Top ten offbeat vacation ideas in Ireland - PHOTOS


There are a number of spas around the county that focus on the use of seaweed in their beauty treatments from seaweed wraps, to facials, baths and joint and muscle relaxing wraps.

7. Go native in a forest park

Some of the best vacations in my childhood were spent in the woods. There’s nothing better for a city kid then getting to run amok in the country literally going a little wild.

Around Ireland there are a number of places to stay in the natural beauty of Ireland’s forests and parks. Killykeen Forest Park, in County Cavan is just one of there. It is located on the shores of Lough Oughter and has very comfortable Scandanavian designed wooden houses scattered throughout the forest. In the park itself there are amenities for fishing, horse riding and also a games room for those kids.

8. Stay in a luxury castle

This is one for those among us with never ending pockets (a dying breed these days) but it’s certainly something different.

You’re on vacation to relax and treat yourself so why not do it in the one of the most expensive accommodations in Ireland and also one that is steeped in history; an ancient castle.

There are plenty of castles, many of which are also hotels,  around Ireland but there are very few quite as expensive and luxurious as Lough Eske Castle in Donegal, near the Blue Stack Mountains in Donegal. This is a five star luxury hotel with a spa, beautiful rooms and all the grandeur you’d expect in a castle.

It’s also filled with history. The castle dates from the 1400s and the O’Donnell family who founded the town of Donegal. As well as having over 600 years of history the countryside in the area is exquisite.

Beware though, you may never feel quite the same about normal hotels again.

9. Stay on an island off Ireland

There are plenty of islands around Ireland to chose from including Valencia, the Aran Islands and plenty more, however Achill Island is definitely a wonderful place to bring a family on holidays.

The island is only 15 miles by 12 miles and it is the largest island in the country. Also its easily accessible by a bridge to the mainland.

Achill boasts of sandy beaches, sea cliffs and some lovely small towns to choose from including  Dooagh and Dooega.

Although the island is pretty small there is plenty to keep the family occupied for at least a few days. You can visit the cliffs of Slievemore and Minaun, the beaches at Keel and Keem or go under the Achill Head. There’s also a famous Atlantic Drive which brings you around the beautiful coast of the island.

10. Conquer the River Shannon

The Shannon Erne Waterway is an amazing feature of engineering and also a wonderful place to take a vacations. Gather together a couple of friends of your family and rent a boat on the river.

This is a great way to have a fun during the day, cruising up the river, manning the locks along the way and docking at the great little towns along the way to enjoy some of their night life. Then it’s back on the boat to sleep and begin your next day of adventure.

Some might be turned off by the idea of spending time on the boats but the prices are reasonable, depending on the time of year, and the boats are quite comfortable.

However, be warned, you better get on the well with your vacation buddies there’s not much space to run away from them in those galleys.

SEE PHOTOS: Off beat vaction ideas in Ireland


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