A local guide to the hidden gems of Ireland

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No one can let you enter the secret places of Ireland like a local.

From new museums and old castles, to impressive walks and unique activities, follow these local tips to make your visit to Ireland very special.

Seamus Heaney Home Place

Seamus Heaney Home Place. Photo: Brian Morrison

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Seamus Heaney Home Place. Photo: Brian Morrison

The works and words of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney are treasured by people across the island of Ireland, so much so that in 2015, a survey conducted by RTE, the national broadcaster of Ireland, announced a poem by Heaney, "When everyone else was away in Mass," as Ireland's favorite poem of the last 100 years.

Seamus Heaney Home Place. Photo: Christopher Hill "height =" 547 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/seamus_heaney-Homeplace_arthur_ward.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/seamus_heaney-Homeplace_arthur_ward.jpg

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Seamus Heaney Home Place. Photo: Christopher Hill

After Heaney's death in 2013, plans were put in place to create an appropriate tribute to the iconic poet, a place where people could continue to connect with their creative vision. Seamus Heaney Home opened its doors in 2016, in his hometown of Bellaghy, County Derry-Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, a short distance from the walled city of Derry. There you will find exhibits about Heaney's life, a replica of the studio in which he produced some of his best works, memories of friends and fellow luminaries, and a calendar full of readings, lectures and performances.

Harvest of mussels in the port of Killary

A ship in the port of Killary. Photo: Christopher Hill "height =" 408 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/killary_Harbour_boat_christopher_hill.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: // www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/killary_Harbour_boat_christopher_hill.jpg

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A ship in the port of Killary. Photo: Christopher Hill

The port of Killary, also known as the Killary Fjord, is one of the most beautiful natural sites of Connemara. The fjord, one of the only ones in Ireland, extends for almost 10 miles along the border between Galway and Mayo. In Killary, you can get an idea of ​​the local seafood industry by taking a tour with Killary Fjord Shellfish.

Killary Fjord Shellfish tours. "Height =" 450 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/Killary_Fjord_Shellfish_tours.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral. com / uploads / assets-v2 / 2019/10 / Killary_Fjord_Shellfish_tours.jpg

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Killary Fjord Seafood tours.

The family business run by Simon Kennedy and Kate O & # 39; Connor Kennedy for more than three decades began sending mussels to food distributors in Ireland and abroad, and since then they have become one of the leading suppliers of fresh seafood for restaurants along the Atlantic Wild Road. See what a day in life is like on the road. You will leave the boat and be there while the mussels are transported on board, harvested, sorted and cleaned. Once back on land, you can try your own oysters and enjoy some delicious seafood options.

Devenish island

Approach the devenish island by boat. Photo: Chris Hill "height =" 534 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Devenish_Island_Chris_Hill.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Devenish_Island_Chris_Hill.jpg

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Approach the devenish island by boat. Photo: Chris Hill

Where can you walk between relics that span the centuries? On Devenish Island, in the beautiful Lough Erne of Northern Ireland. In the 6th century, St. Molaise founded a monastic site here. It was attacked by Vikings in the year 837, burned to the ground in 1157, and then rose from the ashes as the Agustín Priory of Santa Maria in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Devenish island. Photo: Chris Hill "height =" 586 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/web-Devenish_Island_Lough_Erne_Fermanagh.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/web-Devenish_Island_Lough_Erne_Fermanagh.jpg

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Devenish island. Photo: Chris Hill

Today, you can still see what is left of the round tower and the house of Santa Molaise from the 12th century; Teampull Mór, a 13th century church; Priory of Santa Maria; and its adjoining cemetery, which includes the intricately carved Devenish Cross, from the 15th century. All this on an island that occupies less than a square mile in total. To get there, take the ferry from Trory Point and be sure to allow time to explore the enchanting city of Enniskillen on the mainland.

Powerscourt House and Gardens

Powerscourt house and gardens. Photo: Tourism Ireland "height =" 601 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Powerscourt_House_and_Gardens_Tourism_Ireland.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Powerscourt_House_and_Gardens_Tourism_Ireland.jpg

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Powerscourt house and gardens. Photo: Tourism Ireland

Did you know that one of the most beautiful gardens in the world is only 20 km from the center of Dublin? Powerscourt House and Gardens in Wicklow County is one of Dublin's most beautiful day trips you can imagine. The 18th-century estate features 47 acres of gardens and formal walks that occurred over the course of 150 years, in addition to natural wonders such as Ireland's tallest waterfall.

Walking on the Powerscourt estate. Photo: Tourism Ireland "height =" 534 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Powerscourt_Waterfall_Wicklow_Tourism_Ireland.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Powerscourt_Waterfall_Wicklow_Tourism_Ireland.jpg

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Walking on the Powerscourt estate. Photo: Tourism Ireland

The Palladian mansion originally dates from the 13th century and has at least 68 rooms. Outside the house, the main attractions on the grounds include the Tower Valley, Japanese gardens, winged horse statues, Lake Triton, a pet graveyard, Dolphin Pond, a walled garden, the Bamberg Gate and the Italian garden . The design of the gardens was inspired by the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, the Schönbrunn Palace near Vienna and the Schwetzingen Castle near Heidelberg. On the estate, you will also find a golf course, a hotel and an Avoca Handweavers location for hand-woven designs and delicious food.

Whale and dolphin watching in Baltimore

Whale watching in West Cork. Photo: Failte Ireland "height =" 529 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/Whale_Watching_on_the_Wild_Atlantic_Way_in_West_Cork_Failte_Ireland.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: // data-mfp-src = "https www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/Whale_Watching_on_the_Wild_Atlantic_Way_in_West_Cork_Failte_Ireland.jpg

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Whale watching in West Cork. Photo: Failte Ireland

No, not the Baltimore in Maryland! We refer to the charming coastal city of Baltimore in Cork County. A popular summer destination for locals, Baltimore is part of the southernmost parish in all of Ireland and the perfect place to see some majestic sea creatures such as dolphins and whales. Go out to sea with a local tourist provider such as Aquaventures, Whale Watch West Cork, Baltimore Yacht Charters or Baltimore Sea Safari. Lough Hyne, the first marine nature reserve in Ireland, is only 5 km from the city.

The lighthouse of Baltimore. Photo: Kevin Griffin "height =" 534 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Baltimore_Beacon_Co_Cork_Kevin_Griffin.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Baltimore_Beacon_Co_Cork_Kevin_Griffin.jpg

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The lighthouse of Baltimore. Photo: Kevin Griffin

Be sure to take a coastal walk to see the exclusive Baltimore Beacon. Baltimore is also the perfect starting point to explore Cape Clear Island, Sherkin Island and the hundred Carberry Islands.

Ireland Literature Museum

Inside the Irish Literature Museum. Photo: MoLI "height =" 600 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/Moli-exhibition.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: / /www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/Moli-exhibition.jpg

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Inside the Irish Literature Museum. Photo: MoLI

The newest museum in Ireland (newly opened on September 20, 2019) is a celebration of our rich literary history and legacy. The Irish Literature Museum (MoLI for short), is picturesquely located on the south side of St. Stephen’s Green in one of Dublin’s best historic houses. The name itself is inspired by the work of Ireland's most famous writer, James Joyce, and his best-known female character Molly Bloom.

Quiet garden in the Irish Literature Museum. Photo: MoLi "height =" 569 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/MoLI-Exterior-gardens.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https : //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/MoLI-Exterior-gardens.jpg

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Quiet garden in the Irish Literature Museum. Photo: MoLi

As a tribute to the best storytellers in the world, MoLI presents a large number of literary treasures from the collections of the National Library of Ireland, including the first copy of Ulysses by James Joyce, handwritten notebooks for Ulysses and fascinating letters, including one from Joyce to WB Yeats. Immersive exhibits trace the history of Irish literary crafts, while changing features include an opening exhibition on literary activist and writer Kate O'Brien, and a look at the connections between Irish literature and international cities, beginning with Paris. MoLI's beautiful gardens and cafeteria also offer a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown Dublin.

King John's Castle, Limerick

Castle of King Juan, Limerick. Photo: Shannon Development "height =" 534 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/web-King_Johns_Castle_Limerick_City_at_sunset.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/web-King_Johns_Castle_Limerick_City_at_sunset.jpg

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Castle of King Juan, Limerick. Photo: Shannon Development

For a destination that is just as fun for both adults and children, visit King John's Castle on King's Island in Limerick, one of the best surviving examples of a Norman castle across Europe. The castle offers stunning views of the Shannon River and tells 800 years of the local history of Limerick.

The castle of King Juan. Photo: Limerick.ie "height =" 449 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/King_Johns_Castle_Castle_Courtyard_Limerick_ie.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: / /www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/King_Johns_Castle_Castle_Courtyard_Limerick_ie.jpg

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The castle of King Juan. Photo: Limerick.es

Since a massive redevelopment in 2013, King Juan's Castle now offers many interactive experiences, giving visitors an idea of ​​what life was like in the Limerick of the Norman era. Meet the personalities who lived and worked in the castle or try on some chainmail or 18th century dresses. In the bustling courtyard, visit an authentic recreation of a blacksmith shop or see the remains of the Great Hall of the castle, built in 1280. Children will especially love the lively features and projections, and the Education Room and Activity Room will ensure that it is Intellectually stimulating experience too.

Gobbins Cliff Path

Road of elves. Photo: Art Ward "height =" 366 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets/resized_Gobbins_Path_Art_Ward.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/ uploads / assets / Gobbins_Path_Art_Ward.jpg

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Road of elves. Photo: Art Ward

This is one of the best adventure walks on the whole island of Ireland. Located on the Islandmagee Peninsula, 20 miles from Belfast, the Gobbins experience is an exciting journey along the narrow path that hugs the cliffs of Gobbins, over bridges that cross the waves of the Irish Sea and in sea caves where ever pirates and smugglers hid. your treasure

Gobbins swing bridge. Photo: Art Ward "height =" 356 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets/resized_causeway-coastal-route-gobbins-cliff-path.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets/causeway-coastal-route-gobbins-cliff-path.jpg

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Gobbins swing bridge. Photo: Art Ward

The road can be accessed through a guided tour of the hull that lasts between two and a half hours and three hours, with some steep climbs and descents and a look at the local wildlife as the only puffin colony in the interior of Ireland North. A visitor center tells the story of the rise of The Gobbins as a tourist attraction in the early 1900s and its recent renovation to regain its glory.

Slane Distillery

Slane whiskey distillery. Photo: Slane Whiskey "height =" 356 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets/resized_Slane_Whiskey_a_tale_of_two_families__4_.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/ uploads / assets / Slane_Whiskey_a_tale_of_two_families__4_.jpg

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Slane whiskey distillery. Photo: Slane Whiskey

Ireland has a lot of historic castles and world famous whiskey distilleries, but there is only one place where you can find two in one: the Slane Distillery. Located in the original 18th-century stables block buildings of Slane Castle in Meath County, the distillery uses local ingredients such as water from the Boyne River and barley grown on the castle estate. Here, Slane Irish Whiskey is produced in a partnership between the Conyngham family of Slane Castle and the Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corporation, owners of the Jack Daniels brand.

Slane Castle Photo: Michael Turtle "height =" 854 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Slane_Castle_Michael_Turtle.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Slane_Castle_Michael_Turtle.jpg

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Slane Castle Photo: Michael Turtle

Visitors can choose from a variety of different tour options, including a complete distillery tour, a combined distillery and castle tour, an expert guided tour or a "signed and sealed" tour that allows you to pour and Seal your own bottle of Irish Whiskey Slane.

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway cycling. Photo: Stefan Schnebelt "height =" 514 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Dungarvan_Waterford_Greenway_Stefan_Schnebelt.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: //www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Dungarvan_Waterford_Greenway_Stefan_Schnebelt.jpg

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Waterford Greenway cycling. Photo: Stefan Schnebelt

The Waterford Greenway, known to the locals as the Deise Greenway, is the longest green-road cycling and hiking route in Ireland, spanning 28.6 miles (46 km) between Waterford City and Dungarvan. It opened in March 2017, along the old Mallow / Waterford railway line.

An old viaduct along the Greenway of Waterford. Photo Luke Myers "height =" 534 "data-src =" https://www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Waterford_Greenway_Luke_Myers.jpg "data-mfp-src =" https: / /www.irishcentral.com/uploads/assets-v2/2019/10/medium-Waterford_Greenway_Luke_Myers.jpg

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An old viaduct along the Greenway of Waterford. Luke Myers photo

Traveling on the Waterford Greenway, you will pass through the cities of Mount Congreve, Kilmeaden, Kilmacthomas; travel through 11 bridges, three viaducts and within a 400-meter tunnel; and along the beautiful Copper Coast and the banks of the Suir River.

Discover more of Ireland's hidden gems at Ireland.com

Source:https://www.irishcentral.com/travel/travel-tips/local-guide-ireland-hidden-gems

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