For an island that cannot be considered the biggest, especially when compared to its European neighbors, Ireland has quite the booming tourist business.
The island of leprechauns and great beer is able to pull visitors by the millions and it isn’t really hard to see how. With majestic hills, historic castles and forts, vibrant music, verdant landscapes, and hospitable communities, Ireland is a tourist destination many people are eager to go back to.
More than its natural, picturesque beauty, Ireland is also famed for its charming towns and villages coupled with bustling cities that make you want to do or try something new.
Visiting a community as friendly with a culture as rich as Ireland makes you want to get immersed in their lifestyle and motivates you to learn more about their lifestyles, even as a visitor.
With a plethora of amazing places to visit on your next vacation to Ireland, it can get quite confusing which one would you rather have on your itinerary. Because we understand how frustrating it can be to try and cram everything spot with such little time to work with, we’ve taken the liberty of listing down some places you might be interested in seeing.
The stunning city of Dublin is a curious mesh of old-world, medieval charm, and modern vibrancy and aesthetic. As a city of literature and language, Guinness renowned pubs, churches that date from the medieval ages, and historic Georgian walkways, Dublin is chock full of scenic sights that leave tourists breathless.
You simply can’t take a trip to Ireland and not visit the capital. The city of Dublin may be smaller compared to other neighboring cities but what Dublin lacks in geographical size and population, it makes up for in history, culture, and hospitality unique to the capital of Ireland.
Granted, Dublin is far from being graceful and, for lack of a better term, clean, but it is also very vibrant, lively, and effervescent. The city is rife with laid-back vibes complete with cobblestone streets with soulful energies coming from the pubs and restaurants that litter the area. The locals also welcome anyone and everyone eager to have a pint and learn about their culture.
Once you’re in Dublin, you have a plethora of different options on where to go from here. Some locals may direct you to check out Dublin Castle or even the Christ Church Cathedral as well as the Little Museum of Dublin and Kilmainham Gaol. All of these spots are great and definitely worth the travel should you have enough time and energy on your hands after a lively night in the city.
- Galway City
Compared to other cities you may find on the Emerald Isle, Galway City tends to stand out because of the artsy, cultural vibe that permeates throughout the city. With an eclectic mix of vintage, old-world aesthetics, and modern, contemporary metropolis, medieval walls ready to be explored litter the city’s perimeter while tourist and souvenir shops can be found nearby restaurants and taverns to allow explorers some respite after a long trek.
“Dull” is not a word travelers will find associated with Galway City. Sitting and taking your time at a cafe with some tea or a cup of joe in hand will allow you to hear a bagpipe playing either in the distance or just around the corner. It is not hard to find people frolicking merrily on the street to some upbeat folk music or sometimes, to buskers showcasing their talents to the civilians that come across their impromptu performances.
Of course, Galway’s charms do not only rely on its bustling, lively citizenry. Taking a walk along one of the stone bridges across the River Corrib will take you to Galway Bay where tourists will be greeted with a lush and tranquil scenery with quaint and colorful houses decorating your view of the bay area.
Many years ago, a lot of people considered Belfast non-grata. The city of Belfast, and by proxy, Northern Ireland, back then was feared as an industrial powerhouse that became infamous for producing the, now sunken, Titanic. Nothing could be further from the truth with the Belfast that exists today.
The Titanic Belfast Museum is one of the most popular tourist spots in the city. This museum was erected in order to commemorate the sinking of the ship. In addition to this museum, the city also has a plethora of opera houses, botanical gardens, and zoos among many other attractions that tourists can pay a visit to.
Aside from the Titanic Belfast Museum, the city also has the Ulster Museum and is an equally wonderful place to spend some time in. The Ulster Museum is also known as the largest museum in Northern Ireland with many exhibits featuring the outline of human history in Ireland. The Ulster Museum can be found inside the Botanical Gardens and occupies around 90,000 square feet of the area.
If you are able to spend about a week or even just a few days in Belfast, you might be lucky enough to see a glimpse of the cultural scene in the city. A plethora of impromptu performances litter the streets and the shopping is just as vibrant as any first-class European metropolis along with many places to dine in when you’re finally looking to wind down for the day.
- Aran Islands
If you’re gunning for the true Irish experience, you may want to pay a visit to the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands is a popular spot for day-travelers and if you wish to pay a visit, you can get there via Galway, where you can catch a ferry leaving from Rossaveal, or Doolin, where you can catch yet another ferry from Clare. Of course, tourists with more resources available can also opt to travel by plane.
Make sure you plan your trip carefully since paying a visit to these islands can take up much of your vacation time so it is generally advised that, unless you have a lot of time to kill, it’s better to stick to mainland Ireland.
Of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor is the largest, Inis Meain is the most rural, and Inis Oirr is the smallest. All of the islands mentioned above are located in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way which is more than 2,500 kilometers of Ireland’s most stunning Western Coastline ranging from Derry to the north all the way to Kinsale which is to the south.
The only village present in the three islands is Kilronan. You can find the village on Inis Mor and the village can be described as quaint and tiny. The locals are able to converse in English and Irish which only add to the authentic Celtic charm of the place.
A number of restaurants and inns are present in the village to accommodate any travelers that might be interested in paying the town a visit. Since the village is rather quiet, Kilronan is the perfect place to enjoy some peace away from the city without compromising the comforts of good food and a modern lifestyle.
If you’re looking to spend some time in a city in southern Ireland, Cork is definitely going to be one of your best destinations. Hailed as the second-largest city in all of Ireland after Dublin, Cork is on par with the capital when it comes to having the fully immersive metropolis experience. Of course, this is all without having to sacrifice Ireland’s abundant history which you are most welcome to partake in when you visit museums, art galleries, antique shops, and even cafes.
What of the cuisine, you may ask? Worry not because Cork is also filled to the brim with amazing restaurants. The covered English Market is where your interests in dining will lead you as it is also at the heart of the city.
Treats like seafood, artisan cheese, and scrumptious desserts line the streets of the market so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place that offers the same abundance of choices. The market was established all the way back in the late 1780s so you also won’t miss the history the market is able to offer your tastebuds.
While you’re in the city, try to make it a point to visit Blarney Castle. This castle is one of the most famous attractions in the countryu. It is said to house a legendary stone known as the Blarney Stone or the Stone of Eloquence. The legends surrounding this stone states that if you kiss the stone while hanging upside down, you will be rewarded with the gift of eloquence.
- Killarney and Killarney National Park
Kerry County, which is located in the southwestern corner of Ireland, is home to the much-beloved town of Killarney and Killarney National Park. People who come here tend to look for the things bustling, metropolitan areas cannot offer: peace and quiet. The surrounding scenery will greet you with stunning lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, and majestic mountains. The hiking trails call to your choice of comfortable footwear, beckoning you to travel deeper and deeper into the serene calmness of nature.
Because of Killarney’s picturesque natural scenery, the town has any number of rooms capable of housing numerous guests even in the busiest of travel seasons. The hotel rooms are of the finest quality with only the most hospitable of Irish services to allow guests to wind down after exploring Killarney National Park or after a tour of Ross Castle.
Whatever way you may choose to visit Killarney National Park, an active day in the picturesque natural scenery the enclosure offers will undoubtedly leave you parched and famished. Worry not because Killarney’s restaurants and pubs are here to help you wind down for the night or help you get your energy back for a night with friends and family on the streets.
- Cliffs of Moher
Ireland is a tourist destination that boasts many beautiful, natural scenery but few can be as beguiling and impressive as the famous Cliffs of Moher. With a vertical of up to over 210 meters, the Cliffs of Moher present their beauty above Clare County’s west coast which makes it easy to see why and how Ireland is such a hotspot for travelers and adventurers.
The cliffs, which stretch from southern Ireland to Kerry and further north, treat visitors and travelers to amazing views of the Atlantic crashing against the cliffs and the rocky shores. Adventurers are also treated to amazing sights of the Aran Islands looming in the distance. Taking a walk across the Cliffs of Moher is definitely an experience many tourists cannot afford to miss while visiting the Emerald Isles.
As a well-loved spot by many tourists and visitors, and one of the best places to visit in Ireland, the vicinity around the Cliffs of Moher was able to slowly but surely adapt to the attraction and fame they’re receiving. Since the boom of tourism around the area, locals have been able to erect various facilities like a visitor center, cafes, theaters, and even gift shops to better accommodate the travelers. One of the biggest changes that further enhanced the revenue for tourism in the area was the restoration of the O’Brien Tower which offers visitors and locals alike stunning views of the vicinity.
- Derry aka, Londonderry City
Bearing the official name of Londonderry City, Derry is famed for being the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. One thing many travelers notice when visiting the city is its well-preserved castle walls dating back all the way to the 17th century overlooking the beautiful Atlantic coast. One interesting albeit scary tidbit the city boasts is the city’s relation to the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1972, a gruesome event that took place in the city’s Bogside section.
Realizing the city’s potential for tourism, the city of Derry recently underwent a major makeover, taking the attractions one level higher. One of the major improvements made was the Peace Bridge which is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses the Foyle River. The renovations and improvements were completed by 2011 and ever since then, the Peace Bridge has become an iconic backdrop for concerts and celebrations in the vicinity.
The citizens of Derry also worked hard to restore and improve their waterfront. They also put effort into transforming the vibe that permeates Derry. Visitors can now wander the busy streets freely, all while looking for a hearty meal to eat or have a pint with old and new friends. The buzz of the city is tantalizing to anyone who appreciates the urban and the modern.
- Limerick City
The City of Limerick has definitely had its ups and downs through the years. This particular city has already experienced its lowest point in the economy and suffered for years. With the recent boom in tourism, the city of Limerick was able to afford itself a new lease on life.
Dubbed as Ireland’s City of Culture, Limerick needed a whole new make-over. With brand new and improved river walkways, quays, and public bicycles for the locals, this one desolate city is now a place full of quirks and tourist attractions with a bright and prosperous future. Iconic and beautifully crafted Georgian buildings are scattered around the city which also houses numerous art galleries. The Milk Market is a famous spot for visitors eager to try the local cuisine accompanied by vibrant shows, concerts, and performances.
Of course, in the city of Limerick, rugby still very much remains the sport of choice whether you’re talking with friends or just trying to one-up a rival team. If you’re not about sweaty men arguing against each other, then maybe a stroll around King John’s Castle, an 800-year-old relic of a structure, maybe more your speed.
- Sligo Port
Sligo Port mostly sets its charms in being able to provide many travelers, visitors, and adventurers a place to rest and set their minds at ease after a long day of explorations. With picturesque seaports and friendly locals, Sligo is always open for any traveler with weary heads and weary feet. This quaint city comfortably nestled in between Donegal and Galway is the ideal stop to rest your legs and fill your stomach while on a tour on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Similar to many other spots on this list, Sligo Port also exists in a sweet yet scenic balance of land and sea. The result of this combination is a tranquil oasis made of mountain peaks, ocean waves, and sandy dunes that are capable of spurring the heart of even the most callous of beings on the planet.
Staying in Sligo Port after an eventful exploration is nothing short of a treat. There really is no other place where you can ride the waves in the morning and explore craggy cliffs and aged castles in the afternoon all while making plans to drink and dine with friends and family once the sun goes down.
- Dingle City
This quiet city riddled with picturesque hills is the capital of the Dingle Peninsula. Famed as a highlight on any tour that features the Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle City, and by extension, Dingle Peninsula boasts sights and beauty you’d be hard-pressed to surpass.
It comes as no surprise then, that the tourism around Dingle City is booming unlike any other city in the Emerald Isles. Hundred and thousands of weary visitors and travelers are eager to be able to rest their heads and feet in the peninsula, especially during the summer.
Resting right above Dingle Bay, Coumenoole beach faces the beautiful Blasket Islands. If you try looking close enough, you might even have a chance to spot Fungi, the town’s unofficial mascot. Many people choose to head to Coumenoole to have a chance to wind down and mingle.
If you’re not too fond of the beach, then you might opt to take a hike towards the aged Eask Tower. What for, you may ask? Well, the view from the tower offers you a full 360-degree view of nothing but lush greenery and endless sky. After the hike, you can also enjoy the shopping district should you ever get peckish and would like some refreshments.
- Westport City
When people go to Westport, they don’t expect to be bored. Thankfully, the city does not disappoint. I even often exceed travelers’ expectations. The city, which is located in Mayo County along the west coast of Ireland, is not new to receiving guests and travelers that may want to set up a home base there for their vacations and adventures.
This is also of the very tourist-friendly stops you can make when in Ireland since the city has it all, making it one of the best places to visit in Ireland. Up for a game of golf? Want to go cycling? Eager to grab a cup of coffee at a local cafe? If you’re not feeling the city vibes, then how about a hike or a trip to the beach? There is truly no shortage of things to do when in Westport City.
Situated an hour and a half from Galway, Westport city is also sometimes referred to as the Riviera of the Wild Atlantic Way. The rugged countryside provides a picturesque contrast with the city’s 50 miles of pristine beachfront that ovelooks the stunning Clew Bay. Locals and visitors also have the option of heading to Oyster Beach, which is near Murrisk, fora relaxing horseback riding session or to simply jusp off at the pier to gaze at Croagh Patrick.
- Kilkenny City
If your first destination in Ireland is Dublin, then you may want to drop by Kilkenny city as well. The city is just an hour and half from Dublin and also spans the length of the Nore River on both sides. Similar to the aesthetic tourists can find on Derry, Kilkenny city also offers a mesmerizing mesh of medieval and modern. Earning the title of the “Marble City” on the Emerald Isles, Kilkenny City has no shortage of the treats and scenic view to offer both locals and visitors alike.
Among the sights Kilkenny offers, the most popular would be the Medieval Mile, a scenic trail of lanes that links buildings with a lot of history around the area, including Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle, The Rose Garden, and many others.
Kilkenny City is a great source of inspiration with how its modern upkeep is still able to preserve that ancient culture deeply intertwined with the layout of the area. There is no shortage of things to do or stuff to get inspired by when you visit especially with castles and concrete to fuel your inner creativity.
- Giant’s Causeway
This natural landmark and attraction is a place where tourists come to get completely immersed in how nature does art. The Giant’s Causeway is situated at the base of great basalt cliffs and is made up of more than 40,000 massive, hexagonal black columns standing from the sea. Their humungous size and sheer scale earned the name “Giant’s Causeway” because it looks as if giants were the ones who palace the columns of rock onto the sea.
Hailed as a geological marvel by the UNESCO World Heritage, this attraction was created through multiple volcanic eruption, shifting of tectonic plates, and 60 million years worth of erosion. This site famed and is usually visited by tourists who want to try and get a close look at what legends may look like should they ever exist. You can even walk to where the columns are and see how firmly they stand for yourself.
Leaning into how legends can spur tourists to visit, the Giant’s Causeway also has a visitors center where tourists can learn more about the legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill a.k.a. Finn McCool, a giant in Irish folklore who is said to have built the Giant’s Causeway to do battle with his counterpart, the Scottish Benandonner.
- Kinsale Harbour
Kinsale Harbour is by no means big, but is also not any less charming than any cities you might find on the Emerald Isle. A medieval fishing port in the old ages, Kinsale Harbour sits just 40 minutes from Cork with its amazing marina plays and ships bigger than your first apartment. Take in the sights of the galleon and yachts before trakking the Scilly Walk on your way to Charles Fort, a star-shaped, artillery fort built in the 17th century to guard Kinsale Harbour against intruders.
At the center of Kinsale Harbour, you can find Desmond Castle, a fort built in the 16th century used to contain prisoners of war. Many locals know this fort as the “French Prison.”
Roaming the streets of Kinsale is a treat for any local or visitor that might want to take in some sights while appreciating the downtime of a long morning. Many fun shops and cafes are peppered throughout the streets of the harbor and many restaurants offer great food for visitors who are feeling rather peckish. Kinsale Harbour isn’t known as the “Gourmet Capital of Ireland” for no reason and the town certainly lives up to the title.
- Coleraine Town
Visitors would not be doing their trips to Ireland justice if they skip over this delightful town in the Northern coast. Also, known as the Capital of the Causeway Coast, Coleraine Town is a town with many names as a testament to how utterly stunning the atmosphere in the village is. Many locals know Coleraine town by a number of monikers, some of which include “Ulster in Bloom” and many others.
It is a given how tourists gush about the shops and cafes in Coleraine, but the actual charm of the area actually comes from the immaculately tended flowers in the gardens and the town square which has been dubbed “The Diamond.” Numerous golf courses litter the outskirts of the city to allow many travelers some respite and relaxation with a bit of friendly competition. Other adventurers prefer to hike and bike to take in and appreciate the natural scenic views offered by the Bann River.
Visitors also sometimes opt to hike for a couple of hours to Mountsandel Wood which is an ancient, Mesolithic site dating back to around 10,000 years ago. Moutsandel Wood is know as the oldest know remnants of settlement in the country and is hailed to be Ireland’s oldest archeological treasure.
- Boyne Valley
The Boyne Valley is yet another of Ireland’s precious land formations the will surely leave visitors and tourists breathless. Spanning a majestic 110 miles from the lush, green fields of Kildare County all the way to the stunning sapphire shine of the Irish Sea, the Boyne Valley is Ireland’s version of the Loire of France or even the Meuse of Belgium. It is definitely one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
Between the peaks, adventurers can catch a glimpse of the past like the Newgrange Monument, which is thought be around 5,000 years old. There are also various gatehouses and even the Trim Castle, a former stronghold of the Norman in Meath, to be explored.
The Boyne Valley is easily accessible from the capital, Dublin, which makes this attraction appealing to visitors wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded city and immerse themselves in marked rock and grass trails and riparian banks.
- Cashel Rock
Cashel Rock is a special venue and a popular stop for many tourists and adventurers because of its gothic and eerie yet mysterious feel. With crumbling walls and crenulated gatehouses, Cashel Rock offers travelers a glimpse of what it must be like if you were in a scene from Game of Thrones. For those who wish to visit, Cashel Rock is situated in Tipperary County in Southern Ireland.
Cashel Rock once served as the stronghold of the Munster Kings during the Early Middle Ages which would explain why the architecture of the fortress is similar to that of the Round Tower and Cormac’s Chapel – all of which stood up to invaders of the British Empire. The site is also creepily yet beautifully littered with Celtic gravestones coupled with a stunning view of the Munster backcountry.
- Glendalough Valley
Sitting between the vibrant, lush hills of Wicklow County on the Eastern coast of the Emerald Isles, Glendalough Valley draws in travelers and adventurers with a curious mesh of history and natural beauty.
The abbey that can be found right at the heart of Glendalough Valley is said to have been erected since the 6th century and was founded by Saint Kevin of Glendalough. This ancient abbey also showcases some of the best preserved relics and architecture unique to the Emerald Isles.
Adventurers and travelers can ommerse themselves into a lush forest of oak and fern, of mountain ash and hazel, where warblers flit from place to place between the growing canopies, where marked trails allow hikers to pierce through the Wicklow Mountains Natural Park.
- Burren National Park
Spanning an impressive 15 square kilometers all across Clare County, the Burren National Park, otherwise known as The Burren, truly represents Ireland’s famous and unforgettable verdant scenery with savannas that contrast against mountaintops under blues skies and friendly clouds.
Chipped and chiseled from the many karst rocks that litter the scenic view from the beds of the hills to the north of Limerick, the landscape is awash with crevices and faults that bloom with the most stunning flora you cannot see in any field. The Burren boasts its own kind of ecosystem blooming with plants, flora, and even animals unique to the Emerald Isles.
Put that together with stunning and jaw-dropping monolith tombs of the Gaelic tribes and its easy to see why plenty of history buffs, plant people, and even brid watchers flock to The Burren every year.
Aching to get away from the busy, crowded city? Then paying a visit to Connemara and taking it easy among a lush verdant landscape might be just what you need. Connemara also has strong ties to Irish tradition even in the ever-modernizing state of the world so if you’re looking to learn more of the Irish culture or you’re simply trying to go back to your roots, Connemara is the place to be.
Connemara has long capture the attention of tourists from across the globe with its amazing, naturally picturesque landscapes that give Ireland the moniker of “Emerald Isles.” The area is truly remote and rural which is tempting for people who are eager to escape and get rugged with outdoor adventures. These serene landscapes also allow visitors a chance to be able to fish and hike around the majestic Twelve Bans Mountain Range.
Locals will tell visitors that one of the best places to visit in Ireland, specifically in Connemara, would be Kylemore Abbey, a structure famed for the heartbreaking tale behind it. The story goes like this; once, a famous English surgeon from a wealthy family bought a site in the area with the ambition of erecting a castle for his beloved wife. That castle was supposed to be their family nest, however, shortly after its completed construction, the wife fell into illness and subsequently, died. Devastated by the grief and loss of his wife, the surgeon lived his days in the abbey alone until he too died and was laid to rest with his beloved at his side.
- Malin Head
At the northern most part of the Emerald Isles, you will find Malin Head. This gorgeous place is surrounded by Atlantic waters and offers visitors a rugged yet picturesque landscape of coastal waters on the Inishowen Peninsula.
The North Atlantic is notorious for having uncompromising, almost cruel waves so it should not be a surprise to visitors if they happen upon a few shipwrecks when paying a visit to Malin Head.
This does not take away from Malin Head’s natural beauty though. In fact, the uncompromising nature of North Atlantic waves may even spur some adventurers for a challenge. More than that, Malin Head is also know for it rare, yet cosmically beautiful views of the elusive Aurora Borealis.
- Slieve League
The famous Cliffs of Moher is famous for a good reason and the recen boom of Irish tourism made sure that it was on the maps of travelers for a long time. However, the Cliffs of Moher are not the only picturesque precipices that Ireland can offer.
The Slieve League that can be found in Donegal is not for the regular tourist wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The trek to find the Slieve Leage is treacherous and is only for those who want a true adventure. Only those who are daring enough to endure and traverse the high sea cliffs will be rewarded with a chance to see the incredible sights the Slieve League has to offer.
The Sleive League boasts so much more untapped, natural beauty that even the Cliffs of Moher cannot compare. For the daring and the adventurous heart, the Slieve League is definitely one of the major highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Famous writer Edward Dubois first coined Ireland as “God’s Country” in 1807. For reference, hew speaking specifically about the Wicklow Mountains. Oddly enough, Wicklow is often overlooked when it comes to famous tourist spots in the Emerald Isle which is a shame because Wicklow houses one of the most beautiful place travelers and adventurers can go to when in Ireland. If you truly wish to experience the rugged aesthetic the Irish are known for, then a visit to Wicklow should be in your travel itinerary.
Glendalough is going to be an obvious stop for travelers. The name Glendalough originally translates to “Valley of the Two Lakes.” This valle is a site of a 6th century monastery with an unusually high cross and a famous round tower.
The giant cross that can be found in the valley is named St. Kevin’s Cross, named after the saint who found the monastery. The giant cross is carved from granite and has arms reaching over a meter in length. Additionally, legend says that the cross can grant wishes should they be able to wrap their arms around the entire width of the cross’ trunk.
For a place unofficially known as the Traditional Music Capital of Ireland, Doolin is actually nothing more than a street littered with pubs and cafes. Be that as it may, its small scale does not prevent it from being charming enough to enamour guests and weary travelers. The village can be described as the picture-perfect ideal of an Irish neighborhood with narrow roads that twist and turn into green meadows and stone walls coupled with stunning rural landscapes and a majestic view of the Atlantic ocean to the west.
Doolin is the perfect area to recuperate after an exciting time in the city. Whether you’re looking to see the Cliff of Moher for yourself or taking a jaunt to the famous and quaint Aran Islands, Doolin is definitely going to be in your trave itinerary. Here, you can escape blustery winds by going into pubs where you’ll be greeted with good food, great drinks, and even better company. In Doolin, there is never a dull moment even when you’re resting your weary feet which makes travelers reluctant to leave the lively little village behind, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
- Ashford Castle
The Ashford Castle is one of the most beautiful castles to ever be erected in the Emerald Isles. Standing strong and firm for over 800 years, the Guiness family once occupied this famed fortress an as the time changed, so did the castle. The massive structure now has a bevy of beautiful gardens as well as stunning ponds and lakes to decorate the prestigious estate. Thie massive castle also provides many guests and visitors a chance to enjoy leisurely sports like tennis, golf, and even archery.
With the boom of tourism across Ireland, Ashford Castle has also been the recipient of many renovations an drefurbishments. Now, the historic fortress now stands as one of the most luxurious five-star hotels in the entire globe. With 80 luxurious rooms, top-class restaurants spas, and even a cinema that litter the estate, its not hard to see why international celebrities enjoy visiting the Ashford Castle.
- Croagh Patrick
You don’t have to be Irish to have heard of the St. Patrick or, at least, the international holiday with the same name. St. Patrick was well known to be a shepher who hated snakes and reptiles and who went on to be the a famous patron saint of Ireland. So famous was St. Patrick that he was able to influence a global drinking binge every March 17th through a holiday name after him as an homage. Back in his youth, it is said that St. Patrick climbed 2,500 feet to the summit of a mountain and spent 40 days and nights at the peak, fasting and praying.
Annually, thousands of pilgrims honor the patron saint by following St. Patrick’s footsteps to the peak where a mass is held in a little church that was erected since the 5th century. Most pilgrims do this barefoot but if that’s too much for you then you can simply climb the mountain with a cable car so long as the Irish weather permits you to do so.
Another yet lesser known stop in the Emerald Isles that many tourists and visitors skip over would be the ancient city of Waterford. Many people would have undoubtedly heard of the famous brand by the name of Waterford Crystal, but surprisingly, not many realize that this brand originated in the Emerald Isles. Once people do make the connection though, Waterford is not so stingy as to not provide travelers tours across the whole factory.
Waterford also happens to be Ireland’s oldest city and is rife with Irish culture and history to be shared with whoever is willing to know more. Also dubbed “The Viking City” and one of the best places to visit in Ireland, Waterford retains a laid-back vibe as it enjoys some of Ireland’s most beautiful weather.
Having a generally sunny climate is a big plus in term of tourism as well since Waterford has no shortage of beaches visitors can go to. People who check out Dungarvan and Tramore find pristine stretches of sand and sea caves, and even some tasty seafood places in the Copper Coast.
Adept travelers and locals know that the Ancient East Coast of the Emerald Isles has no shortage of picturesque sceneries but few can hold up to how stunning Carlingford is. This former Viking fjord can be found in the east coast along the Irish border in between the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Foy.
The town’s roots is evident for visitors and locals to see in its impressive centennial architechture and charming cobbles pathways. The Tholsel, which is basically an ancient town gate and the last of its kind in existence, can also be only found in Carlington.
Once the sun goes down, Carlington’s Viking and Gaelic heritage comes to life to bring vibrance and energy to the town. Mighty craics are served in every traditional pub and restaurant so be sure to have your fill.
- Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh is also one of the most visited places in Donegal because of yet another famous castle within its vicinity. The fortress boasts brilliant gardens and tours are even available for everyone who wishes to see the Scottish-style structure up close although it is important to note that a camera is not allowed inside the building.
Glenveagh National park is also famed for it 40,000 acres of mountains, lakes, woods, and other beautiful, natural treasures the Emerald Isles can offer visitors. This park is also the home and protector of the largest population of red deer and also welcomed the reintroduction of the golden eagle in recent years within its sanctuary.
Ireland is a truly fascinating country with roots in numerous ancient cultures like the Celtic, Viking, and even Anglo-Norman people deeply embedded throughout its illustrious history. With beautiful landscapes and scenery to capture the hearts of locals and travelers alike and a furious passion for dance and music, it’s not hard to see why many people have an international love affair with the Emerald Isles. Now that you know the best places to visit in Ireland, it’s time to add them to your bucket list!
I love finding and reviewing the latest in outdoor gear and apparel. I’m a writer and adventure seeker who is obsessed with the outdoors. I love to hike, ski, mountain bike and spend time exploring our beautiful province. This blog will be packed with tips on how to make the most of your time outside whether you are out for a weekend or an extended family vacation. I’ll also share my adventures in hopes of getting you off the couch and into the wild!
Check my blog…it’s updated every day with new posts about the best of what’s out there in the world of outdoor gear.