The 20 Best Places to Go Wild in Ireland

Today ‘The Irish Times’ announces the longlist in its competition to find the best spots in the country to experience nature

Fri, May 23, 2014, 16:55

Pollardstown
Co Kildare

You can get to Pollardstown from the Curragh, but to see the real fen you must take a small boat up the Milltown Feeder and slip gently into this gem of a wild place. The fen is packed with wonderful and sometimes rare wildlife, be it of a minuscule nature (snails and beetles), somewhat more colourful and easier to find (orchids) or whizzing about above the water (dragonflies and birds). It is Kildare’s best-kept secret, and it seems almost a shame to share it.
Submitted by Declan Kenny

CLARE ISLAND
clare island
Co Mayo

You won’t find a better location to be more in tune with Mother Nature and her elements. From windsurfing to hillwalking, coasteering to rockclimbing, the island itself has the perfect natural features for almost every outdoor activity.
Submitted by Tracie O’Leary

ERRIS
Co Mayo Coast

Belmullet is the west’s hidden gem, with a multitude of activities and adventures to choose from. With plummeting sea cliffs and imposing headlands sitting elegantly beside our white sandy beaches, it certainly is a “little piece of heaven”.
Submitted by DEBORAH REILLY

Ballycroy Natioonal Park
Ballycroy
Inland Ballycroy National Park is my favourite place. It takes so long to get to the middle of the mountains that one has forgotten society, cars and telecom poles. Take a few minutes to check the spectrum of the undergrowth, the mosses that brew the bogs, or sundews, the sticky cousins of Venus flytraps that eke out an existence at your feet.
Submitted by PHELIM DORAN

LOUGH BOORA PARKLANDS
boora
Co Offaly

Lough Boora Parklands is where art and nature collide to create a unique serenity. There’s 20 hectares of outdoor sculptures created by artists both international and local. Encounter otters, badgers and hares if you’re lucky. Some of Ireland’s most endangered species are protected in the parklands, including the grey partridge. The most remarkable thing is the uninterrupted peace. It’s a place that locals gush about and visitors discover.
Submitted by Gillian Middleton

COASTAL CO SLIGO
Mullaghmore Sligo

Whether it’s mountains, rivers, lakes or beaches, Sligo has an abundance of history, heritage, stunning scenery and secret hideaways. Sligo is famous not only for its magnificent mountains but also – and probably more so – for its beautiful beaches and wild waves. So whether it’s galloping along the beach, surfing, boating, biking or hiking, watching eagles, walking a historic sea trail or being immersed in a seaweed bath, Sligo is the place to go wild.
Submitted by Lydia Rogers

COMERAGH MOUNTAINS
Comeragh falls
Co Waterford

That first glance from the summit above Coumshingaun Lake – the sweep of the cliffs, the stillness of the lake and the greens of the landscape beyond– does it every time. The Comeraghs shelter a host of lakes; they never disappoint, whether frozen solid in December or lush and full in July. These mountains rip me open and knit me up whole again. I’ve ached, I’ve endured, I’ve laughed and mostly I’ve lived so many Saturdays in these beloved hills.
Submitted by Peggy Mc Carthy

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