Home to sprawling national parks, emerald-green rolling hills, picturesque beaches, and rugged mountains, Ireland offers a feast for the senses.
But it’s not just incredible natural beauty that awaits you here. Travelers can immerse themselves in Ireland’s rich history, as ancient sites, majestic castles, and century-old cities are scattered across the country.
Visitors can also marvel at the enchanting beauty of the Northern Lights, enjoy awe-inspiring drives along scenic routes, and step foot into centuries-old pubs steeped in tradition.
In this blog post, we have rounded up the 20 best places to visit in Ireland, ensuring that you experience the true essence of this captivating country.
Among the destinations we will be exploring below are Dublin, Ireland’s vibrant capital city, and the mesmerizing Killarney National Park, which encompasses 10,000 hectares of a magical landscape.
Ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through the Emerald Isle? Then read on to discover the 19 most beautiful places to visit in Ireland.
The 19 Best Places to Visit in Ireland
Killarney National Park
In the heart of southwestern Ireland lies the magnificent Killarney National Park. Located in County Kerry, this sprawling park encompasses over 26,000 acres of rugged mountains, serene lakes, lush woodlands, and cascading waterfalls.
One of the park’s top natural features is the awe-inspiring Muckross Lake, surrounded by verdant forests that seem straight out of a fairytale.
As you explore the park through enchanting walking trails, you’ll see the Reenadinna Woods, a forest dotted with trees estimated to be between 200 and 250 years old.
One of the many trails in Killarney National Park leads to the magnificent Torc Waterfall, one of the most beautiful cascades in Ireland.
Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted by the chance to spot the last surviving indigenous herd of red deer in Ireland.
History buffs can explore the ancient ruins of Muckross Abbey or take a step back in time at the elegant Muckross House and Gardens.
The best time to visit the park is during the spring and summer months when the landscapes come alive with vibrant colors and the weather is mild.
Address: Co. Kerry, Ireland
Galway City is a colorful harbor city on Ireland’s west coast. Known as the “Cultural Heart of Ireland,” this city is a haven for music, arts, and literature, with a bustling atmosphere that is sure to captivate you.
Wander through the city’s colorful streets and soak in the lively atmosphere of traditional pubs, where the sounds of traditional Irish music fill the air.
Some of Galway’s top attractions include the magnificent Galway Cathedral and the 14th-century Nicholas’ Church, said to have been visited by Christopher Columbus in 1477.
Stroll along the picturesque Claddagh Quay, where you can witness breathtaking sunsets over Galway Bay.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant Galway City Market, where you can sample local dishes, and visit the pre-medieval Spanish Arch, one of the last remaining pieces of Galway’s historical city walls.
Galway City is also the gateway for exploring the stunning landscapes of Connemara and the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher.
Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park is a haven of untouched beauty that will capture your heart.
Tucked away on the wild and rugged west coast of Ireland, encompasses over 2,000 hectares of commanding mountains, shimmering lakes, sprawling bogs, heaths, grasslands, and woodlands.
Some of the park’s majestic mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack, and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range.
One of the park’s top sights is the iconic Diamond Hill, where adventurous hikers can embark on rewarding trails offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
As you wander through this breathtaking wilderness, you may catch glimpses of Connemara ponies grazing on lush meadows or spot the rare and elusive golden eagles soaring overhead.
For those seeking a tranquil escape, the park offers peaceful nature walks amidst ancient woodlands and serene lakeshores.
The best time to visit Connemara National Park is during the warmer months, from late spring to early autumn.
This is when the landscapes come alive with vibrant colors and the weather is mild.
Address: Letterfrack, Co. Galway, Ireland
Kilkenny & Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny is a medieval city that will transport you back in time. Known as the “Medieval Capital of Ireland,” the city showcases the country’s rich heritage through well-preserved architecture, cobbled streets, and an old-world atmosphere.
One of Kilkenny’s most famous attractions is the Kilkenny Castle. Built in 1195 for the powerful Butler family, the fortress is home to lavish rooms, including the 19th-century Picture Gallery, home to a dazzling art collection.
Be sure to also stroll along the castle’s extensive parkland, home to a rose garden and an ornamental lake.
Roaming Kilkeny’s winding streets, visitors can admire the towering spires of St. Canice’s Cathedral and marvel at the ancient Black Abbey.
Don’t miss the Medieval Mile Museum, which houses the finest example of a medieval church in Ireland.
In the enchanting countryside of County Cork stands the iconic Blarney Castle, a place steeped in legend and mystique.
This medieval castle was built over 6 centuries ago in 1446, by the powerful Cormac MacCarthy, with the purpose of defending against potential invaders.
As you explore Blarney Castle, winding stone staircases will lead you to the famous Blarney Stone, believed to bestow the gift of eloquence upon those who kiss it.
Embrace the sense of adventure as you lean backward to kiss the stone, suspended high above the ground.
The castle’s lush gardens, spanning over 60 acres, beckon with breathtaking beauty.
Discover enchanting pathways adorned with vibrant flowers, explore tranquil woodland areas, and admire the tranquil reflections of the lake.
Address: Monacnapa, Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland
In the vibrant heart of Ireland, Dublin awaits with open arms, ready to captivate you with its rich history, vibrant culture, and welcoming locals.
While visiting the lively capital city of Ireland, step into the iconic Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland.
In the Trinity College Library, you’ll find the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament.
Explore the cobblestone streets of Temple Bar, brimming with colorful pubs, live music, and a lively atmosphere.
Go on a guided tour of the 13th-century Dublin Castle to explore a series of opulent rooms, some of them filled with elegant and valuable paintings.
For a taste of Ireland’s tantalizing whisky culture, Testament, enjoy a tasting session at Bow St., the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971.
Another worth-trying experience in Dublin is a guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse. This is an unparalleled way to learn about the history, of Ireland’s most iconic beer.
Don’t pass the chance to spend a few hours in the National Gallery of Irelan, home to works by Johannes Vermeer, Edgar Degas, Rembrandt, and Monet.
Glenveagh National Park
Nestled in the picturesque wilderness of County Donegal, Glenveagh National Park is the second-largest national park in Ireland.
The park encompasses thousands of acres of dramatic landscapes dominated by the majestic Derryveagh Mountains, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush woodlands.
Embark on scenic hikes along well-marked trails, where you’ll be greeted by breathtaking vistas and the opportunity to spot native wildlife, including golden eagles and peregrine falcons.
The park is also home to the striking Glenveagh Castle, nestled on the shores of Lough Veagh. Explore its opulent interiors, stroll through the vibrant gardens, and imagine the stories that echo within its walls.
The best time to visit Glenveagh National Park is during the summer months when the weather is milder and the landscapes come alive with a burst of color.
Address: Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark
In the western region of Ireland, you’ll discover the captivating Burren and Cliffs of Moher, which together are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located along the rugged Atlantic coastline in County Clare, this achingly beautiful park offers a mesmerizing fusion of geological wonders and stunning landscapes.
The Burren, renowned for its limestone pavement, is a sprawling karst landscape that resembles a moonscape.
As you explore this ancient terrain, you’ll encounter fascinating rock formations, hidden caves, and an array of delicate flora thriving amidst the rocky terrain.
During the spring and summer months, The Burren gets adorned with colorful wildflowers
Towering over the Atlantic Ocean, the Cliffs of Moher are sheer cliffs that provide the most panoramic views of the wild Atlantic coastline.
Visitors can enjoy scenic walks along the cliff’s edge, capturing unforgettable photographs and enjoying the sound of the Atlantic Ocean waves crashing below.
Curious fact: the Cliffs of Moher were featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie.
Address: Lislorkan North, Co. Clare, Ireland
Recommended Read: Must-Visit Harry Potter Filming Locations in the UK
The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a captivating route that winds its way through the mesmerizing landscapes of County Kerry, southwest of Ireland.
This iconic driving route encompasses a 111-mile loop around the Iveragh Peninsula, beginning and ending in Killarney.
You’ll traverse through majestic mountains, lush green valleys, pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and sparkling lakes.
Some of the Ring of Kerry’s most famous sights is the Killarney National Park, the Torc Waterfall, and the Gap of Dunloe, formed 25,000 years ago during Ireland’s last ice age.
The Ring of Kerry is also dotted with colorful villages like Sneem, Kenmare, and Waterville, and ancient ruined sites allowing you to delve into Ireland’s storied past.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find an array of activities to indulge in, from hiking the picturesque trails of Killarney National Park to boating on the sparkling Lakes of Killarney.
Must-see sites in the Ring of Kerry: Killarney National Park, the Torc Waterfall, the Gap of Dunloe, Cahergal Stone Fort, Templenoe, Sneem, Kenmare, Waterville, Ross Castle
The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located just a short ferry ride away from the Galway coast.
These three unique islands—Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer— offer travelers a glimpse into traditional Irish culture and stunning natural beauty, providing an escape from the modern world.
Here you’ll find ruined sites, like the St Caomhán’s church (Inisheer), and ancient stone forts, such as Dun Aengus, in Inishmore. This stunning fortress dates back thousands of years and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
You’ll also get the chance to see charming thatched cottages, quaint fishing villages, lush fields bordered by distinctive stone walls, and pristine sandy beaches.
For those seeking adventure, the Aran Islands offer opportunities for cycling, horseback riding, and kayaking.
Must-see places in the Aran Islands: Caomhán’s church (Inisheer), Dun Aengus (Inishmore), Caislean Ui Bhriain (Inisheer), Kilmurvey beach (Inishmore), The Black Fort (Inis)
The Rock of Cashel
Perched majestically atop a hill in County Tipperary, Ireland, the iconic Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most important attractions.
Once the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster, the Rock of Cashel later became an important religious site and is now a place of immense historical and cultural significance.
Legend has it that is on this spot that St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, converted King Aengus to Christianity.
The site consists of several impressive structures. These include Cormac’s Chapel with its exquisite carvings, and the Cathedral, built between 1235 and 1270.
The well-preserved round tower, built in the 13th century, is said to be the Rock’s oldest and tallest surviving building.
While you can no longer climb the tower, the views around it are simply breathtaking.
Address: Moor, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
The Dingle Peninsula is a hidden gem that will steal your heart. Located in County Kerry, this picturesque peninsula is renowned for its unspoiled landscapes of sandy beaches, jagged cliffs, and emerald-green hills.
This dreamy peninsula is also dotted with charming coastal villages full of history. Visit Dingle Town, where colorful houses line the streets and traditional music resonates from lively pubs.
Immerse yourself in Gaelic traditions as you explore ancient archaeological sites and discover the remnants of early Christian settlements.
The Dingle Peninsula is also a wonderland for nature enthusiasts. Enjoy scenic hikes along the famous Dingle Way, and go on a scenic boat trip to see the resident bottlenose dolphin of Dingle Bay.
Explore the Slea Head Drive, a picturesque coastal route that showcases stunning cliffs, secluded beaches, and the iconic Blasket Islands in the distance.
Bordered by the majestic River Suir and the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean, County Waterford seamlessly blends natural beauty, with rich history and culture.
Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, is a must-visit place in County Waterford. The city is home to historic sites like Viking Triangle district, and Reginald’s Tower, the country’s oldest civic building.
County Waterford also boasts breathtaking landscapes, from the rugged cliffs of the Copper Coast to the tranquil shores of Dungarvan Bay.
The Comeragh Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, cycling, and even abseiling.
History comes alive at the regal Lismore Castle while those seeking relaxation can’t miss the beaches of Tramore and Dunmore East.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
Wicklow Mountains National Park spans over 20,000 hectares and comprises a diverse range of ecosystems, from pristine lakes and meandering rivers to verdant forests and heather-clad moors.
Its crown jewel is undoubtedly the Wicklow Mountains, a majestic range that provides a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor adventures.
Hikers can hike the iconic Wicklow Way, a long-distance trail that winds through the park, leading to panoramic viewpoints and hidden waterfalls.
History buffs will be captivated by the ancient monastic settlement of Glendalough, with its historic round tower and scenic lakeside setting.
Wildlife enthusiasts can keep an eye out for native species like red deer, peregrine falcons, and even wild goats.
Visit the Wicklow Mountains National Park during spring or summer, when the landscape bursts into life with vibrant colors and blooming wildflowers. Whether
Address: Co. Wicklow, Ireland
King John’s Castle
King John’s Castle was erected on the banks of the River Shannon in the 13th century by King John, the infamous King of England.
The castle played a crucial role in Limerick’s tumultuous history, protecting the city from the Gaelic kingdoms to the west and from any rebellion by Norman lords to the east and south.
While exploring King John’s Castle, one of the best-preserved Norman castles in Europe, visitors will see the battlements, towers, and courtyards that stood the test of time.
Castle’s highlights include the stunning Great Hall, where royal banquets were held, and the massive towers that offer panoramic views of Limerick’s skyline.
The visitor experience is enhanced by immersive audio-visual presentations, offering a glimpse into the lives of the castle’s inhabitants and the significant events that unfolded within its walls.
Address: Nicholas St, Limerick, Ireland
Wild Atlantic Way
Stretching along Ireland’s rugged and breathtaking western coastline, the Wild Atlantic Way is a headlining scenic route that captures the essence of the country’s untamed beauty.
This iconic coastal journey spans over 1,500 miles from Malin Head in Donegal, through Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, and Kerry to the picturesque fishing town of Kinsale in Cork
What makes the Wild Atlantic Way special is its sheer diversity and natural splendor.
As you traverse this epic route, you’ll encounter towering cliffs that plummet into the crashing waves, golden sandy beaches framed by rolling dunes, picturesque fishing villages, and vibrant cultural hubs.
The route is dotted with mesmerizing landmarks such as the Cliffs of Moher, the dramatic Skellig Islands, and the enchanting Connemara region.
Slieve League Cliffs
The Slieve League Cliffs stand tall as one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. Located on the rugged Atlantic coast, they are the highest sea cliffs in Ireland, reaching staggering 1,972 feet.
What sets the Slieve League Cliffs apart is their dramatic vertical drop into the churning waters below, creating a sense of exhilarating grandeur.
As you stand at the edge, the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretches out before you, painting a picture of untamed beauty.
Achill Island is the largest island off the west coast of Ireland. Located in County Mayo, this rugged gem offers a tranquil retreat for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
The island is renowned for its stunning beaches, where stretches of golden sand meet the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Keem Bay, in particular, stands out with its turquoise waters and picturesque surroundings.
The island’s dramatic cliffs and rugged mountains provide a dramatic backdrop for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and birdwatching.
For those seeking a cultural experience, Achill Island boasts a rich history and vibrant arts scene.
Visit the Deserted Village at Slievemore, where you can explore the haunting ruins of abandoned cottages, catching a glimpse into the island’s past.
Located in the rugged northwest of Ireland, County Donegal is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, remote beaches, and vibrant culture.
What makes County Donegal truly worth visiting is its unique opportunity to witness the elusive Northern Lights.
With its remote location and minimal light pollution, the county becomes a prime spot for witnessing the mesmerizing dance of the auroras.
The best time to see the Northern Lights in County Donegal is during the winter months, from October to March when the nights are longer and the skies are clearer.
On a lucky night, you might be treated to a spectacular display of vibrant colors dancing across the night sky, creating an unforgettable and magical experience.
What are the best places to visit in Ireland?
The most beautiful places to visit in Ireland are:
- Killarney National Park
- Galway City
- Connemara National Park
- Kilkenny & Kilkenny Castle
- Blarney Castle
- Glenveagh National Park
- Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark
- The Ring of Kerry
- Aran Islands
- The Rock of Cashel
- Dingle Peninsula
- County Waterford
- Wicklow Mountains National Park
- King John’s Castle
- Wild Atlantic Way
- Slieve League Cliffs
- Achill Island
- County Donegal
What is the most beautiful part of Ireland?
Ireland is blessed with stunning landscapes, and it’s subjective to determine the most beautiful part of the country. However, there are certain regions that are widely recognized for their natural beauty. These include the Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park, and the Cliffs of Moher.
What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Ireland?
Welcoming more than 1 million visitors each year, The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction.
Is the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
The Giant’s Causeway is located along the sea coast on the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland.
Is Galway or Cork better to visit?
Both Galway and Cork have their own unique charm and attractions. Galway is often considered more bohemian and lively, while Cork is known for its cultural heritage and culinary delights. Ultimately, it’s recommended to visit both cities if possible to experience their distinct character and explore the surrounding regions.
Is Cork City worth a visit?
Yes. Cork is a dynamic city known for its friendly locals, historic landmarks, and bustling markets. It’s also a great base for exploring the scenic beauty of County Cork, including the picturesque town of Kinsale, the stunning coastline of West Cork, and the famous Blarney Castle.
What is the best part of Ireland to stay in?
The most popular regions to stay in Ireland are:
- County Kerry
- County Clare
- County Cork
How many days in Ireland is enough?
For a comprehensive visit that covers major cities like Dublin, Galway, and Cork, as well as iconic destinations like the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry, a 10 to 14-day trip would be ideal.
Is Ireland cheap for tourists?
The cost of visiting Ireland can vary depending on various factors such as your travel style, accommodation choices, dining preferences, and activities you engage in. Overall, Ireland is considered to be a moderately expensive destination for tourists.
What is the best month to visit Ireland?
Spring (March to May) is a great time to visit Ireland. This season brings blooming flowers, lush green landscapes, and fewer crowds compared to the summer months. The temperatures are typically mild, ranging from around 8 to 15º C.
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