If you have visited Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher and driven round the Ring of Kerry or just want to avoid the places more likely to be full of tourists, Northern Ireland and Ireland has plenty to offer you. In the following article we highlight 5 of the best hidden gems the Emerald Isles has to offer, and a perfect start for any road trip around Ireland.
Torc Waterfall at Killarney National Park, Ireland
Torc Waterfall at Killarney National Park is located at just 4 miles outside of Killarney and features a jaw-dropping 60 ft. drop from the Torc Mountains into the river, cheerfully titled Devil’s Punch Bowl. Not only is it completely surrounded by thick and beautiful countryside, it is also very easy to access and completely free to enter.
The Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland
Mourne Mountains will particularly interest fans of epic fantasy stories such as Game of Thrones and The Chronicles of Narnia. The mountains and the surrounding area is covered in lots of follies, caves, grottos, rivers and forests that will easily make you feel as if you have transported to another realm. As well as reportedly serving as the inspiration for CS Lewis when he was writing of the mythical world of Narnia, it also serves as the location for filming HBO’s Game of Thrones adaption.
Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland
Glendalough is also known as the Valley of 2 Lakes and sits in a valley deep at the centre of the amazing Wicklow Mountains. The city of seven churches originates as far back as the 6th century when it was founded by a monastic settlement and when you visit here it’s not too hard to see why. Along with just basking in the beauty of the landscape, you can explore the ancient stone structures, medieval church remains, decorated stone crosses, a very unique round tower and a very old cathedral.
Aran Islands in County Galway, Ireland
The Aran Islands are located just 40 minutes on a ferry away from Rossaveel near Galway and to say that they give you a chance to travel back in time is an understatement. The Gaelic language is still spoken on the isles and for the most part, locals travel round in traditional fashion either by horse and buggy, bike or their own two feet. Inis Mor is the largest of the isles and although it isn’t very touristy, it is very popular and features an up market youth hostel, B&Bs and bike rentals. It is best to experience the island on a day trip by bike and explore the ruins of Dun Anegus, an old and imposing Iron Age fortress that features 3 walled sides and 1 open and a 300 ft. drop that leads to the sea.
Inis Oirr and Inis Meain are the other two Aran Isles and receive even less visitors so offer the chance to see completely unspoiled Irish scenery.
Skellig Michael in County Kerry, Ireland
You need the help of a fishing trawler and a clear day to get across the choppy waters to Skellig Michael, but it is worth the effort. Once there you climb the weather-beaten and ancient carved stone steps to the top where you find an amazing sight. There is a group of beehive-style stone huts that date back as far as the 6th century. It is amazing to think that people actually lived on this desolate and beautiful but imposing piece of rock.
This article was written by the guys over at www.traveltrout.co.uk who are passionate about blogging and sharing their experiences with other bloggers and readers.