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Marlagh Lodge, Antrim
Marlagh Lodge
Marlagh Lodge A good base for Northern Ireland and the amazing Antrim

Historic House Bed & Breakfast

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Self Catering Holiday Rental

...By County



Tyrella House, Downpatrick, Co. Down
Tyrella House
Downpatrick, Co. Down
The immortal line of Percy French ‘Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’ could well have been written from Tyrella’s secluded private beach. Located in the heart of picturesque County Down, with its neckla...
Woodbrook House, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Woodbrook House
Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Woodbrook is a fine house in the shadow of the Blackstairs Mountains, west of Enniscorthy. It dates from the 1770s but was damaged in the 1798 rebellion and substantially rebuilt. The result is a spacious, warm house with...
Mount Vernon, The Burren, Co. Clare
Mount Vernon
The Burren, Co. Clare
On the edge of the Burren you’ll find Mount Vernon, a lovely Georgian villa with fine views over Galway Bay. Formerly owned by Lady Gregory (of Abbey Theatre fame), the house has antique furniture and paintings, and chimne...
Temple House, Templehouse Demesne, Ballymote, Co. Sligo
Temple House
Templehouse Demesne, Ballymote, Co. Sligo
Temple House is one of the finest estates in the west of Ireland. The great house, which was remodeled in 1864, nestles in a wooded demesne, looking out over the Knights Templar castle to Templehouse Lake. Despite its vas...
Frewin, Ramelton, Co. Donegal
Frewin
Ramelton, Co. Donegal
Formerly a rectory, Frewin is a fine Victorian house in mature, wooded grounds on the outskirts of Ramelton, skillfully restored and modernised by its current owners, Thomas and Regina Coyle. Both are natural hosts and th...
Mornington House, Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath
Mornington House
Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath
Renowned for its warm hospitality and tranquility, Mornington captures the true spirit of Hidden Ireland amidst the sparkling lakes, rolling hills and ancient forests of County Westmeath. This has been the home of the O’...
Ashley Park House, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Ashley Park House
Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Ashley Park House sits peacefully in the middle of 76 acres of beech woodland and formal gardens in the heart of County Tipperary, six miles north of the busy market town of Nenagh with its famous circular keep, on the r...

Landscape & Wildlife

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Ireland is an extraordinarily diverse country and is constantly changing. As you pass through our countryside, by car or on the train, you will never cease to be amazed at how quickly your surroundings alter. Now you are in a country of open moorland, the famous raised peat bog of the Irish midlands which covers the ground 'like a blanket', yet minutes later you are passing through a pastoral countryside of amazing greenness, with sheep and cattle grazing contentedly, surrounded by a maze of dry stone walls.

Then a high stone wall appears to one side, overhung with tall trees and covered with ivy, and usually with one or two great gaping holes where trees have fallen through, for you are passing one of Ireland's former great estates. On the other side of the road, beyond the river, the hills are covered with commercial forestry, as far as the eye can see. Now you are entering a country of little hills, with the road winding hither and thither between them until suddenly it opens out onto a broad plain. And, as you approach the coast the changes become even more sudden and spectacular, with dramatic mountains, windswept estuaries with limitless mudflats, sandy beaches and long shining inlets of the sea.

While most visitors enjoy the Irish countryside and its plant, animal and bird life, they are likely to more interested in seeing and experiencing the unusual. Strange rock formations, rare plants, spectacular trees, rare birds and unusual insects - so that is what we will try to highlight here.

The Burren

The Burren, in County Clare, is truly a place of stones, with bare mountains divided by steep valleys and flat plains of limestone pavement. At its northern end it slopes gently into Galway Bay, but the western Atlantic coast is steeper and culminates in the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. This desolate region is surprisingly rich in plant life, since the sheltered slopes and fissures between the rocks are home to an amazing collection of rare alpine species, including Gentian and Mountain Avens. When these are in flower, usually in late May, the grey landscape becomes a blaze of colour. There is a similar, but much smaller, area on the shores of Lough Corrib, between Oughterard and Galway.

The Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway, which stretches along the North Antrim coast for several miles to the east of Bushmills, in a series of promontories and bays, is one of the wonders of the natural world. 60 million years ago molten lava poured out from the earth's crust and came into contact with the sea where, hardening and cooling in an instant, it split into a series of vertical and horizontal cracks. As a result the whole cliff face became a series of closely interlocking columns, each composed of hard, flat, basalt hexagons. The horizontal cracks give these the appearance of having been piled one upon another with precision, like the stone Lego set of an enormous child giant.

At the lower level, a pavement of closely knit stone hexagons marches out to sea, like the floor of a vast semi-submerged palace. The stones are all astonishingly regular and the hard basalt has retained its crisp outline over countless centuries. The vast scale of the site and its dramatic setting, looking out over the sea towards the Western Isles of Scotland, is completely overwhelming - particularly at dawn or dusk.

South County Wexford

South County Wexford is an important landfall for many migratory birds, particularly wildfowl and waders. The Wexford Slobs, areas of fen to either side of the River Slaney, were drained in the 19th century. Today these are the winter home to thousands of White-fronted Geese from Greenland, while other species of geese and duck are frequent visitors, often in very large numbers.

Many rare birds can also be seen at the lakes and marshes at Ladies Island and Tacumshin, and from the promontory of Carnsore Point. Further west, off Kilmore Quay, the Saltee Islands are a nesting site for huge numbers of puffins, razorbills, gannets, kittiwakes and fulmars and smaller numbers of many other species. A boat trip to this island nursery at the end of the nesting season in late-May or June, when the chicks are already well developed, is an unforgettable experience. It could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as peaceful: indeed it is hard to imagine such a loud and raucous noise.

The Kittiwake Gulls of Dunmore East

Each year a large colony of kittiwake gulls make their nests in a cliff face just above the quayside in the pretty fishing harbour of Dunmore East. Normally these are a shy and retiring species, who shun man and all his works, so it is altogether surprising to find them nesting in such a busy site. Indeed their plaintive cry Kitt-i-wake is one of the abiding memories of summer in Dunmore East.

The Peat Bogs of Central Ireland

Peat bogs were originally lakes over which, many centuries ago, a covering of decomposing vegetable matter was formed. This covering was peat. Gradually it expanded and grew over many centuries, as each layer of vegetation grew up and died down, until eventually the lake disappeared and the surrounding countryside was covered over, as though by a blanket.

Peat is rich in nutrients and supports a wide variety of plant and animal life. In wet weather it gathers up water and retains it like a sponge so the various bog-dwelling flora and fauna are assured of water in times of drought. There are, or were - for many bogs have been exploited commercially - areas of peat bog in almost every Irish county, from the eastern seaboard to the Atlantic Coast and from north to south, but perhaps the finest example is the blanket bog of the midland counties, which stretches across the countryside like an inland sea.

Turf cutting for fuel is rural tradition in early summer and, in times gone by, country children were allowed to miss school to help with the turf harvest, footing and stacking the sods (bricks) of turf, since everything was then done by hand.

Towards the middle of the twentieth century commercial harvesting began. Until then landowners, who had been obliged to sell their tenanted estates under the Land Acts, were allowed to retain owenship of lakes, bogs and woods, but bog was now declared a National Resource and large areas were purchased under an emergency act. The responsible state agency, Bord na Mona, developed vast machines to harvest and mill peat as fuel for power stations, such as those at Lanesborough (Co. Longford), Portarlington (Co. Laois) and Shannonbridge (Co. Offaly), which all in turn fed into the National Grid.

This process was only economical on a very large scale so many smaller bogs remained intact. Unfortunately, the development of small, easily transportable equipment means that in many instances, smaller bogs have also been worked out and their peat sold for fuel in recent years, a sad end to a unique Irish eco-system.

The Great Sea Cliffs of the West and North Coasts

At the Cliffs of Moher, at the south-western end of the Burren, the high limestone plateau meets the Atlantic Ocean head-on and plunges over seven hundred feet into the sea in a sheer drop. Just north of Liscannor, the majestic Moher cliffs stretch northwards for nearly five miles, from Hag's Head to the O'Brien Tower, and are one of Ireland's most famous natural features. Indeed many visitors to Ireland feel their holiday is incomplete unless they have seen 'the cliffs'.

At the opposite end of the country, west of Killybegs and Carrick, is Slieve League, a mountain nearly two thousand feet tall which slopes rapidly from its summit before plunging into Donegal Bay. The slope is less sheer than at Moher but the majesty and remoteness of the site is unforgettable.

The amazing Red Deer of Connemara

The halls of many Irish houses are hung with antlers, often trophies from a stalking trip to Scotland or a career in Africa or India. Among these, far larger, obviously far older and often hanging above the front door, are a set of magnificent palmate antlers; the head of the now extinct Irish elk, sometimes up to seven or eight feet in width.

In their absence red deer are Ireland's largest surviving mammal, but they too have been under threat, and native examples are now confined to Donegal, Wicklow (where regrettably they have now interbred with escaped Japanese Sika deer) and Kerry, where many record heads have been shot. More recently, red deer have again been reintroduced in southern Connemara, with dramatic results, for within a few years of their arrival they have already produced world-class heads. It appears that a combination of their diet and their genetic make-up has combined to allow them achieve prodigious growth. Not only are their antlers of trophy standard but body weights in excess of fifty stone have been recorded, and their steady increase in numbers and size has been widely reported in international hunting magazines.

Special Offers & Packages

The Quay House

The Quay House

Valid only by mentioning 'Hidden Ireland Special Offer' and the offer will run from 25 March (when we re-open) until the end of May excluding Bank Holiday Weekends. Bookings must be made through our own website www.thequayhouse.com
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Hilton Park

Hilton Park
Mid-Week Offer: Two nights B&B with a four course Dinner on an evening of your choice.

Mid-Week Offer: Two nights B&B with a four course Dinner on an evening of your choice. (Arrival Tuesday or Wednesday)
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Ballyvolane House

Ballyvolane House
3 nights with full Irish breakfast each day and dinner on 2 nights of your choice

3 - nights accommodation with full Irish breakfast (served till noon) 4 - course seasonal Easter dinner menu in the dining room on 2 nights of your choice Complimentary afternoon tea on arrival Complimentary Rhubarb Martini before dinner on 2 nights
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Clone House

Clone House
Rough/walked up game shooting is possibly the most rewarding of all types of game shooting, testing the sportsman’s fitness and agility to hunt wild game over mixed countryside. A mixed bag rather than numbers is often the priority to offer the sportsman a real experience of traditional shooting over well trained guns on scenic and diverse countryside.

Rough/walked up game shooting is possibly the most rewarding of all types of game shooting, testing the sportsman’s fitness and agility to hunt wild game over mixed countryside. A mixed bag rather than numbers is often the priority to offer the sportsman a real experience of traditional shooting over well trained guns on scenic and diverse countryside. Walked – shooting is available for the individual and up to a maximum of four guns. Our shooting guide M. J. Colfer has a lifetimes experience and knowledge and can make your shoot the enjoyable and relaxing experience it is supposed to be. Whether you are an experienced gun or new to the sport we can arrange the best sporting days for your requirements and you can be comfortable in the knowledge that all your needs are catered for. The combination of staying at Clone House with our renowned hospitality and a wonderful days sport will make a truly memorable experience. Our aim is to provide you with first class shooting and gracious caring hospitality. Most of all your stay with us will be one that you will cherish and remember for many years. Alternative activities are also available for non-shooting guests. Airport collections etc. can be arranged if necessary.
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Delphi Lodge

Delphi Lodge
Three Nights for the price of Two at Beautiful Delphi Lodge - available until end of April

Enjoy 3 nights for the price of 2 at the beautiful Delphi Lodge over the Easter Holidays. Relax in front of a log fire and enjoy great food in good company. Price for 2 people sharing in a Lakeview Premier Room €560, or €460 in a Classic Room, including full Irish breakfast. Dinner available at €55pp (set menu enjoyed at one large communal table).
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Hidden Ireland, P.O. Box 31, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland | Tel. +353 98 66650, Dublin tel. +353 1 662 7166 | e. info@hiddenireland.com
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Marlagh Lodge, Antrim
Marlagh Lodge
Marlagh Lodge A good base for Northern Ireland and the amazing Antrim

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