Traveling to the Emerald Isle elicits a slew of visions and emotions as you imagine yourself standing at the rocky ridge of the coast with the wind blowing in your hair.
In every vision there are surely rolling green hills and a man playing the Irish fiddle nearby.
While you won’t find this iconic scene in Dublin, you can make all your dreams come true at one of these hidden villages.
Are you passionate about being treated like royalty and drinking fine whiskey?
If so, this destination is just for you!
There are not many places where you can view ancient Georgian architecture, prehistoric sites, and then end your day in a 300-year-old castle that also happens to have its own whiskey distillery.
And did we mention that major artists like U2 and The Rolling Stones (just not simultaneously because that would be insane) often perform in the yard outside?
A mere 30 minutes north of Dublin in the Boyne Valley you will find the small Irish village of Slane – which has managed to remain a tourist anomaly.
Unfortunately, you can’t sleep in the castle, but you can go glamping on the beautiful royal grounds which is definitely the next best thing.
The Wicklow Mountains sounds like an enchanted place where fairies reside protecting their coveted land.
While that’s not at all what this place is, it is just as enchanting.
Nestled in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East lies the small village of Wicklow – think the Irish version of Sleepy Hollow.
Try not to scream like a little girl as you tour the allegedly haunted 18th century prison. Later, visit Mottee Stone for an unforgettable view that will have all the pros on Instagram jealous.
Top it off by staying at the local bed and breakfast, Wicklow Way Lodge. You can’t beat good food, good hospitality, and good sleep!
A small village on the Ring of Kerry route is Dingle Peninsula.
This is one place you’ll want to bring the most obnoxious travel accessory – a surfboard.
Floating right alongside you while you wait for the perfect swell may be one of the local bottlenose dolphins.
After hitting the waves, strap on your hiking boots because you won’t want to miss the panoramic view atop Mount Brandon.
Make reservations ahead of time to stay at the luxurious Pax House. Small towns mean small vacancies, and this local treasure is worth the effort.
Have you heard of the slopes at Croagh Patrick, Rockfleet Castle, or Killary Fjord?
Well, if not, that just goes to show why you need to plan a trip to Westport, Ireland!
Located on the rugged western coast of Ireland (like in your vision where the man is playing the Irish fiddle), Westport is home to the famous Westport House.
According to the official Westport House website, “[Westport House]is one of the few remaining Irish historic homes – of national and international significance – that can make that claim. For over 300 years the Browne family, who built the house, lived here. Each generation ensuring its survival through good times and bad with hard work, enterprise and determination.”
Americans should be impressed that a family was able to stay in the same home longer than primary school without moving.
And don’t forget to wipe your feet because Westport is a three-time winner of the Irish Tidy Towns Competition – meaning if you can’t drink a pint of Guinness without spilling some on your shirt, this probably isn’t the tiny town for you.
But if you think you can keep it together in this fancy village, sleep in high class at the family-owned Hotel Westport.
With hidden whiskey distilleries, majestic castles, and breathtaking scenery, it’s no wonder Ireland is at the top of many travelers’ bucket list.
With a little luck of the Irish, your green dreams can finally come true as you explore any of these hidden treasures.