Hi everyone. Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope I find you all well and in the mood for some romance-Irish style. Today, we’re taking a tour of our favorite romantic places as voted for by The Irish Store Family. 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. Here’s our top 10. Enjoy!
Our Top 10 Romantic Places in Ireland
1. Kinsale, West Cork
What better place to begin our romantic journey than the gateway to West Cork- Kinsale. This beautiful town is also known as “Ireland’s Riviera” and “The Gourmet Capital of Ireland” and for good reason. The food is amazing here so there’s no shortage of places for the perfect romantic meal for two. Then maybe a stroll along the waterfront or through the charming winding streets to find a cozy corner in one of its many great pubs.
2. Dunmore East
Number 2 on our list takes to the sunny south east of the country to Dunmore East in County Waterford. Nestled in a valley which gently slopes down to the sea, this gorgeous harbor town is a great place for a romantic beach walk. Stunning views of the Saltees, Waterford Harbor & Hook Lighthouse are to be had here.
3. Ashford Castle, Mayo
When it comes to romantic fairytale settings, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Anglo-Norman house of Burke were the first to build a castle on this site in 1228. The estate was bought by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness in 1852 and remained in Guinness hands until the family gifted it to the Irish government in 1939. Today it boasts being one of The Leading Hotels of The World and has hosted a memorable roll call of guests including John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara (the grounds of the castle were a location for “The Quiet Man”) and Princess Grace to name but a few.
4. Dingle Peninsula, Kerry
Next stop, County Kerry. The stunning Dingle peninsula boasts dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, and quaint fishing villages. Take a leisurely drive along the Slea Head Loop, where you’ll encounter awe-inspiring vistas. Then there’s the charming town of Dingle itself witha wealth of tradtional music and delicious seafood!
5. Glencar Waterfall, Leitrim
We head west 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”
6. Connemara, Galway
No romantic trip around Ireland would be complete without a visit to the rugged and untamed beauty of Connemara in County Galway. The stunning scenery includes mountain ranges, fjords and lakes, and of course it’s where you’ll find Ireland’s unique and ancient gemstone, Connemara Marble.
7. Aran Islands, Galway
Next up, we’re taking 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.
8. Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal
We head up north to Donegal now to Slieve League, where you’ll be greeted by towering cliffs plunging into the Atlantic Ocean. The perfect place for a romantic getaway and discover the unspoiled beaches of Donegal and soak in the dramatic landscapes that have inspired romantic poets and artists for centuries.
8. Silver Strand, Malin Beg, Donegal
Nothing says romance quite like an Irish beach walk and we stay in Donegal for a visit to one of its finest. This perfectly formed horseshoe bay with its sandy white strand and irresistible blue waters is such a feast for the senses. Descend the many stone steps and find yourself wrapped in majestic cliffs with stunning Atlantic views.
9. Keem Beach, Mayo
We head down to County Mayo to stop off at yet another beach-we’re obviously big fans of the romantic beach walk at The Irish Store! This time it’s Keem beach on Achill Island. The beach provides the perfect centerpiece to the bay of the same name and is beautifully framed by cliffs on each side. An old coastguard station perches high on the western side. From here you can walk along the top of the cliffs towards Achill Head. More breathtaking Atlantic views await the loved up couple!
10. Powerscourt House & Gardens
We end our top ten romantic Irish places tour back in County Wicklow 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!
Thanks so much for dropping by.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Ireland to all!
Take care of yourselves and each other.
Slán go fóill!