With a joint heritage going back millennia, south-east Ireland and west Wales are the perfect destinations to immerse yourself in the Celtic Spirit. 

This advertising promotion is sponsored by our friends at Celtic Routes.

You’ll find it in the land, the sea and the sky. You’ll find it in the people, their languages and their stories. And you’ll find it in the rivers, the trees and the stones. But what is it?

It’s hard to describe, but if you travel to west Wales and Ireland’s ancient east, it’s easy to discover.

Recently many more people have come to appreciate the great outdoors. Now, in 2022, we are once again ready to discover new places. And for many it’s about finding somewhere they can feel closer to the wonders of the natural environment and restore a sense of balance and harmony in our pressured and sometimes scary world.

Ireland and Wales are separated by sea but share an indestructible bond – a joint Celtic heritage, with cultural and natural connections that go back millennia. Today, tourist initiative Celtic Routes offers fresh ideas and inspiration to discover the counties of Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow in south-east Ireland and Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in west Wales.

The more off-the-beaten-track you go, the better you’ll get to know Wales and Ireland. One driving route you will not want to miss is the Ring of Hook coastal route. Here, around every other bend is a quiet beach, a crumbling fortress, a stately abbey or a seafood restaurant, and at the tip of the peninsula stands the world’s oldest working lighthouse.

Head for the hills

Pretty soon, you’ll want to leave your car behind and head for the hills, or walk along the shore. Walkers get to see the places in high definition. Walking gives you the chance not just to see, but to truly know the place. You have time to touch, smell, taste, meet and explore – the things you can’t experience from a car or a coach. You will uncover some truly memorable places.

Bray Head, Wicklow, Ireland

How about a walk along the 131km (81 mile) Wicklow Way? One of Ireland’s most popular walking trails, it runs through a wild expanse of coastline, woodland and imposing mountains.

The former Waterford City to Dungarvan railway line is the route for a 46km (28 mile) off-road cycling and walking trail. You will marvel at the beautiful landscapes you pass by, which include the River Suir, the Comeragh Mountains, the Copper Coast and Dungarvan Bay.

On the other side of the Irish Sea, the Wales Coast Path allows you to discover all the hidden coves, wonderful beaches and untamed nature along the Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, and Ceredigion coasts. Highlights include the secluded cove of Cilborth in Ceredigion, accessed either from nearby Llangrannog beach at low tide or via the cliff steps from the coastal path.

Cefn Sidan, Carmarthenshire, Wales

To the south, the route becomes the 186-mile-long Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It covers almost every kind of coastal landscape, from volcanic rock headlands, limestone arches, blowholes and sea stacks, to narrow glacial inlets. And with around 35,000ft of rise and fall it will certainly keep you fit. In Carmarthenshire you must experience the vast expanse of Cefn Sidan beach. Ideally get up before dawn to watch the early sunlight trickle out over the dunes – this is when you will feel even closer to the Celtic Spirit.

Wonderful wildlife

In every county, there is opportunity to appreciate the local wildlife – from a suitably close distance of course. You can spot dolphins off New Quay harbour or on a boat tour around Waterford Estuary.

At Cemaes Head in Pembrokeshire and Brides Head in Wicklow it will most likely be seals you’ll encounter. The Celtic tradition of living in harmony with nature carries on at Wexford Wildfowl Reserve: here you’ll find over 250 species of birds including, at times, over 40 per cent of the world’s population of Greenland white-fronted geese.

Waterford Greenway, Ireland

At the end of each day, no doubt, you’ll want to share your experiences with locals and other travellers. Each county offers characterful towns and cities, full of great places to eat drink and chat. Places like Waterford, Enniscorthy, Bray, St David’s, Tregaron, Laugharne and many more.

If you are planning on visiting Ireland or Wales in 2022, make sure you take a Celtic Route and truly discover the Celtic spirit.

For more information and inspiration, visit the Celtic Routes website.