6 ways to fall in love with Ireland now...

Fanad Head, County Donegal

Infinite adventures, awesome scenery and a wild spirit like no other: it’s time to fill your heart with 100,000 welcomes…


Lakes, rivers, canals, and the open sea... it's simple to float your boat over here. Cruise over Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh to Devenish Island, a place where tales of hardy monks and turbulent times spanning 1,500-year history are laid bare. Paddle beneath the night sky on Lough Hyne in County Cork's and see the bioluminescent plankton glow in the dark. Kayak the Blueway around Achill Island, a trail that traces the island’s stunning coastline from Golden Strand to Silver Strand.


Taste the salt on your lips at the Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark! Take on Connemara’s Diamond Hill Loop Walk with its sublime views over the Twelve Bens mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, or learn a cúpla focal (couple of words) as you wander around Spiddal – a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) town in Connemara. In urban quarters, fill your mind with Titanic tales in Belfast, climb to the top of Cave Hill Country Park for views over the city and lough, or maybe head to the shore again to tackle the Causeway Coastal Route Walking Trail, where castles, legends and fantastical landscapes plot your way between Ballycastle and Portstewart.


Eating out in Ireland is to be savoured, a time to feast with friends. It’s about seafood served on a beach, or alfresco dining on fine food from a farmers’ market. It’s about knowing the journey from farm to fork and sea to plate means fresh, local dishes that will more than satisfy any appetite. For a taster, join the Belfast Food Tour. To brush up your culinary skills, book a lesson at Ballymaloe Cookery School or Bellahill Cookery School. Or do it all yourself by sailing out to sea to catch your own breakfast in Portrush, or foraging for your supper with Denis Quinn along the Wild Atlantic Way.


Tucked away from the madding crowds are ways to pamper yourself that are the stuff of dreams. How about a stay in Ballyfinn Demesne, an Irish country house voted number one in the world by Condé Nast? Maybe you’d like to sleep out under the stars in a luxurious Bubble Dome in County Fermanagh? Or perhaps simply look to nature and lose yourself with a soak in a Voya Seaweed Bath along the Wild Atlantic Way. This lot is just the tip of the blissful iceberg...


Underground and overground… there’s an adventurer in us all here in Ireland. One look at the Mourne Mountains and you can see why CS Lewis was inspired to create the land of Narnia. Still in the Mournes, take a moment to reflect at the aptly named Silent Valley. Embrace the views on the Stairway to Heaven in the Cuilcagh Mountains, while below ground at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is a subterranean warren of waterfalls, rivers and lofty chambers. Enjoy a hop, skip and jump along County Mayo’s Clapper Bridge in Louisberg, sway your way over to Dursey Island on a cable car, or get in gear for a drive to the Magic Road in County Louth, where your car literally rolls uphill...


This one’s easy: you’ll probably fall in love with the landscapes, the skies that never stay the same shade for long, and the way you forget to check your watch, your phone or your emails while you’re here. You’ll love the stories – embellished or not – that have been passed down through generations. You’ll love the traditional music sessions that kick off in your local pub, or the sounds of the laughter that rise to the rafters as you join in the flowing conversations. There’s a lot to love around here, so sit back and enjoy the journey.

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