See a different side to the country with a glimpse of traditional culture alive throughout the vibrant regions of the West Coast.
Slip into a different pace of life in Ireland’s West Coast, where gridlock, stress and the hustle and bustle of urban life feel a million miles away. In this captivating part of Ireland, you can explore mile upon mile of unspoiled landscapes with some of the most beautiful sweeping vistas in the world. Life feels untouched here, particularly when you travel to some of the more remote islands peppered up and down the rugged coastline. And wherever you head, you’ll discover a strong sense of community and traditional culture that will rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.
The Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) region around the West Coast offers a unique and exciting glimpse into the richness of the Irish language. Spoken over a wide area – Kerry, Cork, Mayo, Galway and Donegal – the Gaeltacht is at the heart of Irish culture, both literary and musical. It was Inishmaan, one of the Aran Islands, that inspired a play by one of Ireland’s most famous playwrights – JM Synge’s Playboy of the Western World. If you want to try your hand at the Irish language, you can spend time chatting to locals or take the plunge and enrol in a Gaelic language school as they run courses for all levels throughout the year. And your experience will be warmed even further as you have the opportunity to stay in local homes with the Bean an TÍ (woman of the house/landlady) taking care of your daily needs while you study.
The real Ireland
The West Coast offers plenty of opportunities to explore Irish culture at its most authentic, and right throughout the summer months there are numerous summer schools offering courses on everything from tin-whistle playing, language lessons and turf cutting to traditional bodhrán-beating. This is the perfect chance to learn a new skill and unearth Ireland’s strong traditions in one of the most scenic parts of the country. The Yeats Summer School , for instance, celebrates all that is beautiful about Sligo and Ireland, and welcomes students from around the globe every year.