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From nifty flights with stunning views to spiritual journeys in the Irish countryside, check this out.

Ten things to do in Ireland on a budget in 2014

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From nifty flights with stunning views to spiritual journeys in the Irish countryside, check this out.

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Photo: Susan Byron / Ireland's Hidden Gems.

8. Hop over to Tory Island.

County Donegal Ireland’s most northerly, inhabited island and a bit of a trek to be honest, but so worth it, for anyone who cares to make the hour long journey North of Letterkenny to Magheroarty (a visual feast of mountainous landscapes in itself) where the ferry departs daily. Every passenger or new visitor to the island is greeted by the King of Tory, Patsy Dan Rodgers. While Tory Island is a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) Patsy and the rest of the 100 odd islanders are bilingual and great talkers, musicians and painters.

You can easily see where they get the artistic inspiration if you take any of the walking trails about the island, look back at the mainland and you will see the mountains of Donegal, the steep cliffs, sea stacks and crystal clear waters brimming with fish while seabirds of every kind circling above you.

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Photo: Susan Byron / Ireland's Hidden Gems.

9. Bask on the Great Blasket.

The Great Blasket, Dingle, County Kerry what a pleasure it is to walk (barefoot) in Peig Sayers' footsteps along the green roads of this long deserted but very beautiful island.

A looped grass walk takes you high above the lonesome houses with stunning views back towards Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula and the Magillacuddy Reeks on the Iveragh Peninsula due South across the water and on out to the dramatic Skelligs. It is all very peaceful and balmy, watching the giant basking sharks filter plankton below the steep cliffs which drop hundreds of feet sheer away, straight into the ocean.

The path splits at the 'traffic lights' as the junction with the other side of the island is fondly called even though there are no cars on the island never mind electricity. There is one well but no toilets or even a shop so be sure to bring plenty of water and better still a nice picnic if you are going out there for the day. Even more jagged cliffs line the route back to Trá Bán (white beach) where you can sunbathe or swim (the water is always icy even on a summers day) or watch the grey seals play as they dart in and out of the translucent water.

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10. Indulge your Celtic soul on Inis Cealtra.

Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) on Lough Derg is unique, even in Ireland, in that there are monuments and artifacts there dating back some 7,000 years (long before any written evidence) that have survived intact and in-situ (almost) to the present day exactly because of its island location.

From the bullaun stones of the Celts to the 8th century grave slabs in the Saints Graveyard, 10th century high crosses in St Caimin’s church, pilgrims paths and kissing stone and a lot more besides. Inish Cealtra was one of the principal places of pilgrimage in Ireland (which was more about feasting than punishment) which your guide Gerard Madden will glad tell you all about. But even if you know nothing at all about Irish history or are not even remotely religious stepping ashore on Inis Cealtra (a short boat ride from Mountshannon Harbour) is a very special experience, as apart from the 1,000s of years of history, Holy Island’s natural beauty is palpable.

If God spares you, do this trip it is the closest thing to heaven that you will get on this earth.

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Photo: Susan Byron / Ireland's Hidden Gems.

Visit www.irelands-hidden-gems.com for more.

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