Top 10 Ir­ish drives Get be­hind the wheel for of the most scenic road trips in Ire­land

Irish Independent - Weekend Magazine - - WEEKEND MAGAZINE COMPETITION -

IR­ISH IN­DE­PEN­DENT tre, tak­ing the Old Mil­i­tary Road (R115) through Glen­cree. Within mo­ments, it seems, you’re float­ing through the Wicklow wilder­ness, pass­ing the source of the River Lif­fey, among other nat­u­ral won­ders. From this point, you can con­tinue south past the Glen­mac­nass Wa­ter­fall to Glendalough, or head south­east on the R759 for views of Lough Tay (in a cer­tain light, it looks just like a pint of Guin­ness). The R755 will take you back by the Su­gar Loaf to the N11 at Kil­macanogue. TIME/DIS­TANCE 97km (via Glendalough). Al­low a half or full day, de­pend­ing on stops. PIT STOP Nab a cuppa and cake at The Con­ser­va­tory in 29 April 2017 Laragh ( the­con­ser­va­tory.ie). IF YOU LIKE THAT, TRY THIS: The drive from Co Tip­per­ary to Co Waterford via The Vee, emerg­ing to a jaw-drop­ping view of Lis­more Cas­tle, is a stun­ner. Time per­mit­ting, add the Comer­agh Drive.

Ir­ish drives don’t come sweeter than the Sky Road. This sim­ple, 15km penin­sula loop trans­ports you onto the craggy folds of the Connemara coast in no time — with views rang­ing from Inish­turk off­shore to the Twelve Bens in­land. It’s doable as a cy­cle, but driv­ing al­lows you to swing north when you re-emerge onto the N59, be­fore turn­ing left to­wards Claddagh­duff and pro­ceed­ing to­wards the jewel in the Aughrus Penin­sula’s crown: Omey Is­land ( augh­rus­penin­sula.com). Check the tide times be­fore set­ting out, as

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Omey is reached by driv­ing across a sandy cause­way... an even more im­por­tant note for the re­turn jour­ney. When you have to ask whether an is­land is ‘open’ or ‘closed’, you’ve truly reached the ends of the earth. TIME/DIS­TANCE 40km. Al­low at least a half day if trav­el­ling to Omey. PIT STOP Pick up a pic­nic full of lo­cal good­ies at The Connemara Ham­per ( con­nemara­ham­per.com) in Clif­den. IF YOU LIKE THAT, TRY THIS: Cir­cuit West Cork’s Sheep’s Head — the Wild At­lantic Way’s wildest penin­sula.

Michael Palin once dubbed the train ride from Derry to Col­eraine as one of the most beau­ti­ful on earth, and the drive is right up there too. As well as the oblig­a­tory Gi­ant’s Cause­way and dram of Bush­mills (af­ter your drive, of course), this rockin’

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