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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.

1. A guided walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher.

Take a guided walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher. This is an easy three-hour ramble along the cliff tops from Doolin right to the Cliffs of Moher visitor center with local man Pat Sweeney, who leaves from outside Gus O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin everyday throughout the summer at 10 am.

Pat and his family have farmed this land for generations so he not only knows the lie of the land but all of the history and culture behind it. Expect to hear some great stories and there is no end of stunning photo opportunities.

You will see the waterfall, the sea stacks, the spot where – once upon a time – they lowered people over in a basket to collect seagulls’ eggs, the piper’s chair, and lots more besides. And don’t worry if you are tired you can get the bus back from the Cliffs of Moher. Pick a good day and you vwill have one of those ‘once in a lifetime experiences’ for just €5!

www.doolincliffwalk.com

Photo: Susan Byron / Ireland's Hidden Gems.

2. Fly from Inverin Airport.  

Take a scenic flight with Aer Arann from Inverin Airport (about 45 minutes west of Galway City) which costs €60 and departs daily throughout the summer at about noon.

There is a limit of eight people per flight so my tip is to get there early to try and bag the co-pilot's seat for the best views and photographs. This scenic flight lasts about 30 minutes and takes you south over Black Head and the Burren, down as far as the Cliffs of Moher, Hags Head towards Lahinch, before circling back and flying over the Aran Islands. You will see Inish Oír with its lighthouse and the famous wreck, Inish Meain with its miles of stone walls and finally Inish Mór with its dramatic wave lashed coastline and ancient stone fort, Dún Aengus perched 600 feet up on the cliffs.

You can land (for an extra €25) and stay for a couple of hours to explore further on foot or by bike, buy an Aran sweater, swim in clear blue waters off pristine beaches or have lunch overlooking the harbor in Kilronan. A bus picks you up from the airport, the driver will point out landmarks on the way, cost €5 return. The return flight takes about ten minutes and gives you lovely views of the Twelve Bens (mountains) and Connemara.

Click here for more.


Photo: Susan Byron / Ireland's Hidden Gems.
 

3.  Derry’s Peace Bridge.

Regardless of your religious denomination or political persuasion the hairs will stand on the back of your neck and tears will roll down your face when you walk across or stand on to it because we all recognize the exquisite relief that comes with peace.

This curved iconic bridge was designed to symbolize a handshake of reconciliation across the Foyle between the Protestant and Catholic communities that had been divided for over hundreds of years culminating in “The Troubles,” which began in the 1960s and lasted till the Peace Agreement of 1998.

Although I grew up south of the border and I was aware of “The Troubles,” I never really knew what actually went on or understood why it happened. News coverage was scanty and biased to say the least.

Taking a guided tour of Derry City Walls with Martin McCrossan (£4) who has been leading tours for 20 years cleared it all up for me as I was finally able to link places like Fountain St and the Bogside with the events and get a real sense of place and history in a balanced and informative way. What really touched me was the Derry people’s perseverance and determination to achieve lasting peace and a viable economic future. No wonder it has been nicknamed Legen-derry!

Being named the inaugural UK City of Culture was a huge bonus. Ebrington Square and newly renovated Guild Hall are a triumph, but the real jewel in the crown is the Peace Bridge. Put it on your bucket list.

Click here for more.


Photo: Susan Byron / Ireland's Hidden Gems.

4. Helicopter ride over the Giant’s Causeway.

Take a helicopter ride over the Giant’s Causeway. Don’t pass up an opportunity to view the Giants Causeway, the Carrick-a-rede Ropebridge, Dunluce Castle, Portrush and the Mussenden Temple from the air.

Okay it is pricey at £125 but it is an hour-long trip and well worth every penny, if you get a fine sunny day. Beyond spectacular, there are not enough superlatives that would actually do justice to this coastline, Binevenagh Head with the freshwater lake on top, Portrush and White Rocks Beach and Rathlin Island and Scotland away off in the distance.

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