Posts

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.

Unwind on some of our favourite hikes

Turn off, tune out and take a hike

Ever dream of just unplugging from the world and wandering where no WiFi can find you? Maybe we can help!

It’s great to be digitally connected but what’s even better about living and working in the west is that when you’re ready to take a break from the day to day grind, you have all sorts of hikes on your doorstep.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites here:

Diamond Hill

Diamond Hill Loop, Galway

You’d imagine the best scenery in Ireland would take a lot of effort and uphill struggle – not at Diamond Hill Loop. This easy trek follows a 445 metre descent, providing you with some epic scenic moments like Kylemore Abbey and the Twelve Ben mountains.

Slieve League Cliffs

Slieve League, Co. Donegal

Test your inner dare devil here by walking across the famous ‘one man pass’.  A 400-metre long ridge with steep drops to the Atlantic Ocean either side, it’s a  beautiful scenic hike – just steer clear on a windy day!

Keem Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayo

Croaghaun, Co. Mayo

At 668 metres, Croaghaun is the smaller of Achill Island’s two peaks, but it’s the one with the best views of the sheer drop to the sea. This is where you’ll find Ireland’s highest corrie lake, Bunnafreva Lough West, which is always a great photo opportunity especially with the distinctive Keem Bay in the background.

Benbulben

Benbulbin, Co. Sligo

Undoubtedly Ireland’s most distinctive mountain, Benbulbin is located in the Darty Mountains. Don’t get fooled by the summit height of 526 metres – this mountain is a tough hike and takes about four hours to complete. You’ll get a more accessible climb if you start from the south of the mountain and the breathtaking views of Yeats country from the summit are worth the effort.

Kilkee Cliffs

Kilkee cliff walk

The Kilkee cliff walk is every bit as mesmerising as the cliffs of Moher, just without the crowds, or the fencing!  Some of the key attractions of this 8km cliff walk are the Pollock holes, Diamond Rocks, and Intrinsic Bay. A great starting point is at the Diamond Rocks Café. There are no walls between the walkway and the cliff’s edge, so you’ll get your daily dose of adrenaline just by walking. Just be careful!

Lough Glenade

Eagle’s Rock, Co Leitrim

This glacial formation is an awe-inspiring centrepiece on a tough but rewarding walk.

Located in the breathtaking Dartry Mountains, Eagle’s Rock is Ireland’s highest free standing tower and one of the most iconic landmarks in the Glenade Valley and North Leitrim.

Rainbow over Roscommon 134

Suck River Valley Co Roscommon

The majority of the route is through low-lying farmland, incorporating the boglands of the river Suck, lakes, drainage channels and callows, which are wet grasslands.

Stop along the way at the ‘Nine Friendly Villages’ before heading off to encounter some of the bird and plant life typical in Irish boglands. Really beautiful.

Thanks to Ireland’s Content Pool for the lovely images.