Undercover: West of Ireland

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  • Moy House
  • Dramatic Fanore Beach
  • The Galway Coast

Gareth Johnson honeymoons in the land of Guinness and Gaelic

I’d never been to the West of Ireland before, so where better to go on our Irish honeymoon trip? We had heard it was beautiful, and weren’t disappointed.

County Clare offers amazing wild landscapes, great pubs and top class restaurants. As it also has some of the most romantic hotels in Ireland, it’s the perfect place to combine creature comforts with wind-swept walks and nature.

Fresh off the plane to Shannon we hired a car and headed west to Kilkee, set around a perfect horseshoe shaped bay with great walks to both the south and north. The town is also packed with good pubs, and we had our first – and best – taste of the local soda bread at Murphy Blacks.

We headed the next day to the surfing town of Lahinch, staying at the beautiful Moy House. Perched above a small bay on the outskirts of the town, with a rolling green lawn which runs down to a rocky beach, Moy House proved to be the perfect honeymoon hotel.

Owned by a local family, it really does feel like a home-from-home, though much nicer than our still-to-be-done-up Hackney townhouse! We were quite happy to spend our time here just chilling out, reading books in the lounge with its gorgeous views of the sea or playing chess in the evening watching the sunset. The restaurant was very good too, with stunning views of the setting sun over the water.

We did eventually manage to tear ourselves away from Moy House to explore Lahinch. Shame we weren’t up to riding the waves, as it’s a bit of a surfing mecca, with plenty of huge Atlantic breakers. There are lots of good golf courses round here too if you’re handy with an iron – most of them right beside the sea.

Back on the road, we headed further north up to the Burren – a strange moonscape of a place: giant purply rocks that rise out of the landscape and awhole host of flowers, with views across Galway Bay.

We also drove past the towering Cliffs the Moher and through Lisdoonavarna (which has the biggest annual matchmaking fest in case you’re interested). Had we pressed on into County Galway, The Quay House in Clifden is one of the top boutique hotels on the west of Ireland.

A trip out to the Gaelic speaking Aran Islands proved a must. The largest island is Inis Mór, and the best way to explore is to hire a bike, take a picnic and head out to Dún Aonghasa, passing a bay where seals bask on the rocks.

Exploring Inis Meáin, one of the smaller islands, we hardy saw a soul apart from a man thrashing corn. It felt timeless. The island is criss-crossed with stone walls, and there’s a small village shop and a great knitwear place which sells discounted clothing. And a great pub, of course… where the Guinness was soon going down
a treat with me and my new Missus.

See more of our romantic and honeymoon hotels in Ireland »

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