Executive Travel Destinations
Glenveagh National Park in northwest Donegal comprises 16,000 hectares of wild scenery in the Derryveagh Mountains. Tour the highland retreat of Glenveagh Castle, or explore the collection of exotic plants and wildlife within the walls of Glenveagh Gardens.
Visit the grave of Queen Maeve, the Warrior Queen of Connacht, atop Knocknarea Mountain, and pause to drink in the breathtaking views of County Sligo and the Atlantic Ocean. This is Yeats’ Country, where the spectacular scenery inspired many of the poet’s works. In the shadow of Benbulben lies Yeats’ grave, beside the monastic ruins of a settlement founded by Saint Colmcille in the 6th Century AD.
Although most famous for being the location for the John Wayne movie The Quiet Man, there is a lot more to Cong, County Mayo. Situated in Ireland’s Lake District, Cong boasts beautiful scenery and ample fishing and boating opportunities, with many caves to explore.
Make the highlight of your vacation a stay at Ashford Castle, one of Europe’s premier hotel destinations. Now under the attentive ownership of Red Carnation Hotels, Ashford has been host to US presidents including Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, and movie stars such as Pierce Brosnan and Brad Pitt have chosen to sample its dramatic location and rich cultural heritage. After honing your golf skills on Ashford Castle’s golf course, try your hand at archery, or learn to fly hawks at the Irish School of Falconry, located in the castle grounds.
The ancient ruins of nearby Cong Abbey feature some of the finest examples of early gothic architecture, and curious visitors can marvel at the monk fishing house, built on a stone arch platform over the River Cong.
Follow in the footsteps of Saint Patrick by taking a trek to the top of Croagh Patrick, just outside the beautiful town of Westport, County Mayo. The mountaintop offers spectacular views of Clew Bay and the surrounding countryside, where pilgrims gather every year to pay tribute to Ireland’s patron saint. Legend has it that Saint Patrick fasted on the mountainside for forty days in the 5th century AD, banishing all snakes from the country in the process. Each March, Irish people around the world celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day to commemorate his contributions to Irish religious and cultural life.
Stretching 42 kilometres between Westport and Achill Island, the Great Western Greenway is a traffic-free cycling and walking trail that is the longest of its kind in Ireland. Passing along the shore of Clew Bay, nature enthusiasts can walk, cycle or hike the trail, visit pristine beaches and golf courses, and experience the atmospheric local scenery up close for themselves.
To watch master craftsmen at work on a traditional Irish skill, why not take a trip to Foxford Woollen Mills in Foxford, County Mayo? Foxford is one of the last working mills in Ireland, where visitors can watch as rugs, throws and scarves are handwoven before their eyes.
Connemara in County Galway is a rugged landscape on the western edge of Europe, where Gaelic, the traditional language of Ireland, is still in widespread use. Connemara Ponies were bred to adapt to the harsh surroundings, and pony trekking is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike.
After trekking on a Connemara beach, a tour of the local countryside is a must. Nestling between the Twelve Bens and the Atlantic Ocean, Clifden offers numerous outstanding choices for accommodation. Explore the authentic restoration of Clifden’s railway station, station platform and engine house at the Clifden Station House Hotel, a distinctive combination of history and hospitality, with onsite dining and theatre.
Located just outside Clifden on the steep Sky Road, The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel provides a relaxing base for those wanting to explore all that Connemara has to offer. Step out on the terrace to view the beautiful sight of Clifden Bay, or marvel at the haunting wilderness of the Twelve Bens mountain range. The tranquil setting of Ballynahinch Castle, on the banks of one of Ireland’s leading salmon and sea trout rivers, offers equally majestic sights for visitors who wish to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Connemara, with fly-fishing, hiking, biking and shooting available onsite.
No visit to Connemara is complete without a trip to the Benedictine monastery at Kylemore Abbey, where visitors can tour the monastery and castle, explore the walled gardens, or take a guided mountain hike. For something different while in the area, see how sheepdogs are trained to shepherd Connemara Blackface sheep around the wild terrain in Joyce Country.
Sculpted by the wild Atlantic waves, the Cliffs of Moher provide visitors to Ireland with a magical view stretching from Galway Bay and the Connemara mountain ranges to the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry. Standing 702 feet tall at their highest, the cliffs run for 5 miles along the County Clare coastline. The nearby Burren contains miles and miles of exposed limestone, providing a unique habitat for rare flora and fauna.
The coastal waters of Clare and Galway provide an abundant variety of world-class seafood, enjoyed year round by locals and visitors alike. Established over 200 years ago, Moran’s on the Weir in Kilcolgan, County Galway, is renowned for the quality of its seafood, Guinness and oysters, served in a traditional thatched cottage. Only 3 miles away, the picturesque village of Clarenbridge is host to an annual Oyster Festival, serving delicious oysters harvested from over 700 acres of beds in the nearby bay. Though the Oyster Festival is held each September, delicious fresh seafood and gourmet Irish cuisine is served in Paddy Burke’s Oyster Inn in Clarenbridge year round.
The Ring of Kerry is famous throughout the world for the unrivaled scenery it offers. Experience the thrill of riding a jaunting car through the Gap of Dunloe, see the magnificent Torc waterfall with views of the Kerry Lakes, or visit Muckross House, a magnificent Victorian mansion home to three working farms.
The Dingle peninsula, once described by National Geographic as “the most beautiful place on earth”, is another unforgettable destination in County Kerry. The landscape is scattered with secluded beaches, ancient ruins, and unfettered views of the mystical Blasket Islands. Take a boat out to Great Blasket to discover the rich storytelling history of the natives, or try some scuba diving in Dingle harbour. Browse the full range of Louis Mulcahy’s exquisite pottery at his Clothar store and workshop, before rolling up your sleeves and having a go at throwing some pottery yourself.
Castlewood House, a boutique hotel overlooking Dingle Bay, offers respite from the myriad activities available in Dingle and the surrounding countryside. Guests can enjoy warmth and hospitality, great dining and stunning views in a hotel named by Tripadvisor as the Best Small Hotel in Ireland for 2014.
Amid stunning vistas on the southeast coast of Ireland, the Cliff House Hotel hugs the cliffs around Ardmore Bay in County Waterford. Combining old-world service with modern Irish design, the Cliff House Hotel is renowned as one of the finest hotels in the country, in an area rich with opportunities for fishing, aqua sports, golf, and more. Guests can relax in the onsite spa, or indulge in gastronomic delights at the hotel’s Michelin-starred House Restaurant, before exploring dramatic cliff-top walks adjacent to the hotel.
Ireland has a thriving culture of traditional music, with the opportunity to experience its unique sound and energy in most cities and towns across the country. Head to Galway, the cultural capital of Ireland, where the medieval streets have countless musical venues, with melodies flowing from dusk till dawn. Tigh Coílí, Taaffes, The Crane and The Quays are just some of the establishments offering quality Irish trad sessions.
While in Galway, visit the Galway Bay Hotel on the Salthill seafront, which boasts magnificent views across Galway Bay. The hotel is also home to the ever-popular Trad on the Prom, delivering a world-class performance of music, song and dance, with featured performers from Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.
Famous trad music bands, such as the Kilfenora Ceili Band, tour the country regularly. From Donegal to Doolin to Dingle, you are sure to find a trad session in the local pub any day of the week.