I wake up slowly feeling rested and relaxed after a deep sleep. I turn and curl up in a fetal position soaking in all of the warmth under the covers as the light of day starts to illuminate the curtains of my hotel room. Then I hear it – pitter patter, pitter patter on the glass window. My brain slowly flickers on and makes sense of the sounds. Damn…it’s raining, now what I am going to do?
Ireland will throw all sorts of weather at you so it’s pretty likely that during your holiday time in Ireland it will rain, blow, and downpour at some point – probably many times. So it’s great to have a few ideas in your itinerary for what to do on a rainy day along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
Tour Old Homes
While it rained sideways outside I went inside the Bantry House and Gardens in County Cork and was greeted with a warm crackling fire. The Bantry House established around 1765 has a complex family tree attached to it, but through the centuries has been preserved as one of the few old family homes surviving the Civil War in Ireland (1922 – 23). In fact, the main reason it did survive the battles was because it was used as a hospital during the Civil War and for years after.
While the weather was wild outside, my imagination ran wild inside. If you are a daydreamer like myself, the moment you step into the house you’ll be transported into another era of clinking fine china in dining halls, waltzing in ball gowns, and secret business being done in the library. The Bantry House artifacts were a result of extensive family travel in Europe and Russia in the 1820’s.
And when the rain lets up don’t miss the beautiful Bantry House Gardens surrounding the property!
See more pictures of Bantry House and Gardens
Bantry House Website
Hours: Closed in Winter Months – check hours on website
Cost: €11 includes House and Garden access
Stay: Treat yourself to an overnight at the Bantry House Bed & Breakfast
Visit a Studio
Wind was swirling outside, and the pottery wheel was swirling inside. Take a rainy day along the Wild Atlantic Way and use it to visit artist studios. I stopped at Dunbeacon Pottery on Sheepshead Peninsula and was excited to find Potter, Helen Ennis, hard at work in her studio. Drawing inspiration from the County Cork & the Wild Atlantic Way, Helen designs pieces that capture the essence of her surrounding landscape. In fact, her pottery takes on the color palette of the surrounding sea in subtle blues, greens, and cream making my day feel brighter the moment I walked in.
I talked to Helen about how she got her start as an apprentice and landed this beautiful studio right along the coast. She bought the studio and pottery business in 2000 from an old potter who wanted to see the legacy continue when he retired. She has built up her own line focusing on functional items for the home such as teapots, mugs, vases, pitchers and bowls.
Dunbeacon Pottery Website
Location: West Country Cork, 3 miles from the village of Durrus in the direction of Goleen. Visitors are welcome to come and browse the showroom and watch the making process.
Phone: 027 61036
Explore Abandoned Grounds
If it’s pouring rain, then head to the Muckross House in Killarney National Park and do an indoor tour of this stunning Nineteenth Century Victorian Mansion. However if the rain lets up a little and you have some proper rain gear, then head on over to the Abandoned Muckross Abbey and explore the spiritual side of Killarney National Park.
The abbey was founded in 1448 by Donal McCarthy Mor. The ruins of the church, cloister, and courtyard tell the story of the 15th century home to the Observatine Franciscan Monks and their century long struggle. Wander around the cemetery outside the abbey (which is still in use today) and then go inside to see the various tombs and climb up to the upper levels to explore this beautiful old structure from above. The centerpiece of the ruins is the yew tree which stands in the center of the cloisters; weathered, twisted, and majestic.
The abbey is still well preserved, so there are areas that are covered yet if the rain starts to become troublesome.
Pubs and Music
This probably goes without saying – but one of the best places to weather the storm in Ireland is inside any pub along the Wild Atlantic Way. Places like Harry’s Bar in Inishowen County Donegal will offer you a warm fire, local craft beer, toe tapping music, and a seat at the bar where you can talk to locals all afternoon until the storm passes. I spent one of my favorite afternoons there listening to music and talking to locals!
Don’t let the weather get you down, there’s plenty of things to do on a rainy day in Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way!