4 spots on Ireland's west that aren't on your list (but are SO worth a visit) 3 years ago

4 spots on Ireland's west that aren't on your list (but are SO worth a visit)

It's nearly summer time.

So, there's plenty of reasons to head off exploring all that Ireland's west has to offer. We know it's pretty exceptional, but if you're looking for a novel idea or place to add to the itinerary, then these below might just be worth looking into:

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Mayo's Clew Bay (Cuan Mó as Gaeilge)

Stunning to say the least - especially on a sunny day and lucky us, we've been having plenty of sunshine. The bay is home to 365 islands (one for every day of the year), 117 of them are superb examples of Ireland's drumlins of limestone. That means they come in all sorts of cool shapes that can look like dragons, snakes, arrows and beasts.

Clare island (the biggest island at the bay entrance) is worth a visit, Westport is your spot if you're looking for bit of craic and Louisburgh, Mulranny, Murrisk plus Achill island are worth heading to if you're looking to appreciate the beauty of the bay. Nearby is also Croagh Patrick and North Mayo's Nephin Range mountains to the south if you're feeling like a bit of uphill exercise.

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Roscommon's Arigna Mining Experience

Okay, we know you're mind is thinking 'RANDOM!' But, this spot (on the way to the west coast) has received exceptional reviews online and so we think we need to check it out. The Energy Centre gives visitors a unique insight into what life was like down below way back in the day and we've also heard the tour guides describe first-hand tales that delight visitors, keeping them entertained until the very end.

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Sligo's Lough Gill Cycle Tour

In the mood for more exploring and adventure? Sligo's Lough Gill Cycle tour is a beautiful breath of fresh air. It's a scenic 40km road cycle around Lough Gill and the rustic parts of Sligo and Leitrim. You'll pass the 17th century Parkes Castle that's nestled right by the shore and from here you can go on to Slish Wood.

You'll likely spot a number of native wildlife thanks to the little pockets of 250-year-old oaks that remain and it's perfect to stretch the legs and submerse yourself in the great outdoors. The easier climb is Dooney Wood and the steepest (if you've got lots of energy to burn) is at Aughamore.

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To start the cycle, get to the Dromahair road via Ballinode junction with the N16 and follow Lough Gill in a clockwise direction. Following on from Dromahair, keep right at the garage you'll see and after around 4km keep right for Sligo at Inishfree Island junction.

 

Clare's Bunratty Castle

The 15th century Bunratty Castle was owned by a certain Earl of Thomond, and apparently, he had it lavishly kitted out. It has been fully restored to it's former glory and is 'the most complete and authentic medieval castle in Ireland.' It's also filled with outstanding art you'll definitely want to have a gawk at.

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The gardens (Victorian style) are gorgeous for a stroll and if you're about in the evening, organisers host a Medieval Banquet each evening (the menu looks divine) and you can get to the local pub after in the 19th century Bunratty Folk Park.