Ireland’s hidden gems

Ireland is full of incredible experiences and hidden gems perfect for those considering embarking on Ireland tours. When looking for things to do in Ireland in 2021 look no further! We have compiled a list of perfect Irish vacation ideas for you to choose from for your next holiday. Ireland has some of Europe’s best tourist attractions but there are some exceptional hidden gems located on the road less traveled.

Downpatrick Head and Bull Rock Island

While many tourists flock to see the majestic and breathtaking sights of the Cliffs of Moher, there are other equally if not more impressive and scenic attractions found elsewhere. Two such wonders when considering Ireland travel are Downpatrick Head in Mayo and Bull Rock Island in West Cork. Named after the area where St. Patrick founded his monastery, Downpatrick is steeped in myth and folklore. This windswept and wave beaten outcrop makes for an incredible stroll to Dún Bríste (Brokenfort) sea stack, featuring awe-inspiring stack and mesmerizing layers of stratified rock. Secondly, Bull Rock Island located off the coast of West Cork offers a once in a lifetime tourist experience, by passing directly beneath the island via a wave-cut sea tunnel.

Hazel Mountain

There are no words to capture the smell of this luxurious and indulgent chocolate factory and cafe. Hazel Mountain is located in the UNESCO recognised Burren landscape and on the route to Galway city, the Cliffs of Moher and the Ailwee caves. This cafe is leading a chocolate revolution in Ireland and pioneers some sinfully indulgent and creative cakes and sweet treats to fuel the travels that await you. Sit down and relax while watching the workers roast and separate beans before grinding, melting and tempering chocolate right in front of you, in this phenomenal open-plan cafe-factory. May life always be so good!

Ballymaloe House

Located near the picturesque East Cork region of Shanagarry and Ballycotton, Ballymaloe House was home to Ireland’s first ever Michelin star. This country house is almost trapped in time, offering a glimpse into real Irish traditional food. Stay a night or two in Ballymaloe House, walk the hundreds of acres of lush and vibrant farmland or do some yoga in their grainstore. Nearby Ballycotton has one of the nicest and longest beaches in the region with an exceptional view of Ballycotton Lighthouse on the horizon. The owners and matriarchs of Ballymaloe House, Darina and Rachel Allen are internationally renowned TV chefs, personalities and outstanding hosts. Sit fireside and indulge in the freshest and most finely executed farm to table food Ireland has to offer.

Phoenix Park

The Phoenix Park was an old British hunting lodge in Dublin which became the residence of the Irish President. This park is one of the best located in any capital city suburbs, with hundreds of acres of woodland to walk and explore. Its’ legacy as a hunting lodge remains obvious, with huge herds of dear roaming and foraging freely to watch and enjoy while you walk or cycle through this magnificent park. This park is a mere stone’s throw from Dublin city centre and all of the traditional tourist attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Zoo and Temple Bar.


While known to Irish people, Newgrange for one reason or another is less known internationally. The monument dates back five thousand plus years, making it older than the pyramids of Egypt. This stone-age tomb’s origins are not fully known. However, the craftsmanship of this ancient landmark must be truly seen to be appreciated. Remarkably the builders of this tomb aligned the passages of the tomb to remain in darkness except for the winter solstice where the light will pass through for a brief moment. This expansive tomb is 85 meters wide and 13 meters high, all formed from stone and earth; it has remained unchanged for millennia.

If you are looking for a great way to discover lesser-explored Ireland, we highly recommend a self-drive vacation. Take advantage of the many Ireland vacation deals on offer and take to the open road and find out what our wonderful country has to offer at your leisure. Choose from six, seven, eight, ten or even fourteen day packages to explore all of Ireland and embrace the adventure!

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