Hi everyone. I hope I find you all well and in the mood for some romance-Irish style. With it being Valentine’s Day on Monday, 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!
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. The Wicklow Mountains
Next up we’re off for a romantic hike in Ireland’s largest National Park which covers over 50,000 acres. This stunning landscape offers a wealth of heather covered slopes, lush woodlands, deep lakes and twisting country roads. The highest peak is Lugnaquilla at 925 meters but my personal favorite is the much loved Great Sugarloaf (pictured )which is a gentler climb. Matching Aran sweaters are a must in chilly February!
3. Glenveagh Castle, Donegal
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.
4. Clough Oughter Castle, Cavan
Our next stop takes us to the heart of County Cavan, Ireland’s “Lakeland County”, where it is said there is a lake for every day of the year. Clough Oughter Castle is situated on a man made island on Lake Oughter and dates back to the 13th century. The perfect place for a Valentine proposal!
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. 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
Nothing says romance quite like an Irish beach walk and we head to the Kingdom of Kerry for a visit to two of its finest. Inch beach is a 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
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!