Hi everyone. I hope I find you all safe and well and enjoying a happy Friday. This Sunday is Valentine’s Day so I thought it would be fun to take another one of our road trips and check out some of our favorite romantic places. With our wealth of windswept beaches, fairy tale castles and majestic mountains, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to destinations for courting couples. With that in mind, I decided to put it to the vote! So here’s our top 10 as voted for by The Irish Store Family. Enjoy!
Top 10 Romantic Places in Ireland
1. Portsalon Beach, Donegal
Nothing says romance quite like a stroll on the beach for two and the beach at Portsalon is one of our finest. In fact it has been voted the second most beautiful beach in the world by The Observer magazine! Also known as Ballymastocker Bay, Portsalon Beach is situated between Rathmullan and Fanad Head on the shores of Lough Swilly. Beautiful at any time of year although we highly recommend Aran sweaters and raincoats for a Valentine’s Day stroll!
2. Glenveagh Castle, Donegal
We stay in County Donegal for a visit to a classic Irish castle. When it comes to romantic fairytale settings, it doesn’t get much better than this. The castle nestles on the shores of Lough Veagh in the heart of Ireland’s second largest national park. The stunning Derryveigh Mountains provide the perfect backdrop and the design of the castle is said to be inspired by Balmoral Castle, the British Royal Family’s holiday retreat in Scotland.
3. Glencar Waterfall, Leitrim
We head over the border now to County Leitrim for a visit to one of Ireland’s most beautiful waterfalls. We’re in Yeats country now, arguably Ireland’s best known poet and one of the last of the Romantic Poets who immortalized Glencar in his poem “The Stolen Child”
“where the wandering water gushes from the hills above Glencar”
4. Benbulben, Sligo
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that Benbulben in my beloved County Sligo gets my top vote! This stunning mountain is referred to in the title of another Yeats poem, “Under Ben Bulben” and it was under Benbulben that Yeats chose as his final resting place in the churchyard at Drumcliff. I love to take the Gortarowey Looped Walk which begins in secluded lush wooodlands and then opens out and you find yourself at the foot of the mighty Benbulben. It also offers stunning views of Donegal Bay, Mullaghmore and Slieve League mountain.
5. Clare Island Lighthouse, Mayo
Venturing into neighboring County Mayo now for trip to Clare Island Lighthouse. Secluded, romantic and perched at the edge of the awesome Atlantic Ocean. Being the only lighthouse in Ireland to offer luxury accommodation, this is the perfect place for the ultimate romantic getaway for two. We look forward to them opening their doors again very soon.
6. Aran Islands, Galway
We head even further south now and take a trip off the Galway coast to the iconic Aran Islands and home to our equally iconic Aran Sweater. Inishmore, the largest of the islands boasts over 50 ancient monuments of rich Celtic heritage. Inishmann, the least visited of the islands gives a true feeling of getting away from the modern world and was a favourite retreat of Irish writer J.M.Synge. Inisheer, the smallest of the islands, has an irresistible charm and offers astounding views of the Cliffs of Moher. When it comes to romantic places, it doesn’t get much better than this.
7. Cliffs of Moher
We leave the Aran Islands and head back to the mainland now to the equally iconic Cliffs of Moher. One of Ireland’s most popular natural wonders makes the perfect place for a romantic if bracing walk for two! The cliffs rise majestically from the southwestern edge of the Burren and rise over 8 km along the edge of the Atlantic to their highest point at 214 meters at their midpoint at O’Briens’s tower.
8. Inch Beach, Kerry
We head into County Kerry for another awesome Irish beach. This 3 mile long sandy strand on the Dingle Peninsula. It was a location for a film version of J.M Synge’s “Playboy of the Western World”. Easy to see why.
9. Slea Head, Kerry
We head further along the Dingle Peninsula now to Slea Head at it’s most westerly reaches. And yes we stop off at yet another beach-we’re obviously big fans of the romantic beach walk at The Irish Store! This time it’s Coumeenoole Beach, tucked into a secluded cove. This beach was also a film location in the 1960s for the David Lean classic, ” Ryans Daughter”.
10. Powerscourt House & Gardens
After our love affair with Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, we head east to County Wicklow and end our journey at Powerscourt House & Gardens. Arguably the jewel in the crown of The Garden of Ireland, the stunning gardens here were first designed in 1731 and cover over 47 acres. They were also voted no. 3 in National Geographic’s top 10 gardens in the world. There’s also a Japanese Garden, statuary and even a pet cemetery!
Well I hope our tour of Ireland’s most romantic places has gotten you in the mood to show the love on Sunday!
Happy Valentine’s Day from Ireland to all!
Take care of yourselves and each other.
Slán go fóill!