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Holidays In Ireland

Tuesday, 15 May 2007


Mary O'Sullivan has some great ideas for all types of holiday makers hoping to stay in Ireland this summer.

Mary O'Sullivan
Broadcaster and journalist for over 20 years, Mary has worked on programmes such as Check Up, Head to Toe, Arts Express and The Late Late Show. She now works as the features and Travel Editor for The Sunday Independent Newspaper.

Families: Self Catering - Trident homes have holiday cottages all over Ireland - including at several locations - Kilkee, Liscannor, Doolin, Spanish Point , and the Burren - in Clare .  Most have all mod cons and central heating, some have tennis courts, playgrounds and other amenities. Most coastal properties near a blue flag beach.

Prices range from on average €400 per week off season to €600-€800 high season

BARGAIN - Book any week in the following locations to be taken before June 30th for only €325

Doolin Holiday Homes, Doolin, Co. Clare
Tir Gan Ean Holiday Homes, Doolin, Co. Clare
Moore Bay Holiday Homes, Kilkee, Co. Clare
All subject to availability Call 01 2018490 or visit
Visitor Attractions: Cliffs of Moher, Aillwee Cave, Doolin Cave, Lahinch Seaworld and Leisure Centre, Moher Hill Open Farm and Leisure Centre, The surfing school at Lahinch and Spa treatments in at the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon

Golf in Ireland
The easy way is a brochure produced by B&B Ireland and tourism Ireland.   While its difficult to give definitive figures, prices range between €350 - €500 per person, depending on the golf clubs chosen (5 nights B&B + golf, dinner not included).

Possible Itinerary
5 nights.  6 days with 4 days Golf.
Arriving at Dublin, Cork, Kerry or Rosslare.

Day 1
Stay at Carbery, Mount Garrett New Ross Co Wexford (Catherine Casey) 051.422742. Play New Ross, Faithlegg, or Waterford Castle courses.

Day 2
Continue to Co. Tipperary. Overnight at Homeleigh Farmhouse (Frewen Family)
Ballinacourty Glen of Aherlow, Co Tipperary,062.56228. Play Cahir Park or Tipperary courses.

Day 3
Drive to Killarney. Stay at Ashbrook (Mrs Julia Egan) Tralee Road, Killarney, Co Kerry Tel 064 22507. Play Killarney or Ring of Kerry courses.

Day 4
Touring Ring of Kerry & Beara Peninsula. Overnight at Dromagowlane House, Adrigole, Barna Peninsula, Co Kerry 027 60330 (Anne Harris)

Day 5
AM Play Berehaven, Glengarriff or Bantry Bay courses.
PM Touring West Cork via Skibbereen & Clonakilty to Kilbrittain (near Kinsale).
Overnight at Harbour Crest,Rathclaren,Kilbrittain,Co Cork.  023.49676,

Day 6
Kinsale (Golf or Leisure) and don't forget Kinsale's, "Good Food Circle" and go on, spoil yourself.

Day 7
Return refreshed and renewed.

Northern Ireland ,7 day self drive tour

Using the visitor guide (available from the Northern Ireland tourist board) to Northern Ireland is the best way to plan a self drive holiday to Northern Ireland. From it you can choose your locations and the tourist attractions you want to see. It will give you road directions, accommodation info and the best restaurants to visit too.

Possible Itinerary
Day 1
Belfast to Ballycastle (60 miles)

Head North on M5 past Cave Hill's famous profile and on A2 through Carrickfergus and explore the Norman Castle, Town Walls and US rangers exhibition. At Kilroot power station, turn North to Glenoe and take the scenic upper road towards Larne, stopping for panoramas.

The famous Causeway Coastal route runs through Glenarm, Carnlough, Cushendall - all great stops. Stay with A2 across plateau or detour via steep minor roads to Torr Head and Murlough Bay. Before Fair Head, park and walk to headland. At Bonamargy Friary on A2, you are nearly in Ballycastle. Take time to visit Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge before the sun sets.

Places to stay:
Cosy family run B&B's from just €50pp for two nights.
For further information or to make a booking, call 1850 230 230 or log on to
Suggested B&B's:
Ammiroy House, Ballycastle
Carnately Lodge, Ballycastle

Places to eat along the way:
The Cellar Restaurant, Ballycastle  

Day 2
Coleraine to Derry (34 miles)
Enjoy golf on magnificent links courses or feel the sand between your toes on beach walks. Continue west to Castlerock on the A42, past Hezlett House, stop at Downhiill to walk up to the Mussenden temple. Further West, Magilligan strand, 7 miles of golden sand with a national nature reserve and the magestic Martello Tower. From Downhill, take the scenic route over Binevenagh mountain into Limavady for lunch, on through Ballykelly and Eglinton to end the day in the capital in the northwest.

Places to stay:
Cosy family run B&B's from just €50pp for two nights.
Suggested B&B's:
Arkle House, Derry
Banks of the Faughan Motel, Derry

Places to eat along the way:
Zio Café Bar, 110-115 Strand Road,  Derry
Fitzroys, 2-4 Bridge Street 3 Carlisle Road, Derry
Flaming Jacks, 31-35 Strand Rd, Derry
The Exchange, Exchange House, Queens Quay, Derry

Day 3
Ballycastle to Coleraine (25 miles)
Stay with the coast road (B15) passing Kilbane Head and Larrybane. Take the twisted lane down to Ballintoy and onto Whitepark Bay and "Ireland's smallest church" at Portbraddan.  Spend the rest of the day exploring the Giant's Causeway on B146 and Bushmills (on A4), famous whiskey village. Dunluce Castle is a rewarding visit, romantic at sunset! Overnight around the resorts of Portrush, Portstewart or Coleraine.

Places to stay:
Cosy family run B&B's from just €50pp for two nights.
Suggested B&B's:
Coolmore House, Coleraine
Ard NA Tra, Portstewart
The Anchorage Inn, Portstewart

Places to eat along the way:
Tidy Doffer, 133 Ravarnet Road, Lisburn, Co Antrim
The Glass Kiln Restaurant, 2 Cushendall Rd, Ballycastle
The Londonderry Arms, 20 Harbour Rd, Carnlough
Sweeneys Wine Bar, 6B Seaport Avenue, Portballintrae
55 Degrees North, 1 Causeway Street, Portrush

Day 4
Derry to Kesh (57 miles)
Take in the historic cathedral quarter, City Walls and public art. Make sure you visit St Columb's Cathedral and Tower museum before heading on A5 to Strabane. Continue on A5 through Newtownstewart and past twin towers of 14th Century Gaelic Castle. Visit the Ulster American Folk Park near Omagh then travel via A32 to Ivinestown and on to the lakes.

Places to stay:
Cosy family run B&B's from just €50pp for two nights.
Suggested B&B's:
Dervaghroy House, Omagh
Four Winds, Omagh

Places to eat along the way:
The Corner Bar, Newtownstewart
The Village Inn, Omagh
The Clock, Omagh

Day 5
Kesh to Enniskillen (45 miles)
Onto Belleek via A35 and A47 and Boa Island. After touring Belleek Pottery, take A46 along south shore of Lower Lough Erne, stopping at Tully Castle along the way. Detour to Lough Navar Forest Viewpoint for amazing views of the entire Fermanagh Lakes. A visit to Castle Coole and Florence Court stately homes is also recommended.

Places to stay:
Cosy family run B&B's from just €50pp for two nights.
Suggested B&B's:
Greenwood Lodge, Enniskillen
Tower View, Enniskillen

Places to eat along the way:
Franco's Restaurant,  Queen Elizabeth Rd, Enniskillen
Scoffs Restaurant, 17 Belmore St, Enniskillen
Blakes of the Hollow, 6 Church Street, Enniskillen

Day 6
Enniskillen to Newcastle (104 miles)
Head east through Clogher Valley Villages. Take exit 15 off the M1 to Armagh and explore an array of cathedrals and museums on foot. Head for Newry City along the scenic A2 into the Kingdom of Mourne, and into Kilkeel. Staying with the A2 after Annalong and Bloody Bridge you reach Newcastle.

Places to stay:
Cosy family run B&B's from just €50pp for two nights.
Suggested B&B's:
Ballaghbeg House, Newcastle
Beach House, Newcastle

Places to eat along the way:
The Lighthouse Lounge (beside the Spa at the Slieve Donard) Slieve Donard Resort and Spa Downs, Rd Newcastle, Co Down
Mourne Seafood Bar, Dundrum Main Street, Dundrum, Co Down

Day 7
Newcastle to Belfast
Tollymore or Castlewellan forest Park, then North (A2) past Slidderyford dolmen and Dundrum Castle. At Clough, stay on the A2 to Ardglass and take B1 to see St. Patrick's Grave at Downpatrick. Board Strangford car ferry to Portaferry and take the A20 passing Grey Abbey and Mount Stewart to Newtownards and onto Belfast.

Places to stay:
Cosy family run B&B's from just €50pp for two nights.
Suggested B&B:
Bodens, Belfast

Places to eat along the way:
Michael Deanes, 36 -40 Howard Street, Belfast
Bourbon, 60 Great Victoria Street, Belfast
Cutters River Grill and Bar, Lockview Rd, Stranmillis Belfast

Other Holiday Options:

Luxury Option - Park Hotel Kenmare (For couples/pampering break etc.)
6 nights B&B per person - from €2058
6 nights dinner and B&B -from €2778 
All  guests can use The Samas Spa which includes  all sorts of pools ,saunas etc
(The Samas Experience which consists of  3 hours of specially tailored treatments including facials and massage is 145 per experience)

Hidden Ireland Holiday option -Travel around Ireland staying at a sample of the countries top guest houses. (Prices will vary - for couples/groups of friends etc.)
Hidden Ireland is a unique collection of historic private houses which provide the very best and most stylish country house accommodation available in Ireland - great Irish hospitality at an affordable price. Our houses are not hotels and are very much more than ordinary guesthouses. They all offer a rare opportunity to experience the lifestyle of a bygone age - a special and fascinating alternative to conventional tourist accommodation.

For More Information
. For more information on golf in Ireland, go to
. For activities in Northern Ireland go to Get the Visitor Guide2007 from Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Nassau St or visit
. For information on the luxurious option go to
. For Information on Hidden Ireland Houses go to
. For information on Self catering holidays in Co Clare go to

Visitor Attractions in Co Clare
Cliffs of Moher €11.95
Tel: 065 7086141;

Aillwee Cave, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare
.Telephone +353 (0)65 7077036
€29 -€35 per family

Doolin Cave, Co. Clare
Tel: 065-7075761/087-2224798; Email: ;
Web:  Opening Hours: 10am-6pm daily           
Family (2 adults + 2/3 children)                                     € 45.00
Family (2 adults + 4/5 children)                                     € 50.00

Lahinch Seaworld and Leisure Centre
Address: The Promenade Lahinch Co Clare
Telephone +353 (0)65 7081900
Fax +353 (0)65 7081901

Moher Hill Open Farm and Leisure Centre
Admission Rates:
Children & adults: €7
Telephone +353 (0)65 7081071

The surfing school at Lahinch      €100 for one week (five 2hour lessons) or €30 per lesson

Dolphin Watch at Kilrush            Adult €20 Children €10

Craggaunowen                           €21.50 2ad - 6 kids

Bunratty                                     €33.50 2ad - 6 kids

Kilkee Waterworld                      €24 - €40

Clare Leisure world -ten pin bowling etc

Cliffs of Moher cruises

Spa treatments at the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon.