Best known for its beautiful landscapes and captivating history, Ireland, encompassing both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, is a part of the world with so much to offer. Whether you only have a few days to explore or are set to enjoy a longer stay, you’ll find so much to see and do right across the Emerald Isle. Before you visit, be sure to check out our top 10 unmissable things to do in Ireland!
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, Ireland
The home of Ireland’s most famous tipple, Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse also happens to be one of the country’s top attractions, welcoming thousands of visitors from around the globe each year. Housed within the St James’ Gate Brewery, the converted grain storehouse pays homage to the world famous beer across seven floors, with fascinating exhibits detailing the history and manufacturing process of the much loved brew. At the end of your self guided tour, you’ll be rewarded with a glass of the famed stout at Gravity Bar, where you’ll have the chance to soak up spectacular 360° views of the city below.
Blarney Stone, Blarney, Ireland
Said to bestow the gift of eloquence, the Blarney Stone, located within the grounds of Blarney Castle, has become somewhat of an Irish icon. With all manner of legends surrounding its origins, visitors flock to the historic stone to kiss its surface and hopefully receive the coveted ‘gift of the gab’. Kissing the stone is not quite as easy as it may first seem, with visitors wishing to follow in the footsteps of politicians, writers and stars of the silver screen having to lie down flat and lean backwards to reach the surface of the stone.
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
Situated in Ireland’s west, the Cliffs of Moher are a spectacular stretch of rugged coastline overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean. Standing high above the ocean, the dramatic limestone sea cliffs offer spectacular views out to sea, along the coast and out towards the Aran Islands. Covering around 8 km in total, there’s plenty to see as you tour the impressive coastal stretch, from the 19th century O’Brien’s Tower and the famous Hag’s Head formation to the An Branán Mór sea stack and the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience.
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Another of the region’s remarkable natural attractions, Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway is an incredible sight to behold. Formed millions of years ago by volcanic and geological activity in the area, the World Heritage listed site now consists of countless pillar-like structures that appear to emerge from the waters of the North Atlantic. Beautiful, mysterious and filled with local legends, this intriguing collection of basalt columns and its dramatic coastal setting is a worthy addition to an Irish itinerary. Enjoy a scenic coastal walk, see the beauty of the world renowned attraction in person and learn more about its heritage at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, not only is Dublin’s Trinity College the oldest university in Ireland, but it is also home to the ornate Book of Kells and the historic Long Room. Pay a visit to the university to see the medieval illuminated manuscript, known as the Book of Kells, in person and to admire the time and effort taken to construct the Latin language work, or spend time exploring the 65-metre-long Long Room, a part of the Trinity College Library, which served as inspiration for scenes included in film as diverse as Harry Potter and Star Wars.
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland
First opening in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol is a prison that played a significant part in Irish history, from the time of its inception through to its closure in 1924. Leaders of the nation shaping uprisings of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were held, and even executed, within the prison’s walls, alongside other men, women and children who had committed crimes in the eyes of the law. Important Irish figures, such as Henry Joy McCracken, Charles Stewart Parnell and Anne Devlin resided within the formidable building, which is now open to visitors. Join a guided tour and learn about the history of the site, and be sure to check out some of the engaging permanent and temporary exhibitions found within the grounds.
The Viking Triangle, Waterford, Ireland
The home of Waterford Crystal, the seaport of Waterford is thought to be one of the country’s oldest cities, initially starting out as a Viking settlement at the beginning of the 10th century. Today, the city is home to a number of fantastic attractions, with a large portion situated within the Waterford Viking Triangle. Within the historic quarter, you’ll find Reginald’s Tower, the Medieval Museum, the Bishop’s Palace, and a variety of other attractions. A great place to get to know the city and the country’s Viking heritage, there’s plenty to see and learn throughout the Viking Triangle.
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, Dublin, Ireland
A branch of the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology is a fantastic place to head if you happen to be interested in the country’s long and intriguing history. Featuring a collection of artefacts that span from prehistoric times through to the end of the Middle Ages, the museum’s exhibitions are offer a great opportunity to learn more about the people, places and events that have helped to shape Ireland and its neighbours over time. Be sure to keep an eye out for treasures such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch and Derrynaflan Hoard.
Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland
Perfectly positioned amongst the picturesque scenery of County Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel, also known as St Patrick’s Rock, is an historic site that dates as far back as the start of the 12th century. Constructed in stages and comprised of several different structures, including the round tower, Cormac’s Chapel, a Gothic cathedral, a 15th century castle and the Hall of the Vicars, the site features fine architectural examples and beautiful Celtic art, providing an insight into the Ireland of years gone by. The site can get busy, especially during the summer months, so plan to visit outside peak times if your itinerary allows.
Titanic Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland
A monument to the city’s maritime heritage, Titanic Belfast explores the history and tragedy that surrounds one of the world’s best known cruise liners, the ill-fated Titanic. Located is the same area of the city where the ship was built at the start of the 20th century, nine galleries tell the tale of the Titanic, from its initial design and construction through to the fanfare that surrounded its maiden voyage and its untimely sinking. With interactive exhibits, carefully curated displays and an assortment of artefacts dating to the era, it’s easy to learn about the people and events that led to one of the world’s best known maritime disasters at Titanic Belfast.
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