Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Quiet Corners of Ireland

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
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Peace and quiet is hard to come by, so it’s important to soak up every minute of it. Luckily, there’s a place offering buckets of tranquillity at no extra cost; Ireland. Here’s a shortlist of the quietest, most peaceful corners of the Emerald Isle.

Glen of Aherlow, Co. Tipperary

Glen of Aherlow- Via Flickr

Glen of Aherlow- Via Flickr

Sixteen glorious miles of countryside await in the Glen of Aherlow, a peaceful valley near the town of Tipperary. Wayfarers young and old will appreciate the unnerving stillness of Aherlow, which has welcomed wanderers for centuries. With a variety of walking trails and a total lack of civilisation, this Irish gully gets a big tick in the box marked ‘secluded’.

Connemara, Co. Galway

Connemara- Via Flickr

Connemara- Via Flickr

It may sound like somewhere from Middle Earth – and look like it too – but believe me, Connemara is as real as it gets. Tucked away on the Emerald Isle’s brooding Atlantic Seaboard, even the boundaries of this scenic beauty spot are elusive. Escape here for a holiday and it’s likely you won’t see another human for the duration – bliss.

Glendalough, Co. Wicklow

Glendalough- Via Flickr

Glendalough- Via Flickr

Prettiness embodied; that about sums up Glendalough, a glacial valley in County Wicklow. To elaborate, it’s got a magnificent lake, plenty of trees, and an Early Medieval monastery that English troops nearly did away with at the end of the 14th century. Oh, and though it’s not far from Dublin, it’s surprisingly peaceful, so keep your voice down!

Skellig Isles, Co. Kerry

Skellig Isles- Via Flickr

Skellig Isles- Via Flickr

Perhaps peaceful is the wrong word to describe Skellig, after all, it’s renowned for its battalion of highly verbal seabirds. Plus, you’ll need to take a boat to reach these Atlantic islets, which will of course involve a degree of human interaction. Disembark however, and you’ll feel like you’ve been marooned on your own un-tropical island, complete with 6th century pathways and inspiring views of the Irish coast.

Benbulbin, Co. Sligo

Benbulbin- Via Flickr

Benbulbin- Via Flickr

Is it just me, or does Benbulbin have a bit of an Uluru vibe? (Minus the colouration of course) Regardless, this formidable mountain packs a serious aesthetic punch, it being 200m taller than London’s newly erected Shard. Rising sharply out of ‘Yeat’s County’, Benbulbin – or Ben Bulben if you’re feeling pedantic – is a designated County Geological Site, and offers the perfect backdrop for a peaceful stroll.

Achill Island, Co. Mayo

Achill Island- Via Flickr

Achill Island- Via Flickr

It may be Ireland’s largest island, but thanks to its measly population, it’s still weirdly under-inhabited. You know what that means? There’s plenty of secluded corners in which to enjoy a quiet leg-stretch. Achill is also home to some glorious beaches – including no less than five Blue Flag ones – making it the perfect place to take the kids if the family is ready for some R&R.

Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry

Killarney National Park- Via Flickr

Killarney National Park- Via Flickr

It may look like a typo, but McGillycuddy’s Reeks is actually Ireland’s tallest mountain range, and it’s right here, in the Killarney National Park. At over 1,000 metres, Reeks is an impressive sight to behold, not least when viewed as a reflection in the stunning Lakes of Killarney below. Though the national park is on the well-trod Ring of Kerry, it remains one of South West Ireland’s most peaceful spots.

Blackstairs and Barrow Valley, Co. Carlow

Blackstairs Mountain- Via Flickr

Blackstairs Mountain- Via Flickr

When I read about the Barrow Valley, it was described as having ‘wild silence’, which I thought was rather lovely. Here, beneath the might of Blackstairs Mountain, traffic noise and chaos is replaced by the hullabaloo of nature; of gurgling streams, blustery forests, and the hum of bees as they go about their business. Anyone who travels here will leave with a sense of vigour, and the absolute knowledge that they’ll be returning soon.

Derryveagh Mountains, Co. Donegal

Derryveagh- Via Flickr

Derryveagh- Via Flickr

Just when you think Ireland has nothing left to give – when you’ve reached the northwestern corner, and the Atlantic coast beckons – the Derryveagh Mountains appear on the horizon to take the breath from your lungs once more. As the Emerald Isle’s least populated region, this spectacular wilderness is the perfect destination for a secluded getaway. Simply put, in Donegal, nothing matters but you and the wild.

Loop Head Peninsula, Co. Clare

Loop Head Peninsula- Via Flickr

Loop Head Peninsula- Via Flickr

Want to go really off the beaten path? Head to the Loop Head Peninsula, a lean slither of land branching into the Atlantic. Time seems to have forgotten Loop’s villages, though all offer the usual level of Irish hospitality. Venture forth into the wonderful coastal landscapes – which scooped a European Destination of Excellence award in 2010 – and the long drive will soon seem worth it.

Book an Irish break with Sykes Cottages

Purveyors of peaceful breaks since the 1990s, Sykes will set you up with a secluded getaway in a jiff. Simply browse our range of Irish holiday cottages and pick one as near or far to civilisation as you like.

Are you sitting on a secret Irish beauty spot? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter – it can’t stay a hidden forever!

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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 on Ireland’s Islands

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
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Stunning countryside, amazing coast and a huge variety of things to do make The Emerald Isle a perfect holiday destination however, what about those islands located just off the mainland’s coast? Well, they make fantastic destinations for a day out or even for a longer stay! Read on to find out why we love Ireland’s islands.

Achill Island

Achill Island, County Mayo

Image via Flickr

Located in County Mayo on the west coast, Achill Island is the largest of all the islands off the coast of Ireland and is an incredible tourist destination of its own. Its Atlantic location and five Blue Flag beaches make it perfect for fans of water sports and those who like to relax on the beach. The waters around Achill Island are home to a large variety of sea life and fish, making it perfect for fans of angling who are hoping for a fresh catch!

Valentia Island

Valentia Island, South West County Kerry Ireland

Image via Flickr

On the south west coast of County Kerry is Valentia Island; a popular tourist destination due to its stunning sea views, proximity to the Ring of Kerry and wealth of history. Those with an interest in the history of Valentia Island should take a trip to the Valentia Island Heritage Centre which houses a number of displays about natural history and life on the island. If you’re a little sea-sick but still want to experience the Skellig Islands, why not head to The Skellig Experience, where you can learn all about each of the four islands whilst staying on dry land? Families or animal fantastic will love Valentia Pet Farm, where you can get up close to the animals and perhaps even feed them. With so much to explore on Valentia Island, it is recommended that you stay for a little longer, however if you only have one day then doing a whistle stop tour of the island by car is the best option for a taste of all this island has to offer!

Arranmore Island

Arranmore Island, County Donegal Ireland

Image via Flickr

The largest inhabited island of County Donegal, and the second largest in all of Ireland is Arranmore Island. The island is easily reached by a ferry operating daily and regularly throughout the year; making it the ideal destination for a day trip or longer stay. With a pitch and putt course, fantastic walks and a number of resident birds who make bird watching quite the fruitful activity, visitors to Arranmore Island will be stuck for things to do! Fans of rugged nature will be delighted with the stunning cliffs that line the west and north coast of the island and those with an interest in history will want to take a look at the Beaver Island Memorial that was constructed to commemorate the history between Arranmore and Beaver Island.

Clare Island

Clare Island, West Coast County Mayo Ireland

Image via Flickr

Located on the west coast of County Mayo is Clare Island, the largest island off the coast of Mayo. Getting to Clare Island is easy, as ferries run regularly from the mainland and you can be on the island in just twenty five minutes. Often ferries will be welcomed to the island by a school of dolphins or herd of seals, who tend to chaperone the ferry whilst delighting passengers on board. Once you arrive on the island, walkers and hikers will be in their element with its varied terrain of hills, cliffs and woodland, whilst those who want to explore the island more leisurely can enjoy the stunning views from the comfort of a minibus. Once you’ve taken in the island’s beauty, don’t worry because there are so many other things to do on Clare Island that you can never get bored. From boat trips, events and festivals taking place throughout the year, there is always something to do!

We hope that we have inspired you to hop on a ferry and visit one of these fantastic islands, although they are just a small example of the many islands surrounding Ireland. If you have ever visited one of these islands we’d love to hear about it! Let us know on twitter or facebook.

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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.

Unusual Days Out In Ireland

Friday, March 28th, 2014
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If you fancy doing something a little out of the ordinary on your next Irish holiday; something that will make a fantastic story to tell friends and family once you’re home, then we suggest having a nose at some of the activities we’ve listed below. These unusual days out can be enjoyed by the whole family and are a fantastic idea if you want to indulge in something a bit different this holiday.

Irish National Stud, County Kildare

The Irish National Stud is one of Ireland’s best loved tourist attractions, visited by guests from across the globe. This unique attraction is home to some of the country’s finest thoroughbred horses and visitors will have the opportunity to see these horses first-hand, undertake tours of the facility and visit the horse museum. The Irish National Stud also boasts spectacular Japanese Gardens which are renowned as the best of their kind in Europe, and their most recent addition, St Fiachra’s Garden, an attraction which perfectly captures Ireland’s raw natural beauty.

Kayaking in County Cork

County Cork, Ireland

Via Flickr

Steeped in history and culture, Cork City is a fascinating place to visit. With an endless supply of shops, museums, art galleries and restaurants, you’ll never be stuck for things to do. If you feel like exploring the city a little differently on your holiday, Atlantic Sea Kayaking School offer kayaking cruises through the waterways of Cork down the River Lee, gliding under the various bridges and giving you an entirely unique way to experience this beautiful city.

Puck Fair, County Kerry

Puck Fair, County Kerry

Via Flickr

Puck Fair is one of Ireland’s oldest and most unusual street fairs, taking place in Killorglin, County Kerry.  Each year, a wild goat is caught in the mountains and brought into the town; the ‘Queen Puck’ (normally a local schoolgirl) will then crown the goat, ‘King Puck’. Once the King has been crowned, he is kept in the town for 3 days before being released back to his mountain home on the last day of the festival. It’s a lively affair with street vendors, festivities and even a cattle fair! Visitors to Puck Fair will not be disappointed and it’s an experience that you will never find anywhere else!

Rent a holiday cottage in Ireland

Holiday cottage in County Galway

The Humble Daisy, Co. Galway, Ref 30577

If you’re planning a holiday to Ireland then look no further than our Irish holiday cottages. There’s nothing better than heading back to a comfortable, cosy cottage after a full day of exploring and with our ever-expanding portfolio of over 700 cottages in Ireland, we’re sure to have the perfect property for your holiday. Our reservations specialists are on hand 7 days a week from 9.00am until 9.30pm, just waiting to help you plan your fabulous Irish getaway.

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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 reasons to visit Ireland

Monday, March 17th, 2014
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Happy St. Patrick’s day from the team here at Sykes Cottages! In honour of this spirited day we have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons you should visit Ireland in 2014

1.Top of our list is the world famous Guinness which has been brewed on the Emerald Isle for over 250 years!

 

2. As well as this famed Irish stout, Ireland is known for its delectable seafood which is showcased in all its fishy glory at the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.

 

3. Whilst chowing down, take a look around and you’re are sure to see just how beautiful Ireland is- from its unforgettable hills and lakes…

 

4. …to its wild and majestic oceans.

 

5. And although the Irish weather has a bad reputation we know that when the sun shines, it is truly glorious.

 

6. If you’re a keen fisher then Ireland is the place for you as this angling paradise has some of the world’s best fishing spots.

 

7. And it’s the perfect place to practise your swing… FORE!

 

8. The Irish culture is so rich that you’re never far from the local legends

 

9. And with many famous songs and dances it’s no wonder the county has a lively reputation.

 

10. But let’s not forget, the main reason to visit Ireland is simply to hang out with the Irish! The locals are incredibly welcoming, and always willing to share the craic!

But don’t just take our word for it; get yourself over to Ireland for an extraordinary holiday which is sure to leave you with life long memories. Whilst you’re there why not stay at one of our Irish holiday cottages? From the most animated towns to the peaceful Irish countryside our cottages can be found throughout the Republic of Ireland, so there is something for everyone!

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nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

Water Activities in Ireland

Sunday, February 16th, 2014
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Being an island, Ireland is surrounded by water. Not only does it help Ireland’s countryside to grow that luscious green stuff that has earned it the pet name ‘The Emerald Isle’, but it also leads to a whole lot of fun! Despite the chilly temperatures that are usually the case in Ireland, no matter where you are near the coast you are sure to be close to some kind of water based fun! Today on the Sykes Cottages blog we are taking a look at some of the best watery ways to spend a day in Ireland.

Go on a Boat Trip

If you fancy heading out into the open water then why not book yourself onto a boat charter? Whether spending time with family or a celebrating with friends they are the perfect way to spend a day out if you fancy something a bit different. Whether you want to try your hand at angling, do some sightseeing or visit one of Ireland’s many other islands, places such as Ewing’s Sea Angling and Boat Charters are the place to go. Providing everything you could need for your trip, including a highly experienced Skipper, chartered boat trips in Sligo are the perfect way for anyone and everyone to spend time on the Atlantic Ocean.

Surfing

Image via Flickr.

With such chilly temperatures, it is hard to imagine taking a dip in the waters surrounding Ireland, however the rugged and vast coastlines of Ireland make it the perfect place to go surfing! Whether you are a novice or have a bit more experience, Ireland is the place to pick up your board and go ride the waves. For complete beginners, Ireland has no shortage of surf schools where experienced surfing instructors can show you the ropes. So why not put on your wet suit, and go for a surf on your next holiday in Ireland?

Dolphin and Whale Spotting

Image via Flickr.

There is perhaps nothing more breath taking than seeing a Whale or Dolphin take a leap out of the water right in front of your eyes, and when in Ireland, it is a sight that you don’t need to travel far to see. If you are staying near the Irish coast you won’t be too far from Whale and Dolphin watching boats that can allow you to get an even better view of these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Booking to go Dolphin and Whale spotting is not only fun, but it is educational as the boat guides will provide you with all you need to know!

Book a Holiday Cottage in Ireland

If you’re now feeling inspired to hit the water, why not book a holiday in Ireland? We have a great selection of holiday cottages in Ireland that would be perfect to head back to after a water-filled day out.

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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.