7 gorgeous places around Ireland to escape to this Christmas

Like you needed an excuse…

WHILE YOU MIGHT not want to spend the actual day of Christmas away (although lots of people do, and highly recommend it – mostly for the lack of washing up), the Christmas holidays are a great time to grab a few days away.

Whether you go for a few days midweek or just escape for the weekend, there are so many places around Ireland to run away to for some rest and relaxation.

So, to help you out, we’ve rounded up seven of the most beautiful places around the country should you feel the need.

1. Clifden, Galway

Bert Kaufmann Bert Kaufmann

Clifden, in Galway, is home to some beautiful scenery and the 11km Sky Road drive features both the mountains and the sea. It also has the Alcock and Brown memorial, the Twelve Bens and the Connemara National Park on its doorstep.

2. Westport, Mayo

Kylemoreabbeytourism Kylemoreabbeytourism

Not too far up the road, relatively speaking, is Westport, another beautiful area on the west coast of Ireland. The current town centre was designed in 1780 by James Wyatt, who designed a lot of the colleges in Oxford, and is only 10km from Croagh Patrick – the church there can be seen from Westport town.

Located in Clew Bay, it’s the place to go if you fancy long walks, drives or cycles, peace and quiet, and the gorgeous scenery of both mountains and coastline. And not too far away is the beautiful Kylemore Abbey – well worth a visit.

3. Dingle, Kerry

j0sh (www.pixael.com) j0sh (www.pixael.com)

Dingle, part of the Wild Atlantic Way route, is right at the south-west edge of the country – next stop America – but it doesn’t feel remote by any means.

With golfing, cycling, and horse-riding to do, not to mention trips out to see Fungi the dolphin, you’ll be hard-pressed to find time to sit in front of a roaring fire in the pub – although you’ll probably manage to squeeze it in somehow.

4. Kilkenny City

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In the south-east of the country, Kilkenny boasts a beautiful Norman castle dating from 1195. It has been preserved, restored and extended over years and is open for tours.

Besides the castle, there are plenty of other well-preserved ancient buildings to choose from, from the Black Abbey Dominican priory to St Canice’s Cathedral. There’s also a crafts hub in the city centre with lots of beautiful Irish crafts to check out.

5. Waterford City

Hotelsireland Hotelsireland

Waterford is the country’s oldest city, founded by Vikings in 914 AD and as such has loads of old ruins and a castle to go and have a gander at. Waterford Crystal is based there (of course) and you can do a factory tour and visit the gift shop.

Beyond that there is of course plenty of other things to do – from shopping to eating to museums and visiting the Viking Triangle.

6. Enniskillen, Fermanagh

Discover Northern Ireland Discover Northern Ireland

Almost exactly in the centre of the county Fermanagh, between the upper and lower sections of Lough Erne, Enniskillen is a beautiful part of the country for a trip away. There’s a lot to do, particularly if you’re active – they have some of the best cycling routes in the country. There’s Enniskillen Castle to check out or a visit to the Marble Arch caves and a trip along the underground river there.

7. Clonmel, Tipperary

Joe Cashin Photography Joe Cashin Photography

Clonmel is the largest town in Tipperary and is a medieval town, known for its resistance to Cromwellian invasion.

Besides all that history as well as all the ruins and churches to check out, you can also visit the County museum, the Gardens of Clonmel (which has its own festival but is open most of the year if you arrange in advance) or the Main Guard – a 17 century building in the centre of Clonmel.

No matter where you fancy going around the country, chances are there’s a Manor House Hotel nearby. If you don’t know where to go yet, or are stuck for a Christmas gift idea, how about picking up one of their Christmas vouchers. Who wouldn’t like to find that under the tree? 

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