Best places to holiday: Westmeath, Kerry, Wexford and Cork

Our Best Place to Holiday in Ireland contest continues to draw submissions from the public. Read these, then nominate your own personal favourite

Wed, Mar 20, 2013, 06:00

We visited the old monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise on the final day; it is only half an hour from Athlone and was well worth going to.

Overall, we had a fantastic time and I feel the midlands do not get enough credit as a tourist destination. Most people flock to the coastal places such as Kerry, Galway, Cork, Wexford etc. There is so much to see and do in the midlands that people don’t know about, and it is often a lot cheaper.

I would recommend the Lakelands of Athlone to anybody and everybody, and will most definitely return.
Conor Fitzsimons

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Rosslare, Co Wexford
Rosslare Strand is in the heart of Ireland’s sunniest county, far enough from the greater Dublin area for holidaymakers to relax, and yet within striking distance via the N11.

Rosslare Golf Club’s golf links is over 100 years old and there are two other courses nearby. The beaches in the locality are safe and family-friendly. Wexford’s chequered history – from the Norman landings to the 1798 Rebellion – forms only part of the area’s heritage.

The Wexford Festival Opera in the impressive opera house extends the holiday season, and the town itself punches well above its weight in musical terms, with three light opera societies and two choirs. The standard is high, and locals and visitors are spoiled for choice throughout the year.

The term “sunny south-east” was coined by the late hotelier Paddy Fitzpatrick. Whether you’re staying in your own holiday home or in one of the impressive hotels, Rosslare and its hinterland is the place to be, far away from the maddening crowd.

Ray Corish

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Sherkin Island, Co Cork
As we drive into Baltimore and look across the harbour, we smile as we anticipate the fun ahead on Sherkin Island. Sitting outside Bushe’s Bar with a pint and a sandwich, smelling that sea air and waiting for the 4pm ferry to dock must be one of our favourite places to be.

Twenty minutes after boarding the ferry, we are walking towards Sherkin Island Abbey. Not long after that we are enjoying a swim in the Silver Strand, followed by a walk along a roadway festooned in montbretia and fuschia.

For the more energetic, there is a swim off the pier in clear, clean waters. A cruise around some of Carbery’s hundred isles, dolphin-sighting or a trip around the Fastnet are all options.

Some hours later, it’s time for an evening meal in the Islander’s Rest, where you are guaranteed the freshest langouistines and French fries with a crisp salad. The views across the harbour, the peace of the surroundings, combined with friendly service, makes this worth the trip in itself.

It doesn’t take much planning. It doesn’t take hours to get there. It doesn’t cost the earth. Yet, it is a truly relaxing way to spend a day or – if you choose to linger in the Islander’s Rest for a night or two – even longer. Ah yes, roll on the summer.
Rod McAlpine

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