7 Things to do in Riga

Riga is the largest city in the Baltic countries and largest in that of Latvia. After hearing ever so slight information about the Latvian city, I was curious and interested in this part of Europe and felt the need to find out for myself. I flew Ryanair on a Wednesday evening and had two full days in Riga, which was enough to see a great chunk of the city.

From wondering and exploring, learning a new culture, every city needs some curiosity and an open mind. Here are a few things why I recommend a stay in Riga

  1. Visit the Central Market – Not a far walk from Old Town Riga, the market is the heart of Latvian and Riga market trade. Full of locals doing a daily shop to tourist making their way through. Full of fresh veg and fish, one not to be missed and if you want to do some normal shopping there is a shopping centre next door as part of the train station.
  2. Take a day trip to Jūrmala – Never went when I was in Riga, yet heard so many lovely stories about the area. However, this summer resort is not far from Riga and seems to be really popular.
  3. On my second morning, I did a Free Walking Tour. Personally, I love doing walking tours on the first morning as I gather a bearing for the city, The guide was great and friendly, learned quite about Riga’s history.
  4. Eat some local food and drink. bad blogger very limited food photos, this being said, my favorite dish which I have pictured below was Latvian Borscht Soup in a bread bowl. I ate my bowl.
  5. Get lost in the Old Town. This to me was just super amazing and my most enjoyable part of my stay. I love arriving at new cities getting lost down the cobblestone streets, exploring the churches and basking in the history.
  6. See all of Riga fro, the viewing point in the Latvian Acadamy of Sciences. Actually came across this slightly by accident. Located near the central market, for just a few euros you can get entry to the top with views throughout the city.
  7. Visit the Freedom Monument, is a tribute to all those who lost their lives during the Latvian War of Independence. Latvia just like it’s neighbor Baltic States has a history of independence, a history I knew so little about before embarking on my trip.

Getting around Riga, I found very easy and accessible. Personally, I walked everywhere I need to go. The only public transport I got was on arrival in Riga, I got a taxi which cost a mere €14. Also on leaving Riga, I got a bus to Tallinn which was only just €12. If going to Riga I would really recommend to combine it with a trip to Tallinn, as the cities are so close.

How and Why I booked a trip to Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki

A few months back I applied for a role as cabin crew with a well known Irish airline and got to the final stages, a job I dreamt so much as of as a child. Airports and airlines already excited me loads, from studying tourism in CIT I even did work experience with this same company. When three months passed and I never heard back, I felt deflated. Teenage me was well and truly crushed. So I sat down one evening and decided to take my love of travel in a new direction, because in all honesty since I started this blog my motivation and intentions have changed.

Something needed to happen, one evening while home from work, precasting over blogging (Schoolboy error). I needed a pick me up, I needed a holiday. So I opened three tabs Google Maps,  Rome2Rio and Skyscanner and began my research. At this stage, I needed and wanted something low cost, not long distance, however unique.

Many options I came across, however, I came up with the conclusion to fly into Riga, Latvia from Dublin and return via Helsinki, Finland, stopping in Tallin, Estonia on the way. So I planned the trip around June bank holiday weekend to maximizing holiday days (needless to say my job situation changed in the meantime). So the very next day I booked the time off work and went straight to booking flights. The flight to Riga was with Ryanair (which was found through Skyscanner, I always go here first for my flights). The flight was a very affordable €70. On the return from Helsinki, this is where things get a little more interesting. Skyscanner provided me with two options, A direct flight with Finnair which was approx €250 in price. The second option was SAS Airlines for €60, however, this was to stop in Oslo making the journey 6 hours. For the sake of three hours, I picked the one with SAS, I was still going to be back in Dublin for lunch time.

Next step was accommodation when I travel by myself, I always tend to stay in hostels. Hostelworld is where I choose to go search for my hostels, since backpacking in Australia 7 years ago now, this has always been the case. As I turned 30 on mt last birthday, I tend to be unaware how long more I can sustain staying in hostels, however, from what I learned and experience on this trips, hostels are really are about a mindset. While I never made many friends like I usually would, people of all age groups, more so than before I experienced had been staying in all three hostels. In Riga, I stayed in a hostel called Funky Hostel which was located pretty central just a few minutes walk from the Old Town. When I arrived in Riga, it was late on a Wednesday night, so I opted for a taxi from the airport, which I normally wouldn’t do due to sheer cost, the taxi cost was €12 so completely affordable.

View from hostel in Riga

In Tallinn, I stayed in Fat Margarets (Hope Margarets won’t be insulted now). This hostel was the biggest and fanciest off all three on this trip. The hostel included a jacuzzi and a sauna, a very rare find in a hostel. Lastly, Hostel Diana Park was where I lay my head in Helsinki. With 24 hour reception, really clean, friendly staff, it was ideal for my short Helsinki stay.

Traveling between the cities was genuinely very easy and very common. Between Riga and Tallinn, Ecolines was the name of the company I got the €12 bus with. The bus journey took 4.5 hours, free coffee and individual tv screen were on board, however, the scenery along the way was worth the bus trip for sure. I mentioned earlier about Rome2Rio was part of my planning process. For those who haven’t heard of the site, it is truly a godsend, especially for trips like this. The site allows you to put in where you are leaving from and destination then supplies you the cheapest and most direct routes. It covers all modes of transport, not just flying. So like Skyscanner in a sense but for every mode of transport to get between two places.

Bus from Riga to Tallinn


Tallinn to Helsinki – I booked this trip on the morning I left with a ferry company called Talinnk, however, many ferry companies are available and many different services. The ferry was just two hours, many restaurants, bar, shops and lockers for your bags. Another great option for the trip and offered an alternative to flying for sure.

From from Tallinn to Helsinki
From from Tallinn to Helsinki

So here’s how I planned the trip, it was very easy, manageable, always there is an opportunity to improve in travel plans, always an opportunity to grow from it. So tell me have you ever been on a trip like this?



June – Festivals and Events

Can you believe it’s June already? Now that summer has started, regardless of the weather, more reasons then ever have surfaced to experience the different types of festivals that happen all over the island. I am firm believer that regardless if you are low on cash or the weather is not great, no reason should stop you from going outside. Life happens anyway. Some of these festivals are free, if it means bring a packed lunch and just buying a ice cream.

Vantastiva Is a family themed event happening the bank holiday weekend the 3rd and 4th of June in Beaulieu House, Co Louth. This is a camping festival with some day trips available also.

Bloom in the Park A festival that has seen massive grown in the years from having the opportunity to go last year, I can understand the hype behind it. I’ve no garden I need to add, yet still enjoyed the day, but mostly the food. Always about the food. For those who are unaware, Bloom is held ever year in Phoenix Park, a gardening festival with a food village also supporting local Irish Brands. The event this year takes place between the dates 1st to the 5th of June.

Rory Gallagher Festival A tribute to Rory himself is taken place in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal between the 1st and 4th of June.

Oliver Goldsmith Festival The third oldest literacy festival in Ireland takes place in Longford-Westmeath are between the 2nd and 4th of June.

Belfast International Photo Festival is held throughout the whole month of June in different venues across Belfast. The festival showcases some fantastic contemporary pieces of photography.

Taste of Dublin The yearly food festival returns to the Iveagh Gardens between the 16-18 of June.

Street Feast A community initiative ran throughout the country where people like yourself and I, host a lunch. Supported by Food Cloud this helps to give a sense of community to every area.


Belfast Book Festival is a ten day festival from the 7 the 17th of June. Now in it’s in 7th year the festival has different stages and different events to capture the minds of most from workshops, poetry and discussions.

Sad I won't still be in town for this. #belfast #bookfest #belfastbookfestival #travel

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Insomnia Gaming Festival The UK gaming festival comes to Killarney’s INEC on the 9-11 of June.

The #CWLBHam is nearing its FINAL few hours at #i60. Have you caught any gameplay this weekend?

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Ava Festival is a really interesting one, why? Because it combines a conference and a festival but also can purchase separately. The event is all being held in the Urban Sports Academy in Titanic Quarter in Belfast. The event is almost sold out and is on the June bank holiday weekend.

Laser test under way 🔊🔊

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Lismore Immrama Between the 14th and the 18th in this Waterford town combines Travel Writing, Good Music

Titanic Maritime Festival With a massive history connecting to Titanic and Belfast it its own right a maritime city, this festival celebrates this on June 16th to 18th.

Tall Ships Ahoy! ⚓️⛵️#tallships2015 #titanicmaritimefestival

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Dublin Port Riverfest This June back holiday, a family day out, time to explore the tall ships that have explored into town, kayaking or the village markets.


Killarney Walking Festival. A two day walking festival between on the 9th to the 11th of June

Gripping walk to the Gap of Dunloe fantastic October Sun ! #lovekillarney #autumn #autumnsun #gapofdunloe #walking #killarneynationalpark #killarneywalks #

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Bloomsday Festival from 11th to the 16th of June, food, drink, culture this festival is possibly one of our favorites and is really worth checking out if you’re in Dublin

Dublin Day Out: National Botanic Gardens, Brunch at Fallon and Byrne

The value of experience is not seeing much however seeing it wisely

National Botanic Gardens

When traveling to different cities throughout the world, in the places you can visit, is there anything more peaceful then Botanic Gardens in a city. Gardens or parks of this kind. In the middle of urban sprawl, a place far removed from the traffic and noise to just wander. Located in Glasnevin right beside the cemetery in the National Botanic Gardens. Founded in 1975 by what is now know as the Royal Dublin Society, the botanical gardens are home to many living plants and multi-storey complex which includes training facilities and a cafe. On my experience, I just wondering around aimless for about an hour and a half taking in a natural beauty. Also in my visit to the area, I visited a cafe not far from the entrance called McMahon. Possibly one of the cutest cafe’s, the personal favorite points I need to note are the blankets out front and the doggie bowls also, cause furry friends are the best.

Brunch at Fallon and Byrne

My girls and I do love out food and use any excuse to meet up to involve food. One particular Sunday we met for Sunday brunch at Fallon and Byrne, the Wine Celler. When entering at door level, you go down to the cellar (obvs) the only reservation I have against this, when the weather is better in the summer months, it may proof to be somewhere less attractive. What I did enjoy about the layout tough is the wine itself across the side wall making the set up some bit more authentic. Yes, I know it is called the Wine Celler.

For my brunch delight, I indulged in Smoked Salmon on brown bread with scrambled egg (which was extra) and crushed avocado. I’m really happy I branched out from my usual Eggs Benedict as every inch of this serving went down whole. After we as a group decided on two desserts of mini donuts, salted caramel & Jam. This being honest we were a little less impressed. The chocolate sauce was great though. However, as a whole, the dessert was an average result from us.

Day Trip in The Burren – Wild Atlantic Way

Sorry Ted, I was concentrating too hard on looking holy

For those who don’t know the above quote is from Father Ted, one of Ireland’s most loved TV shows. A series that was last aired in 1998, and repeated yearly and to this date, quoted over and over since. Every year in Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare a company called Ted Tours organize a festival on the May Bank Holiday. After many conversations and dreams to go, 6 of my friends and I arrived dressed as nuns. No words will ever describe the hilarious feeling of being in a minibus arriving at Father Ted’s house singing ‘My Lovely Horse’ The tour also included many other areas where the show was set, Tea and cake at the house itself. After arriving back in Lisdoonvarna, to The Burren Storehouse we fed ourselves before ‘The Lovely Ladies’ Competition and the evening disco. The whole festival if you are a Father Ted fan and have the friends who up for a Ted laugh, this quite possibly will the best laugh you’ll have. One word for everything: Random. It’s the people who make the memories in this case.

The following Sunday morning before leaving Lisdoonvarna we had breakfast in a small cafe across from the famous and colourful The Matchmaker Bar before heading on our way. The first stop on our travels was the breathtaking Doolin. A few minutes drive from Lisdoonvarna, by the coast, this village stole my heart in so many ways. From the cute cottages with thatched roofs to the most welcoming people, my love for the little village has grown beyond expectation.

From Doolin we took a scenic drive to one of Ireland’s most famous tourist attractions to The Cliffs of Moher. And what Irish Travel Blogger am I if I don’t come visit these cliff’s eh? The biggest negative is having to pay €6 per person to park in the car park but eh what harm? The cliffs as windy as they are, take in some stunning sights and a walk over to see the stunning views to take anyone’s breath away, even with a Sunday hangover.

From here, we drove the Burren Coastal Drive to the beautiful village of Ballyvaughan were we drove into Aillwee Cave. Ailwee Cave for any Father Ted fans is actually were they shot the cave episode of the show. A privately owned cave that includes a 30 minute tour, there is a option to include a Bird’s of Prey demonstration which we actually didn’t opt for. (At this point the tiredness was kicking in and a journey to Dublin was still ahead of us). A visit to the cave is well worth it if in the region.

8 Places for Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream in Dublin

Whatever the weather here in Ireland, (preferably warm and unreal though as it totally suits us), this Ice Cream and frozen yogurt have craze has taken Dublin to the next level and we are becoming very continental and trendy meeting for Ice Cream instead of drink. If you have any more favourites we would love to hear about them.


locations in Georges Street Arcade and also Dawson Street.

Plenty of different combination with my favorite location is Georges Street Arcade is authentically fitted with wooden finishings

Unique selling point -apart from the amazing choices…. Guess your own size for a freebie. Nice touch.


Mooch Frozen Yogurt

Location: Dundrum is a newbie and then Georges Street.

A definite high contender for being generally amazing and I once got awesome Nutella protein ball here one day anyhow big fan if the peanut frozen yogurt.

Unique selling point  pink chairs and games


Murphy’s Ice Cream

Location: Wicklow Street

Like what a selection of ice cream and like everywhere (hopefully at least) Irish made with friendly staff.

Unique selling point: from Kerry and I do love a to support the friendly Cork neighbours of mine.

Team practicing our Specials in the Galway shop. Hard work to taste them! 😉 #icecream #ireland #murphysicecream #wildatlanticway

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Gino’s Gelato’s

Location: Grafton Street (twice), Henry Street, Georges Street, Blanchardstown, Liffey Valley and Jervis Street Shopping Centre.

Italian Style Ice cream, hundreds of flavors which you can also put on waffles. Score.

Unique selling point: Apart from the fact they are everywhere so you can trust them. Georges Street layout is pretty awesome.

If you haven't tried our famous Gino Rocher, have you even lived? 😆

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Location: Dun Laoghaire

Possibly a hot contender for being one if the busiest towns in Ireland when the weather is hot.

Unique Selling Point: Forgetting about the 75 people in front of you when you take you first taste.

Obligatory scrummdiddly post #whitegirlgoals #pursuitofcreamyness #sunsouthunsout #loadzafilters 📸💁🏼

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Coco Bo’s

Location: O’Connell Street

Totally one of my favorite places in town, great layout so much to choose from chocolates, waffles, sundaes and ice cream.

Unique Selling Point In the both times I have been here it was never overcrowded and maybe that is due to spacious size while it deserves to be.

Vai um crepe de sorvete de baunilha meu povoo?? Uma das coisas mais engraçadas que provei em Dublin. Um dos meus objetivos do intercâmbio é provar todas essas coisas diferentes e típicas de cada cultura, até pq não dar pra falar "não gosto" sem provar neh? Rsrs E diga-se de passagem, Dublin é o lugar certo para provar coisas diferentes e de culturas diferentes, já que a capital da Irlanda é uma das cidades da Europa com maior mix de cultura. Hoje foi o dia de experimentar o Japanese Ice Cream, super famoso por aqui, principalmente entre a molecada. Sobre o sabor: ótimo, principalmente pra quem é uma formiguinha como eu e adora doces 😂😂 Mas é SUPER difícil de comer, ajudaria mt se a massa do crepe fosse uma casquinha… Seria MUITO mais gostoso para o nosso paladar brasileiroo inclusive rsrs mas não deixa à desejar. Vale mt à pena, e pretendo voltar lá para provar as outras delícias da sorveteria japonesa 👀😜

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Location 33 Bachelors Walk

Last of three frozen yogurts options and only north of the Liffey with tables out front it makes the perfect combo for a lovely day.

Unique Selling Point Pancakes for brekkie or enough choice to make yourself happy.

18 degrees today. You will need a froyo 🍦

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Location: Ranelagh and Aungier Street

Only recently open in the last few months, Scoop is Ranelagh’s newest addition while I haven’t been here, I can’t imagine Ranelagh having a shocking place in their presence.

Unique Selling Point Location and looks real cute from the outside


Aussie Ice

Location: Dundrum Shopping Centre

Like this place is always busy even in the depths of winter so these guys must be doing something right, like maybe being in a warm shopping centre, HA this being said it does say a lot when you always have a good customer

May – Festivals and Events

Can you believe it’s May and we are actually are now in our fifth month into the year? Finally, the start of the summer officially, optimistically hoping the weather starts to become more glorious, with Ireland anything can happen when it come’s to weather, however, we can always hope and dream. As ever in terms of festivals, plenty is available through the country with so many options to cater for everyone and at all budget cost too. As always, if you have any suggestions to have added, let us know. Also, check out Cork Festivals separately.

Irish Vegan Festival In Belfast Waterfront on May 13th a day-long festival dedicated to all things vegan. It is ticketed event with all VIP tickets sold out but normal tickets still available on their website.

The 18th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival Another festival in Belfast, already started from 27 April – 7 May 2017 which as the title would suggest many days of events from the arts.

Dublin Dance Festival 10 days of events from the 18 to the 28th of May covering masterclasses, exhibitions, and performances.

Wellfest for all those who interested in all things fitness and health, Wellfest has returned to Dublin’s Herbert Park on May 6th to 7th.

Irish Aerial Dance Festival A dance storytelling festival in Letterkenny, County Donegal from 28th of May to the 10th of June.

Bealtane Festival Creatively comes at any age. In most cases, creativety develops with age. Age doesn’t define us, we do. Bealtine Festival is organised throughout the country to show us and prove that the ‘elderly’ are creative too. Ongoing for the month of May so make sure to check out the website.

International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival from May 1st to the 14th in Dublin, this broadly gay theme is another form of creatively should most definitely be considered,

Cos Cos Sean Nos Festival 2017 from May 1st to May 7th in Rathcormac, Drumcliffe, Co Sligo brings together many of storytellers, poets, and dancers.

Mayo International Choral Festival All over Mayo from 24th to the 28th of May,

Connemara Bog Festival Possibly one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of Ireland, the Connemara, this festival runs from May 28th to June 5th with a wide range of events from concerts in Kylemore Abbey to guided tours to a 5k family run.

PhotoIreland Festival 2017 Exhibitions and workshops throughout the month of May in Dublin.

Wexford Food Festival A two-day festival celebrating my favorite things food and drink. In its 8th year this festival is on from the 26th to the 29th of May.

#wexford#food #festival in full swing #sunshine #friends #family#fun #food

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James Connolly Festival While it maybe another Arts festival, it does have a very political influence also, in its third year this festival is on from the 8th to the 14th of May in Dublin.

International Literature Festival 2017 This literacy festival take place in Dublin from May 20th to the 29th. Tickets are available on their website.

Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival 2017 For those who love to walk and explore this is a perfect opportunity in Kilcrohane, Co Cork on the weekend of May 21st/May 22nd.

Life Festival This electric music festival takes place in Belevedere House, Co Westmeath on the 26th and 28th of May.

Festival season is just over 4 weeks away…. #Life17 #4weeks #Festival #linkinbio

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Westport Airshow Once the weather is any bit nice, the Westport Airshow would be a perfect day out on the 14th May 2017 along Westport Quay, as not only will the airshow happen, many events will take place as well.

Watch out for our #WestportAirshow branded fleet

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Wicklow Day out: Lough Dan and The Grange Kitchen

You need special shoes for hiking and a bit of a special soul aswell

Wicklow has earned the name as Garden of Ireland for no unsurprising reason. With a minimal distance down the M50, the county offers some breathtaking views that leaves one impressed at the complete change of world to that of the very built up Dublin. Personally, I love the motorway drive as you come into Bray and the mountains, trees stand up from either side to accompany you on the drive.

Coming off the Motorway at KIlmacanogue, heading up towards Glendalough and find yourself deep the Wicklow County near Roundwood is home to Lough Dan. Car parking is few and far between, so settle your car in somewhere that is safe by the side of the road.

The beauty of Lough Dan is the tranquil feeling as you get exploring the area with the peaceful experience of less crowded than many other popular tourist destinations. Lough Dan is a very popular destination for hikers and the area is most popular with locals/from Dublin then that of tour buses and the likes. After a three-hour hike/walk around the area, we had our breaths taken away from the sheer beauty of the area, some of the pictures could have been out of a filtered Instagram account.

The Grange Kitchen – On the return to Dublin this same day, we stopped at The Grange Kitchen, located on the outskirts of Roundwood. The Grange Kitchen is a cafe/restaurant with ample parking out front. The Cafe overlooks Djouce Golf Club with seating also available outside. The decor inside is quite homely and the service is friendly. By the apparent welcome, they do seem to attract a lot of passion trade by walkers which is comforting to know that arriving in trainers/runners are not less welcome. Food wise I choose a Ploughman Ham, Relish and cheeses sandwich which was really worth the wait.


Tell me, Do you have any areas you love to explore?? Any secrets areas??

Food and Drink Dublin – Elephant and Castle – Long Haul

I’m on a seafood diet everytime I sea food I eat it



Elephant and Castle –Address: 18 Temple Bar, Dublin 2

When you’re wing fan without a wing woman/man, you just go have the wings and that’s what I did. On a quiet Tuesday evening on way to event, I finally lost my Elephant and Castle virginity. I had the famous chicken wings. With a highly unattractive love of chicken wings with an ever love of the food, Elephant and Castle was always a name high on the list for chicken wings bucket list in Dublin. On 6 pm on a Tuesday, the place was yet to have crowd with a rush so a perfect time to get some munch by one’s self. On arrival, I was greeted and brought straight to a table, being honest, I didn’t glance at the menu I was handed as I entered for one single reason. Within 20 minutes of the order, the wings had arrived.

Worth the hype? Being honest yes. If I didn’t like them I wouldn’t write this. (cliche blogger, right?) The wings were spicy and meant for a starter for two. Without being too spicy, they had a great kick off them. Canal Bank Cafe will still be the winner, however, I do have a new friend with a more central location.

The Long Hall – 51 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2

Known to be one of the cities oldest pubs, this is quite an impressive statement in an old city. After many a bus or a stroll past this authentic, unique pub, curiosity finally caved this same evening and stumbled across the threshold to devour a glass of wine. The initial awkward interaction was me needing to run back out for an atm as a transaction under €10 was not viable. As I only wanted/needed to one, it was fine and sorted this. (Still by myself, lolcano, do not have pity on me, I enjoy this). For a Tuesday evening, the pub was really very busy, apart what appeared to be a treasure hunt, quite a few folks were chilling for an after work drink. No loud music, friendly staff, and not coming under the trendy that is currently appearing, it suited me, for my one drink by myself. Would very much recommend it for a place to come if you wanted to catch up for a chat/not get drunk/but want to still have a drink.

Cork Day Out – Buttevant and Doneraile

Your feet will take you, where your heart is

The beauty of North Cork is the green Irish country green, while not touching the coast, it is a different world to other parts of Cork. This is the beauty of Cork as a county, the differences between every part of it, all the towns have their own unique spirit separate to the next. Two towns in Cork that may not come to mind for a day out, is Buttevant and Doneraile. Rarely to be found in the bucket list of many and often unheard of by others. In the case of both places they are only miles apart and half way between Cork and Limerick, public transport, however, is not your best friend so a car is your best *only* option here.

Interesting Facts

  • Cahirmee House Fair takes place in Buttevant on July 12 every year, the whole village is home to horses walking the main street. I’ve on,y been once as a young child and rememeber peple everywhere.
  • Red Bull once held a

Places to Stay

Springford Hall just a few miles outside both towns is a friendly country hall that is situatated in beautiful grounds,

Check out Air BnB as most other BnBs and the likes are rare in these parts otherwise,Mallow is about 12km up the road.


Where to eat

In Buttevant you can choose between the cute cafe called Lylas Kitchen, getting a full feed The Orchard Restaurant or pub grub at The Crossroads.

Doneraile is home to Cafe Townhouse on the Main Street and within Doneraile Park would see the Tea Rooms

Things to do.

  • Walking is a complete favourite here at Irish Travel Key including the Steeple to Steeple which includes sights such as Ballybeg Priory and Columbarium and Buttevant Castle.
  • Explore Doneraile  Wildlife Park, one of the countries busies parks and no surprise why as it is absolutely stunning.