Spring break is synonymous with beaches and sunshine, but why not add an explosion of culture into the mix this year, courtesy of the island of Ireland? Hedgerows brim with flowers and crisp pale blue skies will welcome visitors to the island nation, which is becoming increasingly popular as a springtime getaway thanks to its countryside scenery and an array of city activities.
From fields, secluded beaches, hikes, city tours, cuisine and museums, to street parades and a buzzing nightlife, the island of Ireland is topping the list of spring break destinations for both millennial globetrotters and families.
Here are just a few of the things one can expect to experience in Ireland in Spring:
Ireland’s National Day
Every March, landmarks around the world turn to green to celebrate Ireland’s National Day on 17th March. Check off the ultimate bucket list item and a highlight of Ireland’s social calendar, with a first-hand experience of nearly every nook and corner lit with festivities to commemorate the day. Hundreds of St. Patrick’s Day parades take place across the island, with more than half a million revellers taking to the streets of Dublin alone for one of the biggest, most vibrant parade spectaculars in the world: a whirlwind of glittering colours and entrancing choreography, incredible feasts of design and engineering, and a cacophony of joyous sounds.
There’s a reason Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s short-break capitals – there’s so much to see and do. The city is lined with cobbled streets and an old world charm that offers a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Castles, St Canice’s Cathedral and the restored medieval Rothe House, the deer park at Jenkinstown and Castlecomer Discovery Park are just some of the unique places to explore in Kilkenny.
Slea Head Drive has often been considered one of the most beautiful drives on earth, and has the National Geographic, CNN and Trip Advisor’s stamp of approval. If you’re in the mood for a little soul searching, hop into a car and take Dingle’s coast drive that is lined withold monasteries, beehive huts, ancient ruins and stone dwellings. This unmissable 30-mile stretch into the Atlantic Ocean offers views of colourful towns, sea and sky, with an abundance of scenic stops along the way, including Conor Pass - one of Ireland’s highest mountain passes, and Blasket Islands - an uninhabited group of islands off the west coast.
Visit A Sheep Farm
There’s real beauty in the wildlife-rich landscape of Ireland in spring, with its vivid colours and changing textures. One of the most popular sights are the rolling green hills dotted with cotton-white newborn lambs. Frolicking, fluffy lambs give visitors that ‘aaw’ feeling, and visiting a sheep farm is a great way to learn about farm life.
Experience Ireland by bike
A great way to see the best of Ireland’s landscapes is by hopping on a bike and cycling on winding country roads, or along one of theGreenways. Not too cold and not too hot, take off and enjoy the sights along the Great Western Greenway in County Mayo, the Waterford Greenway, or the Comber to Newcastle Greenway- or simply go off the beaten track and enjoy the sights and scents of the rural trails.
Sligo is by far the best surfing location in Ireland, and there’s no need to wait until summer to test out the waters. Be sure to add the fairy gardens at Gillighan’s World in Knocknashee to the list.
Explorers will delight in a visit to Giant's Causeway, an awe-inspiring landscape peppered with seemingly endless hexagonal columns comprised of basalt. Another renowned landmark not to be missed is the UNESCO Global Geopark, The Cliffs of Moher. With its panoramic vistas, invigorating sea breezes and endless trekking opportunities, the County Clare based natural marvel introduces visitors to a side of Ireland unlike any other.
The island country has caught the eye of many a film producer, with Skellig Michael’s stone ‘beehive’ huts making its famed appearance in the Star Wars series. Visitors to the twin pinnacles craig will have their breath taken away by sweeping ocean views and trademark emerald green grass expanses. Northern Ireland is also home to a number of filming sites for the hugely popular Game of Thrones series. Sites not to be missed include The Haunted Forest at Tollymore Forest Park in County Down, the Dothraki Grasslands at Binevenagh in County Derry/Londonderry, and The Dark Hedges in County Antrim.
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