Sunday 22 July 2018

Ireland's Top 10 hidden gems: Ten places you think should be better known

Reader Travel Awards 2018

Ireland's Hidden Gem 2018: Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford
Ireland's Hidden Gem 2018: Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford
Reader Travel Awards 2018, as revealed in Weekend Magazine and Independent.ie.
Hook Lighthouse. Photo: Tourism Ireland
Sunrise at Hook Lighthouse. Photo by Paul Holmes

Online Editors

It’s time to tell the world about your favourite, little-known off-the-beaten-track Irish attraction for 2018. Here's the winner...

Ireland's Hidden Gem

Winner: Hook Lighthouse, Co Wexford

It may have been keeping watch over the coastline for some 800 years, but that hasn’t stopped you naming Hook Lighthouse Ireland’s Hidden Gem.

“The tour is fascinating,” you told us. “Seeing is believing,” you added. “They have really taken off and have added additional seasonal tours which I’m now dying to try!”

Key to the Hook’s resurgence has been an investment in new technology, family-friendly events and creative programming (see our feature on the lighthouse here), as well as making the most of its location within Ireland’s Ancient East.

The lighthouse brings its stories alive, which is exactly what the brand is all about. But the distinctive, black-and-white striped lighthouse has also woken a whole new generation of visitors to the wonders of the short, sweet and spectacular Hook Peninsula.

“I just love Hook Head in Wexford, stunning views and a beautiful walk,” you said, while also pointing out neighbouring attractions like Loftus Hall, Baginbun beach and Dunbrody Abbey.

“It’s a beautiful area with so many stories to tell.”

Ireland's Top 10 hidden gems

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Inside the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin. Photo: Donal Murphy

1. Hook lighthouse, Co Wexford — “The tour is fascinating...”

2. Pearse Lyons Distillery, Dublin (above) — “It’s like a boutique distillery, small and cosy, with a gorgeous glass spike!”

3. Doolin Cave, Co Clare — “The Great stalactite has been growing undisturbed for half a million years...”

4. Slieve league, Co Donegal — “In my opinion more beautiful than the Cliffs of Moher, and it feels untouched…”

5. Lough Boora, Co Offaly — “A wonderful, wild open space for walking and exploring wildlife…”

6. Bray to Greystones cliff walk, Co Wicklow — “Absolutely stunning, especially on a sunny day…”

7. Fairy bridges, Bundoran, Co Donegal — “While you’re there, take a seat on Bundoran’s own .wishing chair…”

8. Marsh’s library, Dublin — “I only discovered it recently. Well worth a visit and unknown to most Dubliners…”

9. Little Museum of Dublin — Not just included on our readers’ list of favourites, but voted TripAdvisor’s top small museum to visit in Ireland.

10. Loop Head Lighthouse, Co Clare — “Just up from there are the Bridges of Ross, which are wonderful… surprises every step of the way! ” 

Read more:

Hook, Line and Sinker: How an 800-year-old lighthouse became Ireland's No.1 hidden gem

Weekend Magazine

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