Ireland is a small nation in terms of geography, but what it lacks in size, it makes for in breath-taking quality. Many of the landscapes here look like it came straight out of a fairy tale. Looking up Ireland’s scenery on Google images will show you just how magical these places appear; and don’t think that those places only exist with the help of photo editing — such wonderful spots really does exist, and they are waiting for you.
The country’s tourism industry plays a pivotal role in its economy, that is why the government does everything to protect their country’s natural beauty. Last 2015 alone, an estimated 8,643,100 travelers from overseas went to see Ireland.
My trip to Ireland
Like many tourists, I visited Ireland with the goal of going to the Bunratty Castle, the Little Museum of Dublin, the Shop Street, and other easy-to-access tourist spots. By my fifth day, however, I felt that there is so much more in Ireland for me to see. Visiting these top-rated tourist attractions was a delight, but I needed more. I wanted to see the secluded gems that this country has to offer. So I did what every sensible traveler would do.
I left my itinerary in my room and set off on to a journey to the unknown.
Why go down the ‘road less traveled’?
To some, visiting hidden places in a country far away from your own may seem like a daunting act. One that requires you to have a thick wallet and an expert-tier knowledge in traveling. But letting fear hold you back is something that you will ultimately regret. And I hate regretting.
During my unplanned journey across Ireland, I met several locals and I realized how welcoming the Irish people can be, should you project the same ethos.
By the end of my journey, I was able to visit countless places that so many other tourists are unaware of. Do not get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with following a travel guide. In fact, I am not the type to deliberately travel off the beaten path, lest I know the destination is worth it — and believe me. Ireland’s destinations are definitely worthy.
So here are 5 of Ireland’s best hidden attractions, brought to you by online travel agency JustFly.
1. The Keshcorran Caves
This historical landmark can be found near the regional R295 road. I remember seeing the caves from afar, being highlighted on by the orange afternoon sun. Looking at the small caves positioned up in an almost perfect line made me think of an ocarina.
It may not necessarily be hidden, due to its proximity to a major road, but hiking up the Bricklieve Mountains to reach the caves is not an easy task. The climb was treacherous and path — if you could call it that — are lined with stinging nettles.
2. Boyne Valley
If history is your cup of tea, then look no further than Ireland’s Boyne Valley. This wonderfully aged landscape is peppered with ancient ruins, holy temples, and mysterious tombs, among others. The area is lush with green foliage that refreshes the mind as much as it does the eyes.
Running through the valley is the River Boyne, 112-kilometer long river that is teeming with wild brown trout.
3. Huntington Castle
In the still village of Clonegal in County Carlow, Ireland, the magnificent Huntington Castle stands strong. This castle, which once acted as a stronghold for the Caviness family during the Plantations of Ireland, is now a private home that is open for public tourists. The walls are now covered in vines but the gardens outside are very well-maintained.
I remember visiting this place and being told by a local to leave the moment evening comes. He told me about the ghosts that haunt the castle, of the restless souls of Druids, and of the strange mist that silently rolls in at dawn.
4. Mourne Mountains
I went to Northern Ireland last year and made sure to visit this hidden gem. During that time, I was writing a book and had run out of ideas. Writer’s block, as they call it. The moment I stepped foot on this, for some reason, ideas came pouring in. I knew I had to pen down my thoughts. If you’re like me, you may discover the motivation to create your own stories in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland. This wild yet equally charming landscape is so overflowing with backwoods, streams, caverns, hollows, and wildlife that it's said to have stirred the creative ability of Irish authors.
If you’re adventurous and willing to take on new destinations in Ireland, or anywhere in the world, come check out JustFly! They have some of the cheapest airline tickets available. These JustFly reviews, written by the company’s previous customers, will help give you more ideas about the company’s service quality. We hope you enjoy!