Key Highlights

Uncover the charm of Ireland's lesser-known destinations with these five off-the-beaten-path locations, perfect for a memorable road trip.

  • Rindoon, Lough Ree: Explore the well-preserved remnants of a 13th-century Medieval settlement, including a church, castle, and town walls, enhanced by recent restoration projects and a new looped walk.

  • The Jealous Wall, Co. Westmeath: Visit Ireland's largest Gothic folly at Belvedere House, Gardens & Park, a family-friendly estate featuring playgrounds, a restaurant, parklands, and wildlife displays.

  • Fore, Co. Westmeath: Immerse yourself in the tranquil monastic village of Fore, home to a seventh-century Benedictine monastery, the Seven Wonders of Fore, picturesque walking trails, and Jane O'Reilly's famous desserts.

  • Coral Beach, St. John’s Point, Co. Donegal: Relax at this secluded beach, known for its coral sands and stunning coastal scenery, perfect for a peaceful getaway.

  • Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork: Experience the tranquility of Ireland's southernmost inhabited Gaeltacht island, offering coastal walks, sailing, kayaking, bird-watching, and unique accommodations like traditional yurts.

May 09, 2022

Discovering Ireland: 5 Off-the-Beaten-Path Locations

While Dublin Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, and Tayto Park remain popular, there's a wealth of lesser-known destinations across Ireland waiting to be discovered. Whether you're drawn to culture, history, or breathtaking scenery, these hidden gems are guaranteed to delight. It's time to embark on a road trip and uncover the treasures of Ireland!

Rindoon, Lough Ree

Located on the western shore of Lough Ree, approximately 14 kilometers north of Athlone, Rindoon is a hidden gem steeped in Anglo-Norman history. This 2km-long Medieval settlement, often dubbed as "Camelot on the Shannon," was once a bustling trading post in the 13th century until it was abandoned after Gaelic chieftains took control.

Despite being deserted, Rindoon remains a captivating destination, offering visitors a glimpse into its rich past. Its well-preserved remnants, including a church, castle, mill, hospital, harbour, and turreted town, evoke a sense of stepping into a storybook.

Thanks to the efforts of the St. John’s Parish Heritage Group, Rindoon's allure has been further enhanced through extensive restoration and conservation projects. The Medieval town walls, hospital, windmill, and parish church have been meticulously preserved. Additionally, the introduction of a newly constructed looped walk provides visitors with an immersive experience, solidifying Rindoon as a must-visit destination in Ireland.

The Jealous Wall, Co. Westmeath

At Belvedere House, Gardens & Park, located seven kilometers south of Mullingar, stands the imposing Jealous Wall, Ireland's largest Gothic folly. This architectural marvel owes its existence to a feud between two brothers, with Earl Robert Rochfort constructing it to obscure his older brother's neighboring property, Tudenham Park.

Deliberately ruinous in style, the Jealous Wall is just one of the attractions at Belvedere House. The estate has transformed into a family-friendly destination, boasting three playgrounds, a courtyard restaurant, picturesque parkland grounds with picnic areas, and various wildlife and heritage displays.

Ideal for a day trip with the family, Belvedere House offers a fascinating blend of history and recreation, putting any sibling rivalries into perspective amidst its captivating surroundings.

Fore, Co. Westmeath

Fore in Co. Westmeath offers a journey back in time, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This tranquil monastic village, nestled in a quiet valley amidst the rolling hills north of Mullingar, remains one of Ireland's best-kept secrets, spared from hordes of tourists.

Visitors to Fore can immerse themselves in the origins of traditional Irish folklore tales that date back over a thousand years. The village is steeped in history, with remnants of its Benedictine monastery founded by St. Feichín in the seventh century. Legend has it that St. Feichín left his mark on the area through seven miraculous events, known as the Seven Wonders of Fore, which are still evident today.

Beyond its mystical allure, Fore boasts a picturesque walking trail, recognized with a prestigious National Heritage Project Award. For those with a sweet tooth, Jane O'Reilly's coffee shop offers legendary desserts, adding to the charm of this enchanting village.

Coral Beach, St. John’s Point, Co. Donegal

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Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork

Cape Clear Island, off the west coast of Cork, may be less famous than the Aran Islands, but it's a hidden gem worth exploring. Accessed by a 40-minute ferry ride from Baltimore, this island offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of mainland life.

Measuring just three miles long and one mile wide, Cape Clear is Ireland's southernmost inhabited Gaeltacht island. While amenities are limited to essentials like a shop, pub, church, and Irish language school, the island's charm lies in its tranquility.

During the day, visitors can enjoy coastal walks, sailing, kayaking, or bird-watching. Don't miss the island's eco-friendly goat farm, where you can indulge in mouth-watering goat's milk ice-cream made by a resident blind ice-cream maker.

Accommodation options range from budget-friendly hostels to 3-star B&Bs and self-catering apartments. For a unique experience, consider staying in traditional yurts for an unforgettable glamping adventure.