Top Attractions in Ireland
Collected by Yvonne Gordon, AFAR Local Expert
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are rich with unspoiled coastlines, exciting cultural experiences, and warm, friendly people. It’s the place to be if you're looking for a grand adventure and a bit of craic on your travels.
15 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, D02 Y066, Ireland
If big museums aren’t your thing, but you’d like to get a flavor of the story of Dublin, drop into the Little Museum on St. Stephen’s Green, which is full of quirky memorabilia from times past in the city, all donated by the...
Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland
Older than both Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt, the monument at Newgrange was built around 3,200 B.C.E. Its use is a mystery, although it was most likely a place of worship, and there are legends that it was used as a burial chamber. The...
Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, Athlone, Co. Offaly, Ireland
This religious site was once at the main crossroads of Ireland, where all paths and the River Shannon linked up. The monastery of Clonmacnoise was founded by St. Ciarán in the year 544, and it became one of the most famous in the...
Cionn Fhánada, Eara Thíre na Binne, Baile Láir, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, F92YC03, Ireland
On the north coast of Donegal, take a drive on part of the Wild Atlantic Way around the Fanad Peninsula and Rosguill Peninsula for some spectacular coastal scenery. There’s a mix of golden beaches, rolling farmland, and dramatic...
Bellataleen, Murrisk,, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Ireland’s holiest mountain is associated with St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, as well as having been a place of worship dating back to 3,000 B.C.E. The half-mile-high summit is visible for miles and has incredible views...
Church St, Crag, Lahinch, Co. Clare, V95 KV09, Ireland
Some of the beaches on Ireland’s west coast along the Wild Atlantic Way have incredible waves for surfing, especially in winter, and the beach break in the small seaside town of Lahinch in County Clare is a popular spot for all levels. There...
Letterfrack, Co. Galway, Ireland
The bleak, windswept landscape of Connemara in the West of Ireland is characterized by bogs, lakes, mountains, and miles of stone walls. Connemara National Park is one of the best places to appreciate this unique landscape, with more than 7,000...
Great Skellig, Skellig Rock Great, Ireland
Christian monks chose the Skelligs, two rocky islets lying seven miles off the coast of County Kerry, as a place to live in peaceful isolation in the 6th century, where they built cylindrical stone beehive huts. Lucasfilm chose...
Muckross, Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland
The coast of County Kerry gets a lot of attention, but don’t miss the Killarney Lakes, which are part of Killarney National Park. Start at the National Park Visitor Centre at Muckross House to learn about all the wildlife in the park’s...
Slieve League, Shanbally, Co. Donegal, Ireland
You will need a head for heights to visit Slieve League; at 600 meters (2,000 feet), these are the fifth-tallest sea cliffs in Europe. What makes them so special is that they are also some of the most accessible ones. Nearly three times higher...
2 Church St, Knockaunroe, Corofin, Co. Clare, V95 T9V6, Ireland
South of Galway in neighboring County Clare is one of Ireland’s, if not Western Europe’s, unique landscapes: the extraordinary, lunarlike limestone scenery of the Burren. (Its name derives from the Gaelic word boíreann, which...
Newfield, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Hop on a bike and cycle the Great Western Greenway in County Mayo, a 26-mile walking and cycling track that takes in some of the West of Ireland’s best views. The greenway follows the old Great Western railway line from Westport to...
Beara Peninsula, Knockroe West, Co. Cork, Ireland
Instead of the Ring of Kerry, take the scenic driving route around the less busy Beara Peninsula, following the road from Glengarriff to Dursey Sound in County Cork,and then back to Kenmare in County Kerry. Don’t miss the ancient stone...
Church Hill, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Glenveagh National Park is one of the highlights of the northwest of Ireland. A number of walking trails traverse the 62 square miles of rugged mountains, lakes, remote bogs, and woodlands, where wildlife such as red deer and golden eagles...
Inishowen, Owenboy, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Tour the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, and you’ll have the most dramatic views on your way to Malin Head at the tip—be sure to stop at the Gap of Mamore, 820 feet above sea level, for panoramic vistas of Lough Swilly and...
Bridge St, Cahernamart, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland
The Westport area has 52 pubs with 34 in the town itself, but despite the competition, one of the liveliest any night of the week is Matt Molloy’s—named after its owner, flautist Matt Molloy, who has toured the world as a member of...
The Parade, Collegepark, Kilkenny, Ireland
This impressive castle overlooking the River Nore has a history as dramatic as its appearance. It was built for the Earl of Pembroke in the 1190s; lived in by various generations of the Butler family for six centuries, from the year 1391...
10 Bailey's New St, Waterford, X91 A0PF, Ireland
Go back in time to meet the Viking warlords who founded Veðrafjorðr (which means “windy fjord”), or Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, in 914 C.E. Start the King of the Vikings journey by entering a replica Viking...
20 Casement Square, Kilgarvan, Cobh, Co. Cork, P24 DW63, Ireland
In 1912, the ill-fated Titanic’s last port of call was the town of Cobh, then known as Queenstown, in Cork Harbour. The Titanic Experience is housed in the original White Star Line ticket office, and you’ll receive...
The Granary, Michael St, Limerick, Ireland
Ireland’s third largest city was founded by Vikings who settled at the mouth of the River Shannon in 922 C.E. Walk the pleasant streets or along the banks of the Shannon, and enjoy the historic buildings, cozy pubs, modern...
Mourne Mountains, Newry BT34 5XL, UK
The Mourne Mountains are the highest range in Northern Ireland and one of its best-kept secrets. Walk the large sweeping downs and follow hiking trails across the high peaks, which are also favorites of mountain bikers and rock climbers,...
402 Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 1HH, UK
C.S. Lewis, author of the beloved Chronicles of Narnia series, was born in Belfast in 1898 and spent the first 10 years of his life there. Explore his haunts in the city, starting with the trail at C.S. Lewis Square in east Belfast,...
44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills BT57 8SU, UK
A geological wonder, Giant’s Causeway is about an hour’s drive northeast of Derry on the coast in County Antrim. It is made up of around 40,000 black basalt columns in polygonal shapes, a unique landscape that has been named a UNESCO...
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