As lockdown restrictions have begun to relax, Ireland and Northern Ireland have confirmed that hotels and holiday destinations will be reopening from 20th July. With so many of us no longer being able to jet away for summer sun, the staycation or holi-stay is growing in popularity. Here are some of the best destinations to relax and unwind in Ireland this summer.
In Ireland, the hospitality industry has been given the okay to open its doors from 20th July, and the initial demand is expected to be high. Currently, the government is just anticipating residents from Ireland and Northern Ireland to take advantage of this, although flights and ferry services between Ireland and mainland UK are still active, so it will make it an attractive destination for people from all over the UK and Ireland.
Famous for the scenic route the Ring of Kerry, this southwest county is a popular tourist attraction. Spend your trip exploring the ring, taking in the sites of the mountains, lakes, and stunning Killarney National Park. Climb the Torc Mountain, take a peek at Skellig Michael from the Kerry Cliffs and enjoy a swim in the Atlantic at one of the many beaches or coastal spots along the way. The Ring of Kerry is also Ireland’s only Dark Sky Reserve, so don’t forget to bring your telescope! There are plenty of accommodation options available with hotels, rural holiday homes, and camping sites.
Connemara National Park
Connemara is one of Ireland’s most famous National Parks, known for its greenery and mountainous landscape. It was also the location of The Quiet Man, a film depicting the life of rural Ireland starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne. The national park boasts spectacular sights and plenty of walking and hiking trails. Spanning over 3,000 hectares of park, there is a trail for everyone. Popular sites include Letterfrack, the impressive gardens of Kylemore Abbey and the town of Clifton. Connemara is also home to the only coral beaches in Ireland! The Coral Strand is located outside of Clifton and is known as the best beach in Galway. What makes this beach so amazing is that it is made of coral, not sand. There are plenty of accommodation options in Connemara from camping sites to holiday homes and rural Airbnb cottages, with some being located in the spectacular national park or on the grounds of Kylemore Abbey.
The Northern-West county of Ireland, Donegal known and famous for its wilderness. The county has an untamed dramatic coastline and is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Start your trip by visiting the edge of Europe at the Slieve League Cliffs and take in the dramatic views of the cliffs, rolling hills, and Atlantic Sea. Get lost in Glenveagh National Park, known for its wooded forest, castle, and wildlife. Visit Malin Head, the highest point in Ireland, explore the beautiful beaches, famous for being in Star Wars, and for spotting dolphins! If you want a good hike, then there’s no better place to get started than Errigal Mountain. If you want to catch a glimpse of Ireland’s ancient past, then head to the Grianan of Aileach, an ancient stone circular fort. There is so much to see in Donegal, it’s impossible to take it all in, in one trip, you’ll definitely fall in love with this county and keep coming back to see more! There are lots of accommodation options from holiday homes, hotels, B&Bs, rural cottages, home stays, and lots of campsites and caravan homes.
One for the history lovers, Meath is famous for its archeological sites and is often known as Ireland’s ancient east. The most famous monuments are the Neolithic site of Newgrange and Knowth, and the Hill of Tara, the home of Ireland’s seat of the high kings. Other notable sites include Loughcrew Cairns, which is a Neolithic burial site, and Slane Castle. Meath is also home to the town of Kells, where the famous Book of Kells was written, you can visit the Kells Tower and take in the colourful houses and shops of the town. Accommodation options in Meath include campsites, caravan parks, rural cottages and home stays, hotels and B&Bs.
Cork is located in the southern part of Ireland and is known for its beautiful coastline, vibrant city, and warmer climate! The most famous site is Blarney Castle, home to the Blarney Stone, but during the times of Covid-19, you won’t be kissing it and gaining the gift of the gab anytime soon! However, you can still explore the castle’s impressive gardens. Another of Cork’s most famous attractions is Bantry Bay, known for its song. Enjoy the mountainous landscapes, explore the nearby Whiddy Island and enjoy plenty of walks and hikes nearby. If scenery is your thing then be sure to see Sheep’s Head Peninsula, Beara Peninsula, and Mizen Head. There are other islands off Cork’s coast to explore including Cape Clear Island which is known for its rural walks and Garnish Island which is home to picturesque gardens and a clock tower. If you are fascinated by modern Irish history then you can also visit the home of Irish Republican Michael Collins, the Titanic Memorial Gardens, and plenty of forts and castles. In Cork, there are lots of accommodation options from hotels, B&Bs, camping and caravan sites to holiday homes and rural cottages available on Airbnb.
Written by Stuart Cooke, Blog Editor at My Baggage, the Belfast based luggage shipping company. Image credit via gafner.