Top 10 Places to Visit in Ireland
Ireland is a one of a kind travel destination. It is bursting with green hills, cozy culture, and kind people. The green island is known for its magnificent cliffs, awe-inspiring coastline and of course beer brewed on location. Here are the top ten places to visit to get the most of your Irish vacation.
1. Cliffs of Moher
There is a reason that these cliffs have made people fly across the world to see. Photos do not do the view justice. The trip is best made in a rental car, as you are able to stop in one of the small villages in the surrounding area for a beer or hot tea. Rain or shine, this spot is awe-inspiring.
Galway is famous from the popular song, “Galway girl” and the movie “P.S. I love you”. Despite the fact that Galway’s fame comes from media sources, it is one of the best cities to get a feel of old Ireland. It is a pint-sized, whimsical city that has some of the best tea and scones in Ireland. It is also the birthplace of the Claddaugh ring!
3. Aran Islands
Honestly, you haven’t visited Ireland if you don’t go to the Aran Islands. They can easily be combined with a trip to Galway and be reached by ferryboats that frequently depart from the city. Inishmore, the largest island, is home to an ancient fort on the cliffs edge called Dun Aengus. Sitting on the edge of a plummeting 300-foot cliff with the sea waves crashing below you, wind tearing through your hair, will be one of the most indescribable moments of your life. This is a must do.
4. Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is home to some of the most marvelous landmarks on the Island. Giants Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge and Dunluce Castle in County Antrim can all be done in one day. Don’t be surprised if the sights are slick with rain, but it only serves to add to the charm and striking contrast of the cliffs against the splashing waves.
The capital city in Northern Ireland is often overlooked by Dublin or London, but Belfast has much to offer. Belfast is rich with history and feels a little like the U.K, but has interesting pubs like Filthy McNastys, and traditional Irish stew can be found in St. George’s indoor market. For a relaxing day trip you might want to also visit the incredible botanical gardens as seen in the picture above. If you are lucky you might get to visit at the same time as Northern Ireland play football and the atmosphere in the city is electric.
Cork City is also often overlooked, but is a must when traveling in Ireland. Cork has a certain slow charm and is full of cozy pubs and cafes run by lovely local people. It appeals less to the tourist population than Dublin, so if you are looking to get away from the crowds, this is the place to be. Cork is also home to University College Cork, which was established in 1845 and has some of the best architecture in the city.
Ballycotton will not be found on any other tourist website or in any other guide. It is one of the smallest villages in County Cork and is something you should not pass up to experience the seaside hike that is free from crowds and only full of salt wind and green hills. Easily reached by bus from Cork City, this is the perfect village for a true Irish cultural immersion. Stop in the Schooner bar and meet the owners who love chatting with and taking good care of their visitors.
Cobh is known for its historical connection to the Titanic as the last port of call before the ship went out sea to its unfortunate fate. Cobh is a perfect place to visit for a day with the magnificent St. Coleman’s Cathedral and John F. Kennedy Park near the water. Getting lost in the streets you will find beauty in the colorful buildings and the delightful bars and cafes run by the sweetest locals.
It is very likely you will fly into Ireland via Dublin and it would be a shame not to spend a few days here. The most famous places to visit here include the Guinness Factory, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ha’penny Bridge and Grafton Street for shopping. Lesser known but equally as interesting things to do include, St. Stephen’s Green, The National Museum of Ireland and historical pubs that are off the grid like The Brazen Head.
10. Beara Peninsula
Not to undermine the beauty of the Ring of Kerry, but the Beara Peninsula is the wilder and more rural peninsula that has equally as stunning views with less people. It is best to rent a car to experience the scenic drive, which starts in Glengariff and ends at Kenmare in Kerry. The drive takes you through picturesque villages and hillsides dotted with sheep as well as Healy Pass, which takes you through the mountains.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will hopefully help you plan your dream drip to the Emerald Isle.
By Stephanie Mork
Looking to book a trip to Ireland? The following websites are recommended: