- Your A to Z Guide of Leinster
A - is for ... Art
With three major art colleges in the capital, it’s easy to see why Dublin bustles with creativity. The Douglas Hyde Gallery is nestled in the arts block of Trinity College, its modern interior lending a perfect backdrop to the fabulously curated collections, which don its walls.
On the other end of the spectrum, Block T are artists who met in college and showcase emerging artists from their warehouse space in Smithfield. The Hugh Lane is as much a museum as it is a space – it has to be seen to be believed. www.douglashydegallery.com www.blockt.ie www.hughlane.ie B - is for ... Brú na Bóinne
Brú na Bóinne refers to the area of land that is home to the three well-known large passage tombs, Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth, built some 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic or Late Stone Age.
The Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is the only access point to Newgrange and Knowth, which lie north of the river. All tours of Newgrange start at the centre, before visitors cross the river via a footbridge and are brought by shuttle bus to the monuments. www.heritageireland.ie C - is for ... Carlow Garden Trail
The Carlow Garden Trail currently features twenty-one different gardening attractions with an additional three gardens in the surrounding counties of Kildare and Wexford.
The trail takes in great old gardens that have been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years, and smaller gardens, which are maturing beautifully with time. www.carlowtourism.com D - is for ... Dublin City
Spend a day wandering the streets of Dublin to soak up the atmosphere of a city that exudes cosmopolitan vibes. Take breakfast at a street-side café just off Grafton Street and indulge in a spot of people watching before a bout of retail therapy.
Wander through Dublin Castle and City Hall before stopping for a slice of cake and a coffee to ready yourself for some thrift shopping in Temple Bar. Stop for a pint in Grogans before dinner, and leave the city satisfied that you’ve done it justice. E - is for ... Eastern Drive
Drive east to west across the Wicklow mountains and experience the Sally Gap in all her glory.
This drive provides some of the best lake and mountain scenery that’s not too far from the coastline. It’s really near Dublin so a great trip if you are basing yourself there. F - is for ... Food Tour
Take a Fab Food Trail in Dublin where over 3 hours you’ll visit seven or eight different restaurants to sample the food that is setting the culinary tone.
As you enjoy the food, you’ll also learn a little about the culture and history of this lively and charming city from your local guide. www.fabfoodtrails.ie G - is for ... Guinness Storehouse
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to bring a non-Irish person to enjoy the Guinness Storehouse. This fantastic tour culminates with pints of the black stuff in the top floor Gravity Bar, which has the best panoramic views of the city you can get. www.guinness-storehouse.com
H - is for ... Howth
This seaside town is a DART ride away from the city centre and is a great way to brush off the urban hustle and bustle.
Grab a fish and chips and take a walk on the pier, where if you’re lucky, you’ll catch the daily visit from Howth’s resident seal population.
H - is for ... Jameson Distillery
The new look Jameson Distillery is offering three fully guided experiences at the moment; Bow St. Experience, The Whiskey Makers and The Whiskey Shakers - all of which have a firm focus on immersive storytelling. If you like whiskey, you’ll like this! www.jamesonwhiskey.com
I - is for ... Islands
From Dalkey Island to Ireland’s Eye, the East Coast is home to lots of little islands, most of which are accessible via private boat trips during the summer months.
Dalkey island is home to a colony of seals and a family of black rabbits, which are increasing year on year.
K - is for ... Kildare Village Outlet
Retail magpies must make a pit stop at Kildare Village while on their Leinster-bound staycation.
With over ninety brands like Louise Kennedy, Mulberry, Anya Hindmarch and Diane Von Furstenberg, all at heavily discounted prices, sure it would be rude not to!
L - is for ... Leprechaun and Fairy Cavern
Explore the magnificent underground Leprechaun and Fairy Cavern in Carlingford where visitors have the chance to hunt fairies and leprechauns with the help of experienced Leprechaun visitors. Do not miss this unique experience! www.thelastleprechauns ofireland.com
M - is for ... Monastic City
Glendalough city consists of a number of monastic remains in Glendalough, County Wicklow. The round tower and surrounding ruins form early Christian monastic settlement, which was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century.
Once you have visited the ruins, be sure to take a walk around the stunning lakes of Glendalough, all of which are extremely buggy-friendly.
N - is for ... National Heritage Park
The Irish National Heritage Park in Wexford is a fabulous journey through 9000 years of Irish history in an outdoor museum. Build a house of wattle, pan for gold or just chill out with a coffee beside the lake while the kids play on one of two adventure playgrounds. www.irishheritage.ie
O - is for ... Off the Beaten Track
Pack a picnic and head for Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny where a huge amount of family friendly activities are spread across an 80-acre woodland.
Think pedal boats and forest arts and craft sessions with a brilliant zip line thrown in for good measure. www.discoverypark.ie
P - is for ... Performance
While in Dublin book in for a show at one of the city’s many theatres. From the Abbey to Smock Alley, there is something for everyone on, pretty much every day.
If your evenings are too precious to cope with anything too artsy, then catch a lunchtime show at Bewleys Café Theatre on Grafton Street. www.bewleyscafetheatre.com
Q - is for ... Queen for a Day at Powerscourt
Experience what it must have been like to live like royalty with a visit to the splendiferous Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow.
The old house has been restored and is now home to some very fancy stores, the gardens are where the real luxury happens.
Channel your inner Jane Austen and perambulate around these sumptuous gardens for an hour’s constitutional. www.powerscourt.com
R - is for ... Racing
Take a day off and head racing in Kildare. With three major courses in the county, this is the place to see and be seen. Don your frock and hat and get your betting slips ready. www.goracinginkildare.ie
S - is for ... Sword
Take the Excalibur Drive while in Wicklow. This drive is based around the north of the county, and is 42 miles round trip.
It passes through various towns and villages in which the film Excalibur was filmed. This Drive starts and finishes in the town of Roundwood.
T - is for ... Tee-Off
From Carton House to Druid’s Glen to the K Club, Leinster is home to world-class golf courses.
Better still, most of these golf courses have an adjoining hotel with an adjoining spa.
U - is for ... Uisneach
Visit the seat of the Kings of Ireland at Uisneach in West Meath. One of Ireland’s most sacred sites, people travel from all over the world to come here, and it’s easy to see why – it’s historical roots go all the way back to the iron age.
V - is for ... Viking Splash
There is no better fun for small people visiting Dublin than a trip on the Viking Splash tour. An hour and a half spent careening around the city scaring the bejaysus out of tourists before a small
boat-ride on the Liffey – what more could you want? www.vikingsplash.com
W - is for ... Wells House & Garden
This Victorian house and gardens in Wexford is extremely family friendly, with a great café and a wonderful playground on site. www.wellshouse.ie
X - is for ... Christmas
Jerpoint Abbey in Kilkenny is meant to house the remains of Santa Claus himself. The legend goes that an abbey needed to be constructed to house St. Nicholas’ remains and that such abbey is the Cistercian one at Jerpoint. Don’t believe us – check it out for yourself!
Y - is for ... Yurt
Glamp in a yurt with a wood burning stove during your staycation this year. With glamping sites across the province, there is a huge amount of choice. We recommend choosing the one with the fanciest bed linen.
Z - is for ... Zoo
There is nothing like a visit to Dublin Zoo to warm the cockles of your heart. Whether you love watching the monkeys swing from branch to branch or those elegant giraffes ambling about their enclosure, never forget that as a parent, you are likely to spend most of the day in one of the zoo’s amazing playgrounds than anywhere. www.dublinzoo.ie
The Wellington Monument, Phoenix Park, Dublin
O’Connell Bridge, Dublin city
A Victorian Garden, Co. Wexford
Glamping in Co. Wicklow