Ireland is a playground if you want it to be. In the next series of blogs, we’re going to look at a bucket list of some of the best things to do, whether you’re a young pup or not so young. With an ageing population and more leisure time available, the leisure market for older people is expanding, so let’s take a look at just some of the great things that you can do around this great country.
Visit the Southern Tip of Ireland, Co Cork
At Mizen Head at the very southern tip of Ireland, there sits a bridge that spans a gorge. On the other side, there’s a tiny rocky outcrop above the wild Atlantic waters is Mizen Head Signal Station. This was home to three lighthouse keepers until it was automated in 1993. The Mizen Centre Museum sets up the whole scene, but it’s not until you descend 99 steps and get yourself across the bridge that you start to experience the isolation the lighthouse keepers must have experienced living here. From here it’s a short drive to Brow Head, Ireland’s most southerly point.
Visit Waterford to travel back in time
As Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford is steeped in history. A port founded by the Vikings 914, it was bolstered by the Normans 1171. It has its modern elements, but if you visit the Viking Triangle you’ll be brought back through the centuries. The Medieval Museum, Reginald’s Tower – the oldest urban civic building in Ireland – and The Bishops Palace, built in 1743 make up just some of the historic places to visit to visit, making Waterford rival Dublin for history. When you’re in Waterford you could take a trip to the home of Waterford Crystal to see artisan crystal vases and glasses being blown. There are also the churches of Christ Church Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity
Visit Kylemore Abbey
Located in the heart of Connemara, Kylemore Castle was taken over by Benedictine Nuns after their community’s abbey was destroyed in Belgium in World War 1. The community fled to Ireland via England and settled at Kylemore in 1920. Having established a boarding school for girls they also ran a farm and a guesthouse. The guesthouse was closed after a fire in 1959 and the school closed in 2010, but the nuns remain to this day. The Estate includes the refurbished Abbey, which you can take a guided history tour of, the neo-gothic style church, which is described as “a cathedral in miniature,” a Mausoleum and walled Victorian gardens, all set beside dramatic mountain scenery. Try some food at Mitchell’s café for a Benedictine hospitality experience or get a tea or coffee at the tea house or Henry’s Coffee shop in the summer months. Also, don’t forget to check out the craft shop for gifts, clothing, pottery and chocolates made by the nuns.