Topped by the glistening Lough Neagh in the north and the green fields of the Republic in the south, Armagh is a rural haven of outdoor adventures. Trek up Slieve Gullion, the highest point in the county, catch some fish in the largest lake in Ireland and the UK, explore the charming Ulster towns scattered across the county, and throw in some retail therapy in the shopping mecca of Newry for good measure.
Stay at The Inn at Dromoland or Similar or hand selected Bed and Breakfast
What doesn’t Antrim have to offer? This northern county is home to the vibrant Belfast city, the unforgettable hexagonal landscape of the Giant’s Causeway, the delectable Bushmills whiskey distillery, and so much more. Road trip along the Northern coastline to take in the quaint seaside towns, rocky inlets, sweeping beaches, and crumbling castles, then come back to the ‘big smoke’ of Ulster (that’s Belfast by the way) for culture, culinary delights, and plenty of craic.
Stay at The Wellington Park Hotel or Similar or hand selected Bed and Breakfast
County Derry is one of the most up and coming places in all of Ireland, not least because of it’s crowning glory, the city of Derry itself. Walk along the medieval walls of the city (one of the best examples of its kind in all of Europe), get a feel for the troubled past with a wander through the Bogside area, and investigate the impressive architecture of the Guildhall and the city’s two cathedrals.
County Tyrone is isolated, rural, and hauntingly beautiful. It doesn’t get the same number of visitors as other counties in Ireland, so if you want some peace and quiet, this is where you should head. The Sperrin Mountains offer great chances for trekking and wildlife spotting, Springhill House is a must for any lovers of the finer things in life, and the Wellbrook Beelting Mill is the last working mill in Northern Ireland.
Donegal is one of the most beautiful, unspoilt, isolated parts of the whole island. If you want to get away from it all and experience this country at its best, Donegal is where to go. Surfing fans will adore the beach town of Bundoran, while outdoor adventurers will find everything they need at the breathtaking Glenveagh National Park and indoorsy types will find plenty of cosy pubs in Letterkenny and Donegal Town.
Stay at The Sandhouse Hotel or Similar or hand selected Bed and Breakfast
Mayo is often first on the list of anyone travelling to the west of Ireland, and for good reason. This large coastal county is where you’ll find the brooding Croagh Patrick, which pilgrims climb to honour Ireland’s patron saint every year; the village of Cong, where The Quiet Man was filmed and where an exquisite medieval abbey stands; and of course the vibrant town of Westport, situated along the picturesque Clew Bay.
Stay at The Westport Woods Hotel or Similar or hand selected Bed and Breakfast
Galway is the wild west of Ireland at its best. Rugged coastlines, dramatic hills and valleys, isolated islands, emerald fields and towns filled with traditional music, dancing, and language. Galway city is a tangle of cobbled streets, cosy pubs and mouth watering restaurants, the magnificent Connemara landscape is just a short drive away and the traditional Gaelic community of the Aran Islands are reachable with a quick boat trip too, although they both seem a world away.
Stay at The Salthill Hotel or Similar or hand selected Bed and Breakfast
Known as ‘the Kingdom’, Kerry is the heart of ancient Ireland and still the most stunning spot on the island. From quaint seaside villages like Dingle (where a dolphin voluntarily puts on a show for the boats every afternoon) to the busy tourist spot of Killarney, not to mention one of the most breathtaking road trips in Europe, the Ring of Kerry, and the simply astounding Killarney National Park a visit to Kerry is unforgettable.
Stay at Ballyroe Heights Hotel or Similar or hand selected Bed and Breakfast
Another typical midlands county, Tipperary is one of the largest in Ireland and its crown is the brooding Rock of Cashel, a castle/monastic site that sits on top of a dramatic steep hill overlooking the land. Lough Derg and the Glen of Aherlow are also unmissable; make sure to bring your walking boots and spare camera batteries, because you’ll definitely need both after one look at the spine-tingling views.
County Meath was considered to be the centre of ancient and Celtic Ireland, and was even its own kingdom at one stage. Within its borders are the ancient passage tomb of Newgrange, still completely intact after 5000 years, the Hill of Tara the political, economic, and spiritual centre of Ireland for the Celts, and more recently, the opulent Slane Castle and Gardens, still inhabited by descendants of the original owners, namely Henry Mount Charles and family.
Stay at The Trim Castle Hotel or Similar or hand selected Bed and Breakfast