The 55 Best Places to Visit in Ireland (With Photos)
If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Ireland, then you’ve landed on the right blog post.
Ireland and I have a special relationship. Ireland was the first country I visited overseas, and my experiences there had a major impact on my life.
Since that first trip in 2006, I’ve traveled across Ireland numerous times. And I’ve explored (almost) every nook and cranny; small town, hidden cove, and rocky coastline that the country has to offer.
Along my travels, I’ve collected the list of the 55 best places to visit in Ireland. I’ve divided them up below in sections to make it easy to plan a visit to each and every one.
Note: I’ve tried very hard to display the current list of admission prices and sites hours. But as they change by season, please double-check before visiting any of the sites.
The Best Places to Visit In Ireland
We’re kicking off this massive list of the best places to visit in Ireland with the Dublin Area.
Because, for most travelers, Dublin is the entry and exit point for the country. And I want you to start your Ireland travels off right!
Dublin’s the mecca of tourism in Ireland. And while the best places in the country reside outside the major cities, there are some sites in Dublin that simply can’t be missed.
Let’s see everything that Dublin offers.
Ireland’s most famous drink has a massive brewery in Dublin. And even if you’re not a fan of beer, the Guinness Storehouse is a must when visiting Dublin.
The Storehouse is a massive building with multiple levels. Each floor has a different theme, but the whole interior comes together to form the shape of a pint of Guinness. And it’s known as the largest pint in the world.
The fun and interactive self-guided tour takes you through the history and brewing process of the beer. As you make your way through the seven levels, the tour culminates at the top of the factory.
A large glass dome that gives a 360-degree picturesque view of Dublin. Here you get a free pint of Guinness as you enjoy the view of the city.
My goodness, the Guinness Storehouse is worth visiting. And a perfect way to start or bookend any trip in Ireland.
Guinness Storehouse Travel Info
Open All Year, Expect for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Stephens Day.
Opening Hours: 9:30 – 7 pm.
During the Summer: 9:30 – 9 pm.
Trinity’s, unlike any other college campus in the world. The white stone buildings that make up the campus are unlike the rest of Dublin. No building on the campus in as beautiful as the library.
The arched roofs and massive dark shelves filled with over 200,000 of Ireland’s oldest books make up the library. It’s an architectural masterpiece and Ireland’s largest library.
The Book of Kells, the main highlight of Trinity College, is a 1000-year-old book containing the New Testament.
Ornately designed this colorful and illuminated manuscript – written in Latin – is Ireland’s most important cultural treasure.
Well preserved and the most famous medieval manuscript in the world, the Book of Kells warrants a visit.
Book of Kells Info
Mon – Sat (May – Sept)
08:30 – 17:00
Sun (May – Sept)
09:30 – 17:00
Mon – Sat (Oct – April)
09:30 – 17:00
Sun (Oct – April)
12:00 – 16:30
- Adult: €11 – €14
- Family: €28
First impressions might make you think Grafton Street is a shoppers tourist trap. And that’s true to a certain degree. But Grafton Street’s much more than solely shopping.
Grafton has taken on a life of its own and has become a focal point for those traveling through Dublin.
Strange shops, and bright-colored neon signs line stony walkways. Street performers, musicians, Guinness-fueled pubs, and buskers draw you into the atmosphere.
It’s an easy place to lose yourself listening to local music armed with a pint, meandering down the side streets, or window shopping.
And if the crowds start to get overwhelming, then head next door to St. Stephen’s Green – an incredible park in Dublin (which we will talk about next).
Hi! I’m Stephen Schreck (pronounced like SHREK), but don’t worry I’m not green.
I help people discover the world by helping them plan their trips with useful travel tips and guides.
A truly scenic sanctuary, St Stephen’s Green takes you out of the bustling city. And into a lush landscape of flora and fauna, and tranquil pools overshadowed by canopies of overgrown trees.
This park is often busy with joggers or bikers. But the parks massive, so stray off the paved paths and you’ll soon find yourself alone. And enjoying phenomenal landscape in the heart of Ireland’s most popular city.
Sitting just south of Grafton Street; St. Stephen’s Green a haven for those looking to trade the busy city for some peace and relaxation.
All right enough, churches, shopping, and parks. Let’s get back to the booze. The Jameson Distillery combines two of the things I love most about Ireland, booze, and history.
The Museum isn’t as lavish as the Guinness Storehouse, but still worth it. After taking the tour and learning the rich history of whiskey, you get to sample three different kinds yourself.
After leaving the museum hand around the corner to the attached whiskey bar. This large, lively tavern has an assortment of fun Jameson drinks to sample.
Chances are you’ll be stumbling away hours later with a smile on your face.
James Distillery Hours, Tickets, and Location
May – September
Mon – Sat: 08:30 – 17:00
Sun: 09:30 – 17:00
October – April
Mon – Sat: 09:30 – 17:00
Sun: 12:00 – 16:30
- Adult: €11 – €14
- Family: €28
St Patrick’s Cathedral’s – a Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic church – famed for its elegant architecture.
It’s the largest church in Ireland and one of the most visited sites in Dublin.
The history of St. Patrick Cathedral dates back over 800 years, and it’s the last cathedral in Ireland that has daily sung services.
The cathedral’s also the burial place for the author, Jonathan Swift. Swift was Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and also wrote the renowned Gulliver’s travels.
Family(2 adults & 2 children under 16): €18.00
Group Rates (10+): €7.00
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Travel Info
March – October
Mon – Fri: 09:30 – 17:00
Sat: 09:00 – 18:00
Sun: 09:00 – 10:30 / 12:30 – 14:30 / 16:30 – 18:00
November – February
Dublin Castle is the heart of history in the Pale. The castle, located on the site of an ancient Viking settlement, broke ground at the start of the 13th century.
And for hundreds of years, it was a seat of power for the English during their long rule of Ireland.
The cliche “if these walls could talk,” fits aptly here, as Dublin Castle has been the setting for the most important events in Ireland’s history.
There’s a lot to see and do here, and you want to experience the castle to it’s fullest you’ll want a guided tour.
Dublin Castle Travel Information
March – October
Monday – Sunday: 09:45 – 17:15
Address: Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Temple Bar District is to drinking and local music what Grafton Street is to shopping.
Lively bars and pubs line the maze of streets, with small hole-in-the-wall stores and overpriced souvenirs shops peppered throughout.
While the Temple Bar District’s one of the fun-loving areas in the city, it’s also one of the most touristy.
And while these pubs retain a local atmosphere, they’re bursting with tourists. The most popular bar being Temple Bar, itself.
Temple Bar District doesn’t provide the most authentic pub experience, but by the time your stumbling home, you won’t mind.
Things to Know About Template Bar District
Best Bars and Pubs
- Temple Bar
- The Norseman
- Stag’s Head
- Auld Dubliner
Seemingly odd, Glasnevin Cemetery’s one of the best things to do in Dublin. Being the 2nd largest cemetery in Ireland, it covers over 124 acres and over 1 1/2 million people interred here.
If you have Irish heritage, there’s a good chance you can trace your roots back to someone in Glasnevin.
The Cemetery has an eerie beauty and walks you through the, often complex, history of Ireland.
Many of Ireland’s famous heroes and icons are buried here.
Like Daniel O’Connell (Ireland’s Liberator) Kevin Barry, and Éamon de Valera. Among other writers, poets, and politicians.
Glasnevin Cemetery (also known as Prospect Cemetery) is free to enter, and there is nearby paid parking. But to get the most out of the site, enter the museum, and take a guided tour you should plan on spending around 6 – 15 Euros.
Glasnevin Cemetery Travel Info
Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00 (18:00 on the weekends)
Address: Finglas Rd, Northside, Glasnevin, Co. Dublin, D11 XA32, Ireland
The Irish Museum of Modern Art (Or IMMA for short) gives visitors a hodgepodge art style to admire.
Living at the crossroads where contemporary art and life meet the IMMA has a vast and diverse collection of artists’ works.
It features a retinue of artists who challenge and inspire one another.
General Admission: Free
Special Exhibition: Price Varies
Paid exhibitions are free on Tuesdays. But advanced booking is recommended.
IMMA Hours and location Info
Monday – Friday: 11:30 – 17:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10:00-17:30 pm
Address: Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland
The Hill of Tara plays an important role in the ancient history of Ireland. The hill was the seat of power, reaching as far back as prehistoric times.
Known as Temair (dwelling for the gods), this small hill was the ceremonial site where the 142 High Kings of Ireland were inaugurated.
The site contains many earthworks dating back to the Neolithic era.
But the most popular site is the Lia Fáil, or rather stone of destiny, sitting at the top of the hill.
Hill of Tara Travel Information
Daily: 10.00 – 18.00 – (Visitor Centre)
Address: Castleboy, Co. Meath, Ireland
The Hill of Slane overlooks the prehistoric mounds in the Boyne Valley. Dindshenchas legends say that the old king Fir Bolg was buried here.
But today most of the myths surrounding this hill focus around one of the most iconic figures in Ireland’s lore, St. Patrick.
Here, on top of the hill, St. Patrick lit the paschal fire, defying the pagan King, Laoghaire, who was at Tara. And starting his campaign to make Christianity the religion of Ireland.
Because of this, the Hill of Slane has become a pilgrimage site for Christians traveling Ireland.
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Sitting in the outskirts of the famed Wicklow National Park, an hour north of Dublin, lies the undulated valley of Glendalough.
Amidst the thick forest paths and serene hills, history comes to life. People have been visiting the “valley of the two lakes” for thousands of years.
Glendalough exhibits well preserved medieval architecture in Ireland.
Home to a 6th-century monastery. Peppered between the tight-knit, faded gravestones and buildings, sits an unspoiled round tower.
Nearby are easy hiking trails and scenic drives — Wicklow’s famed for its wild and untouched landscape.
I visit Wicklow National Park, and Glendalough, every time I’m in Ireland.
Glendalough & Wicklow Travel Info
Address: Derrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Like the Hill of Tara; Newgrange is located in the revered Boyne Valley. And it’s the most impressive historical site near Dublin.
Rising out of the rolling hills is an undulating rock mound, steeped in ancient myth.
A thick layer of grass covers the dome of this Stone Age tomb, built over 5,000 years ago. That’s older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids.
Almost 100 kerbstones surround the large tomb. Some of them containing megalithic art. It’s an incredible site, and one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
Newgrange Day Tours
Newgrange Travel Information
Daily: 09.00 – 17.00
(Double check: Hours change by season)
- Adult: €11
- Senior/group: €8
- Child/student: €6
- Family: €28
Address: Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland
The Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690 when King James and King William (William of Orange) faced off at the river Boyne.
Over 60,000 Jacobites and soldiers took part in this battle for the English Throne. Ultimately, King William III won, and most of those who died – somewhere between 1,500 – 2,000 were Jacobite’s. William of Orange was the first King that the Jacobites tried to overthrow.
The Battle of Boyne remains one of the most important battles in Ireland’s history. Because it made the protestants dominant in Ireland for a while.
Today a modern visitor center sits at the entrance of the Battle Field. The center illuminates the history of the battle and era.
Boyne Visitor Center
Daily: 09.00 – 16.00
(Double check: Hours change by season)
Child / Student: € 3.00
Adult: € 5.00
Family: € 13.00
Senior / Group: € 4.00
Address: Oldbridge House, Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, Drogheda, Co. Meath, Ireland
Carlingford and The Cooley Peninsula might be the best-kept secret in Ireland. Lying on the border of Northern Ireland and the ancient east.
The area is awash with pristine beauty and small sea-stained towns.
This small section of Ireland’s deeply rooted in history and lore. And associated with one of the greatest Celtic heroes, Cuchulainn.
What draws people to Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula? Perhaps the charming small town, great hiking, boat trips, and fun adventures (there are a lot of water sports in Carlingford).
The Wild Atlantic Wayis one of the best sections of the Ireland’s coastline. And has some of the most memorable and best places to visit in Ireland.
Starting in Donegal follows the coast through prices like Mayo, Limerick, and Galway and ending in Cork.
There’s so much to see and do on the Wild Atlantic Way that it could take up an entire blog post. But because Ireland has a lot more places to visit I’ve narrowed it down to just the best bits.
Galway’s merchant mayors turned the city into a powerhouse for trade in the medieval era.
And while the city embraces its history, today, Galway’s more known for its culture and personality. (It’s won the title of European Capital of Culture 2020)
The stunning old town’s bubbling with charm and character. The sound of local musicians strumming their Irish tunes escapes the pubs, filling the street. Performers and musicians entertain crowds on the stony streets and in the lush seaside parks.
Throughout the year, Galway has numerous parades, festivals, and events. And while the major celebrations only take place at certain times, Galway retains a carnivalesque atmosphere year-round.
There are large sandy beaches for relaxing, more bars and pubs than you can count, and a great atmosphere. Galway’s a great place to visit in Ireland to immerse yourself in the culture.
Galway Travel Tips & Tricks
- Stroll the Latin Quarter
- Hang out in Eyre Square
- Shop and Drink on Quay Street
- Gasp in Awe at Galway Cathedral
Where to Stay
Is there a more famed coastline in all of Europe than the Cliffs of Moher?
Jutting up, almost 400 feet, out of the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, these jarring cliffs dominate Galway Bay.
The tops of the sheer slopes, covered in the emerald-colored grass and meadows that put Ireland’s landscape on the map.
These cliffs are plaster this iconic cliff all over postcards all over the country. They are the most visited natural attraction in Ireland, with over a million travelers a year taking in their beauty.
Nearby, there’s a new visitor center to learn about the history of the area and the sandstone and shale that make up the cliffs.
The weather’s the biggest hurdle when visiting these cliffs. On a foggy day (which happens a lot in Ireland) all but disappear. I recommend looking at the forecast and planning your trip around it.
These cliffs are a great way to kick off any trip to Ireland.
And act as a gateway to Galway Bay, the Dingle Peninsula, the small village of Doolin, and the Aran Islands (we will discover more about both soon). From the Cliffs of Moher, the adventures are boundless
I have to confess. Doolin has a special place in my heart. It was the first town I ever visited on my first trip abroad. The roots of this nomadic life of mine, trace back to this little village.
The salt-sprayed town surrounded by serene landscape, wildflowers, and craggy cliffs.
The town center, which consists of a few colorful shops, has a rugged and authentic charm.
At closing time, the entire town heads to the pub for a pint, traditional music, and local craic.
Stray a little outside of town, and you’ll find yourself walking along clifftops, taking in the wild and rocky landscape.
Doolin’s a great spot for spending a couple of nights to take in Irish culture, and getting ready for our next stop on our journey to discover the best places to visit in Ireland. The Aran Islands.
- Aran Islands
- Cliffs of Moher
- Doolin Cave
- Doonagore Castle
Where to Stay
Much of Ireland remains untouched. But no place more than the Aran Islands. These islands – frozen in time – give you a window into what Ireland was like over a hundred years ago.
Daily life and the local culture on the Aran islands vary greatly from the rest of the country.
The three islands – Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer – that make up the Aran Islands are remote and well off the normal tourist track.
Spread across the rocky terrain are little villages and remote towns. Each having a few small restaurants, pubs, and shops that sell local handmade wares.
Rooted in history with several prehistoric hill forts across the islands. The most well known and impressive is the stone fort of Dun Aonghasa.
Most of the coastline’s covered in tall sheer cliffs. Creeping to the edge and looking over the massive windswept cliffs, makes your stomach drop in the best way possible.
These breathtaking islands are unlike anywhere else in Ireland, and chances are you won’t want to leave.
Aran Island Travel Information
- Dun Aonghasa
- The Worm Hole
- Black Fort
Nestled in the middle of the Benbuiben and Knocknarea mountains, lies the small town of Sligo.
There are two main reasons to visit Sligo. First, the scenery. Here you find unspoiled views, lush green landscape, pebble beaches, and towering mountains.
Sligo’s acts as a fantastic home base for road trippers, and hikers. And it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ireland.
The other reason to visit is the town itself. The sea stained town of Sligo’s equally as beautiful as the picturesque countryside; filled with medieval allure, bridges, churches, and abbeys.
The town holds all of the allure of Ireland, without the throngs of other tourists. In recent years, the Sligo’s started a rebirth with new buildings, shops, and businesses. But while the city’s changing, it still retains its quaint charm and atmosphere.
Sligo Travel Tips and Tricks
- Drumcliff Parish Church
- Parke’s Castle
- Lough Gill
- Rosses Point
- Silgo Abbey
Where to Stay
The causeway coast stretches from Belfast to Londonderry.
The coastline encompasses some of Ireland’s most iconic sites, like the countless honeycomb-shaped rocks of Giants Causeway. Or tempts you to tests your mettle at Carrick-a-Rede, a narrow, shaky rope bridge high above sharp rocks and crashing waves.
Game of Thrones fans will want to see the eerie trees known as the Dark Hedges and the sea-stained Cushendun caves.
Driving the Causeway Coast has become one of Ireland’s most popular road trips. Oozing with natural and man-made attractions, the Causeway Coast lets you check off a lot of your Ireland bucket list, quick and easy. Here are a handful of must-see sites along this striking coastline.
The causeway coast region of Ireland’s so beautiful that Lonely Planet named it as the place to travel in 2018.
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, also acts as the cultural center of this area of the country.
Because of its tragic history between Catholics and Protestants, Belfast has a bit of a bad reputation. But Belfast has undergone a massive transformation over the years, and today it’s safe to visit.
And because some people avoid Belfast, it’s less crowded with tourists than other big cities in Ireland, like Dublin.
But, in my humble opinion, Belfast has become a must-see in Northern Ireland.
Ships play a huge part in the city’s history. They built the Titanic in Belfast.
And many of the city’s sites revolve around it. Like the outstanding Titanic Quarter; and the Titanic Belfast, a massive landmark on the spot where they built the “unsinkable” ship.
Belfast has a bustling city center, cool architecture, great museums, cafes, live music, pubs, street art, and the peace wall.
Once a place most travelers avoided, Belfast has been reborn and has become one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
Belfast Travel Info
- Titanic Belfast
- Crumlin Road Gaol
- S.S. Nomadic
- Belfast CIty Hall Belfast Castle
- St George’s Market
Where to Stay
Giant’s Causeway needs no introduction. And comes in as one of the most visited attractions in Northern Ireland.
These strange rocks rise from the North Atlantic Ocean like thousands of petrified honeycombs. These sea-swept rocks interlock along the coastline in different shapes and sizes. Towering above the rocks, and ocean are massive hills covered in thick patches of lite green grass.
Making it one of the most unique coastlines in the world and one of the best natural sites in Europe.
While most people will tell you these odd rock formations were made from a volcanic eruption. I prefer the legend. That says the Giant Finn McCool was enraged by Benandonner, a fellow Giant in nearby Scotland.
To reach Benandonner, and teach him a lesson, Finn started stomping and flinging pieces of the coast across the sea to build a bridge. The coastline we see today is a result of Finn’s temper.
Gaints Cause Way Travel Tips
Online Ticket Price
Malin Head sits at the northernmost part of Ireland.
A section of the country full of untamed splendor.
Most mornings, a lite fog hovers on top of the windblown green hills that stretch off into the horizon.
The sounds of the ineffable waves of the Atlantic crashing against the crenulated shoreline fill the air.
The towns small, quaint, and quiet, with only a handful of shops, pubs, and restaurants.
In recent years, Mailin Head’s garnered a little fame, due to being a filming location for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
But Malin Head’s still quiet enough that it makes for the perfect Irish getaway for a quiet holiday. It’s a destination for those seeking peace and quiet far removed from other tourists.
It’s one of the best places in Ireland to take in epic coastline views and breathe in the salt-filled air of the Atlantic.
Malin Head Travel Guide
- Wreck of the Twilight
- Larest Sand Dunes in Europe
- Trawbreaga Bay
Where to Stay
Built on a dramatic cliff side sits the iconic ruins of Dunluce Castle.
The crumbling stone walls, roofless keep, and tattered turrets envelop the cliffs, before suddenly turning into a sheer drop to treacherous, seaweed-covered rocks below.
Dunluce looks poised to fall into the icy rollers of the Atlantic at any moment. In fact, part of the castle did. From inside the castle, you can see a little cross jutting up from the water. These are the castle kitchens, which on a stormy night in the 1600s, slid into the sea; taking the kitchen staff with it.
The striking setting and craggy coastline make this one of Ireland’s most unforgettable castles.
And despite its tragic history, Dunluce remains one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
Dunluce is just a giant’s stone throw away from Giant’s Causeway.
Dunluce Travel Information
Open 7 Days a Week: 10:00-16:30
- Adult: $5-$7
- Child/Senior: $3-$4
- Family: $13-$15
- Address: 87 Dunluce Rd, Bushmills BT57 8UY, United Kingdom
This eerie lane – loomed over by tall otherworldly trees – stretches off into the distance. The white trunks and moss-clad branches of the Hedges have been lining the pathway to Gracehill House for over 200 years.
And while the Hedges are worth visiting, there’s not alot to do here other than walk down the lane (blocking everyone’s photos) or take photos yourself.
And because the hedges are a bit off the coastline, this might not be a good stop if you’re pressed for time.
The massive success of HBO’s Game of Thrones has turned the Dark Hedges into one of the most photographed spots in Ireland.
See them yourself in Season 2, Episode 1 of the show.
Dark Hedges Travel Info
Admission is Free
Open 24 Hours
Address: Bregagh Rd, Stranocum, Ballymoney BT53 8PX, United Kingdom
Near to Belfast, in the county of Antrim, sits the large town of Carrickfergus (or Carrick as most people locals call it).
They have found remains of settlements here that date back thousands of years, making it much older than the current capital of Northern Ireland.
The large, well-preserved castle that sits on the still waterfront is the city’s biggest claim to fame.
The origins of Carrickfergus Castle dates back to the Anglo-Normans over 750 years ago.
Throughout its history, the castle has been under siege by English, Scots, and Irish. The walls keep, and ramparts are extremely well preserved, making it one of the best examples of a Norman Castle anywhere in the world.
Inside you’ll find historical exhibits and artifacts showcasing the history of the castle and area.
The city and castle at Carrickfergus play an important part in the heritage of Ireland. Sadly, few people visit.
Things to know about Carrickfergus
Open Sunday-Monday: 09:30 – 16:30
- Adults: £5.50
- Children / Senior Citizens: £3.50
Children Under 4 Free
- Student/Benefit Claimants (ID Required): £3.50
Wildly unknown to the tourist crowds, chances are that most other lists of the best places to visit in Ireland won’t mention Rathlin Island.
But this small “L” shaped island’s a land of myth, beauty, and rare wildlife. One of the first things you’ll notice upon arrival on Rathlin is the lack of people. The island has a minuscule population of under 200.
But even with a small community, there are pubs, restaurants, and small shops that sell handmade crafts. The tiny visitor center’s a good place to learn more about the island’s history and see some relics from old shipwrecks.
You can also tour the lighthouse, which is still used to steer ships away from the jagged coastline. And broadly considered one of the best lighthouses in Ireland
Legend says that in 1306, the Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce (The Scottish King in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart), fled to Rathlin to take refuge and escape the wrath of England. Here he regained focus, returned to Scotland, and took back his throne.
Apart from the small town and legends, there are also puffins. These funny-looking birds flock here from April to July.
Rathlin Islands Travel Information
- Seabird Centre
- Rathlin West Lighthouse
- Fair Head
- Kinbane Castle
- Bruce’s Cave
- Rathlin Castle
- Kelp House
Imagine standing in the middle of a narrow rope bridge straddle between mainland Ireland and the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede.
One hundred feet below you, white sea foam lingers on sharp rocks as great swells of the Atlantic continuously pound against them.
A light wind tickles the hair on the back of your neck. The rope bridge starts to creak and sway as you slowly make your way across.
Carrick-a-Rede Bridge offers a little adrenaline rush for adventure addicts in Ireland. The bridge is the main attraction, but once on the island, you can walk worn paths to see the fishermen’s cottage and postcard-worthy views.
This bridge does come at a cost to cross.And that cost is 6.50 Euros.
Great views of the bridge: Free
Crossing the Bridge: 6.50 Euro.
Without question, Murlough Bay’s one of the most scenic spots in Ireland. But because it can only be reached via narrow side roads that aren’t labeled well, a lot of people never visit.
But if you have access to a car, this is one of the best places to visit in Ireland. And shouldn’t be missed — the bay’s full of novel landscape, green hills and pastures, and mesmerizing scenery.
Take in the panoramic views of nearby Rathlin Island. And let your gaze wander across the ocean to the Mull of Kintyre, Jura, and a handful of other Scottish Islands.
Murlough Bay’s home to some of the best sunsets I’ve seen in Ireland. (Weather depending, of course.) And the weather in Ireland is nothing, if not unpredictable.
The bay is located in County Antrim between Torr Head and Fair Head.
Murlough Bay Travel Information
Things to do
- Explore the Coast
- Scenic Drives
Layby the road, only a short hike from the small village of Gleno is the cascading Gleno Waterfall. Hailed as Ireland’s most beautiful waterfall, the falls gush down the hill into a tranquil pool.
To get to the falls, you have to make your way through the dirt paths and steps surrounded by bulky forest. The lovely walk almost overshadows the beauty of the waterfall.
This is a great area for a picnic, or as a quick stop on your way to the causeway coast.
Gleno Ireland Travel Tips and Tricks
- The War Years Remembered Musuem
- THe Gobbins
- Marine Cargens
- Carrickfergus Castle
Country Tipperary sits almost directly in the souther center of Ireland. And while I wouldn’t focus on spending to much time in Tipperary, there is a good chance that you will pass through on any road trip. And in which case, there are some awesome sites to stop and see.
If I had to suggest one place not to miss in county Tipperary, it’s easily the Rock of Cashel.
Let’s discover the best places to visit in Ireland in county Tipperary.
Poised on the top of a verdant covered limestone hill, the Rock of Cashel dwarfs everything around it.
The crumbling walls, expansive keep, and round tour transport you back to the Early Middle Ages.
Cormac’s Chapel, which dates back to the age of the Munster Kings, is one of the most impressive sites on the rock. And architecturally, one of the most famous buildings in Ireland. It’s the only Hiberno-Romanesque style church in Ireland in its original state.
From the top, you can enjoy striking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Large stone gravestones cover parts of the courtyard.
Free walking tours are offered that gives you a glimpse into the vast history of the rock.
The Rock of Cashel has become somewhat of an icon in Ireland, and with good reason. To this day it’s one of the most scenic and exciting medieval buildings in the country. And will remain one of the best places to visit in Ireland for as long as it stands.
Rock of Cashel Travel Information
Mid-March to early June: 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Early June to mid-September: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mid September to mid-October: 9 a.m.. to 5.30 p.m.
Mid October to mid-March 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Hours and Ticket Pirce
- Adult: 6 Euros
- Child: 3 Euros
Reduced Price with OPW Heritage Card
Head to the southern part of county Tipperary to visit the mesmerizing Cahir Castle.
Equally strong and imposing this castle, which dates back to the 11th century, dominates the area.
Having stood sieges, battles, and bombardments for hundreds of years, it’s incredible the castle has emerged in such pristine shape.
Looking at the castle might leave you scratching your head. Wondering to yourself how anyone could look at this rocky fort and say, “I think we should attack it.”
Having remained relativity unchanged since the late 1500s, Cahir Castles one of the most complete castles in Ireland.
Towering over the gurgling river, the keep, tower, and walls remain in almost perfect condition.
Cahir Castle’s sometimes referred to as the Home of Excalibur. But don’t get too excited. This site has nothing to do with the legend of Arthur. Rather it was used as a filming location for the quirky 1981 film Excalibur.
Cahir Castle TIcket Price and Info
March – Mid June
Daily: 09.30 – 17.30
Mid June – August
Daily: 09.00 – 18.30
September – Mid October Daily: 09.30 – 17.30
Mid October – February
Daily: 09.30 – 16.30
Closed 24th – 31st December Inclusive.
Where to Stay
- Adult: €5.00
- Group/Senior: €4.00
- Child/Student: €3.00
- Family: €13.00
Address: Castle Street, Cahir Co. Tipperary, E21 P652
The Swiss Cottagte’s a fun little site that’s seemingly out of place in the Irish countryside.
The cottage looks like something out of a fairy tale. A wavy thatched roof covers the top. The sides of the building are covered in a thick layer of ivy and roses. Looking like it jumped out of the pages a fairy tale.
The inside is just as beautiful as the outside. Spread around the cottage are elegant designs, elaborate furnishings, and hand-painted murals.
Ready for a fun fact? During the time they constructed the cottage, it had the most expensive wallpaper in the world.
The Swiss Cottage lands as one of the most unquie places to visit in Ireland. This 19th-century cottage is easily reached and within walking distance of Cahir Castle.
Swiss Cottage Information
Swiss Cottage Hours
15th March – 26th October:
10:00 – 18:00 (Last Admission – 17:15)
27th Oct – 02nd November: 09:30 – 17:00 (Last Admission – 16.15)
3rd of November:
09:30 – 15:30 (Last Admission – 14:45)
Site closes for 2019 on the 3rd of November.
- Adult: €5.00
- Group/Senior: €4.00
- Child/Student: €3.00
- Family: €13.00
Address: Ardfinnan Road, Cahir, Co. Tipperary, E21 DX07
The Dingle Peninsula, tucked away along the Southwest coast, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. And it’s often overlooked in favor of the nearby Ring of Kerry.
But Dingle’s bursting with untamed splendor, cliffs, beaches, and mountains. Dingle’s one of the last bastions for the Irish language, adding to its authentic character.
Local life, tipple fueled pubs, the jagged slope of Mt Brandon, and the sheer seaside cliffs offer travelers an indelible experience.
The beauty found in Dingle is special. National Geographic once called Dingle “the most beautiful place on earth.”
Let’s discover some of the best places to visit in Ireland that reside on the Dingle Peninsula.
DIngle Town’s the most charming town on the peninsula, if not the entire country. Colorful buildings, quaint pubs, eccentric shops, line the sides of central Quay Street. Fishing boats bob up and down in the harbor to the tune of the Atlantic swells.
The local distillery fuels the music-filled pubs; whiskey seems to be the drink of choice in Dingle. As if broadcasting the character of DIngle, some of these pubs double as hole-in-the-wall shops, selling pints of Guinness and whiskey beside horseshoes, and hardware.
Walking through the streets, you’ll hear locals talking craic – in the all but forgotten – Irish language.
Without a doubt, Dingle Towns oozing with charm and authenticity.
Things to Know About Dingle
- Dingle Ocean World
- Dingle Distillery
- Eask Tower
- Gallarus Oratory
- An Diseart
- Road Trip the Dingle Peninsula
Where to Stay
If you have access to a car (which I highly recommend when traveling Ireland), then road-tripping through Conor Pass is a must.
This pass, which cuts through the heart of the Dingle Peninsula, twist and turns through the mountains before ending in a steep decline into Dingle Town. Insanely narrow, if you meet another car coming the opposite way, you both brake to a crawl as you slowly pass each other.
It is one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland. And as you travel down the pass into Dingle Town, it might feel more coming in for a plane landing rather than the last leg of a road trip.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Why… why would anyone drive this treacherous road?”
Simple, it’s fun and gives your dangling off on the edge of a cliff gives you a small burst of adrenaline.
But the major reason, it lets you take in the panoramic views of both the north and south of the peninsula, to stop and admire the small waterfalls, and to see the high corrie lakes.
Things to know Before Driving Conor Pass
- Pedlars Lake
- Conor Pass Waterfall
- Conor Pass View Points
- Mt. Brandon
Elevation: 1,496′ Ft.
Time: 2-5 hours.
Range: Mountains of the Central Dingle Peninsula
Address: R560, Co. Kerry, Ireland
The Blasket Islands are an uninhabited group of islands off the coast of Dingle. The archipelago comprises seven major islands, but hundreds of smaller reefs, and islets.
These small islands showcase Ireland’s mesmerizing beauty, with verdant hills and crenulated coastlines.
A haven for wildlife, seals, are the only residents on the Blasket Islands. But whales and dolphins seem to always hang around these coasts.
And many of the whale and dolphin tours that leave from Dingle plan a stopover on Great Blasket.
The biggest and most visited island on the archipelago is Great Blasket. This island has a handful of accommodations for overnight stays.
Most of the housing has the bare essentials, but the sacrifice in everyday luxury is a small price for more time to take in the stunning views, and unfiltered sunsets and sunrises.
Blasket Islands Travel Info
- Whale and Dolphin Watching
- Cathedral Rock
One of the highest peaks in Ireland; Mount Brandon’s summit sits at 3,123 ft high, dominating the landscape and everything around it. If you’re driving Conor Pass, Mt. Brandon’s a short side trip away.
Steep hiking trails take you to the summit that treats hikers to lovely scenery and epic 360-degree views. While the trails are steep, they aren’t too demanding, and the entire trip will take you 3 – 4 hours. Good boots, warm clothes, and snacks are recommended.
Mt. Brandon Info
Elevation: 840m (2,760 ft)
(9th Highest Peak in Ireland)
Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, in the southern part of the Peninsula, sits the little village of Annascaul.
Annascaul nestled between the unspoiled landscape of the Dingle Way (a long-distance hiking trail). And hikers are the primary source of tourism in this tiny little town.
Annascaul was home to world-famous sculptor Jerome O’Connor, and the town houses a large display of his works.
The pub, shops, and stores, lining the streets are bubbling with charm. Annascaul’s a great pit stop for hikers, or road trippers looking for a quiet afternoon and a warm meal.
Annascaul Travel Tips and Tricks
- Quiant Shopping
- Art of Jerome O’COnnor
Where to Stay
After returning home. When you’ve gathered all your friends together, and forcefully making them look at hundreds of pictures of your trip, there’s a good chance most the photos will come from time driving the Ring of Kerry.
Hailed as Ireland’s most scenic drive, the Ring of Kerry acts as a mecca for landscape lovers. This 120-mile long highway that circles the Inveragh Peninsula is a buffet of beauty. And comprises Ireland’s most stunning scenery into one epic road trip.
As you circle around, you’ll take in the soaring ridges of Ireland’s highest peak, moss-clad lakesides, rolling green hills, rocky oceanside views, and ruined castle remains.
Of course, you can hop on the Ring anywhere. But Killarney and Kenmare, respectively, are the most popular jumping-off points. Kenmare’s less crowded than Killarney.
The entire Ring of Kerry Route is imbued with breathtaking views and memorable moments. And it will quickly turn into a highlight of your trip.
Here are some of the best sites on the Ring of Kerry.
Landscape lovers won’t want to miss Ladies’ View. (Local Folklore says it’s named after Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting who fell in love with this area.)
Green grass stretches down into the lake filled valleys, creeps up the rocky hills, and disappears over the horizon.
It’s the postcard-worthy scenery that millions have traveled to Ireland to see.
With mesmerizing panoramic views of the famed Irish landscape, it should come as no surprise; it’s one of the most photographed areas in Ireland.
Ladies View’s my personal favorite stop on the Ring of Kerry. And without question one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
Ladies View Travel INfo
Address: Killarney National Park, N71, Derrycunihy, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Perched off the western tip of Kerry lies the craggy grass-covered rocks making up Great Skellig. (Better known as Skellig Michael.)
Tourism’s booming on the island since its key role in the new Star Wars movies. (It’s the island where Luke and Rey train in The Last Jedi.)
But this extraordinary-looking island is more than just a film location.
Spread across the island are the remains of Christian Monasteries dating back to the 6th and 8th centuries. Today these monasteries are UNSECO sites.
You can get faint views of the island from the mainland. But you won’t get great views from so far away.
And there’s a downside of visiting Skellig Michael. The island lies 11 km off the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula. So getting to the islands means booking a tour in advance.
Skellig Michael Travel Information
- Little Skellig
- Skellig Experience Visitor Centre
- Skellig Lighthouse
- St. Fionan’s Monastery
- Puffin Island
A majority of travelers use Killarney National Park as a launching off point for the Ring of Kerry.
Muckross House and the surrounding farmlands are considered the highlight of Killarney National Park.
I prefer the rolling green hills, still lakes, and breathtaking viewpoints.
To take full advantage, plan to spend an entire day in the park.
Embark on the easy hike to see the gushing flows of Torc Waterfall. Or see the 600-year-old small towers and crumbling keep of Ross Castle. (We’ll go into more details on these sites next.)
You can spend an entire day kayaking across the tranquil lakes, or wandering the easy walking trails. However, you choose to spend your time; you won’t be disappointed by this National Park.
Killarney National Park Travel Tips and Tricks
- Ross Castle
- Ladies View
- Muckross House
- Torc Waterfall
Hours and Tickets
Oct – Mid Mar: On request.
Mid Mar – Sept: Daily 09:00 -17.30
Address: Co. Kerry, Ireland
Steeped heavily in legend and myth, you won’t want to miss visiting Ross Castle; especially, if you’re here on May 1st.
Every seven years, on this date, the castle chieftain, O’ Donoghue Ross, rises from the grave, riding a white horse he circles the lake.
Legend says those lucky enough to catch a peek of him on his ride will have good luck for the rest of their life! Yes, please.
The castle’s tall turrets and massive keep tower over of the landscape. Guided tours are cheap, and the castle grounds serene. Making Ross Castle one of the top things to see in Killarney National Park.
Ross Castle: Everything You Need to Know
Hours and Tickets
1st March – 5th November
Daily: 09.30 – 17.45
Last admission: 1 Hour before closing
Time: Average Visit 1 Hour
- Adult: €5.00
- Group/Senior: €4.00
- Child/Student: €3.00
- Family: €13.00
Address: Ross Castle, Ross Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 V304
Torc Falls is the most impressive waterfall on the Ring of Kerry. The gushing falls, surrounded by the verdant landscape and thick green trees, towers 60 ft in the air. The crashing water splatters on the moss-clad rocks as it overflows and pours into the Owengarriff River.
Torc Waterfall is only a small 200-meter hike from the Muckross Parking lot. So there’s no reason to miss it.
Torc Falls Info
Address: Rossnahowgarry, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Home to MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland, Moll’s Gap is one of the most popular side roads on the Ring of Kerry.
Moll’s Gap derives its name from Moll Kissane. A lady who ran a makeshift shebeen (Irish for unlicensed) pub along the road during its construction.
Moll’s Gap (Also known as Céim an Daimh) offers sweeping mountain views, deep valleys, scenic drives, and cool lakes in the middle of nowhere.
This road also gets you to Kenmare (our last stop in the Ring of Kerry). Avoca, a small shop along the way, is the only store to stop along the route.
Moll’s Gap Tips and Information
- Kerry Way
- Ladies View
- Gap of Dunloe
- Celtic Steps
- Lough Leane
Galway Travel Tips & Tricks
- Reenagross Park Kenmare
- Ring of Kerry
- Cromwells Bridge
- Kenmare Heritage Centre
- Kenmare Bay
- Our Lady’s Well
Beach lovers and people traveling with families will want to plan a stop to Rossbeigh Beach.
This long sandy beach has great views, and it’s a perfect spot to take a break from driving and enjoy a picnic on the beach. There’s a playground for the kids and a lot of parking.
The village of Glenbeigh’s easily within reach to stock up on supplies or grab a pint in a pub.
Rossbeigh Beach Tips & Tricks
Things Nearby Rossbeigh Beach
- Inch Beach
- Kells Bay House and Garden
- Kells Sheep Centre
- Staigue Fort
- Kerry Bog Village museum
- Minard Castle
- Cromane Beach
Let’s round out this list of the best places to visit in Ireland by looking at a few more places spread around the country.
These places contain some classics like Blarney Castle, Cork, and Sligo. While these places are at the end of the list, in no way does this mean they are skippable!
Most travelers overlook Limerick. But for those who venture to this gorgeous city are in for a pleasant surprise.
Limerick’s characterized by its pristine, walkable medieval walls, the intact castles, lively Guinness fueled pubs and the bustling Milk Market.
Limerick has an artistic side with galleries, theater productions, and art events often going on around the city.
Its a great city to stop over for a couple days or even stop for a couple hours when passing through the area.
Limerick Travel Information
- King John’s Castle
- The Hunt Museum
- St. Marys Cathedral
- Milk Market
- St. John’s Cathedral
- Treaty Stone
Where to Stay
Cork’s major attraction is St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral. A 150-year-old Gothic style masterpiece that towers over the city.
But every nook and cranny of Cork and the surrounding area are brimming with things to do. Shoppers and people-watchers will want to visit the English Market. History buffs will enjoy touring the fortress prison of Cork City Goal and the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery.
Maritime history runs deep, here, in the 2nd largest city in Ireland. Just outside Cork is the last place the Titanic was docked, before starting its infamous voyage to Queenstown, New York.
Corks also defined by a relaxed atmosphere. The interweaving streets lined with pubs and small shops.
Cork Travel Tips & Tricks
- Blarney Castle
- The English Market
- Wildlife Park
- Blackrock Castle Observatory
- Spike Islands
Where to Stay
Twenty minutes from downtown Cork, nestled amidst speckled woods and emerald gardens, sits Blarney Castle.
This colossal castle’s home to the legendary Blarney Stone. The myth says that anyone who kisses the stone is bestowed the Gift of Gab (the ability to speak eloquently).
To kiss the stone, you must climb the 127 steps to the top of the keep, summon your courage laying on your back over a 37-foot drop, and kiss the stone upside down.
This is one of the first things I ever did in Ireland. And look. I can’t stop gabbing about travel on my blog.
Blarney Castle & Stone Travel Info
Monday to Saturday:
- May: 9am to 6.30pm
- Jun-Aug: 9am to 7pm
- Sept: 9am to 6.30pm
- Oct-Apr: 9am to 5.30pm/Sundown
- Summer: 9am to 5.30pm
- Winter: 9am to sundown
No admission after 30 minutes before closing.
Child (8-14 years): 5€
Family (2 adults, 2 children): 30€
Burren National Park’s a tranquil, quiet haven. Hiking through the parks takes you through hazel covered forest and karst grasslands.
Unlike the rest of Ireland, renowned for its rich green landscape, The Burren’s are known for the different shades of its limestone rocks.
And while this is the smallest national park in Ireland, it still packs a powerful punch.
Here lie the menhir tombs dating back to the Neolithic period
5 Hiking trails cut across the park and give you a front-row seat to all the natural beauty.
Burren National Park Tips and Tricks
- Liscannor Village
- Caherconnell Stone Fort
- Ancient Pulnabrone Dolmen
- Day Trip Cliffs of Moher
Another outdoor haven are the Mourne Mountains. The Mourne’s appeal to everyone; home to brooding summits for experienced hikers, gentle slopes for day trips, and still lakes ideal for lingering and soaking in the Indelible scenery.
Famed author, C.S. Lewis, grew up in this area, and this landscape inspired the world of Narnia.
Mourne’s an epic playground for travelers looking to explore the wealth of nature in the country.
Mourne Mountains Travel Tips
- Slieve Donard
- Royal County Down
- Slient Valley
- Ring the Maze Bell
Lying in the northern part of the Atlantic Way is the Doolough Pass.
Mared in tragic history, a stone cross, on the edge of the northern valley marks the best viewpoint. This cross is dedicated to the Doolough Tragedy, during the Great Famine.
The valley has become a rallying point for starvation awareness.
A yearly walk takes place here to bring attention to those still starving around the world today.
From this cross, you get unparalleled sweeping views of windswept fields, a crystalline lake, and sheer slopes.
Doolough Valley Tips & Tricks
- Enjoy the Views
- Visit the Famine Monument
- Take Part in the Starvation Awareness Walk
The windswept cliffs at Slieve League make you feel like your standing on the edge of the world. Standing on edge puts you at one of the highest points in all of Europe. One false step, and you’ll find yourself tumbling down 2,000 feet down (609 meters) into the icy rollers of the Atlantic. But the views are worth the risk.
From the car park at the top, it’s only a short hike to the main viewpoint and the panoramic views.
A small and narrow path takes you to the highest point in Slieve.
There’s also the 4km Pilgrims path loop that takes you to the plateau of Sliabh Liag.
Not all of the best sites in Ireland deal with ancient ruins, monolith tombs, and postcard-worthy views.
Let’s dive into another perk of traveling Ireland, booze.
It might come as a surprise to learn Ireland has the oldest bar in the world.
Sean’s Bar, located in the small town of Athlone, has been slinging drinks since 900 A.D. Making it the oldest, longest-lasting bar in history.
Followed closely by the Bingley Arms, England, which dates back to 953 A.D.
Even though it’s the world’s oldest pub, Sean’s Bar is still going strong, with large crowds, live music, and a lively vibe.
This monument of drinking also featured on Lonely Planets lists of 25 most incredible bars in the world, and the 50 bars that will blow your mind.
With so many claims to fame, you can expect to be sharing a pint with people from all over the world
Athlone & Sean’s Bar Travel Info
Monday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 12:30 am
Sunday: 12:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Where to Stay
Address: 13 Main St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
There We go!
Whew, this was a massive work of love. But we have covered the 55 best places to visit in Ireland.
What did you think? What place is your #1 bucket list idea for Ireland?
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