Top winter must-dos in Ireland’s Ancient East
There’s no excuse to hibernate in winter when Ireland’s Ancient East is inviting you to explore 5,000 years of history, traverse gorgeous landscapes and relish the finest food and drink.
Wrap up warm and bring a healthy sense of adventure – winter days are just as good as the summer ones in Ireland’s Ancient East, and here are just five of the top things to do and experience.
Overnight in a castle
There’s no better way to spend a winter weekend than in the opulent surroundings of an Irish castle hotel where superb décor, excellent service and the finest dining combine to deliver exceptional experiences. Follow in the footsteps of royalty and book a stay at Castle Leslie in County Monaghan, one of the finest castle hotels on the island. Sitting within 1,000 acres of scenic Irish countryside, the hotel provides sumptuous accommodation and a range of on-site activities from horse riding to hot-air ballooning.
Follow a fine food trail
Sign up to a food or drink trail and discover the people and stories behind Ireland’s renowned artisan food. Gallivanting Tours in Wexford focuses on food, folklore and whiskey with a blend of storytelling and visits to local producers. The Cork Fab Food Trail takes you on a delicious journey around the rebel city to meet artisan producers, visit the famous English Market, stop off in a pub for a timely tipple and enjoy some generous tastings of local delicacies.
Enjoy a Christmas festival
See the historic cities of Ireland’s Ancient East festooned with seasonal cheer for their annual Christmas festivals. In December, Yulefest Kilkenny will light up the city’s medieval cobbled streets and buildings with music, arts, colourful installations and street entertainment. Meanwhile Viking Waterford will stage Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, Winterval Waterford, delivering over 60 magical experiences and events over four weeks.
Get back to nature
A bright and bracing winter’s day is the perfect time to explore the Irish countryside. Combine a stroll through stunning landscapes with an exploration of Ireland’s rich history on a visit to the sixth-century ‘monastic city’ at Glendalough, County Wicklow. Or head to the famous Powerscourt House and Gardens half an hour away to enjoy invigorating walks among some of the most majestic vistas in Ireland against the backdrop of the great Sugarloaf Mountain.
See the dawn at Newgrange
The 5,200-year-old passage tomb of Newgrange, located in the Boyne Valley, is considered to be the jewel in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East. Pre-dating the Pyramids, archaeologists class Newgrange as a passage tomb, and it is part of a complex of monuments built along a bend of the River Boyne known collectively as Brú na Bóinne. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is no better way to delve deep in Ireland’s ancient past.