Achill Island, in County Mayo, is Ireland’s largest island. The dramatic landscapes, stunning seascapes and rich history provide visitors with a wide range of scenic attractions, beauty spots and activities. Achill Island is easily accessible by a road bride from the beautiful Currane peninsula. The natural beauty and rich culture has provided inspiration for artists and writers for many years. Join Celtic Tours on the breathtaking Atlantic Drive along the coast on our West of Ireland tour.
Achill offers some of the best quality beaches in Ireland. These include the strand at Keem Bay, a beautiful, secluded valley located at the western tip of Achill Island. Keem Bay is a perfect horseshoe bay containing a popular Blue Flag beach at the head of a valley between the cliffs of Benmore to the west and Croaghaun mountain on the east.
The Atlantic Drive comprises over 40km of breathtaking coastal scenery that is ideal for touring in a car, and even better by bicycle!
The Tower at Kildavnet, the remains of a 16th century Irish tower house that was used by the legendary pirate queen Granuaile (Grace O’Malley).
The Deserted Village at Slievemore is a haunting reminder of times past. Comprising some 80 stone cottages located at the foot of the majestic Slievemore mountain, the Deserted Village offers a fascinating insight into life on Achill in former centuries.
With its Atlantic location, five Blue Flag beaches and breathtaking mountain landscape, Achill provides an unrivalled arena for outdoor activities and water-sports of all types. Water-sports available on Achill Island include surfing, windsurfing, canoeing & kayaking.
Achill, with its magnificent landscape and ever-changing light, its remote location and unique local culture, provides a fantastic setting for the creative arts. Achill’s artistic heritage is both celebrated and extended by Scoil Acla, a summer school that teaches traditional Irish music and culture.
Wilde Irish Chocolates
Tuamgraney | Clare
Chocolate is probably the one food that’s practically irresistible. Even the exotic names of the Wilde products are a temptation – Hazelnut Duet, Mocha Mocha, Truffle Temptation. Wilde is the only Irish maker of Organic Fairtrade chocolate, certified by the Organic Trust. There’s also a range of conventional and sugar free hand-decorated products. All the chocolates are handmade by the ‘Wilde Team’ in a small artisan outlet in Tuamgraney.
Skelligs and Cocoa Bean Chocolate Company
Ballinskelligs | Kerry
The Skelligs Chocolate Company and Cocoa Bean Chocolate Company have their production factory and shop on the tip of the Ring of Kerry Peninsula, right by St Finian’s Bay. Skelligs chocolates were created for the luxury market. These truffles use best chocolate from France and Switzerland, married with superb quality ingredients in the flavoured centres. Regulars on the choccie tasting menu include Vanilla Ganache, Strawberry and Champagne and Cognac and Cappucino.
Chez Emily Fine Handmade Chocolates
Ashbourne | Meath
Magical would seem to be the appropriate word for the Chez Emily Chocolate Boutique on Ashbourne’s Main Street. The shop front design with its two large windows offer a tantalising glimpse of the treasures inside, and oh what treasures! With a selection of over 30 different types, the counter is chock-a-block with the most delicious-looking individual chocolates – rum and raisin, cognac, vanilla, crème caramel are just some of the tempting names. Flake truffle supreme, amandine, (truffle coated in roasted almond flakes), cocoa delights, chocolate Florentines, candied orange segments, cherry liqueurs – even the names conjure up images of delights to come.
Marlenes Chocolate Haven
Westport | Mayo
Tucked away in a lovely little courtyard off James Street in Westport is the delightful shop that is Marlene’s Chocolate Haven. Not only a haven but also an absolute heaven for chocolate lovers. How can you choose between 30 varieties of chocolates and truffles? Especially when they have enticing names such as Love Potion or Rose Cream?
There are many spas in Ireland to choose from, destination spas, specialized retreats and hotel spas. At Irish spas not only are you pampered but you get stunning scenery wherever you look. Bliss… Here is a list of some of the spas in Ireland to get you started in planning your Irish Spa Vacation.
Monart is located in Wexford in over one hundred acres of private woodland and their total focus is on helping guests to rest, rejuvenate and transform, through a combination of its magical private location, luxurious facilities, excellent dining and worldclass spa facilities and treatment.
A spa break at Temple is a fully inclusive experience. As our guest, you will enjoy gourmet spa cuisine, unlimited use of the vitality suite and a complimentary programme of daily mind and body activities. Available Treatments Include: Indian Head Massage, ISHI ChocoTherapy and VinoTherapy.
Delphi Mountain Resort
A truly unique place where you can completely escape, unwind, contemplate and relax. Delphi Mountain Resort is set within 400 acres of prime Connemara forest, just a stones throw from the picturesque Cross beach, one of the world’s finest surf beaches and against the majestic Mweelrea mountain range.
Combining the luxury of Dromoland Castle and located within the castle walls, enjoy the experience of the latest natural beauty and holistic therapies. Products include The Anne Semonin treatment range and the Irish product range Voya. As a haven for pure relaxation the design reflects an air of tranquility and serenity with light wood furniture, shades of beige, stone floors, steel plated accessories and a feature water wall.
Oriental philosophy regards beauty as a holistic concept embracing both the inner and outer self. The ritual applications of Asia’s Botanical heritage provides the means to nurture, relax, empty the mind and soothe the soul.
A deluxe country manor house set, in landscaped grounds with panoramic views overlooking the River Barrow. Dine in the Gallery Restaurant or relax in the Library Bar. All rooms elegantly furnished. Luxurious health club and spa with twenty metre pool, fully equipped gym, kiddies pool and hydrotherapy grotto.
Ultimate pampering. Northern Ireland’s premier luxury day spa. Awarded a 5 star rating by the UK and Ireland association ‘Good Salon Guide’. Full range of indulgent treatments for both men and women. Seaweed baths, chocolate facials, body massage, aromatherapy, rasul steam room, chillout room and luxury products.
Soak Seaweed baths is situated in the beautiful County Down seaside town of Newcastle on the extremely pretty South Promenade. SOAK offers hot saltwater seaweed baths, individual steam cabinets as well as jet spa showering.
The ancient art of Falconry is reputed to be the oldest sport in the world. Evidence suggests that the art of falconry may have begun in Mesopotamia, China or Mongolia around 2000BC, as a means of catching food for yourself and your family.
Falconry spread westwards reaching the shores of Europe long before the end of the first millennium. Historically, Falconry was a popular sport and considered a status symbol among the nobles of medieval Europe and Asia. It was largely restricted to the noble classes due to the commitment of time, money and space. Falconry continued to be symbolic of status in art, long after it was popularly practiced.
Falconry is an art that requires long hours, constant devotion, finesse, subtlety and skill. The falconer must train a bird of prey to fly free, hunt and then return to captivity. A beginning falconer should begin with knowledge; learning about the various gaming birds, their stages of life, characteristics, prey, car, feeding and suitability for the falconer and the hunting environment.
Ireland’s First School of Falconry, at Ashford castle, offers visitors the chance to experience the ancient art of Falconry first hand on a private Hawk Walk. They specialize in lessons using beautiful Harris hawks, but in addition to hawks the school is home to a variety of eagles, owls and falcons. Within minutes of arriving, you will have a hawk on your glove and be setting off to fly your hawk or hawks in the gardens and woodlands surrounding Ashford Castle.
Ashford Castle is a medieval castle, located deep in the heartland of Mayo and set against a spectacular backdrop of forests, lakes and mountains. The stately architecture, surrounded by magnificent gardens makes Ashford Castle, a place where time stands still. Ashford Castle was built in 1228 for the de Burgo family, whose surname became the Burkes or Bourkes. They owned the castle for 3 and a half centuries until it was purchased by Noel Huggard in 1939. He opened the estate as a hotel, which became renowned for the provision of its country pursuits, such as angling, shooting and falconry.
In 1951, Ashford Castle played the backdrop to The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. In its time, the castle has played host to many notable guests including: John Lennon, George Harrison, King George V of the UK, Oscar Wilde, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, Brad Pitt, Princess Grace and Pierce Brosnan to name a few.
While staying at Ashford Castle, you can enjoy a wide range of relaxing or exciting activities. Book a Spa treatment or Fly a Hawk in the School of Falconry, take a Picnic in the Walled Garden or catch Wild Trout or Salmon here, in one of the most famous fisheries in Ireland. Just 40 minutes from Galway city, and within easy driving distance of Shannon International Airport, Ashford Castle is perfectly situated to welcome all ages of visitors, from every corner of the globe.