Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Visit Ireland in the year of Yeats

Monday, March 16th, 2015
Pin It

Heard of W.B. Yeats? If not, you’re about to. That’s because 2015 is the year Ireland will celebrate the 150th Birthday of one of their most famous literary sons.

W.B Yeats was a poet and staunch advocate for literary reform in Ireland. Born in County Dublin in 1865, Yeats spent much of his childhood in County Sligo, whose natural beauty influenced much of his early work. Towards the end of his life, Yeats held a place on the Irish senate, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

Yeats 2015 is a yearlong programme of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the poet. From Sligo to Galway, Dublin to London, a variety of artistic and cultural events are planned to honour this Irish icon, as well as showcase the Emerald Isle’s creative, vibrant and contemporary culture.

Should you be planning a holiday to Ireland this year, Yeats 2015 provides a great opportunity to discover more about this extraordinary man and his extraordinary home country. Here’s a brief guide to some of the events taking place for Yeats 2015.

Yeats At One, Hargadon Bros, Sligo

Hargadon Bros by Author is licensed under CC 2.0

Hargadon Bros by Author is licensed under CC 2.0

As Sligo’s oldest drinking den, Hargadon Bros seems the most obvious place to host daily readings of Yeats’ verse. Though it’s not known whether Yeats knocked any back in this charming wee tavern, the poet paid frequent visits to Sligo throughout his life, so it’s plausible he could have had a boozy sesh here. Regardless, Hargadon’s poetry readings prove an enchanting spectacle. Taking place at 1pm EVERYDAY throughout the year, the readings offer punters an opportunity to listen to Yeats’ poems in their intended form; spoken aloud in an ancient tavern for proper Irish folk to mull over. You can find out more about Hargadon Bros in our top ten pubs in Ireland post.

Find out more about Yeats At One.

Cuirt International Festival of Literature, County Galway

Established in 1985, The Cuirt International Festival of Literature has become one of Ireland’s most renowned literary and cultural events, attracting visitors from around the globe. Taking place at numerous sites across County Galway, the week-long festival has a rich and diverse programme of speakers and events, including an evening with Irvine Welsh, best-selling author of novels including Trainspotting, Glue and Filth. Despite being a celebration of modern and emerging literature, Cuirt pays homage to older writers too; on 21st April, Cuirt will celebrate the life of Yeats in Galway City, with a special concert and plague unveiling. Well worth a visit for literature aficionados.

Find out more about Cuirt International Literary Festival.

Where Benbulben Sets the Scene, County Sligo

Benbulben by Arbo Moosberg is licensed under CC 2.0

Benbulben by Arbo Moosberg is licensed under CC 2.0

Head to Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo town on Sunday 14th June and witness the wonderful Where Benbulben Sets the Scene; a theatrical full-length show charting the life of WB Yeats from breezy young writer to wistful, mature poet. County Sligo had a massive influence on Yeats’ work, and the name Benbulben is taken from an imposing mountain where Yeats’ is said to have hiked. With a soundtrack of charming Irish trad and a backdrop of stunning Sligo landscapes shot by photography Damien Stenson, this is a must-see event for lovers of poetry, music and theatre. Tickets are available from the Hawk’s Well Theatre website.

Find out more about Where Benbulben Sets the Scene.

Visit the Emerald Isle in the year of Yeats

Strandhill, Co. Sligo by Becky is licensed under CC 2.0

Strandhill, Co. Sligo by Becky is licensed under CC 2.0

Whether you’re a fan of W.B. Yeats and want to partake in some of the events celebrating his life or are interested in visiting the places where the writer found his inspiration, book a self-catering cottage break in Ireland and get set for a magical getaway to the Emerald Isle.

Pin It
Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Sykes’ Spotlight: Kinsale, County Cork

Friday, February 27th, 2015
Pin It

Located on the south west coast of Ireland and often referred to as ‘Ireland’s Riviera’ is the town of Kinsale; a town filled with history, beauty and a whole host of things to do! Whether you want to have a thrill filled holiday, get some rest and relaxation or just want to indulge in delicious foodie delights, Kinsale is the ideal location for you. Today we’re putting the spotlight on this lovely town and sharing some of the things you can get up to whilst you’re there.

Have Fun Offshore

Being a coastal town, it will come as no surprise that there are a host of water related activities available for you to enjoy in Kinsale. If you’re bit of a thrill seeker you could try your hand at kayaking, wind surfing or even diving. If you fancy something a little slower paced but still just as exciting why not go Dolphin and Whale watching, or charter a yacht and explore Kinsale’s harbour? Whatever you choose to do you’ll have an incredible time!

Stay on Land

As much as there is to do offshore in Kinsale, it would be a shame not to indulge in the many land-based activities that are available in this lovely town. You could practice your aim with clay pigeon shooting or archery, try for a hole in one at the pitch and putt club, or conquer the Old Head of Kinsale by abseiling down the cliffs before climbing back up. If you’re after something a little more relaxing, Kinsale’s pottery school is the place for you!

Go Walking

I know, I know. Whenever we feature a destination on the Sykes Cottages blog we always suggest ‘walking’ but it truly is the best way to see a place. Walking gets you away from the honks and horns of traffic whilst allowing you to explore a new place at your own pace. If you like something a little more structured you will be spoilt for choice amongst Kinsale’s walking tours; get spooked on a ghost tour, learn all about the history of the town on a historic tour and see its natural beauty for yourself on a coastal nature tour.

Indulge in Gourmet Food

Kinsale’s accolades are never ending, as it is also regarded as the ‘Gourmet Capital of Ireland’. Whilst the town celebrates its annual Gourmet Festival in October, you will not be short of delightful delicacies to indulge in whenever in the year you decide to visit! Being a coastal town it will come as no surprise that many of the restaurants specialise in freshly caught, local seafood however not to worry as even if you’re not a fish fan, you’ll still have bundles of options of things to eat.

Get Involved in the Nightlife

Ireland is well-known for its fantastic nightlife and Kinsale is no exception. Start your evening off in one of the town’s wine bars or pubs and treat yourself to a pint or two whilst you listen to Irish music, before heading off to a club to dance the night away!

Book a Self Catering Holiday Cottage in Kinsale

Listed above is truly just the tip of the iceberg of things you can get up to in this fantastic part of Ireland. Experience Kinsale for yourself by booking a self-catering holiday cottage in the town; you can see properties and availability on the Sykes Cottages website.

Pin It
Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Holiday Cottages with a Hot Tub in Ireland

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
Pin It

Just imagine: you’ve spent the day exploring all the delights that your chosen county of Ireland has to offer, your legs are sore and you’re tired from your busy day. You get back to your holiday cottage and straight into the warm bubbles of your own hot tub. You pour yourself a glass of fizz and feel your body relax as you discuss all you got up to with your holiday companions, ready for more exploring the next day. Bliss!

Bearing in mind how blissful this sounds, we’re dedicating today’s post to our properties in Ireland where you can fully relax and indulge in a hot tub. After all, a hot tub is one of our most requested amenities, so if a tub features on your wish list for your holiday in Ireland this year read on to see which properties we have that will make all your holiday dreams come true.

 Kyle Cottage, County Tipperary

reference 917103

reference 917103

Three miles from Roscrea in County Tipperary you will find Kyle Cottage, a wonderful detached holiday cottage sleeping twelve people in five bedrooms. Roscrea provides visitors with a wealth of things to do, whilst Kyle Cottage provides its guests with lots of opportunities to relax.

1 Ard Carraig, County Donegal

reference 917354

reference 917354

Guests of the wonderful 1 Ard Carraig are spoilt inside and outside the property; with tasteful seaside themed décor internally as well as stunning views of the Ballymastocker Bay. Enjoy these views from the hot tub housed on the patio outside the property.

The Studio, County Mayo

reference 8329

reference 8329

If it’s a romantic trip you’re after then The Studio in County Mayo might be just what you need! Sleeping just two, this quaint property benefits from a secluded patio with its own hot tub – perfect for dining alfresco in the summer months!

Castlekevin House, County Cork

reference 21971

reference 21971

In the description of Castlekevin House it states that ‘The jewel in the crown of this cottage is the indoor hot tub’ and I agree! Enjoy all that this house has to offer by cooking up a storm in the well-equipped kitchen, make the most of the large garden or head for a day out in the surrounding area before heading back and relaxing in the jewel of the property!

Ballyblood Lodge, County Clare

Ballyblood Lodge

reference 4570

This lovely barn conversion in County Clare is the perfect place for a family or group of friends to unwind. With spacious rooms, rural views and a mezzanine reading area (don’t forget the hot tub!) You will never want to leave.

 

Pin It
Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Top 5 Scenic Drives in Ireland

Sunday, October 19th, 2014
Pin It

Ireland is well known for its stunning scenery; the Emerald Isle’s dramatic landscapes, lush green countryside, remote beaches and breath-taking cliffs are high on most people’s must-see list. One of the best ways to see as much of this beautiful country as you can, in all its glory, is to drive. There are many roads in Ireland – away from the main motorways – that reveal the most spectacular views to those who visit them, so we’ve listed our pick of the best Irish drives below.

1. Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Via Flickr

The Wild Atlantic Way requires a tad more commitment than the rest of our drives; this newly unveiled touring route has been hailed as not only one of the longest coastal routes in the world but also one of the most beautiful! This 1,553 mile route stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal, down the west coast of Ireland, to Kinsale, Co. Cork. Along the way, you’ll encounter some of the highest sea-cliffs in Europe, the most picturesque beaches in Ireland and maybe even catch a glimpse of some friendly bottlenose dolphins! If you don’t fancy driving the Wild Atlantic Way, you can see our guide to walking short sections of it, here.

2. Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Via Flickr

The unspoilt, rugged beauty of the Ring of Kerry means it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, behind Dublin. This 115 mile tourist trail follows the N70, N71 and R562 around the Iveragh Peninsula, taking in a wealth of breathtaking sights including the spectacular views from Ladies View (named after Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting who fell in love with the scenery) and Bog Village, a unique village made up of 6 properties which have been restored to their original setting, including thatched roofing.

3. Causeway Coastal Route

The Causeway Coastal Route spans 120 miles between Northern Ireland’s most vibrant cities, Belfast and Londonderry, tracing the winding curves of the spectacular coastline in-between. The route takes in sprawling coastline, picturesque seaside villages and forest highlands. Make sure to stop off and experience wonders unique to this part of the world along the way, including the extraordinary Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (not for the faint hearted!) and the breath-taking UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway.

4. Dublin-Wicklow

Wicklow Mountains

Via Flickr

Escape the bustle of the Irish capital by heading south to the natural beauty of the Wicklow Mountains, known as the Garden of Ireland. Take the Military Road to get the best views; it can be a little windy and bumpy but the view is worth it. By taking Military Road, you’ll cross over the mountains and drive through the extensive heath-clad moors and bogs of the surrounding area. Turn east at the small village of Laragh to experience the delights of Glendalough Valley, home to Ireland’s oldest monastery settlement and picturesque teal corrie lakes.

5. Cooley Peninsula

Cooley Peninsula

Via Flickr

The Cooley Peninsula in County Louth provides an alternative to some of the more well-known scenic drives in the country. This beautiful but remote peninsula was awarded a European Destination of excellence award for its “intangible heritage” and is well worth a visit. Take a drive on the R173 which circles around Cooley Peninsula, and discover the sweeping Mourne Mountains, mysterious Carlingford Lough and the medieval town of Carlingford which is brimming with rich historical heritage.

If you fancy getting in your car and heading to the Emerald Isle, make sure you check out our fantastic selection of self-catering cottages in Ireland. With over 750 properties across the country, we’d be more than happy to help you find somewhere nice to stay along the way!

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Top 10 Taverns You Must Visit in Ireland

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Pin It

The Irish like their drink. They wouldn’t contest this. Since humans could lift a glass and pour a pint, the Irish have done just that. And where do they do this drinking? Down the pub of course.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Like the UK, Irish pubs are in peril. Over the past twenty-or-so years, 1,000s of boozers have closed their doors, lay slain by the cheap liquor on sale in offies and supermarkets across the Emerald Isle. To top it off – and contrary to belief – the beer served in Irish pubs is crap, steering many-a-thirsty Paddy into the alcohol aisle of the nearest convenience store.

Thanks to a surge in microbreweries supplying pubs with better beer, the future of Ireland’s taverns looks bright. But where should you go to sample the craic on a trip across the Irish Sea? Here’s a shortlist of taverns you should – nay, must – visit during your holiday in Ireland.

Matt Malloys, Westport, Co. Mayo

Matt Malloy's – Via Flickr

Matt Malloy’s – Via Flickr

Owned by Chieftain flutist Matt Malloy, this intimate Westport boozer hosts traditional live music seven nights a week. The ale poured in this Mayo inn are as authentic as the tunes, and the welcome as a warm as the punters squeezing in to listen to them. Visit as soon as possible.

O’Loclainn’s, Ballyvaughn, Co. Clare

Image courtesy of The Irish Whiskey Trail

Image courtesy of The Irish Whiskey Trail

Down an unassuming alley in Ballyvaughn is O’Loclainn’s, perhaps the best pub in Ireland. With the feel of someone’s stove-lit front room and an overwhelming whisky selection, this tavern will warm your cockles on a bracing winter’s night. Musicians often set up shop within, so it can be a pleasantly tight squeeze.

Geoff’s, Waterford, Co. Waterford

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Whoever Geoff is, he’s the proprietor of a bloomin’ good pub. Reading reviews of the place, you’d think it was a classy joint; all speak of the atmosphere, the delicious food, the tasty stout and the good-natured cliental, but in reality, Geoff’s is a down-to-earth pub that’s the perfect place to while away a Saturday afternoon.

Sin é, Cork City, Co. Cork

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Sin é, Irish for “That’s it”, refers to the funeral parlour next door. As macabre as this sounds, there’s nothing otherworldly about this Cork public house. Candlelit and convivial, Sin e’ is the home of traditional Irish music in Cork city, and has kept dry patrons in drink for over 50 years.

The Corner House, Ardara, Co. Donegal

Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

There are several reasons you should endure the long drive to Co. Donegal, and The Corner House is one of them. Tiny, cosy, and family run, The Corner House features an open fire that’s stoked during the winter months. Plus there’s regular live music. See you there.

Hargadon Bros, Sligo, Co. Sligo

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Old pub, modern grub. That about sums up Hargadon Bros, a gem of a boozer in Sligo town. Did I mention their wine cellar, packed to the rafters with speciality vinos? Or their excellent range of local and international ales? Or their staff, who are described as “friendly” more times than I can count on Tripadvisor? No? Must have missed those bits.

The Dame Tavern, Dublin, Co. Dublin

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Fancy a sing-along in a proper pub with proper pints? Get yourself down to The Dame Tavern, a Dublin watering hole whose clientele are welcoming to tourists. Located on a historic byway where Google Street View couldn’t tread, you’ll feel at the heart of the Irish capital in this atmospheric wee pub.

Morrisey’s Pub, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois

Morrisey’s Pub is essentially a museum. From the ancient bric-a-brac to the aged clientele, you feel you owe an admission fee before entering the saloon. For the cost of a pint, you can sit and drink amid years of Irish heritage and tradition – what could be better than that?

The Crane Bar, Galway, Co. Galway

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

The Crane Bar: a foot-stomping, violin thrashing, joy of an establishment. From the moment you set foot in this rustic alehouse, you’re encouraged to join in the craic. With top beer, two floors and a good local to tourist ratio, it won’t take long to get in the swing of things.

The Mutton Lane Inn, Cork City, Co. Cork

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Sheep used to sleep in this pub. And, JFK and Johnny Cash drank here. Now that’s out of the way, let’s discuss this admired Cork public house. Candles stuffed in wine necks, torn upholstery, and dire loos add to the charm of this lovable dive. Ask for Sky Sports and you’ll likely find yourself on the pavement.

Has this list left you thirsty or muttering “you feckin’ idiots”? Which pubs would you choose? Let us know your favourite Irish boozer on Twitter or Facebook.

Pin It
Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.