The best places to visit in Ireland have all kinds of breathtaking charms: from the remote appeal of scenery to the modern-day and vibrant cosmopolitan beauty. With its magnificent castles, lovely beaches and spectacular mountains, wanderlusts from all over the world are drawn to this relatively small country.
With so many alluring options to choose from, deciding where to go can be a daunting task. Our team at CabinZero has picked out the most ideal suggestions for your next trip to this beautiful island country.
Read more and you will find out the best places to put on your Irish bucket list. There’s no shortage of unparalleled attractions that one shouldn’t miss out on. Everything is a feast for the senses. Let’s start exploring the best Emerald Isle has to offer!
Photo by icarmen13 - stock.adobe.com
The spire of Dublin, a striking 120 metre (390 feet) high landmark in Dublin's heart
There’s no better starting point to learn about Ireland’s history and culture than Dublin, the nation’s capital city. The largest city in Ireland has a long list of outstanding attractions.
Among the attractions in Dublin, the Guinness storehouse is the most visited, and not without good reasons. More than a simple brewery, this seven-story building is an extensive exhibition of Guinness' long history. The highlight is the Gravity bar, where visitors can have 360 views of Dublin city.
Being the Land of Saints and Scholars, Ireland has a renowned long history of education. If you are interested, then you should visit Ireland's oldest university, Trinity College. The lively college community welcomes everyone, whether you are a student, an academic visitor, or a tourist.
If you want “Dublin's best museum experience,” then The Little Museum of Dublin is a must-visit. Within 30 minutes, you can get a glimpse into people’s lives in the 20th century. The tour guides are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, you will love your time spent here.
For those who still want to explore more museums and rich cultural heritage, consider taking a direct flight to visit the incredible attractions in Amsterdam. Both Dublin and Amsterdam are amazing in their own rights, anyone should experience both cities at least once in their life.
2. Cliffs of Moher
The view from the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day is simply breathtaking. Photo by espiegle - stock.adobe.com
A day trip distance from Dublin (260 km / 161 miles) lies one of the best places to visit in Ireland: Cliffs of Moher. Located in County Clare, the sea cliffs stretch for about 14 kilometres (9 miles). It’s likely the first image you see when you set foot in Dublin Airport.
You may recognize the landmark from the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince or Irish band Westlife’s music video “My Love.” In fact, it has been a backdrop for many tv programmes, movies, and adverts.
And that’s not a surprise considering the stunning landscape of the 200 metres / 700 feet high cliffs top. It’s the best place to take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Aran Islands, Galway Bay, Twelves Pins, etc. O’Brien’s tower, situated at the highest point of the cliffs, is the best way to do that.
Nature enthusiasts will love it here. Boasting a wide array of fauna and flora, you get the chance to observe the land, air and marine life. For instance, whales or whale sharks are some of the most sought-after animals.
3. Aran Islands
The wide sandy beach of Inishmore, the largest of the three among Aran Islands. Photo by MNStudio - stock.adobe.com
The next place to go in Ireland on our list is Aran Islands, where the rugged beauty will transport you to another world. The destination consists of three islands: Inishmore (Inis Mór), Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) and Inisheer (Inis Oírr).
Many ferry tours bundle a trip to one of the Aran Islands and a return trip to the Cliffs of Moher. So be sure to check them out. Remember to pack in layers as the weather can be unpredictable.
Many experienced travellers would agree that the best time to visit this place is between May-June and September-October. The weather is generally wonderful during these months, and there are fewer tourists since it’s “shoulder season.”
As the most common way of getting around is walking, hiking, and cycling, it’s recommended to wear a good pair of shoes. Besides biking, a horse and carriage tour is also a great way to explore the islands.
If you are a beach lover, then Inis Oirr is the perfect place for you. It has stunning white beaches with clear blue water. On that note, if you don’t mind hot weather and want to seek more beaches, check out Greece and its must-see destinations.
Photo by muratart - stock.adobe.com
Belfast City Hall is considered the dividing point between the business and commercial districts of the city centre.
Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. Often overshadowed by Dublin, Belfast has its own charms and atmosphere that you can’t find anywhere else.
Besides the English Market, St. George’s Market is the ideal first place to start exploring Ireland’s fantastic foods and vibe. Built between 1890 and 1896, the attraction is one of the oldest markets in Ireland. It is open on Fridays and weekends. Friday is dedicated to a variety market while Saturday focuses on city food and craft. Sunday is a mix of the Friday and Saturday markets.
As this city is the Titanic's real home, it’s no wonder that Titanic Belfast is one of the best Northern Ireland tourist attractions. In fact, the World Travel Award recognized the place as the “World's Leading Tourist Attraction” in 2016. People flock to this place to learn about the ill-fated ocean liner through awards-winning galleries.
If you are visiting Belfast from Dublin, be sure to stop by Newgrange. This ancient Irish passage tomb is one of the three historic sites at the Brú na Bóinne complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Giant's Causeway
The unique view of hexagonal basalt stones at Giant's Causeway. Photo by MNStudio - stock.adobe.com
Speaking of Northern Ireland tourist attractions, it would be a crime to not mention Giant's Causeway. This popular destination in Antrim County has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.
A stretch of coastline with 40,000 interlocking hexagonal columns lining up the icy sea is a sight to behold. Legend has it Giant's causeway was formed as a result of a dispute between a Scottish giant and an Irish giant. Scientifically, the otherworldly shape of the stones is due to Intense volcanic activity from about 60 million years ago.
The best time to visit this attraction is at dawn and dusk when the place is shrouded in mist. With such a mysterious and magical atmosphere, it’s the perfect chance to snap a shot. The lighting and the landscape here are every photographer’s dream.
Another great attraction is the carrick-a-rede rope bridge. It is a 15 – 20 minute drive (give or take, depending on the number of tourists) from the Giant's Causeway. Thousands of people make the intrepid crossing over this almost 30 m (100 ft) high suspended bridge every year.
6. Skellig Michael
Being 12 km (8 miles) off the coast, Skellig Michael is only accessible by boats. Photo by Elle Leontiev on Unsplash
You should put Skellig Michael (Great Skellig Rock) on your list of the best places to visit in Ireland. This is one of the two places recognized as a World Heritage Site (the other is Brú na Bóinne) in the Republic of Ireland. Along with Muckross House and Gardens, Skellig Michael is a part of Ring of Kerry, a 79 km (49 miles) circular route that takes you around the County of Kerry.
Situated on the towering top of the Rock is St Fionan’s monastery. It is one of the oldest ancient Christian sites that you can see in its true form. In the sixth or seventh century, monks prayed and slept in stone huts, some of which remain to this day. Along with Little Skellig, this place was a haven for many Catholics during the Penal Laws after the monks left it.
As an effort to preserve the island, there is a restriction on the number of visitors per day (one trip each day, only 180 people allowed per day). So be sure to book a ticket in advance to experience the solace of the monks in ancient times.
Image by Howard Walsh from Pixabay
Image yourself walking on the peaceful and atmospheric street of Waterford
Being the oldest city in Ireland, Waterford is one of Ireland's beautiful places you must visit in the Southeast region. It’s only a two-hour drive from Dublin, so this city is very easily accessible!
One of the most significant heritage sites is the Viking Triangle. Here in this destination, you get to learn about the 1100 years of history of Ireland’s Ancient East. It’s included in the “Epic tour of Waterford,” a guided tour where participants get to explore the long history of Waterford in a thousand paces.
Waterford is most famous for its legacy of glassmaking. The House of Waterford Crystal, a must-see in your Waterford itinerary, lets travellers get behind the scene and see how exquisite handmade crystals are made. This is also a rare chance to meet and chat with the crystal makers and glassblowers themselves.
If you are a foodie, don’t miss out on Waterford Blaa (Irish rolls). To purchase the most authentic ones, we recommend coming to Walsh’s Bakehouse or Barron’s Bakery. When you want to enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal while bathing in the sunshine, the granary cafe is the place to go. Located in the heart of Waterford, this cafe has an amazing light and atmospheric environment.
8. Blarney Castle & Gardens
Blarney Castle welcomes visitors to explore hundreds of years of history all year round. Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash
When it comes to family-friendly places to visit in Ireland, Blarney Castle & Gardens is a must-see. This 600 years-old stone architecture in Cork County has survived the Irish Confederate Wars and Williamite War in Ireland. Now being a partial ruin, the area has become a famous tourist attraction.
If you are a history buff wanting to explore more ruins, consider taking a trip to the best cities and towns to discover in Germany like Frankfurt. Aside from modern historic sites, this country also has various magnificent Roman archaeological attractions.
Just outside the castle is Ireland's most famous stone: Blarney Stone. There is a tradition associated with this attraction. For centuries, people say that if you give the place a peck, you will be bestowed with the gift of eloquence and persuasiveness. Winston Churchill is among the historical figures who planted their kiss on the stone. Do you believe in this legend? There’s only one way to find out!
When the weather is just right, visitors could easily spend hours exploring the poison garden, carnivorous courtyard, etc. Even if you are a non-gardener, you will find yourself appreciating the remarkable grounds.
Take a stroll through Galway to experience the colourful and wonderful urban landscape. Photo by Justin Scocchio on Unsplash
Dublin is a great city, but Galway also has plenty to see and do. Originally a small fishing village in the 13th century, the place grew around a fortification built by the Anglo-Normans who captured it in around 1100-1200. It has come a long way since then, Galway is now one of the most lively and largest places to go in Ireland.
This city in the West of Ireland is not only the country’s second-largest city but also has the second-largest lake (Lough Corrib) in the nation. To take in the active atmosphere, enjoy some divine foods and drinks at various incredible cafés, bistros and restaurants. Galway food tours are another great way to experience the local flavours.
If you want to do some sightseeing and shopping, Eyre Square is the perfect place. It’s also where you can explore the soul of the city. From sculptures to historic buildings, all tell the tales of their ancient past.
10. Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park is one the best place to explore the great outdoors in Ireland. Photo by MNStudio - stock.adobe.com
If you ever set foot in Galway, you mustn’t miss Connemara National Park and its 2,000 hectares of mountains landscape, bogs, grasslands and forests. With stunning natural beauty at every turn, Connemara National Park is truly the place to go in Ireland.
For starters, consulting a Visitor centre is a great idea if you are feeling lost as a first-timer. The centre, like the park itself, is open all year round and free of charge. There are friendly staff, exhibitions and films provide great pointers to your self-start adventure.
This place is especially great for outdoor activities. There are a multitude of soft adventures you can partake in. For example, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing and Clay pigeon shooting are some of the most popular. There’s nothing like playing wonderful sports with breathtaking surroundings as your backdrop.
11. Ashford Castle
How thrilling it is to spend a night at an ancient attraction like Ashford Castle. Photo by Uwalthie Pic Project - stock.adobe.com
Wondering where to spend your night in County Mayo? How about getting some shut-eye at castle-turned-Hotel Ashford? It's Ireland's first and only to retain a Forbes Five-Star ranking for three consecutive years.
This is not just a hotel, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everyone praises the attentive staff and food highly. The afternoon tea experience is phenomenal, too. Sipping your favourite cup of tea or having a delicious meal in the graceful Connaught Room with lake views is a must.
There is an impressive range of things to do on the estate. To name just a few, you can do falconry, golf, clay pigeon shooting and archery. When there’s so much to do, many guests can spend their entire day without leaving the place.
12. Wicklow Town
Wicklow Gaol is one of Ireland’s best modern interactive jail museum. Photo from wicklowshistoricgaol.com
Located in the heart of the County of the same name, Wicklow town is one of Ireland's beautiful places you must visit. The location is easily accessible with excellent train links from Dublin. It’s ideal to spend a day wandering around this small but full-of-life town.
The top attraction in this town is none other than Wicklow Gaol, a historic prison that has now transformed into a museum. Coming here, you will uncover a part of Ireland’s turbulent history through an immersive audiovisual tour telling tragic stories of the jailers and prisoners.
The County is known as the Garden of Ireland as it’s home to the most beautiful gardens in the nation. Mount Usher Gardens are among the most prominent and awe-inspiring ones. This is the real gem of an authentic ‘Robinsonian’ style garden. In fact, it is one of the three Irish gardens that UK's The Good Gardens Guide gives a top rating.
Just about a 40-minute drive from Wicklow town is Wicklow Mountains National Park, another worth-visiting destination. Covering an area of approximately 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres), the park stretches from County Wicklow to County Dublin. It is popular with locals and tourists who are seeking recreation.
13. Killarney National Park
The famous Muckross Abbey, the focal point of the Killarney National Park. Photo by Wirestock - stock.adobe.com
Boasting 10,000 hectares of scenic beauty, Killarney National Park is one of the most visited Ireland’s beautiful places. There’s no better starting point to explore rugged mountainous County Kerry and its offering of spectacular lakes, woods and mountains than this park.
Standing close to the famed Muckross lake is the 19th-century Victorian mansion Muckross House and Gardens. Initially, it was built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his family. The place was then presented to the Irish Free State in 1932 and became Ireland’s first National Park.
Take a 7 km (4 miles) hike from the park, and you will reach the majestic Torc Waterfall. Approximately 70 feet (20 metres) high, the cascade waterfall will captivate any visitors coming to see its glory and beauty. Torc is at its best in the rainy season, when you can expect a great show of nature's might.
There is an interesting story behind the waterfall’s name (“Torc” means “Boar” in Irish). It is said that a cursed man transformed into a wild boar roaming the place every night. When a local farmer revealed his secret, the man burst into flames and disappeared into Devil's Punchbowl.
14. Dingle Peninsula
Dunmore Head, Dingle Peninsula, is famous for being a film location for the movie Star Wars The Last Jedi. Photo by Mark Lawson on Unsplash
Wanting to do some road-tripping? Dingle Peninsula is one of the best places to visit in Ireland for that purpose. Iceland is best explored by car, and that especially rings true here. You can reach this place from Dublin via a 40-hour train ride.
Slea Head Loop, a 50 km circular route around Dingle’s main tourist places, is considered one of the best coastal drives in the world, and for good reasons. It is a part of Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500 km (1553 miles) route that takes you through nine counties and three provinces in Ireland.
You can drive around the Dingle Peninsula in one day, but take your time to stop at the ruins, small towns, craggy cliffs and sandy coves. Inch Beach is a great starter, a destination to stretch your leg after the Ring of Kerry drive.
Another stop you must visit is Dunmore Head, from which you can view Coumeenoole Beach. It is at the westernmost point of mainland Ireland, and even the most westerly point in all of Europe! The beach here is, sadly, unsafe for swimming. There are other places like Achill Island or Rossbeigh Strand that are more suitable for that end.
15. Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel is a cluster of buildings with historic significance. Photo by Jenifoto - stock.adobe.com
Among Ireland's tourist attractions and monuments, the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary shines as a prominent historic site. It is a spectacular group of mediaeval buildings that is about 1,000 years old. According to legends, it was at this place where St. Patrick converted the then King of Munster Aenghus to Christianity in the 5th century.
Now it’s no longer kings, archbishops or pilgrims but tourists that pass the hallway of this unique architecture. Within an hour and a half, everyone gets the chance to admire a round tower, a high cross, a Romanesque chapel, and more. You can opt for a 45-minute guided tour for a more thorough explanation of the history of the place.
One of the most intriguing buildings is Hore Abbey, a complex ruin just down the hill from the Rock. Being a sort of a hidden gem, it is not very crowded, just the chance to explore an ancient ruined monastery on your own.
Ireland Beautiful Places: Destinations To Remember For A Lifetime
Photo by gaborphotos - stock.adobe.com
Wait no more and start exploring the real gems of Ireland!
If you want to have another dreamy exploration, we recommend visiting Prague city, and from there, start exploring 16 wonderful destinations in the Czech Republic. Flying to European countries from Dublin, Ireland, is relatively easy and cheap.