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best places to visit in Ireland

The Emerald Isle is a beautiful green landscape that offers some of the most scenic views in the World. With so many places to visit in Ireland, you can get lost on a magical trip away from the busy city life.

Take the family on an adventure and discover what makes Ireland so special. With cliffs, beaches, cities and castles, the is a long list of places to visit in Ireland.

Walk in the shoes of the kings or head into Galway city and enjoy a day of retail therapy. Whatever you get up to in your free time, there are many places to go in Ireland.

Keep reading to see our 14 best places to visit in Ireland…

Ring of Kerry – County Kerry

ring of kerry

Located in County Kerry, the Ring of Kerry is a circular road that explores much of the counties stunning coastline. As part of the Wild Atlantic Way you will be greeted with jagged cliffs, national parks, castles and an almost endless supply of eye-catching scenery.

The complete journey is roughly 179km and can be done in one day. However, we would recommend taking your time and exploring the many family-friendly attractions along the way. Why not stop by the ruins of Derrynane House? Or prepare for battle at the Cahergal Stone Fort.

The Ring of Kerry is one of the best places to visit in Ireland. You can explore a mix of ruins, cliffs and much more.

If you enjoy the outdoors, and love hill climbing, why not check out some of the tallest mountains in Ireland. Can you find how many are located in County Kerry.

Highlights: The Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, Derrynane Beach, Killarney National Park

Mizen Head – County Cork

mizen head

Ireland west coast is home to some of the country’s best coastline. If you are looking for places to visit in Ireland’s South West, Mizen Head is one of the best places to see dramatic cliffs and ocean views.

Right at the bottom of County Cork sits Mizen Head. Here you can explore nearby hikes, head down to the Mizen Head Signal Station & Viewpoint or put your feet up with a cup of hot chocolate at the visitor centre café.

If you are visiting between August and January, you have a chance to see some of the oceans majestic giants. Keep an eye out for fin whales, humpback whales and dolphins.

Find out all you need to know about the Mizen Head Peninsula here.

Highlights: Mizen Head Signal Station, Whales and dolphins.

Stairway to Heaven – County Fermanagh

stairway to heaven

As part of the Cuilcagh mountain, the Stairway to Heaven is a boardwalk that allows visitors to explore the mountain range. The pathway helps maintain the mountain ecology, and it is asked that all visitors stick to the designated paths.

We recommend the Stairway to Heaven as one of the best places to visit in Ireland because, after a short walk to the viewing platform, you will be greeted with an expanse of greenery over the surrounding lowlands.

Highlights: Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, Marble Arch Caves

Dursey Island – County Cork

dursey island

Accessible only by cable car, Dursey Island is a wonderful stop away from the pollution of cars and vans. At only 6.5km long, the island is perfect for those that love walking.

Along the coast, you can see whales, dolphins and some of the countries rarest birds. If you are a nature lover, the island is one of the best places to visit in Ireland to get your fill.

Don’t forget your binoculars, and keep an eye out for Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Puffins and a host of other seabirds.

Highlights: Beara Way, Bull Rock Gannet colony

Cliffs of Moher – County Clare

cliffs of moher

Spanning over 8km, the Cliffs of Moher are a spectacle to behold. You can walk along the many paved pathways looking out over the Atlantic ocean and Aran Islands.

Looking along the County Clare coastline, you can see jagged cliffs with rugged drop-offs. The area is home to over 30 bird species which contribute to the biodiversity of County Clare.

The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty spans along the Clare coast, and no matter the weather, you can find dramatic photo opportunities throughout the year.

Highlights: UNESCO Global Geopark, O’Brien’s Tower

Wild Atlantic Way – County Kerry to County Cork

wild atlantic way

At an impressive 2,500 kilometres, the Wild Atlantic Way spans the whole of the Irish west coast and parts of the north and south. It is one of the longest defined coastal routes in the World. To break it down, the route is split into 14 smaller chunks.

Because it is so large, many of Ireland’s west coast attractions fall into the Wild Atlantic Way. You can explore the eye-catching Ring of Kerryor head to Ireland’s most northern point Malin Head.

With so many of Ireland’s places to visit on the Wild Atlantic Way, you need to give yourself time to explore the coastline.

Break up your stay with a visit to one of these Wild Atlantic Way holiday cottages.

Galway – County Galway

Galway City

With so many visitors heading to Ireland’s capital, many often miss out on some of the countries charming towns and cities. Galway is a stunning city that is known for its huge number of festivals.

If you are looking for something to do on a weekend, Galway is the place for you. Throughout the year, there is an average of 122 festivals for a range of different interests. You can find festivals of art, traders markets, cartoons, and so much more.

What makes Galway one of our favourite places to visit is the many family-friendly activities. Get active at the Wildlands Adventure Park and feel the adrenaline on one of the zip line routes. Then, throughout the evening, head into the city centre to try one of the many mouth-watering restaurants.

If you like the sound of visiting this county, why not visit some of the charming towns in Galway. Or start planning your trip with these Galway attractions.

Search through these County Galway holiday cottages online today.

Cork – County Cork

cork city

As another city on the list, Cork is home to many wonderful tourist attractions. You can explore the history of the Jameson Brewery, take a day tour to some of the most beautiful coastal spots in Ireland, including the Ring of Kerry.

The city is full of historic pubs, and you can find live music in Cork most nights of the week. Or head further back in Irish history and discover all there is to know about the famous Blarney Stone. 

What makes Cork one of the best places to visit in Ireland is the diverse range of attractions. Whether you are travelling with family, friends, children or pets, you will never be short of activities in Cork.

However, if you need a little help getting started, you can discover 16 of the best things to do in Cork here.

Sliabh Liag – County Donegal

sliabh liag

Sliabh Liag or Slieve League is a dramatic mountain set right on the coast of the County DonegalThe mountain climb offers spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean and takes you into the Irish wilderness.

Standing at over 600 meters tall, Sliabh Liag is one of the most dramatic places to go in Ireland. The fresh sea air and coastal path showcase some of Ireland’s incredible biodiversity. If you want to experience the cliffs from a different perspective, several boat trips look upon Sliabh Liag from below.

If you like the look of Sliabh Liag, why not check out these 17 things to do in Donegal.

Bundoran – County Donegal

bundoran surf

If you love surfing, Bundoran is the spot for you. The waves are perfect for surfers of all abilities, and the surf is reliable due to the predictable weather and swells.

Along the Bundoran coast, there are many sheltered beaches, perfect for beginners. These offer 2–3-foot waves and can get you started on the surfboard.

Bundoran may be one of the best places in Ireland for surfing, but you can also find a selection of restaurants, cafes, pubs and live music in the town. It is a great place to explore for young adults and anyone looking to get away from the busier cities.

Highlights: Surfing the waves, The Fairy Bridges, Bundoran Adventure Park

Killarney National Park – County Kerry

killarney national park

Located in the West of Ireland, Killarney National Park is a picturesque ecological site. You can discover hundreds of beautiful spots that wouldn’t look out of place in a calendar.

Along the way, you can try walking, visiting the house and gardens or searching for some of the local wildlife. Head out on one of the walking trails, and you will come across many of the attractions along the way.

These walks are self-guided and vary in difficulty. If you are heading out on a walk in Killarney National Park, ensure that you wear weather appropriate clothes and plan ahead. Pack food and water, and always wear sturdy waterproof boots with ankle support.

You can find out more about how to prepare for your walk on the Killarney National Park Website.

Highlights: Red Deer, Kerry Slug, Prehistoric settlements, Killarney House & Gardens

The Rock of Cashel – County Tipperary

rock of cashel

As the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster, the Rock of Cashel is a medieval site steeped in history. In fact, the Rock of Cashel’s royal ties dates as far back as the fourth century.

With admission, you can explore many of the Rock of Cashel’s unique features. Head down to Cormac’s Chapel to see Ireland’s only remaining Romanesque fresco, or take a walk outside the ruins and feast your eyes on the limestone hills in the Golden Vale.

Highlights: Cormac’s Chapel, Stunning views as you approach the rock

Blarney Castle – County Cork

blarney castle

You may have heard of the Blarney Stone, but that is just a part of Blarney Castle. Nearly 600 years old, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s best places to visit. You can discover more about Ireland’s heritage and get magnificent views over the nearby countryside.

During your visit, you can visit the legendary Blarney Stone, climb the tower and take a stroll through some of the castle’s exotic gardens. Just don’t get too close to the plants if you dare to venture into the poison garden. Some of these plants are so poisonous that they have to be kept behind large cage structures.

Whether you are a keen botanist or want to learn more about the history of the Blarney Stone, Blarney Castle is one of the best places to visit in Ireland.

Find accommodation in County Cork to make the most of your stay in Ireland. 

Bull Rock – County Cork

bull rock

Bull Rock is a unique attraction that not many people know about. Located just off the coast of Dursey Island, you need to join a boat trip to view the impressive Bull Rock lighthouse.

Unfortunately, you cannot get onto the island to look around, but the impressive views of the lighthouse are better from the water. Plus, on the boat trip, you get to journey through the heart of the island and get a complete view of Bull Rock.

Although Bull Rock is lesser-known to some of the places to visit in Ireland, we think it is one of the most unique. It is well worth a visit if you are looking for things to do in Cork.

Ireland is a country full of magic and history. There are so many enchanting places to visit in Ireland that can make your trip unforgettable. Make the most of your visit by staying in one of these self-catering cottages in Ireland.

Image Credits – Philip McErlean – (CC BY-ND 2.0); Oliver Gargan – (CC BY-SA 4.0); Cathy Cox – (CC BY-SA 2.0); Colin Park – (CC BY-SA 2.0); Greg Clarke – (CC BY 2.0)