Ireland’s Most Peaceful Places

As we leave 2020 behind us (thank goodness!) many of us might have adopted that “New Year, New Me” mentality, but I’m of the mind that more often than not there’s nothing wrong with the old you – it just needs a bit more TLC.

In modern times there’s so much going on, with busy work weeks, hectic social commitments, and altogether more screen time than we care to admit. If you’re on a mission to be more mindful, sometimes your first move should be to take a step back and take some time for yourself.

One of my favourite things about Ireland is that there’s always an abundance of ways in places in which you can escape the noise, catch your breath, and then have it taken away again by the natural beauty that surrounds you.

If you were to treat yourself to one of the below, which would it be?

Stretch your spirit

Yoga is an excellent pursuit for those among us who want to harmonise our body and minds, and perhaps develop a bit of muscle tone while we’re at it! Ireland is brimming with picturesque locations to take a break from the fast tempo of modern life and devote your energy to the revitalising power of yoga.

Burren Yoga

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a budding 2021 convert, or a practiced yogi master – there’s a little something for everyone at Burren Yoga. Reconnect with yourself during mindful meditation or kick-start your new year’s resolution at a challenging bootcamp - with a choice of around 40 retreats each year.

Whether you opt for a quick weekend refresh or a whole week to reset, you’ll find your schedule pleasantly full, with plenty of opportunity to explore the stunning west coast of Ireland.

 

The Courtyard

For a holistic holiday shrouded in history, look no further that The Courtyard in County Wicklow. The carefully restored Victorian property dates back to the 1840’s, and provides the perfect rustic setting for your spiritual experience.  

If you’ve been toying with the idea developing a more sustainable diet – then The Courtyard is definitely the spot to dip your toes in the water! Its famed vegan offering is so varied and delicious that even the most dedicated carnivores won’t miss meat – even if it’s just for the weekend.

Cliffs of Moher Retreat

Even when the weather is not in your favour, you can still practice yoga surrounded by some of the most

striking scenery in Ireland, from the windowed wall of the Cliffs of Moher Retreat studio.

Find your inner peace in luxurious comfort amidst the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, stretch your skills to the next level atop the cliffs themselves. There’s plenty of retreats to choose from here, each offering a blend of indoor and outdoor activities – allowing you to free your mind and connect with Ireland as never before.

 

Massage your mind

If you’d rather focus on the resting aspect of rest and relaxation, then Ireland is home to many luxurious and celebrated spas which are perfect for recalibrating your mind and body.

Monart

 

Monart is a breath-taking destination spa, that’s grounds sprawl across 100 acres of vibrant Irish countryside in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. The five-star adults-only resort comes highly recommended, comfortably nestled in the top 1% of all hotels in the world.

It boasts a state-of-the-art thermal suite offering everything from a meditative salt grotto to an innovative infra-red pro cabin, with 15 plush

treatment rooms to choose from. No matter how stressful a week it’s been – your problems will melt away the second you step into that sauna!

BrookLodge

The Wells Spa contained within the BrookLodge and Macreddin Village is an oasis of calm nestled in the eco-friendly resort. The spa takes its name from the natural springs which have been supplying fresh water to the village’s settlers since the fifth century.

Prebooking is essential for this Wicklow-based sanctuary, with limited spaced available to maintain a peaceful and serene environment on every occasion. Once you’ve tired yourself out admiring the numerous water features and appreciating the dazzling view from the outdoor hot tub, you can always book in for a bite at one of the delectable onsite restaurants – from wholesome organic to classic Italian.

Inchydoney Island

 

Immerse yourself in the healing power of the Atlantic Ocean at the luxurious hideaway of the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa. Wake to the sounds of the waves racing to meet the coast, breakfast on your own personal balcony overlooking the waters, before indulging in a uniquely calming seawater treatment, inspired by the ocean itself.

It won’t take you long to unwind in the magical surroundings of Inchydoney Island, which holds itself to the highest standards – as recognised by the World Travel Awards who have named it Ireland’s Leading Spa Resort no less than seven times!

 

Picture Credits - Booking.com

Walk away your worries

Sometimes wellness and luxury seem to go hand in hand – which can be a delightful treat – but you can’t attach a price to your spiritual and physical health. So, it’s perhaps just as well that when it comes to Ireland - the best things in life are usually free.

Very often, the best way to clear your head is simply to step out into the great outdoors and get a bit of fresh air in your lungs, and there’s no shortage of inspirational routes to trek on your wanders through the Emerald Isle.

Slieve Gullion

 

If you’ve fallen in love with the faeries and folklore of Ireland, then your first point of call should be Slieve Gullion, a mountain which featured in many mystical tales.

The forest park is a magical place for families, with an adventure playpark, a Giant’s Lair, and one of the prettiest faerie trails you’ll ever see. There’s plenty to explore and space for imaginations – both young and old – to run wild. If you want to loosen up your muscles as well as your mind there’s a huge selection of stunning walks, ranging from gentle strolls to hardened hikes!

 

Oldbridge House

Oldbridge House sits on the site of the infamous Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The building is now a tourist information centre dedicated to the event and is surrounded by beautiful grounds and gorgeous walks which pass through the historical location.

While this particular walk will have an especially strong pull for history buffs, there’s lots on offer throughout the year – including a charming open-air theatre, and a rather special Game of Thrones wooden boat tour.

Howth Head

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, then Howth Head is less than half an hour’s drive from the centre of Dublin, and is easily reachable by regular public transport. The peninsula is an absolute jewel of natural beauty, on clear days walkers are treated to majestic views of the Wicklow Mountains and the eyes can even perceive as far as Snowdon in Wales.

 

The picturesque site has been a source of peace and inspiration for centuries, with James Joyce even detailing it as the spot on which Leopold Bloom proposed to Molly in ‘Ulysses’. Choose whether to clamber the cliff walk, take it all in on a winding loop, or even push your limits to one the many summits, one of which is topped by an ancient cairn.

 

While these are some of my favourites, you’ll never have far to go in search of a peaceful place for a stroll in Ireland. The Irish Times recently published a list of 32 Wonderful Winter Walks (one for each county) and each of them will have their own quirks and charms. Have you been on any of them before?

Picture Credit - IrishTimes.com

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