2021, the year we thought that everything would go back to normal. The year we would all be able to enjoy a normal summer and travel abroad. But it is not to be. At the start of summer 2020, everyone in Ireland was told that they could not travel abroad for non-essential purposes which gave rise to ‘staycations’. The huge increase in staycations in Ireland last summer helped to boost the Irish tourism industry which was amazing. The term ‘staycation’ is a mix of ‘stay’ and ‘vacation’ and it means a holiday spent at home. It is a term that most people did not use before 2020 but it is now being used regularly in conversations and on popular Irish news outlets.

July is upon us and with the weather in Ireland becoming warmer, summer is definitely on the horizon. Even though our chances of traveling abroad this summer are slim, do not worry! Ireland is such a beautiful country. It is filled with lots of hidden gems and scenic walks and drives whether you like the countryside, the beach or a city. There is nothing like summer in Ireland 🙂

At SPEAK Dublin, we have created an Irish staycation guide with our top destinations for the perfect staycation. And, we will help you organise a fun and safe trip this summer. Would you like to learn some Irish along the way too? We have included SPEAK Dublin’s recommended Irish books and podcasts throughout the guide to help you learn the Irish language before, during or after your trip and to help you pass some time on the long journeys. 

What to do in Ireland:

Finn Lough Forest Bubble Domes, Co. Fermanagh

Would you like to experience something completely different for your staycation this summer? If so, Finn Lough Forest Bubble Domes located in Fermanagh in Northern Ireland is the perfect staycation destination for you and a friend or the one you love. These 180 degree transparent domes are situated in a private forest so you can immerse yourself in nature whilst stargazing at night. This is guaranteed to be the most memorable trip that you will have. Life has been pretty hectic over the last year but these bubble domes will help you to escape the noise of the outside world and to take in a breath of fresh air. Finn Lough Forest is a 30-minute drive from Enniskillen and Donegal, 2.5 hours from Dublin and 2 hours from Belfast by car. 

Other things to do while you are visiting Fermanagh:
  1. Stop by the Railway Museum
  2. Take a scenic walk around Marlbank National Nature Reserve
  3. Explore the amazing Marble Arch Caves
  4. Hike up Cuilcagh Mountain and get some beautiful shots 

Irish language podcast recommendation for the trip: Motherfocloir by HeadStuff 

Irish language book recommendation for the trip: Gaeilge Gan Stró by Éamonn Ó Dónaill

White Heather House B&B, Co. Galway

White Heather House B&B is located in Clifden town in Connemara, Co. Galway and it is situated along the fabulous Wild Atlantic Way. Connemara is a cultural region and it is the largest region in the Gaeltacht. The term ‘Gaeltacht’ is used to describe the regions in Ireland where the Irish language is the primary spoken language.

If you are keen to learn the Irish language, this will give you the perfect opportunity to do so! But don’t worry if you are only a beginner, the majority of people who live in Connemara speak both English and Irish. The White Heather House B&B sleeps up to 10 guests and there is a large patio area that is perfect for dining al fresco or to watch the sun set over Clifden Bay. This is an amazing staycation spot for family, friends and/or your partner. The White Heather House B&B is 2 minutes from Clifden Town, 1 hour from Galway City Centre and 3 hours from Dublin by car.

Other things to do while you are visiting Galway:
  1. Take in some fresh air at the beautiful Connemara National Park
  2. Step back in time with a trip to the Aran Islands 
  3. Walk along the famous Salthill Promenade 
  4. Explore what Galway City has to offer 

Irish language podcast recommendation for the trip: Bitesize Irish Podcast by Eoin Ó Chonchúir (an Irish language speaker from Ireland)

Irish language book recommendation for the trip: Basic Irish by Nancy Stenson

The Europe Hotel, Killarney Co. Kerry 

The Europe Hotel in Killarney, Co. Kerry is a five-star luxury hotel that overlooks the Lakes of Killarney and it is a hotel that should definitely be on your bucket list! This is the perfect destination for a relaxing staycation with your friends or with your other half. It is so important to take some time out to rejuvenate after a tough year and the Europe Hotel will most definitely allow you to do this. With the scenic views right outside your bedroom window to the luxury spa treatments in their famous ESPA Spa, you simply can’t get more relaxing than that. The Europe Hotel is only 5 minutes from Killarney Town, 10 minutes from Kerry Airport, 10 minutes from Killarney train station and 3 hours from Dublin by car. 

Other things to do while you are visiting Kerry:
  1. Visit Dingle (especially the Dingle Distillery)
  2. Take a trip to see the famous Ring of Kerry
  3. See the stunning views at the Gap of Dunloe 
  4. Get your hiking boots on and explore Macgillycuddy’s Reeks 

Irish language podcast recommendation for the trip: Beo Ar Éigean by RTÉ

Irish language book recommendation for the trip: Go Raibh Maith Agat by Rowan Finlay

Author: Vicky

Vicki is currently studying a Masters Degree in Digital Marketing at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Dublin, Ireland. She works as a Marketing Executive in an Irish tech startup company and loves anything to do with social media. She also loves to travel, make lots of delicious food at home and she is passionate about exercising and keeping fit! :).

Author: Mariana Brilhante

Mariana is Chief Marketing Officer at SPEAK, she loves nature and adventure, has a sort of obsession for typical sayings!

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