Sometimes bliss is right around the corner. Whether you wander through pockets of paradise along the Wild Atlantic Way, admire the patchwork of castles and cultural escapes in the Sunny Southeast, or take in the rugged beauty of Northern Ireland, you can find the perfect staycation not too far from home.
Hop on the motorway and begin your trip with these three gorgeous locales.
What’s even better than a staycation? Peace of mind. Make sure you’re covered with AIG’s always-affordable car insurance before you go on your way.
With stunning views that change in every curve, the Wild Atlantic Way is “where land and sea collide”. The Route boasts 6 spectacular regions that are each awe-inspiring in their own right, from coastal cruises to breath-taking peaks.
Malin Head is the crown of the cruise and claims the title of Ireland’s most northerly point, with opportunities to glimpse the Northern Lights. For the Western wanderers, Dursey Island is a fantastic escape, with its picturesque landscape and historic lighthouse and castle ruins.
If the beach is your bag, grab your surf gear and head to Donegal town or Erris, which in 2014 was voted Ireland’s ‘Best Place to Go Wild’. Killarney is another must-see city; it’s tucked next to a gorgeous lake that has attracted royalty and those with wanderlust for centuries.
More so than the regions that follow, a car and a healthy set of nerves is essential for this route with its wondrous twists and turns.
Soak up the colour and culture of the sunny Southeast; made up of Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. A picturesque mix of castles, vibrant villages and towns, as well as rich natural landscapes, the Sunny Southeast is a short trip south from Dublin and a quick jaunt up from Cork.
The mountain-hungry will find solace in the haven that is the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Strap on your hiking boots and breathe in the crisp mountain air in the mountains that occupy the centre of County Wicklow and extend into Carlow and Wexford.
Tap your feet to music from around the world, fill your belly with savoury eats, and laugh the weekend away when you attend any of Kilkenny’s yearly festivals. If you happen to visit on a weekend without festivities, don’t miss Kilkenny Castle for a peek into the glamour of the past.
Explore the crystal city of Waterford when you visit Waterford Crystal and dip you toes into the coastal city of Wexford that has equal parts charm and sandy beaches.
Embrace the ancient landscapes that have come alive in the imaginations of people around the world. There’s a reason why the North of Ireland is a celebrated filming location for shows like Game of Thrones, with its crumbling castles and ruggedly beautiful ridges and coasts. Stroll along the land where White Walkers trekked in Tollymore Forest Park, along the Kingsroad’s Dark Hedges in County Antrim near Armoy, or visit Winterfell at Castle Ward.
For those who don’t live in the world of the Seven Kingdoms, there are plenty of sites that are both on and off the beaten track.
Don’t let the tourists have all the fun—drive up the coastline to explore the sweep of sweet coastal towns that adorn the coastline. Venture across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and visit the site where salmon fishermen used to lower their nets for the daily catch 350 years ago. Last but not least, don’t miss the national treasure that is the Giant’s Causeway. Whether you believe the pillars were formed by lava or giants, the crashing waves against the weathered columns of stone is nothing short of magical.
Northern Ireland also has some majestic towns and islands. Rathlin Island, home to just 70 inhabitants, is a tranquil escape that is a short ferry away from the mainland. Explore the harbour and keep company with the island’s other residents: hundreds of seals. Derry city and the lakelands of Fermanough are also the perfect stop for a staycation.
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