The best Irish villages for winter travel

Doolin, photo by NealeA on Flickr

Many people like spending Christmas in large cities, where you can go on last minute hunts for presents, take a walk and marvel at the vibrant fairy lights and Christmas decorations, and soak in the Christmas rush. However, the discreet charm of rural winter holidays is not lost of many travelers, and those who want to spend their Christmas in an intimate setting where they can focus on loved ones, friends or themselves will find a welcome respite from the urban jungle in one of the many Irish villages that are the perfect hideaway in December. Quiet villages that are not necessarily on the tourist trail have plenty of affordable and nice accommodation, like small hotels or bed and breakfasts, and they can offer the peace and quiet you’re looking for. Here are the best Irish villages for winter travel.

Doolin, Co Clare

The village of Doolin is renowned for being a very musical town and it hosts several famous music festivals, in addition to being located near some of the best attractions in Ireland: the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren. However, in winter the number of travelers to the village drops significantly, and it is much quieter.You can still enjoy live music in the traditional pubs, visit Doonagore Castle or explore the beautiful countryside of Clare which doesn’t lose its appeal in winter in the least.

Crosshaven, Co Cork

Crosshaven, photo by TheLizardQueen on Flickr

Crosshave is a small and peaceful village located at the point where river Owenabue spills into the ocean. The village has everything: hills and fields, rugged beaches and river walks. Even in winter, there are plenty of outdoor activities to be done in Crosshaven, from walking to hiking and exploring the beaches. Although small, Crosshaven has some great pubs and cozy bed and breakfasts.

Lawrencetown, Co Galway

Lawrence town is located almost at the center of Ireland, surrounded by various treasures of the Irish nature: forests, peat lands, fields and the River Shannon, and it is known for cultivating a strong equestrian culture. The village is a great destination for all sorts of activities, even in winter: fishing, walking, horseback riding and even playing hurling or football. Lawrenceton is steeped in history and legend – it has the nearby Ballymore Castle, various ruined towers, abbeys and mausoleums, and several fairy forts.

Glendalough, Co Wicklow

Located in the eponymous glacial valley, Glendalough is a hotspot for hikers and walkers in summer. However, the village and its surroundings it just as beautiful in winter as in the warmer seasons. When the weather allows it, lovely crisp walks can be taken around the village and its surroundings, whether you are interested in natural scenery of historical monuments.

Cong, Co Mayo

Cong, photo by bastique

Cinephiles might recognize the village of Cong as the filming site of the Quiet Man, but this small and quit village is more than just an old movie set. The pubs of Cong are the most inviting in all of Ireland, and there are plenty of things to see: an authentic Irish famine house, an abbey and the nearby Ashford Castle, one of the most dramatic castles in Ireland. With so many things to offer, it is no surprise that Cong is one of the best Irish villages for winter travel.

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