Get off the Beaten Path in Ireland
Collected by Yvonne Gordon , AFAR Local Expert
While tourist destinations are plentiful in Ireland, make sure to also get off the beaten track. Ireland is full of wonderful sights to see, from ruins of Desmond Castle, to deserted beaches, and of course the Irish whiskey trail, there's plenty to do off-the-beaten-path in Ireland. If you wander far enough, you will soon have the place to yourself—or maybe just have to share with some wandering Irish sheep.
Adare, Co. Limerick, V94 W8WR, Ireland
This castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion...
Killadoon, Ard Na Mara, Co. Mayo, Ireland
My Irish friend, Aedín, and I were driving from Galway to Westport when suddenly she veered off the main road. "There's a great beach down this way, I think," she said to me. I was up for anything, seeing her country for the first time. We came...
Lissoughter, Recess, Co. Galway, Ireland
With a small pack and a poncho (it will rain), Ireland is literally your oyster. That is, on many hikes you can pause to enjoy fresh ones before returning to the trail. Long-distance paths criss-cross the counties and are well-marked. In addition,...
Vicarstown (Cosby), Vicarstown, Co. Laois, Ireland
When my husband told me about spending a week on a barge traveling the Grand Canal in Ireland, I couldn't have been more excited, already imagining how beautiful and peaceful—not to mention unique—the experience would be. Not a soul around at...
Castleholding, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
I had long been enamored of the stories swirling around the eerie Leap Castle in County Offaly. Notorious for being the most haunted castle in Ireland, Leap looms out of the rolling countryside, a crooked finger gesticulating at a leaden sky,...
27 Kingspark, Scrahane, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 H6F8, Ireland
The clouds threatened, the rain tumbled, and the mercury had gone into hiding. Boat tour? Sure! It started at Ross Castle and half our group had already bailed. Fair weather types. I was going anyway. When in Ireland! So along with three other...
Sligo, Co. Sligo, Ireland
On a sunny September day, I took a walk along Streedagh beach in County Sligo, Ireland, with maritime archeologist Auriel Robinson of SeaTrails. It was an encounter with geologic time, pre-history, and centuries of Irish participation in world...
Parnell Square East Parnell Square E, Rotunda, Dublin 1, D01 ND60, Ireland
Wobbly floors, a crooked staircase, dusty books, an old piano, and a few hundred years of character mix together in the beating heart of old Dublin, the Temple Bar. I spend more than half of every year on the road, calling in at one hotel and the...
Lower Main St, Aghamore, Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
West of Dublin in the heart of Ireland sits the country's oldest working still and the oldest continually licensed distillery in the world. Formerly Locke's Distillery, Locke's is now the name of the museum that contains some of the original...
The Walk, Kinnitty, Co. Offaly, Ireland
Ireland is filled with visual sites that inspire thinking about other times. A recent return trip from Limerick to Dublin Airport had me leaving the M-7 Motorway at Roscrea and traveling some fine slower moving roads through the Slieve Bloom...
Gurteen North, Annascaul, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Traipsing through the Dingle Peninsula gives you plenty of moments to reflect on life as it used to be and the many people that have gone before us. On a self guided hiking trip arranged through Southwest Walks Ireland, we had left our lodging in...
Caherdorgan South, Dingle, Co. Kerry, V92 Y028, Ireland
An archaeological site of some renown (I have yet to uncover which type of renown this is specifically), An Riasc is basically a giant circle of stones with an ancient Celtic cross in the center. No pub, no Guinness, no bacon and cabbage. Nothing...
Loughrask, Rent an Irish Cottage, Co. Clare, Ireland
The Wood Loop Path just outside Ballyvaghan, Ireland, isn't always well marked. I was quite happy to see this little purple-and-yellow sign letting me know I hadn't wandered too far afield. Living in a medium-sized city, it's never really quiet...
The Square, Rinemackaderrig, Carrigaholt, Co. Clare, Ireland
The boat heads out into the silver-green water. I haven't brought the right jacket, so Susanne Magee, the co-owner of Dolphin Watch, brings me a thick, cozy one. We had out into the area where the Shannon River meets the Atlantic, to see some of...
Castle St, Cloonbrackna, Roscommon, Ireland
There aren't many places where a short stroll through town will bring you to a park with its very own large castle! But that is exactly what you will find if you walk Roscommon Town's Castle Road & turn down Castle Lane. Built in the 12th century,...
Querrin, Kilkee, Co. Clare, Ireland
An eco-campground in the Loop Head peninsula, Pure Camping features “glamping”—aka glamorous camping—in pre-erected canvas bell tents. Sleep in a cozy futon bed, stoke the cast iron stone in your tent if it’s chilly, and wake to a silver-pink dawn...
Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
I'll never forget the winding road to Lough Dan that my brother and I took a few years ago. The road curves through the Wicklow mountains like a black snake set against the pure emerald of the surrounding land. Through my infrared camera the...
Slieve League, Shanbally, Co. Donegal, Ireland
At Slieve League/Sliabh Liag, these 600-meter (2,000-foot)-high sea cliffs are among the highest in Europe. The nervewracking drive up to the carpark, with a sheer drop on one side, is enough of a challenge for most people, but it's worth the...
What about a walk around the private lake or woods, admiring the parterre gardens and terraces, before retiring to one of the drawing rooms for afternoon tea in front of the open fire? At historic private country houses like Hilton Park in County...
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