Celtic Tree of Life Symbol: History And Meaning

Known as Crann Bethadh in the ancient language, the Tree of Life appears in many different counties, religions, and cultures; including the Celtic culture. 

One of the most popular Celtic symbols, the Celtic Tree of Life plays a big part on the ancient Celtic traditions. Read on to know more about this Irish symbol. 

Celtic Tree of Life Symbol: History And Meaning

celtic tree of life symbol

 

In the early times, the Druids of Ireland were known to hold their important meetings under trees which were highly regarded for their ability to provide food, wood, and shelter.

The ancient Celts also believed that trees were the ancestors of man and the door to the spiritual world. Oak is the most highly regarded tree of all, said to be the most sacred of all the tree species.

Frequently depicted with the branches reaching up and the roots pointing down, the Tree of Life is said to represent the connection between heaven and earth.

These days, this symbol is seen in many forms and used for jewelry and tattoos.

Celtic Tree of Life History

Tree of Life Celtic Symbol

The concept of ‘tree of life’ is not exclusive among the Celts,  because it is also present in other cultures and belief systems all over the world.

The ancient Celtic and Northumbrian crosses have trees in their designs. This was said to be based on their belief that the tree of life symbolizes the forces of nature that combine to create harmony. 

Trees are regarded as an important part of Celtic culture, and they even believe that humans originate from trees. The Tree of Life symbol is inspired by tall trees, specifically oak, that when combined can form a forest with their expansive branches.

The importance of trees in Celtic culture is evident in the many different rituals linked with this intricate symbol.  

The tree of life or crann bethadh, according to ancient Celts, have special powers. It was said that trees of life have the power to bless people with prosperity.


 

In early times, the tribal people of Ireland would leave a tree in the center whenever they cleared a piece of land for settlement. This area with the tree is called the crann bethadh, and this is where they used to hold gatherings.

The concept of the Tree of Life stemmed from the fact that trees provided food, shelter, and warmth for the people. These trees also gave nourishment to other life forms such as animals, birds, insects, and wild plants.

For the Celts, the tree was a major life force that took care of the earth. It was also widely believed that trees are our ancestors. This is why Celts only lived in places where there are oak trees. 

Today, the Tree of Life symbol is often seen in tapestries, blankets, wall decor, ornate woodwork, and jewelry. 

There are also variations of the Tree of Life design, where the tree us on a pot. The pot is said to represent Mother Earth,  who is the source that nourishes all life forms. 

What does the Celtic tree of life symbolize?

celtic tree of life

There are various interpretations and meanings for this intricate Celtic symbol.

One of the most popular meanings is that the Tree of Life is said to represent balance and harmony in nature. The expansive branches and roots in the design are said to pertain to the many forces that come together to achieve balance and harmony.

For the Celts, the Tree of Life is also linked to qualities such as longevity, strength, and wisdom. These qualities are also the reasons why trees are important to Celts.

The Tree of Life also symbolizes rebirth, as seen in how the trees they change appearances with each season. They even performed rituals to mark each change that the trees went through. 


Another interesting representation linked with the Tree of Life is that it is said to connect the upper and lower worlds. The roots are said to extend to the underworld while the branches reach out to the heavens.

The trunk, meanwhile, represents the earth’s plane. It also said that it is through the trees of life that the gods communicate with humans.

In the same way, the Celts believe that these trees are also capable of sending messages to the underworld. 

Significance to the Irish Culture

The Tree of Life, as a symbol of balance and harmony in nature, continues to be among the key representations of the Celtic way of life and culture.

It is an enduring symbol that has a universal meaning, adopted by various cultures. 

The Tree of Life, as a well known Celtic symbol, has a  unique yet easily recognizable design that is often featured in various decorative pieces such as tapestries, vases, and wall decor. It is also seen in blankets, duvets, and pillowcases.

A beautiful symbol with many different meanings, the Tree of Life makes for an interesting statement design in shirts, jewelry, and even as a tattoo.


 

 


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The Celtic Triskele: History and Meaning

The Triskele or Triple Spiral is said to be the oldest symbol of spirituality. Its name comes from the Greek words “Tri” and “Skelos” which means “three legs”.

The spiral is said to be an important spiritual marking that dates back to ancient origins in Irish culture.

Made up of 3 joining spirals, the ancient Irish believed that everything happens in batches of 3, or ‘the 3rd times the charm’ – a belief that still exists today.

The Triskele

The spirals are also said to symbolize the inner and outer worlds and the themes of birth, death, and rebirth as well as the unity of mental, physical, and spiritual self.

Often called Triskelion, it is considered as a complex ancient Celtic symbol.

The Celtic Triskele: History and Meaning

This symbol dates back to the Neolithic era, as evidenced by its presence in the entrance of the 5,000-year-old Newgrange Passage Tomb in Ireland’s Boyne Valley.

Artifacts and markings found in various ancient sites also show that the Triskele became popular within the Celtic culture from 500 B.C. onwards. These artifacts are found in Ireland, as well as Europe and across America. 

The triskele was a symbol that had a variety of meanings for early Pagans.

One interpretation links the triskele to the sun, triadic gods, and the three domains of land, sea, and sky. The triple spiral was believed to also represent the cycles of life (birth, death, rebirth) as well as the Triple Goddess (maiden, mother, and wise woman).

For the Celtic Christians, the symbol was used to represent the Holy Trinity. 

The original three spiral design of the triskele has been reinterpreted in different ways by other cultures. One version depicts an image of three human legs around a fixed centerpiece, such as the one in the Sicilian flag.

Wheeled Triskelion

Today, the triskele/triskelion is seen as part of the design of various emblems, logos, and seals. For example, the symbol is featured on the Flag of the Isle of Man and it was also the basis for the Irish Air Corps roundel.

You can see the symbol in the seal of the United States Department of Transportation, and in RCA’s plastic adapter for vinyl records. the ‘Spider’.

In popular culture, the triskele is seen in TV shows such as in  Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

What does the Triskelion represent?

The Triskele or Triskelion is a  symbol that consists of three interlocked spirals. It is one of the oldest Irish Celtic symbols in existence, and is best known to represent the three worlds; the celestial, physical, and spiritual.

It is also said to symbolize the connection between the three domains namely the earth, water, and sky.  

The Celts associate a variety of meanings to the triskele, with each of them dealing with some aspect of personal growth, human development, and spiritual progress. Examples of these are life-death-rebirth, past-present-future, and creation-protection-destruction.

Many other cultures around the world have adopted the triskele symbol over time because of the versatile meanings and aspects they represent. 

triskelion
Creative Commons via Pixabay | By PlumePluome

An interesting theory regarding the meaning of the Triskele connects it with the concept of reincarnation. This is because the symbol consists of one seemingly continuous line that can be compared to the continuous movement of time.

The triskele is said to symbolize the whole process of always moving forward until one reaches a state of profound enlightenment and understanding. 

There is no single meaning or representation of the triskele, and it is interpreted in a variety of ways by the Celts themselves.

This versatility makes this ancient symbol significant not just among the Celts, but in other cultures as well. It is used by organizations in emblems and seals, to complement their core values, mandate and vision.

You can also find the triskele in product logos, to symbolize durability, stability, and strength. 

We also see the three spirals in art, decor, woodwork, and a lot of other things we see or use every day. The triskele design serves as both a statement and reminder of aspects that are important to us.

 

Trinity Knot: The History Of Triquetra

A symbol that is made of three interlocking circles, the Trinity Knot is also known as the Triquetra, which means three-cornered or triangular.

Not much is said about this Irish symbol origin because it is too old, but some say it’s based on solar and lunar cycles. It is prevalent in Irish history, and it’s one of the popular Celtic symbols. 

Read on to learn more about Trinity Knot’s history. 

Trinity Knot: The History Of Triquetra

The Trinity Knot

There is no definite meaning for the Triquetra, but it is commonly associated with earth, fire, and air. Others say it represents the mind, body, and soul.

The Trinity knot, however, is known as one of the earliest symbols of Christianity, pre-dating the cross by hundreds of years, and it used to symbolize the 3 in one of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. It can also be seen in Celtic metalwork and is present in the Book of Kells.

The Trinity Knot History

Celtic Trinity Knot or the Triquetra

The history of the Trinity Knot or Triquetra, as well as its meaning, has always been the subject of debate. It holds meaning for both Christians and non-Christians alike, which is why there are at least two versions regarding its origin. 

To be able to trace at least the history of the Trinity Knot, it is best to look at and interpret how and where we find this symbol.

Most archeologists and scholars agree that this Celtic symbol is a pagan design more prominently used by Celts.

This knotwork was used to adorn early Celtic artifacts. The earliest versions of this knot were made up of braids, plaits, and spirals, mostly seen in artifacts that date back to around 450 A.D.

These patterns were used to depict, people, animals, and plants. The design and pattern evolved over time, to the Trinity Knot that we know today which is said to have been from the 7th century. 

 


For the Christians, meanwhile, it is widely believed that the Trinity Knot started with the monks. It is said that these monks brought the Trinity Knot design along with Christianity when they converted the Celts.

For Christians, the triquetra represents the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This design is found in Celtic Christian treasures from the 7th to 10th centuries.

Examples of these treasures that bear at least one triquetra are the spectacular Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow, and the Killaghtee Cross.  

From adorning ancient artifacts, high crosses, and manuscripts, the Trinity Knot is now a popular symbol in body art (tattoo) and jewelry).

Neopaganism has also adopted the triquetra as a representation of the goddess as well as the three stages of womanhood: maiden, mother, crone. 

Meaning of Trinity Knot Symbol 

Celtic Trinity Knot or the Triquetra

The Triquetra is a Celtic knot composed of three interlinked leaf-like shapes that form an overall triangular profile. Some variations of this knot include a circle at the center.

The triquetra, like most Celtic knots, is basically one continuous line interweaving around itself, with no beginning or end. This knot is said to symbolize certain aspects of the spiritual life. 

As for its meaning, it all depends on who you ask. 

Christians believe that the three points of the trinity knot symbolize the three elements of the holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Pagans, on the other hand, will tell you that the trinity knot is the representation of the natural elements – earth, air, and water.

Other interpretations associate the trinity knot with life, death, and rebirth. Other theories present a variety of meanings for the triquetra, all of which reference three entities that are connected to one another.

An example of these three interconnected entities are the three domains earth, sea, and sky. 


The Significance of Triquetra 

Despite its many interpretations, one the Trinity Knot shows how the Celts favor the idea that everything important in the world comes in threes. It could be the three spiritual elements for Christians, the three stages of life, or the three domains.

Some triquetra design features a circle in the middle, which represents the unity among the aspects or elements. 

This unity and the infinite design of the triquetra fits so well with the Christian belief. This is why they have adopted the Trinity Knot to adorn high crosses, monuments, and manuscripts such as the beautifully illuminated Book of Kells.

The triquetra and other Celtic knots are also seen in Christian art pieces in Britain and Ireland.

Check out some of the sample Celtic inspired gifts below.


The Celtic Knot: History And Meaning

This Celtic knot is indeed popularly associated with the Celts, which is understandable because they have made numerous innovations in the art. 

However, this Celtic symbol is said to have been around during the time of the Romans, or even as earlier in Byzantine Constantinople.

The Celtic Knot: History And Meaning

Celtic Knotwork

This interwoven knot only began to appear in Celtic Art around the mid 5th Century. There were no clear accounts as to how and why this knotwork reached the Celts. 

However, as the Irish Celts perfected the knot, they soon developed their own knotwork tradition. This specific knotwork style is called the Ultimate La Tene or Hiberno-Saxon Insular art, and it surfaced around 650 AD.

This was the same time when biblical manuscripts were put together by Gaelic monks in monasteries in Ireland and Britain.

The next centuries became witness to the increasing popularity of Celtic Knots and other designs of its kind.

Numerous examples of the Celtic Knot pattern were featured prominently in early Christian manuscripts as ornamentation.

celtic knot two part circle

An example is the 8th Century Book of Kells, and you can have a look at some pages in the Trinity College Library.

Another manuscript that featured Celtic Knots is the Lindisfarne Gospels from the late 7th Century.

The knots were used as decoration or to adorn the first letters of chapters, as well as for the hair of the apostles.

The Celtic Knot are also seen in the Irish High Crosses built during the 8th to the 12th century.

These Hugh Crosses have designs that feature scenes from the Bible along with various Celtic patterns such as animal figures, network, and spirals. 

What is the meaning of the Celtic knot?

The Celtic Knot is perhaps one of the most recognizable artworks in Celtic history. It is also referred to as ‘endless knots’ or ‘mystic knots’.

A Celtic Knot is made up of a series of overlapping or interwoven knots that don’t have a clear start or end.

These knots have essentially stripped that loop and wind their way over each other, creating a loose weave. The knot is either a single strand that interlaces back and forth over each other or a number of interwoven strips. 

celtic knot

There are different theories and interpretations with regard to what the Celtic Cross represents. The general consensus among scholars is that the Celtic knots hold both religious and secular meanings. 

Its religious purpose evidenced by the Celtic knots adorning Bible manuscripts, crosses, and even jewelry. Since the Celtic knots have no beginning or end, it is said to represent the enduring nature of our spirit.

Meanwhile, the secular and even the more esoteric interpretation of the Celtic Knot alludes to an uninterrupted life cycle. The infinite path of the interlaced lines is said to represent a life whereof peace and stability.

Another theory states that the Celtic knot also represents the Celts’ belief in interconnectedness and continuity. 

Significance

celtic knot

The Celtic Cross, despite having no clear symbolism, plays an important role in Irish history and culture.

The Book of Kells, for one, is considered one of Ireland’s national treasures. It contains complex and grandiose illustrations that include the Celtic Knot.

This masterpiece of the monks of Kells has brought to us not just one of the oldest books in the world. It also gives a glimpse of ancient Irish art and literature. 

The popular knotwork appears in many High Crosses all over Ireland, with most of them erected during the middle ages. These High Crosses are richly decorated, depict scenes from the Bible combined with Celtic designs such as the famous interlacing knotwork.

Back in the 8th to 12th century, these High Crosses were used by monks to introduce and teach the Gospel to the people of Ireland.  

Today, Celtic knots figure prominently in decorative art and used in jewelry design, body art (tattoo), clothing, and home décor.

Due to its infinite design, the  Celtic knot is also considered a lucky charm as well as a statement piece to symbolize unity and inclusion.

Celtic Knot Products

 

Celtic Cross – The History Of The Irish Cross

The most popular among the existing Celtic symbols, the Celtic Cross which has a circle on its intersection became the common Irish symbol. 

Also known as the Irish Cross, the Cross of Iona, or the High Cross, has first emerged in Ireland in the early Middle Ages. Read on to find out more about this traditional Christian symbol. 

Celtic Cross – The History Of The Irish Cross

The Celtic Cross

 

Where did the Celtic cross come from?

The history of Celtic Cross goes back to Middles Ages and it predates Christianity. It also has different versions of its origin.

Some said that the cross originated from St. Patrick when he was trying to convert the pagans in Ireland to Christianity.

The story says that St. Patrick used the cross and combined it with the sun to help convince pagans to convert to Christianity. The sun used to be worshipped by the pagans and St. Patrick used this knowledge to convert them.  

Others claimed that it started with St. Declan or St. Columba.

Another theory is that it came from Scotland and it might have inspired St. John to bring it to Ireland or Scotland got it from Ireland.

Whatever the story of the origin is, the Celtic Cross is clearly one of the most important symbols of Christianity in Ireland. 

What is the symbolic meaning of the Celtic cross?

Celtic Symbols and their meaning

There are various interpretations as to what the Cross means, and some say that this symbol represents knowledge, strength, and compassion.

Others say that the four points are linked to the four cardinal directions, or the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), or as a representation of our mind, soul, body, and heart. And the circles around the cross intersection symbolizes unification, totality, inclusion, and wholeness. 

But, since it is also widely recognized as a Christian symbol the ring surrounding the cross, is believed to symbolize God’s never-ending love for mankind.

By the mid-19th century, this religious symbol not only became a religious symbol but also an emblem of the Celtic identity. 

Is the Celtic Cross Irish or Scottish?

As mentioned earlier, it is not clear where exactly the cross first appeared. But some versions of the history say that the cross was found first in Ahenny in Tipperary and in Iona – a small island off the Scottish coast.

Although the high crosses in Ahenny are older, it is also possible that when St. John’s visited Iona as part of his pilgrimage, he might have gotten the idea from Iona crosses and brought it to Ahenny. 

Why is the Irish Cross important?

St Patrick's Well Marlfield

Despite contradicting stories of the origin of the Celtic Cross, one thing is consistent.

This Irish cross has a significant contribution to Christianity in Ireland and it becomes a traditional Christian symbol in Ireland. 

These high crosses become symbolic that people used it for the memorial of famous people and important landmarks markings.

During the 1800s, these Celtic crosses became more popular that people used them as headstones and monuments. Up to this day, you’ll find these crosses everywhere in Ireland. 

Irish Cross Inspired Products 



 

12 Best Irish Beers That You Must Try In Ireland

Ireland has a rich brewing history, and it dates back to more than 300 years. It is often said that Ireland has two important contributions in regards to drinks and celebrations – whiskey and beer.

The emerald isle is known as the producer of some of the most popular beers in the world, and the most famous of which is Guinness.

12 Best Irish Beers That You Must Try In Ireland

However, when in Ireland, you’ll soon find that there’s plenty of different beers to try, in a variety of colors, flavors, and ABV. Here are some of the best Irish beers that you must try. 

1. Guinness

Guinness Irish beers

Easily the most famous beer in Ireland, Guinness is also often considered as among the best. Even if you’re not much of a beer drinker, this one is a must-try in Ireland.

Guinness is malty and sweet, with just a hint of bitterness.  There are also notes of roasted coffee and chocolate, and a distinctly smooth, creamy texture.

Guinness has been brewing at St. James’s Gate in Dublin since  1759 and is sold in over a hundred countries across the world. 

2. Franciscan Well’s Friar Weisse

The Franciscan Well Brewery is one of the oldest and most respected craft breweries in Ireland.

Based in Cork, they are known as the producer of the Friar Weisse, a German-style unfiltered wheat beer.

Known as one of those Irish beers that truly packs a punch, it is flavorful with just a bit of zest. Be careful though, this brew is pretty strong so savor just a pint or two if you don’t want a nasty hangover. 

3. Galway Hooker

Galway Hooker

The interesting name of this Irish beer comes from a traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay, and nothing else. This traditional style brew of an India Pale Ale and has a distinct citrusy aroma and a fruity flavor. It is produced by the oldest brewery in Connacht province on the west coast of Ireland. If you’re looking for a beer that veers away from the usual malty and slightly bitter taste, the strangely named Galway Hooker is a must-try. 

4. Harp Lager

Created by Guinness Brewery in 1960, this Irish beer was named after the Brian Boru harp featured in the Guinness logo.

Harp has a golden color, has well-blended flavors from malt and hops, and is not that bitter. It is light and crisp and is actually best paired as a Half and Half with Guinness.

A Half and Half is basically a half pint of Harp poured with a half-pint of Guinness. The result is a truly Irish drink that’s a must-try. 

5. Kilkenny Cream Ale

Kilkenny Cream Ale

This legendary Irish beer has been around since 1710, brewed at the St. Francis Abbey Brewery until 2013.

From Kilkenny, it moved production to Dublin but never quite lost its appeal. The Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale is best taken chilled to fully enjoy its flavors.

It has a lovely aroma, a smooth malty sweetness with hints of caramel and fruits. This is the kind of beer that goes well with potatoes, cheese, meat pies, and even cheesecake. 

6. Five Lamps Irish beer

The Five Lamps brand got its name from a lamp post with five lanterns,  situated at the junction of five streets in Dublin.

The brand only started serving up its brew in 2012 and is a favorite Irish beer among those who prefer low alcohol (4.2%) volume but still want a bit of flavor.

This Irish beer is a good combination of malty and fruity, and won’t give you a killer hangover in the morning. 

7. Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s Irish Stout
Murphy’s is a rich abs thick beer that’s not too bitter and almost tastes like chocolate milk.

The beer originates from Cork and has a distinct coffee presence, which makes it ideal for creating adult beer floats with ice cream.

Murphy’s Irish stout is sold in draught-style cans just like Guinness and is one of the tastiest Irish beers. 

8. O’Hara’s Irish Stout

O’Hara’s Irish Stout

O’Hara’s is a more traditional Irish stout, still craft-brewed and regarded as one of the best beers in Ireland. It has a creamy feel and a full-bodied, strong malt profile like Guinness.

However, it has a distinct dry and sweet finish, which makes it a good drink to pair with savory meat pies.  

9. Porterhouse Red Irish Ale

Porterhouse Red Irish Ale

Treat yourself to Porterhouse Red Irish Ale and enjoy a unique Irish beer experience.

On its packaging, it says that this craft red has “exuberantly, joyfully fruity with a bit of malty caramel.” The taste is quite interesting, buttery and nutty and with a fruity hint. It has a smooth toasty malt finish. 

If you’re going To eat anything with Porterhouse Red Irish Ale, a hearty boxty or potato pancakes is recommended. 

10. Scraggy Bay

If you’re doing the Wild Atlantic Way road trip and have reached Donegal, be sure to try the Scraggy Bay beer.

Made by its local brewer Kinnegar, it is a strong (5.3% volume) and refreshing, perfect for a nightcap.

It may not be the most popular Irish beers but it is said to be one of the best that any beer connoisseur must try. 

11. Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Smithwick irish ale

Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale will surely be appreciated by beer drinkers of all kinds.

This one is specially brewed for those looking to enjoy a delicious Irish beer but without the heaviness of stout. The amber-red color gave the beer its name and known for its smooth balance of malty and bitter flavors.

The name Smithwick’s is pronounced with a silent  “W” so it comes out sounding like “Smitticks”. 

12. The White Hag Irish Brewing Company Black Boar

This imperial oatmeal stout with an interesting name originates from White Hag, a well-loved brewery along the northern part of the Wild Atlantic Way.

The Black Boar is a delicious mix of toasty and bittersweet, with a distinct alcohol presence.

This must-try Irish beer is smooth and full-bodied, ideal for those who prefer an intensely flavored dark ale.


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13 Best Castles In Limerick That You Must Visit

Located in the southwest of Ireland, County Limerick is home to a vibrant medieval city as well as many historic and cultural sites like castles.

These Irish castles of varying states of preservation are scattered along the countryside, silently telling stories from the country’s turbulent past.

From ruins set on a hill or a river island to well-preserved structures nestled within estates – here are the best castles in Limerick that you can visit. 

13 Best Castles In Limerick That You Must Visit

1. King John’s Castle, Limerick

king john's castle limerick

King John’s Castle is a 13th-century castle located on King’s Island in Limerick and next to the River Shannon. The castle overlooks the river and the panoramic view of Limerick City.

The stunning new exhibition brings to life over 800 years of King John’s Castle and Limerick City’s dramatic history all through Touch-screen technology which will connect visitors to tales of siege and warfare.

And if you are staying in neighboring cities, it is one of the best day trips that you can do from Dublin, Cork or Galway.

Location: Nicholas St, Limerick, Ireland

2. Askeaton Castle, Croom

Askeaton Castle
Creative Commons via Wikimedia | By Mike Mc Carthy

The scenic Askeaton Castle was first constructed in 1199 and stands on a tiny island on the beautiful River Deel.

This castle in Limerick was blown apart during the Desmond rebellion in 1580 and was completely dismantled when invaded by the Cromwellian forces in 1652.

Today, visitors can only see remains of the old Askeaton Castle, such as the 15th century Banqueting hall, as well as what was left of a 13th-century wall.

Location: High St, Croom, Co. Limerick, Ireland

3. Bourchiers Castle

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Built in the 16th century, Bourchiers Castle was named after Sir George Bourchier.

He was the son of the Earl of Bath and the family-owned the castle until 1641. The castle is located at a peninsula on Lough Gur near the town of Bruff in County Limerick.

Also known as Castle Doon, this ruined five-story tower house was used as protection for the northern approach to Knockadoon on Lough Gur.

The castle is not open to the public, but there’s a visitor center nearby where you can learn about its history as well as the surrounding areas. 

Location: Loughgur, Co. Limerick, Ireland

4. Carrigogunnell Castle, Clarina Village

Carrigogunnell Castle

Built in the mud 15th century, Carrigogunnell Castle sits on a  volcanic rock that has amazing views of the whole Shannon estuary. 

Located close to the village of Clarina, this Limerick castle is comprised of a multi-sided enclosure. It is fortified by a 15th-century wall that’s not quite in a good state. 

The castle remains to be a sight to behold, though, as one can still see remnants from when it was blasted apart by cannon during the siege of Limerick in 1691. 

Location: Ballybrown, Clarina Village, Co. Limerick, Ireland

5. Dromore Castle, Pallaskenry

Dromore Castle

A lovely mix of Gothic and Medieval architectural styles, Dromore is one of the newer castles in Limerick. It was built in the early 1870s for the Earl of Limerick, from a design by Edward William Godwin.

Dromore Castle stands on a hill by a lake in a large forest thicket. It is made up of a three-story block, has a side tower and round tower at the back.

Visitors are not allowed to access the interiors of the castle but the view from the outside is quite stunning.

The present owners of the castle live nearby and those who visit can ask permission to have a closer look. 

Location:  Dromore, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick, Ireland

6. Fantstown Castle, Limerick

Fantstown Castle

Fantstown Castle is a 56 feet high fortified tower house situated east of old Kilmallock town.

This Limerick Castle stands in a farmyard, already in ruins but still in good condition. Fantstown Castle dates back to the early 1309s and was built by the Fant family.

In the 1600s, the castle was restructured, replaced the top half being replaced, and added turrets.

Despite some damaged parts, this five-story tower still has some of its old features intact such as bartizans and fireplaces. 

Location: Kilbreedy West, Bog Road, Co. Limerick, Ireland

7. Glenquin Castle, Glenquin

Glenquin Castle

Dating back to the 16th century, Glenquin Castle is one of the finest tower houses built during that era. This well-preserved structure is located in the village of Killeedy in County Limerick.

The structure takes its name from Gleann an Choim which is Irish for Glen of the Shelter.  This Limerick castle was built as a fortified dwelling and has undergone restorations throughout the centuries.

Its appearance is more if a tower house than a fairytale castle, comprised of a six-story limestone tower that has been repaired and reroofed. 

Location: Glenquin, Co. Limerick, Ireland

8. Glenwilliam Castle, Ballingarry

This structure is located in Ballingarry, Limerick, and is highly regarded for its architecture.

Built by the Rev. William H. Massy in the early 1800s, Glenwilliam’s Castle reflects the building style developments from the time it was constructed to the many additions and restorations done for the past few centuries.

One of the main features of the castle are the bows in the center of the house, the front tower, turrets, and many outbuildings. 

Location: Ballingarry, County Limerick

9. Glin Castle, Glin Demesne

Glin Castle

Situated near Tarbery in County Limerick, Glin Castle is set in a 500-acre woodland estate. It stands by the banks of the River Shannon and was originally a long thatch house built in the 1780s.

This well preserved and restored Georgian castle is made from local stone and features three gothic folly lodges.

At present, the castle is still in the hands of the Knights of Glin and is rented out from March to November. Glin Castle makes for a stunning venue for weddings and other special occasions. 

Location: Glin Demesne, Co. Limerick, V94 VF68, Ireland

10. King John’s Kilmallock

King John's Kilmallock

Not to be confused with the 13th-century castle in Limerick City, King John’s Castle of Kilmallock town was constructed in the 15th century.  This landmark is a four-story tower that used to be part of Kilmallock’s northern gate.

Considered as a good example of a ‘Peel’ tower (watchtowers where signal fires can be lit by the garrison to warn of approaching danger).

From the time it was built, King John’s Castle frequently changed ownerships and was at one time used as a military hospital. It was renovated during the 18th to 19th century and was used as a blacksmith’s workshop. 

Now a National Monument, you may visit the castle and the rest of Kilmallock town which has a lot of beautiful period structures. 

Location: 13-15 Sheares Avenue, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, V35 VP63, Ireland

11. Castle Matrix, Adare

Castle Matrix

The 15th-century Matrix Castle was founded by the Fitzgeralds, and located in the outskirts of County Limerick’s Rathkeale town. The castle was where the English writer Sir Walter Raleigh met the poet, Edmund Spenser.

This meeting was said to have inspired him to write ‘The Faerie Queen’. The castle was abandoned for centuries and fell into disrepair.

In the 1960s, it was bought by the American Sean O’Driscol and restored Matrix Castle to its former glory.

Today, it is still owned and maintained by the O’Driscoll family and houses a library that keeps a collection of original Wild Geese documents. 

Location: Adare, Ireland

12. Springfield Castle, Dromcollogher

Springfield Castle
Creative Commons via Wikimedia | By Gary Deane

Located in the heart of County Limerick, Springfield Castle rests in a lush 200-acre estate. The avenue that leads to the estate is lined by ancient lime trees that are itself, a must-see.

This castle is actually a group of buildings that surrounds a courtyard.

Springfield Castle started as an old stone keep built by the Fitzgeralds in the 15th century. More structures were built by its subsequent owners.

The castle is now known as the ancestral home of Lord and Lady Muskerry.

The estate offers wonderful accommodations for those looking to explore the area and the nearby Wild Atlantic Way. The castle also hosts events like weddings and other special celebrations. 

Location: Springfield, Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick, Ireland

13. Adare Desmond Castle, Adare

Desmond Castle Adare

The Desmond Castle is located on the edge of the village of Adare, just off the N21 on the main Limerick to Kerry road.

The castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years.

It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion in 1536 when it was forfeited and granted to the Earls of Desmond who gave the castle its present name.


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9 Best Camping Sites In Ireland With Amazing Views

The lush and varied geography of the emerald isle offers diverse options that visitors can explore.

From hiking to trekking to taking on the most challenging climb up a mountain are just some of the ways to experience Ireland’s natural beauty.

For those who are willing to leave behind the comforts of a proper accommodation, camping in Ireland promises to be a great experience.

Wicklow Mountains national park

Imagine waking up in the mountains with a view of the valley, or on an island in the Atlantic or enjoying a meal under the stars, with the sound of the crashing waves.

Camping is a great way to truly experience Ireland, and here are some of the best camping sites you may want to consider. 

9 Best Camping Sites In Ireland With Amazing Views

1. Beara Peninsula, Cork/Kerry

Beara Peninsula

One of the most beautiful camping sites in Ireland is in Beara Peninsula in County Cork.

Framed by the mountain ranges two mountain ranges of  Caha and Slieve Miskish as well as the Atlantic coast, this guarantees an unforgettable camping experience.

Along with the spectacular scenery though is the breeze, so don’t forget to bring a jacket and scarves.

There are designated campsites in the area that offers a kitchen and toilet facilities for a fee, and you can also just hike and find yourself a spot in the mountains.

The latter option does not have the comforts of a designated campsite so bring all that you’ll need from food to wipes. Always remember though to follow the Leave No Trace rule. 

2. Brushers Adirondack Shelter, Co. Wicklow

Mucklagh

A unique wild vamping adventure awaits along the Wicklow Way. Instead of just pitching tents, you’ll find Adirondack shelters in remote parts.

These remote areas have the best views of the beautiful mountains and surrounding areas.

You may still bring your tent, of course, and use it along with the hut if ever it’s available when you visit. This is real wild camping and there are no kitchen facilities so bring your own supplies.

There are no toilets either so bring whatever you’ll need to stay comfortable while making sure that you keep the campsite clean as well.

The huts along the Wicklow Way are located in Brushers Gap, Mucklagh, and Mullacor.

3. Eagle Point Camping, County Cork

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re up for more than just camping, Eagle Point Camping in County Cork offers some fantastic water activities.

This area in the Eagle Point Peninsula in Cork offers kayaking, sailing, and windsurfing, along with its spectacular surrounding views. 

The campsite stretches over a large area and is surrounded by water. It is close to scenic attractions such as Garinish Island, Glengariff Woods, and Glengarriff Bamboo Park.

There are no kitchen facilities on site but there is a supermarket where you can buy supplies.

There are restaurants near Eagle Point Camping so if you’re heading out to explore, you can check them out as well. Eagle point also boasts of great sanitation facilities, toilets, showers, and a laundry area.

4. Knockadav Wild Camping, Waterford

Located in the Knockmealdown Mountains, this wild camping spot guarantees a wonderful escape from the city hustle.

The uphill journey maybe a bit challenging and you’ll have to endure chilly winds, but the fresh clean air and spectacular views are truly worth it. 

From the site, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of lush farmlands and Blackwater Valley. The area is also home to some rare bird species such as red grouse and the hen harrier.

As mentioned earlier, the site’s altitude means that the winds are colder so pack a warm jacket and thick scarves.

The site doesn’t require permits or fees for campers unless you’re a large group (more than 10). There are designated sites, and campers are advised to follow the Leave No Trace rule. 

5. Mannix Point, Kerry

Mannix Point

Mannix Point in Co. Kerry is regarded as one of the best camping sites in Ireland that offers the most scenic views.

This camping park is close to the coastline near Cahirciveen and surrounded by the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula. It has toilet facilities and a camper’s kitchen where you can either cook or buy your food.

This place is also the nearest to the departure point for the Skelligs so that’s something to do during the day to make the most of your trip.

6. Omey Island, Connemara

Omey Island

How about camping on an island, surrounded by the crashing waves if the Atlantic?

A one-of-a-kind wild camping adventure awaits in Omey Island, Connemara, where you get to relax under clear skies that are even more stunning at night.

Thus campsite is situated just off Claddaghduff in Connemara, in a tidal island that you can easily cross on foot from the mainland.

From this site, you’ll have amazing views of the Aughrus peninsula as well as the Atlantic.

There are no shops or other facilities on the island so bring all your supplies with you – from the tent to food. As with every campsite, leave no trace. 

7. Purecamping, County Clare

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Purecamping is considered as one of the best camping sites in Ireland.

It is a go-to campsite for those who want a relaxing respite, and it caters to all sorts of campers. You may choose to pitch your own tent or rent one of their furnished cabins.

Located in the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare along the Wild Atlantic Way, this place is open to campers from May to September.

Purecamping is surrounded by lush woodlands, and if you want to swim, the water is just a 15-minute walk from the site.

It is also known for its eco-friendly facilities such as naturally composting toilets and recycled rainwater showers.

8. Valentia Island Caravan and Camping, Co. Kerry

Valentia Island

Another of the best camping sites in Ireland is located in Valentia Island, County Kerry.

It is along the Wild Atlantic Way, and just three kilometers from the Ring if Kerry – two of the most scenic routes in the emerald isle.

This location guarantees splendid views from the campsite. Thus area takes pride in its cleanliness and outstanding facilities such as kitchen, laundry area, and toilets.

The campsite and the rest of Valentia is a beautiful place that has plenty to see and do.

From here, you can easily explore the Skelligs and see more of the sites along the Atlantic coast. 

9. North Coast of Ireland – Carrick Dhu Camping and Caravan site

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Up in the northern coast of Northern Ireland is the stunning Carrick Dhu Camping and Caravan site.

This massive campsite us open mostly for caravans, but there is a designated area for pitching tents for £25.

Situated outside the town of Portrush, the area boasts of good security. There are no kitchen facilities available, so bring your own food and cooking supplies.

The toilet and shower facilities are clean, and there is an area for charging your gadgets. 

Situated on the Causeway Coastal Route, the stunning Atlantic Ocean is just across from the Park entrance.

From the site, you may also enjoy coastal walks into both Portrush and Portstewart along the scenic Port Path.


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Galway City Museum: All The Things You Need To Know

One of the most popular attractions in Ireland, the Galway City Museum is perfect for solo, couple, or group travelers who want to comb a piece of extensive information about Galway’s past.

Rated as the most popular places to visit in Galway, the Galway City Museum showcases the history, sea science and archaeological artifacts of the city. So read on to learn more about this city museum.

Galway City Museum: All The Things You Need To Know

galway city museum

The Museum was founded in the mid-1970s and was originally located in Comerford House which was also the home of the English artist Clare Sheridan.

The Comerford was owned by the Comerford family and it was a popular prehistoric house during its day. The Comerford then sold the property to the Greenwood family and then finally owned by Clare Sheridan who was the first cousin of Sir Winston Churchill.

In 1976, the original museum then founded. 

Initially, the museum was only collecting Sheridan’s collections but eventually started collecting other artifacts and cultural heritage. 

And by 2004, the original museum was closed down. 

Galway City Museum

In April 2007, the new museum was then built beside the original location. And it is now the modern museum that we are known today. 

And as the city museum was modernized, the collections grew as well. 

The museum hosts exhibit featuring the Great War and the interesting marine life along Galway’s coastline.

You can also find a big collection of artifacts and souvenirs from World War I and the Civil/Independence War, Medieval and pre-Medieval era in Galway, and all the way back to its prehistoric times.

The Galway City Museum is a repository of the cultural heritage of the city of Galway so you can’t visit Galway without going to the city museum. 

Visitors information for Galway City Musem

Opening Time

Tuesday to Saturday -10am-5 pm
Easter to end of September –12pm-5 pm

Admission Fee 

Free

Contact Information

Address: Spanish Parade, Galway H91 CX5P

Email:museum@galwaycity.ie

Phone:+353-091-532460

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary For 7 Days

Hailed by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Wild Atlantic Way is a  spectacularly scenic drive that’s a must if you’re in Ireland.

It spans over 1,500 miles, encompassing the entire west coast of the Irish isle. Along this stretch are sea cliffs, sandy beaches, quaint villages, and historic monuments. 

The Wild Atlantic Way got its name both for its wonderfully rugged landscapes and its often wild weather. The atmosphere is rather mystical, with enchanting roads that seem endless and deserted.

The wild atlantic way Ireland

Yet this is exactly what attracts people to devote a few days to explore this part of the emerald isle. 

Tackling the Wild Atlantic Way in just a few days seems like a daunting task. The entire stretch runs through at least six counties, all of which have plenty of attractions one can’t simply resist.

The drive itself also takes time, albeit it’s not going to be boring. How does one take on this challenge then? 

Here’s a suggested itinerary that’ll take seven days to complete. It’s a south to north route, meaning you’ll be driving on the side of the ocean.

It starts on the southwestern tip of Ireland, all the way to the north. It’s a mix of the popular and unmissable attractions, as well as some from off-the-beaten tracks.

Driving can be exhausting, so here’s our recommended stops, accommodations and places to eat on this Wild Atlantic Way itinerary for seven days. 

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary For 7 Days

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary Day 1 — Dublin to County Cork

Cork City Ireland
Cork City

Leave Dublin early to beat the morning rush and head South to Cork.

Without stops, travel time takes three to four hours but it doesn’t hurt to pause every now and then to appreciate Ireland’s naturally lush scenery.

You should be able to reach the city of  Cork just in time for brunch or lunch, and you’ll soon find out that you’ve just arrived in one of the best places to enjoy a meal. 

Regarded as Ireland’s culinary capital, Cork boasts a variety of cafes, eateries, pubs, and restaurants that serve anything from traditional Irish fare to fusions of international cuisines.

The city is also home to the iconic English market, where you will find some of the best take-outs or sit down eateries in the city as well as fresh produce and delicacies.

Buy some hearty and filling sandwiches to take on your Wild Atlantic Way road trip, as well as bread, pastries, and chocolates. 

After you’ve enjoyed the food and see a bit of Cork’s city center, it’s time to hit the road again. County Cork is the ideal starting point for a south-to-north road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way.

From the city of Cork, it only takes thirty minutes of driving to reach Kinsale, a harbor town situated at the southernmost tip of Ireland.

kinsale ireland
Kinsale

A charming village with a picture-perfect waterfront, Kinsale is more than its spectacular ocean scenery.

Drive or park somewhere and walk around town to explore narrow streets with colorful houses. The Wild Atlantic Way is more than its natural scenery, but the heritage sites in each stop as well.

In Kinsale, visit the intriguing haunted ruins of Charles Fort and then continue driving to  Kinsale’s Old Head to see the pretty lighthouse. 

Your next stop after Kinsale should be Mizen Head, also known as Ireland’s most southwesterly point. It is located at the end of the Kilmore Peninsula in County Cork.

mizen head
Mizen Head

These dramatic cliffs are best for some wildlife spotting while taking in the rugged scenery.

Mizen Head is at the edge of Ireland and here, you’ll have one of the most breathtaking seaside walks.

A lovely place to catch the sunset, this should be your last stop on your first day of exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.  

Where To Eat:

Farmgate Cafe or Market Lane in Cork City for a tasty lunch of Irish dishes. Salvi’s or Mother Hubbard’s cafe in Kinsale for dinner.  

Also, check out our list for the best restaurants in Cork City and the best pubs in Kinsale

Where To Stay:

Tierney’s Guesthouse, a cozy retreat right in the heart of Kinsale. You can also check this list of best accommodations in Kinsale

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary Day 2 – Cork to Kerry

Beara Way
Beara Way

While still in County Cork, set out early and drive along the stunning Beara Peninsula.

This is the area that crosses from County Cork to County Kerry and said to be one of the most scenic places in the Wild Atlantic Way but still not that touristy.

It’s an interesting drive as you cruise through colorful houses in the streets of Eyeries before you reach the jumping-off point for  Garnish Island. You can reach the island by a short ferry ride and the garden there is a must-see.

Eyeries
Eyeries, Cork

If you’re into Bronze Age monuments, check out the Derreenataggart Stone Circle instead.

For a relaxing break before continuing on your drive,  stroll along the white sand beaches of Ballydonegan Bay.

After enjoying a bit of the sea and sun, it’s time to hit the road again, this time to County Kerry. The rest of the day will be essentially a tour of the spectacular Ring of Kerry, where you’ll experience the best of Ireland’s natural beauty.  

The ideal first stop is the scenic town of Killarney for lunch.

Afterward, see a bit of the massive national park – spot some red deer, take in the lush scenery or visit Ross Castle.

Continue driving and stop every ten or thirty minutes to enjoy gems like Ladies’ View, Moll’s Gap, the picturesque Kenmare Town, the lush mountain views in Sneem, and finally, an hour-long drive to Portmagee. 

On the approach to Portmagee town is an 18-kilometer route via Ballinskelligs.

Portmagee RING OF KERRY
Portmagee

Here, you’ll get to see dramatic, wild landscapes and the Skellig Michael on the horizon. For best views of this mystical island, the ideal stop-off point is definitely the Kerry Cliffs.

The cliffs are over 305 meters high and present breathtaking views of the Skellig Islands and Puffin Island. This has to be the perfect ending to a day of driving through scenic routes. 

You won’t easily forget the thunderous crashing waves and the cool wind on your face as you watch the sunset over the islands. 

Where To Eat:

Bricin Restaurant and Boxty House or Treyvaud’s in Killarney, which both serve contemporary Irish cuisine. The Mooring’s Guesthouse and Restaurant in Portmagee for dinner and breakfast the next day. 

Where To Stay:

The Mooring’s Guesthouse, located right at the heart of Portmagee.

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary Day 3 – Portmagee to Dingle

Valentia Island Ireland
Valentia Island

The third day starts early as there are long drives involved. As with the past couple of days though, the scenery is more than worth it.

From Portmagee, it is literally just a few minutes’ drive to Valentia Island.

If you can’t get enough of the Skelligs and want a bit of a hike, then this is a great way to start your day.

Valentia is one of Ireland’s most westerly points and connected to Portmagee by the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge.

Once you reach the island, you have the option to do the Loop Walk along with Bray Head, which is close to the car park.

Bray Head
Bray Head

Another option is to just admire the views towards the Skellig Islands, then drive up Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs. There’s a €5 entry fee here and the ascent is quite steep, so keep the car in first gear as you make your way up.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most magnificent views in the Wild Atlantic Way, and the rest of Ireland. 

After taking in the scenery, drive back down to Valentia and into the long way to Dingle. There will be stops every hour, to stretch the legs and see more of the Atlantic coast.

From Valentia, it will take 50 minutes to reach Rossbeigh Beach to relax in the sand and taking in lots of fresh air.

After you’ve had enough of the sun and surf, another 50 minutes of driving should take you to Inch beach. This is where you stop for lunch, while you listen to waves softly crashing. Inch beach is also considered one of the best beaches in Ireland

Inch Beach County Kerry
Inch Beach

Rest a bit after lunch and find a nice spot where you can watch surfers tackle the Wild Atlantic. 

After Inch Beach, another hour of driving takes you to one of the best routes in this road trip – the Slea Head Drive.

This is a circular route that starts and ends in Dingle, and something that you shouldn’t miss. The entire stretch is an hour and ten minutes without stops, but the entire afternoon should be more than enough to see some of the best sights here.

One of these must-visit places is Coumeenoole Beach, a gorgeous piece of paradise with rugged cliffs and stunning coastal scenery.

Just a short distance from Coumeenoole is the lookout point for the breathtaking Dunmore Head.

Dunmore Head
Dunmore Head

From this scenic stop, it’s another short drive to Dun Chaoin Pier, where the Blasket Island Ferry departs.

Take a stroll down the pier, or admire the view from the cliffs surrounding it.

From here, the rest of the Slea Head Drive will take you to Reask monastic site, Dunbeg fort, beehive huts, and Kilmalkedar Church. Stop to see them up close, and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

Slea Head drive

After hours of driving, treat yourself to some hearty pub grub for dinner and soak up Dingle’s famed pub culture. Enjoy a pint and traditional Irish music before calling it a night.

Where To Eat:

Sammy’s for a filling lunch in Inch Beach; John Benny’s Pub for tasty pub grub dinner and Murphy’s Ice Cream for dessert.

Where To Stay:

Dingle Harbour Lodge if you prefer a central location or Dingle Peninsula Hotel if you can’t get enough of amazing Wild Atlantic views. 

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary Day 4 – Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare and Galway

cliffs of moher
Cliffs of Moher

The fourth day in this Wild Atlantic Way adventure takes you to one of the most visited places in Ireland – the spectacularly scenic Cliffs of Moher.

Located in County Clare, this is a three-hour drive from Dingle so leave early. You should arrive just in time for brunch in the bustling tiny village of Doolin, which is the ideal starting point for hiking along the cliffs.

Have a filling meal first and rest a bit before taking on this scenic journey. Walking the entire stretch of these rugged cliffs takes about two or three hours depending on your pace.

The walk along the drop off is quite unforgettable and you’d want to snap photos in between taking in the scenery. There are also a variety of seabirds that call the cliffs their home so watch out for them, too. 

You should be back to Doolin by early afternoon, and back on the road. Drive towards Galway and stop at this must-see by the border – the majestic Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle
Dunguaire Castle

Situated by the Galway Bay, the castle dates back to the early 1500s. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful fortresses in Ireland. Get out of the car and see it up close.

Check out the unmissable surrounding landscapes, and visit the museum. Since you’re already in County Galway, how about a little city break? 

A wonderful mix of the old and the new, culture and history, great music and delicious food – Galway is the ideal non-coastal stop in the Wild Atlantic Way.

spanish arch galway
Spanish Arch in Galway

Walk along the medieval city center, see Lynch’s Castle on Shop Street, enjoy a tasty seafood dinner and listen to some traditional Irish music. Galway is your well-deserved city treat as you make it through halfway of this scenic road trip. 

Where To Eat:

Kai for its innovative menu that’s also vegan-friendly; Ard Bia at Nimmos, Galway for their superb take on contemporary Irish cuisine. 

You can also check out this list of best restaurants in Galway. 

Where To Stay:

If you want to stay within Galway City, there’s the Harbour Hotel and  Park House Hotel which has good ratings and popular with guests

You can also check out this list of best hotels in Galway City. 

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary Day 5 – Galway to Mayo and then Sligo

kylemore abbey castle
Kylemore Abbey

Your inland treat continues on day five, as you see more of Galway.

From the city, drive for an hour and twenty minutes to the grandiose Kylemore Abbey.  This stunning mansion located in a vast estate is beautifully reflected un the still waters of Lough Pollacapull.

This property has 33-bedrooms, built by the Henry family in the 1860s. This idyllic home now houses Benedictine nuns, but open for visits.

Enjoy a relaxing morning stroll in the lush Victorian gardens, along with the verdant parklands and the lake. 

Achill Island West Mayo
Achill Island, West Mayo

After perhaps an hour or two, get back on the road and towards Achill Island, which is just an hour and forty minutes away.

Located in County Mayo, this island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. There’s quite a lot to see and do here, but first, enjoy a delicious lunch first.

After a filling meal, stroll along any of the five blue flag beaches. Check out the Neolithic ruins, the 15th century fortified tower of Carrick Kildavnet Castle, and the former home of Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll. 

After exploring Achill, you should be back on the road for a longer drive – around two hours to another fascinating area in the Wild Atlantic Way, County Sligo.

Now we’re back to the true definition of ‘wild Atlantic’ but we’ll save the tours for the next day. Have dinner, a pint or two then rest early. Day six is going to be quite spectacular. 

Where to Eat:

Gielty’s Bar in Achill Island, for hearty bar food; Hargadons in Sligo for their take on a traditional meal. Have a bowl chowder and any seafood dish. 

Where to Stay:

Strandhill Home, which is conveniently located close to the beach and pubs. 

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary Day 6 – Sligo and Donegal

Mullaghmore, Sligo
Mullaghmore, Sligo

Day six starts with a thirty-five-minute drive from your accommodation in Strandhill to the charming village of Mullaghmore in Sligo.

Here, you’ll find a lovely sandy beach that offers amazing views of the Atlantic and the nearby Benbulben.

Walk around the scenic  Mullaghmore Head, where you’ll spot seabirds such as  Fulmars, Gannets, Oystercatchers, and Manx Shearwaters and see the magnificent Classibawn. This scenic morning walk takes an hour to complete. 

Benbulben
Benbulben

From Mullaghmore, it’s just a short drive to Benbulben, a flat-topped rock formation that’s 526 meters high. It is a protected geographical site in Sligo and part of the Dartry Mountain range.

This is an area often referred to as Yeats Country because it inspired many great works of Nobel laureate and Irish poet W. B. Yeats.

Benbulben offers unparalleled views of the  Sligo coastline that slopes towards the Atlantic. This is also your last stop in Sligo before lunch, and an hour and forty-five minutes drive to County Donegal.   

Hailed by the National Geographic Traveller as the Coolest Place on Earth – Donegal’s wild landscapes make it an unforgettable last stop in this Wild Atlantic road trip. The first destination is the otherworldly Slieve League, which has the highest sea cliffs in Europe.

Slieve League

It is definitely grander than the more popular Cliffs of Moher, as Slieve League towers 2,000 feet above the Atlantic.

This place doesn’t get crowded so take your time and carefully walk along the edge. Savor the break from driving and take in the dramatic scenery, this is the Wild Atlantic Way at its finest.

You may even stay here until sunset before you drive towards your accommodation, which should be another treat. How about staying in a castle? 

Where to Eat:

Lough Eske Castle has a superb on-site restaurant but you may also enjoy meals at Market House or Harvey’s which are both close by.  

Where to Stay:

At the historic Lough Eske Castle, nestled in a sprawling estate. You may also want to stay at the romantic St. John’s Point Lighthouse.

You can also check our list of best castle hotels here. 

Wild Atlantic Way Itinerary Day 7 – Donegal

Donegal in ireland

The last day of this one-of-a-kind journey through Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way will take you through some of the most beautiful places in Donegal.

Start your morning with a laid back tour around County Donegal’s largest town, Letterkenny. It is home to the only Roman Catholic cathedral in the county, which is why it is also referred to as Cathedral Town.

Another must-see in Letterkenny is the fascinating Donegal Museum, located in an old stone building that was once a famine workhouse.

donegal museum
Donegal Museum

Regarded as the best county museum in Ireland, the Donegal Museum is home to an impressive collection of artifacts, displays, and exhibits about the history and heritage of Donegal.

After your museum visit, enjoy some local cuisine for lunch and relax a bit, before embarking on a forty-five-minute drive to the exquisite  Fanad Head Lighthouse.

Situated in the Donegal Gaeltacht area, the Fanad Head Lighthouse is truly special. For one, it is hailed as one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world.

It is also set on the dramatic and rugged north coast of Donegal. Drive-up close and get out of your car to see more of this stunning structure.

Said to be built in the 1400s, the lighthouse set against the crashing waters and bays of the Atlantic is just gorgeous. Spend time to just take in the beauty of it all, before going on a long drive to the northernmost part of Ireland.  

Malin Head
Malin Head

The last stop in this road trip is Malin Head, essentially the endpoint of the Wild Atlantic Way that started in Mizen Head. This is where you complete the drive, in an area that’s rich in history and natural beauty. 

Walk along the rocky coastline,  or see the WWII tower that’s at the tip of the rocks that spell FIRE. Also called Banba’s Crown, these rocks were used during the war as a signal to passing.planes that they have reached neutral Ireland.

This part of Malin Head is quite symbolic as it now signals the end of your epic seven-day Wild Atlantic Way road trip.

Celebrate with a walk down the sea cave called Hell’s Hole,  where the wild Atlantic crashes against the rocks. This is the perfect way to end and remember this scenic journey through Ireland’s spectacularly scenic west coast. 

Where To Eat:

Lunch at Lemon Tree in Letterkenny, for a taste of contemporary Donegal cooking. For early dinner, head towards the Community Centre on the road to Malin Head, for Wild Strands delicious, home-cooked organic food.

Where To Stay:

You can drive back to Dublin or stay in one of the nearby hotels in Malin Head. One of our favorites is Inish House which is only 10 minutes away from Malin Head. 

 

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