Connemara National Park Nowhere showcases Irelands scenery better than its National Parks and Connemar is no exception. Featuring 2957 hectares of bogs, mountains, grasslands, heaths and forest it is an explorers paradise. There are many walking trails in this area of varying levels of difficulty so don’t forget to bring your hiking boots. The park is also home to lots of wildlife and if you’re lucky you may spot Connemara ponies, red deer and an abundance of birds including skylarks, stonechats, and peregrine falcons. There is a visitors centre too that you can have a look around and discover the history of the park.  

4.Skellig Michael, Kerry The magnificent Skellig Islands lie eight miles off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry. Rising majestically to 714ft out of the water they are really beautiful to see. On the summit of Skellig Michael stands a very well preserved sixth century monastic settlement. Take a tour to this beautiful island and see Irelands scenery from a different viewpoint. There are regular boat tours that will take you out and although it can be a choppy ride depending on weather conditions, it is most definitely worth it. 5.Galway, Co. Galway Galway is a stunning harbour city on Ireland's west cost that sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. This gorgeous city has loads to offer with shops, pubs, bars and live Irish music. There is a really rustic charm about Galway, visit the Cathedral, the food markets, the museums and take a walk along the harbour side. Definitely don’t forget to visit the main shopping street which is easily one of Ireland's most scenic shopping areas with brightly coloured shop fronts, buskers and street performers everywhere with Lynch’s Castle towering over the whole street. 6.Killarney National Park Ireland's scenery doesn’t get much better than in Killarney National Park. South and West of the town of Killarney you’ll find this beautiful spot which contains the highest mountain range in Ireland, the McGillycuddys Reeks and at its foot the beautiful lakes of Killarney. If you are looking for some photo opportunitues then look no fruther,. There are many walks and trails around the lakes, up the mountains, through the forest and the park is just so peaceful you could get lost for hours with just yourselves and nature all around you.

A visit to Ross Castle is also nice, sitting on the lower edge of Killareny’s lake the castle was built in the 15th century and remains today for all to see.


8 Essentials to Pack for a Trip to Ireland


With over seven million tourists visiting each year, Ireland is a trip that most of us would like to take one day or may have already taken.

With bustling cities, stunning sandy beaches and an abundance of history, castles and forts its easy to see why so many people want to come and experience what life is like on the Emerald Isle.

Unlike a beach holiday though where you know to just throw your swimmer, sunnies and suncream into a bag its a little less straightfroward for a trip to ireland. The weather is super unpredictable and there are many different types of terrain.

Our eight essentials below should keeop you in check though.


1.Rain Coat

Ireland has a lot of rain, there is no escaping it so just keep this in mind and if you get some gorgeous sunny days then it will be an absolute bonus.

For your trip to Ireland make sure to pack a rain coat that is small enough to fold away and you can carry around with you each day, if there is a short sharp downpour you will thank us for it! And remember that all of the rain Ireland gets is the reason for Irelands stunning green and lush countryside, so its not necessarily a bad thing.


2.Hiking Shoes

Unless you are just heading on a trip to Ireland to stick to the cities then you’ll probably find yourlsef doing some walking in the countryside, with the unpredictability of the weather and the varying types of terrains you might be walking on then it would definitely be wise to invest in some proper walking boots to pack for your trip.


3.Windproof Umbrella

As you’ve probably already gathered, it rains a lot in Ireland! And when it rains the temperature often drops and those cold winds can pick up. Don’t bother bringing a flimsy unbrella that will blow inside out at the first tiny gust of rain, get yourself a wind proof one that will withstand the Irish weather.


4.Warm Coat, whatever the season

Just because you are going on a trip to Ireland during the summer months doesn’t always mean it will be warm. Don’t  get me wrong Ireland does get some beautiful summers days but even during the summer months if the weather turns it can be cold and you’ll really regret it if you don’t pack a warm coat



Layers are the best answer when heading somewhere with such an unpredictable weather system, bring tops that you can easy put on and pull off twnety-five times a day as the rain comes, then the sun comes up, then the wind picks up and so on and so on…...


6.Beach Wear

Shock, horror - yes do still bring beach wear! Ireland is home to some really breathtaking beaches and when the sun comes out there is no better place to be than soaking up the unspoilt nature that Ireland holds.

Ireland does get some gorgeous summers days so definitely do pack your swimmers and your lilo.


7.Power Adapter

Unless you are from the UK you’ll need to bring a power adapter for your trip to Ireland, although these can usually be bought at the airport if you forget, but you really don’t want to be left without your phone, laptop etc.


8.The Best Camera that you own

You will find an absolute abundance of photo opportunities on this beautiful island during your trip to Ireland.

The scenery is so dramatic that you’ll be snapping away all day so pack the best camera that you have to make sure you catch the best pictures possible.

5 Irish Festivals Not to Miss this May


Ireland is a country of beautiful rolling countryside with fantastic cities and towns. Dublin is a bustling, vibrant city where there is always something fun going on and the month of May is no different. Spirits are high as spring is in full bloom and the start of festival season is upon us, so what better way to embrace the warmer weather than heading out to a Irish festival yourself. Here are our six favourites.  

Dublin Dance Festival From the 2nd to the 20th May the Dublin Dance Festival hits town, and what a treat it is too. Bringing the best international dancers to Irish audiences of all ages and backgrounds, it gives Irish dance artists opportunities to create partnerships that otherwise would have been impossible. Aside from that its a beautiful event to see and will definitely make you want to get moving.

There is all sorts going on including family fun if you fancy taking the little ones down there, outdoor events and heaps of live music & voice events.


International Literature Festival

The International Literature Festival comes to Dublin from the 19th - 27th May and gathers the finest writers in the world to debate, provoke, delight and enthral. You’ll find discussions, debates, workshops, performances and screenings, so if you love to read then this is the one for you. Children’s fiction is also really well respresented at this Irish festival so its one for all of the family.


Gin Fusion During the May bank holiday weekend of 4th to the 7th May comes Gin Fusion. Hosted at the Bernard Shaw and the Eatyard in Dublin, the Bodytonic team bring you gin, gin and more gin, oh and some awesome music too. There will be a variety of events going on including gin tastings (obviously), workshops on cocktails and food pairing, and a pop-up market. There will be loads of food stalls, DJ’s spinning tunes and it promises to be a fun filled weekend.



Another Irish festival happening over the bank holiday weekend is Vantastival, a fabulous family festival on the 3rd and 4th of May in Beaulieu House and Gardens, County Louth. The emphasis is on leading a nomadic lifestyle for the weekend so campervans are encouraged. There are loads of great gourmet food stalls, festival traders and fantastic childrens activites, the whole family will have a great time.



The Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival

During late April/early May (28th April - 1st May) comes the Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival and if you love your blues and rockabilly music you’ll be in your element at this Irish Festival. You’ll wind your way through the medieval streets lapping up the huge range of music in the 30 or more venues, hosting over 40 Irish and international acts. There are ticketed and free shows from early afternoon until late into the night.

The 6 Greatest Places to Visit in Ireland this Spring


There is never a bad time to visit Ireland, the dramatic scenery takes on a more atmospheric feel during the winter months and bustling, friendly cities invite you in with their open fires and friendly locals. Come the spring though and you’ll be more than ready to get out and about exploring and you might even get a glimpse of sunshine to warm you up.

We’ve picked five top spots that deserve a visit during the spring months.


  1. Glenveagh National Park

This is the second largest national park in Ireland located in County Donegal and is surrounded by rolling hills and a gorgeous lake which beautifully reflects the sun in the spring and summer months.

Blow off those winter cobwebs with a nice walk in the 16,000 hectares which include the Derryveagh Mountains and the Poisoned Glenn.

There are some beautiful trails that take you around the park, some more difficult than others but all requiring proper walking shoes and prior preparation since there are gradients involved and the walking terrain will often be on loose gravel and not necessarily a path.

The least difficult route is around the lake and is one of the most beautiful too. This route takes around 40 minutes and is mostly flat ground on a gravel path.

If you fancy challenging yourself head for the View Point Trail. Although just a short walk of around 35 minutes, this route has some very steep sections and involves climbing steep and stoney paths. The view from the top is certainly a reward for your hard work.


2.County Armagh, Loughgall Country Park

Head for County Armagh in Northern Island and you’ll find Loughgall Country Park, often referred to as the orchard of Ireland, this is a gorgeous place to visit once the weather warms up a touch in the spring.

You’ll find so much to do, from walks and bike rides to a play area for the children, golf, an adventure trail and a football pitch.

In early May this place becomes home to the Apple Blossom festival which is a three day event where the stunning pink and white blossom that emerges each year plays backdrop to loads of activities happening around the orchard area.


3.Glengarriff Bamboo Park

In County Cork lies the Glengarriff Bamboo Park, a beautiful exotic garden, home to 30 different species of bamboo, palm trees and many other tropical plants. There are loads of lovely walks around the gardens and you can also take in the stunning views of Glengarriff harbour. Whilst wandering the gardens you’ll come across some mysterious stone pillars, there are 13 of these that are thought to be ancient although their significance still remains a mystery.

Walking in Glengarriff Bamboo Park in spring really allows you to forget about those long winter months that have passed and almost transports you to a tropical country for a few hours.



If you’re a surfer then you will probably have been itching for the winter to be done and the spring on its way bringing warmer temperatures so that you can hit those waves.

Sligo is by far the best surfing area in Ireland, yes you’ll definitely still need to wear a wetsuit in the spring but you may get a glimpse of the sun and can enjoy the ocean for longer as the temperatures rise.

While in the area you must definitely visit Gilligahan’s World in Knocknashee. Titled the ‘field of dreams’ these enchanted fairy gardens offer a beautiful, spiritual experience for all of the family. This is a really magical and arty place that you need to really see to understand.

Expect miniature villages, fairy habitats, ponds and pools, animals and loads more. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another little world and the spring light and sunshine will only make it more of a special visit.


5.Burren National Park

Burren National Park is located in County Clare and is a region of environmental interest made up of glaciated karst.

Late into spring in the May months the area comes alive with wild flower and walking any of the five marked trails is more beautiful than ever that take you through limestone grasslands, hazel and ash woods, and limestone pavements.

In May the Burren in Bloom festival comes to the national park where visitors are guided through the gardens learning about the unique flowers and cultural wealth of the area.


6.Liss Ard Gardens

Just outside of Skibbereen, County Cork, you’ll find Liss Ard Gardens, a magical estate of manors, gardens, trails, ponds and lakes. The gardens have been designed like a piece of art and are truly a peaceful, tranquil place to be.

However amid the beauty of this place is something amazing that is quite hard to put into words and really needs to be seen to be believed; The Crater. An architectural installation built in the gardens by artist James Turrell that from above looks like a huge bowl. It’s an incredible experience that we would highly recommend.


We hope you’re inspired to get out and about this spring and lets hope the sun makes an appearance too. Please do keep in mind though that St Patrick's Day is Saturday 27th March, so if you’ll either need to embrace the fun over that weekend or visit at another time when it might be a little quieter on the Emerald Isle.


7 Great Reasons to Visit Ireland Right Away


Sometimes Ireland can get a little over looked. If you are planning a trip away you might lean towards sunnier climes and far off destinations and all but forget about lovely Ireland. I for one am more than guilty of this, with family over there and with it always being on my ‘must go back soon’ list, I definitely haven’t made it to Ireland nearly often enough. If ever I’ve had the time and money for a break away I’ve chosen hot and sunny countries that are a million miles away from the motherland, the rainy UK.

However once you delve into Ireland’s stunning and varied landscapes, buzzing cities, amazing history and culture, you’ll wonder why you never visited before. 1.The Great Outdoors

If you love being outside in the elements, feeling the sun on your skin or the wind in your hair then Ireland may be perfect for you. With rugged countryside to explore, hiking and walking spots in abundance, opportunities to go surfing, sea kayaking, rock climbing, caving and mountain biking, you’ll be totally spoilt for choice.

If you want to be outside everyday then there will be something new waiting for you each morning when you visit Ireland.


2.The Cities

Dublin is the most obvious city to mention here, it is vibrant and buzzing, friendly and welcoming, you’ll struggle not to fall in love with Dublin and if you visit Ireland you must make a point of stopping here.

Ireland’s other cities are full of personality, from the colourful, arty, harbour city of Galway to the medieval Waterford city, the oldest in Ireland.

Whichever of the eleven cities you pick to visit you’ll have a very warm welcome from the locals who will happily share their stories with you over a pint of Guinness.  


3.The Food

Irish food might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you are choosing to visit Ireland, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Traditional Irish dishes like irish stew, soda bread and colcannon can still very much be found, but there is definitely a new era of eating now. Think fresh, locally grown produce and catch of the day in the coastal locations including wild atlantic salmon, poached lobster and Dublin bay prawns. Seafood heaven!


4.The Castles

If history is your thing then you absolutely must visit Ireland to see the castles; gothic, stately or haunted, there are dozens to view.

Blarney Castle in southern Ireland is a favourite for many and gives you an opportunity to climb the ten storeys and kiss the Blarney stone at the top to get the ‘gift of the gab’ as the legend goes.

Doe Castle in County Donegal is a must see also simply because of its beautiful architecture and positioning right on a peninsula that has been completely surrounded by water via a moat cleaved into the rockside.


5.The Festivals

If anyone knows how to have a knees up and good time, its the Irish, and their festivals prove that. If you visit Ireland when a  festival is taking place then grab tickets and go along, we assure you it will be fun.

From the famous St Patrick’s day celebrations to Galway Arts Festival and Cork Sailing Festival, there is something for everyone spread across all genres; music, food, film, comedy and literature.


6.The pubs

The pub are the coroner stone of Irish community, you’ll find bustling city pubs, upmarket gastro-pubs and cute and cosy village pubs, all as welcoming as each other and all with a fantastic range of stouts and lagers.

There really is nothing quite like an old-fashioned pub, sink into a big armchair in front of an open fire and forget the time, just enjoy the moment.


7.The beaches

You may now be thinking we’ve gone a little mad, Ireland, beautiful beaches? Yes, yes and yes. Ok we can’t guarantee you the sunshine but you will love them all the same.

Banna Strand beach in County Kerry is probably our favourite, think beautiful sand dunes for its entire 7 mile length, the Atlantic Ocean and amazing views out to the mountainous Dingle Peninsula.

Strandhill beach in county Sligo is another fine example of Irish beaches. This is a great beach for surfing but not as good for swimming. The area is really beautiful and has panoramic views of Knocknarea and Benbulben. There are some great walks around here too.

6 Fabulous Family Walks in Ireland


What better day out for a family then going for a walk. You’ll immerse yourself in nature, get the away from the TV and get some fresh air into your lungs whilst getting some exercise. Children love exploring nature and as long as you don’t pick a very difficult or long route then you’ll keep them interested and entertained throughout  family walks.

There are just so many family walks to choose from in Ireland which boasts some breathtaking scenery that you may not know where to start. Don’t worry, we’ve handpicked six of our favourite walks that we think hold something for all of the family.


1.Lough Key Forest Park, County Roscommon On the Southern Shore of Lough Key you’ll find a beautiful 800 hectare forest park.

There is a self-guided walk around the park so your children can take the lead and go discovering amongst the vast woodland. There are many types of trees, flowers and wildlife such as deer, fox, hare, rabbit and squirrel.

There are also underground tunnels which the children will love playing in and a nine meter high canopy walk, electric bikes, segways to bomb around the forest on and a brilliant adventure park.


2.Glengarriff, West Cork Glengarriff is located right at the heart of West Cork and is a great spot for family walks. The area is stunning and is set right where the mountains meet the sea at Bantry Bay.

You’ll find a beautiful nature reserve that is great for all of the family to walk around, forming one of the best examples of oceanic sessile oak woodland in Ireland. The woods are nestled in the sheltered glen opening out into Glengarriff harbour.

Also in the area is the Ewe Sculpture Garden which is only a short walk but is always a favourite for the children with amazing sculptures, waterfalls and little bridges.


3.Bray to Greystones The Bray to Greystones trail is simply gorgeous for family walks. The walk itself is relatively easy but does involve some scrambling which children will find a real adventure. The coast line is stunning and if you’re lucky you may even see barking seals hidden within the coves.


4.Causeway Coast, Antrim The Causeway Coast is a beautiful route that can be seen in full via a roadt rip, but if you’re on foot then a great spot to head to is the Giant’s Causeway. The walk down to the causeway is quite long for little ones, but hang in there because its’ well worth the effort. Once you’re down there you’ll have fun jumping, steping and hopping on the interlocking basalt columns that total around 40,000 and make for a giant playground.

There are also some lovely National Trust walks along the causeway which would be suited to family walks.

5.The Great Western Greenway If you’ve a young train enthusiast in the family then this walk is sure to please because it follows the disused railway line from Westport to Achill and for this reason is fairly flat all the way, which is great for little walkers.

During the summer months the route can get quite busy with other people and is a popular spot for family walks.

Along the way you’ll pass by some of the West of Ireland’s most dramatic mountains and magnificent views of Clew Bay and its islands.

6.The Connemara Way The Connemara Way might not strike you straight away as a place for family walks as the difficulty levels vary greatly, but certain parts of this route are simply perfect for little feet.

The best spots to choose are the parts of the walks that go alongside the beach, these sections are flatter and mean the kids can play on the beach along the way, plus who doesn’t love walking alongside the beach?

This section of the Wild Atlantic Way is home to so many beaches we won’t list them all but three of our favourite spots include Omey Strand at the access point to the island of Omey. The beach here is huge which means plenty of space to let the kids run free. Coral Strand, Ballyconneely is another great beach for exploring since it is covered in coral rather than soft sand - no good for sandcastles but great for exploring and collecting pieces of coral in a bucket. Finally we love Glassilaun, Renvyle, one of the most famous beaches in the area because of its gorgeous soft sand and beautiful blue waters. This beach really shows the West of Ireland’s coastline at its most beautiful and provides family walks that you will adore.

7 Christmas Traditions that you'll only know about if you're from Ireland


Although many christmas traditions are celebrated across the board; christmas trees, father christmas, stockings and so on, each and every family have their own little traditions that make christmas unique to them.

The Irish celebrate christmas in much the same way as the UK, USA and so on, but in typical Irish style there are certain little quirks and chritsmas traditions that the Irish do differently.

1.December 8th   

December 8th is the official start of christmas as per Irish christmas traditions. Once this date arrives you can expect decorations to go up, christmas markets and shopping to commence, parties to be had and plenty of christmas cheer to experience.

2.Christmas day swim

For the brave (or slightly crazy) one of the big Irish christmas traditions is the christmas day swim where all over Ireland’s coastline people take the plunge into the chilly, chilly waters, usually for charity. Head for Forty Foot, Sandycove, County Dublin or Portstewart in County Londonderry on christmas morning and you’ll be sure to catch these brave swimmers.


One of today’s christmas traditions is having a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe, however the ancient Celts believed that mistletoe had healing powers. Soon after mistletoe was banned from being hung in houses as it was felt a sign of paganism.

Today mistletoe is once again hung, as a sign of goodwill and peace, and of course the occasional kiss is still welcomed.

4.Midnight Mass

Midnight mass is one of the strongest of Irish christmas traditions and for even the lesser church goers it’s a time to visit church and attend a beautiful christmas eve midnight mass service.

Often family and friends congregate at midnight mass services, catching up and welcoming in christmas together so they often have a fabulous, festive atmosphere with much merriment and cheer.

5.Guiness for santa

So we all know that it’s only right to leave out mince pies and perhaps a glass of something for santa and some carrots for the reindeers, but one of the Irish christmas traditions requires a Guinness to be left out for santa. Yep that’s right, a  big red can of Guinness waiting for santa to consume in each and every house!

6.The Wexford carol

One of the oldest known christmas carols was thought to originate from Enniscorthy, County Wexford. This carol dates back to the 12th century and tells the nativity story though song. Christmas traditions the world over include carols, what would christmas be without carol singers and traditional christmas music.

7.January 6th

In Irish christmas traditions the 6th of January marks the end of christmas and is also known as women’s rest day where traditionally women don’t participate in any kind of house work and the men take down all of the decorations, sort the house out after the christmas period and cook all of the meals. Woe betide any men who don’t abide by this tradition, its very bad luck apparently!

Whether you celebrate a very modern christmas or are a stickler for tradition, we all have our own christmas traditions that make christmas what it is to us and special in its own way.  Enjoy your christmas traditions whatever they may be.


3 City Walks in Ireland

When you think of going walking in Ireland you immediately think of beautiful uninterrupted countryside, mountains, rivers and lakes, but did you know that there are some really fantastic city walks in Ireland too? These can often be overshadowed by countryside walks which is understandable, the Irish countryside is simply beautiful, but we think you’ll love these three city walks too. 1.Dublin Dublin is a bustling city on Ireland’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey. Primarily people visit Dublin to check out its array of shops, pubs, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions, but hidden amongst the hustle and bustle you’ll find some fabulous city walks that even the most avid hiker will love. Being a relatively small city you can do some self-guided city walks that will allow you to see some of the major attractions without having to walk for miles and miles. O’Connell Bridge is a great central starting point and did you know it is reported as being the only bridge in the world that is as wide as it is long? From here you are bang in the middle to walk to all parts of the city, with the affluent southside on one side and the once slumsy northside on the other. Check out the O’Connell memorial and the angel crushing a serpent, plus the Irish wolfhound that is complete with bullet holes from the fighting in 1916. The Garden of Rememberance and Moore Street Market are great to visit plus the Ha'penny Bridge, Temple Bar and the Bank of Ireland. Trinity College is a beautiful, impressive building which can then follow along to Grafton Street, St Stephen's Green and Merrion Row. There is a lot to see in the city centre and it depends how much time you’ve allowed as to how far you can go and what you can see, so pick your wishlist and crack on with your city walk.

If you’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle a bit then head down to the docklands where you’ll find stunning modern architecture, historic buildings, art galleries and river trips. If you fancy a little peace and quiet you could head up to the Hellfire Club / Montpelier Loop trail which starts near Montpelier Hill, north of Dublin’s Marlay Park and Edmonston and loops around. At the top are the ruins of Mount Perlier, now known as the Hellfire Club.

2.Galway Galway is a harbour city on Ireland’s west coast sitting where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean and is the second largest city in Ireland. Think festivals, beautiful coastline, independent book stores, pubs, aquariums and museums. Since you’re on foot you could do what many have done before you and take a pub walking tour, you’ll get to see the city whilst enjoying a beer or two in traditional Irish pubs where the log fires are lit and the locals are welcoming. If pub city walks aren’t your thing though we are sure the Salthill walk will be. With one of the most beautiful panoramas in Galway, Irish countryside stretched for miles and sandy beaches at your fingertips you are sure to enjoy this walk. You could also have a horse ride on the beach, play golf or even go diving.

3.Cork Cork is just inland from Ireland’s southwest coast and is centred around the river Lee. This is a university city so is busy and vibrant whilst having Irish countryside on its doorstep. You could easily do a whistle stop tour of the city in 60 to 90 minutes and if you’ve got longer then pick your must-see areas and wander around soaking up the atmosphere. Many people who live here will tell you that Cork holds the real essence of Ireland so take in the culture, chat to locals and enjoy your city walks. Places of interest to visit might include Cork City Goal, the English Markets, Farmgate Cafe perched on a balcony overlooking the markets is a great place to grab a coffee, Cork Opera House, Market Lane and Triskel Arts Centre are to name but a few.

If you fancy exploring the areas that surround Cork then you could try the Tracton Wood Walk. Tracton Wood is a long narrow V shaped wood in a river valley. Walks here are really beautiful but the wood is quite steep in parts so best to bear that in mind. In the lower parts of the wood the pine trees are dense which means this area is often quite dark which can feel like a real adventure, especially for little ones. There are some lovely, relatively flat trails by the river.

Ireland is a country with many faces, from luscious countryside, to beaches and mountains, there is so much to explore but certainly don’t overlook their fabulous cities and the city walks that these offer.


5 of the Most Luxurious Hotels in Ireland

We all want to get the most for our money and read about bargain hotels and how to travel on a budget, but sometimes you might just want to splash out on a bit of luxury - perhaps you’re celebrating an anniversary or have been saving hard for an exciting trip. Ireland has many a magnificent luxury hotel to offer if you are looking for that really special experience and we’ve listed our five favourites below.


  1. Dromoland Castle, Hotel and County Estate, Clare

Dromoland Castle Hotel is a stunning, majestic castle which was previously home to the O’Briens of Dromoland who were the Kings of Thomond. This luxury hotel is everything you would want from a stay in a castle; think antique chandeliers, sweeping staircases, huge welcoming log fires and luxurious plush sofas. The castle boasts a 400 acre estate that you can spend time exploring, with a lake to wander around and activities on offer like archery or a falconry experience. The luxury hotel has its own Golf and Country Club and beautiful Spa for some proper rest and relaxation. Located Conveniently close to Shannon International Airport if you are flying in and don’t want to waste precious time travelling then this is ideal.

  1. The Europe Hotel & Resort, Killarney

This is one of the most popular 5 star luxury hotels in Ireland. Located in Killarney overlooking the beautiful lakes with the McGillycuddy Reeks mountain range as the backdrop, it is really breathtaking. The Europe Hotel has a real elegance, with modern meeting warm and welcoming. There are a range of activities on offer here including golf, horse riding, boating and fishing, walking and hiking, tennis, swimming, gym activities and spa treatments. You will certainly have enough to fill your time, that’s if you don’t just want to spend it sipping wine in the panorama restaurant with views that are out of this world.


  1. The Marker Hotel, Dublin

The Marker Hotel is a modern, luxury hotel in the lively and wonderful city of Dublin with views out across the city. With a stunning rooftop bar and terrace serving locally sourced ingredients with innovative ideas and excellent service. If your looking for a luxury hotel in the city you can’t go far wrong with The Marker. The rooms are light and fun with fantastic views. Bespoke armchairs and sofas create the perfect space for chilling out while long console desks provide loads of space for catching up on some work if you feel inclined.

  1. Hayfield Manor, Cork

If traditional, beautiful elegance is your thing then you’re going to love this  family owned, boutique luxury hotel in Cork. This is  an oasis of calm in the vibrant city of Cork nestled in private walled gardens so you really feel away from the hustle and bustle. With a number of places to dine on delicious food you can be sure you’ll eat well. They also cater for vegan and vegetarian diets. The Spa has treatment rooms for total pampering, plus an indoor heated pool with a relaxation room overlooking it. Thi hotel has luxury and relaxation at the heart of it and you can really feel that during your stay.


  1. The Savoy, Limerick

This is a boutique, luxury hotel in the heart of Limerick. Situated at the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way there are some great places to visit nearby including the Cliffs of Moher and King John’s Castle. The hotel itself is elegant and luxurious with varying room types, if you fancy splashing out a little more you could book an Executive King Room which has access to the superior executive lounge on the 7th floor. Here you can enjoy complimentary light snacks, tea and coffee. Ayurvedic spa treatments are on offer if you’re looking for some pampering and they also offer an extensive list of laser light treatments.


Ireland is abound with many a luxury hotel, please get in touch if you’d like any further information. Whatever your taste we’re pretty sure we’ll find a luxury hotel for you. From castle’s in the middle of the countryside to luxury city break hotels, Ireland is a fabulous place to visit in the winter months. Log fires are lit, hearty meals are on offer and the locals are so welcoming and friendly you’ll probably not want to go back to the daily grind.


Woodland Walking on the Emerald Isle

Irish forest parks generally have a great emphasis on recreational facilities and most have marked walking trails, cafes, campsites and car parks, so if you feel like a woodland walk then this is a great way to do it. In total, there are twenty forest parks in Ireland so plenty to choose from. We’ve selected a couple of our favourites: Portuma Forest Park, Galway

Portuma Forest Park covers almost 450 hectares. There are four woodland walk trails of varying distances and two mountain bike trails; both are easy rides suitable for all ages that take you along beautiful lake shores and through the woodland. A notable feature of the park is the yew and juniper trees in open woodland along the lake shore. The park has a large population of fallow deer along with pine marten, fox, badger and red squirrel. There is also a big inland colony of cormorants nesting in one of the islands.

Avondale Forest Park, Wicklow

Avondale Forest Park is the birthplace of Irish Forestry. There are three main woodland walks at Avondale; The River Walk is definitely the longest and hardest with steep descents and climbs. Walking alongside the river you pass under two railway bridges and there are stunning river views not to mention the view of Lovers Leap further up the hill. Certainly worth the effort you’ll put in. The Second woodland walk is the Tree Trail where you will meet trees from many corners of the world. Thirdly The Railway Walk which is a linear walk from Rathdrum railway station through the forest to Avondale House. There are also some great leisure cycling routes, orienteering, a children’s playground and a picnic site.

Ards Forest Park, Donegal

Ard’s Forest is certainly one of the most beautiful places you could choose to do a woodland walk. It is 480 hectares and contains a large diversity of plants and wildlife. Ard’s Forest boasts sandy beaches and rivers for those who like to dip their toes and be by the water, plus nature walks, picnic areas and children’s play parks. There are also historical and archaeological interests with in the park including the remains of four ring forts and a number of megalithic tombs. You must also reach the numerous viewing points to see the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside – there is certainly something for all members of the family here. It has a really serene and relaxing feel so if you’re in need of some time out or just fancy a woodland walk in exquisite surroundings then it will be perfect for you.  



Why make the extra effort to head to Ireland for a Walking Holiday?

With such beautiful scenery in England and so many walks to do here on our British soil, why would you choose an Irish Walking Holiday? Are there many differences I hear you ask?

Well if you are a National Geographic fan then you’ll certainly be interested to learn that they put Ireland in the top five walking and hiking destinations in the world! Ireland is rich with beautiful scenery of course, but is also steeped in history, mythology and ancient paths to follow and discover. Although a small island the variety of landscape is huge, there’s beach & coastal walks, lush green valleys, bogs, forests, rivers, historic towns and even trails up mountain ranges. The first thing you’ll need to do is decide what sort of Irish Walking Holiday it is that you’re after.

The Irish are such a nation of walkers so you’ll find the trails are always fresh and really well marked but rarely busy, meaning quite often you’ll enjoy breath taking views all by yourselves on your Irish Walking Holiday.

The fact that Ireland is a small island gives it a distinctively different ecology to Britain, there are far fewer species than on the mainland because it is more difficult for animals and plants to colonise. This may not sound like a selling point, but the flipside is that islands in general do tend to have more species that are endemic to them, Ireland included. The Irish whitebeam tree is an example of this, plus four different bird species; the jay, the dipper, the coal tit and the red grouse. There is something so special about seeing endemic species in the wild and knowing that this can’t be done anywhere else on the earth.

At 4000km in length, the coastline of Ireland is actually longer than that of France, which brings with it a great wealth of seagulls and many marine animals including seals, whales and dolphins. Also, because Ireland is the most northerly country in the world it has fresh water that doesn’t freeze over for long in winter time, which is very significant for birds that breed in the Arctic as it offers survival for these birds through the freezing winter months.

You will find the landscape in Ireland very unpolluted, although the population is of course growing it still largely remains within the urban areas meaning the countryside is unspoilt, often uninhabited and beautifully peaceful with its biodiversity still intact.

And if you still need persuading on the benefits of hopping over to Ireland to hike, then look no further than their pubs! With open fires, thatched roofs, home brews and very friendly and welcoming people, the pub lunches will certainly only add pleasure to your Irish Walking Holiday.