Which Irish County is Right For You?

Mar 12, 2018

The Emerald Isle is carved into 32 different counties, each with a unique Irish flair. It is not uncommon for brows to furrow and jaws to clench while trying to determine which of the 32 choices will suit your fancy. We’ve put together an overview detailing a few of our favorites in order to combat this county crisis.

Cork → for those who want to do it all

If you’re in search of colorful townhomes, cobblestone alleyways, delectable cuisine and stunning coastlines, Cork should certainly top your list.

What to do:

  • Head to Kinsale -- the “Gourmet Capital of Ireland” -- for fabulous restaurants, cafes and bars. We especially love the local fare at the Bulman Bar & Restaurant.
  • Mizen Peninsula is home to steep cliffs, opulent pastures and an impressive beach. This is a great place to experience the island’s famed countryside.
  • If you’re seeking a charming harborside town, Cobh is definitely worth a stop. The village is sprinkled with brightly painted houses overlooked by the remarkable St. Colman’s Cathedral.


Donegal → for those with an adventurous spirit

If your vacation won’t be complete without a dose of adrenaline, a pit stop in Donegal may be in order. The county’s wild landscapes and coastlines make it a popular spot for outdoor exploits.

What to do:

  • Bundoran was named one of the world’s coolest surf towns by Travel + Leisure. This tiny Irish borough is packed to the gills with pubs, music and west-coast culture.
  • Donegal is home to 3,000 different rock climbs. One of the most spectacular ascents is Malin Head, which is also a “Star Wars” filming location.
  • Glenveagh National Park features tons of hiking trails ranging in difficulty and length. You’ll trek through woodlands, hills and gardens and even catch glimpses of a castle.


 

Galway → for those craving traditional Irish culture

From Guinness to greenery, County Galway is loaded with classic Irish charm.

What to do:

  • An obvious stop, the city of Galway flourishes with bookshops, pubs, museums, markets and more.
  • Trek to the Aran Islands, a quick ferry ride from shore, boasting a 2,000-year-old fortress along with magnificent cliffs and quiet beaches.
  • A drive through Connemara comes with black-faced-sheep spotting, chowder in Roundstone and the coral beach at Carraroe.


 

Kerryfor the nature lovers

County Kerry has no shortage of natural wonders, sure to please visitors looking to spice up their trip with some activities alfresco.

What to do:

  • If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, perhaps 26,000 acres of woodlands, mountains and lakes will suit your fancy. Head to Killarney National Park to explore the gushing cascades of Torc Waterfall and the picturesque views at Tomies Wood.
  • Journey around the Ring of Kerry to witness panoramic views of the Atlantic and stops in quiet villages.
  • Climb hand-carved stone steps to the top of an ancient monastery and gaze at the epic scenery on Skellig Michael island.


Clare → for the wistful wanderer

County Clare is a mystical area full of stops exceeding all realms of the imagination.

 

What to do:

  • Head to Burren National Park to ogle purple orchids, white and gold eyebrights and the blue blossoms of Burren grass. You can even get these intoxicating scents bottled at the Burren Perfumery.
  • Enjoy the striking landscapes while exploring sites along the Wild Atlantic Way. These spots served as the backdrop for “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Last Jedi.”
  • If you’re on a quest for breathtaking beauty, a trek to the Cliffs of Moher is certainly in order. This renowned landmark brings overwhelming heights along with overwhelming views.


Kilkenny → for the history buff

Ireland has plenty of rich history to explore. Visitors who wish to delve deeper into the Irish past should make county Kilkenny a priority.

 

What to do:

  • Kilkenny is home to the 12th-century Kilkenny Castle, featuring a beautiful cathedral and surrounded by sprawling gardens.
  • The Black Abbey is a restored church founded in 1225 that boasts an impressively beautiful stained-glass window.
  • Check out unique calcite formations and discover the details of an A.D. 928 Viking massacre with a visit to Dunmore Cave.

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