From surfing in Sligo to a cold-water dunk in Dublin, here’s a round-up of new reasons to visit Ireland.
Land of fire and ice
Ireland has been a Hollywood honey for decades. Most recently it’s been the backdrop to Game Of Thrones, The Banshees Of Inisherin and now Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, released in cinemas on March 31.
The Ring of Gullion, Mourne Mountains, Strangford Lough and the Lecale coast have together been recognised as an area of geographical value and is now set to become a Unesco geopark in May.
Only an hour’s drive from Belfast, the Mourne-Gullion-Strangford area has 400 million years of geological history, and with its peat bogs, ancient monuments and dramatic seascapes, will be a veritable playground for outdoorsy types.
Imbibe the Irish spirit
The new Northern Ireland Spirits Trail (free, check out Discover Northern Ireland) launches this spring. Pick up a passport and tick off ten of the best distilleries in the region.
Collect all the stamps for a free gift and sleep it all off in the new Ebrington Hotel and Spa, which opens in Derry in June (rooms from £179pn). This luxury hotel overlooking the Peace Bridge and the River Foyle will feature a swish day spa.
Surf’s up in Sligo
The Wild Atlantic Way coast has good surf on its many beaches. This spring, Ireland’s first National Surf Centre will open in Strandhill, Sligo, offering facilities for wave-riders. In summer, there’s the Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival in Bundoran, Donegal (June 16-18, day tickets from £61).
In Dublin, cold-water swimmers are celebrating the reopening of Dun Laoghaire Baths (free) after 25 years.
Bold, brilliant Belfast
Titanic Belfast is enjoying a multimillion-pound refurbishment and is due to reopen in March.
With its new theme The Pursuit Of Dreams, it will tell the Titanic’s story and showcase Belfast’s maritime heritage using immersive technology.
In the meantime, visitors can still explore the Titanic Quarter, see the historic slipways and take a tour of SS Nomadic.
Why not book into the new Room2 Belfast? The hip city centre pad will feature 175 low-carbon studio apartments (prices tbc).
For more information visit ireland.com
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