Collected by Siobhan O'Connor
AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
Church Hill, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Glenveagh National Park is one of the highlights of the northwest of Ireland. A number of walking trails traverse the 62 square miles of rugged mountains, lakes, remote bogs, and woodlands, where wildlife such as red deer and golden eagles...
Letterfrack, Co. Galway, Ireland
Connemara, situated at the very edge of Europe, on the west coast of Ireland, is one of the most beautiful, unspoiled places it's possible to find. From the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range in the north through lake-rich Roundstone Bog to the...
Lislorkan North, Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland
On the Clare coast, not far from Ennis is O’Brien’s Tower built in 1835 by Sir Cornellius O’Brien to mark the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher and as some stories have it, to serve as an observation tower for Victorian tourists. The climb is...
Adare, Co. Limerick, V94 W8WR, Ireland
If you've ever dreamed of living in your own Gothic romance novel, consider staying at the Adare Manor Hotel in picturesque Adare, Ireland. This sumptuous hotel and golf resort is located in Ireland's 'Prettiest Village.' It is home to a...
Ashford Castle Estate, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Mayo, F31 CA48, Ireland
If you are staying at or near Ashford Castle, stop by the First School of Falconry. In addition to flying the awesome falcons, you can also fly Dingle, Ashford's resident owl - if he is feeling like it.
Adare, Co. Limerick, Ireland
With its lanes of thatched-roof, old-Irish bungalows fronted by flowering gardens, lovely little Adare is beloved by a certain subset of Irish grannies as the prettiest village in Ireland. It’s easy to see why: An hour south of Shannon...
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,...
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,...
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...
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...
Great Skellig, Skellig Rock Great, Ireland
Ireland is both rugged and beautiful, and Skellig Michael is no exception. Getting here isn't exactly easy, and the final leg of the journey is marked by a nearly 600-step walk up a steep and winding mountainous island path with no hand rails or...
The best drive in Northern Ireland, this is a dramatic 120-mile coastal route between the green Glens of Antrim on one side and the spectacular coastline with its cliffs, unusual rock formations such as the giant’s face (pictured, above) and Giant...
Florence Court House, Florence Court Demesne, Enniskillen BT92 1DB, UK
The 18th-century estate at Florence Court is just the place when you or the family need to get out of the car and explore—and to imagine how the other half lived in centuries past. Grown-ups can take a guided tour through the house, which was once...
43 Marlbank Road, Enniskillen BT92 1EW, UK
Glide into these caves by boat, to see the impressive stalactites and stalagmites that have formed in the limestone rock deep underground over millions of years ago. On a guided tour, you'll hear all about the subterranean caverns, stone pools and...
2 Sea Rd, Galway, Ireland
When the cashier at the Guinness storehouse in Dublin found out I was going to Galway, her hometown, she suggested checking out the Crane Bar for traditional music. Based on the crowds that showed up, this is not a great secret. But it's still...
Glen of Aherlow, Gortnafurra, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
On our drive from Cashel down toward Cork, we took a scenic detour to drive through the Glen of Aherlow, a valley dotted with farms. The Glen of Aherlow Nature Park has several trails of varying length and difficulty that make for a good place to...
Bellataleen, Murrisk,, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Every year on Reek Sunday, the last Sunday in July, up to 30,000 Catholic pilgrims climb Ireland's Holiest Mountain, Croagh Patrick. Also known as "The Reek," the mountain was the site of St. Patricks 40 day fast on the summit in 441 A.D. He was...
Lougheask Demesne, Lough Eske, Co. Donegal, Ireland
While some castle hotels can feel a bit dusty—with all those heavy curtains and canopy beds—the Lough Eske Castle Hotel feels more airy and contemporary than you’d expect from a 150-year-old castle. Located near Donegal Town in...
Lough Eske, Co. Donegal, Ireland
After being renovated into a fancy hotel, the Solis Lough Eske Castle is a gorgeous place to relax during your visit to Ireland. There is a spa and grounds to walk and is a great location for exploring. The northwest area of Ireland is my favorite...
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