Eight Great Places to Visit All Year Round in Ireland

Ionad Cultúrtha An Phiarsaigh Conamara (Cultural Centre Connemara and Pearse’s Cottage), Ros Muc, Co. Galway

Padraig Pearse’s cottage and the Conamara Cultural Centre is a real treat for the whole family. Whether you are an Irish speaker or not there is plenty to entertain you here at the contemporary visitor centre. Audio visuals and art go leor give an in depth background into our language. Take a scenic stroll and enjoy the views of the Twelve Bens on the way to the preserved thatch cottage which was owned by Patrick Pearse and feel a real sense of the peace for which he came to Conamara. Back at the centre you can indulge in refreshments at the tea room after enjoying the Conamara fresh air! Open every day, mid March – end of October 9.45am – 6.00pm November – mid March 9.45am – 4.00pm Last admission 45 minutes before closing.

Cahir Castle, Co. Tipperary

Cahir Castle once owned by the Butler family sits on the river Suir and is one of Ireland’s most impressive preserved structures. The grounds and surrounding park are beautiful especially when its sunny! Take a tour of the castle which is run by OPW/Heritage Ireland and don’t miss the sword in the stone out in the park, a photo op in any weather. Many films were made here including Excalibur with Sean Connery and Catholics with Martin Sheen. Opening hours are all year round but closing at 16:30 from October to February.

Dunbrody Famine Ship, New Ross, Co. Wexford

One of eight ships owned by the Graves, a merchant family in 1840s New Ross, The Dunbrody, which was a cargo ship, took thousands of emigrants to North America during the era of The Great Hunger in Ireland. A replica of the original ship, built over a period of 5 years, in 2001 The Dunbrody Famine Ship left dry dock and was taken to The Quay in New Ross where it sits today. This is another family favourite with a very interactive tour of the ship available. Out front you will find The Emigrant Flame, this eternal flame burns in memory of those who left our shores. The flame itself was lit from the very flame at the grave of John F Kennedy in Arlington, Virginia. The former US President’s ancestors came from New Ross in 1845 and he visited himself and gave an address from the Quay in 1963. The Visitor centre is open 7 days a week from 9am to 6pm (first tour 09:45, last tour 17:00)

Michael Collins House, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

It’s 100 years since the Irish War of Independence began and no better reason to get out and about and brush up on our history! A visit to Michael Collins House in Clonakilty offers a tour which lasts at least an hour and plenty of displays and audio visuals to soak up all the information you can about the patriot. Guides will happily chat with you and answer any questions you may have. Opening hours are October to April Wed-Sat 10am – 5pm and May – September Tues – Sat 10am – 5pm.

Waterford Greenway

No matter the season or the weather, everyone is loving getting out into nature to enjoy a safe walk, cycle or wellness adventure on a greenway. Waterford Greenway offers 46km of a paved trail on the old railway. Highlights along the way include the viaducts at Ballyvoile and Kilmacthomas, Durrow tunnel and the approach to Dungarvan with views to rival any coastal town in the world. Suir Valley Railway is another great stop off for train enthusiasts of all ages. Access to Waterford Greenway 24 hours a day all year round so it’s the perfect reason to make Waterford a destination. Bonus favourite surrounding areas are Ardmore, Lismore, An Rinn (Ring Gaeltacht) and the Copper Coast Drive.

Old Head Signal Tower Kinsale

Recently restored, the Old Head Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum is a community lead not for profit museum which is well worth a visit. The 200 year old signal tower was one of 81 built during the Napoleonic Wars as a defence effort to the threat of French invasion. A very touching tribute to the 1915 Lusitania disaster stands out front. A davit from the ship is also on display on site. Opening Hours 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week.

Youghal Clock Gate Tower

Also recently restored, Youghal Clock Gate Tower was a market house, a jail and even a family home! Let one of the storytellers take you through the history from the ground floor all the way to the panoramic views at the top! First tour 11am, last tour 4pm, alternative tour times can be arranged by calling direct.

Mayfield Birds of Prey, Kilmacthomas

Visit Willie at Mayfield Birds Of Prey in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford for an exhilarating up close experience with many species of hawks and owls. Take a hawk walk or, if the weather is terrible, an indoor visit with the birds. Operating all year round, booking essential.

All opening times correct at time of print.

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Packing Tips for Irish Trips!

We know packing and planning for your trip to Ireland can be stressful enough, so we have organised a few packing tips to make the process smoother! Remember your personal preference is important so always follow your instincts!

What to Wear

First consider the season in which you will be traveling and what kind of itinerary you will keep. Will you be exploring coastal areas or in the mountains? City museums or pub crawls?

Comfortable footwear is essential! Lightweight hiking shoes or boots are great for muddy pastures and castle ruins, but a good pair of tennis shoes or runners will be all you need for cobblestones paths around Temple Bar in Dublin or Quay Street in Galway.

Layers, layers, layers! Rather than packing a big heavy Parka that you would normally wear in colder months at home, try layering with a lighter waterproof jacket, cotton sweatshirts, fleece or flannel shirts. Keep this in mind too when packing gloves, hats and scarves. Good sturdy pants like jeans or zipped hiking pants are perfect for daily activities and can extend into appropriate nightwear also. Winter months can range from 30s to 50s (F), 3C to 12C, summer months between 40s and 70s (F), 10s to 20s (C). Ireland can be windy at any time of year especially between the coast and the mountains, or if you stop for lunch in a warm pub with a roaring fire, this is where your layer system will help. Don’t forget you’re never too far away from a store with gorgeous Aran Sweaters if you do get too cold!

Toiletries, Hairdryers and Shavers

Bathrooms in Ireland will not have an outlet for your hairdryers, and hair straighteners. You will need to rely on the bedroom for fixing your hair! Keep this in mind when gathering your grooming tools to pack. It’s safe to say leave the hairdryer at home, save space in your suitcase, as most hotel rooms and B&Bs will have these already. Standard toiletries like shampoo, body wash and soap are often provided in hotels and B&Bs. If you have a favourite brand bring your mini versions or check the local supermarkets and pharmacies when you get to Ireland, they will stock most well known brands like Pantene, Tresemme and John Frieda.

Gadgets

A good adapter is essential for charging your phone or camera. If you get lucky you might have USB ports in your room, your regular phone charging cord will work with these. Amazon is the best place to find adapters, and if you happen to forget one, you will find them in a supermarket, pharmacy or department store.

Ireland has beautiful scenery and you will be able to capture it at a moments notice with your phone camera, but if you are a shutterbug who likes to bring your own don’t forget extra memory cards, chargers and batteries!

If you have a small flashlight it is worth packing for dark walks back to your B&B from the rural pub – this was a great suggestion from one of our guests!

Luggage

Again it’s important to consider your itinerary when choosing the appropriate luggage to bring to Ireland. Staying in the same location can make carrying luggage easier but if you plan to use public transportation like trains and buses and move from place to place a great deal then you may find a bag with wheels, a good strap or even a backpack easier to manoeuvre. If, like our guests, you take a private tour you will not have to worry as much about the logistics of your luggage but do consider the airport and carrousel and how easy it is for you to lift.

There are laundry facilities of all kinds in Ireland from hotel service to laundrettes, even roadside washer/dryers! If you want to save space for extra purchases and souvenirs and you choose to just pack really light then Ireland has you covered!

Everyone will find their own unique twist on packing. If you have any specific questions or want to share your best tips then comment below or contact us on info@offthetrailtours.com