Everyone assumes that you go to Ireland to visit Dublin, the Ring of Kerry, and the Cliffs of Mohrer but there are other great places to visit in Ireland. While big cities can be nice, we strive to find less touristy places where we can get to know the locals and don’t feel overwhelmed by traffic and crowds. Here are three places that left us awe struck on our last visit to Ireland.
Clonakilty, County Cork
If you are a foodie you will love this town. The artisan food shop and bakery, Lettercollum, sells foods from local farms. We loved the jams, spreads, meats, and drinks, as well as made-to-order foods and pastries. There is also a great farmers market there on Saturdays. Stop by either of these lovely places and grab all your ingredients for a perfect picnic at the beach. Nearby, you can surf or relax at Inchydoney Beach. We stayed only five minutes from town at Sexton’s Campground. It’s a small campground with a campers kitchen and bathroom house that reminded me of Snow White’s cottage.
Ballina, County Mayo
We stumbled upon this town after a long day of driving. When we pulled into the campground we felt instant comfort. There was a large grass area, a very clean bathroom with hot showers, and laundry facilities. Since it seemed to never stop raining while we were in Ireland, it was nice that they had a large camper’s kitchen and a tv/game room that provided some warmth and shelter to relax and prepare meals.
We fell in love with the town especially the local bakery, called Billys Bakery, where we’d get scones, Irish soda bread, and the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. They also sell delicious sourdough bread, but only on the weekends. Another great thing about Ballina is that it was only a twenty-minute drive to surf Easky or go to the beach at Enniscrone. If you do feel like taking a little detour make sure you check out Downs Patrick Head, a little northwest of Ballina.
Limerick, County Limerick
This was our favorite place to visit in Ireland. Limerick isn’t as far off-the-beaten-path and isn’t as crowded as Dublin, Cork, or Galway. We’ve visited a lot of castles through Europe and King John’s Castle still remains one of our favorites. The best part of Limerick for us was the Milk Market. It is one of the oldest farmers markets in Ireland. The Saturday market (though it is open on other days) is filled with local produce, baked goods, and delicious cooked sandwiches and sausages. A must see in Ireland.
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