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One of the issues facing people when they go on holiday is what to do with their dog. Does he (or she) have to go off to kennels for a couple of weeks? Or is it a case of finding a dog-sitter? There is another solution which is to take your dog on holiday…and there’s no better place to go than Ireland.
With delightful countryside, long sandy beaches and welcoming pubs, Ireland is the perfect dog friendly holiday destination. On top of that one of the biggest plus points is there are no pet passport requirements on dogs travelling between the UK and Ireland. In many cases travelling on the ferry is free, when the dog stays in the car during the crossing, but some ferries also have on-board kennels for a small extra charge. And by choosing a self catering cottage from a company like Imagine Ireland, everyone’s comfort and relaxation is guaranteed. Imagine offer almost 600 cottages that welcome dogs – and what’s even better is that they stay free of any charges.
Where to choose to stay can be something of a dilemma, but here are some favourite dog friendly locations that have been tried and tested…
Brittas Beach, Country Wicklow
This fabulous stretch of sand is only a short drive from a choice of ferry ports, and there are several villages and places to stay close by. The two mile stretch of sand, backed by dunes, has held a Blue Flag award for five years. This does mean there can some restrictions, but there is good walking all around the Bay.
Bertra Beach, County Mayo
Just a short distance from the seaside town of Westport, this is another Blue Flag beach. There is a great walk around the whole headland of which the beach forms a part. This can take an hour - or two - depending upon your speed and how many pauses you take to enjoy the scenery. You may even spot some of the seals that frequent the bays.
Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay, County Galway
Where better for a dog than Dog’s Bay! This curving sandy beach is about a mile long. On the other side of the dunes is Gurteen Bay. Both bays have sandy beaches and are well sheltered, so are great for walking and viewing the local wildlife. The bays are also popular for windsurfing and other water sports. Interestingly the sand on the beaches is made from powdered seashells. There is good walking too in the countryside, and some great pubs.
Rather than getting feet and paws wet, there are some great countryside walks too.
Ballyhoura Loop Walks, County Limerick
Ballyhoura is in delightful countryside on the borders of Limerick, Cork and Tipperary. The unspoilt landscape has many interesting features, and a series of waymarked loop walks provide a variety of ways to explore the many attractions. For example, the Attychraan loop walk is an easy 2 hour walk through woods and along riverbanks with a variety of things to see en route.
Glendalough, County Wicklow
There are several walking and nature trails in the valley of Glendalough, besides the fascinating monastic ruins. Waymarked and varying from an easy half-hour stroll to a half day hillwalk, these are ideal for dog and owner, as they offer a real insight into Ireland’s history and heritage. There is good parking here too, and a variety of places to eat and drink upon your return.
Finally…if you and your dog fancy a little bit of fun, then why not enter in the pet races at Bantry, County Cork. They take place on Friday evenings through July and August.
Paws to get rid of stress too!
Wherever you and your dog decide to go in Ireland there’s an added bonus too. Holidays of course are nice and relaxing, but recent research has shown that dog owners are also in general healthier than the average member of the population. Dr Deborah Wells, a psychologist from Queen’s University in Belfast, looked at a whole selection of research papers that studied the health benefits of pet ownership. She reckoned that dog owners tended to have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Regular walks with a dog also contributed to better health.
Dr Wells said: "It is possible that dogs can directly promote our well-being by buffering us from stress, one of the major risk factors associated with ill-health. The ownership of a dog can also lead to increases in physical activity and facilitate the development of social contacts, which may enhance both physiological and psychological human health in a more indirect manner."
Your ideal holiday cottage base with Imagine Ireland
Basing yourself in a quality self catering holiday cottage means you can put your feet and paws up. With almost 600 cottages that welcome dogs you be sure that you have the widest choice. You can choose traditional Irish cottages or modern properties, and with accommodation that sleeps from 2 to 22, there is something that will suit every type of party. There are also great offers for smaller party sizes and two weeks for the price of one in selected cottages. And, of course, Imagine Ireland can make all your travel arrangements. Best of all, dogs stay free of charge!
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