Take everything away from winter on the island of Ireland

Take everything away from winter on the island of Ireland

Great Britain, Ireland, Dublin (city), County of Mayo, Belfast, County of Kerry, Antrim, Northern Ireland, County of Louth, Hostomelʼ
Whatever your interests, the island of Ireland offers the perfect winter holiday.

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, prefer to meditate in a museum, love festivals or enjoy relaxing by an open fire, you'll find the perfect winter holiday on the island of Ireland. Here are six ways to enjoy what the island has to offer.

1. Winter hikes
Ireland's dramatic landscape is a delight for walkers, and on a clear winter's day it's a pleasure to go hiking. Climb the peaks of the mighty Morne in Northern Ireland, walk the stunning Wicklow Way in Ireland's Ancient East, or challenge yourself to climb McGillicuddy's Rix, the highest mountain range in Ireland. Less strenuous but no less beautiful walks can be enjoyed along the island's roadless green paths.

2. Stars
Winter is the perfect time to do some stargazing, and on the island of Ireland you can choose from three dark sky areas where thousands of stars are visible to the naked eye. The County Kerry Dark Sky Nature Reserve offers guided stargazing, while Om Dark Sky Park in County Tyrone has a superb Stars and Rocks experience that combines astronomy and archaeology. The Mayo International Dark Sky Park Festival (4-6 November) presents a program that will delight both serious and amateur astronomers.

3. Cultural centers
If your ideal winter break involves immersing yourself in history and heritage, the island has plenty of castles, manor houses, museums and exhibitions to visit. In Northern Ireland, don't miss Mount Stewart, a stunning neoclassical home, and the Game of Thrones Studio Tour, a must-see for fans of the blockbuster series. Dublin has amazing museums, from the traditional National Museum of Ireland to the quirky Irish Rock 'n' Roll Museum, and elsewhere there are plenty of castles and cultural attractions.

4. Wild swimming
The island of Ireland has many wonderful wild swimming spots, from wild Atlantic waters to sheltered bays and lakes. Kym Bay on Achill Island was recently voted the best wild swimming spot in the UK and Ireland. For more sheltered waters, head to the beautiful Lough Erne in County Fermanagh or the glacial fjord of Carlingford Lough in County Louth. Don't forget to bring a wetsuit, the water here is cold!

5. Festival fun
You're always close to a festival on the island of Ireland, and winter is no exception. Celebrating its 60th anniversary (running until 6 November), the renowned Belfast International Arts Festival is the perfect way to spend a weekend for art lovers. In December, Christmas festivals such as Waterford Winterval light up the island, while Dublin's two-day New Year's Festival is a great way to end the year. In January, Ireland's largest traditional and folk music festival, TradFest Temple Bar, maintains the festival atmosphere.

6. Cozy retreats
Whether you're relaxing by an open fire, enjoying fine food, taking in stunning views and enjoying world-class spa treatments, you'll be spoiled for choice on the island of Ireland. Hide away at Blackhead Lighthouse in County Antrim to watch the winter seas unfold, or head to Knockranny House Hotel & Spa in County Mayo for some pampering. For an unforgettable experience, treat yourself to a stay at Adare Estate in County Limerick, which was recently named the number one resort in the world by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2022.

Source: ireland

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