March 16, 2015 | By Melissa Manzo |
There is something almost mystical about Ireland’s landscapes. From giant cliffs and stunning coastlines, to “vanishing lakes” and isolated villages, the Emerald Isle offers plenty of enchanting scenery. Here are 7 amazing landscapes you must feast your eyes on in Ireland.
Cliffs of Moher
To say that the Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking is a complete understatement. This landscape is so awe-inspiring that it has served as the backdrop to several Hollywood movies, including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the Princess Bride. From here, you can see as far as the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as Connemara.
Driving through the coastal roads of Connemara is full of pleasant surprises – hidden beaches, small bays and secret coves will delight you along the way. (Connemara is Irish for “Inlets of the Sea,” after all). The Twelve Bens Mountain Range is another focal point, as are the sheep that you can spot in the surrounding rolling green hills.
The Giant’s Causeway
Located in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, The Giant’s Causeway is a series of hexagonal basalt rocks that formed 50 to 60 million years ago as the result of a volcanic eruption. Due to The Causeway’s resemblance to a set of stepping stones, legend has it that they were used by giant Finn MacCool to cross over into Scotland for a battle with a rival giant.
If you’re a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones, then the seaside village of Cushendun may look familiar to you. Highlights of the area include the Cushendun Caves and Loughareema, also known as the Vanishing Lake (due to the fact that streams flow in, but none flow out).
Slieve League Cliffs
Though the Cliffs of Moher get more attention, the Slieve League (Grey Mountain) Cliffs in County Donegal are just as spectacular, if not more so. At 600 metres (1,968 feet), they are Ireland’s highest seaside cliffs and quite possibly the highest in Europe. At the bottom of the cliffs lie two rocks named the “school desk” and “chair” (rightfully named for obvious reasons).
The Burren is Irish for “rocky area” – and indeed, it is. Stretching from the Atlantic coast to County Galway, this unique landscape consists of exposed limestone formed by a geological cataclysm. In spring, the arid landscape comes alive with an assortment of colourful wildflowers.
Running from the town of Kinsale to the tip of the Beara Peninsula, West Cork is an area known for its rugged landscapes, from deserted beaches to isolated villages. Among the landscapes you must witness here is Old Head, a large headland that juts into the Atlantic and that is home to forts, a lighthouse and one of the most stunning golf courses in the world.