Best Things to Do in Ireland: 12 Ireland Attractions

by Flora Backup
Best Things to Do in Ireland
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Are you thinking of visiting Ireland this year? Here are some of the most exciting, adventure-filled, and unique things to do in Ireland. The mesmerizing sights, cities, and landscapes are certain to make for an unforgettable trip to the Emerald Isle.

The Emerald Isle, Ireland, awaits discovery as a treasure trove of experiences. From the rugged cliffs of the Wild Atlantic Way to the bustling streets of Dublin, Ireland offers a rich history and culture that captivates every visitor. You’ll never run out of interesting things to do in Ireland.

Known for its warm hospitality, Ireland is a place where ancient traditions and contemporary life blend seamlessly. In Ireland, the towns hold tales, Guinness flows proudly, and landscapes exude enchanted artistry.

From Cliffs of Moher to Dublin Castle, Glendalough to Connemara, Ireland overflows with wondrous experiences. To help you navigate, I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Ireland, each promising an unforgettable experience.

Are you ready to embark on an Irish adventure that will leave you yearning for more? Let’s dive into the heart of Ireland and uncover its best-kept secrets!

The top places to visit in Ireland right now
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Best Places to Visit in Ireland

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Ireland? There’s a wealth of things to do in Ireland for every traveler to enjoy making Ireland stand out as one of the most underrated destinations. Keep reading to uncover the finest places to visit in this enchanting country.

Are you looking to connect with nature and explore Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes? Or would you prefer to explore bustling cities and local towns? Whatever you’re planning, Ireland can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best places to visit in Ireland that you should know about for your next vacation.

1. Dublin City, County Dublin

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a city rich in history and provides the perfect starting point. It offers historic buildings, lively pubs, and enchanting charm that captivates all who visit.

Begin at Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, to view the mesmerizing 9th-century Book of Kells. Next, meander through the cobbled streets of Temple Bar, a vibrant cultural quarter teeming with nightlife, boutiques, and galleries.

Dublin City is renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality.
Dublin City is renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality.

No visit to Dublin would be complete without these: Dublin Castle, historic heart, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland’s national church. Be sure to visit a local pub for a taste of Ireland’s most famous export – Guinness.

Dublin is not just about historic sites. It’s a dynamic, modern city with a thriving food scene, world-class museums, and a love for all things literary. Dublin caters to all, be it history buffs, literature lovers, or foodies, offering something unique and delightful for each taste and interest.

2. The Blarney Stone, County Cork

For a truly unique experience in Ireland, kiss the Blarney Stone—an absolute must. Located in the historic Blarney Castle, just five miles outside of Cork City, the Blarney Stone most beloved tourist attractions. According to Irish legend, kissing the stone bestows upon anyone the ‘gift of the gab’ – the ability to speak eloquently and persuasively.

The stone itself is a block of Carboniferous limestone built into the battlements of the castle. It was put into the tower in 1446. The castle and its surrounding gardens are a sight to behold, attracting visitors from all over the world. Be warned that the queues for kissing the stone can be quite long. If you visit on an off-peak day and the weather is good, it’s well worth the wait.

County Cork's famed Blarney Stone grants persuasive speech to those who kiss it.
County Cork’s famed Blarney Stone grants persuasive speech to those who kiss it.

After you’ve puckered up and planted one on the stone, take some time to explore the castle and its beautiful gardens. The lush greenery and historic architecture are a sight to behold, and the views from the top of the castle are simply gorgeous.

Ready for eloquence and Irish history? Bring your sense of adventure—and lip balm—kiss the Blarney Stone!

3. The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

The Cliffs of Moher are an absolute must-see on any trip to Ireland. Towering over the Atlantic Ocean at a height of 702 feet, these majestic cliffs offer breathtaking views that will leave you in awe.

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On a clear day, you can see as far as the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, with the Twelve Pins and Maum Turk mountains in Connemara forming a stunning backdrop.

County Clare's stunning Cliffs of Moher are a breathtaking natural wonder attracting countless visitors.
County Clare’s stunning Cliffs of Moher are a breathtaking natural wonder attracting countless visitors.

The cliffs stretch for about 14 kilometers with approximately 30,000 birds encompassing over 20 different species. This makes it one of the best places to visit in Ireland for bird watchers. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, located in the center of the cliffs, offers interactive exhibits that delve into the history, geology, and wildlife of the cliffs.

The Cliffs of Moher offer a range of experiences, from walking along the edge to boat tours, ensuring unforgettable trip highlights in Ireland. However, it’s crucial to observe and respect the safety measures in place, as the cliffs can be hazardous, especially during windy conditions.

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And don’t forget to bring your camera – the Cliffs of Moher provide some of the most stunning photo opportunities in Ireland.

4. The Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive like no other, its staggering natural beauty making it one of the best things to do in Ireland. This 179-kilometer-long circular route takes you through some of Ireland’s most dramatic landscapes, including rugged coastlines, emerald-green pastures, picturesque villages, and ancient archaeological sites.

County Kerry's picturesque Ring of Kerry offers scenic landscapes and cultural experiences for travelers.
County Kerry’s picturesque Ring of Kerry offers scenic landscapes and cultural experiences for travelers.

The route, beginning and ending in Killarney, guides you through delightful towns like Kenmare, Sneem, and Waterville, each exuding its own unique character and charm. As you go along this path, you’ll encounter attractions such as the Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, and Ross Castle. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a detour to the Skellig Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its early Christian monastery and its appearance in the Star Wars franchise.

To fully appreciate the journey of the Ring of Kerry, make sure to take your time and make frequent stops, allowing yourself to immerse in the stunning beauty that surrounds you.

The Ring of Kerry guarantees an unforgettable experience with a multitude of options to explore.

5. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

No trip to Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse consistently ranks as one of the best things to do in Ireland, and for good reason.

The seven-story visitor experience tells the story of Ireland’s iconic drink, from its origins to its growth into a global brand. As you make your way through the interactive exhibits, you’ll learn about the brewing process, the history of the Guinness family, and the craft of pouring the perfect pint.

Dublin's Guinness Storehouse showcases Ireland's iconic beer history with interactive exhibits and panoramic city views.
Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse showcases Ireland’s iconic beer history with interactive exhibits and panoramic city views.

The highlight of the visit is the Gravity Bar on the top floor. As you relish panoramic views of Dublin, you have the opportunity to savor a complimentary pint of Guinness. It’s the perfect place to toast your Irish adventure.

The Guinness Storehouse provides a captivating glimpse into Ireland’s cultural heritage and appealing to both beer enthusiasts. It is a must-visit on any trip to Dublin.

6. Skellig Michael, County Kerry

Off the coast of County Kerry, the Skellig Islands jut dramatically from the wild Atlantic Ocean. The larger of the two, Skellig Michael, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most remarkable places in Ireland.

County Kerry's Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its ancient monastic settlement.
County Kerry’s Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its ancient monastic settlement.

Skellig Michael was home to a small group of monks from the 6th to the 12th centuries. These monks lived in beehive-shaped stone huts, perched over 200 meters above sea level. The sense of tranquility and isolation here is palpable, making it easy to understand why the monks chose this remote location for their spiritual retreat.

Visiting Skellig Michael is an adventure in itself. The boat trip from the mainland can be rough, and the climb up the 600 ancient stone steps to the monastery is not for the faint-hearted. Those who make the journey are rewarded with stunning views and a unique insight into Ireland’s early Christian history.

Skellig Michael gained fame as a filming location for the Star Wars franchise, which adds an additional layer of intrigue to this already fascinating island. For adventure seekers, it stands as a top spot in Ireland, offering breathtaking vistas and abundant birdlife to admire.

7. Killarney National Park, County Kerry

Killarney National Park, located in County Kerry, is a haven of serene lakes, rugged mountains, and diverse wildlife. As Ireland’s first national park, it’s a must-visit destination in Ireland for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The park is home to the country’s only native herd of red deer and features a diverse range of bird species. Killarney National Park serves as a sanctuary for numerous types of flora and fauna, some of which are unique to Ireland.

County Kerry’s Killarney National Park captivates with its scenic beauty, lakes, mountains, and diverse wildlife.

Within the park, you’ll find the historic Muckross House and Gardens, a beautifully preserved Victorian mansion. A guided tour of the house offers a glimpse into the elegant lifestyle of the 19th-century Irish gentry.

The park boasts the stunning Torc Waterfall and the scenic Gap of Dunloe. For nature enthusiasts seeking the best activities in Ireland, your search ends here.

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Killarney National Park presents abundant natural beauty awaiting exploration, be it on foot, by bike, or by boat on the lakes.

8. Galway City, County Galway

Known as Ireland’s Cultural Heart, Galway City is a vibrant and charming destination on the west coast of Ireland. This harbor city is renowned for its bustling arts scene, colorful streets, and lively festivals, providing of the best places to visit in Ireland for couples, families, and solo travelers alike.

Galway is a city where traditional Irish culture thrives. From the spirited tunes flowing from the pubs, to the local artisans selling their crafts in the market, to the Irish language spoken in the streets, Galway is a place where the past and present coexist.

The city’s Latin Quarter is a maze of cobbled streets lined with boutiques, galleries, and eateries. Here, you’ll find the Spanish Arch, one of the remaining parts of the city’s medieval walls. Along with the Galway City Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the city’s history.

Vibrant Galway City, in County Galway, offers a lively atmosphere with arts, culture, and festivals.
Vibrant Galway City, in County Galway, offers a lively atmosphere with arts, culture, and festivals.

Galway International Arts Festival and the Galway Film Fleadh are two of the famous festivals in Galway. These are just two of the events that attract artists and visitors worldwide.

Galway City promises an authentic Irish experience, filled with history, pubs, and captivating atmosphere.

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9. The Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry

The Dingle Peninsula, located in County Kerry, is one of Ireland’s most picturesque locations. With its rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and rolling green hills, the peninsula offers some of the country’s most stunning landscapes. It’s not hard to see why many coin the Dingle Peninsula as one of the best places to visit in Ireland.

At the westernmost point of the peninsula, you’ll find Slea Head. This dramatic cliff offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Blasket Islands. The Blasket Centre, located on the mainland, tells the story of the Blasket Islanders. This attraction tells their unique way of life, and their rich literary heritage.

County Kerry's Dingle Peninsula enthralls with stunning coastal views, charming towns, and rich Gaelic heritage.
County Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula enthralls with stunning coastal views, charming towns, and rich Gaelic heritage.

The town of Dingle, the peninsula’s largest settlement, is a charming place with colorful buildings, traditional pubs, and artisan shops. The harbor is famous for its long-term resident, Fungie, the dolphin, who arrived in 1983.

The Dingle Peninsula presents an exceptional and indelible Irish encounter.

10. The Aran Islands, County Galway

Off the west coast of Ireland, the Aran Islands are a bastion of traditional Irish culture. Comprising three islands – Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, and Inis Oírr – the Aran Islands offer a glimpse into a slower pace of life, where old traditions are kept alive.

The islands are known for their ancient stone forts and churches, including Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór. Dún Aonghasa on Inis Móris is a prehistoric hill fort dramatically perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

They are also famous for their traditional knitted sweaters, called the Aran sweaters. Visitors can buy these directly from local knitters.

The Aran Islands are three picturesque islands known for their ancient archaeological sites and stunning Atlantic vistas.
The Aran Islands are three picturesque islands known for their ancient archaeological sites and stunning Atlantic vistas.

The islands’ stark beauty, with their limestone terraces and sweeping ocean views, has inspired writers and artists for centuries. If you’re exploring the islands by bike or hiking, the Aran Islands offer a unique and unforgettable Irish experience.

With an abundance of charm and personality, the Aran Islands stand as one of the top places to visit in Ireland. It is a destination I highly recommend exploring.

11. Cork City, County Cork

Known as the “Rebel City,” Cork is a city that combines historical charm with a modern and vibrant cultural scene. As the second-largest city in Ireland, there’s no shortage of things to do in Cork.

To begin your visit, embark on a journey into the English Market, a food market that has gracefully operated since 1788. Here, you can sample local produce and artisanal goods, from freshly caught fish to handmade chocolates.

Next, take a stroll along St. Patrick’s Street, the city’s main shopping thoroughfare. Make your way to the Crawford Art Gallery, where you can admire works by Irish and international artists.” Don’t forget to visit St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Cork City, County Cork: A dynamic and historic urban gem, where Irish charm meets modern vibrancy along the scenic River Lee.

Just outside the city, you’ll find Blarney Castle, home to the famous Blarney Stone. According to legend, anyone who kisses the stone will be granted the gift of eloquence.

With its rich history, lively arts scene, and friendly locals, Cork City offers a uniquely Irish experience that’s not to be missed.

12. Connemara National Park, County Galway

This is one of the best places to visit in Ireland, hands down. Connemara National Park, located in County Galway, is a place of unspoiled natural beauty. With 3,000 hectares of diverse landscapes, the park provides a serene escape from city life.

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including the Connemara pony, a unique breed of horse native to the area. With species like the peregrine falcon, the European stonechat, and the common grasshopper warbler frequently spotted. It’s undoubtedly a haven for birdwatchers.

Connemara National Park, a rugged landscape of mountains, bogs, and lakes, offering a glimpse of Ireland's unspoiled natural beauty.
Connemara National Park, a rugged landscape of mountains, bogs, and lakes, offering a glimpse of Ireland’s unspoiled natural beauty.

For the best views of the park, take a hike up Diamond Hill. The trail is well-marked and suitable for all fitness levels. At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. These includes the Twelve Bens Mountain range and the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Connemara National Park provides a rejuvenating escape into nature, inviting all to revel in activities like hiking, picnicking, or simply relishing the breathtaking scenery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Things to Do in Ireland

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Ireland? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Ireland:

What is the #1 thing to see in Ireland?

The top thing to see in this Emerald Isle (by visitor count) is the Cliffs of Moher!

Picture this: Majestic cliffs rising dramatically from the wild Atlantic Ocean, standing tall at heights of up to 700 feet, stretching along eight kilometers of the rugged coastline. The Cliffs of Moher are a true natural wonder that will leave you breathless with their sheer beauty.

Why are the Cliffs of Moher an absolute must-see in Ireland? The cliffs boast a panoramic vista that seems almost otherworldly, offering breathtaking views of the ocean, the Aran Islands, and even as far as the mountains of Kerry on a clear day. The mesmerizing play of sunlight and shadow over the cliffs’ edges creates a kaleidoscope of colors that change with the shifting weather. It makes each moment an enchanting experience.

To enhance your visit further, consider visiting the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. Here, you can delve deeper into the geological and cultural significance of this iconic landmark. The center provides interactive exhibits, audiovisual presentations, and informative displays that unravel the mysteries of these geological marvels.

What is the best time to visit Ireland?

Ireland is a year-round destination, but the prime time to visit is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is warmer, the days are longer, and it’s the busiest time. For those seeking fewer crowds, the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October are worth considering.

What is the most interesting thing in Ireland?

Ireland, a land shrouded in captivating mystery and enchanting tales, offers many fascinating wonders. However, if I were to choose the single most interesting thing in the country, it would undoubtedly be the ancient passage tomb of Newgrange.

Located in County Meath, Newgrange is a prehistoric monument that predates the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge, making it over 5,000 years old! Yes, you heard that right – 5,000 years of history etched into its stones.

So, what sets Newgrange apart and makes it the most interesting thing in Ireland? It’s not just a mere pile of stones; it’s an architectural marvel and a celestial enigma. The monument consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside. But here’s where the real magic happens.

Every year on the winter solstice, a spectacular phenomenon unfolds at Newgrange. As dawn breaks, a narrow beam of sunlight penetrates the passage’s roof-box, illuminating the inner chamber with a warm golden glow. The sight is nothing short of miraculous, as it symbolizes the ancient people’s deep understanding of astronomy and their ability to align this grand structure with celestial events.

Imagine standing in the dimly lit passage, surrounded by history’s embrace, as the first rays of sunlight pierce through the millennia-old roof to mark the rebirth of the sun – an experience that leaves you humbled and connected to the ancient souls who once revered this sacred place.

To preserve this extraordinary heritage, Newgrange is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national monument, protected and revered by the Irish people and visitors alike.

Ireland is one of my favorite places to visit
Ireland is one of my favorite places to visit

How can I get around Ireland?

Ireland has a well-connected network of public transportation, including trains and buses. If you plan to explore rural areas or go on scenic drives like the Ring of Kerry or the Wild Atlantic Way, renting a car is the best option.

Where is the prettiest place in Ireland?

Ireland’s beauty knows no bounds, and every region offers its own unique charm. However, if I were to reveal one of the most stunning and picturesque places in Ireland, I would steer you towards County Kerry, specifically Killarney National Park.

Nestled in the southwest of Ireland, Killarney National Park is a paradise of awe-inspiring landscapes, serene lakes, ancient woodlands, and majestic mountains. It’s a place where nature’s poetry is eloquently written, and the harmony between man and the environment is palpable.

Killarney National Park stands as an embodiment of Ireland’s soul-stirring charm. Prepare to immerse yourself in a world where beauty knows no bounds, where each step reveals a new delight, and where your heart will forever cherish the prettiest place in Ireland. This is the enchanting Killarney National Park in County Kerry.

The Western Seacoast of Ireland is incredibly rugged
The Western Seacoast of Ireland is incredibly rugged

Do I need a visa to visit Ireland?

Visa requirements for Ireland depend on your nationality. Citizens of EU countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Before planning your trip, it’s essential to verify the most up-to-date visa requirements.

What is Ireland most famous for?

When it comes to what Ireland is most famous for, there are several iconic aspects that have captured the world’s imagination:

  1. Stunning Landscapes: Ireland is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, often referred to as the “Emerald Isle.” Rolling green hills, picturesque countryside, rugged coastlines, and serene lakes create a visual feast that has inspired poets, writers, and artists for centuries.
  2. Irish Hospitality: The warmth and friendliness of the Irish people are legendary. Visitors often find themselves welcomed with open arms, making it easy to forge connections and experience the renowned Irish hospitality firsthand.
  3. Ancient Castles and Ruins: Ireland is dotted with unique castles and ruins that showcase the country’s rich history and medieval heritage. Exploring these historic sites allows visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in a bygone era of knights, kings, and chivalry.
  4. Traditional Music and Dance: Irish music and dance have a worldwide appeal. Enjoy the lively rhythms of traditional jigs and reels, combined with the soulful melodies of Irish folk music.
  5. St. Patrick’s Day: Perhaps one of the most famous Irish exports, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated globally on March 17th. This vibrant and colorful festival pays homage to Ireland’s patron saint and is marked by parades and festivities.
  6. Guinness: A trip to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without savoring a pint of Guinness, the world-famous dark Irish stout. With a history dating back to the 18th century, this beverage has become a symbol of Irish culture and heritage.

So, whether you’re exploring its enchanting landscapes, tapping your feet to traditional music, or indulging in the warmth of Irish hospitality, Ireland’s fame lies in its ability to captivate hearts and minds, leaving all who visit with unforgettable memories and a longing to return to its magical embrace. Sláinte! (Cheers!)

What currency is used in Ireland?

While credit cards are generally widely accepted, carrying some cash, especially when venturing into rural areas, is still advisable. Ireland uses the Euro (€).

Why do people visit Ireland?

People visit Ireland for its stunning landscapes adorned with green hills, majestic cliffs, and picturesque countryside. The rich history, ancient castles, and vibrant culture captivate hearts. Irish hospitality welcomes visitors with warmth, making them feel at home. Traditional music, dance, and literature enchant and inspire. Festivals and gastronomic delights add to the allure. The island’s mythology and folklore bring a touch of magic. Adventurers find paradise in outdoor activities. Pubs reverberate with the Irish “craic,” fostering camaraderie. Ireland’s timeless charm leaves an indelible impression on all who journey to the Emerald Isle.

What is traditional Irish food?

Traditional Irish food is hearty and wholesome. Some dishes to try include Irish stew, soda bread, black pudding, and seafood chowder. And of course, don’t miss the chance to taste a pint of Guinness!

Conclusion: Unveiling the Charm of Ireland’s Top Destinations

Ireland, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, offers a wealth of experiences for every traveler. Explore castles, hike national parks, and savor Guinness in pubs—the charming country captivates all.

From the rugged beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way to the historic streets of Dublin, Ireland is a country that captivates, inspires, and welcomes you with open arms. From the dramatic Cliffs of Moher to the tranquil landscapes of Connemara, there’s no shortage of things to do in Ireland. Be sure to take your time and immerse yourself fully in the wonders of the Emerald Isle.

No matter if it’s your first or tenth visit to Ireland, I hope this compilation of the best things to do in the country has sparked inspiration for you to delve deeper into the wonders of this enchanting land. Here’s to your Irish adventure – may it be filled with unique experiences and memories that will last a lifetime!

The top things to do in Ireland for all types of travelers
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