Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Ireland's Inspirational Landscape 5 Natural Attractions to Add to Your Itinerary

The Emerald Isle has given the world so much, from masterful artists to exciting culture. But the one thing it kept for itself was its amazing scenery--craggy cliffs, wild mountains, peaceful valleys, and abundant wildlife. To experience the true spirit of this magical land, take time to immerse yourself in Ireland’s beauty as part of your Ireland vacation.

1. Cliffs of Moher

Towering above the wild waters of the Atlantic, the Cliffs of Moher are a trademark sight of the Irish west coast and one of the country’s prime natural attractions. Rising more than 200 m (700 ft) above the ocean, the cliffs provide breathtaking views and offer a true haven for hikers. With large colonies of puffins and other species, this is also a top destination for bird watchers. As you draw inspiration from the unique surroundings, take the time to capture the landscape in a photo or painting.

2. Killarney National Park

Ireland’s oldest protected natural area, Killarney National Park provides a stunning outdoor setting marked by untouched scenery and historical heritage. From hiking and cycling to boating and kayaking, the park offers a large selection of things to do. You can watch wildlife here, including the island’s only herd of red deer. Muckross House, a perfectly preserved Victorian manor, together with its lush gardens and a traditional farm, stands as one of the park’s most notable attractions. It’s a must-see destination to include on Ireland itinerary for any history buff.

3. Wicklow Mountains National Park

Just a short drive from the bustle of Dublin, you’ll find yourself surrounded by unspoiled nature at Wicklow Mountains National Park. One of the park’s unique attractions and a definite place to visit is the ruins of Glendalough, a monastic settlement dating back to the 6th century. You can hike or swim in the park, watch for wildlife, or do some rock-climbing if you feel adventurous. If you’re short on time, drive through the park via its scenic roads and make a few stops to soak in the views.

4. Powerscourt Waterfall

One of the most famous features of Ireland’s landscape, Powerscourt Waterfall stands 121 m (398 ft) high, making it the tallest waterfall in the country. The waterfall is a part of the Powerscourt Estate which includes several other attractions, such as landscaped gardens and several historic manors. The lush valley at the bottom offers an ideal spot for admiring the cascading waters, having a picnic, or strolling through nature. Among other species of native trees, this is one of the rare places outside the United States where you can see giant redwoods.

5. Gap of Dunloe

Glaciers once ruled Ireland. As they retreated, one of them left behind a natural jewel known as the Gap of Dunloe. The mountain pass is just 11 km (7 mi) long (making the road through it too narrow for most motor vehicles), but it supports five different lakes. This makes the gap perfect for hikers and cyclists, and you can also ride a pony or grab a place in a horse-drawn vehicle. The cliffs overlooking the pass are among the country’s most popular rock-climbing destinations. Take time to plan your trip and make a wish as you cross the old Wishing Bridge, because legend says that wishes made here always come true.
By Nikola Mihaelj

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