If you’re planning a trip to Ireland in winter, you might be dreaming of warm, cozy pubs and a perfectly poured Guinness, lively folk music and roaring fires. You might also be thinking of wild, desolate landscapes and gloomy, forbidding castles.
Whatever you have in mind for the perfect Irish getaway, here are five top tips to make sure your Ireland Winter holiday goes to plan. (Or not, but you still have a great time anyway!)
1. Take Your Time
OK, there’s a lot to see. There really is. Ireland is a relatively small country compared to many, but it packs a lot of stunning Ireland landscapes and interesting attractions into its perfect proportions.
But however long you have, don’t hurry. Plan what you really want to see and don’t try to cram everything in.
By traveling at a leisurely pace you’ll see things you might otherwise miss. You’ll have time to linger in those Irish pubs, and to savor every Guinness, every whiskey. Take some time and chat with people – the Irish are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality.
2. Soak Up the Christmas Spirit in Dublin
Dublin is famous for its bars and the Temple Bar area is a great place to get into the festive spirit with a range of Christmas stalls.
There are also markets at other places in the city, such as the Docklands Christmas Market and the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market. Looking for some great city watering holes? Check out the Central Hotel Library Bar, with its glamorous furnishings and occasional pianist, or moody, atmospheric The Vaults. The Sackville Lounge, meanwhile, is a real Irish pub complete with a friendly ambiance and top service.
Ireland in the winter rocks!
3. Visit Santa’s Workshop
Looking for a winter wonderland experience for kids and adults alike? Then don’t miss Santa’s Workshop at Aillwee Cave in Ballyvaughan, County Clare. It’s just a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from Dublin.
Aillwee Cave is one of the oldest caves in Ireland and is situated high on the mountainside overlooking the sea. The dramatic and beautiful caverns contain chasms and waterfalls, while guides point out unusual formations and the bones of long-gone animals. Aillwee Cave is also home to a birds of prey center and youngsters can learn foraging and wilderness skills.
Santa’s Workshop is one of the main attractions of Ireland in December. The entertainment includes face painting, puppetry, sparkly gifts, and all the fun of a Christmas carnival.
4. Experience the Winter Beauty of the Ring of Kerry
The southwest of Ireland is the country at its wildest and most beautiful. Experience the raw, untamed magnificence of its scenery in the winter months, away from summer’s madding crowds and bustle. The circular route of the Ring of Kerry is around 110 miles and takes in the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula before turning inland for the mountains, lush landscapes and glimmering lakes of the interior.
Attractions and places to visit in Ireland during Winter include Muckross House, Ross Castle and the Gap of Dunloe, as well as many charming villages.
5. Drive the Wild Atlantic Way
If you’re looking for a longer tour, take your time on the Wild Atlantic Way. This long-distance route stretches for 1500 miles across the western coastline, from Malin Head in County Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork.
Along the way, it takes in breathtaking regions such as Connemara, Galway, and Kerry. You’ll get to appreciate how the incredible power of the Atlantic has shaped the coastline, from jagged ocean crags and sheer granite cliffs to beautiful bays and picturesque inlets.
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