Places, pubs, tourist attractions in every county that Dublin only wished it had

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During the pandemic we’ve wanted nothing more than to leave our 5k radius. But with cases dropping and vaccinations increasing, there is hope for a summer of staycations.

Believe it or not, Ireland has a lot to offer and there is a world to be explored outside of Dublin.

So here’s some places that you can scratch off your bucket list once restrictions ease and you can leave Dublin.

1. Antrim

Granny Annie’s in Belfast is a whopper spot for live music seven days a week. They usually kick off the weekend with a traditional band on a Friday at 12 noon and continue throughout the weekend with traditional and modern music sessions.

2. Armagh

If you want to experience glamping in an area with no sirens or street lights, Blue Bell Lane in South Armagh offers an area of outstanding natural beauty, all from the comfort of a pre-pitched tipi tent. You can kick back for the evening and gaze out at the Ring of Gullion.

3. Cavan

Erica’s Fairy Forest is located in Cootehill, it was created by the parents of Erica Ní Draighneain, a six year old who died of an illness in 2016.

Since opening the fairy forest, it has been a place of family fun and imagination. You can discover fairy doors, a worry plaque, a wishing chair, picnic areas, fairy post box, and a hobbit door. There’s new themes and new events every season which are organised by the local community.

Erica’s Fairy Forest (Image: Amy Donohoe)

4. Derry

You simply have to go visit the Derry Girls mural. It is a popular tourist attraction and tribute to Lisa McGee’s comedy hit, as a group of teenage friends deal with all the normal adolescent issues along with The Troubles in ’90s Northern Ireland.

5. Donegal

Daniel O’Donnell – he sings, he dances and he can even service your boiler. Forget all the scenic coastlines in Donegal, D.O.D is the best thing the county has to offer, he’s a gentleman who always takes care of his fans- and even has tea with them. We’re jealous that Majella has the perfect man.

Daniel and a fan (Image: Alison O’Hanlon)

6. Down

Probably the most famous Game of Thrones filming sites in Northern Ireland, Castle Ward is the location of Winterfell. The castle is currently used as a stately home, with stunning grounds overlooking Strangford Lough.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones (Image: HBO)

7. Fermanagh

Asda is a British supermarket chain and it may possibly be the best retail experience you can have in the North. Not only does it sell food, but they also have stationary, clothing, toys, home products, and much more. It would get any shopper’s adrenaline going 90.

Asda (Image: Robin Hall, Wikimedia)

8. Monaghan

Liptons in Clones is a real asset to the border county. The discount store offers smiles, craic, and shopping; and it’s filled to the brim with thousands of practical, exciting and random pieces.

9. Tyrone

Fed up of looking at Dublin Bus and the Luas? The Abingdon Collection in Omagh has a number of classic cars, motorcycles, die-cast models, and military memorabilia, making it one of the most eclectic and interesting attractions you’ll visit.

10. Carlow

Altamont Gardens is a hidden gem, you can take a beautiful walk through the gardens down by the large pond, into the woods and back up around to the rose gardens. It’s such a relaxing place with gorgeous scenery and lovely walks.

11. Kildare

If you want a change from Henry Street, go check out Kildare Village. It’s the perfect luxury shopping destination, just an hour from Dublin. You’ll find it difficult to resist temptation with boutiques from the world’s most exciting designers and lots of cafes to tap your card.

Kildare Village

12. Kilkenny

Kilkenny Castle is largely a Victorian remodelling of the thirteenth century defensive Castle. It was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways. The visit of the Castle includes the dining room, Victorian nursery and the picture gallery with its hand painted hammer beam roof.

It also features 50 acres of rolling parkland with mature trees, a formal terraced rose garden, woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the 19th century.

Kilkenny Castle (Image: Brian Washburmn/Flickr)

13. Laois

We’ll all be rushing to Laois after the pandemic as it is home to Stradbally. Electric Picnic is an annual arts-and-music festival which has been staged there since 2004. The event usually takes place at the start of September and it’s a truly unique Irish festival.

Electric Picnic Festival at Stradbally
Electric Picnic Festival at Stradbally (Image: Debbie Hickey/Getty Images)

14. Longford

The Corlea Trackway is an Iron Age trackway in County Longford. It was constructed from oak planks in 148–147 BC. The trackway is situated in an area which is the site of industrial-scale mechanised peat harvesting.

15. Louth

Funtasia Water park has over 200 water activities, a climbing wall, an 18-hole miniature crazy golf course, aerial assault course and a summer ‘lost reptile’ zoo. Funtasia is a non-stop fun packed adventure that could be the perfect day out for the family!

16. Offaly

The Tullamore Show is a one-day agricultural and livestock show held on the second Sunday of August each year. So grab your wellies, pack the sandwiches and experience the culchie lifestyle!

17. Westmeath

Since Viking Splash is no more – why not visit Viking Mike on the River Shannon for a cruise through 300 years of Irish Viking history on a replica boat.

Go on a voyage into Lough Ree or downriver to the monastic settlement and round tower of Clonmacnoise and learn all about Viking escapades, with live commentary on the battles that took place back in the day.

18. Meath

With accelerating theme park rides, and in particular, Ireland’s only wooden roller coaster – Cú Chulainn, Tayto Park is the perfect location for a day out. Not to mention, you get a free bag of Tayto on your way out.

A rollercoaster at Tayto Park (Image: Sasko Lazarov)

19. Wexford

Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the world. Lonely Planet described it as “little plump lighthouse, the grand-daddy of all lighthouses,” and voted it the number one lighthouse on earth.

20. Wicklow

Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest Irish park, spanning 220 square kilometres, and is the place of the historic Glendalough monastic site and a must-see when travelling through this beautiful county.

Blessington Lake and Wicklow Mountains (Image: Wikipedia)

21. Clare

A popular question Googled about the Blarney Stone is: ‘Do Irish locals urinate on the Blarney Stone?’ If true, hopefully it stopped during the pandemic.

22. Cork

Marty Morrissey is the most precious thing to come out of Cork. This handsome Mallow devil regularly reports for RTE and will forever be an Irish treasure.

Marty Morrissey (Image: Colin Keegan/Collins Agency)

23. Kerry

Fungi kept Kerry’s tourism economy going before he disappeared last year. The Dingle Dolphin became separated from other wild dolphins and lived in very close contact with humans on the southwest coast of Ireland for many years.

If he doesn’t return, the Ring of Kerry and Connor’s Pass will fill up your time in the Kingdom.

Fungie (Image: Getty)

24. Limerick

Made up of a heap of local traders (often organic, environmental, fair-trade leaning and invariably imaginative), you’ll find anything from the traditional local produce to a broad range of craft, arts, second-hand and slightly hippie-leaning stores in The Milk Market.

25. Tipperary

Cloughjordan Ecovillage is a registered educational charity and an internationally recognised destination for learning about sustainable living. They have over 100 residents living in high-performance green homes, over 20,000 newly planted trees and Ireland’s largest renewable energy district heating system.

26. Waterford

Dungarvan is a seaside town filled with funfairs, arcades and plenty of places for grub – ideal for a summer staycation.

27. Galway

Connemara is the largest Gaeltacht region in Ireland. The Irish speaking area is rich with Irish heritage, culture and folklore where people still sing and dance in the old traditional manner.

Quiet little roads wind through the majestic landscape and lead you from village to village. Still unspoiled and relatively unexplored, you will find clean beaches, scenic walks, peace and quiet and regardless of where you turn you are never far from the sea.

And only a 30-minute drive from Galway city – If you fancy a night out, make sure to call into Taaffes Bar on Shop Street for a pint of the good stuff.

28. Leitrim

The Shannonside county got their first set of permanent traffic lights in Carrick-on-Shannon only a couple of years ago but Glencar Waterfall will turn your decision from red to green to go visit.

29. Mayo

The Sam Maguire Cup – only joking they haven’t had that in donkeys years. But if you’re looking for a challenge, why not climb Croagh Patrick? The views over Clew Bay are totally amazing and there is a sense of achievement if you complete the challenge- not something people from Mayo experience too often.

Dublin celebrate with the Sam Maguire Cup after winning a sixth All-Ireland Football title in a row (Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson)

30. Roscommon

If a trip to Chris O’Dowd’s house isn’t for you, Lough Key Forest Park should be next on your list. It’s a lush nature area with meadows, walking paths, picnic grounds and a 12th-century abbey ruins.

31. Sligo

Bring the togs if you’re ever in Sligo. The popular surf destination has the most consistent swell of anywhere in Europe – the slow and regular movement of the sea in rolling waves that do not break.

Surfing at the Big Style Atlantic Lodge in Mayo
Surfing at the Big Style Atlantic Lodge (Image: Big Style)

Source: Dublin News