Visiting Ireland and want to find adventure? Living in Ireland and want to do something different? Want to discover the secrets of the Emerald Isle? Are you ready to discover Ireland’s Hidden Gems?
Look no further, we at ConnollyCove have shortlisted our favourite hidden spots in Ireland. Something for everyone, if you’re interested in sports or want to indulge in Ireland’s rich history. There is something special for everyone to enjoy.
Here’s what we have on our list of Ireland’s Hidden Gems:
Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve
The only Gold Tier reserve in Ireland; one of three in the world; the only one in the Northern Hemisphere; Protecting: wildlife, Irish heritage and our dark-skies.
The Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve is surrounded by wildlife. Caring, protecting and respecting its wildlife, teaching visitors about the animal’s rights to the Earth. The reserve is one of the best of Ireland’s hidden gems.
Some of the wildlife you can spot when visiting are grey seals, otters, red foxes, hedgehogs, puffins and many more. You can discover all the wildlife in this area by booking a Wildlife Guide.
Before computers and technology, stones were used to map time and movement of the sun, moon and stars. Before pen and paper, stones were used as the canvas. This history has been preserved in Kerry.
Here at the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve, the past is just as important as the present and future of the Earth. The aim is to protect the stone monuments, persuade the government to care, encourage research by archaeologists and to have each monument photographed and mapped.
The ‘rock art’ found in this location is different from others found in Europe, consisting of swirls, cups and circles interlinked with each other. The meaning of these drawings is often debated.
You can explore these monuments by booking a guided walking tour. The guide will also explain the history of the monuments.
Visitors can enjoy amazing views of the sky with the naked eye. In the darkest corner of Europe, visitors can enjoy more stars and constellations with the naked eye than you’ve ever imagined. View the Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy, Star clusters and Nebula’s from this corner of Ireland. A truly spectacular experience, definitely one of Ireland’s hidden gems.
A major issue that this reserve is interested in educating people about is Light Pollution. Below is a video explaining the importance of protecting the World from light pollution.
Achill Island | Keel Beach | Keem Bay
An area steeped in natural beauty. A must-see for all those travelling Ireland.
Located in County Mayo, Ireland’s largest Island. A Hidden Gem, accessible by bridge. This place of natural beauty is home to megalithic tombs, ancient forts, historic churches, deserted villages. Steeped in rich history and beauty. Amazing mountains and spectacular views, enjoy nature at its finest here at Achill Island. Travellers should visit it’s two beautiful beaches: Keem Bay and Keel Beach.
Ireland’s very own hidden Carribean: Keem Bay. Stunning beach, surrounded by mountains. A Blue Flag beach- enjoyed by swimmers and snorkelers year-round.
A surfers dream: Keel Beach. Perfect waves for water sports. Many enjoy swimming, windsurfing, surfing, kite surfing, kayaking and canoeing in the Atlantic.
Bluebell Wood, Roscommon
Forget about the Emerald Isle, in this forest, you will fall in love with the bluebells. A purple sea, surrounded by forest green. Stunning scenery, a perfect place to enjoy a peaceful walk while exploring the wonders of Ireland. This spectacular location is one of Ireland’s Gems which should be explored!
Stairway to Heaven
3,922 steps | 7.5 kilometres | 665 metres above sea level
Part of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark. The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail, embedded with history and surrounded by stunning views is perfect for those who enjoy hiking. Along the walkway, hikers will come into contact with abandoned Irish cottages, dry stone walls and potato cultivation ridges (“lazy beds”).
Those who complete the walk are treated to stunning views, one of which is the Lough Atona, a lake at the foot of the mountain. It was carved out approximately 13,000 years ago by a glacier during the last Ice Age.
This centre has two exhibits: the Lough Hyne Exhibit and the Famine Exhibit.
The Lough Hyne was Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve, 1981. The Lough is 5 kilometres from the centre. First discovered in 1886, still one of the most studied marine sites in the world. With stunning scenery, visitors enjoy the walk up Knockomagh Hill to overlook the Lough Hyne Nature Reserve.
Perhaps the most known event in Irish History. The Great Irish Famine was a tragedy which is remembered World Wide. This centre was opened in 2000, as a way of preserving the memory of the 1840’s tragedy. Over 1,000,000 people died and Skibbereen was the most affected areas in Ireland, losing over a third of its community.
The exhibition introduces visitors to many of the sites in Skibbereen, including the Famine Pits in Abbeystrowry, where 10,000 unidentified bodies are buried.
A very important and interesting Heritage Centre, a perfect place to visit if you want to explore Ireland’s unfortunate history.
The Temple of Isis | Huntington Castle
Truly one of Ireland’s Hidden treasures, Huntington Castle, located in County Carlow. It is still occupied by the descendants of those who built it. A picturesque castle with stunning gardens, steeped in history. Definitely, a place to visit when exploring Ireland.
The most unusual feature of the castle is the Temple of Isis, located in the basement. Home to an eclectic spiritual centre which celebrates the role of feminine divinity. Established in 1976, it is now a recognised world religion with tens of thousands of followers World Wide.
If you enjoyed this list of Ireland’s secret treasures, read more of ConnollyCove’s favourite spots in Ireland below:
Irish Agricultural Museum, County Wexford | Irish National Heritage Park, County Wexford | Wicklow National Park, County Wicklow, Ireland | Take a Trip with Us around County Kerry | Experience the Magical Northern Lights Ireland