The Magic of the Emerald Isle
Explore the causeways, coasts and glens of enchanted myths and legends.
Ireland, rich in history and lore has some of the most mystical enchanted sites in the world.
Famous for stories of leprechauns, fairies and mystical creatures; what better way to discover the magic of the Emerald Isle than to travel through to the lands of ancient folklore and discover the magic first hand.
The most famous of all the Irish folklore is the legend of Finn MacCool (Finn Mac Cumhaill). This story has been told for many generations and remains a strong presence in Irish culture. The Giants Causeway an ancient Irish heritage site plays central part to this famous legend. The story goes that a 50 foot Ulster giant named Finn MacCool made giant stepping stones otherwise known as the Giants Causeway so that the Scottish Giant Benandonner could cross over to Ireland for them to fight. A day tour of the Giants Causeway costs £55 for adults and £28 for children which leaves from Dublin.
To conclude your journey through this legend, don’t forget to take a trip to Lough Neagh. Legend has it that Finn created Lough Neagh whilst chasing the Scottish giant across Ulster. Finn picked up a large piece of ground and hurled it at Benandonner; the piece of ground overshot and fell into the Irish Sea forming the Isle of Man while the massive crater left behind filled with water and formed Lough Neagh.
The tranquil Lough Derravaragh in County Westmeath is renowned for its connection with the ancient Irish legend, the Children of Lir. The legend tells of the four children of King Lir who were turned into swans and had to spend 300 years on Lough Derravaragh, then 300 years on the Straits of Moyle and another 300 years on the Atlantic Ocean by Erris and Inishglora.
Erris is in the north-western part of County Mayo with extensive stunning sea coasts across the west and north boundaries. The miles of beach, enthralling heritage and abundance of leisure activities, Erris provides a little something for all travellers. Activities in Erris range from equestrian, water sport, and golf activities to enchanted heritage exploration.
A visit to County Mayo would not be complete without a visit to the wee village of Cong also known as Ireland’s Lake District and home to the famous movie “The Quiet Man”. Make sure to book the Quiet Man guided tour to view all the stunning locations throughout the movie. If you fancy you could also go on a boat cruise, take in some of the beautiful historical sites or enjoy some fishing if you are a keen angler and then relax in the evening with accommodation in Cong starting from £47.57pp.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the “little folk” then travel to Tieveragh the east slope of Glencorp; a distinctive round hill also known as “Fairy Hill” which is famed for being the home of the fairies. If you visit on May eve (30th April) the Celtic feast of Bealtaine it is believed that the fairies appear in procession. Although you must not have any doubts about the little folk as they only reveal themselves to those who truly believe.
The Glenarm and Glencoy Glens also known as the Glens of Antrim or the “landscape of Fire and Ice” are legendary for myths of the little folk. The Folklore has it that the fiddlers of these glens were exceptional purveyors of such rare and beautiful tunes that they learned from the fairies.
Full of natural beauty the glens are a popular tourist attraction, with many attractions and activities. Glenariff Forest Park boasts natural wild beauty with its stunning waterfalls. A Waterfall Walkway passes through the National Nature Reserve so you can stroll by the waterfalls and take in their beauty. Why not take a forest trail or a riverside walk too and discover all the enchantment of this magical forest.
Stay in one of the many local villages where you recharge and explore; Cushendall which is the capital of the Glens is the centre for music and dance. Maybe you prefer something a bit more mysterious and adventurous? If so then Ballycastle is for you with the mysterious “vanishing lake” and the adventurous yet challenging Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. After such an adventurous day just relax and put your feet up. You will be spoilt for choice for accommodation in Ballycastle with prices starting from only £50 when you join talkholiday.
Ireland is full of so many myths and legends that we have only listed a few of the most famous ones but make sure to explore further and discover more of the ancient folklores and all the magic travel inspirations that these tales have to offer.
“The em’rald of Europe, it sparkled and shone-
In the ring of the world, the most precious stone.”
William Drennan, Irish poet (1754-1820)
Have you been to any mystical or historical Irish destinations?
I love to travel the world, exploring new places and experiencing new cultures. I want to share my experiences with others in the hope that I will inspire their wanderlust.
“To travel is to live” Hans Christian Anderson