PLANNING a staycation or even just a daytrip this summer? Bear in mind that your dream destination could be closer than you imagined. As an island nation, we boast an abundance of wonderful beaches but those on the western seaboard are particularly magical. TripAdvisor recently looked at which Irish beaches made the most impact on visitors and the results were overwhelmingly in favour of those found along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Nine out of 10 of the favoured Irish beaches on the hugely popular website are to be found here - and these treasures are but a small sample of the sensational Wild Atlantic Way beaches that connect with visitors time and time again.
Inch Beach, Co Kerry
Don’t be fooled by the name: there’s nothing tiny about this stunning place on the Dingle Peninsula. It enjoyed worldwide prominence in Ryan’s Daughter, yet even the great David Lean couldn’t do justice to a place of such elemental beauty and framed by Dingle Bay and Kerry’s soaring mountains.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “Spectacular, windswept, stunning… ideal for blowing the cobwebs away!” “Anyone who is not blown away by Inch is not awake.”
Banna Strand, Co Kerry
A gorgeous sweep of sand and only a short drive from Tralee, it remains marvellously unspoiled and the perfect place for a bracing walk at any time of the year. It’s got historical associations too thanks to its connection with the Easter Rising. Roger Casement attempted to land arms here - but failed.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “My favourite place in Kerry”; “This is a must while travelling in the Dingle Peninsula”; “Stunning, open place - several kilometres of great walking.”
Coumeenoole, Co Kerry
One of the sumptuous, widescreen locations for Ryan’s Daughter, this beach truly feels like the edge of Ireland. It’s located on Dingle Peninsula’s Slea Head, the most westerly part of the country, and a place celebrated for its great drives. What they said on TripAdvisor: “It has stunning sea views and the waves are magnificent”; “The views of the sea and the Blasket Islands are breathtaking”; “Stunning location - the perfect place to be.”
Derrynane, Co Kerry
It’s one of the best loved of the Kingdom’s beaches, and yet even on the hottest of summer days you can feel as though you have part of this beautiful, rugged place to yourself. No visit is complete without a stop-off at Derrynane House and National Park - Daniel O’Connell’s ancestral home and its splendid grounds.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “A great place for a walk on the beach in stunning surroundings”; “It is a little off the beaten track, but... all the good places are!”
Dog's Bay, Co Galway
A pristine, secluded beach in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht, getting here couldn’t be easier: it’s a five-minute drive from the picturesque fishing village of Roundstone. Stroll over the sand dunes and you can feel as though you have the beach all to yourself and when the tide is out there’s a great expanse of sand.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “A very beautiful, special place that could be California, such is the whiteness of the sand”; “It’s simply one of the best places in the world, no question.”
Inchydoney, Co Cork
Everyone who visits this acclaimed Blue Flag beach close to Clonakilty in West Cork mentions the same thing: it’s simply perfect for walking - walking with friends, by yourself or with the dog. When the tide is out its possible to walk for miles here and the superbly located Inchydoney Lodge & Spa can help you rewind even more.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “One of the most stunning beaches is the world”; “I would love to get married here”; “A walk here is good for the soul.”
Barleycove, Co Cork
One of the jewels of West Cork, and beloved by generations, it’s the perfect place to walk off a fantastic meal in one of Schull’s great seafood restaurants. Its sand dunes are famous locally and its water is gloriously clean - it’s one of five Cork beaches to enjoy Blue Flag status.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “The most stunning cove especially when viewed from above. The sand is golden and the water turquoise on a sunny day”; “Barleycove Beach was not our destination but we were so enamoured we spent hours exploring.”
Narin-Portnoo Strand, Co Donegal
Something of a hidden gem in a county of magnificent beaches, this evocative stretch of sand offers some unforgettable vistas - including that of the island of Roaninish a few kilometres out to sea. If a stroll here isn't enough, there’s an 18-hole golf course and an abundance of great walking and cycling routes near the coastal villages of Portnoo and Rossbeg.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “I love, love. love this place - it’s where I go to completely unwind… it’s heaven on earth”; “One of the most stunning locations I have been to anywhere in the world.”
Strandhill, Co Sligo
The Wild Atlantic Way is a surfer’s mecca and Yeats County has an abundance of great places to catch a wave. Strandhill’s powerful waves are internationally famous, but you don’t have to own a surfboard to fall in love with this beautiful place. Its pretty beach, promenade and seaweed baths make it somewhere to return to time and again.
What they said on TripAdvisor: “Beautiful, fresh, clean and a good place to get lost in your own thoughts”; “Fantastic views of Benbulbin and Knocknarea (mountains)”; “It never fails to disappoint… stunning views”.
The wild and crashing Atlantic Ocean and miles of golden sand are a key part of what captures people’s imagination about the Wild Atlantic Way as shown by the comments in the TripAdvisor reviews. Make a plan to discover some of these fantastic beaches, each with their own wonderful, unique features and character and enjoy that feeling of having found your own special place far away from everything.
Above: Inch Beach.
Carols by Candlelight
St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas […]
St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas 2023, December17, at 7.00pm. Admission is free.
Ten Choirs from Killarney parish will join together and sing some of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols.
The carol service is directed by accomplished Musician and Choral Director, Paula Gleeson. Originally from Cork, her family have been involved in all aspects of choral and church music for 50 years.
“This is the best experience as director, working with Fr. Kieran O’Brien, and St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir, I get to work with so many talented people in Killarney. The commitment of Teachers, Principals, and the hundreds of students from the Primary and Secondary Schools is inspiring. The generosity of our sponsors, who were so willing to contribute has helped to make this night a reality. We are all so truly grateful,” she said.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish Choir, organist Anita Lakner
Holy Cross Mercy School Choir
St. Oliver’s Primary School Choir
St. Brigid’s Secondary School Choir
St. Brendan’s Secondary School Choir
Killarney Community College School Choir
Lissivigeen National School Choir
Gaelscoil Faithleann School Choir
Presentation Monastery School Choir
The same but different – A tribute to three great Irish musicians
Driving home from work last Friday, tributes for Shane McGowan were pouring out across the radio stations and while listening in, I got a strong sense of déjà vu.
It was only a few months earlier that we got the sad news that the talented Aslan front man Christy Dingham had passed away, and a short few weeks after that – Sinéad O’Connor. The loss of three iconic Irish musicians that left music fans across the country reeling.
When I think about each artist individually, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Yet, for days after the passing of the Pogues frontman, I found myself wondering why I was so drawn to all three.
And then, over the weekend I stumbled across a completely unrelated article which led with a headline:
“In a year dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and disingenuity, “authentic” has somehow emerged as Merriam-Webster’s word for 2023.”
And there was my answer. The one characteristic that embodied all three of these great Irish musicians.
It was my mother that first introduced me to Aslan’s music. She grew up during their peak and loved all sorts of rock music. I regularly watch their Vicar Street performances back on YouTube and still get mesmerised by Christy’s intense stage presence. Using elaborate hand gestures to evoke a greater meaning behind the words, he always looked like he was away in his own world. Off stage, and particularly later in his career, I admired him for his honesty when talking about his struggles with addiction and mental health. He was talking openly about these issues long before it was the norm.
Sinéad O’Connor was another original soul who, because of her talent, was catapulted into a music industry consumed by artificiality; she was almost too pure for it all. I always admired her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Her authenticity was evident in every aspect of her artistry. The way she unapologetically embraced her shaved head and boy-ish style, she challenged conventional opinions around beauty. Her music reflected her personal struggles and she never shied away from addressing issues of social injustice, religion, and gender equality. Her stances often drew criticism and controversy, but she always remained true to herself.
Shane MacGowan will always be remembered for his unfiltered nature, and while the lyrics of many songs were dark and gritty, there was also an element of empathy and compassion in what he wrote. Like Christy, he too struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout his career. While his demons sometimes spilled over into the public eye, his honesty and vulnerability just endeared him even more to us Irish.
So isn’t it apt in a year we lost three great musicians, the word of 2023 happens to be the one undeniable trait that they all shared. Thank you Christy, Sinead and Shane for showing us that authenticity is not just about being different to everyone else; but also about possessing the courage to challenge the established, to question the norms, and to keep going, even when the going gets tough.
Carols by Candlelight
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