10 Best Places To Visit In Ireland
Ireland scores high for a relatively small country, from the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, to Dublin, which is steeped in incredible history, culture, and, well, booze. Spend your time exploring Ireland’s infinite outdoor activities, or explore one of the many charming small towns, stumble upon crumbling castles, shanty pubs or discover Ireland’s countryside treasures. Ireland is truly a sight to behold. If the ‘luck of the Irish’ is on your side, and you find yourself in Ireland, here are some of the best places to visit in Ireland:
1 The Wild Atlantic Way
If you’re looking for the best way to see what Ireland has to offer, embark on the epic road trip that is The Wild Atlantic Way. Stretching over 1600 miles, The Wild Atlantic Way is a spectacular coastal route that is one of the largest in the world. From Malin Head in Donegal, the route runs through Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry before ending in the picturesque fishing town of Kinsale in Cork. On this phenomenal road trip, discover the magnificent countryside, enchanting villages and beautiful nature of the Irish isle.
2Sliabh Liag (Slieve League)
One of Europe’s most famous capitals, Dublin is not only a great starting point to explore Ireland it is also one of the best places to visit in Ireland. The Irish capital was first founded by the Vikings in the 9th century and has a rich history and beautiful culture. Dublin is particularly famous as a drinking destination, home to Temple Bar which has the largest whisky collection in Ireland and offers a thriving party scene whilst the Guinness Factory can also be found in the city offering tours exploring the history and process behind Ireland’s most famous export. However, Dublin has more than one string to its bow and also offers an incredible food scene, beautiful architecture such as Dublin Castle and Trinity college, plus Dublin is also a UNESCO City of Literature.
As the city is located on the East Coast, day trips and excursions to the mountains or cliffs are just a bus ride away, where you can take in some of the most expansive and beautiful scenery in all of Ireland.
Galway is an Irish city with a relaxed, Bohemian vibe and is one of the best places to visit in Ireland as it has a strong sense of its Irish heritage and even Gaelic still spoken here. One of the best things to do in Galway is to walk the Salthill Promenade. This 2 km long promenade sits right on the Atlantic Ocean and tradition dictates that you should kick the wall at the end of the promenade for good luck. Galway is also a great city to taste the local flavours with Michelin-starred restaurant Aniar serving up exquisite dishes. Kai is also a firm favourite, a laid-back restaurant with an incredible menu packed with local ingredients.
One of Ireland’s most alluring wildernesses, Connemara is a Gaeltacht region of Ireland, a strikingly beautiful destination that offers a taste of authentic Ireland. The 40,000-acre Connemara National Park features a spectacular landscape of charming towns, rolling hills, reflective lakes and a rugged coastline. The only fjord in Ireland, Killary Harbour, is a must visit whilst Kylemore Abbey is also a picturesque spot. In Connemara you will also find endless hiking trails to explore and the Alcock and Brown Monument, the landing site of the first non-stop transatlantic flight.
6Clare County for Cliffs of Moher
The county of Clare is located in the west of Ireland overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Clare is home to the world’s longest defined cliffs, the Cliffs of Moher, which tower 702 feet above the water for almost nine miles. The cliffs are the country’s most visited natural wonder, a top contender for places to visit in Ireland, and they also provide an exceptional viewing platform for spectacular sunsets. Another must visit in the county is Bunratty Castle, an iconic 15th century tower house which is the most complete castle in Ireland and a top family attraction.
7Ring of Kerry
The 112-mile Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most celebrated touring routes. The route includes stunning mountain and coastal scenery with brilliant hotspots to stop by. Skellig Michael, a small island just off the coast, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage listed monastic settlement that is an incredible place to visit whilst Rossbeigh Strand is a must-see with a beautiful 1.6km stretch of golden sand. However, the best place to discover is the Gap of Dunloe that can be explored either by bike or foot, a narrow mountain pass between the MacGillyCuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain that was forged by glacial flows.
8Giant’s Causeway, Antrim
One of the top attractions on the Irish isle is the impressive geological wonder of Giant’s Causeway. Made up of 40,000 hexagonal columns tumbling into the sea, Giant’s Causeway is an iconic landmark of Northern Ireland and one of the ultimate places to visit in Ireland. The UNESCO World Heritage listed location was formed by volcanic activity between 50 and 60 millions of years ago and is shrouded in legend. One of the greatest legends of Giant’s Causeway is that Irish warrior Fionn MacCumaill used the columns as stepping stones to cross the water and fight the Scottish giant Benandonner.
The Southwest city of Cork is the second-largest city in Ireland with locals referring to it as the ‘real capital of Ireland’. Cork has an authentic, Irish culture with a hipster vibe and a welcoming atmosphere. The city is also incredibly picturesque with colourful houses creeping up the hill and charming architecture throughout the city. Cork is also a great starting or finishing point for The Wild Atlantic Way.
The Northern Irish capital of Belfast is a city of incredibly rich history, a wealth of places to explore and is one of the best places to visit in Ireland. The city is where the Titanic was built with the Titanic Museum one of the city’s top attractions dedicated to the story of the infamous ship from its conception and build in Belfast to its tragic place in history. Another strong part of the city’s history is The Troubles, the civil conflict that took place in Northern Ireland for over 30 years. During The Troubles, ‘peace lines’ were built and still remain in place today with the peace walls now decorated with art and messages. The city is also a great place for Game of Thrones fans to visit as the series was filmed across Northern Ireland and film location tours depart from the city on a regular basis. Meanwhile, it is also great to discover the evolving foodie scene in Belfast with a browse in the 19th-century St George’s Market or a meal at Muddlers Club and Ox.