Offbeat Places to Explore in Ireland

Obviously, there are many, many worthwhile attractions to be enjoyed in Ireland – there’s a reason it’s a perpetually popular vacation spot. However, these particular sights caught our attention as things you may want to add to your “must-see” list next time you travel to Ireland. They’re a bit beyond the usual Blarney Stone tourist fare.

Saint Michan’s Church, Dublin. You may think an ancient church in the center of Dublin is just another routine tour stop. But Saint Michan’s boasts something not often associated with Ireland: mummies. In the crypts beneath the church lie the famous Mummies of St. Michan’s, the remains of influential figures from Dublin’s history whose bodies have been preserved by the dry atmosphere.

The Gyreum, County Sligo. Amidst all the history that pervades any Irish tourism experience, you can always get a sense of something truly modern at the Gyreum Ecolodge. This yurt-style hostel is entirely powered by wind and solar, boasts an organic vegetable garden grown by means of local manure and compost, and even has entirely eco-friendly toileting systems. There doesn’t seem to be a better place to think “green” and get back to nature than on the Emerald Isle.

The National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin. Yes, really. Although it probably sounds impossibly tacky to be recommending a visit to a leprechaun museum in Ireland, this relative newcomer to the Dublin scene is a center for exploring Irish folklore and mythology – a rich and fascinating subject in and of itself. With performances, interactive exhibits, and a storybook format, the Leprechaun Museum seems as though it could be great fun for travelers of all ages.

The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. For hundreds of years, following the bringing in of the harvest, eligible bachelors flocked from their farms to the mineral springs at Lisdoonvarna in the hopes of finding a suitable wife. The tradition of matchmaking in the village during the month of September survives to this day, with a month-long singles event that draws over 20,000 people to Lisdoonvarna for music, dancing, and merrymaking.

Written by on 1/24/14.
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