Here’s a list of the ten locations you can’t afford to miss.
See the Northern Lights dancing in clear winter skies, explore the windswept cliffs, and watch seabirds gather in great estuaries. Stroll along Ballymastocker Beach and visit Fanad Head Lighthouse, a popular dolphin-watching spot with a breathtaking landscape. You’ll marvel at the natural beauty of this remote and rocky region.
The Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) cliffs in County Donegal are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, towering spectacularly over the Atlantic. Take to the water and kayak along the bottom of the cliffs, marvel at the dizzying heights and enjoy the beautiful views. Head to Silver Strand, a hidden beach only accessible by the sea or by steps, or check out local craftspeople weaving classic Irish tweed.
The sea swell beckons surfers to Sligo while history buffs travel to explore the ancient sites and megalithic tombs. Visit scenic Mullaghmore Head and take a surfing lesson at Strandhill. Trace the footsteps of W.B. Yeats and find the very same spots he fell in love with all those years ago. The rich heritage of Yeats County captivates visitors time and time again.
Venture to Erris Peninsula in County Mayo and wonder at the expanse of open land, with contrasts of light and dark. The white sand and clear waters of the Inishkea Islands are a beachcomber’s dream. Collect seashells on Blacksod Bay and visit Ireland’s largest colony of Atlantic grey seals. Escape to this remote corner of the country, walk the Erris Head Loop and appreciate its unspoiled beauty.
Clew Bay in County Mayo has an island for every day of the year, or at least, so the stories go. The Bay’s beach combines Blue Flag shores with submerged drumlins formed an ice age ago. Get out on the water and try some adventure activities, choose from paddle-boarding, kayaking and water skiing. Take a boat trip and appreciate the stunning coastal scenery, you’ll remember the spectacular views long after your visit.
The Atlantic surf has shaped everything from Connemara’s landscape to the spirit of Galway city. Visit Killary Harbour, one of Ireland's only fjords, or travel back in time to the untouched Aran Islands. Experience life as an islander and head to one of the cosy pubs for energetic traditional music. Make time for the charming village of Roundstone and climb to the top of Diamond Hill, it’s a challenging hike but well worth it for the incredible view at the summit.
The Burren in County Clare means ‘the great rock’, explore the amazing moonscape of karst limestone which has been earmarked as a World Heritage Site. Take time to walk along the cracked limestone pavements that stretch over 250km and wonder at the dramatic rock formations. Find megalithic tombs older than Egypt’s pyramids and discover its unique ecosystem with native Irish plants and alpine flowers.
A hub of literary and creative culture, Dingle in County Kerry is a beautiful place to spend some time on your short break. Stroll around its narrow streets and check out the epic pubs, spirited live sessions and colourful festivals. Visit the long-deserted cottages on the Blasket Islands, take in dramatic views from Slea Head, and savour the world-renowned seafood.
In West Cork, the timeless air of the Beara Peninsula allows nature to set the pace. The Atlantic Ocean here meets the Gulf Stream, and the microclimate allows for lush vegetation.
Sail around any of the 100 islands, visit castle ruins or take in one of West Cork’s stunning sunsets. Hike through the enchanting walking trails and stay overnight in one of the quaint towns along the peninsula.