Get packing this St Patrick's Day

Ireland-holidays.jpg
St Patrick's Day seems like as good as any time to explore the Emerald Isle.
St Patrick's Day seems like as good as any time to explore the Emerald Isle.

It's hard not to be inspired by the latest ad from Tourism Ireland, released to coincide with St Patrick's Day. Maybe it's Liam Neeson's dulcet tones, which narrate the short video, or perhaps the lush, green scenery that flashes mesmerically past on the screen. Either way, we couldn't help making 'Irish getaway' the subject of endless Google searches this week. And guess what? There are plenty of gorgeous places just waiting to be discovered - plus some great deals to make the break even more attractive. Here are three of the best:

Tourism Ireland seemed the obvious starting point. The website has plenty of ideas for places to visit on the Emerald Isle but our favourite was the three-day itinerary tracing St Patrick's footsteps in Northern Ireland. The trip kicks off in Belfast, hailed as one of the best city break destinations in Europe and now home to the new Titanic exhibition. From there, it's across country to Armagh, the smallest of Northern Ireland's six counties and the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland since the 5th century. Obviously, the two St Patrick's cathedrals are must-sees. Day Two takes you to Downpatrick where the patron saint first started his mission to spread Christianity. He is also believed to be buried here. Round the return trip to Belfast off by stopping at some of the many scenic abbeys and monasteries this area is famed for before, finally, raising a toast to the holy man in Kelly's, Belfast's oldest pub.

If you'd rather avoid the beaten track, a tiny settlement off the coast of Ireland could be right up your street. We're talking about Dursey Island in County Cork, which lies at the southwestern tip of the Beara Peninsula and measures just 6.5km long and 1.5km wide. This minuscule outpost has just six residents and is connected to the mainland by Ireland's only cable car. Beware though - you might be sharing the 10-minute ride with local livestock! Once you're there, you'll find Dursey a walkers' paradise, renowned for its nesting colonies of seabirds. It's also the start of Europe's E8 Long Distance Walk, which spans most of the Continent, ending in Istanbul. Although Dursey has no shops, pubs or restaurants, a small number of holiday homes can be rented on the island.

Fancy seeing Ireland for free? Then our final suggestion could be just the ticket. That's because the Telegraph - in association with Tourism Ireland - is offering one reader a holiday over there worth £2,000. It's a bespoke trip so the winner will have a free hand in creating the getaway of their dreams. It could take in sights as diverse as the Giant's Causeway to Dublin's popular Guinness Storehouse. To be in with a chance, you'll need to enter before midnight on 31st October 2015. What's that saying about 'the luck of the Irish' again?! We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for you...