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July 12, 2011

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Ireland’s Hidden Gems

by Julianne Mooney

I was asked this morning on Ireland AM, TV3
about the hidden gems I found during my travels.Hidden gems tend to be places you stumble upon having taken a wrong turn or heard of through a local.

I could write a very, very long post on the hidden gems I discovered during my travels, but then it would defeat the whole purpose of the guidebook. However, I will let you in on those mentioned on this mornings show.

Ards Friary is tucked away on the northern coastline of Donegal and is surrounded by 200 acres of beautiful grounds, forest and paths hugging the coastline with views across to Rosguill Peninsula. My advice is to take a picnic and swimsuits and claim one of the secluded coves as your own.

Lough Melvin (Leitrim) glistens in the shadows of the Dartry Mountains which the locals know to be prime hiking territory, but few people outside Leitrim know of this secluded and very beautiful spot. Only a few fishermen and some locals enjoying the tranquility of the lake mooch about. Cycle, drive or walk parts of the lake and make sure to pop into the Leitrim Sculpture Centre in Manorhamilton.

Glenariff National Park is perched at the edge of one of the lush Glens of Antrim. A number of walks plunge you into the depths of the stunning forest, some even down into the glen. I’d highly recommend the Waterfall Walk – a boardwalk following a river interspersed with waterfalls. Before the ascent be sure to drop into Laragh Lodge, a quaint forest lodge with good food and great hot ports.

Caragh Lake lies hidden from the throngs of tourists travelling the Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry and is best enjoyed by staying in one of the hotels on the lake’s edge. We didn’t want to leave Carraig House Hotel, a little slice of heaven with panoramic views over the lake, cosy drawing rooms, excellent food and a real sense of Irish hospitality. The tea and cake on arrival won me over immediately! Go to the tourist information point in Killorglin and they can give you information on day activities and walks around the lake. There’s also some fab restaurants in the town so it’s a great spot for a refuel.

For more information pick up a copy of the Time Out Guide Ireland: Click here to buy the guide

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