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

Wed, Mar 13, 2013, 06:00

W hile Achill is not renowned for its gourmet dining, there are some good establishments serving the staples: chowder at The Cottage, superb coffee in the Beehive, Gieltys famous c aramel s quare, authentic French bread from Pure Magic, and fresh local seafood in The Bayside Bistro to name but a few.

Achill may be known for its fabulous sandy beaches but there was more than the wild North Atlantic to keep us active.

A few rounds of pitch and putt were played at the Valley Hostel. The greens may not have been world-class but the views of Slieve Mor and Inisb iggle certainly were. One day we headed over to Inisb iggle, thanks to a local farmer who provided us with a free taxi service on his motoris ed currach. It provides a glimpse of island life without any evidence of modern commercialism .

Apart from a few trips on the Western Greenway, I left the island just twice during our two-week stay . We went on a free guided walk of Ballycroy National Park. Its impressive visitor centre has panoramic views back over to Achill. My second trip was to the more cosmopolitan town of Westport, less than an hour’s drive away.

There were the mandatory rainy days (two in total) where one got to witness the Achill m ist. Even that didn’t deter us as we spent a relaxing morning kayaking across Keel Lake. At the end of my first Irish summer holiday in 1 5 years I was surprised by how the days were filled with activities and little adventures. Ireland is a place where you have to make your own fun at times and Achill offers the opportunity to do this no matter what the weath er.

Elizabeth Hickey

Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal
As a Dubliner now living in the south of France, I regularly return to Ireland to catch up with family and friends. I really hesitated before nominating Dunfanaghy, not because of a lack of faith in the village but because I’m loath to share it with too many people. However, the thought of attracting more visitors and more income to this incredible place for the benefit of the local economy has won out.

Why Dunfanaghy? Quite simply, it’s the people who live there. There is a warmth that wraps its generous arms around you the moment you arrive. I’ve always felt that the people of Donegal were special but the natives of Dunfanaghy seem to have this quality in spades. I’ve been on several holidays there and have never been disappointed.

Dunfanaghy is situated on the edge of the Atlantic about a 30-minute drive north of Letterkenny. The surrounding countryside is beautiful and is the perfect spot for those who enjoy long walks or jogs or even horseriding on the local beach .

Go there and have the holiday of your life.