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Ten “must-see”, off the beaten track places to visit on your tour of Ireland

Ten "must-see", off the beaten track places to visit on your tour of Ireland

If you’re visiting the green hills of Ireland then you’ll want to make sure you see everything you can. And there’s a lot to take in, from North to South, East to West, there are some hidden gems that you just don’t want to miss out on.

Here are just ten places you’ve got to see when you tour Ireland:

1. 40 Foot Cove, County Dublin

Found in Sandycove at the southern part of Dublin Bay, 40 foot cove is one of the must see attractions when you pay a visit to Ireland (bring your swimming togs if you fancy a dip). Hidden in the rock strewn coast, it was a great influence on Irish writer James Joyce and the nearby tower features in his most famous work Ulysses.

2. Leap Castle, County Offaly

One of the longest continually inhabited Castles in Ireland, Leap Castle has a rich and fascinating history. The Castle was used as a principle stronghold of the O Carroll Clan. It was used to guard the pass through the Slieve Bloom Mountains and has been said that no castle was more fortified than Leap, also known as the most haunted castle in Ireland.

3. Comeragh Drive & The V Pass, County Waterford

The twelve mountains which form the Comeragh Mountains are very popular for mountain climbers and hikers. The Vee is predominantly famous because of the breathtaking panoramic views afforded to travellers and sight seers going through the pass.

4. Drombeg Stone Circle, County Cork

Drombeg is probably Irelands most famous stone circle, the circle consists of seventeen pillar stones that are graded from the two large portal stones. It is a recumbent circle with a recumbent or alter stone. The best time to visit Drombeg is probably early morning

5. Skellig Island & Skellig Ring, County Kerry

The Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the coast of Portmagee in South Kerry. Rising majestically from the sea, Skellig Michael towers 714ft above sea level. On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock you will find a remarkably well preserved 6th century monastic settlement and bee hive huts.

6. Loop Head & Lighthouse, County Clare

The present tower, which stands 23 metres high, was built in 1854. The scenic roundtrip ‘Loop Head Drive’, which starts from Kilkee, leads along the spectacular, rugged coastline to Loop Head Lighthouse. As well as breath taking cliff walks with views on wild scenery, ruined promontory forts and early oratories there are many more sights not to miss

7. The Burren, County Clare

The Burren means ‘rocky place’ and is found in County Clare. One of the smallest national parks in Ireland it is also a place of great historical and geological interest. It’s the perfect environment for long walks and is a favourite amongst hikers and amateur naturalists alike.

8. The Aran Islands, County Galway

A short trip by ferry, the Aran Islands are off Galway and you can explore their rich landscapes to your heart’s content, discover the history of the people who began living there as long as 4,000 years ago and explore some truly beautiful old churches.

9. Grianan of Aileach, County Donegal

The stone fort is believed to have built in the 1st Century, on the site of an early Iron Age (C500 BC) hillfort. The hillfort is one of the only 5 Irish sites marked on Ptolemy of Alexandris’ 2nd century map of the world.

10. Slieve League Sea Cliffs, County Donegal

Slieve League Cliffs (or Sliabh Liag in Gaelic), situated on the south west coast of County Donegal, are said to be the one of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe. This is a sacred mountain and was a popular Christian pilgrimage destination for over a thousand years.