The best places to holiday in Ireland
Entries have been flooding in from readers, for our competition to find Ireland’s best holiday destination. Here’s a flavour of the entries so far
The Harbour at Dunmore East in Co. Waterford. Alan Betson
Ten days ago, The Irish Times launched the Best Place to Holiday in Ireland competition, inviting members of the public to nominate their favourite town, village or district for the award. So far we have received almost 70 entries from around the country.
All of the coastal counties in the Republic are represented in the nominations, but the midlands and North have been slow to talk themselves up. The Irish Times would like to hear about places in the majestic Shannon region, the unspoilt northern counties and the lakelands of Cavan. Surely Kathryn Thomas isn’t the only person who will sing Carlow’s praises?
You can nominate anything, from a city to a remote beauty spot. Its special quality could be the beautiful natural setting, the activities and cultural life, the second-to-none tourist infrastructure or the unbeatable welcome.
Residents and visitors are welcome to enter at irishtimes.com/bestplace. Pitch, argue, convince and gush.
Dunmore East, Co Waterford
There is nothing like quite like the first glimpse of twinkling sea as the winding road from Waterford pops out of the trees at the top of Dunmore East. A moment to appraise this glorious seaside village, your natural orientation gained instantly as you spy al-fresco diners outside the Strand Inn below one of Ireland's most stunningly-positioned golf courses, draped like a giant picnic rug slipping from the side of the sandstone cliffs over Counciller’s Strand.
A winding road hugged by quaint and colourful houses will take you down to the beach. Much of the town is set at the top of the cliffs, with gaps and secret paths leading to swimming spots and secret coves.
Considerate planning has left Dunmore more-or-less unchanged for years, save for the lamentable absence of the quaint and classy Candlelight Hotel.
Dunmore East harbour remains one of our island’s key fishing hubs and is always a superb spot for a mosey-around. A stroll to the end of the pier on even the most blustery of days is frequently rewarded by the sight of the day's catch of crab and lobster being unloaded from a recently docked trawler. Anyone can buy fresh fish and seafood from the harbour shop.
But when the sun comes out, get your spot on Ireland's classic town beach and share a day with folks who built sandcastles and hunted crabs on this strand just like their grandchildren do now.
Years of memories piled like the strata of Dunmore’s cliffs endure in your heart long after you’ve gone home. It won’t be just one summer holiday.
Achill, Co Mayo
For the past few years my holidays have always involved a stamp on the passport but this year I decided to leave it at home, pack the raingear, and head west to Ireland’s largest island, Achill. Admittedly I was incredibly fortunate to get two weeks of glorious weather but my fun-packed days were not always dependent on the weather.
Achill is one of Ireland’s cycle hubs and the roads allow you to explore the island on two wheels rather than four . So every few days we would meander through the island on the bikes, taking pit stops to visit some of the sites, such as the deserted village, Achill Henge or more relaxing refreshments dotted throughout the island.