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Staycation

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The sunny weather has finally made an appearance and we can’t help but daydream about summer adventures. Spending the summer in New York sounds perfect, but unfortunately, our bank accounts are stopping that dream from coming true.

Luckily, there are plenty of places to visit around the Emerald Isle that are perfect if you’re in need of some time away from reality.

There's one place you must visit this summer and it’s the charming town of Clonakilty, Co.Cork. The West Cork town is one of the nicest parts of the county with the stunning Inchydoney Beach, snug pubs, plenty of dinky cafes and dozens of historical sites including Michael Collins House.

Once you arrive in the colourful and vibrant town you’ll never want to leave. The locals and their cheery disposition will make you feel like you’ve lived there your entire life.

There are plenty of hidden gems in Clonakilty that will make your trip all the more memorable.

1: Cafe On The Lane

This quirky spot is hidden down Spillers Lane, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. The cafe is covered in bunting and fairy lights, with fresh flowers donning every table. The main seating area is full of mismatched, vintage furniture that adds to the character of the place. Treat yourself to a croissant or a brownie and a cup of coffee and listen to Elvis play on the cafe's record player.

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2: Cycle around Clon​​​

Clonakilty is the first rural community to offer a bike rental scheme. There’s no better way to see the glorious town than cycling around Clonakilty, especially when the sun is shining. The Clonakilty Bike Scheme even shares advice on how to cycle safely on West Cork roads. Cycle out to Long Strand, which is only 20 minutes away from the town. Take in the breathtaking scenes and breathe in that fresh sea air.

3: Pints in Scannells

This gastropub is the heart of the town, known as the small pub with the big garden, you just have to visit Scannells for a quick pint and a bite to eat. You’ll struggle to leave the pub with the infectious atmosphere and assortment of live music, from jazz to trad, Scannells has something for everyone.

4: A bookworm’s paradise

The Children’s Project charity shop may just look like every other charity shop, but once you go upstairs you’ll be greeted by mountains and mountains of books. The second floor of the shop is a bookworm's idea of heaven. They have shelves full of best-sellers, horror tales, young adult novels, well-loved classics, popular chick-lit books more. You’ll go in for a quick browse and end up leaving the shop hours later with bags full of books.

Clonakilty is the perfect place to visit if you need to escape to the country, especially when the sun is shining!

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While many of us are busy saving the pennies for a flight to Thailand, or packing our bags for another city break, we often turn a blind eye to the amazing holiday destination dotted around this little island of ours. 

Sure, a drive to Tramore might induce a deep-rooted flashback from that one family trip when it lashed rain for six days straight and you and your brother vowed to never speak to each other again, but hey, it's time to forget about the past and make some new memories. 

First stop – Lahinch. 

Located on the northwest coast of Clare, the small seaside town has made a name for itself as one of Ireland's top tourist destinations – and here's why. . 

1. It's a surfer's paradise 

OK, so it's not exactly Bondi Beach, but ask any water-sports type and they'll tell you that the waves off the Clare coast are some of the best in the world.

Whether you're a seasoned surfer, or a complete beginner, there are a plenty of instructors offering lessons and board rental for reasonable prices. 

But don't worry if surfing isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to experience the Atlantic coast, like kayaking and guided beach tours. 

2. It's full of mouth-watering restaurants 

While the seaside town is packed of restaurants and cafés offering delectable dishes, there happens to be one particular eatery that's close to our hearts.  

Serving a mix of foods from around the world, Randaddy's on Lahinch Beach Front is a firm favourite with local and tourists alike. 

The owner, Randy is Canadian and travels the world learning different food styles to bring them back to the restaurant – and with that kind of dedicated, it's no wonder the food is so bloody delicious! 

 
 

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3. The landscape is simply stunning 

Load you mates into the Micra, stick on your ultimate 90s playlist, and take a drive along the Atlantic coast. 

Soak in the breath-taking ocean views, make your geography teacher proud with a trip to the Burren, or spend an afternoon exploring  the Cliffs of Moher.

Whatever way you choose to spend the day, you can be sure you'll be doing it in some of the most beautiful surroundings the country has to offer. 

 

When the waves curl over and dissolve into foam..

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4. It's pretty much the mecca of trad sessions 

While you may not qualify as a tourist per se, there's no reason why you can't immerse yourself in the local culture. 

There's nothing like a bit of a sing-song to ignite a bit of national pride, and with regular sessions taking place all year round, you'll be surprised at how few drinks it takes you start belting out the chorus of The Auld Triangle

Check out Danny Mac's where the bodhráns are banging every Thursday and Sunday night from 9:30pm. 

 

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5. It's got some of the country's most breath-taking walking trails 

OK, hear us out – you're not going on a relaxing weekend away to walk the legs off yourself, but maybe this will will change your mind. 

Starting in Lahinch, walkers can embark on a coastal trail along a dismantled railway line, leading all the way to Kilrush. 

The entire thing is about 45 km long – and while we'd like to think we'd be well able, we've got to think realistically. 

Instead, we recommend talking the same trail to Spanish Point – a breezy (and far more achievable) 13 km. 

 

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It’s that time of year again; everyone’s jetting off to the States for a J1 or flying off to Bali.

And with all of the fab places around the world to see, it’s easy to overlook the holiday destinations right on your doorstep.

But if you’re a bit short on money or only have a day or two to spare so can’t head abroad, Ireland has plenty to offer.

Have a look at these…

Galway

A personal favourite is Galway city; you still get the city vibe but it has a more chilled feel than Dublin.

With the typical tourist spots like the Cathedral, Galway City Museum or Shop Street, as well as its famed nightlife, there is a lot to do and see here.

A tip for a sunny afternoon in Galway: walk or cycle, you can easily register online to use one of the numerous Coke Zero bicycles and it doesn’t cost much, through the city and its outskirts.

There are so many little places that you won’t read about in the typical “Top Ten Things to See in Galway”, that are just waiting to be discovered.

Wicklow

This gorgeous seaside town has a lot to offer in the summer.

Arguably one of the most valuable assets Wicklow has is its many scenic gardens. It isn’t called the Garden of Ireland for nothing! And you won’t pay more than about €7 entry… if you have to pay at all, that is!

Everyone knows about Glendalough and Powerscourt, but some lesser known ones are Mount Usher Gardens in Ashford, a small village close to Wicklow town, and Kilmacurragh Botanical Gardens just east of Wicklow town. Strolling through these on a lovely summer’s day you’ll forget you’re still in Ireland!

Wexford

Wexford is a popular holiday destinations for families, with places like Courtown and Wexford Heritage Centre, but there’s more to it than that.

It’s the perfect place for a girly weekend away, with its numerous hotels that often do great afternoon tea and spa deals. Relax in luxury with a glass of Prosecco and forget that you’re just an hour or so from Dublin.

Clare

We know, we know; Clare is often associated with the family camping holidays of your childhood.

And sleeping in a cold tent and getting dirty might not sound appealing unless you’re promised some good music as well, right?

Well, glamping in Doolin is far from those childhood memories where you took your life in your hands eating chicken cooked over the campfire. It has a bit more luxury, a few more facilities and a lot less mud!

Waterford

Again Waterford has the feel of a city without all the hustle and bustle you find in Dublin; perfect for a relaxing few days away.

It has enough shops and pubs that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything that you’d get in Dublin either.

Take the ten minute bus trip up to Tramore and check out its fabulous sandy beaches and clear seas. If you get a good summers day, you’ll wonder why you were ever upset you couldn’t go to Spain.

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