Small Wonders: 25 finest small points of interest to go to in Eire

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Why, get exploring Eire’s surprisingly giant financial institution of small customer points of interest, that is what.

Once we tweeted for ideas in compiling this listing, we have been shocked on the response – on the sheer quantity of little gems on the market that hardly ever get nationwide publicity.

From cool caves to county museums, farm excursions to railway rides, hidden perfumeries to a duplicate WWI trench, our round-up barely scratches the floor… but it surely’s given us the makings of some sensible days out.

1. Stroll by means of A WW1 trench

 

The place: Cavan County Museum

What: Do you know you possibly can stroll by means of a duplicate WWI trench in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan? The expertise has been recreated in painstaking element, utilizing 6,000 sandbags and following manuals used on the Battle of the Somme. Stroll right into a casualty clearing station, climb up a ‘firing step’ and really feel simply how forbidding ‘No Man’s Land’ actually was – this moody maze is the surprisingly immersive spotlight of one in every of Eire’s finest county museums. – PÓC

How: €6/4pp; cavanmuseum.ie.

If you happen to like that: Monaghan County Museum at present has the stays of a WWII Spitfire on present, alongside an unique set of chilling Nazi invasion plans for Eire, titled ‘Operation Inexperienced’ (monaghan.ie/museum).

2. Journey again in time

 

The place: Fintown Railway, Co Donegal

What: There was a time when prepare journeys did not imply cramped commutes and soggy sandwiches. Deep within the mountains of Donegal, you may discover the county’s solely operational railway set among the many hanging highlands round Lough Finn – the three-mile journey is a corker. It is simply the beginning of Eire’s novel prepare rides, too – the Stradbally Woodland Railway has steam prepare journeys on financial institution vacation weekends in Co Laois, and the Waterford and Suir Valley Railway runs repeatedly from Kilmeaden. – NB

How: fintownrailway.com (tickets value €eight/5pp); stradballyrailway.webs.com; wsvrailway.ie.

If you happen to like that: Enniskillen’s Headhunters Railway Museum (headhuntersmuseum.com) pairs the odd however becoming combo of a barbershop and teensy railway museum.

Three. Mosey in a mini-museum

U2 Exhibition, Little Museum of Dublin

 

The place: Little Museum of Dublin

What: James Joyce’s loss of life masks. Bullets given to Ben Dunne by his kidnappers. A Harry Clarke stained glass work rescued from a skip. An previous Renard’s membership card. The Little Museum of Dublin packs a giant punch, sucking you in with a sequence of intimate tales, storytelling guides, and bigger exhibitions starting from U2: Made in Dublin to former mayor Alfie Byrne’s private archive. It is a case examine in create, and fill, a distinct segment. – PÓC

How: €10/8pp; littlemuseum.ie.

If you happen to like that: See extra small takes on metropolis heritage at Cork Butter Museum (thebuttermuseum.com), Waterford Treasures (waterfordtreasures.com) or Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile Museum (medievalmilemuseum.ie).

four. Candy HMS Caroline

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HMS Caroline

The place: Titanic Quarter, Belfast

What: C-class gentle cruiser HMS Caroline is the final surviving ship from the Battle of Jutland. Step aboard in Belfast, and you’ll discover the captain’s quarters, marines’ mess, engine rooms, sick bay and galley, amongst different areas. A brief movie on the 1916 battle is engrossing, if a bit loud and boomy for youthful children, and you can even get hands-on with semaphores and take a look at your hand at code-cracking. – PÓC

How: £10.75/four.25pp; nmrn.org.uk.

If you happen to like that: The SS Nomadic, tender for the Titanic and the world’s final remaining White Star Line ship (nomadicbelfast.com), is near Titanic Belfast. Or go to the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross (dunbrody.com).

5. Go to a lighthouse

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Hook Lighthouse. Picture: Tourism Eire

 

The place: Hook Lighthouse, Co Wexford

What: The world’s oldest operational lighthouse dates again 800 years, and the placement is beautiful – proper on the rocky tip of the Hook Peninsula. Excursions run each half hour, and there are particular occasions all year long – tomorrow, a sundown tour (€45pp) would permit you see the solar dip from its watchroom whereas tucking into native seafood and Prosecco, for instance. Different lighthouses value a glance are at Fanad in Donegal and Ballycotton in East Cork. – NB

How: €10/€6pp (children underneath 5 go free); hookheritage.ie

If you happen to like that: Play lighthouse keeper with an in a single day keep in a tower or keeper’s cottage (irishlandmark.com).

6. Take them to (a tin) church

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Tin church

The place: Laragh, Co Monaghan

What: Noticed a captivating church on honeymoon? Most individuals would depart with a photograph and a reminiscence. Not James Mckean, the Monaghan mill proprietor stated to have constructed this reproduction for his spouse after coming back from their Swiss honeymoon in 1891. St Peter’s Tin Church is a surreal nod to the Alps sitting on a rock within the village of Laragh, between Carrickmacross and Castleblayney. Restored by Laragh Heritage Group, it is now open to guests and used as a kooky occasion and live performance venue. Carry a picnic. – PÓC

How: free; monaghantourism.com

If you happen to like that: Stroll from Cahir Fortress to the lovable Swiss Cottage (heritageireland.ie), a 19th-century cottage orné.

7. Again to nature within the Burren

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Burren Nature Sanctuary

 

The place: Burren Nature Sanctuary

What: An natural farm devoted to nature and wildlife, this go to showcases all the Burren’s wild, rugged magnificence in a single useful spot. A mosaic of 5 Burren habitats will lead you thru the distinctive biodiversity of the world, the place you may come throughout stunning butterflies, orchids and, um, Frisky, the feral Burren goat. There are indoor and out of doors play areas and an award-winning café – their hazelnut, cheddar and spinach scone is a dreamboat, served with Wild Atlantic seaweed salad. Yum. – NB

How: €eight/€11pp; burrennaturesanctuary.ie.

If you happen to like that: Have a Willy Wonka second at Hazel Mountain Chocolate (hazelmountainchocolate.com), or a whiff of the Burren Perfumery (burrenperfumery.com).

eight. Previous methods are the most effective

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Denis O’Connor on the Previous Irish Methods Museum in Cuillaghmore, Co Limerick. Picture: Pól Ó Conghaile

 

The place: Museum of Previous Irish Methods, Co Limerick

What: “Is it a labour of affection?” I requested retired farmer Denis O’Connor, who constructed this museum from scratch in his again yard close to Bruff. “A illness,” he laughed. “There was nothing right here 10 years in the past.” Effectively, there may be now. Displays vary from previous telephones, railway indicators, schoolroom paraphernalia and grocery packages lovingly assembled in nostalgic units, to a “bar with out beer”. – PÓC

How: Name forward; fb.com/oldirishways

If you happen to like that: Nostalgia followers can go to Athone’s Derryglad People Museum (derrygladfolkmuseum.com), Co Leitrim’s Glenview People Museum (glenviewmuseum.ie) or Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum – a classic radio assortment housed in a Martello tower in Howth, Co Dublin.

9. Head underground

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Arigna Mines, Co. Roscommon

 

The place: Arigna Mining Expertise, Co Roscommon

What: It is loopy to suppose that, up till 1990, mining was nonetheless occurring in Arigna. Not solely that, it was a viable profession for a whole bunch of years (“There was cash in Arigna when there was no cash elsewhere,” it was stated). Excursions are led by ex-miners, which provides an interesting perspective and palpable sense of actuality to the expertise. Might you might have made it as a miner? – NB

How: €10pp for excursions; arignaminingexperience.ie.

If you happen to like that: Connemara’s Glengowla Mines (glengowlamines.ie) could be visited on a working farm… you possibly can ebook in for farm walks and sheep-herding demos, too.

10. Drop into No.14

 

The place: 14 Henrietta Avenue, Dublin

Why: A Georgian townhouse. A tenement housing as much as 100 folks. A military barracks. No.14 Henrietta Avenue has been lots of issues over its 300 years, and Dublin Metropolis Council’s €four.5m restoration sees all of them explored and interpreted in a disarmingly intimate tour. “A museum of reminiscence,” is how one consulting curator described it. From ‘Raddle Crimson’ paint to kids’s road songs and a duplicate 20th century flat, the small moments add as much as a richly partaking social historical past of Dublin. – PÓC

How: Excursions from €9/6pp; 14henriettastreet.ie.

If you happen to like that: Stroll by means of the centuries at Rothe Home in Kilkenny (rothehouse.com) or the surprisingly evocative Emo Court docket (heritageireland.ie) in Co Laois.

11. Cave into Clare

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Doolin Cave’s nature stroll. Picture: Fáílte Eire

 

The place: Doolin Cave, Co Clare

What: If you happen to can resist the urge to do 100 Father Noel Furlong impersonations (“You are in for it now, Tony”) then you definately’ll make it out of Doolin Cave in a single piece. You will additionally lastly be taught the distinction between stalactites and stalagmites – this cave is house to the longest free-hanging stalactite in Europe. Exhausting to imagine that after, hundreds of years in the past, it began with a single drop of water. If you’re out, do not miss the farmland nature path (above) – that is the place you may discover a pair of cute pygmy goats. – NB

How: €15/8pp; doolincave.ie.

If you happen to like that: Attempt Mitchelstown Cave (mitchelstowncave.com) in Tipperary, or Kerry’s Crag Cave (cragcave.com).

12. Get to the Glucksman

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Glucksman

The place: The Glucksman Gallery, UCC

What: Modern artwork exhibitions are simply the beginning. Childrens’ artwork golf equipment run over the varsity holidays (10am-1pm), there are free household artwork workshops led by skilled artists on Sundays (Three-4pm), and its store is a superb place to discover a distinctive inventive present – from pop-out animals to high-end Irish craft and design. Plus, the timber-clad constructing is a doozy by O’Donnell + Tuomey architects. – PÓC

How: Tues-Solar; free; glucksman.org.

If you happen to like that: UCC Guests’ Centre supplies campus excursions. In Cork Metropolis, go to Nano Nagle Place (nanonagleplace.ie) with its Backyard Room Café and Good Day Deli.

13. Horses for programs

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Fethard Horse Nation Expertise

 

The place: Fethard Horse Nation Expertise

What: If you happen to like horses, you may love this. An interactive exhibition takes you thru the story of the horse and its position in our tradition, in addition to the historical past of the world round Fethard, Co Tipperary. Throughout summer season, you possibly can pay a little bit further and tour the close by Coolmore Stud, the well-known thoroughbred racehorse breeding operation. – NB

How: €7.50/Three.50pp (free for youths underneath 6); fhcexperience.ie

If you happen to like that: Animal lovers adore Eagles Flying in Ballymote, Co Sligo – stand up shut and private with stunning birds of prey (in addition to a 4m python). eaglesflying.com.

Extra:
Inside Eire’s new high-spec horse nation museum

14. Ebook a library go to

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Marsh’s Library, Dublin. Picture: Fáilte Eire

 

The place: Marsh’s Library, Dublin

What: You can simply image Hermione Granger or Indiana Jones rummaging right here (proper). The environment of Eire’s first public library enfolds you – from wealthy oak bookcases to lettered gables and quirks like a number of bulletholes sustained throughout 1916, or particular ‘cages’ the place readers have been as soon as locked whereas perusing uncommon volumes. There is a desk on which you’ll be able to attempt quills and a typewriter, and that is not even beginning on its resident ghost… – PÓC

How: €5/3pp; marshlibrary.ie

If you happen to like that: Armagh’s Robinson Library (armaghrobinsonlibrary.co.uk) is a portal into the 18th century, with gentle spilling in from elegant Georgian home windows.

15. Gardening depart

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Brigit’s Backyard

The place: Brigit’s Backyard, Co Galway

What: There are 11 acres to discover at Brigit’s Backyard, with the gorgeous Celtic Gardens on the coronary heart of all of it, set among the many native woodland and wildflower meadows. There’s additionally a fairy fort, nature path, thatched roundhouse and crannóg, in addition to the most important sundial in Eire. This 12 months, they’re going to be including an interactive science path for visiting households, encouraging a playful interplay with science and nature. It is on account of open in September. – NB

How: €eight/5; brigitsgarden.ie

If you happen to like that: Get misplaced in Wicklow’s Greenan Maze (then say hey to the cattle; greenanmaze.com), or the tropical gardens on Garinish Island, Glengarriff (garnishisland.com).

16. Heaney’s HomePlace

 

The place: Bellaghy, Co Derry

Why: Bellaghy might not be well-known, however in his childhood, it was the centre of Seamus Heaney’s universe. A becoming location then, for this beautiful celebration of the poet and his work – by means of galleries, exhibitions, testimonies and artefacts (together with his unique college desk). HomePlace additionally has a efficiency house – The Helicon. As we publish, writers Lisa McGee (of Derry Ladies fame) and Lucy Caldwell are booked for Could 30. – PÓC

How: £7/four.50pp for exhibitions; seamusheaneyhome.com

If you happen to like that: The FE McWilliam Gallery in Banbridge is a superb cease between Dublin and Belfast, with artwork, a sculpture backyard and Quail’s café (femcwilliam.com).

17. See the celebs in Cork

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Blackrock Fortress

The place: Blackrock Fortress, Cork

Why: Do you might have children who go nuts for something intergalactic? Effectively, they’re going to love Cork’s Blackrock Fortress. You will be taught all in regards to the universe in Cosmos on the Fortress, the place you possibly can uncover the evening sky within the Planetarium and even ship an electronic mail into outer house. Tickets additionally embrace a tour of the citadel, an interactive expertise that brings you proper into the stomach of the 16th century fort, the place you may find out about smugglers and pirates. – NB

How: €6/3pp (children underneath 5 go free); bco.ie.

If you happen to like that: The domed planetarium at Schull Faculty (schull.ie) or the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium are nice for budding younger scientists (armagh.ac.uk).

18. Journey in fashion

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Newbridge Silverware’s Museum of Fashion Icons. Picture: Fáílte Eire

 

The place: Newbridge Silverware, Co Kildare

Why: All of it started with a little bit black gown. Audrey Hepburn’s little black gown, worn within the film Charade (1963), to be exact. This assortment of superstar clothes and private results has blossomed since, with gadgets from Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles and Princess Diana’s ‘Revenge Costume’ simply the beginning of its unlikely treasures. A manufacturing unit tour showcases how the corporate’s silverware is made, too. – PÓC

How: €12 (manufacturing unit tour); visitnewbridgesilverware.com

If you happen to like that: Criostal na Rinne is a hand-cut crystal workshop in in Co Waterford (criostal.com), or see glass being blown at Kilkenny’s Jerpoint Glass (jerpointglass.com).

19. Buccaneers at Belleek

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Belleek Fortress, Co. Mayo

 

The place: Belleek Fortress, Ballina, Co Mayo

Why: Sure, it is a resort. However that does not even start to explain the Tardis-like providing at Belleek Fortress, a Blue Ebook bolthole set by the Ballina Woods. A tour will take you although the manor home, from quirky Spanish Armada Bar and ‘Tween Deck’ to the Marshall Doran Assortment, the place displays vary from Grace O’Malley’s four-poster mattress to the final wolf shot in Connaught. Jack Fenn’s Courtyard Café is Georgina Campbell’s 2019 café of the 12 months. – PÓC

How: €10/7.50pp; belleekcastle.com.

If you happen to like that: Ballina’s Jackie Clarke Assortment hosts every part from letters by Michael Collins to a surviving copy of the 1916 Proclamation (clarkecollection.ie).

Extra:

20. Fly away to Foynes

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Foynes Flying Boat Museum: House to the world’s solely reproduction B314 flying boat (produced from 1938-1941).

 

The place: Flying Boat Museum, Co Limerick

Why: For a short interval within the 1930s and ’40s, Foynes was a transatlantic aviation hub, with B314 Flying Boats ferrying passengers together with JFK, Humphrey Bogart and Ernest Hemmingway by way of the Shannon estuary. Right this moment’s museum brings the period to life by means of particulars each small (mannequin planes, label pins and uniforms) and massive (you possibly can really board a duplicate B314 full with its personal ‘honeymoon suite’). Different points of interest embrace a flight simulator, and a outstanding assortment of Maureen O’Hara memoribilia, together with her self-importance flight case and Oscar. The Irish espresso was apparently invented right here too, so… sláinte! – PÓC

How: €12/6pp; flyingboatmuseum.com

If you happen to like that: Cross the vertigo-inducing arched bridge to discover the keepers’ quarters and Marconi room at West Cork’s Mizen Head Sign Station (mizenhead.ie).

21. Play king of the citadel

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Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

 

The place: Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Why: Courting from the 13th century, Enniscorthy Fortress has housed many a personality, from troopers to prisoners, knights and rebels. Down within the spooky dungeon, you may discover uncommon medieval artwork, whereas views from the highest absorb Vinegar Hill battlefield among the many surrounding countryside. The citadel additionally incorporates an exhibition devoted to the 1950s and Brooklyn (2015), the film adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel, a lot of which was filmed regionally. – NB

How: €6/3pp; enniscorthycastle.ie

If you happen to like that: Journey again in time at Dalkey Fortress (dalkeycastle.com), the place costumed actors add theatrical aptitude to excursions, or Athenry Fortress in Co Galway (heritageireland.ie).

Extra: Prime 25 film and TV places to go to in Eire – From Father Ted to Sport of Thrones

22. Bathroom requirements

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Corlea Trackway Customer Centre. Picture: Pól Ó Conghaile

 

The place: Kenagh, Co Longford

Why: Longford could also be getting the largest ever funding in Irish tourism within the form of a €233m Middle Parcs set to open this summer season, however the county is filled with small pleasures – not least the Corlea Trackway Customer Centre. This small cease interprets an 18m stretch of Iron Age bathroom street relationship from 148BC, but it surely’s far more than that – turning right into a detective-style dip into the secrets and techniques of Irish bogs, and their fascinating wildlife. – PÓC

How: free; heritageireland.ie

If you happen to like that: Clara Bathroom is a superb instance of an intact raised bathroom, with a customer centre telling a narrative some 10,000 years within the making (clarabognaturereserve.ie), whereas Lough Boora has a bigger discovery park (loughboora.com).

23. Dan O’Hara’s Homestead

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Dan O’Hara’s Homestead in Connemara. Picture: Derek Cullen / Fáilte Eire

The place: Clifden, Connemara

Why: Named after a person evicted from his cottage within the 1840s, and who ended up promoting matches in New York after dropping his spouse and kids en path to the US (“the broken-hearted farmer Dan O’Hara”, because the ballad goes), this homestead and farm has developed into one of many West’s hottest people and heritage points of interest. Find out about Connemara throug the ages, see a reconstructed crannóg and ring fort, and take a tractor-pulled journey to the unique cottage, full with glowing turf fireplace. – PÓC

How: €eight.50/four.25pp; connemaraheritage.com

If you happen to like that: Cease into Pádraig Pearse’s cottage (Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh; heritageireland.ie) in Ros Muc, or additional afield, take a tour of the eccentric Doagh Famine Village in Co Donegal (doaghfaminevillage.com).

24. A chapel for 2

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Costello Chapel, Carrick on Shannon

 

The place: Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

Why: Effectively, we did say small… Squeezed between neighbouring buildings on Bridge Avenue, Costello Memorial Chapel is a souvenir-sized memorial constructed by native service provider Edward Costello for his spouse, Mary, in 1877. Stroll into “the Irish Taj Mahal” immediately and you will not solely marvel at its scale (you can match round six, at a squish), along with particulars just like the marble altar and stained glass, however the coffins of the couple beneath glass panels underneath your toes. – PÓC

How: free; leitrimtourism.com

If you happen to like that: Set in a former draft web station constructed to observe fish inventory and poachers on the Corrib in Galway, the Fisheries Watchtower (fisheriesireland.ie) is unquestionably a contender for Eire’s smallest museum.

25. Candy enamel

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Pól will get caught into some candy treats with Tony Lineham at Shandon Sweets (the Alternate Toffee Works. Picture: Derek Cullen / Fáilte Eire

 

The place: Numerous places

Why: In spite of everything that tradition and journey, you may want a sugar repair. Skip the generic ‘retro’ outlets for actual old-school treats at Shandon Sweets in Cork (shandonsweets.com), Aunt Sandra’s Sweet Manufacturing unit in Belfast (auntsandras.com) or O’Mahony’s siopa beag, close to the Victorian railway tunnel on the Waterford Greenway at Durrow. Chocolate lovers can cease into Benoit Lorge’s little manufacturing unit in Bonane, outdoors Kenmare (lorge.ie) – kids’s and household chocolate-making workshops can be found from €17pp. – PÓC

NB: All costs, hours and visiting particulars appropriate at time of publication, however topic to availability/change.

Learn extra:

The Irish Bucket Listing: 30 issues to do in Eire earlier than you die

Irish Unbiased

 

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