Travel Globally

Your guide to international travel

Aug
5

Alternative Ireland

Filed Under Ireland

Helen's TowerDespite what many British people think, there is more to a holiday in Ireland than going to Dublin and getting very drunk. There is even more to it than the Giant’s Causeway and kissing the Blarney Stone. The Ring of Kerry is not the only place for outstanding natural beauty and Galway city is not the only place for traditional Irish music.

Alternative Accommodation

Featured in a poem by Tennyson, Helen’s Tower is a very romantic option for self-catering accommodation in Ireland. It was built in 1848 as part of a local famine relief project to provide work for local people. It is three stories high, sleeps two people and has a rooftop reading room with lovely views over the grounds.

If you want to go really grand, you could stay in the 5 star Dromoland Castle. Originally built 900 years old, it was once the stronghold of Donough O’Brien, son of the High King of Ireland. It is located in County Clare and offers beautiful views of the Shannon river.

Another interesting self catering option could be Lisheen Castle. Build in the 1700s in County Tipperary, this castle is used as the base for a package tour of Ireland which includes scenic walks, traditional Irish music nights and visits to other castles including the Rock of Cashel, a medieval fortress.

For something completely different you could stay in the Gyreum Ecolodge. It’s highest point offers views across five counties. The accommodation is hostel style, very reasonably priced and it’s all very eco-friendly.

Perhaps the most bizarre of all is Conroy’s Old Bar, in Tipperary, which claims to be the world’s first self catering pub. Visitors can stay in this once fully functioning pub with all its original pub-like features including a bar, pumps, bar stools, till and optics. All the booze is long gone but the lounge and open fire are still there. It even sports a king sized bed in the cellar.

Outstanding Natural Beauty

Barley Cove BeachThe west coast of County Cork is often overlooked by visitors to Ireland seeking areas of outstanding natural beauty. However, it boasts the famously beautiful Barley Cove Beach, claimed to be one of the best beaches in Ireland. Designated a Special Area of Conservation by the European Union, it is home to a wide variety of wild life and its sand dunes house many interesting habitats for animals.

Garnish Island, just off the coast of Cork, is famous for its superb Italian style gardens and a seal colony nearby. It is accessible by ferry.

Events

Even with the demise of the popular Oxegen Festival, there is still plenty going on around Ireland to keep you out of the pubs in Temple Bar.

If theatre’s your thing, then head down to Enniskillen in August for the Samuel Beckett festival. Many events take place during this festival, not just performances of his plays.

The whole of Northern Ireland gets involved with August Craft Month, which includes every form of craft you can think with particularly big events taking place in Belfast.

Galway City, always famous for music, hosts its own Arts Festival in July featuring musical acts like Van Morrison and the Waterboys, theatre productions like Ballyturk and Chapatti as well as visual arts, comedy and talks.

Galway Arts Festival

If you do find yourself irresistibly draw to Dublin, then a trip in September would allow you to experience the variety of culture offered by the Dublin Fringe festival at venues across the city offering everything from art to circus style performances.

With such a variety of accommodation, scenic views and events, a trip to Ireland does not have to be predictable with so many interesting and unusual things to see and do.

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