The best places to visit in Ireland represent what the country has to offer: rich, natural beauty as well as history paired with the modern world.
You can transport yourself back in time by visiting the best places in Ireland and get lost in all that the country has to offer.
1. City of Dublin
If you’re travelling through Ireland, one of the first places you’ll visit is probably its capital, Dublin. Home to over 1 million people, Dublin is a mix of heritage and modernity. You’ll find both cobblestone streets and towering office buildings, often next to each other. Dublin is a great city to find a local pub and enjoy a pint of beer.
2. Guinness Storehouse
One of the best places to visit in Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse, a seven story building that tells the history of this famous drink. Make your way up to the top floor which is home to the Gravity Bar.
Here you’ll receive a complimentary pint of Guinness which you can sip as you gaze out on the city of Dublin.
3. Trinity College
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I of England, Trinity College still has some of its original buildings. The architecture is truly inspiring to behold. Among the campus is its famous library which houses the Book of Kells, a Latin manuscript of the New Testament from the year 800.
The campus itself is alive with current students that have a definite student vibe. Catch a game of cricket in the local green or enjoy a pint of beer at the pub.
4. St Patrick’s Cathedral
Dublin’s largest church is truly one of the best places to visit in Ireland. Close to the cathedral is a well believed to have been used by St Patrick to convert pagans to Christianity. After St Patrick visited the area a small wooden church was built which would later be transformed into the current cathedral that sits in Dublin in 1191.
While St Patrick’s Cathedral is a popular tourist attraction, it is also an active church. There are daily services that you can attend as well as choir performances.
5. Cliffs of Moher
One of the most highly visited places in Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher, and it’s no wonder when you finally arrive at the towering spectacle. Situated on the west coast of Ireland, these cliffs tower 214 meters over the Atlantic Ocean. They can be found near the villages of Doolin and Hags Head and the 8 kilometer walk is one of the most spectacular the country has to offer.
The cliffs were made after a large river delta ran by them, over 300 million years ago. Since then their erosion has offered a glimpse of Mother Nature’s beauty to all who come to visit.
6. The Burren
One of the best place to visit in Ireland is this large limestone mass because of its geological fascination. Around the area you can find over 600 different plant species including 22 of Ireland’s 27 species of orchids. If you love nature and diversity, The Burren is beautiful place that shouldn’t be missed.
7. Ring of Kerry
If you’re up for some hiking, check out the Ring of Kerry, which offers almost 200 kilometres of trail through amazing landscapes. The trail can be found in the southwest of Ireland and passes through meadows, glacier lakes and mountain peaks.
Nearby the trail is the Killarney National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage biosphere reserve.
8. Skellig Islands
Near to the Ring of Kerry, you can find the Skellig Islands, which are part of a UNESCO World Heritage area. These pair of rocky mounds rise up from the sea and are home to a 6th century monastery. There is a large number of birds that make the small islands their homes and you can see the likes of cormorants, herring gulls and razorbills.
9. Aran Islands
If you want to experience a traditional Irish village, then make sure you come by the Aran Islands. Off the west coast of Ireland, near the city of Galway, you can find a place that has consciously tried to resist modern developments. The roads are car free and Gaelic is spoken by most. You can also find crafters knitting the traditional Aran sweater.
The islands are a natural paradise with miles of beaches along a rugged coastline and ancient forts atop its cliffs.
10. Connemara National Park
This national park is famous for its herd of native Connemara ponies that run through the wild countryside. The park is also home to a section of the Twelve Bens mountain range and includes Benbaun, Bencullagh and Benbrack. In addition to the natural scenery, Connemara National Park also houses Kylemore Abbey, which is a former monastery inside a castle.
11. Kylemore Abbey
Founded in World War I in the Kylremore Castle, this abbey was a sanctuary for nuns who fled Belgium. The castle itself was built in 1871 and contained 33 bedrooms. The abbey is now open to public viewers and the gardens have been restored in a beautiful way.
12. Glenveagh National Park
Situated in the north of Ireland, this national park is over 14,000 acres large and a place for hikers and fisherman alike. The park offers amazing trails to hike or walk in as well as the Glenveagh Castle, built in the 19th century. Amongst the park you can find herds of red dear as well as the formerly extinct Golden Eagle.
13. The Burren
This unique place, north of Dublin, is a product of thousands of years or acid erosion. As a result, the texture of the landscape is filled with fissures and ruts and is akin to walking on the moon. In between the cracks you can find an array of wildflowers that bloom colorful buds during spring.
14. Cooley Peninsula
Just south of the border of Northern Ireland, you can find this peninsula that juts out into the Irish Sea. The area is awash with natural beauty including the windswept coastline and mountain ranges. Make sure to visit the village of Carlingford, a medieval village in the area.
If you’re in Dublin but are looking for a day trip, Glendalough is a short journey away and one of the best places to visit in Ireland. It is the site of a monastery that can be found amongst valleys and lakes. Here you can find the remains of a 6th century Christian settlement.
A mixture of cultural history and natural beauty make up the best places to visit in Ireland. Whether you’re sipping a pint of Guinness at a local pub or hiking a trail overlooking the sea, Ireland has something to offer anyone.