With the Easter, long weekend almost upon us, many of you will be turning towards thoughts of short breaks. With our new tailor-made booking system, it’s even easier to pick and choose where you’d like to spend your available time. Today we’ll take a look at what we feel are some of the best short-break routes in Ireland.
The Wicklow Way is a 7-day walking trail from Bunclody to Dublin through the Wicklow Mountains, otherwise known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’. If you have limited time then you can consider walking the last 3 days of the route from Glendalough to Dublin. From the early-Christian monastic settlement of Glendalough the route will take you over Paddock Hill and past Lough Dan to the village of Roundwood. Your second walking day will take you over some stunning trails and after a few kilometres you will reach the viewing point over Lough Tay which is one of the iconic images of the Wicklow Way. Here you will also find a memorial to J.B. Malone who was the main driving force behind the creation of the Wicklow Way. After this point, the route climbs to cross the saddle of Djouce mountain before descending to a stunning viewpoint over Powerscourt Waterfall. The third and final walking day will over the saddle of Prince Williams Seat and close to Two Rock Mountain. As you make your way downhill from here you will get fantastic views over the city of Dublin before you complete your walk in the beautiful surrounds of Marlay Park.
Causeway Coast Way
If you are looking for a slightly easier walk than Wicklow, then a 3-day trip from Ballycastle to Portstewart along the Causeway Coast Way is perfect for you. Located on the northern coast of County Antrim, Ballycastle is a busy little town with views over Rathlin Island and across the Irish Sea to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. The town is also famous for the Ould Lammas Fair which is held there every August. From Ballycastle the way will take you by the world-famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which is not for the feint hearted! After spending the night in Ballintoy, you will begin your second days walk by travelling by Ballintoy Harbour which is better known to Game of Thrones fans as Pyke in the Iron Islands. The walk from here will take you past the ruins of Dunseverick Castle to the geological wonder that is the Giants Causeway. A visitor centre here which was opened in 2012 gives a great insight into the history and culture of the area. If you have some time to spare why not walk along the greenway to Bushmills or better still, take the small steam railway to the town, where you can visit the Bushmills Distillery, which is the oldest whiskey distillery in the world. The final day will continue along the coast through the towns of Portballintrae and Portrush to the Victorian seaside resort of Portstewart. The annual North West 200 motorcycle race is held annually in this area and is regarded as the fastest road race in the world.
Achill Island and the Great Western Greenway
The Great Western Greenway is a traffic-free cycling and walking trail which follows the route of the Great Western Railway which was closed in 1937. The Greenway, which was fully re-opened in 2011 is one of the most popular short break destinations for people looking for a safe, family-friendly cycling route. The route begins in the beautiful, bustling town of Westport. Depending on the distance you wish to cycle, there are lots of different options available. Our recommendation would be to cycle from Westport, through the town of Newport and village of Mulranny. From Mulranny you can follow the Wild Atlantic Way along a route known as the ‘Spanish Coast Road’ to Achill Sound. The road owes its name to the number of ships which were wrecked along this coast during the Spanish Armada of 1588. On your second day, you can explore Achill Island and its many beaches, including the sublime Keel beach. After staying in the village of Keel you will make your way back to Achill Sound and from here you can follow the Greenway back to Mulranny. Here you have the option of cycling or getting a transfer back to Westport.
For more information about any of our walking and cycling tours please contact one of our Travel Specialists.