Ireland is bursting with culture and heritage with museums to historical sites, there is no shortage of stories and folktales to be shared with you! Imagine it, gazing across the lush green fields, greeted with a thousand welcomes and a pint of the famous black stuff- let us take you on a journey of the top 10 best things to do and see when visiting Ireland.
“In Dublin’s fair city
Where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
Through the streets broad and narrow
Crying “cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”
As the capital city of our lovely country there are a lot of expectations for Dublin, and let me tell you it does not disappoint. From history to culture, shopping, food and nightlife…. Dublin has got it all.
Visit Phoenix Park or the historical sites such as Dublin castle and St Patrick’s Cathedral which was founded in 1191. There are many galleries and museums to visit in Dublin which holds strong cultural and heritage artifacts from ancient history. Dublin is our main hub where most of our multi-day tours of Ireland depart and arrive back at. To explore the beautiful landscapes and rugged coasts, one must venture further afield….
Experiences we recommend: Kilmainham Gaol Museum, The Guinness Storehouse, Croke Park
Here in Cork, we start our journey of the Wild Atlantic Way. Cork is also known as the “Rebel County” after the role it played in the Irish War of Independence.
Our Wild South – 7 Day Tour and Wild Grande – 14 Day Tour takes you into all the vibrant little towns of Cork including Kinsale, considered the gourmet food capital of Ireland and Clonakilty which is famous for its tasty black pudding. Take a wander at Mizen Head which boasts some of the most magnificent coastal scenery in Ireland!
Experiences we recommend: Fota Wildlife Park, Blarney Castle & Gardens, Mizen Head Signal Station
If you’re a history junkie, well Killarney is the town for you! With plenty of historical artifacts such as Ross Castle , Muckross Abbey and Muckross House, you will be immersed in Killarney’s culture and heritage.
Killarney is also home to the Native Red deer which can be seen grazing along the 26,000 acres (11,000 hectares) of Killarney National Park. If you are looking for something a little bit more adventurous then why not take a kayak along Lough Leane known as the ‘The Lake of Learning’. There is a 2 hour Ross Castle Kayak Tour which explores the limestone caves of Lough Leane or you can take the 3 hour kayak experience to Innisfallen Island where you take a tour of the early Christian monastery ruins and unique wildlife.
For evening entertainment, there is a huge selection of pubs/bars and restaurants in Killarney town so you will not be left hungry or thirsty!. Definitely experience a live irish music session and join in on the set dancing!
Experiences we recommend: Kayaking on the Lakes of Killarney, Killarney Cycling Tour, Carrauntoohil Guided Hike
4. Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a mystical part of Ireland’s South West and offers an excellent opportunity to take in the beautiful views from the coastal road, historical towns and unique off the beaten track locations.
Venture around Valentia Island where you can discover some amazing historical attractions such as the transatlantic telegraph cable or the footprints of an imprimitive amphibian-like animal known as the Tetrapod. If you want an active experience then you must take the short walk up to Bray Head, which we do on our Ring of Kerry and Valentia Island Tour, where you will encounter a 19th Century signal tower. The tower was built and used by the British military to spot would be invaders like the French, Spanish and even pirates.
The stop off in the beautiful village of Portmagee for some tasty seafood lunch and it is also famed for the Star Wars Movie, The Force Awakens, which was filmed out on the island of Skellig Michael. This spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site lies approximately 8 miles/13 km off the coast of Portmagee and you can hop on a boat to discover its wondrous setting.
Experiences we recommend: Bray Head WalkingTour, Skellig Experience Centre, Cahergal Fort
The Dingle Peninsula is located on Ireland’s southwest Atlantic coast, the northernmost of County Kerry’s peninsulas, ending at Dunmore Head, the westernmost part of the Emerald Isle. Once described by National Geographic as “the most beautiful place on earth”, it is a place of spectacular seascapes and landscapes shaped by the elements, with a wild and rugged coastline of steep cliffs and wide sandy beaches.
Encircling the town of Dingle, the peninsula is one of the most scenic routes in all of Ireland, hugging Ireland’s coastline and being dotted with remnants of Irish history. Experience this majestic destination on our Dingle Day Tour and you won’t be disappointed.
Experiences we recommend: Slea Head Drive, Blasket Island Visitor Centre, Dingle Distillery
Home to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, this little seaside village of Doolin is the gateway to many attractions around it such as the Aran Islands, Doolin caves and the unique ecosystem of The Burren.
On our Celtic Voyage – 6 Day Tour take the opportunity to experience a wild Irish traditional night in Doolin as it is renowned as a centre of live Irish music with a variety of festivals and sessions galore!
Doolin is also famous for its limestone terrain and caves. It is home to the longest type of Stalactite formation in the northern hemisphere measuring at 7.3 metres! It suspends from the ceiling like a chandelier and believe it or not it was formed from a single drop of water thousands of years ago!
Experiences we recommend: Cliffs of Moher Centre, Cliffs of Moher Boat Tour, Aillwee Caves
7. Galway & Connemara
Take a walk along the promenade and venture along the seaside suburb of Salthill. Galway City welcomes you with its friendly atmosphere buzzing to share its culture with you!
Galway city was once voted Ireland’s sexiest City and eight sexiest in the world back in 2007 because of its easy access to the most scenic areas in Galway and course for its ceol agus craic at night.
Hop on the Corrib Princess which takes you on a boat tour along the River Corrib which takes passengers into Lough Corrib, The Republic of Ireland’s largest lake with beautiful scenery and wildlife to look at!
Experiences we recommend: Galway City Walking Tour, Lough Corrib Boat Tour, Galway City Bus Tour
Experience the wild west of Ireland in the beautiful setting of Westport. A colourful and bustling town that sits on the banks of the beautiful Carrabawn River and the shores of Clew Bay on the Atlantic Ocean.
With some of the finest restaurants in Ireland and the best traditional music found in Westport Bars, you will be spoiled for choice! On our Wild North – 8 Day Tour and our Wild West – 5 Day Tour experience the spectacular bicycle route of the Great Western Greenway, which passes by some of the West of Ireland’s most dramatic mountains and offers magnificent views of Clew Bay and its many islands.
If you are up for a challenge then Croagh Patrick is a great mountain to hike with a height of 764 metres and it being the holiest mountain in Ireland! Its religious significance dates back to the time of the pagans, when people are thought to have gathered here to celebrate the beginning of the harvest season
Experiences we recommend: Croagh Patrick, Great Western Greenway, Matt Molloy’s Pub
9. The Giants Causeway
The Giants Causeway is a vast and impressive expanse of closely packed hexagonal basalt columns approximately 40,000 in number that poke out of the Irish sea. It was formed as a result of intense volcanic activity. A local legend says that the Giants Causeway was built by Finn McCool, a magical giant. One of the rock formations resembles a giant boot which you can discover on our Land of Giants – 13 Day Tour!
The exceptional beaches and excellent coastal walks make Ballycastle the ideal location from which to plan a great North Coast getaway! Visit the Carrick a rede Rope Bridge which was traditionally built by the local fishermen to check their Salmon nets so take on the challenge of the crossing of the bridge!
Experiences we recommend: The Giants Causeway, Bushmills Distillery, Carrick a rede Rope Bridge
Belfast (or in Irish Béal Feirste) is the capital of Northern Ireland. Its Irish name Béal Feirste can be translated into ‘Mouth of the Farset’ referring to the location of the city at the outlet of the river Farset into the river Lagan.
Belfast is an attractive tourist destination and was together with the Causeway Coast named the best place to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet. The city offers a wide range of culture and history as well as many interesting buildings and museums.
Any John Snow fans out there? Belfast City offers Game of Thrones tours to areas that have been filmed for the area. Attractions such as Carrick A Rede rope bridge, Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges.
Experiences we recommend: Titanic Museum, Black Cab Experience, Belfast Botanical Gardens
If you need any help in deciding what to see and do while you are visiting Ireland please feel free to contact one of our many dedicated tour experts. They are full of free knowledge and will offer you the best advice in achieving your dream holiday.
Take care and safe adventures!