Explore your artistic side on the island

As a land well known for inspiring saints, scholars, filmmakers, and writers, you’re sure to love these artistic pursuits across the island of Ireland.

Ireland’s literary heritage combined with its idyllic landscapes makes it an ideal location for a creative writing course. With awe-inspiring landscapes, the west of Ireland is a must for any writer. At The Creative Writer’s Workshop, writers can embark on retreats surrounded by Connemara’s smattering of lakes or the lunar landscape of the Burren, County Clare, while you write that next chapter – pure bliss.

If the canvas is more your thing, sign up for a 3-5 day painting course with BBC TV artist Dermot Cavanagh at his studio in County Tyrone – or you can choose among a host of locations for varied scenic inspiration, including Donegal, Wicklow, and Connemara.

Ready to unwind and spark some creative inspiration? Gabriele Tottenham of the Blaney Spa came from her native Germany to Fermanagh 30 years ago and was so taken with the place that she stayed. Her log cabin spa on the shores of Lough Erne offers a soothing mix of yoga classes, a hot tub, a sauna, and massage therapies. You’re sure to leave feeling rejuvenated and enlightened.

In Ireland’s Ancient East, Vivien O’Malley creates striking ceramics at her studio in Dunhill, County Waterford. Just take one look at her Luminosity or Eroded collections, and you’ll see what we mean! If you fancy learning a bit of the craft, classes are available here for adults as well as children. Sustainability is also one of her key concerns, so her products use recyclable, recycled, or biodegradable packaging as much as possible.

Seaweed foraging before lunch! In County Mayo, © Tourism Ireland.
Seaweed foraging before lunch! In County Mayo, © Tourism Ireland.

Fancy cooking up a storm? Chef, author, and TV presenter Darina Allen has been credited with an Irish food revolution. Her Ballymaloe Cookery School, with its 100-acre organic farm, restaurant, and guesthouse, is an international brand in itself. The school offers 12-week residential courses for aspiring professional chefs and day and half-day courses with famous visiting chefs.

Seeing the journey from garden to kitchen to the plate – all of 10 meters in this case – is the ethos behind the organic vegetarian cookery school on Macalla Farm, on Clare Island, County Mayo. For dinner, workers on the farm climb over rock pools and lean into the sea to cut some “spaghetti seaweed”. One hour later, they’re in the kitchen learning to chop it; two hours later and it’s a Chinese stir-fry with an Irish seaweed twist.

And if you love gin, you’re in luck – the island of Ireland’s gin industry is booming, so you’ll find immersive distillery tours across the island. At Listoke Gin School in County Louth, you can tour the distillery, create your very own botanical blend, enjoy a spread of local meats and cheese, and then bottle and seal your gin to take home.

Which Ireland experience gets your creative juices flowing?

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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