Some Irish hidden gems to visit in 2014

In an earlier article we outlined our Top 10 things to do in Ireland in 2014 which hopefully provided useful information for those who are planning Ireland vacations in 2014 and beyond. There is of course so much more to explore and discover on Emerald Isle and there are plenty of hidden gems which would provide visitors with the quintessential Irish experience. Whether you’re a keen hill walker and simply want to soak up the stunning Irish landscape then these suggestions might be right down your alley. 

Guided walks from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher.

No trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. This is an easy three-hour ramble along the cliff tops from Doolin right to the Cliffs of Moher. You will see the waterfall, the sea stacks, the spot where (long ago) they lowered people over in a basket to collect seagulls’ eggs, the piper’s chair, and lots more besides. And don’t worry if you are tired you can get the bus back from the Cliffs of Moher.

The Inishowen 100 scenic route.

The Inishowen 100 runs around the perimeter of Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal, boasting more views per square mile than most of Ireland. The sea is visible from just about everywhere on Inishowen which makes for some stunning back drops so make sure to bring a camera!

Malin Head at the tip of the rugged Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal

You can drive out from Derry and go up the west coast via Buncrana or take the ferry across Lough Foyle from Magilligan Point, which runs every hour throughout the summer with a handy roll on, roll off service and go up the East coast., don’t miss taking a detour to see Kinnego Bay, where the Spanish Armada ship the Trinidad Valencera sank in 1588. It was only discovered approximately 400 years later by Derry sub-aqua club. You can see what they found in the Tower Museum in Derry.

Keep an eye out for the eagles at Mamore Gap on the way over to Dunree Fort overlooking Fanad Head on the opposite side of Lough Swilly. Finish up by watching the sunset at Grianan an Ailleach, an ancient 3 ringed stone fort high on the hillside at Burt on the way back to Derry.

Indulge your Celtic soul on Inis Cealtra.

Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) on Lough Derg is unique, even in Ireland, in that there are monuments and artifacts there dating back some 7,000 years (long before any written evidence) that have survived intact and in-situ (almost) to the present day exactly because of its island location.

From the bullaun stones of the Celts to the 8th century grave slabs in the Saints Graveyard, 10th century high crosses in St Caimin’s church, pilgrims paths and kissing stone and a lot more besides. Inish Cealtra was one of the principal places of pilgrimage in Ireland, but even if you know nothing at all about Irish history or are not even remotely religious stepping ashore on Inis Cealtra is a very special experience, as apart from the 1,000s of years of history, Holy Island’s natural beauty is palpable.

Inis Cealtra on Lough Derg

Hop over to Tory Island.

County Donegal Ireland’s most northerly, inhabited island for anyone who cares to make the hour long journey North of Letterkenny to Magheroarty where a ferry departs daily. While Tory Island is a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) Patsy and the rest of the 100 odd islanders are bilingual and great talkers, musicians and painters.

You can easily see where they get the artistic inspiration if you take any of the walking trails about the island, look back at the mainland and you will see the mountains of Donegal, the steep cliffs, sea stacks and crystal clear waters brimming with fish while seabirds of every kind circling above you.

Hopefully we’ve wetted your appetite a little but stay tuned for some more Ireland Vacation ideas over the coming weeks and months.

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