Love is... A trip just for two

Looking for a day trip with a difference this Valentine’s Day? Check out Ciara McDonnell’s top suggestions.

Take To The Kingdom

When legendary Irish Warrior Oisín met Niamh, the golden-haired beauty that would become his bride, they had an uphill battle to fight.

First, Niamh’s father turned her head into a pig’s one, and then they had to get married and move to Tir na nÓg in order to break the spell.

All’s well that ends well, and their’s became one of the greatest Irish mythological love stories.

Niamh and Oisín began their journey to the land of everlasting youth by climbing on two horses on Rossbeigh beach in County Kerry; what better way to spend Valentines Day, than in the footsteps of Ireland’s most fantastical lovers.

Visit St Valentine

Inside the hallowed walls of Dublin’s Whitefriar Street Church lie the relics of the patron saint of love, Saint Valentine.

If you are so inclined, it’s possible to have your wedding rings blessed beneath his shrine on Valentine’s Day; and it’s a very popular spot for those who want to pop the big question on the day most dedicated to romance.

Either way, Whitefriar Street is really well placed as a starting point for those spending a day of romance in the capital city, and is well worth a visit.

Make Like Jack & Rose

For those of us of a certain vintage, the big screen homage to Titanic was one of the first big cinematic heart-wrenchers.

Titantic Belfast has lots of opportunities to recreate scenes from the iconic movie, but one of its function rooms has a recreation of the famous staircase on board the Titanic – an ideal spot to do your best Jack and Rose impression!

Find Your Match

Whether it’s a sunset stroll along the Cliffs of Moher, or a visit to matchmaker Willy Daly in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare has everything you could possibly need to make a romantic weekend go off without a hitch.

Stop at Doolin for a bite to eat and some live music, and spend time exploring the otherworldly landscape of The Burren before heading back to real life.

Find Love In Florence

Florence Court in County Fermanagh is home to one of Ireland’s most enduring monuments to love.

The stunning Georgian mansion was the homeplace of three successive generations of the Cole family, who were powerful Fermanagh landowners with roots in the plantations of the 17th century.

The foundations were laid by Sir John Cole, who romantically named the house after his wife, Florence Bourchier Wray.

Today, it’s part of the National Trust and its sprawling grounds feature majestic gardens that are ideal for a romantic stroll.

Buy a Claddagh Ring

Head west for a lesson in romance, Galway-style. Begin by purchasing a Claddagh ring, the Irish symbol for love, friendship and loyalty.

Once you’ve pledged your love, head off to Connemara to indulge in some of the best oysters you’ll ever taste.

Following a feast of love, take to the roads to investigate Kylemore Abbey, a huge estate that was built by Mitchell Henry in the 1800s as a tribute to his wife Margaret.

Climb High For Love

The more active among us might have high hopes this Valentine’s Day.

If so, a climb on Benwiskin in County Sligo is the daylong hike for you.

Start from the Gleniff Horseshoe, and enjoy a day filled with outstanding scenery and steeped in history and romance.

High up on the hike you’ll come across the legendary cave of Diarmuid and Grainne.

The highest cave in Ireland, it’s renowned as the place where Diarmuid and Grainne hid while on the run from jealous Chieftain Fionn MacCool, who wanted Grainne for himself.

The Manor Born

Powerscourt in County Wicklow is a wonderful destination for an action packed Valentines.

Begin with a visit to Powerscourt Estate, where a massive stately home now houses a brilliant café that overlooks the palladial gardens that the estate is famous for.

From there, head to Ireland’s highest waterfall at Powerscourt, and an idyllic spot for a romantic picnic.

Imitate The Big Screen

Head to Inistioge in County Kilkenny for your Valentines Day and impress your date with knowledge of this picture perfect village.

A popular spot for couples who want to get away from it all for a weekend, Inistioge was also the setting for big screen movies Circle of Friends and Widows Peak.

Today, the village bustles with visitors and there are lots of easy walks by the river and through Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, perched high on a hill above the village.

Channel James Joyce

Take to the cliffs of Howth Head in County Dublin to show your amour how much they mean to you.

Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of James Joyce’s Ulysses chose the spot to propose to his love Molly, and the cliff walk is as romantic now as it was then.

Wild gorse and grasses cover the cliffs, and walkways that are steep but well kept traverse the head, with lots of grassy knolls that beg for a windy picnic enjoying views across the ocean.

If you walk all the way to the village, treat yourself to a seafood meal at the end of your jaunt.

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After getting beaten up by 12 foot waves for 2 hours I decided to call it a quits and get some photos of the surfers riding the point. It poured rain all day and just as we were going to leave, the sky burst into oranges and pinks as the storm finally cleared. Hopefully I'll be good enough to surf this some day. For now it's a case of sitting back and enjoying it. . . . . . . . #inchydoney #cork #ig_ireland #wanderireland #visitireland #irishpassion #westcork #surf #surfing #surfer #irelandaily #instaireland #insta_ireland #ireland_gram #ireland🍀 #wildatlanticway #rawireland #discoverireland #loveireland #loves_ireland #surfphotography #storm #stormcallum #moody #explorer #roadtrips #sunsetlovers #naturegram #natureonly #sunset_pics

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Love At Sea

Inchydoney beach has it all. An expansive, sandy stretch begs for a romantic stroll, and the adjacent hotel and spa offers respite from the February breeze.

Take a long walk and retire to the hotel, where afternoon tea is a speciality, and romance is always on the cards.

Nearby Clonakilty is always bustling, and well worth a meander through, stopping for a pint in one of the many fantastic pubs in the town.

Build A Bridge

Thirty metres above sea level, and straddling the mainland and an island, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in County Antrim is a guaranteed winner for thrill-seeking love birds.

The island at the end of the rope bridge has plenty of places to spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic for two.

The bridge is not far from the Giant’s Causeway.

Take To The Lake

Glendalough provides the ultimate background to those who want to spend Valentines Day in the great outdoors.

With hiking trails to suit all abilities, and a fantastic visitor centre and on site coffee shop, you can easily while away an entire day exploring this incredible area, which was created by glaciers all the way back in the Ice Age.

There is a hotel nearby for a warming Irish coffee and slice of cake after your jaunt, offering an extremely indulgent end to your day.

The Little Chapel

Gougane Barra is one of the most popular spots in Cork for weddings, and it’s no surprise.

The stunning St Finbarr’s Oratory sits beside a lake, framed in the background by the steep sides of a glaciated valley, offering an almost cinematic venue for your nuptials.

And it’s not just wedding days that take place here; Gougane Barra is a top spot for proposals too, so if you have a big question to ask this Valentines Day, you know where to go!

Watch The Stars

Grab some blankets and a flask of something hot and head to Portmagee in Kerry for a night of stargazing that you’ll never forget.

In 2014 the peninsula that Portmagee resides on was awarded the International Dark-Sky Gold Tier Reserve.

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