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Keem Bay, Achill Island

Winter in Ireland – we’ve got it covered!

Clear blue skies, bright warm sunshine, miles of clean, sandy beaches – it’s no surprise to us that these describe Ireland perfectly. Ireland does some of its very best work in winter – and you can too. From wandering long cliff-top strolls to warming up with a log fire and a bowl of stew, you’ll wish it was winter all year round.

 

It’s not that cold – honest!

The reality is Ireland is never too cold to enjoy and we often get delightful winter mornings with clear blue skies and sunshine. On the odd occasion when we do get a dusting of snow, well, just wrap up and enjoy!

Make the most of it with a cliff-top stroll on Achill Island or wander in the footsteps of one of Ireland’s best loved poets Seamus Heaney and head out west to the Flaggy Shore.

Lead image, Keem Bay, Achill Island. Pic credit @irish.hikes.with.sansa

 

Croagh Patrick

It’s really quite beautiful

There are some spots on the west coast that simply transform during winter, and the ever-changing landscape is bound to inspire you to have an adventure. The rugged landscape of Donegal is only enhanced by the howling winds and crashing waves that whip along its incredible coastline; and Mayo’s Croagh Patrick glistens magically when snow finally settles on its scree-covered peaks.

Carrowkeel

Carrowkeel, Co. Sligo. Pic credit Siobhan Rheinisch

Experience the winter solstice like nowhere else in Ireland

There is a line of passage tombs stretching west to east across the middle of Ireland, from Knocknarea and Carrowmore near the Sligo coast. Carrowkeel Cairn is estimated to be 700 years older than Newgrange – it is smaller and less sophisticated but remains one of the most spectacular and breathtaking archaeological landscapes in Ireland.

Northern lights

Malin, Inishowen, Ireland. Pic credit Patryk Sadowski of @imaginelightmedia

Chase the Northern Lights

Think the Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights only materialise in Scandinavia, North America or Greenland? Think again. Thanks to its location and low levels of light pollution, Ireland’s northern coastline offers amazing opportunities to see this natural phenomenon. Try a visit to the Inishowen Peninsula, where Aurora sightings are frequent. While there’s no guarantee they’ll appear when you visit, spaceweather.com can send you Aurora alerts!

O'Grady's on the Pier

Pic credit O’Grady’s Restaurant Barna

We have some delicious winter warmers

Tuck into some of Ireland’s traditional dishes, such as a hearty bowl of stew or seafood chowder, to warm you from the inside out. Along the west coast, you will find world class fish restaurants from Harry’s Bar & Restaurant in Inishowen to Grady’s on the Pier, promoting only the finest and freshest local produce fresh from the Atlantic.

Galway Christmas Market

Pic credit @galwaychristmasmarket

City breaks will warm your heart

What can we say? The atmosphere in our cities is electric during winter. Galway’s Christmas is in the top 10 in Europe. This twinkly winter wonderland is the ideal Christmas getaway.

 

The towns and villages are buzzing

On a cold night in Ireland, there is always a log fire to gather around and hear a story or two – the nation has after all one of the strongest storytelling traditions of any indigenous population in the world. On Loop Head, a wealth of folklore – some ancient, some relatively recent – has been passed down from generation to generation, with the stories often embellished for greater effect.

Look out for a ‘Come Here ’Til I Tell You’ session in Loop Head.

Rural walking scheme reopens

Rural walking scheme reopens

Ten years ago, some of the most breathtaking walks in the west were not fully accessible to walkers.

But when a government scheme worked with landowners to open up access across their land, paying them to maintain paths, the number of visitors to key areas and rural incomes were given a much needed boost.

During the recession, lack of funding meant applications to join the scheme were closed even though the hikers continued to come. The good news is, the scheme has now opened up to new members. Find out all about it here