Sunday 23 October 2016

Discover Ireland Explorers competition – 8 of the best

Published 07/08/2015 | 08:00

We asked our readers to send us their best memories from their holidays in Ireland for the chance to win an unforgettable adventure break for two. Here are eight of the best.

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It’s not too late to get in for a chance to win an unforgettable adventure break for two with one night in the Irish Landmark Trust's Lighthouse Keepers' Cottage, one night at The Heron’s Cove in West Cork and one night at the Inchydoney Island Hotel & Spa. Just send us your best Ireland holiday memory here.

Response has been overwhelming, with incredible stories and memories from people’s adventures in Ireland, and we thought they deserved to be shared.

A week on the Royal Canal – Erin Morrish

Our trip started at the twelfth lock in Castleknock/Blanchardstown, where my family (from South Africa) and I boarded our Canal Barge for the week. That first day we puttered along at our own pace, taking in the beautiful scenery rarely seen in an urban area. We spent our first night in Maynooth, where we were woken in the middle of the night by people jumping into the canal! From then on we made our way through little towns and many locks (which were quite a learning curve to get through!), we made frequent stops to explore the area, and thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance of the countryside. On the 4th day, we reached Mullingar where we decided to turn back. It was the second to last day, just as we reached Leixlip that a tree branch snagged one of our bicycles (belonging to my dad who had not accompanied us due to work) and pulled it overboard! We managed to get it back and decided not to tell my dad, however I think the water leaking out of the bike gave it away. Overall, it was an amazing experience. I had no idea how much the canals had to offer, it was just so serene and picturesque, I felt like I was seeing the true country of Ireland.

Paradise is an understatement – Samuel Francis

My favourite holiday in Ireland began in rainy weather but I did not let that deter me I climbed the holy mountain in an hour and 30 mins and spent the remainder of the day motionless as my body ached from head to toe. The remainder of the week was spent surfing along the most incredible coastline with incredible waves and friendly people. For the final night I decided to relax in a pub in Westport not knowing a stag night from England had arrived. They found out I was English too and dragged me off to many, many pubs and clubs and I can gladly say that was the best holiday of my life.

Still for a moment – Karen Hendy

Lehinch is a fantastic place full of life, adventure and laughter. After an energetic beach and surfing day we sat on the cliff top and didn't speak but watched and became completely enveloped by the sky in its changing colours and the stillness of what seemed like the whole world. Purely magical. I want to discover more of nature's magic in this beautiful country and live it all. Sometimes we forget to stop and be aware.

A Drive around Dingle! – Ciara Higgins

The fog lay thick across the Kerry landscape. Our loud, out of tune singing to ‘Westlife's greatest hits’ began to soften as the fog lifted like a curtain to reveal the Conor Pass. I didn’t know whether to jump out and take pictures or hang on for dear life as we drove over one of the highest Irish mountain passes. The car went silent as we took a moment to appreciate the beautiful entrance into Dingle town. We climbed into the small speed boat, a perfect venue for an up close and personal visit with the Dolphin. Heading out into the mouth of the Atlantic from the Dingle Peninsula, I thought to myself we will be travelling miles before we meet the famous Fungie. Our Captain Colm began whistling and splashing the water with his fingertips. ‘Here Boy’ he yelled! The beautiful majestic 13 ft dolphin began to move in zig-zag movements around our boat. Twisting, flipping, and dancing in the water he showed his unique white belly and chip off his fin. Colm set off with speed in the boat and Fungie jumped and played in the bow waves of the speed boat with such energy and delight. His love for social interactions with people showed, as his excitement increased in sync with our gasps, oohs, and ah’s! It’s a magical moment to witness a dolphin not in captivity, truly in love the people around him.

An evening of Fishing – Nicholas McCarthy (image27)

Two years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to put my cooking skills to test at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, Shanagary, County Cork. After a rigorous day of baking, learning and making a mess, we took to the seas to fish for our food. The sun was setting and it was a competition between the seagulls and us, the amateurs, to catch the unlimited supply for mackerel down by Ballycotton harbour. Despite only catching one fish (yes just one), the incredible view of the Irish Coast caught my eye. I am so fortunate to be living in such a beautiful country

Letterkeane, Co Mayo – Katie Dornan (image30)

This lake is in letterkeane, Co.Mayo beautiful scenery and country roads leads to a camping spot in letterkeane woods surrounded by amazing lakes and gorgeous scenery which leads to the greenway it is also apart of the Wild Atlantic Way it's a hidden gem. Mayo has become my second home. I have spent my childhood in this part of Mayo, it brings back fun memories of walking and cycling trips and having many laughs. I still go back a lot especially if I need a break. Mayo is a beautiful county and no words can describe how amazing the place is. The people are the nicest I have ever met I am delighted that Mayo will get the praise it deserves. I hope you all see the beauty in the picture.

Climbing Charming Carrauntoohill – Faith Whelan

Our unforgettable Irish travel adventure was definitely the day that we climbed and reached the summit of Carrauntoohill (Ireland's highest mountain). This was our third try as poor weather had impeded our attempts until then. It was a fantastic, crisp, Irish Spring day when we set off on our climbing excursion. On our way we walked various terrains and viewed postcard perfect scenery. We passed lakes, crossed a river and negotiated the infamous "Devil's ladder" boulders with refreshing melting ice water trickling down towards us in little streams. When we finally made our way to the summit, after having had a few friendly exchanges with other walkers on their way down, the effort proved more than worthwhile. The spectacular views of Kerry and its surrounding areas were breathtaking and truly unforgettable. We enjoyed our packed lunches before making our way home again, stiff but truly satisfied with our adventure.

Sky Road Clifden – Aoife Quinn

In mid June of last year I was brought on a trip along with Wild Atlantic Way by my now boyfriend. Although I'm from Galway Country I hadn't experienced the route. One of the first stops on the journey was Sky Road in Clifden, I was awestruck by the beautiful view from the top, it was a beautiful day (about 25 degrees) and that was when I realised that I lived in the most beautiful country in the world. We shared our first kiss here and returned on the same date this year to celebrate. The aim is to get the whole Wild Atlantic Way in bit by bit as time allows, and hopefully with him.

To win an unforgettable adventure break for two just send us a few words and a photo about your best holiday memory about a holiday you had in Ireland below.

Sponsored by: Bosch

This form is now expired. Thank you to all those who have submitted files.

Would you like to be a Discover Ireland Explorer?

As part of the Discover Ireland Explorer competition in association with, we want you to share with us your best, happiest, craziest or funniest memory about a holiday you’ve had in Ireland for the chance to create lifelong memories with an incredible adventure.

The adventure break for two includes one unique night in an Irish Landmark Trust's lighthouse keeper’s cottage built in the late 1800’s perched on dramatic cliffs 130 feet above sea level overlooking the Celtic Sea; one night in The Heron’s Cove boutique Bed and Breakfast where you will dine in their award winning restaurant and take a trip to  the Mizen Head. If you dare, you’ll get to cross the iconic bridge high above the gorge! You’ll also stay for one night at the Inchydoney Island Hotel & Spa, with spa treatment and whale watching or kayaking excursion included. All you have to do is tell us your best Irish holiday memory. Full prize details available here.

Upload a high quality photo or video (up to 100MB) and in the Description field write about your favourite Ireland holiday memory in 250 words or less.  Once done, you’ll be in with a chance to win this unforgettable adventure break and the chance to make new memories that will last a lifetime.

The winners will also get the chance to report on their adventures by blogging, reporting or filming their activities and the results will be hosted on the Travel in Ireland hub on This is a wonderful opportunity for budding travel writers, travel bloggers or just anyone who is passionate about exploring Ireland.

Competition closing date extended to Saturday August 8th. Best of Luck!

Terms and conditions apply, full details outlined below.

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