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Looking for off beat things to see and do

(I thought I posted this earlier today, but don't see it now. If the original shows up, I will delete one.)

We are just a few weeks away and are looking for ideas on things to do that are not major attraction type things. The way we travel is to research for huge lists of ideas for where we'll be, then narrow down at the time based on weather, what we feel like doing that day, etc. The big things are easy to add to that list. I am looking for the special, unique, things you have experienced. A good example was finding Studio Donegal on a drive out to Slieve League. That was a highlight of that trip. We like gardens, history, distillery/brewery tours. But, we are 100% open, and hoping for, things outside our normal likes. Thanks in advance for your ideas!!

Here is our general itinerary:

Day 1: Dublin

Day 2: Dublin

Day 3: Dublin to Galway via Bru na Boinne

Day 4: Aran Islands (Inishmore) and Cliffs of Moher via cruise from Galway

Day 5: Galway to Portmagee for 5:15 Skellig Michael Cruise

Day 6: Rest day at Parknasillia Resort (arrive day 5 leave day 7)

Day 7: Killarney Nation Park, arrive in Castlemartyr

Day 8: Castlemart to Waterford

Day 9: Waterford to Dublin airport for flight the next day

Posted by
5116 posts

I don't know that this is "off-beat" but the highlight of my sister's trip to Ireland was the Hawk Walk at the Ireland School of Falconry located at Ashford Castle in Cong.

Posted by
394 posts

I don't know if this qualifies as "off beat," but you said you like distillery tours. We really enjoyed the tour at the Tullamore D.E.W. Heritage Center, in Tullamore (which is right smack in the middle of the island, not far from the highway between Dublin and Galway). When we went (a Saturday in October, albeit in 2013), we were two of just five people on the tour, so it was a fun tasting and tour. It would be an easy stop on your Day 3 after Bru na Boinne. It's also near Clonmacnoise (which I don't think qualifies as "off beat," but is also awesome).

Posted by
32 posts

These are all excellent suggestions - thank you! I look forward to others adding theirs.

Posted by
5567 posts

What's this?

Day 5: Galway to Portmagee for 5:15 Skellig Michael Cruise

It's a long way from Galway to Portmagee (a long, very full day of driving). You are going to try for a Skellig Michael trip? Landing or just cruise around? On which "day"? I assume you are aware of the reliability/randomness of the landings due to conditions.

Overall: I see lots of "going from A to B" and not any time actually spent in A or B. (Except in Dublin, which, for me, was not really among the highlights of our trip)

Posted by
32 posts

Hi David,

Thank you for the reply. I did not post the specifics as they are not germane to my request for peoples' ideas. I am not looking to craft nor to share a minute by minute accounting of our journey. Thank you for your thoughts, though.

Yes, we are well informed on the Skellig cruise - as is most anyone who has booked one. I posted that just to show we'd have little time on the road from Galway to do much exploring that day. Sorry if it sidetracked you from sharing any ideas you might have on things to do. Did not mean to do that. I really am just interested in things people have done that are not one of the more obvious major attraction type things.


Posted by
6336 posts

Take a trap or hike the Gap of Dunloe.

Visit Glendalough.

Hike to Muckross House from the Torc Falls.

Drive the Sally Gap.

Dingle. Have a pint at Foxy John’s pub.

If day is sunny and visibility good Park in the lot above above Coumenoole Beach and follow the path up Dunmore Head for a POV of Great Blasket Island and the coastline line of Eire.

In Dublin visit the watchtower in the Glasnevin cemetary then visit the Botanical Gardens. There’s a good cafe at the entrance of Glasnevin.

Walk along the river paths: The Liffey and The Dodder

Lastly, see if there is a game of cricket taking place at Merrion Cricket club. At the very least tour and have lunch there.


Posted by
32 posts

Wow Claudia - what an amazing list!!!!! I can't thank you enough!

Posted by
795 posts

Parknasilla Resort is lovely and the breakfast wonderful. Their extensive grounds include a "fairy trail" for kids. It's a very pleasant post-dinner walk which is fun even for adults. If you hike, do the Bolus Barracks Loop near Ballinskelligs. If you like sports, either attend an Irish Football match or eat at a pub during a match. If you go to Powerscourt Gardens, reserve a tour and tasting at the distillery. Noel Sweeney (of MIddleton's fame) was the founding master distiller. For history go to 14 Henrietta St. in Dublin.

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks Trotter - putting all this on the list! If not this trip, then we'll get them the next time.

Posted by
1839 posts

Yes! See Sally Gap for sure!

Inishmore- we rented bikes before tourists arrived on the island and biked toward the cliffs, when the tourists arrived we headed in the opposite direction. There is a beautiful cemetery at the the other end of town. We really enjoyed our bike ride. Then, go to the cliffs at the end of the day when everyone is gone. We took a horse buggy ride there which was fun, even tho touristy, but very few tourists at the end of the day!

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks Susan and Monte! Added all these to our list - thanks!!!

Posted by
181 posts

On our last trip, besides the Skellig landing, hiking up to Carrowkeel Cairns was our favorite. Beautiful sunny day and we had the place to ourselves. You might be able to stuff them in between NewGrange and Galway, although it will be a couple of hours to enjoy it. But we really enjoy Neolithic and old stuff that isn't 'developed'.

Carey Castle was a nice forest hike to an old ruin that was also just us.

I second the bicycle rental on Aran with an overnight stay (so the day tourists are gone)

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks jjgurley! This is a perfect example of how we might modify our day - if we bail on New Grange due to weather or crowds, then Carrowkeel Cairns could be a perfect substitution! I've been to New Grange, and while my husband is highly interested in that period, he would pick a less developed site over joining hoards of tourists.