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? We call it the Celtic Spirit. It’s hard to describe, but if you travel to West Wales and Ireland’s Ancient East, it’s easy to discover.
Recent years have been difficult for all of us. Now in 2022, we are ready to discover new places. And for many it’s about finding lands where we can feel closer to nature and history. Places to restore a sense of balance and harmony in this pressured and sometimes scary world. But there is no need to travel a long way to feel a million miles away from the everyday.
Celtic Routes is a collection of authentic Celtic experiences. They offer 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.
Celtic Routes encourage visitors to go beyond tourism honeypots and take roads less travelled. In Wales, Pembrokeshire is a popular destination but it’s still possible to avoid the crowds and really get to know the county. In the Preseli Hills you can walk ancient tracks through captivating prehistoric landscapes – it’s known in Welsh as Gwlad Hud a Lledrith, meaning ‘Land of Magic and Enchantment’. If you visit Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber, particularly at dawn or dusk, you really have a sense of time of place. The hustle and bustle of modern life will feel a world away.
There is no need to travel a long way to feel a million miles away from the everyday… Celtic Routes encourage visitors to go beyond tourism honeypots and take roads less travelled.
North Pembrokeshire shares many characteristics with Ceredigion, its neighbour to the north. A dramatic and beautiful coastline, wild and wonderful uplands and a strong Welsh culture. Visitors to Ceredigion who decide to leave the coast and head for hills will be rewarded with an area of astounding natural beauty, otherwise known as the Cambrian Mountains. Here you will feel close to the land as you tread in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims enroute to ruined Strata Florida Abbey. And as you enjoy the tranquillity of the Teifi pools, you are more likely to hear skylarks and the whistling call of Red Kites soaring above, rather than the constant hum of traffic.
Carmarthenshire is farming country. Agriculture has always been important, so you’ll find plenty of places serving food and drink from the area, locally sourced, prepared with care and presented with passion. Towns in the county are blossoming, alive with independent shops and full of products and stories connected to the county. You can also find your lunch in the wild. On a foraging experience along the Carmarthenshire coastline, you’ll learn how to find prawns, mussels, cockles, wild samphire, sea anemones and scarlet elf cup mushrooms. The reward for your efforts is your very own zero-waste, organic lunch on the beach.
Southeast Ireland is less visited than some other parts. But a visit to Ireland is not complete without venturing to this corner known as Ireland’s Ancient East.
Visitors to Dublin can head to the nearby Wicklow mountains to get a real sense of being in the “Emerald Isle”. In the foothills lies scenic Blessington Lakes. As well as being the main source of drinking water for Dublin, it’s a popular base for water-based activities like fishing, boating and kayaking. You can walk or cycle the Blessington Greenway along the lakeshore and into natural woodland. Or drive the 26km route around the valley. Novelist and poet Brendan Behan described his trip to the area as a ‘journey to the jewel of Wicklow’.
Perched on a green hill overlooking the River Bann in north Wexford is a special place. Ferns is special because here, the many strands of ancient stories which shape modern Ireland, come together. In this Ancient Capital of Leinster, you can trace the steps of Saints, Celts, Vikings, and Normans who have all influenced the nation we know today. Stay in nearby Enniscorthy and visit the castle which has played a key role in Irelands turbulent history.
Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and has attracted visited for 1000’s of years. In 914 a fleet of Viking ships landed in what is now Waterford City. They settled, forged alliances and established trading routes and became an important part of Ireland’s story. If you join The Epic Tour of the Viking Triangle, you’ll discover six national monuments that date from 1190 AD to 1783. This is a wonderful way for visitors to get an overview of Irish history in Waterford.
If you are planning on visiting Ireland or Wales in 2022, make sure you take a Celtic Route and truly discover the Celtic Spirit; celticroutes.info
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