Ireland’s Best-Kept Secrets
Sometimes the most memorable trips are those you take in your own backyard—so long as you don’t walk the same worn path. Ireland is a short distance away from virtually anywhere in the U.K., and whether it’s your first trip or your 50th, it’s time you set your sights on what no one else is seeing: some of the best-kept secrets in Ireland. Plan your Ireland holidays a little off the beaten path and you will be rewarded.
World-Class Ice Cream
Ireland-bound travellers with an insatiable sweet tooth won’t want to pass up a chance to sample the bevy of delectable ice creams found in Northern Ireland. Located in cozy Castlerock, family-owned Braemar Farm Ice Cream provides visitors with a mouthwatering array of frozen treats made from the finest farm-fresh ingredients. Plus, visitors interested in seeing the inner workings of the farm are free to visit the cow-milking area.
The Seaford Gardens
Travellers with a deep appreciation for wildlife can’t leave Ireland without visiting the Seaford Gardens. This lush piece of nature is home to a world-renowned tropical butterfly house that houses hundreds of varieties of butterfly from all over. What’s more, the Seaford Gardens serves as host to a colourful assortment of exotic plant life, birds and reptiles.
The Mac Theatre
If you’re a patron of the arts who will soon be making a trek to Ireland, a trip to the Mac Theatre is an absolute must. The MAC, also known as the Metropolitan Arts Centre, frequently plays host to plays, concerts and other types of performances that are sure to satiate even the most discerning traveller’s hunger for culture. If you start feeling a tad peckish during your stay, pay a visit to the theatre’s four-star bar or café.
The Ulster American Folk Park
History buffs will enjoy feeding their intellectual curiosity with a trip to the historic Ulster American Folk Park. This Omagh-based open-air museum faithfully recreates a quaint 18th century Irish countryside town and features a classically trained array of costumed townspeople who lead guests in family-friendly activities, such as bread making. Even if you’re not a student of history, the Ulster American Folk Park is sure to provide you with a good and educational time.
Another essential destination for the more historically-inclined, Glendalough is home to a breathtaking array of historic ruins. Here, travellers can find a fascinating assortment of monastic ruins from as far back as the sixth century A.D. Best of all, Glendalough can easily be reached by taking a quick drive through the back roads of Dublin.
Ben’s Surf Clinic
It may surprise dedicated beach bums to learn that the Irish seaside is among the world’s most desirable surfing destinations. Travellers with a knack for riding the waves should make a point of visiting Lahinch-based Ben’s Surf Clinic. In addition to providing comprehensive lessons to surfers of all skill levels, this popular surf school offers visitors reasonably priced surfboard and wetsuit rentals.
Tollymore Forest Park
Newcastle-based Tollymore Forest Park is a tourist destination that no nature lover should miss. Not only does the park provide visitors with a breathtaking view of the adjacent seaside, it also offers guests a number of beautiful nature trails that make for an enjoyable day of hiking. Tree enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the park’s stunning array of giant redwoods and Monterey pines.
About the Author: Jessica Nelson is a contributing writer who formerly worked with a travel publication. When she isn’t writing about traveling herself, she is helping her friends and family coordinate their own personal holidays. She is a lifelong resident of Reading.