Lesser Spotted Destinations
A few years ago after a particularly hectic weekend break in a jam-packed London, I read a travel article in the English Sunday Times that really resonated with me. The article argued that in a time of ever increasing tourism and the associated concerns over the environmental impact on popular destinations, we should all be seeking out new and less visited destinations. The Cliffs of Moher here in Ireland are a case in point. Last year the cliffs had over 1.5 million tourists. Cliff erosion is now a concern at the site, as is visitor management. I don’t know about you but when I travel, I like to visit unique locations. I hate the feeling of being yet another tourist in a too predictable destination.
That why’s I thought I’d share with you two alternative coastal destinations in Ireland for you to consider, where more often than not you will be only one of a handful of visitors on any given day and where you will find a more authentic Ireland.
Geokaun Mountain & Fogher Cliffs on Valentina Island are located in County Kerry in the South West of Ireland at one of the most westerly points in Europe.
Valentina although an Island is accessible by a bridge and is a wild and beautiful place on the Atlantic coast full of stunning walks, in particular the 600ft Fogher seacliffs. The Blasket Islands can be seen in the distance from the cliffs and the area is renowned for its flora and fauna. Ferries leave from the nearby fishing village of Portmagee for the Skellig Rocks. Skellig Michael towers 714ft above sea level and is famous for its sixth century monastic settlement. The site, reached by steep steps, includes stone beehive-shaped huts, oratories and crosses. Thousands of puffins breed on Skellig Michael during the warmer months and it was a recent location for the filming of Star Wars movies.
Ballycotton Cliff Walk is a thirty minute drive from Cork City.
The walk extends over 5 miles on a foot worn track along the cliff face with stunning views out onto the Atlantic. Ballycotton is a traditional fishing village with a warm welcome in its many pubs and restaurants. Trips can be taken over to the Ballycotton Lighthouse set on a rocky island out in the bay. Nearby Garryvoe has a beautiful beach and Ballymaloe House is world famous for its food and hospitality. Ballycotton is also well worth a visit for bird watcher enthusiasts with 300 species of birds recorded there.
If you have ever visited either location, or indeed the Cliffs of Moher, I would love to hear what you thought of them, so leave a comment below.
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