Top 10 hidden beauty spots in Ireland
We all know the Ireland of Saints and Scholars, Book of Kells, Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Castle, not to mention the Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher. But what about a trip to the hidden Ireland, where few tourists go?
Here are the top ten hidden beauty spots that will make your vacation there very special.
1. Cooley Mountains, in County Louth. Towering over the border areas, the Cooley peninsula has been cut off because of The Troubles as a tourism spot. Which has meant that it is incredibly unspoilt, with beautiful views North and South over Carlingford Lough from its peaks. The grandeur and beauty of Kerry without any of the high prices or tourist traps is how our guide described it. Just take your car and drive north to Dundalk and head for the Cooley peninsula.
2. South Armagh. Once known as Bandit Country during The Troubles, it too, like Cooley suffered greatly because of those bad times. It has stunning vistas, beautiful mountain ranges and a wonderful Irish music tradition. Tommy Makem of the famous Makem and Clancy Brothers hails from here and his legacy and that of the South Armagh musical tradition can be found in the pubs. Nearby Slieve Gullion national park is one of the great nature parks of Ireland, North or South.
3. Bettystown/Laytown. Just twenty five miles North of Dublin in County Meath are Bettystown and Laytown, two beautiful little villages with wonderful beaches and a huge expanse of Irish Sea. Many Dubliners take their vacations there but overseas tourists are rare. There is a championship golf course and inexpensive lodgings and restaurants.
4. Ring Gaeltacht. You may be familiar with Dingle, Gweedore and Connemara Gaeltachts or Irish speaking locations, but Ring just six miles from Dungarvan in Waterford is the smallest gaeltacht in Ireland and a beautiful and remote spot. Here you can hear the language of your ancestors, visit the little town and surrounding villages and step back in time.