Through the air, a flea jump. Barely a two-hour flight to a marvellous arrival in Dublin, Cork or Shannon, the closest airport to Galway, the gateway to Connemara. By ferry, you board in Cherbourg or Roscoff and impact in Rosslare, Cork or Dublin (the sea crossing is an adventure that takes its time). Ireland in winter? Fascinating and accessible. Lightened of the number of visitors, nature reveals all its strength and authenticity. The low season offers the tranquillity needed to immerse yourself in the beauty of the island, with spectacular scenery between lakes, peat bogs and windswept moors. Winter is cloudier than cold, and most areas, such as the Atlantic Wild Coast, the Eastern Ancient East, and the Secret Heart of Ireland are within easy reach.
Snow-capped Ben Bulben Mountain Photographer: Conor Doherty - Copyright: Sligo Tourism
The experiences to be lived are singular and unforgettable. In County Donegal and on the Inishowen Peninsula, the Northern Lights can be seen; to the west, Counties Mayo and Kerry are famous places to admire the night sky (the island has three Dark Sky International Dark Sky Reserves and Parks). On a clear night, more than 4,500 stars and sometimes even a meteor shower can be seen; while the mythical Wild Atlantic Way, the longest signposted coastal road in Europe, is an opportunity for a magical road trip along steep cliffs, such as those of Moher, and sandy beaches.
The Mayo Dark Sky Park, Ireland's Dark Sky Preserve Photographer: Josh Matthews - Copyright: Mayo Dark Sky Park
Castles & Art Galleries
A must-see to immerse yourself in Irish history: the legendary castles and manors that dot the territory. There are countless of them: Blarney, in County Cork, whose stone kissing is said to confer the gift of eloquence, but also Malahide, Dublin Castle, Ashford and Kylemore Abbey. From Trinity College and its iconic bookshop in Dublin, to the Guinness Storehouse, to the Tweed Museum in Ardara, where you can learn how to knit sheep's wool, there is no shortage of places of culture, inviting you to immerse yourself in the traditions of the country.
Triona Donegal Tweed Centre in Ardara Photographer Gareth Wray - Copyright: Gareth Wray
Intimately linked to its past, Ireland is nonetheless wildly creative and modern. All you have to do is walk the bustling streets of Dublin's trendy Temple Bar and Cork's Paul Street, where art galleries, trendy restaurants and designer boutiques flourish.
The Art of the "Craic"
The rite of passage of any stay in Ireland? Authentic Irish coffee sipped in the comforting warmth of a pub in the foggy middle of winter. To taste it properly, head to Brazen Head in Dublin, one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, or Foynes, in County Limerick, the city where the famous drink was born in 1943. No matter the setting, one thing is certain: you will be welcomed with open arms. Because if there's one thing the island can't beat (apart from its beer), it's its legendary hospitality. If the Danes have their "hygge", the Irish have their "craic", an almost untranslatable Gaelic word meaning "good atmosphere" or "conviviality".
Music at Rostrevor Photographer: Brian Morrison - Copyright: Ireland Tourism
Whether it's over a hearty Irish stew, a traditional cooking or baking class, a music session or in the seaweed baths (a speciality of County Sligo)... The CRIC embodies the joyful and generous soul of this deeply touching and welcoming country.