This Signature Point lies at the top of the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, Ireland’s most northerly point - an area of breath-taking scenic beauty. On a cloudless evening you may just catch and be enchanted by a night sky display of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. Visit An Grianán Ailigh, a stone ring fort that dates back 4000 years. Standing at 245 meters it is the perfect spot for you to take in the rugged beauty of the Inishowen Peninsula. Circle Ireland’s far north and discover dramatic landmarks like Hell’s Hole and Banba’s Crown – magnificent places sound tracked by the churn of the sea and the cry of coastal birds.
This Signature Point lies on the north coast of Donegal. Golden sandy beaches and rolling farmland, threaded by narrow roads, set the scene in the secluded Fanad peninsula squeezed in between Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay. Enjoy a day of watersports at picturesque resort towns such as Rathmullan or Portsalon. Take your pick from spinning for mackerel off a pier, learning to fly-fish for rainbow trout, hiring a pedalo or a kayak – you can even saddle up and gallop along the shores of Lough Swilly on the pristine Rathmullan Strand. Follow the Knockalla Coast Road and you’ll find yourself at Ballymastocker Bay. When you see it you’ll understand why this was voted the second most beautiful beach in the world.
A narrow road twists steeply up from Teelin to the dramatic Sliabh Liag cliffs and mountains on the southwest coast of Donegal, some of the highest in Europe. From the viewing point, look across one of the finest views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay which will set your heart racing.For the experienced walker One Man’s pass will take you to Sliabh Liag’s summit. For the leisure visitor the viewing platform will be all you need. Tweed has been hand-woven in Donegal for centuries, made with nature’s raw materials and inspired by the rugged landscape. Visit Studio Donegal at Kilcar to see the hand weavers and spinners at work.
This Signature Point is located between Cliffoney and Grange in County Sligo. A small fishing village, boasting 3km of white sandy beach, which proves very popular with water sports enthusiasts. Huge Atlantic rollers of up to 100ft crash off the coast. These ‘Prowlers’ attract big wave surfers from across the globe. If you decide you want to try it yourself Bundoran has several surf schools, for both the beginner and the more experienced surfer. If you’re seeking something more relaxing, take a deep soak in a hot bath filled with hand-harvested Atlantic seaweed, maybe followed by a bracing walk on a beautiful beach by the ocean’s edge.
Located just north of Ballycastle village in County Mayo, the Signature Point of Downpatrick Head stands 126 feet above the crashing Atlantic. View the many species of birds that live in the small stone buildings at the top, or simply take in the magnificent view. Spend an afternoon with Denis Quinn foraging for local food across the shoreline of Killala Bay. From seaweed to cockles, mussels, clams and winkles, you’ll prepare a feast with the treasures you find.
Cross the road bridge to Ireland’s largest Island – Achill – with its tall seacliffs, bare mountains and sweeping sandy beaches, before turning north towards the Golden Strand. Sheltering under Slievemore Mountain, wander through the Deserted Village, a strange unnamed linear settlement. No one knows exactly why it was abandoned in the early 20th century, but take a guided tour with an archaeologist to find out more, or walk the town yourself imagining life centuries ago, in this remote and poignant spot.
Discover this Signature Point in the heart of the rugged and dramatic landscape of Connemara - one of three glacial fjords that exist in Ireland today. The sure-footed Connemara pony - the only horse breed native to Ireland - is the perfect form of transport. Navigate the region’s blanket bogs and dazzling beaches, even wading across the shallow channel at low tide to peaceful islands like Finish, Mweenish and Omey.
This unique Signature Point could be from another planet. The blanket bog is a stark and otherworldly landscape - steeped in history, this is not to be missed. Hire a bike in Clifden and strike out across this strange landscape. You’ll navigate a mosaic of tiny lakes and peat on a single road. Not only will you take in the unique scenery, you will also uncover two remarkable events in 20th century history - a trans-Atlantic radio station built by Marconi more than a century ago and a memorial marking the site of Alcock and Brown’s crash landing, after the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic.
This Signature Point is one of Ireland’s most famous landmarks - with spectacular cliffs that stretch for 8km as the crow flies and reach an amazing 214 meters at their highest point. The Visitor Experience is home to a 19th century viewing tower and the nearby protected cliff side pathways offer magnificent views. Travel to Inis Oirr, the smallest and nearest of the Aran Islands. You can explore this beautiful spot in just one day - by bicycle, or better yet by pony and trap. Narrow lanes, stone walls, white sand beaches, clover-covered hills and tiny fields await you. And after all that, why not catch the ferry back to the West Clare music hub of Doolin for a night to remember?
This Signature Point is one of the most remote and wonderful places in the country. A place unto itself, dividing the Shannon estuary from the open sea.The narrow peninsula at the mouth of the Shannon offers an elemental experience, where huge Atlantic swells smash into miles of sheer granite cliffs. As the surf kicks high into the air the sun catches it creating a panorama of rainbows. Loop Head was designated Ireland’s Aquatic Destination of Excellence in 2010. Follow the road from Kilrush to Aylevarro Point and watch bottlenose dolphins playing just offshore to find out why. If you want to get a little closer to these beautiful animals, you can take a Dolphinwatch boat trip from Carrigaholt.
On the very edge of Europe, as far west as you can go in Ireland, lie the Blasket Islands. A deserted village with a poignant past sits at this Signature Point. The lives of the islanders that lived here until 1953 were famously documented by JM Synge, Peig Sayers and Tomás Ó Criomhtháin. Today you can visit the Blasket Centre to learn about its people and history, or take a boat and visit the mountainous main island, the Great Blasket. Wander the ruined cottages, or look for whales and dolphins which can be spotted off the shoreline. At the far end of the Dingle Peninsula is the workshop of Louis Mulcahy, one of Ireland’s leading potters. His work is inspired by the landscape that surrounds him and in the summer months, you too can try your hand at throwing a pot inspired by your journey.
Two sandstone rocks jut spectacularly out of the Atlantic Ocean, these are the world-renowned Skellig Islands. Special for their ornithological, archaeological and cultural significance and acknowledged by their World Heritage status. A Signature Point not to be missed. Skellig Michael is one of the wonders of the world. 1,300 years ago, early Christian monks built a hermitage at the top of this ocean crag. It can be reached by the adventurous on a small boat from Portmagee, Ballinskelligs or Caherdaniel - for an often life-changing experience. At St. Finian’s Bay a great pleasure awaits. Europe’s most westerly chocolate factory, Skelligs Chocolate - where you can enjoy a warm hot chocolate as the waves crash on the beach outside.
This Signature Point is the most westerly of West Cork’s inhabited islands. An adventurous trip, as the island can only be reached by boarding a cable car. If you make the journey you can enjoy the many unique charms of Dursey Island. From views of the lighthouse on Bull Rock, to castle ruins and standing stones. Most impressive of all are the stunning sunsets, known as ‘Europe’s Last’. Or you can let nature set the pace in the Italiante gardens on nearby Garinish Island. Created by Harold Peto in the 1920s, these have been a favourite of celebrities throughout the ages.
Discover an educational and thrilling experience at this Signature Point, the home of the Irish Lights Signal Station. Out on the horizon the imposing Fastnet lighthouse stands on a rock known as Ireland’s teardrop. Climb down the steps and onto a high arched suspension bridge connecting a rocky crag to the mainland. Below you, the surf will crash and foam, until you find yourself at the Fog Signal Station. Here you’ll find a beautiful exhibition on the lives of the keepers and this historic location. And whilst in the area, visit Lough Hyne, a marine lake whose warm salt waters support a rich habitat of plants and creatures. Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking takes small groups kayaking across the sea lake on summer nights. With darkness the magic begins, as microscopic marine life erupts in ghostly phosphorescence and the surface of the water mirrors the starry skies.
Whether you want world-class golf or remarkable landscapes, this Signature Point is the place for you. They say the best way to see Kinsale is from the sea. And maybe the best way to do that is with a former fisherman at the helm of the boat. Jerome studied Archaeology & Celtic Civilisations, so while you drink coffee, wrapped in blankets in his boat The Spirit of Kinsale, he’ll share his knowledge with you. Or you can take a kayak through the coves and caves of Cork’s rugged Atlantic coastline. H2O Sea Kayaking will bring even first time kayakers on this memorable journey.
Just 15km off the coast of Donegal, something different awaits. A Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking) island, small in size but huge in spirit - fiercely preserving its indigenous music, dance and stories. The island is known for its strong folklore – featuring shipwrecks, poitín smuggling and stories of violent storms! Local painters’ work is on view at the island’s gallery, their own school of native art, and many ancient customs live on today. It’s not every island that has an Island King, or Rí Thorai that welcomes visitors to the island. You can access Tory Island by ferry from Mín Lárach (Meenlaragh) Harbour or Bunbeg Harbour.
Set out by electric bike with Seamus Gallagher on a journey of Ireland’s northwest culture, landscape and people - combining health and fitness with the great outdoors! Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) is an experience not to be rushed – relax and enjoy the beauty of one of Ireland’s natural wonders; the salty sea air, the boom of the waves entering the caves below, calling gulls, the thrill of a bike ride, lazy moments lying in the heather and spectacular views from beneath the cliffs on board boat or kayak. Just some of the highlights that await you.
Here at at Cliffoney in Sligo you can discover archaeology, local heritage, beautiful woodland, spectacular cliffs, stunning views and Irish legends. Take the woodland walk through native Irish trees, alongside rushing mountain streams and waterfalls. Check out the top of Truskmore which boasts stunning views of five counties. The cliff face at Annacoona contains small mine entrances, testament to a bygone era when the mineral Barytes was extracted here, and remnants of the last ice age have visibly left their mark in the valley. Don’t miss the cave where the legendary figures Diarmuid and Grainne slept their last night, is clearly visible high on the mountain.
No visit to this area would be complete without exploring Clew Bay in Westport. A spectacular way to check out the thriving sea colony, beautiful secluded beaches and breathtaking views of Croagh Patrick, Murrisk Abbey and Bertra Bay. Sail past the many sheltered islands, Inishgort lighthouse and the shore of Dorinish Island, formerly owned by John Lennon, who spent some time here. The remnants of the huts and dwellings, used by the hippies of the time that called the island home, can be clearly seen.
At Streedagh Beach take a walk along a narrow strip of Atlantic coastline and discover various rocks embedded with fossils and the site of three Spanish Armada shipwrecks. Follow the steps of escaped Spanish Captain Francisco de Cuellar on a wonderful guided walk with maritime archaeologist, Auriel Robinson of Seatrails. You will cross a dune wilderness where rare wild flowers grow, visit an ancient megalithic tomb over 5,000 years old, hear all about the famous Spanish Armada ships that became wrecked here in September of 1588 and feast your eyes on spectacular Wild Atlantic scenery.
Take the road to the coast about half way between the villages of Kilkieran and Carna and walk to the tidal island of Finish. But be careful not to get trapped by the incoming tide! You can also walk or cycle Mweenish Island, accessible by road, just outside Carna. This island is actually a series of islands joined by causeways. Check out the lovely beaches, ideal for swimming - if you’re brave take the plunge and jump in. It’s what memories are made of!
Situated in Salthill, on the outskirts of Galway city, the ‘Prom’ is Ireland’s longest promenade overlooking Galway Bay. A favourite local pastime is walking along the Prom and ‘kicking the wall’ across from the Blackrock diving boards before turning back. Nobody knows how the custom started but it’s now considered to give good luck and fortune to those who partake in the tradition. So join in and get strolling!
Foynes will be forever connected with the invention of this hot tipple and uniquely Irish treat and - as with everything in Ireland - the weather played a key role. Late one night in the winter of 1943 a flight departed Foynes for Newfoundland. Bad weather forced a return to wait for improved conditions. Head Chef at the airport, Joe Sheridan, prepared warm drinks for the passengers and added some good Irish whiskey to their coffees to cheer them up. When asked did he use Brazilian coffee, Joe jokingly replied ‘no that’s Irish coffee’. After perfecting the iconic beverage, Chef Sheridan presented his new drink in a stemmed glass with fresh lightly whipped cream and asked ‘how about that for eye appeal?’ Check out the restaurant at Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum and sample one for yourself (not for drivers!)
Before arriving in Dingle town, you will pass Inch Beach, home to where the infamous ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ was filmed. Set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, a married woman in a small Irish village has an affair with a troubled British officer. Dust off those cobwebs and take a walk on this beautiful sandy beach, the same spot where Sarah Miles as Rosy Ryan, met Robert Mitchum as Charles Shaughnessy, and share in their love story. Ann Curran of Hidden Ireland Tours will be happy to divulge more of this hidden gem.
One of the best gems on offer in the south west of Ireland is the experience of exploring the Kenmare River which enters into Kenmare Bay in a double kayak. Built for two, this is a fantastic way to get up close and personal with the water and wildlife that abounds in this area. Be enthralled by the local seabirds, herons, seals and the flora and fauna of Kenmare Bay. For the beginner there is training available so don’t miss this opportunity! Rent a kayak from Star Outdoors Adventure Centre and enjoy this fantastic, self-guided, hour of entertainment.
Fancy exploring a little below the surface? Well you can here in Kinsale, with amazing scenic diving all along the south west coast of Ireland, from the Ling Rocks nearby, to the 78 rock near Glandore, to Fastnet Rock, Mizen Head and Bantry Bay. Sheer walls and wonderful reefs covered in life and colour await you, home to a wide variety of amazing marine life. But if diving isn’t your thing and you prefer to stay above the waves, choose from liveaboard and day boat diving, snorkelling trips or sea thrills! Anne Ferguson of Ocean Addicts will be happy to advise.
The industrial revolution took a small remote community in Beara Peninsula in west Cork by storm in the 19th and 20th centuries. Stop a while and discover this fascinating story of copper mining in Allihies. Visit the local museum, meet Chrissie O’ Sullivan and learn about the Cornish community, or those Allihies miners who left to work in Butte, Montana where substantial mining operations evolved. Many of today’s Butte residents in fact bear the same surnames as Allihies families to this day.