What is it about the Celtic lands that makes them so magical? Not only the moody landscapes and dramatic cliffs, but the stories that are embedded in each sight and its surrounds. You’ll be booking a flight in no time to experience it all for yourself – to be sure, to be sure!
Nestled in the heart of Connemara, on the Wild Atlantic Way, Kylemore Abbey is a haven of history, beauty and serenity. If not for the view itself, the romance surrounding the history of this castle is sure to make any visitor swoon. Built in 1868, the castle was a gift from Henri Mitchell, a wealthy Liverpool merchant, for his wife Margaret. It took four years to build and the estate comprises of a neo-gothic castle, three hectares of garden and greenhouses and a Benedictine abbey. Tragically, Margaret passed away just two years after its completion. Mad with grief, Henri decided to change the plans for the abbey to erect a miniature cathedral in her memory. You can immerse yourself in the Abbeys history, tragedy, romance and spirituality by spending a day touring its beautifully restored period rooms and formal gardens. Stop by the Tea House for a pot to top it all off, with panorama views of the Connemara National Park and Pony Paddock.
If you've ever wanted to come face to face with a mythical creature you might just be in luck. Carlingford earned official European Union recognition in 2010 for its local lore as home to Ireland’s last leprechauns. The Sliabh Foy Loop Trail became known as a sanctuary for the country’s remaining 236 leprechauns who are rumoured to dwell in the caves and hollowed out tree trunks of the area. These trickster fairies have long been a beloved aspect of Irish folklore with tales first emerging in the eighth century. Legends began circulating among the Celts and they’re now famous for being the rogues of the fairy world who will likely deceive whenever they can. So, if you’re game, strap into your hiking boots and try your luck negotiating a pot of gold! Even if you don’t spot any leprechauns lurking within the mountain’s crags and crannies, the walk is well worth it.
The Legend of Blarney
Take a short drive north-west from Cork city and you’ll find yourself in Blarney, a quaint village that has grown up around one of the world's greatest legends: the famous Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle houses this legendary stone which is said to give the ‘gift of the gab’ to those who kiss it. For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of hopefuls climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. However, if you’re sceptical of legends such as these, the beauty of the castle and grounds themselves are enough to warrant a visit. The castle dates back to 1446 and is surrounded by extensive parklands featuring a network of trails, themed gardens and the large, turreted Blarney House, open to the public during the summer months for a tour of its magnificent interior.
With so much history and magic to uncover, get in touch with your local Travellers Choice agent
to book your trip to Ireland.