Happy St Patrick’s Day from the Esplanade Team! To celebrate the national Patron Saint day of Ireland we wanted to highlight some of our favorite Irish destinations that are a bit off the beaten track. Currently Ireland is open to US citizens, but there is a mandatory two-week quarantine upon entry. The Irish government is planning on reevaluating their restrictions on April 5th and we are hopeful that they will be open for tourism.

The Howth Cliff Walk 

This stunning cliff view is just outside of Dublin, and is a great casual 2-hour stroll that is accessible to all ages. Enjoy the smell of a fresh sea breeze while heading up to the Baily Lighthouse. Once you reach the clifftop you will be able to see Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island and the whole of Dublin Bay, along with parts of the Wicklow Mountains.

Photo Credit: Paul Costello

The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are just a ferry ride away from the West Coast of Ireland, with ferry ports at both Galway and Doolin. Visit for a day trip or longer! Experience 3 different islands, where you can explore ancient forts, churches, monuments and more. The Aran Islands have many accommodation options, such as B&Bs, hotels, unique glamping and luxury retreats.  

Photo Credit: Jessica Knowlden

The Hore Abbey

Hore Abbey is an ancient monastery dating back to the 13th century, located in County Tipperary. These ruins are delightfully gloomy and the moss-covered rocks are easy to explore. The Abbey was the last Cistercian foundation in Ireland. Did you know that the Cistercian are an order of monks or nuns that have independent order over their property and finances, and follow the rule of Saint Benedict? From inside the Abbey you can see the famous Rock of Cashel, the conversion site of King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.

Photo Credit: Mick Haupt

The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is the road that goes along the coast of Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula. It is about 111 miles in length and the scenic drive takes about 3 and half hours without stopping. Extend your scenic journey through stopping at the many attractions along with way, including some famous filming locations! Did you know the Star Wars films Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Episode VIII: The Last Jedi were filmed at Skellig Michael?! Other attractions include the Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View (which was discovered by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting), and Derryane beach.

Photo Credit: Jean Carlo

Saltee Islands

The Saltee Islands located about 5 km off the coast of Kilmore Quay Co., in southern Ireland. The islands are a bird watcher’s paradise as they lay on a migrating route for many different species, including Puffins, Gannets, and Manx Shearwaters. These islands are among the ancient island of Europe and have been home to many different eras of men, from the Neolithic man to pirates in the 1500s. The islands are now owned by the Neale family, who are huge supporters of the birds and other animals who call these islands home. The islands are open to tourists during midday to enjoy this beautiful wonder.

Photo Credit: Wynand Van Poortvliet

Ireland is full of hidden gems that are just waiting to be explored! If you would like more information on planning a trip to Ireland please contact Diane.

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