Ireland is a small country, yet it’s filled with many amazing things to do, see and eat. It’s also straightforward to get around; it takes under three hours to drive from coast to coast. This makes it an ideal destination for a long weekend or even a week-long trip. If you’re looking for the best places in Ireland that are worth your time, look no further!
1. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Ireland. Located in County Clare, these beautiful cliffs are the most visited natural attraction in the country, with good reason. The cliffs stretch for 8 kilometers (5 miles), rising over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean below. They are made entirely from limestone and reach their highest point at just over 700 feet above sea level, making them the most visited site and one of Europe’s highest sea cliffs!
When you visit these iconic sites, it’s important to remember that they have their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to safety:
- Do not sit or stand on any part of a cliff edge — even at low tide! You may be tempted by how close you can get to some rock formations, but this could result in severe injury or death if you were to slip off or fall into one of these areas while trying something daring, like sitting on top of it. Keep your distance and stick close to designated paths so everyone can enjoy their time together safely!
2. Walking in Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park is one of the island’s most beautiful and popular tourist attractions. It’s also a great place to visit if you want to get away from it all, as there aren’t many other people around. There are hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and walking and horseback riding options if your legs are tired. Suppose you’re interested in wildlife viewing; check out the Brandon Nature Reserve outside Killarney town center. In that case, plenty of different species live here, including deer, badgers, and bunnies!
3. Ireland’s Historic Gaeltacht Region in Donegal
Donegal is the largest county in Ireland, and it contains an area that was once known as “the Gaeltacht,” or home of the Irish language. This region is famous for its rugged coastline and has been attracting tourists for generations.
Donegal’s most famous tourist attraction is Carrickfinn Castle, which Sir Cahir O’Doherty built-in 1602. Another popular attraction is Glenveagh National Park, which encompasses more than 3,000 acres of land featuring lakes, woodlands, and mountains.
If you want to experience some traditional Irish music while traveling through Donegal, don’t miss a visit to Jimi Hendrix Bar & Restaurant, where you can listen to live performances throughout most nights of the week!
4. The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland. The route is about 150 km long and traverses some of Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes, including mountain ranges, lakes, and bogs.
The route starts in Killarney and follows a loop, with many places to stop along the way, such as Rossbeigh Beach, Inch Beach, and Torc Waterfall on Valentia Island.
5. The Skelligs
The Skellig Islands are a pair of rocky islands off the southwest coast of Ireland. They are home to several important species, including Atlantic Puffins, which are unique to the islands. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they also have breathtaking scenery!
Not only is it beautiful here, but there’s plenty to see and do: you can climb up Beehive Forts that were built on the island by monks in 600 AD; you can explore caves cut into the rock by waves over thousands of years; you can visit churches built into this ancient land, and if you’re lucky enough (and brave enough) you might even spot puffins flying around!
6. Newgrange Megalithic Tomb
Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, north of the River Boyne. Newgrange was built around 3200 BC, predating Stonehenge by some 2000 years.
It’s one of Ireland’s most popular tourist sites and offers impressive views over the surrounding area.
7. Boat Ride to Inishmore, Aran Islands
The boat ride to Inishmore is a must-do once you arrive in Ireland, and it’s one of the most beautiful sights in Europe. The trip takes about two hours and can get choppy sometimes, so pack your sea legs!
The best time to visit the Aran Islands is between May and September. During this time, temperatures range from 55 F (12 C) to 70 F (21 C). The island has a population of about 690 people who live off tourism and fishing. The average temperature during winter is 40 F (4 C), but it can get quite cold on December nights with an average low temperature of 22 F (-5 C).
The best way to travel between Galway City and Inis Mór Island is by ferry service operated by JJ Kavanagh Coaches Ltd., which runs daily trips during peak season and private charters throughout the year. There are three ferries: Lár na Mara II (which means “Sea Journeys”), Leifteach III (“Swiftly Journey”)(pronounced “Leefa”), and Sealltainn (“Sunshine”). Each ferry holds up to 36 passengers plus their luggage; however, only 20 vehicles are allowed per trip due to space restrictions on board.
8. Wild Atlantic Way from Malin Head to Mizen Head
- The Wild Atlantic Way is a route that runs along the west coast of Ireland. It’s a two-day (or more) drive, so it’s best to break the journey up into sections and stay overnight at different towns along the way.
- The distance between Malin Head and Mizen Head is 262 miles (419 km).
- Expect to see beautiful views of the ocean, green rolling hills, sheep farms, fishing villages with colorful cottages…and perhaps even dolphins frolicking in the water!
- Stay in one of these hotels: The Cliff House Hotel & Spa on Clare Island; Clew Bay Lodge Hotel & Spa near Westport; or Dunmore East Inn near Waterford City.
- Eat somewhere like Linnane’s Black Pig Restaurant & Bar or Anseo Restaurant if you want something fancy; otherwise, just grab a burger from Bunsen Burgers if you’re feeling lowbrow.
9. Tour the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
The Guinness Storehouse is a must-do in Dublin and is located right in the heart of the city! The Guinness Storehouse is a museum, brewery, and visitor attraction. It’s one of those places where you can take a tour inside to see how they make their famous beer, but there are also tons of interactive exhibits to explore.
The self-guided tour takes you through portions of St James Gate brewery and provides insight into how they make their product. There are exhibits that discuss everything from brewing techniques to advertising campaigns used by Guinness over the years – all with plenty of hands-on activities for visitors to participate in!
10. Archaeological site at Tara Hill, County Meath (for Game of Thrones fans)
Tara Hill is a hill in County Meath, Ireland that has been a ceremonial site since Neolithic times. The site takes its name from the legendary high king of Ireland and the deity of wisdom and war. Tara Hill is also one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland.
Tara Hill is believed to be the seat of some sort of power during pre-Christian times; it may have been where kings lived or where druids performed their rituals. There are many myths surrounding this ancient site, including tales about Fionn mac Cumhaill (a hero who was said to have come from nearby Slane) fighting historical figures such as Cúchulainn at Tara Hill while trying to protect his bride Sinead when she was captured by Queen Medb (also known as Queen Maeve).
11. Trim Castle, remember Braveheart?
This is a great option to visit if you’re looking to see some history in Ireland. Trim Castle was built by Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath, who King Henry II of England had granted the town and lands of Trim. The castle was built in the 12th century and remained occupied until 1650, when Oliver Cromwell ordered it destroyed during his campaign against Irish Catholics.
12. Adare Village with its thatched roof cottages, Co Limerick
Adare Village is a popular tourist destination located in the middle of the Golden Vale. The village is home to the Adare Castle and Gardens, National monuments. The Heritage Centre also offers guided tours and information on local history.
The village has its 18-hole golf course, founded in 1893 by John Jameson (who also founded a distillery). It’s considered one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets!
13. Giant’s Causeway on the North Antrim Coast! (for Game of Thrones fans)
The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has attracted millions of visitors since its discovery by the Irish people. The rocks are hexagonal basalt columns formed by volcanic lava. It is the most popular tourist attraction in the north of Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway also appears as a backdrop on Game of Thrones! In winter, when the low sun shines directly through the archways and pillars, they look like something out of another world.
14. Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin where the 1916 Rising leaders were executed
This was the site of the 1916 Rising when a group of Irish rebels led by Eamon de Valera and James Connolly took over key buildings in Dublin. The leaders were executed by British forces but buried in Arbour Hill Cemetery (the cemetery is also worth a visit if you’ve got time). Other significant sites where the 1916 leaders were held before their execution: were Kilmainham Gaol and St. Michan’s Church. Both Kilmainham Gaol and St. Michan’s Church still stand today and can be visited as part of any trip to Dublin!
15. Experience the hospitality of a local pub and a pint of Guinness!
A trip to Ireland is not complete without a visit to one of their many pubs. The pub plays an important role in Irish culture, providing a meeting place for locals and tourists alike. The history of the Guinness Brewery is also closely tied to Ireland’s pubs, as it was not uncommon for locals or tourists to stop at their local pub after visiting the brewery.
The Guinness Storehouse offers tours that offer behind-the-scenes looks at how they brew their famous stout along with an overview of its history, including how it went from a British-owned company to a part-Irish-owned company after being purchased by Arthur Guinness himself!
They also offer tours that give visitors an opportunity to learn more about Irish culture through stories told by knowledgeable guides who have been working at this location for years–such as hearing about how Ireland has changed since independence from England took place over 100 years ago (go Irish!).
We hope this list will help you make the most of your trip to the beautiful country of Ireland!