24 Jan 2023
Wherever you go on the island of Ireland, you’re always going to find something new, different and exciting to see and do.
Make 2023 the year you explore one of the greenest, friendliest and most beautiful places on earth. Whether its one-of-a-kind attractions, cool new eateries, places to stay or exciting new experiences, Ireland will always surprise you with what it has to offer.
Top of your list has to be amazing new treetop walk Beyond the Trees Avondale in Country Wicklow. Nominated by National Geographic in their ‘Best of the World for 2023’ list of extraordinary destinations, the magazine praises Wicklow for being “crammed with mountain trails for hikers and bikers, stately Palladian mansions, wild waterfalls and an underrated coast”.
Spectacular sights are also a given in the Mourne Mountains, Ring of Gullion, and Strangford and Lecale areas of County Down and County Armagh. The area’s bid to become a UNESCO Global Geopark, Northern Ireland’s second global geopark, has been approved for ratification this May.
From the high granite peaks of the Mournes and the dramatic volcanic landscapes of the Ring of Gullion, to the rolling drumlins and rippling shores of Strangford Lough, the region has long been prized for its gorgeous landscape – all of which has been formed and shaped by various geological processes over millions of years.
A stay here is a must, for with just a few moments immersed in this landscape you’ll discover why St Patrick chose to settle here. This is also the land that also inspired C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia and the creators of Game of Thrones®. Its myths, legends, culture, experiences and giant adventures are sure to inspire you too.
A trip to the Patrick Kavanagh Centre is a must for all lovers of Irish poetry. Kavanagh, who wrote the famous poem ‘On Raglan Road’, was born in Inniskeen in County Monaghan. A major refurbishment of the centre has brought new displays and memory boxes containing personal effects, as well as touch screens and a new event space. A self-guided Kavanagh Trail identifies key landmarks linked to the great man’s poetry, and there is a new Raglan Road Tea Room.
The magnificent Mount Congreve Gardens in County Waterford have also been subject to serious renovations with changes to the gardens, a new café and a beautiful new gift shop. Described as ‘a great garden of the world’, this is a haven for plant and history lovers alike, as well as for those simply looking to relax in nature. Its collections feature plants from every continent.
From March 2023, travellers to the prehistoric passage tombs at Knowth in County Meath will be welcomed with a newly enhanced experience. This major repository of megalithic art, which makes up part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, contains more than half of the known megalithic art in Europe in one single location. The new Knowth visitor hub is a continuation of the upgrade to the whole Brú na Bóinne visitor experience and offers a large digital exhibition exploring the rock art of Knowth and accompanied by engaging interactives and audio visuals.
Adding to the wonderful array of accommodation options in Northern Ireland, a host of new premium options are available across the region. They include The Regency in Belfast, a stunning 1846-era Georgian building which has been reimagined as six one- and two-bedroom luxury private residences.
Two luxury Swiss chalet-style getaways located at the foot of Slieve Gallion in Cookstown, County Tyrone, each sleeping two, are also now available. Check into the Letteran Lodges for panoramic views so you can immerse yourself in nature and sleep beneath the starry skies.
Meanwhile Elephant Rock, a four-star family owned boutique hotel in the thriving seaside town of Portrush on the famous Causeway Coastal Route is ready to welcome you. With 18 bedrooms and a new look 30-seater restaurant, the refurbished venue also includes a new terrace and cocktail bar.
Look out also for the Ebrington Hotel and Spa in Derry~Londonderry, set to open in the summer, as well as the ‘hometel’ concept coming to Belfast in the spring. Room2 Belfast will be completely carbon neutral from its construction to its daily operation and will have 175 studio apartments, events spaces, restaurant, bar, coffee roastery and retail spaces.
For foodies, a raft of new restaurants have opened in Dublin, including the unique Luncheonette, a long-term art project centred around hospitality and food. It’s opening a new venture in the Hugh Lane Gallery.
The tables at Library Street have become sought after in city’s dining scene, while Orwell Road is a more casual neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Dublin’s Rathgar.
Margadh RHA is café by day, wine bar by night, and Wildflower, split into three specific dining spaces, has a menu focused on sustainability, fermentation and local produce. Bovinity is serving up Irish ingredients at the heart of their creations in Capel Street, and at the new All Bar Chicken it’s all about cocktails, chicken and ‘choons’. Karen's Diner, the restaurant chain infamous for its rude staff and intentionally atrocious service, is also coming to a Dublin location soon.
It’s also worth heading out on the Dublin Coastal Trail, where you can be sustained with delicious modern European food at Mamó in Howth and Irish seasonal food at Potager in Skerries. Or just dip into the Goat in the Boat café and gift shop in Skerries Harbour for the ultimate coffee shop experience.
Knowth, Co Meath.
Patrick Kavanagh Centre, Co Monaghan.
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