Ireland and ‘natural beauty’ very much go hand in hand. We have some of the most beautiful natural areas in the world and we’ve done a fine job on our own PR as Ireland is often revered by travellers around the world as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. This reputation is very much deserved, but with it comes a peculiar and rather pleasant problem: with so much natural beauty, which specific places should make it onto your next Ireland trip? That’s where we come in! At Wild N Happy, we spend all our days either going on Ireland tours or planning them. We know and love Ireland as much as is humanly possible, and this makes us very competent, very enthusiastic judges of Ireland’s top 10 most naturally beautiful places (in no particular order).
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so please don’t be frustrated if your favourite spot on the Emerald Isle hasn’t made it onto our list. In truth, we could have made a list of 50 beautiful places in Ireland and we would have still been forced to cut many brilliant places off the list. If anything here inspires you to visit Ireland in the near future, please check out our Ireland Day Tours and our Multi-day Tours in Ireland.
10) Connemara National Park — County Galway
With 2000+ hectares of Irish wilderness to explore, it doesn’t get much more rugged than Connemara. This national park has a wealth of mountains, hills, forests, and bogs to explore, and you’re never more than a few steps from the perfect spot for a photo. If you’d like to make your trip to this exceptional national park even better, read our guide to the best attractions in Connemara.
9) The Giant’s Causeway — County Antrim
The Giant’s Causeway is a fascinating rock formation found on the northern coast of Ireland. It was formed millions of years ago when molten-hot magma hit the cold Atlantic Ocean, forming enigmatic hexagonal columns of basalt. There are a few other basalt columns around the world, but many geologists consider the Giant’s Causeway to be the best example of the phenomenon. The views of the causeway are outstanding, as are the views from the cliffs as you drive along the Antrim Coast; many consider this coastal road to be Ireland’s answer to the Amalfi Coast!
8) The Burren — County Clare
The Burren isn’t just unlike anywhere else in Ireland, it’s unlike anywhere on Earth! This area is mostly composed of limestone and it is often compared to the surface of the Moon. A quick look at a few pictures and you’ll begin to see why. Within the Burren, you’ll also find Burren National Park — the smallest of Ireland’s national parks. Despite its small size, you’ll find lakes, woodland, and cliffs, displaying the range and diversity of this weird and wonderful place.
7) Achill Island — County Mayo
Achill Island is a remote and idyllic island off Ireland’s famous west coast. Despite its relatively small size, Achill Island has majestic mountains, peat bogs, and forests. But it’s the beautiful beaches that keep us travelling back again and again. When people imagine a tranquil Irish countryside setting with a serene white-sand beach, they are pretty much fantasizing about Achill Island — they just don’t know it yet!
6) Benbulben — Sligo
Benbulben is part of the epic Darty Mountains. Shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age, it is something in between a vast hill and a rock formation. Whatever it technically is, it’s absolutely breathtaking to behold in person. The sudden rise of the cliff and the flattening on top have inspired comparisons to Australia’s Uluru.
5) Killarney National Park — County Kerry
This was the first ever national park in Ireland, and it has grown over the years as more land has been donated to the Irish state. Killarney National Park boasts 102.89 km2 of woodland, lake land, and majestic mountains. Here, you’ll find some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland and there are lots of fun ways to while away the hours, such as hiking, cycling, or kayaking. For some more options, check out our Tours and Activities in Killarney National Park.
4) Skellig Michael — County Kerry
Skellig Michael is the larger of the two Skellig Islands found off the coast of County Kerry on the south west coast of Ireland. The smaller island is called Little Skellig. Skellig Michael juts proudly, imposingly, out of the ocean, almost as tall as it is wide. The island is difficult to reach as you can only sail there in the summer. This elusiveness makes it even more appealing to tourists and locals alike. If you’d like to learn more, read our guide to visiting Skellig Michael.
3) The Dingle Peninsula — County Kerry
The Dingle Peninsula is often considered to be the most beautiful peninsula in Ireland. Named for the idyllic town of Dingle found there, this is Ireland’s west coast at its best! There are countless quiet beaches, rugged cliffs, and a gentle rolling landscape with lush green hills and fields on one side and deep blue ocean on the other — depending on which direction you’re looking.
2) Valentia Island — County Kerry
Valentia Island is one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, and we don’t know why more people haven’t heard of it! This beautiful island just off the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula is one of the most westerly points in Ireland, and it’s packed with beautiful coastline, rugged cliffs, rolling hills, and all that good stuff we’ve come to expect from Ireland. The best part is that you don’t need to sail to this island as there’s a bridge from Portmagee that you can drive over.
1) The Cliffs of Moher — County Clare
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare need little introduction as these epic cliffs might be the biggest tourist attraction in Ireland. Hundreds of thousands of people come to see the Cliffs of Moher each year, and no one leaves disappointed. These cliffs stand as high as 702 feet (214 m) above the sea below, making for some of the most jaw-dropping views you’ll ever see. Just make sure your camera has plenty of film or internal memory space. You’re going to need it!