Active Ireland - Page 2

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Climbing
Ireland may not have Himalayan-class summits, but lesser mountains do hold their own charms. "Hill-walking"—climbing to the top of peaks in the 500-1000 meter range—is a popular pursuit with locals and visitors alike. You'll find such formations throughout Ireland, from Donegal's towering Slieve Snaght (great vistas) to the amusingly named Knockmealdown Hills near Cork. There's even a Mt. St. Patrick pilgrimage walk. Even if you're just planning a short stay in Dublin, you can still enjoy a classic hill-walk. In County Wicklow, south of Dublin, is 1676-foot Knocknacloghoge. Its rocky summit offers great views of Lough Dan and heather-covered hills.

Fishing
It's the classic scene from the hinterlands of western Ireland: a local angler casting into one of many picturesque trout streams. Chances are he's not just there to practice technique—Ireland enjoys some of the most productive trout fishing in Europe. Plus there are plenty of fishing lodges made just to order. Gillaroo Lodge in Sligo Town, situated close to Loughs Melvin, Assaroe, and Erne, is a well-known haven for trout anglers. And if you want to try your hand at salmon fishing, the nearby Duff River and Drowes River are both productive Atlantic salmon fisheries. The Moy River, in County Mayo, attracts anglers from around the world to its annual salmon runs.
Golf
In Ireland, you play golf the way it was invented, on challenging courses of unrivaled natural beauty. Ireland's classic links lure golfers from around the world. Perhaps the most legendary is Old Ballybunion, a seaside course described by Tom Watson as "a true test of golf." Robert Trent Jones designed the New Ballybunion at Cashen to be equally demanding, yet more modern. Elsewhere on the island are a host of world-class venues: Killarney's Killeen course, past home to the Irish Open; Royal Down, up north and beautifully situated between the sea and the Mountains of Mourne; and to the east, Portmarnock, considered one of the world's most challenging courses, given its an amazing diversity of holes and unpredictable winds. There are dozens more great courses, many situated right on the water's edge.

Horseback Riding
It's a scene from another century: galloping across remote beaches, horse-trekking through hill country, following the dogs in a traditional hunt. Renowned for its equestrian centers and wide diversity of riding programs, Ireland delivers on the dream of those classic pictures. Choose a relaxing vacation at a riding center, or join a point-to-point ride, stopping at castles and luxury inns along the way. One of our favorite trips is the Connemara Trail Ride, a multi-day journey along the beaches and through the hills of the scenic Connemara Peninsula. Guides from the noted Aille Cross Equestrian Center in County Galway lead you, arriving at inns each evening. Or trek further north from the Donegal highlands down to the rugged Northwest coast. A castle-to-castle tour through the 60,000-acre Kinnnitty Forest in County Offaly may just make you feel you've landed in that time of old.

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Best Hotels in Ireland

$256-$456
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The Westbury Hotel
$246-$369
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Fitzwilliam Hotel
$288
Average/night*
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The Westin Dublin
$252
Average/night*
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Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin

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