What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with a visit to the Emerald Isle? With its raw, natural landscapes and endless coastline, Ireland makes a fantastic getaway destination any time of year, but it’s especially tempting during the month of March when St. Paddy’s Day celebrations are in full swing!
But no matter the season or reason, Ireland has a wealth of hidden, fun, destinations that we’d like to tip you off too.
If you love a good mystery, be sure to check out the Jumping Wall of Kildemock, in County Louth. Here lies an abandoned church that purportedly shifted on its foundation, without rhyme or reason. However, many locals believe the legend that claims the ruins shifted in order to avoid being the burial site of an ex-communicated parishioner! According to Irishcentral.com, a plaque onsite reads, “This wall by its pitch, tilt, and position can be seen to have moved three feet from its foundation.”
If you’d like to try something novel and fresh while in Ireland, why not escape underground for a few hours? Dunmore Cave, in County Kilkenny, offers guided tours of one of the most amazing limestone caverns on the planet. The cave, which boasts passages up to 984 feet in length, has attracted archaeologists and explorers since the 1800’s. Long-ago Viking activity has been documented within the caverns, and the magnificent calcite formations will leave you in awe.
No trip to Ireland would be complete without a visit to a shadowy, abandoned castle, right? Built in the 1500’s, Dunluce Castle in County Antrim, is one of the oldest fortresses in Northern Ireland. But viewers of HBO’s, “Game of Thrones,” will immediately recognize it as the House of Greyjoy on the Iron Islands! Whether or not you’re a GOT enthusiast, the castle has commanding views of the surrounding rocky landscape and is a favorite setting among nature buffs and landscape photographers.
Plenty of pubs dot the lush, rolling Irish landscape, but O’Shea’s Irish Pub in County Kerry is unique in its, ahem, dryness! Hardcore Guinness beer lovers will remember it as the locale for a famous, ubiquitous advertisement that aired about a decade ago. To this day, tourists can’t resist a visit to the charming, white-walled O’Shea’s building to snap a pic beneath the curious logo, “Next Pint, New York.”
Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) in County Dublin, is the incarceration site of several of Ireland’s significant political figures, and a must-see for history buffs. The jail first housed prisoners in 1796 and remained open until 1924. On guided tours visitors will encounter the rooms where the likes of former Irish President Eamonn de Valera, Robert Emmet, and Charles Stewart Parnell, were imprisoned.
Let us know about your favorite off-the-beaten-path destination in Ireland in the comments section below!
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