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Lesser-Known Must-Visit Travel Destinations in Ireland

by Staff

Are you planning to explore off-the-beaten-path places in Ireland? Get ready to discover five underrated Ireland destinations worth adding to your travel bucket list.

If you have been to all the popular attractions and well-known destinations in Ireland, it is time to explore off-the-beaten-path places on this island. However, finding these hidden gems is not an easy task, and it can be challenging. Luckily, we have done the heavy lifting by preparing this guide to help you discover must-visit lesser-known travel destinations in Ireland.

Murlough Bay

Known for its remote location and outstanding beauty, Murlough Bay is worth adding to your travel bucket list since it boasts wild landscapes and stunning views of the Mull of Kintyre and Rathlin Island. It’s backed by steep rock faces and a sloping hillside, with boulders giving way to golden sands that stretch out to meet up with clear waters. This creates a serene tableau that is ideal for escapes for peace and quiet.

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This bay is situated in County Antrim and is one of the locations regularly used for television and film shoots. These include some scenes in the HBO’s mediaeval fantasy TV series The Iron Throne (Game of Thrones).

While this bay has a calm demeanour, it’s brimming with stories. For instance, the Irish abbot and missionary evangelist Saint Columba landed in Murlough Bay after sailing from the crofting island Iona to Ireland. It was also the chosen burial place of Sir Roger Casement, an international advocate for human rights and an Irish Nationalist revolutionary leader.

The Burren

Measuring around 530 square kilometres, the vast moon-like Burren, centred in County Clare, is one of the most compelling landscapes in Ireland. Here, cool grey alien-like rock etched with cracks and crevices tumbles down to the blue Atlantic Ocean, resulting in one of the most extraordinary phenomena in nature: an enormous rocky pavement dotted with the following:

  • Caves 
  • Fossils
  • Rock formations
  • A variety of wildflowers, including Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants

What’s more? Your adventure in this moon-like place can include visiting the Burren National Park. This park features 1,500 ha of mountains, forests, grasslands, heaths and bogs.

Gleninchaquin Park

Nestled in the centre of County Kerry, Gleninchaquin Park provides awe-inspiring landscapes and scenery. The cascading waterfalls dancing down rugged mountainsides, the mystical stone circles and the serene woodlands whispering tales of ancient times will blow visitors away. 

The park has six designated walks; some are suitable for serious hikers, while others are ideal for all ages. The table below shows some of the walks that you can enjoy at this park:

Walk Details
The River Walk This 40-minute loop walk is a great way to take in the park’s waterways. It starts from the opposite side of the reception car park and follows a path towards the Water Garden.
The Farm Walk This one-hour loop walk takes visitors around the beautiful farm through grazing fields. You’ll enjoy watching sheep as they graze in the fields and see some of the oldest Quercus Petraea (sessile oak trees) in the park.
The Boundaries Walk This 14.5km walk is ideal for experienced hikers and takes approximately seven hours to complete. It follows the whole boundary of the park and takes visitors over the high ridges of An Cheacha (the Caha Mountains).

Caves of Kesh

Also known as the Caves of Keshcorran or the Keash Caves, the Caves of Kesh are a series of 16 limestone caves. They are situated near the village of Keash in County Sligo, and human beings have used them for several millennia. 

These interconnecting caves were formed after the weathering of carboniferous limestone. You’ll find plenty of quartz crystals in the Caves of Kesh, with some caves having glacial boulder beds. The walk up to the caves takes between 20 and 30 minutes and provides stunning views of County Sligo. 

Inishmore Island’s Wormhole

The Wormhole is a giant natural swimming pool that measures about 10m long, 7m wide and 4m deep. The 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship was held here. 

Perched on the edge of Inishmore Island, this blowhole is made of granite and limestone. It was naturally curved by Mother Nature since it was dug out by the ocean. 

The rhythmic and majestic dance of the waves, coupled with the salty breeze, makes it an excellent place for a chill day out.

What to Do on Inishmore Island

The place is available to visit all year round. You can get there by renting a bike and then have a picnic on a cliff with unbelievable views of the ocean. However, swimming isn’t recommended, as there are no lifeguards and in case of an emergency, no one would be able to help.

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The Gearagh

A haven of peace and tranquillity, An Gaorthadh (The Gearagh) provides excellent opportunities for off-road walking. Located 2 km southwest of Macroom, County Cork, this submerged glacial woodland and wildlife refuge is the perfect travel destination for bird-watching. Some of the rare birds you can spot flitting between the trees while connecting with nature at The Gearagh include:

  • Coots
  • Golden plover
  • Mallard
  • Wigeon

The stillness of the water is incredible, punctuated by the distant bird calls or the occasional splashes of fish that add to the enchanting ambience of the area.

Final Thoughts

If you are yearning to explore less widely known travel destinations in Ireland, it is time to pack your bags and visit any of the places mentioned above. While these secret spots are not the most popular travel destinations, they offer an authentic and unforgettable experience.

 

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