By Martha Brennan
As the college term snowballs past us and mid – term works begin to pile up, many of us are dreaming about escaping for a weekend away. You don’t need to travel abroad or have a pile of money saved to enjoy a quick break though, and there are tons of options right here in Ireland to experience on the cheap. We’ve rounded up some weekend – away options here at SIN that won’t break the bank or your study habits for too long. With Air BnB options and winter deals starting to be advertised by hotels, take advantage of your student card and travel to our five top picks for a pre – Christmas weekend break – you deserve it.
Cork is an up and coming city with a huge cultural scene and student population. But in under half an hour, you can also reach some of West Cork’s beautiful coastline with cute towns such as Kinsale and Clonakilty a stone’s throw away. Citylink run direct buses to Cork for just €20 return from Galway.
The Ancient East have been pushing their tourism lately for a reason. Towns such as Wexford, Waterford and Wicklow not only have stunning scenery to offer but also tons of history. Kilkenny is our favourite place for a fun weekend getaway, and it’s a top spot for hen parties and stags. Not only does it offer great nightlife, but every historic sight is walkable and it’s a cheap town for someone to holiday on a budget. Make sure to visit Kilkenny Castle and the Black Abbey for some stunning ancient activities, the Smithwicks brewery is also an option if the weather isn’t on your side. There’s some really cheap Air BnBs on offer in Kilkenny, but it’s a little harder to get to from Galway than larger city destinations. We’d recommend doing the trip by car if possible, but if not, you can make your way to Dublin by train or coach and hop on a bus from there.
Belfast may seem like a trek but by car you can get there from Galway in just over three hours, and the journey is definitely worth it. Belfast is steeped in history and culture and has an amazing array of restaurants and bars on offer. Make sure to visit the historic streets of the Troubles – the Falls and the Shankill – to see the famous murals and experience both sides of the struggle. There are also countless museums to choose from. The Titanic museum has the largest collection of Titanic history in the world and is one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations. From here you can also see where the Titanic was built with the famous Harland and Wolff just around the corner. Make sure to visit the City Hall, who have a free exhibition of the City’s history on offer. The Cathedral Quarter is a must at nighttime, when its bars and restaurants buzz with people.
For a break closer to home, Clare has gorgeous offerings just a stone’s throw away by bus or train from Galway. Towns such as Ennis and Lahinch have become must – do points along the Wild Atlantic Way for visitors and natives alike. Lahinch has always been a popular destination for surfers, but there’s plenty to enjoy for everyone and it’s becoming an increasingly popular spot for group and couple breaks alike. Ennis is just a half hour away and is filled with Irish tradition and music. You can also take a trip to the Cliffs of Moher or the Burren for a proper touristy experience.
A weekend in Dingle is a must do for everyone living in Ireland. The small Kerry village may be tricky to get to, but it’s proven to be one of the most fun places to visit year after year with countless pubs, gorgeous scenery, amazing food and of course, plenty of Murphy’s ice cream and Gaelic tongues. You’ll definitely need someone to drive down here but the journey is scenic and can be done in about three and a half hours. We promise it’s worth the hassle!