By Freya Ensbey.
Ireland is a contrasting patchwork of
continuous greens, blending in and out of valleys, falling away to the verdant
mountains reaching skyward as it runs its healing colour to greet powerful
coastlines with sudden cliff faces, where brash turquoise waves lap. It’s a
country humbled by the folk law of Gaelic mythology carved by its giant predecessors;
an ethereal landscape deep with mystery and soul, attributing to its
However, Ireland’s tourist reputation
precedes itself, luring tourists into the easily accessible ale tours, the
abundance of bars filled with gabby locals leading to suspicious leprechaun
tours. The authentic identity of the
Emerald Isle waits for those nomads seeking to take the road less travelled and
discover this country’s truly lucky charm.
Killarney National Park
When heading south of Ireland, ditch your
four wheels for two and take to the climbing mountains and spectacular views in
Killarney National Park, residing near the town of Killarney, close to the country’s
most Westerly point. It was Ireland’s first national park, named in 1932 and
has since been extended to encompass over 25,425 acres of diverse ecology,
lakes and woodlands. This national park has been continuously covered by
woodland since the end of the most recent glacial period, approximately 10,000
years ago, with historians believing humans have lived in the area since the
Bronze Age of 4,000 years ago.
When visiting the park, be sure to make your
way around to see the sought after Lakes of Killarney, Mangerton and the Purple
Mountains, keeping an eye out along the way for Ireland’s only native herd of
red deer left in the wild. Photo.
Giant’s Causeway is located in County Antrim on the Northeast coast of Northern Ireland, roughly 5 km’s Northeast of the town of Bushmills. This natural phenomenon was created 50 to 60 million years ago when Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity. Highly fluid molten basalt erupted and intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. As the lava cooled, horizontal contraction occurred, fracturing in a similar way to drying mud, with the cracks propagating down as the mass cooled, leaving the pillar like network of structures seen today. Legend has it that the columns are the remains of a causeway built by Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill who succeeded in a fight with Scottish giant, Benandonner, who destroyed the causeway behind him in a feared flee, so Fionn could not follow him. There is even a giant’s boot shaped rock, which is said to have fallen off Benandonner as he made his swift exit. Photo.
Kylemore Castle was built as a private home
for the family of Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from London,
moving to Ireland with his wife and purchasing the land around the Abbey. Henry
soon became a politician for the local County Galway and served the community from
1871 to 1885. The monumental castle residence is unfathomable in its reasoning
of size, with stone walls towering over its sprawling lush Victorian gardens.
Kylemore Abbey has been opened to the public since the 1970s with the
Benedictine community’s donations restoring the Abbey's gardens and Cathedral
enabling it to be a self-sustaining estate. Photo.
The Gleniff Horseshoe
Allusive by name, The Gleniff Horseshoe is
not a horseshoe, but a 10 km round loop of single lane road, just a short drive
North from Cliffoney, transporting visitors through a visually stunning journey
of spectacular mountain views. Most find themselves taking the loop both ways,
seeing just as much the opposite way as they did the first. Unfortunately, hiking
access to the surrounds is restricted, however the magic of the Gleniff
highlands is easily experienced from the comfort of your car, not just seeing
but feeling the presence of the gigantic mountains. Photo.
The Dingle Peninsula is Southwest Ireland’s final hurrah as the
countryside plunges into the Atlantic Ocean. Jagged coastlines of wave carved
cliffs have created sandy coves creating a terrain at the ever-changing mercy
of the elements. Dingle Town, aboard the peninsula attracts an eclectic crowd
of artists, craftsman and musicians to its workshops, museums and folkloric
festivals. For those eager to stretch their legs and fill their lungs with
crisp highland air, explore the peninsula with over 48kms of stretching
terrain, some describing the landscape an open-air museum, aplenty with monuments left
behind by Bronze Age settlers, Dark Age monks, stone house ruins and Hollywood
The Emerald Isle through the windows of Instagram:
"In the Galway Irish Cathedral.”
"Wild Atlantic Coast of Ireland.”
"Cliffs of Moher.”
"The fairest Isle of them all.” ~ Cork