Ideas for Your Next Irish Jaunt

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A portrait of James Joyce at Wicklow Heather Restaurant. Photo by Stephanie Green.

As you begin your green beer romp through St. Patrick’s Day weekend, here are a few travel ideas from some of our editors and readers for your next jaunt to the Emerald Isle.

When I was in Ireland in December, I had a chance to learn about the country’s other fabled saint — St. Kevin — at Glendalough, a medieval monastery tucked deep within the Wicklow Mountains.

Instagram-ready shots of the lakes, mountains and ancient ruins abound, but you’ll be blissfully distracted by the area’s haunted beauty. Don’t take my word for it — Glendalough was visited by Michelle Obama and her daughters on the family’s 2013 visit to Ireland.

Be aware that it’s best to visit this place in the off-season, when it’s not flooded with tourists, not to mention midges, Irish cousins of our mosquitoes.

Have a pint and lunch at the nearby Wicklow Heather, a chic and cozy cafe where portraits of Ireland’s best-known writers round out your experience.

Speaking of Irish chic, you won’t do any better in Dublin than the Queen of Tarts eatery in the Temple Bar neighborhood. It’s perfect for a light snack of tea and scones on fabulous china, or a full meal.

Seafood lovers will want to venture a little outside of Dublin to Howth, where the King Sitric Restaurant & Accommodation offers the ideal catch-of-the-day, with stunning views of the Irish Sea.

Billy Martin, Jr.,  owner of Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown, offered his recommendation: “Cavan which is about one-and-a-half hours north of Dublin is one of the best kept secrets of Ireland.  There is a resort there called Franham, and it is just the best! It has something for everyone — a great lake to do many things, trails for walking and hiking with wonderful views, fabulous restaurants and one of the best spas in all of Ireland. In the town of Cavan is a restaurant called the Old Post Inn. Rich history! They grow there own vegetables, and local items which are farm to table. It has an exquisite pastry chef.”

Georgetown resident Tom Quinn is a fan of Donegal in the northwest part of the country, where he always stops by the North Pole, his favorite pub.

Georgetowner photographer Patrick Ryan votes for the harbor town of Kinsale as his favorite spot. “It’s very much like Annapolis, with many sailboats,” he says.

Cultural editor Richard Selden recommends Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane in Charlemont House, a 1763 mansion on Parnell Square North.

For Editor-in-chief Robert Devaney, walking along the Cliffs of Moher and kissing the Blarney Stone are worth the effort, however famous they may be. Also, Dingle Bay and the Wild Atlantic Way enchant. Stay on local bed and breakfasts or opt for the stately Parknasilla Resort & Spa in County Kerry. Still, for a city boy, Dublin’s the thing. O’Connell Street, the River Liffey and Hotel Gresham have many tales to tell.

Kinsale. Photo by Patrick G. Ryan.
Glendalough. Photo by Stephanie Green.
County Wicklow, Ireland. Photo by Stephanie Green.
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