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15th Mar 2024

Add these 5 Irish-language experiences to your next short break in the Wild Atlantic Way

Sarah McKenna

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Brush up on your cúpla focal and prepare to dive headfirst into Ireland’s heritage at these spots.

With the St. Patrick’s Day weekend to look forward to, and homegrown success to celebrate following Cillian Murphy’s success at the Oscars, it’s been a pretty great week to be Irish.

So what better time to start dreaming up your next getaway at home? It just so happens that we’ve been eyeing up some fun-filled Irish language experiences to make your trip even better.

Ireland’s Gaeltacht regions are home to some incredible cultural offerings and breathtaking scenery, and they’re bound to enrich your next getaway. At these spots, you can lose yourself in the spirit of storytelling in the Dingle Peninsula, get to grips with whiskey distillation in the rugged Donegal countryside or take a deep dive into the fascinating history of Irish revolutionary Pádraig Pearse.

Whether your Leaving Cert Irish is still serving you, or you just want to practice your Irish outside of the confines of Duolingo, here are five great experiences along the west coast to check out for Seachtain na Gaeilge and beyond.

Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh Conamara – Pearse Cottage, Co Galway

In 1909, Pádraig Pearse built a cottage in Ros Muc, Connemara in Co. Galway, and today the site is a state-of-the-art visitor centre that explores the revolutionary’s connection to this Gaeltacht region. In addition to the centre, where you can learn all about Pearse from a local guide, guests will also get the chance to step inside the actual cottage itself and tour through the carefully preserved bedrooms.

Pearse Cottage is surrounded by beautiful, rural scenery and after your visit, you can relax with some local delicacies from the café while taking in views of Connemara’s lakes and mountains.

Ionad an Bhlascaoid – The Blasket Centre, Co. Kerry

Storytelling is an integral part of Irish heritage and The Blasket Centre in Dunquin celebrates this facet of our culture. At this visitor centre, on the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula, interactive exhibitions will bring the language, culture and folklore of the Blasket Islands to life. Get in touch with this tiny island’s unique history and literature and discover what life was like before the final evacuation of 1953.

During your visit, don’t miss the fully accessible clifftop viewing platform where next-level views of the Blasket Islands and the Atlantic coastline await.

Crolly Distillery, Co Donegal

The Donegal Gaeltacht is home to a traditional Irish whiskey distillery that deserves a spot on your next short break’s itinerary. At the Crolly Distillery, visitors will have the opportunity to connect with Ireland’s whiskey history as they tour this engaging distillery. Through audio-visual presentations and your local guide, you’ll get in touch with the area’s mythology, the building’s history and the distillation process.

This unique experience concludes with a visit to the tasting lounge where you’ll get to sample a whiskey of your choice and relax in the cosy surrounds.

Aran Off-Road Experience, Co. Galway

Get up close and personal with the rugged beauty of the Aran Islands – and see some of the locations featured in The Banshees of Inisherin – during a jaunt with the Aran Off-Road Experience. During a 4-hour tour, your guide will drive you to the many breath-taking sites of the Aran Islands, which have now been made world famous, thanks to the Oscar award-winning film. Visit Teampall Bheanáin, the oldest church in western Europe, check out The Black Fort, an unspoilt fort on the cliff edge, see the famous Poll na bPéist – the natural, rectangular shaped pool, carved out of the limestone rock – for yourself and marvel at Dún Aonghasa, a 3000 year-old stone fort and UNESCO Heritage site.

This experience reopens in April, making it the perfect addition to your next spring or early summer getaway.

Dingle OceanWorld, Co. Kerry

A world of wildlife wonder awaits visitors at Dingle OceanWorld, Ireland’s first marine immersive digital experience. Step inside this mesmerising aquarium and feast your eyes on its fascinating residents of butterflies, fish, otters, penguins and sharks. During your visit, you’ll also learn about Dingle OceanWorld’s conservation programmes, which include sea turtle rehabilitation, natterjack toad rearing, lobster conservation and whale and dolphin rescue.

After your visit, grab a takeaway coffee from the Coffee Dock and enjoy it while taking in pristine sea views outside the aquarium.

With Dingle OceanWorld reopening from Easter 2024, you’ll want to book early to secure your tickets on your next getaway!

So what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to book your next short break in the Wild Atlantic Way.
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