Escape the City Life to Get Lost in Ireland's Scenic Beauty
Let's face it, sometimes our fast-paced lives just need a little slow down. Luckily, Ireland's vast and breathtaking landscape has that perfect scenic escape you didn't even know you needed.
1. The Burren
To begin your tranquil adventure, take a visit to The Burren, a well-known island in in County Clair. The name comes from the Gaelic Boireann meaning, and the area is just that - rocky. In fact, it's reminiscent of a crater-filled moonscape, and has become one of those must-see areas in Ireland. Just off R480, there’s a little place that’s inaccessible to the tour busses (which we like). Head t the Burren Perfumery and Tea Room - just like the name implies, it’s the perfect spot to feed your hunger and ever-growing antique collection. And the best part? No crowds!
2. Iveragh Peninsula View
Speaking of tour busses, there's another secret if you plan to drive the Ring of Kerry. The drive is 179-km (about 111 miles, - P.S., America, please adopt the metric system) around the Iveragh peninsula from Killarney to Killorglin along N71 and N70 in County Kerry. It’s an amazing drive with one jaw-dropping vista after another and plenty of quaint towns along the way for shopping and dining. But here’s the secret - Get ahead of the tour busses and go around 8 am. The roads are crazy narrow, and you don't want to get stuck behind the busses that clog the roads starting at 9.
Glendalough (in county Wicklow on the East side of the country) is known for its early medieval monastic settlement, and creates an otherwordly setting for adventures and hikes with the deep greenery and frequent fog (a perfect place to live out your Harry Potter fantasies).
The best place the place to go is the cemetery. Once there, find St. Kevin’s Cross. It’s carved from a single piece of granite and legend has it that if you wrap your arms around it (completely, clasping hands on the opposite side) and make a wish, that your wish will come true. Hey, it’s Ireland.
4. Blarney Stone
Since you're in the "land of the luck", there’s no more famous lucky charm than the Blarney Stone. Located inside Blarney castle, you want to arrive early in the morning for two very good reasons: First, to avoid the crowds - the grounds are so vibrantly neon green that they could be a golf course, and the unblemished view of the vast green against an ancient castle is both surreal and time-warp inducing. The second is the stone itself. The guardians stand ready with a spray bottle of disinfectant to ensure each kiss is strictly between the guest and the stone, but being the first “kisser” of the day is always a plus.
5. Cliffs of Moher
Lastly, you should finish off your trip by visiting the breath-taking Cliffs of Moher. A more popular sight for tourists, but for good reason. The cliffs are located off the western headlands of Ireland overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This piece of natural scenic beauty, where land meets the sea is definitely not one to miss.
Ireland is a land of myths, and legends. The treasures are found off the beaten path, under the rocks and behind the trees. Don’t be afraid to talk to the locals and discover their secrets!
Contributed by Roger Sheehy.