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Hidden Gems

Hidden Gems

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Island of Ireland
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Group: Community Administrator Last Active: 6 hours ago Visits: 5.3K
The Island of Ireland is filled with wonderful places to visit, and on a recent trip I came across a hidden gem I'd like to share. :)

Just a stone throw from Belfast, along the coast lies a lovely picturesque town called Helen's Bay. Right next to Helen's Bay you can find Crawfordsburn Country Park and Estate, with (among other things) two beautiful beaches, the greenest woods you'll ever see, and an amazing waterfall.



It's the perfect place to cool down in summer, and I love the beautiful colours of the changing leaves in autumn. There are several paths available in the park, and the one that leads to the waterfall takes about an hour. It's super easy to get to without a car as well. Just hop on a train from Belfast to Helen's Bay, and after 20 minutes of beautiful views of Belfast Lough you're there.

Have you stumbled upon something special during your visit? I'd love to hear about your own off the beaten track recommendations and adventures on the island. Feel free to share them here! :)
Posted Fri 25 Jan 2019 3:12 PM
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Island of Ireland
Posts: 45
Group: Community Moderator Last Active: 2 days ago @ 2:03 PM Visits: 682
Even though the Howth Cliff Path isn't really off the beaten track, I was amazed to feel like I was at the edge of the world, yet so close to Dublin. You don't have to reach the West coast to see breathtaking cliffs.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/25-01-2019/7c123623-5600-4ea8-b71f-24f2.jpg

You can count about 30 minutes go there by DART train and then count another 3 hours for the entire hike, included sunset watching time near Howth Head, which marks the end of the trail. I was there almost on my own on a Tuesday afternoon in late October.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/25-01-2019/103e5737-d351-44b5-b4e4-a685.jpg

An extremely windy but clear day almost made me lose my drone, but I was rewarded with view like this. I almost missed the last train to Dublin as I didn't want to leave before the sunset ended.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/25-01-2019/de6af947-bc3f-4290-bf1e-f9a9.jpg

The best part? It's entirely free. Tip : the Leap Visitor Card includes Dublin's Coastal towns 

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/25-01-2019/1975b4d2-6ee9-4522-97c5-e569.jpg

Posted Fri 25 Jan 2019 5:40 PM
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Great Britain
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Group: Community Member Last Active: Sat 2 Mar 2019 10:54 AM Visits: 92
Die Cliffs of Moher sind nicht die einzige Attraktion, wenn man in Doolin ist. Denn da gibt es ja auch noch etwas - in meinen Augen wirklich cooles - eine Höhle! Und zwar die Doolin Cave! Der Hund hier auf dem Bild, war mein Begleiter, denn der hat mich doch tatsächlich fast den ganzen Weg von Doolin (das ist dort wo man zu Fuß zu den Cliffs gehen kann) zu dieser Höhle begleitet.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/26-01-2019/f8aa4bae-bad7-42d5-8dd5-c8c.jpeg

Generell finde ich Höhlen ja super interessant und diese hier war mit Sicherheit auch keine Ausnahme!

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/26-01-2019/8d75ec7c-db1b-4721-af43-608.jpeg


Wir mussten uns Helme aufsetzen, natürlich angemessene Schuhe tragen und generell aufpassen uns nicht den Kopf zu stoßen.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/26-01-2019/00cb6a45-dd2e-4ca0-9d09-281.jpeg

Es war an manchen Stellen schon sehr rutschig, aber wenn man ein wenig vorsichtig ist...dann geht das schon.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/26-01-2019/f0c5d88b-f596-4803-a00e-f01.jpeg

Dafür wird man auch mit diesem Anblick belohnt. Das sieht doch fantastisch aus, oder nicht?

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/26-01-2019/f189c83d-d637-4cc9-a8ec-e0d.jpeg

So sieht der Ein- bzw. Ausgang aus. Ziemlich unspektakulär würde man nicht vermuten, das sich hinter dieser Tür eine Höhle verbindet... aber ich kann einen kleinen Ausflug in Irlands Untergrund nur jedem empfehlen. Es lohnt sich!

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/26-01-2019/d04d74ad-1c1b-4c33-876c-1c3.jpeg

Posted Sat 26 Jan 2019 11:09 AM
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Island of Ireland
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En mi último viaje a Irlanda, una de la cosas que más me ha sorprendido ha sido ver esta joya (no tan escondida) por casualidad de camino a Irlanda del Norte . Mi compañera de viaje y yo estábamos tan emocionadas y contentas por cómo iba nuestro viaje que, como no, pensamos que eramos las únicas capaces de verla: el símbolo celta del "Trinity Knot" que aparece de repente en un pequeño bosque de abetos.

Se trata de un intervención artística en la naturaleza, creada en la década de los '80 por Jim McCabe, que plantó estos árboles con su familia. Se encuentra en la carretera N16 que va desde Sligo hacía Manorhamilton, y hay incluso un pequeño mirador para pararse y admirar esta magia con tranquilidad y sacarle fotos, cosa que hicimos.

¿Consigues identificarlo en la foto?

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/27-01-2019/0f199c34-9582-4a4f-b9fb-cc55.png

Posted Sun 27 Jan 2019 10:13 AM
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Island of Ireland
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Nestled between Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle, the Inishowen peninsula is a hidden gem all on its own.

Sticking to the Inishowen 100, a wonderful scenic drive and the start of the Wild Atlantic Way, you pass through many villages, Muff, Redcastle, Moville, Greencastle before finding yourself at Shroove with a lovely wee beach and lighthouse.

Continue along the 100 and eventually you come to Culdaff, one of the location points on the Wild Atlantic Way.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/27-01-2019/ff072d4e-94d5-4b0e-b855-b997.jpg

A beautiful beach with stunning views.

Ever onward to Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, through Malin into Carndonagh, a small market town which still has a working agricultural Mart and summer agricultural show. It has a perfect example of a stone cross, found just as you leave the town heading towards Clonmany.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/27-01-2019/1e75de6d-23d8-4344-8cab-df42.jpg

Just outside of Clonmany is a lovely wee waterfall, Glenevin waterfall, a real hidden gem but a satisfying stop and a little walk.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/27-01-2019/22eeaf6d-e157-4ef0-bd57-857d.jpg

Continue with your drive up into the hills of the Manmore gap down towards Dunree Fort, Buncrana town and passing the Grainán of Aileach, Burt before looping back around to Muff and the start of your journey along the Inishowen 100.

I hope this inspires you to visit and stay a while in the area, plenty to see and do as part of your slowcation!
Posted Sun 27 Jan 2019 4:58 PM
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Island of Ireland
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A los viajeros que pasen por la zona de Carrickfergus y Larne en la costa Este de Irlanda del Norte les recomiendo hacer una parada para comer en el restaurante Billy Andys, una verdadera joya escondida, ya que se encuentra un poco apartado de la carretera principal. ¡Pero el desvío merece la pena!
Cocina casera de la máxima calidad y un trato inmejorable por parte del personal es lo que los visitantes encontrarán.
Yo tuve la suerte de probar su pato y alguno de sus mini postres, ¡es difícil elegir entre tantas delicias!. 

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/27-01-2019/78c58a7f-284e-445c-a29d-6f6.jpeg

Y después nada mejor para bajar la comida que un paseo por Carrickfergus y su impresionante castillo con vistas al puerto.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/27-01-2019/babef3f1-5016-40f3-b491-183f.jpghttps://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/27-01-2019/6c1f696f-b26a-4eaf-90c7-cd97.jpg

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Posted Sun 27 Jan 2019 8:40 PM
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Northern Ireland
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Visit Strangford
Situated only 30 minutes’ drive away from the hustle and bustle of Belfast, discover this hidden gem full of history, beauty and fascination.

Find hidden gems at the National Trust properties on the shores of Strangford Lough, such as the eccentric contrasting architectural styles at Castle Ward, climb a tree at Rowallane Garden, discover an 18th century village at Kearney, or experience the breath taking views of the Lough, from the family burial ground Tír na nÓg at Mount Stewart.

Stunning views include the Windmill Hill Viewpoint, offering spectacular 360 degree views of Peninsula shores, Drumlins, Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea as well as the Ballyquintin Viewpoint - the closest viewpoint to the bar mouth of the lough. A wealth of family friendly attractions await for kids of all ages to explore!

Feed the ducks, hold a starfish, hand paint a piece of pottery, hop on a steam train or simply build a sandcastle. Our land based activities range from challenging golf, adrenalin fuelled motor racing, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, or energy burning cycling and walking.

Experience sailing, kayaking, diving, canoeing, bird watching, fishing, kite surfing, windsurfing, boating, and when the weather is right, paddling and swimming!For peace, beauty, tranquillity and family fun, visit Delamont Country Park, situated on the shores of Strangford Lough. Enjoy woodland and countryside walks, open areas for family picnics, BBQ area and games, an outdoor adventure playground, miniature railway and summer events. There are also stunning beaches along the coastline, walks galore and a wide choice of accommodation from 5* luxury to a hostel with spectacular views.

Make the most of your visit to Strangford Lough by taking home a special handcrafted memory (gem!)… Strangford Lough and the surrounding area inspires local artists, which is why it is home to numerous craft workshops and studios. Ceramics, woodturning, jewellery making, and textile crafts are just some of the wonderful creations made in the region.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/0b5c1e04-ad65-4768-9049-bacf.jpghttps://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/d941cbaa-9ed1-4ab8-939f-8cd9.jpghttps://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/b8c020a1-5d0d-45e5-ac1d-b016.jpghttps://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/0fac4141-89f3-42c6-a8d5-2795.jpg


Posted Mon 28 Jan 2019 2:54 PM
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Great Britain
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Group: Community Member Last Active: Tue 21 May 2019 9:13 AM Visits: 82
Auch ich möchte meine Favoriten mit euch teilen: Diese vier sind in County Donegal zu finden!
Ganz oben auf meiner Liste der Strände ist der Marblehill Beach. Einer der schönsten Strände in Donegal, da selbst im Sommer, einfach jeder hier einen Platz findet! 🌊
https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/475ab229-a653-48f2-b37f-b55c.jpg

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/fff77da7-40f8-4c36-98a9-29d1.jpg

Nicht weit von dem Strand kann man den Ards Forest Park finden. In diesem mystischem und altem Wald scheint es, als würde die Zeit stehen bleiben und man kann die Feen und Leprechauns teilweise flüstern hören - oder war es etwa das Rotkehlchen? 😊 
https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/af8e32d1-b513-4b92-a529-bdbd.jpg

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/d00e4096-4770-431b-a6c9-7e7c.jpg

Mein dritter Favorit befindet sich in Letterkenny und ist etwas spannender für die kleinen Besucher: Tropical World!
Eine wunderbare Chance tropische Schmetterlinge, Vögel und auch Äffchen einmal ganz nah zu erleben. Sogar Dinosaurier kann man hier begegnen. Wobei hier natürlich der Fantasie überlassen ist, wie echt die Dinosaurier tatsächlich sind! 😄
https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/28-01-2019/6c2d94f2-b91b-483b-87c0-e540.jpg

Für alle Whiskey-Genießer, Cocktail-Liebhaber und Craft-Bier-Tester gibt es einen Ort, in dem ihr einen köstlichen Abend, im Herzen von Letterkenny, erleben könnt! Im "HOUSE Wine Bar & Tap Room" werden Pizzen im Steinofen zubereitet, sodass es definitiv einer der authentischsten und gemütlichsten Bars in Letterkenny ist! 
Cheers! 🍺
Posted Mon 28 Jan 2019 4:06 PM
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Island of Ireland
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Group: Community Moderator Last Active: Yesterday @ 6:45 PM Visits: 1.5K
I'm loving this thread - it's so nice to read about everyone's personal favourites. :)

I'm not entirely sure it can be classified as a 'hidden gem' as such, but one of my favourite places on the island are the Mourne Mountains. Where most people venture north out of Belfast to explore the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, it's very well worth heading south as well. The Mournes are a wonderfully shaped and compact mountain range - ideal for a day's worth of hiking.

I chose to climb Slieve Donard - with a height of 850m, it's the highest peak of Northern Ireland (great checklist material!). Following Glen River, the trail ascends gradually until it hits the steeper slopes of Slieve Donard itself. Once you reach the summit, you can find the remains of a prehistoric burial cairn and a little stone tower linking two sections of the Mourne wall. I visited early November and was lucky enough to enjoy a sunny clear day (make sure you're dressed for the part though, as it can get windy!) and was rewarded with extensive views over the surrounding countryside, the other Mourne peaks and the Irish Sea to the east. It's an exhilarating climb, with a summit experience that well lives up to the effort required to reach it.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/29-01-2019/3c6e26f7-d526-4712-990e-b2d3.jpg
-View from Slieve Donard's summit towards the west-

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/29-01-2019/fb14e3d9-8133-45af-ae82-4d5c.jpg
-A couple enjoying a picnic with a view over the Irish Sea-

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/29-01-2019/0040e13e-e403-4e36-8d4f-15f9.jpg
-There's even a wee China wall-

On my way back, I followed the Bloody Bridge River down to the road, from where you can take a bus back to Newcastle. You can look up the schedule on the Translink website.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/29-01-2019/762af53d-2b8d-4880-a973-da3f.jpg
-Towards the Bloody Bridge. It's prettier than it sounds.-

WalkNI has some incredibly useful maps you can use and to which I've linked. The tourism office in Newcastle will give you excellent maps as well, free of charge and with friendly tips, and I highly recommend popping in for some advice before setting off.

If you like your walks a bit more level, there's a range of trails to choose from, varying in difficulty. The nearby Tollymore Forest Park at the foot of the Mournes is another very enjoyable alternative as well. See if you can recognise some GoT filming locations. ;)
Posted Tue 29 Jan 2019 11:26 PM
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Island of Ireland
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I warmly encourage everyone to check out the hidden gems of County Fermanagh! I was particularly enchanted by the Claddagh Glens just near the Marble Arch Caves. The cascades are stunning in any season, but most especially I love the bright greenery and the whimsical flora (ferns, bluebells, moss...). It is beyond romantic! :)
https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/06-02-2019/708aef9b-b1d6-4a2b-bee3-8432.jpg

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/06-02-2019/6ee0c621-fd93-4850-a301-d14e.jpg

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/06-02-2019/f04ca0c9-05dc-46a4-a5e3-5b37.jpg

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Posted Wed 6 Feb 2019 4:07 PM
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