Donegal is the most romantic county in Ireland and also the most remote. There’s the breathtakingly beautiful beaches, the great wide loughs (lakes) and the rolling hills. But there’s also the people: in surveys, over and over, the Donegal accent is voted as the most charming in Ireland. One visit to this off-the-beaten path destination will make you a convert for life (just ask Sarah Jessica Parker, a frequent visitor).
2. The Ritz Carlton, Powerscourt, County Wicklow.
This deluxe hotel has it all: a stunning location in the undeniably romantic setting of the beautiful Wicklow Hills located just a short drive south of Dublin. Amenities include golf and a world-class spa – and, most famously, the Gordon Ramsay restaurant, for dining in style. The perfect destination for a Valentine’s break – or if you’re finally ready to pop the question, the hotel offers a menu of packages involving some elaborate scene setting. It’s open all year round.
3. The Merrion Hotel, Dublin.
Dublin is a romantic city (St. Valentine himself is actually buried there) and the Merrion Hotel is the ideal base to explore it all from. Located just off a Georgian Square, the period elegance of the hotel will transport you back to an earlier more romantic time in Ireland, as will a meal at the hotel’s Cellar Restaurant and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, still unchallenged as the country’s premier fine dining destination.
4. The Burren.
Some people suggest only an Irishman like Samuel Beckett could appreciate the stark natural beauty of this County Clare landscape, but 10 minutes after you arrive you’ll know it’s one of the most remarkable places on the earth. The name Burren is from the Irish - bhoireann meaning a stony place. Its formation has lain unspoiled since the ice age – that’s right, there are relics of human habitation dating back almost 6000 years! The landscape of the Burren is very special, and it’s a memorable place to show off to a loved one.
5. Waterford Castle
A 15th century castle, it sits on an island in the River Suir, and the castle can only be reached by its own private ferry. You’ll arrive at the landing on the other shore, to be driven up a long and winding road lined with huge ancient trees, passing the Castle golf course on the way. Just watch out that you don’t get the haunted bedroom. If you are planning a honeymoon, or you’re just a hopeless romantic, Waterford Castle is the place for you.
6. Galway City
The Irish are considered passionate and romantic by other nations, but rarely by themselves. Nonetheless one of the oldest romantic traditions in Ireland is the wearing of the Claddagh Ring, which symbolizes your love, friendship and trust for your partner.
Originating from the Claddagh area of Galway, the ring depicts two hands cradling a heart with a crown on top. The two hands are a symbol of friendship, while the heart represents love and the crown denotes loyalty and trust – all the ingredients for a lifetime love. Traditions have grown up about the way the ring is worn: wearing the heart on the inside means you’ve found true love, while the heart worn on the outside means you have yet to find your soul mate. Locals swear that a visit to Galway will increase your chances.
7. Cliff Of Moher
Romantic Ireland is dead and gone wrote the Irish poet W. B. Yeats, but he obviously never visited the Cliffs of Moher. If ever a scene was created to make you gasp at the sheer wonder of nature it’s this magnificent stretch of coastline. The cliffs themselves rise 394 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and the view is spectacular. A must if you’re visiting Ireland’s west coast.
8. Inistiogue, County Kilkenny.
Inistiogue is a great place to go with your nearest and dearest, set in amongst rolling green countryside and beautiful woodlands, it’s a favorite romantic haven for many Irish people and an ideal place to declare your love.
9. Kinsale, County Cork
Kinsale is one of the most picturesque and historical villages in Ireland and for that reason its featured in many films. With its beautiful buildings, four-star restaurants and inviting pubs tucked away on its narrow streets, it’s the ideal place to spend a few lazy days. The village hosts a number of annual events including a popular writers festival that attracts big names and lends the place even more glamour. Worth visiting at any time of year.
10. Adare Manor, County Limerick.
Set amid 840 acres of formal gardens and rolling parkland, the Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in County Limerick is the ultimate luxury five star destination complete with an 18 hole championship golf course, luxurious treatment rooms, world-class dining facilities, fishing, shopping, sightseeing and a host of other estate activities guaranteed to pamper you in style. Horse riding, fishing and even clay pigeon shooting can be arranged for guests. What are you waiting for?
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