Brenda O’Sullivan is an agricultural engineer with a passion for travel, sharing her adventures on Instagram @thisgirlswanderlust_ She also shares what it is like to travel with chronic illness, and is one half of the team behind Joined At The Hip Tours, offering group adventures to Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Mozambique.
Staycation: Being from the Kingdom of Kerry, I may be biased, but Killarney is perfect for an Irish staycation. During my most recent visit, I stayed in the lovely Murphy’s of Killarney. There is a selection of restaurants and price ranges to choose from and so much to do. We walked the gardens at Muckross, visited Torc waterfall, drove the Black Valley and visited Ladies’ View and the Gap of Dunloe along the way.
City break: The best city I’ve been to – and have visited several times – is Amsterdam. I love to wander the streets. Amsterdam is so picturesque. You can do it on a budget or a blow-out. From taking a cruise of the canals and visiting Anne Frank’s house, to the numerous beautiful coffee shops, there is so much to do. For budget accommodation, I recommend The Flying Pig, or blow out, Amsterdam Barbizon Palace.
Sun holiday: Who doesn’t want to visit the Amalfi coast, right? In five days, I saw so much. I based myself in Sorrento as accommodation was more reasonable and day tripped to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. All worth visiting, and all very different. The hotel in Sorrento I stayed in was Grand Hotel President, and had the most incredible view of Mount Vesuvius. But I can confirm the fresh pasta and gelato is reason alone to visit Sorrento!
Michael Hennessy Cullen and Leona Tuck are a husband-and-wife team who highlight the highs and lows of manual wheelchair access throughout Ireland – as well as exploring accessible adventures – on Twitter and Instagram @thestruggleiswheel
Staycation: With an accessible national park and coastal boardwalks for miles, Donegal for us is the new emerging county for wheelchair accessible tourism. We used the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny as a base and explored Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head, alongside Fanad lighthouse, Donegal boardwalk resort, Wild Ireland sanctuary and, of course, the stunning Glenveagh National Park that collaborates with local bike hire service, Grassroutes.
Summer holiday: For accessibility, Tenerife is always in our go-to sun holiday and Fanabe Costa Sur hotel in Costa Adeje is the perfect reliable resort break. From accessible promenades to beach access mats, we’d recommend booking a whale-watching tour out in the ocean with the Shogun down at Puerto Colón harbour. If you need a break from the commercial spots, rent a car and drive up to the clouds and pine forests surrounding Mount Teide.
Gemma Kingston is the co-founder of The Family Edit, an online hub dedicated to all things family-friendly, from travel, food and adventures to classes and activities. Visit www.thefamilyedit.ie or follow on Instagram @thefamilyedit
Staycation: Mount Falcon Estate in Co Mayo provides pure escapism with lots of activities – hawk walks, fishing, clay shooting, archery and a driving range to name a few. With lots to explore locally such as Belleek Castle and the delicious Jack Fenn’s Cafe or a stroll around Enniscoe House, you’re also close to beautiful neighbouring Co Sligo. The Queen Maeve Trail and Strandhill are some of our favourites, and be sure to call into the gang at Shells Cafe!
City break: With a multitude of fabulous hotels to choose from, The River Lee is a great base to explore the beautiful city of Cork. A short stroll brings you to Fitzgerald’s Park, Crawford Art Gallery, Nano Nagle Place or Cork City Gaol. Be sure to check out the Marina Market for an absolute culinary (and social!) delight. And a short car or train ride will bring you to Fota Wildlife Park, which is a guaranteed family pleaser.
Summer holiday: Martinhal Sagres Family Resort in Portugal is everything you could wish for in a sunshine family holiday. From beach to pools, bike tracks to water sports, activity rooms for babies to teenagers! Think restaurants with trampoline and play area for kids, think relaxation at the spa while your kids choose from five kids clubs, think of a family sun holiday where both kids and adults are catered for. Family-friendly at its best!
Sarah Slattery is a travel writer and publisher best known as “The Travel Expert”. Explore her website www.thetravelexpert.ie for everything from lists of beachfront Airbnbs in Ireland to bucklet-list trip inspiration or follow on Instagram @the_travel_expert
Staycation: With my family from Kerry, I’m sure I should say The Kingdom was my favourite staycation, but the truth is the Inishowen Peninsula captured a piece of my heart last year. Walk the coastal path around Malin Head, drive through Mamore Gap, explore Fort Dunree and spend the day at Kinnagoe Bay – it has to be one of the best beaches in Ireland. If time permits, take the Lough Swilly Ferry and explore the Fanad Peninsula too.
City break: It wasn’t until I spent three nights in Lisbon last year that I realised just how much the city has to offer. As well as being on the coast, it has a gorgeous old town that is a pleasure to get around. I recommend taking a tuk-tuk tour, as the trams can be very crowded. Make sure you visit Time Out Market and LX Factory for food, and set aside a day to visit Sintra – you won’t regret it.
Summer holiday: There are so many places I could list, but a place I am hankering to go back to is Puglia in Italy. We just scratched the surface on our last visit but from what we saw, I know I want to go back for more. Stay in a traditional Trulli in Alberbello, explore the whitewashed town of Ostuni and dine in one of Europe’s most scenic restaurants, Ristorante Grotta Palazzese in Polignano a Mare. Make sure to combine a trip to Puglia with a night or two in the magnificent city of Matera, it is one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited.
As a travel, food and wine writer, Melanie May is a triple threat! The roadtrip enthusiast – who also completed five years of solo travel- can be followed on Instagram @_maymelanie
Staycation: Donegal excites and delights with its weather-beaten beauty and preserved traditions. Base yourself in Donegal town or Killybegs and go off exploring. Visit the Donegal Craft Village, roam the ruins of Red Hugh’s Castle, climb Slieve League – some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe – and soak up the beauty of Donegal’s deserted sandy beaches. Malinbeg and Fintra are two of my favourites.
Summer holiday: For its cuisine, culture and coastline, Sardinia is super. Absorb the vibrant atmosphere in the city of Cagliari before heading to Sant’Antioco, where you can immerse yourself in the history of one of Italy’s oldest towns. Spend your days soaking up the rays on the white sandy beaches, which have naturally heated water pools in the sea thanks to some thermal springs. You can also get out on the water-sailing, surfing, windsurfing and kite-surfing. However, my favourite activity was aperitivo — consuming the bounty of local food and wine. Sardinia really is a great destination for the culturally and culinary curious.
Travel writer and road tripper Thom Breathnach, loves to get off the beaten track; one of his most recent trips was to see the polar bears in Churchill, Canada. As well as his role as travel editor with The Irish Examiner, he also shares great tips on Instagram @thombreathnach
Staycation: Visiting Ireland’s offshore islands always feels like a staycation to the max — I guess it’s the added feeling of escape that comes with a ferry ride! One of my favourites is Tory Island off the Donegal mainland. The remote island offers a great switch-off with incredible scenery and hidden coves, which in summer almost give the air of a Celtic Caribbean! Due to traditional farming methods, the corncrake still thrives here to this day too!
City break: If you’d asked me a couple of weeks ago I would have said Kyiv as it’s always been a favourite of mine, but in neighbouring Poland, I think Gdansk is really overlooked as a destination. There are great connections from Ireland and with its postcard old town, gorgeous marina and very affordable dining and accommodation, it really stacks up as an alternative Baltic break to Copenhagen.
Summer holiday: Understandably in Ireland we love to migrate south in the summer, but there’s something really magical about that long seasonal stretch in the Nordic countries. I just returned from the Faroe Islands, which really blew me away; the capital Torshavn is like a quirky, grass-roofed Legoland with delicious food and fashion, while beyond it are 18 incredible islands loaded with lush mountains, waterfalls and lakes. You also can zip up there pretty handily via Edinburgh.