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Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens public park is tucked away behind the buildings of the surrounding streets, meaning that although it’s located only a short walk from the significantly better-known St. Stephen’s Green, it’s usually much quieter and more peaceful. There are lots of noteworthy things to see here too – Ireland’s only purpose-built archery field, the burial site of an elephant who died at the Dublin Zoo in 1922, and a waterfall that cascades over rocks from each of the country’s 32 counties.
The most northerly of County Kerry’s Blasket Islands, Inishtooskert is also known as An Fear Marbh (the dead man) or ‘The Sleeping Giant’ because of its shape – when viewed from the mainland, it looks like a man lying down on his back in the water. The island even inspired a 1998 children’s book about what might happen if the giant woke up.
Many Irish people don’t realise that their country is home to some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs – and they aren’t the Cliffs of Moher. At 601 metres, the cliffs at Slieve League in Donegal are almost three times higher than their more famous County Clare counterpart.
While the monastic city of Glendalough is certainly no secret, those who visit it don’t generally walk as far as the ruins of the abandoned miners’ village at the west end of the Upper Lake, where lead was mined during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The remains of the mines, now part of Wicklow Mountains National Park, can only be accessed on foot.
The fabulous Italian gardens on Garnish Island in Bantry Bay were designed by the British landscape architect and garden designer Harold Ainsworth Peto for its owners in 1910. Their son later left the island to the nation, and it has acted as a writer’s retreat for authors, including George Bernard Shaw.
Formerly a home belonging to the Guinness family, Farmleigh House in Dublin’s Phoenix Park is now the official Irish State guest house, having welcomed visitors like the King of Malaysia and Queen Elizabeth II of England. Today, the estate and gardens are largely open to the public, hosting seasonal events such as craft and food markets, as well as the annual Africa Day celebrations in Dublin.