Us Irish are obsessed with getting a good colour. Like many of our fellow northern Europeans, we crave the heat of the sun on our backs, probably because for the most part, it tends to be such a relative novelty for us — this summer just past notwithstanding! It should therefore come as no surprise that the most popular holiday destinations out of Ireland all tend to be sun destinations in either the southern Mediterranean or the Canaries. Whilst perfectly understandable, it does us a disservice as we tend to discount without even thinking about it, all those wonderful Nordic destinations such as the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, not to mention Iceland or Greenland. These countries boast summers far better than ours but also offer spectacular scenery and locals whose command of the English language would often put ours to shame. It is during the winter months however that many of these countries come to life and when you can experience activities such as dog sled racing, skiddoos, the Northern Lights plus a host of other outdoor activities. Scandinavian Airlines have been operating direct flights to many of these Nordic capitals for years and Ireland is about to get its first ever direct air service to Reykjavik in Iceland next summer when new low-cost carrier Wow Air launches a thrice-weekly service between the two capitals. With flights taking just two hours and twenty minutes between Dublin and Reykjavik, it represents an exciting development and hopefully one that will help to change the default mindset of Irish holidaymakers that looking northwards is worth considering.
Justly famous for its land of ‘fire and ice’ reputation, Iceland is about as close as Irish people can get to seeing volcanoes up close and personal. Iceland has also grown in popularity in recent years as a film location for blockbusters such as the recent ‘Aliens’ sequel — Prometheus! Given Ireland’s historic links with the Vikings and the fact that Icelanders are generally regarded as one of the most homogeneous races in the world (genetically speaking) whose DNA can still be traced back to their Viking antecedents, it will almost be like long lost cousins meeting again! Hopefully, this new service will act as a catalyst whereby Irish travellers will discover some of their Nordic roots and begin a journey of discovery across all of the lands to the north of their Emerald Isle!