Doonagore Castle near Doolin, County Clare
There's much to EXPLORE on the island of Ireland
Medieval CASTLES dot the countryside and hang precariously from the cliff's edge. Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland lost its kitchens into the sea below one stormy night in 1639. Some castles, like the well-restored Kilkenny Castle trace back to the 12th century. Explore Ireland's well-preserved castles and climb the circular stone stairs. Look out onto the surrounding countryside imagining a foreign army is ready to attack. See the rooms where the families would sleep and the banquet halls, many with period furniture, where celebrations took place. Enjoy a medieval castle feast in some.
Get out and explore Ireland's OUTDOORS and its many landscapes - over 100 beaches, 21 forest parks, 6 national parks, 3 global geoparks, many areas are covered with bog and one area is predominantly composed of kharst limestone. There's mountains and rivers and lakes (called loughs locally). These landscapes are an outdoor enthusiast's paradise -
Hiking (called hillwalking locally) - day hikes and multi-day hikes, coastal cliff walks, family and leisurely walks, "your quads will ache" walks, Ireland's got it all. There's even companies that will transfer your bags from one B&B to the next while you hike from one to the next.
Cycling - on-road or off-road, there's many options available. The Greenways are 40 kms long (and more) and are traffic-free. They're a great place for families to enjoy extended rides. And there are bike hire companies that will transport you or pick you up if you don't want to ride out and back or the entire distance. Many of the back roads are very scenic and don't have a lot of traffic.
Mountain biking - one of the fastest growing adventure activities on the island. It involves riding purpose-built mountain bikes on a variety of off-road terrain. This is a great activity to get outdoors and enjoy Ireland's stunning landscapes.
Rock climbing - per U.K. Climbing, Donegal, in Ireland's northwest has more climbable rock than the rest of Ireland combined. Other great climbing locations include Northern Ireland and the Wicklow Mountains.
Coasteering - a combination of adventure swimming, climbing, scrambling and cliff jumping along Ireland's rugged coastline. It's one of the country's hottest adventure sports. Adventure companies will provide everything you need to
Kayaking and canoeing - in Dublin's city centre, on its lakes and rivers and areas called blueways, on the sea along the coastline, you can literally find kayaking and canoeing locations just about everywhere
Surfing - for experienced riders or novices, Ireland has some great surfing beaches especially along the west coast; you'll find surf lessons at many of the beaches
Horse riding and equestrian - trek across the woodlands, over the mountains or along the beaches; or learn how to jump in an equestrian arena
Golfing - Ireland has some of the world's best golf courses. At the top of the list is Northern Ireland's Royal County Down Golf Club - one of the world's top 5 courses. We can easily create a golf-focused itinerary.
Fishing (called angling locally) - with all of the lakes (loughs) and rivers, there's plenty of fish to go around; salmon and trout fishing are especially popular
Explore Ireland's SCENIC DRIVES - They're literally everywhere - along the coast, through the mountain passes and down into the valleys. Venture onto the back roads - rent a car and self-drive or take the bus. Both are great options. Driving allows you to stop anytime you want. On the bus, you can enjoy the view the entire time. Just when you think you had the best photo op ever, you'll see a better one around the next curve. I love scenic driving late in the day when the sun is low. It seems the sun comes out at this time and the lighting is magical.
Explore Ireland's incredible ISLANDS especially those with ancient history like Skellig Michael and its ancient monastery of beehive huts where the monks used to live or rent a bicycle and pedal around the Aran Islands taking in ancient Dún Aonghasa with its 2nd century BC stone fort located on the cliff 300 feet above the crashing waves below. And make sure to explore Ireland's SMALL TOWNS & VILLAGES with their colorful streetscapes, lively pubs and warm and friendly people.
Explore Ireland's ANCIENT SITES - some of the them are older than the pyramids and well-preserved. The most popular is the Newgrange Stone Passage Tomb - over 5,000 years old. It's a part of the Brú na Bóinne complex about an hour drive northwest of Dublin - a great day trip. Other ancient sites include the Céide Fields - field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs that are over 6,000 years old.
Explore the road that ST PATRICK traveled in the 5th century. Hear the stories about his conversion of the pagan kings and how he taught them about Christianity. Are the stories real or just legend?
Why not even explore your FAMILY HISTORY if your roots are here