EVEN AS I write this, it’s raining, and I’m thinking back to those glorious two weeks of sunshine – and wondering can I afford a sun holiday away. I torture myself by scrolling through Instagram seeing people you don’t really know sunning themselves in Portugal, Spain or Greece.

The dream holiday idea is shattered when my bank balance hits me in the face, and I remember that I cross my fingers every I use my card as if it’s a magic eight ball that might display “try again later”.

It seems we spend most of the summer months dreaming of distant shores, but we don’t realise what beauty we have on our doorstep.

Think dramatic mountains, glimmering beaches, rolling green hills, magical woodlands and vibrant seaside towns. Ireland has plenty to offer families or romantic getaways
– and the arrival of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West who chose to honeymoon here, show that we are living on a goldmine of vacation opportunities that we do not explore.

When I think of an Irish holiday, I imagine a car full of friends, the radio on and a few drinks in a beautiful pub in the country away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With activities to accommodate any age group and price ranges to suit everyone, the summer is the perfect time to explore our breath-taking country.

Us Irish people love to travel. Everyone knows someone who hopped off to Canada or Australia for a year or two or even someone who has the travel bug and explores their way around the world.

The Central Statistics Office has recorded that between March and May of this year almost 1.9 million Irish people travelled abroad, and that’s not even in the summer months! In comparison, approximately 2.5 million people travelled to Ireland in the same period, experiencing the culture that we have created and may be taking for granted.

If you’re looking to get away this summer, pack up the kids, the dog and the kitchen sink and pick any of these amazing activities to experience.

Wild Atlantic Way

Recently Vogue UK named Sligo as one of its top destinations to visit this summer. It says Sligo is ‘…wonderful for families thanks to the infinite beaches and lakes ready for picnicking, paddling and fishing, but just as ideal for a romantic weekend away any time of year. ‘

Walk some of Sligo’s quiet, windswept beaches like Mullaghmore’s golden strand and feel your worries ebb away with the wind is in your hair as you explore the stunning expanse of the coastline here.

Vogue magazine talks about the ‘unforgettable experiences’ you will have in Sligo.

You can lose yourself in the beauty of the ‘sweeping vistas’ of the county, but there’s a unique way of life here that makes you feel far away from everything when you’re in view of the Atlantic.

Walk some of Sligo’s quiet, windswept beaches like Mullaghmore’s golden strand and feel your worries ebb away with the wind is in your hair as you explore the stunning expanse of the coastline here.

You can slow down in the North West and take things at a different pace.If you’re like me and love to relax into a coma state and be pampered on your travels, the Voya seaweed baths in Strandhill Sligo will be right up your alley.

Let the organic seaweed oils at the Voya Seaweed Baths in Strandhill weave their magic on the body and news of this iconic brand and its restorative seaweed therapy has made it to Vogue’s must-do list for Sligo.

Other Vogue highlights are the quirky shopping – handmade jewellery and sweaters and the amazing food culture in Sligo

Vogue also recommends checking out ‘Pudding Row in the quiet fishing-village town of Easkey for homemade breads, cakes; Montmarte in the city centre for fine-dining French cuisine and then the vibrant traditional pubs like Hargadons in Sligo town’ with its buzzing atmosphere, live music and delicious, fresh seafood specialities like Lissadell chowder.

Also along The Wild Atlantic Way are the stunning Cliffs of Moher, one of the most visited attractions in Ireland. You can’t help but feel like you’re standing on the edge of the world, with the wind whipping your hair and bringing a fresh and rosy hue to your cheeks.

If you’re into an adventure holiday, try catch a wave off the west coast. Renowned to surfers and a perfect surf spot, it’ll definitely raise hairs on your chest and make you feel as though you’ve taken a dip in the fountain of youth.

As the Irish weather is as unpredictable as… well, Irish weather, don’t worry that your week away is going to be spent inside looking out a dreary window.While it’s raining, indulge in the indoor swimming pools, spa treatments and arts and crafts experience that waiting to be utilised on a cosy wet day.

If you see the hopeful glimmer of sun, grab some jodhpurs and your best silks and go horse riding on the beach. A tourist and native favourite that is the perfect mode of transport to soak in the nature and freshness around you.

If you live in Dublin or plan your staycations in the capital, there is an endless list of things to do in the capital. I’ve lived in Dublin for eight years now and still feel like I don’t know a lot about the city – but I do have a few recommendations.

Take a bus tour, the popular Viking Splash if you don’t mind getting wet, and cross things off your bucket list that many international tourists have done before us.

The Science Gallery, a personal favourite of mine, has interactive exhibits and like any of the national museums in the country is free! Pack a picnic and head to one of Dublin’s beautiful parks, during the summer you might even catch at outdoor movie in the Cherrywood drive-in or Merrion Park.

To keep up to date with the happenings around Dublin, follow Loving Dublin and Energia. Both websites upload lists of new, upcoming, and inexpensive things to do while basking in the sun or hiding from the rain.

Ireland has always been a popular holiday destination, so with this summer in full swing, trade those Cancun dreams for some blissful reality and choose a beautiful Irish staycation over the expensive vacation any day.

With the right company, anywhere is the perfect destination.


Photo Credit:
Andrew Parnell , Viking Tours, Image Flickr