Staycation: Our top 5 places for families to explore in Ireland

We all know Ireland isn’t short of beautiful places to visit for a summer getaway. Outstanding beaches. Rolling hills. Grand castles. We’re almost spoilt for choice. That’s exactly why it’s easy to take this country for granted, so what better than a summer staycation to rediscover the beauty of this country? Here we explore our top 5 places to visit, they might just surprise you!


1. County Donegal
The first thing to say is that Donegal boasts the most Northerly point in all of Ireland. It’s remote, rugged, almost untouched and simply beautiful. There are plenty of great spots for surfing, hiking and pretty much any kind of adventure. Its vast mountains, including the northern Derryveagh range and the southern Bluestack Mountains, give it unspoilt territory and character. While its seacoast, with the impressive Slieve League cliffs (among the highest sea cliffs in Europe) offers hillwalking with incredible views.


Be inspired: Head north and you’ll find Glenveagh, a 16,000-hectare park in the heart of the towering Derryveagh Mountains where there’s a walk to suit all levels. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise too, home to the largest herd of red deer in Ireland. There’s a stunning castle in the grounds and if you want a fact to impress the kids, Greta Garbo, Clarke Gable and Marilyn Monroe all stayed there during the golden age of Hollywood.


2. County Kerry
Kerry appeals to the imagination of all ages, and so is great for an exceptional family holiday.  Misty mountains, glacial lakes, rugged peninsulas, magical rainbows, secluded hamlets and windswept beaches await. There is so much to do and see, including the Skellig islands made incredibly famous by Star Wars (which the kids will love!). And the best thing about a staycation is you’ll have your car so can set off on one of the best driving loops in the entire country, the Ring of Kerry. It starts off near Killarney in the southwest of the country and takes in the beautiful coastal scenery of the Iveragh Peninsula.


Be inspired: The pretty and colourful Killarney makes a great base for exploring Kerry as it’s right beside the Killarney National Park. The Dingle Peninsula (that mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean) is also only around an hour drive away – be prepared for some of the most amazing ocean views in all of Ireland!


3. Galway City
Galway is contemporary, arty and bohemian, making it one of Ireland’s most engaging cities. Brightly painted pubs heave with live music, while restaurants and cafes offer front-row seats for people watching and street theatre. While Galway is a lively hub of activity, it’s also steeped in history. Remnants of the medieval town walls slot between shops selling handmade rings, books and musical instruments. Bridges create frames that arch over the River Corrib and a long promenade leads to the seaside suburb of Salthill, where you can sample the area’s famous oysters.


Be inspired: Take a tour from Galway to The Cliffs of Moher, where you’ll come face to face with the staggering height of the rock face, and the even more staggering views from the top! Then end your windswept day with a trip to a cosy pub, settle in for a family tea and listen to the locals share their atmospheric stories of folklore and fantasy.


4. County Wexford
County Wexford is known as “Ireland’s Ancient East”, and for good reason with its impressive ruins, castles and jaw-dropping landscapes. Begin your journey in this fascinating area with a stay at Waterford, delving into the Viking history that has been around for over 1000 years. A trip to the Irish National Heritage Park could be a great place to start – where you can stay overnight in a Ring Fort for an authentic experience of life 1500 years ago. In Wexford town, take a tour of the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience. It’s a genuine, interactive exhibition of what it was like to travel in an immigrant ship (with the actual Dunbrody ship!) back in the 1840’s – the kids will love exploring and pretending to be the ships captain or a pirate!


Be inspired: Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world and perfect for an iconic photo. There is also a fantastic pirate’s ship playground for children which will keep them happy too.


5. West Cork 
A truly idyllic part of Ireland, West Cork is the largest and a staggeringly colourful county. It’s all about scenery, seafood and endless activity in the little picture postcard seaside towns of Glandore, Schull, Ballydehob and Skibbereen. Admire the vibrant cottages and farmhouses, nestled into the landscape surrounded by native flowers and plants that thrive in the warm Gulf Stream. Think romantic ruins, stone circles, lighthouses, fishing and sailing – which all makes for a fun family trip.


Be inspired: Visit the islands. There are seven inhabited islands off the coast of West Cork and several more uninhabited. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or just some peace and quiet, the islands of Cork have everything you could want for a great family holiday.


Make the most of the great outdoors
Whatever adventures you decide to embark on this summer, don’t let hayfever hold you back with Zirtek Allergy Relief. Stayed in some amazing places in Ireland you’d like to share with others? You can post them with our community on our Facebook Page.


Zirtek Allergy Relief is available as an oral solution for 2 years of age and upwards and in tablets suitable for 6 years of age and upwards.

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