Ireland makes a permanent impression on the minds of those who visit. Whether you’re exploring the smaller settlements and rugged beauty of the west coast or experiencing the vibrant Dublin scene as part of a long weekend, the Emerald Isle offers something enticing yet beguiling – and visiting during the autumn may be the best way to enjoy its boundless attractions.
Fall is a fantastic time to visit Ireland as its rich, lush countryside slowly changes hue from a lush green into a rich tapestry of browns, yellows, reds and oranges. With a large number of festivals and other events through to December, Ireland autumn travel offers any visitor a memorable trip. Outlined below are our five top tips for an autumnal excursion to remember:
1. Sligo Live: The centre of Irish music
For five days between the 24th and 29th October 2012, Sligo is the centre of Irish music as the Sligo Live Festival takes place. At a wide number of venues across the city, a vast number of acts from all over the globe play a mixture of folk, indie and roots tracks. This year’s schedule features some of the world’s most famous folk acts, including Van Morrison and Joan Armatrading as well as hundreds of other bands from all across Ireland, the continent and beyond.
2. Enjoy a fright at the Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival
If you love a bit of a scare, head to County Meath from 19th to 31st October for its annual Halloween Festival. Over the course of 12 days, the county hosts many chilling events including the Kells Samhain Festival, Jackula the spooky juggler, the scary Pumpkin Patch where you can pick your own Jack O’ Lantern, and the Halloween Spooktacular between 27th and 28th October at Rathbeggan Lakes.
3. Don the waterproof while exploring the beautful Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is famous as being one of Ireland’s most spectacular tracts of unspoilt countryside. In the summer it can be a tourist trap, yet in the autumn it remains a place of tranquil beauty and solitude. Pack some waterproofs and good-quality walking boots, take a look at the forecast and travel to Killarney to start your trip at Lough Leane and the fabulous Killarney National Park before heading along the N70 to explore Valentia Island and the picturesque seaside villages of Cahersiveen and Waterville.
4. Experience Dublin’s legendary craic!
If you want a typical city break experience, fabulous shops, vibrant pubs and clubs, fine restaurants all served with a cheerful smile and a healthy helping of ‘the Craic’, the Irish capital cannot be beaten. Whether it’s exploring the Guinness Brewery, ambling around the impressive Phoenix Park, learning about the city’s rich and often tragic history at Kilmainham Gaol, the famine memorial or Dublin Castle, there’s plenty to keep any visitor entertained and informed – and Dublin street maps will certainly help you make the most of the Irish capital. Other highlights include the spiritual and artistic ambiance of St Stephens Green and the fabulous Temple Bar. Dublin is a city that once you visit, you will never forget.
5. For a dose of magic, visit Aillwee Cave’s Santa’s Workshop
Each weekend from the last Friday of November, you can experience the magic of Christmas at Aillwee Cave, Ballyvaughan, County Clare – complete with its own fabulous Santa’s grotto, there is also a Birds of Prey Centre, a ‘hawk’s walk’ and a wolf’s den to explore. Families the length and breadth of Ireland make their annual pilgrimage to Aillwee each year – such is the attraction of seeing Santa and his elves at work in a true, real-life grotto.