The Hidden Secrets Of Ireland

By: Keith Barrett

Before discussing some of the gems that can be found outside of the capital, it's worth pointing out that this discussion of Ireland's hidden highlights is not meant as a criticism of Dublin.

Indeed, Dublin has plenty to offer the visitor and should be central to any touring itinerary of the island. Many coaching holidays commence from the capital city and there is no doubt that Dublin has plenty to offer. There is, however, lots more to be found beyond the city limits.

Talking to people about their experiences of Ireland, it is clear that most look to visit the traditional tourist destinations of Dublin, Blarney Castle and the Ring of Kerry. Each of these sights certainly has its own merits, but there are some lesser known locations that are well worth a visit.

Less than an hour's drive south of Dublin, nestled in the Wicklow Mountains, is the religious site of Glendalough, originally settled by St Kevin.

With its stunning round tower and beautiful setting, Glendalough is a favourite with Dubliners looking to relax at weekends.

It's well worth a visit. Take a chance to experience the unique air of tranquility, both at Glendalough and on the way to the site via the roads that wind their way through the Wicklow Mountains.

Further south is another gem but of an entirely different nature. If you are lucky enough to find yourself on a coach tour that visits the town of Kinsale (not far from Cork) then you are in for a real treat. The town is renowned as the gourmet capital of Ireland - sample the seafood and you'll soon see how the town has earned it's name.

Also in County Cork is the birthplace of Michael Collins. Although the original house was long ago destroyed, a visit to this place of historic importance is an interesting experience. With its rural location and under-stated air, this is a place to stand and ponder.

Glendalough, the town of Kinsale and the birthplace of Michael Collins are all within easy reach of either Dublin or Cork.

Next time you are in Ireland, why not take the time to visit these hidden secrets?

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