The COVID-19 pandemic might be stymieing our holiday plans for 2020 but we can still dream!

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As part of an Ireland of the Welcomes readers survey, we asked “where would you visit in Ireland?” Although we’re all stuck at home, in Ireland’s case in our own counties, we can dream about our next vacation in Ireland, right? 

Here are the results:

Dublin and surrounds – 41.21%

Dublin is a small city but perfectly formed. What’s great is you can walk the length of the city in about an hour and a half, pass an afternoon at Guinness Storehouse, and later that evening dine in a seaside village just outside town, like Howth or Malahide. Like the song says, “Dublin can be heaven…”

Dublin city center.

Dublin city center.

Ireland’s capital is also blessed with its surroundings. Dublin has miles of wonderful coastline and is happily just an hour away from Wicklow, known as the “Garden of Ireland”, including gets like Glendalough and Lough Tay and Lough Dan.

South of Ireland – 47.26% 

(Cork, Kerry, Limerick etc) 

This is a whole lot to take in. The County Cork includes Ireland’s second-largest city, it also boasts of the wonderful seaside region of West Cork with towns like Schull, Clonakilty, and Baltimore.

Mizen Head, in West Cork.

Mizen Head, in West Cork.

Kerry is one of the top spots for Irish people to holiday. Its main towns include Tralee and Killarney, home to the National Park. It also has a wonderful coastline with towns such as Dingle and Kenmare scattered along the way. 

Portmagee, County Kerry.

Portmagee, County Kerry.

County Limerick is packed full of with historic interest and natural beauty. The River Shannon widens into an estuary on leaving the city, forming a substantial natural barrier between County Limerick and Clare to the north. Limerick is a scenic county characterized mainly by green pastoral countryside. 

* Subscribe to our sister publication Ireland of the Welcomes bi-monthly magazine here. 

West of Ireland – 56.85% 

Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Mayo etc

Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Clare… it doesn’t get better than the West of Ireland. Right along the Wild Atlantic Way, these Oceanside counties are among Ireland’s favorites. Rugged, windswept, and full of craic and wonderful towns and places to visit it’s little wonder that these counties are a firm favorite.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare.

Southeast of Ireland – 24.54% 

(Wexford, Wicklow, Waterford etc)

Waterford City.

Waterford City.

All the Ws! From the Viking history of the island to the ancient history of Ireland’s Ancient East, these counties are a wonder to behold. From vibrant historic cities like Wexford and Waterford to the beautiful gardens of Wicklow such as Powerscourt.

Midlands of Ireland – 16.89% 

(Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Laois etc)

Lough Derg, Galway.

Lough Derg, Galway.

Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands are some of the most beautiful places to visit in the country, with plenty of attractions to see and things to do. From castles to walking tours and great food galore, the place offers some enriching experiences that will leave you energized, relaxed, and inspired. From adventure holidays to historic attractions these much-overlooked counties have a huge amount to offer. 

Belfast and surrounds – 25.80%

(Giants Causeway etc) 

Belfast city.

Belfast city.

Of course, Belfast makes the cut. Antrim has largely been revitalized with the popularity of the Titanic and the presence of the Game of Thrones. Of course, those with a grá (love) for Irish history will be transfixed by Belfast’s rich history and its regeneration since the end of the Troubles. 

Giant's Causeway, County Antrim.

Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim.

The Giant’s Causeway also gets a special mention. Just an hour’s drive from Belfast this amazing sight of polygonal columns of layered basalt is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. This incredible structure is the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is the focal point for a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has attracted visitors for centuries. 

Derry and surrounds – 15.64% 

The Peace Bridge in Derry City.

The Peace Bridge in Derry City.

Derry city is steeped in history and filled with craic (fun). Famous for it’s Halloween festivities this city surrounded by 400-year-old walls is a wonderful place to explore by foot, taking in its history of sieges, emigration, and The Troubles. 

Outside of the city, there’s also a huge amount to explore. County Derry is home to perhaps one of the oldest recorded settlements in Ireland, located near Mountsandel. If you’re in the mood for the trip to the seaside, Portstewart Strand is a year-long favorite beach destination, whether you’re looking for a wintery walk or for a lazy day sunbathing in an area of immense natural beauty.

Along the coast, another highlight is Mussenden Temple, made internationally famous by the Game of Thrones. This tower is dramatically located on the edge of a 120ft cliff and is one of the most photographed tourist locations in Ireland.

All of the Republic of Ireland – 35.16%

Visit all of Ireland.

Visit all of Ireland.

Ireland is small but mighty! Just 174 miles wide and 302 miles long, Ireland is actually the same approximate size as the US state of Idaho. Imagine just how much of these beautiful green Ireland you could explore. What’s also glorious is there are over 3,000 miles of coastlines on this beautiful isle.

All of Northern Ireland – 23.17% 

Beaghmore stone circle, in County Tyrone.

Beaghmore stone circle, in County Tyrone.

Counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone – Northern Ireland is filled with hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Northern Ireland has wild, rugged coastlines that demand awe and adventure. Gently unfolding rural landscapes filled with trails, history, and nature. Cosmopolitan cityscapes and towns buzzing with life and urban adventure. Bars, cafes, hotels, guesthouses, campsites, attractions, and experiences that leave you wanting more of their welcome. 

* Subscribe to our sister publication Ireland of the Welcomes bi-monthly magazine here.

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