Very often I think we forget to be tourists in our own country.
We tend to take for granted what’s on our doorstep when thinking about weekend trips or summer holidays.
I myself am guilty of this. I live close to the Blessington Lakes and find myself forgetting it’s there, in all its beauty and glory.
I think everyone should have an Irish bucket list. Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Clare, Kerry, Donegal — all with their own offerings.
In Kildare, we’re spoiled for choice for things to do.
There’s the Irish National Stud and Gardens, Donadea Forest Park, Lullymore, or a boat tour in Athy. And that’s only a taster of what the county has to offer.
Myself and my partner recently did a tour of the magnificent Russborough House, regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses, just outside Blessington.
This is another amenity just up the road from me which I rarely think of visiting.
It was really fascinating learning about the history of the house, from who lived there, to the infamous robberies that took place to the fabulous art collections.
Russborough also boasts a maze, a parkland walk around the grounds, and a little café. Well worth a family trip.
It was also recently announced that funding of €5 million has been allocated to the Blessington Greenway. This will be a game changer for tourist attractions like Russborough.
The 6km greenway will link the town of Blessington with the Palladian mansion at Russborough.
A road trip from Blessington to the hidden gem of Ballyknockan, with stunning views of the Blessington Lakes is also a must.
Staying in the Garden County, if you haven’t been to Glendalough, put it on your Irish bucket list, NOW.
It really is something else. I would highly recommend hiking the famous ‘Spinc’, the views over the valley from the top are nothing short of spectacular, especially in good weather.
I would also highly recommend walking up Bray Head, the views at the top are worth the trek up, I promise! While you’re there, do the Bray to Greystones cliff walk.
We’ve booked a trip to the Kingdom in August, a county I’ve wanted to explore for a long time.
We’re starting off in Killarney, working our way around the Ring of Kerry, up to Dingle and finishing off in Tralee.
I was in Dingle for a weekend for the Paidi O Se football tournament in February, and I was taken aback by the beauty of the county, the bit of it I did see when we weren’t on the pitch or in the pub.
If there’s somewhere that you’ve always thought ‘oh I’d love to go there’, then make it happen.
As the saying goes, there’s no place like home!