Best Tourist Places to Visit in Ireland
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. Geopolitically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
Ireland is famous for its scenic coastlines, towns, and villages along the shoreline. Most of these coastline towns are located in the west of Ireland, mainly in the province of Munster.
Here is an overview of places to visit in Ireland.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They run for about 14 kilometres (9 miles).
From the cliffs, and from atop the tower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south. The cliffs rank among the most visited tourist sites in Ireland, with around 1.5 million visits per year.
Sligo is a coastal seaport and the county town of County Sligo, Ireland, within the western province of Connacht.
It is a commercial and cultural centre situated on the west coast of Ireland. Its surrounding coast and countryside, as well as its connections to the poet W. B. Yeats, have made it a tourist destination.
The culture of County Sligo, especially of North Sligo, was an inspiration on both poet and Nobel laureate W. B. Yeats and his brother, the artist and illustrator Jack Butler Yeats. A collection of Jack B. Yeats’s art is held in The Niland Gallery on The Mall in Sligo.
Sligo town has connections with Goon Show star and writer Spike Milligan, whose father was from Sligo, and a plaque was unveiled at the former Milligan family home on Sligo’s Holborn Street.
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park, near the town of Killarney, County Kerry, was the first national park in Ireland, created when the Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish Free State in 1932.
The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km² of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, oak and yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks.
It has the only red deer herd on mainland Ireland and the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland.
The park is of high ecological value because of the quality, diversity, and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species that they accommodate, some of which are rare.
Killarney National Park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981. The park forms part of a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area.
It is known for its scenery, and recreation and tourism amenities are provided for.
Ross Castle is a 15th-century tower house and keep on the edge of Lough Leane, in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland.
Ross Castle was built in the late 15th century by local ruling clan the O’Donoghues Mór (Ross).
It is the ancestral home of the Chiefs of the Clan O’Donoghue, later associated with the Brownes of Killarney.
The castle is operated by the Office of Public Works, and is open to the public seasonally with guided tours.
Boyne valley or Brú na Bóinne (‘Palace of the Boyne’ or more properly ‘Valley of the Boyne’), is an area in County Meath, Ireland, located in a bend of the River Boyne. It is around 40 kilometers north of Dublin.
It contains one of the world’s most important prehistoric landscapes dating from the Neolithic period, including the large Megalithic passage graves of Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth as well as some 90 additional monuments. The archaeological culture associated with these sites is called the “Boyne culture”.
Since 1993, the site has been a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, known since 2013 as “Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne”.
The area has been a centre of human settlement for at least 6,000 years, but the major structures date to around 5,000 years ago, from the Neolithic period.
The Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock, is an historic site located at Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland.
According to local legends, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit, a mountain 20 miles (30 km) north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock’s landing in Cashel.
The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church.
The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe. Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. It is located in the province of Leinster, on a bay at the mouth of the River Liffey.
A settlement was established in the area by the Gaels during or before the 7th century, followed by the Vikings. As the Kingdom of Dublin grew, it became Ireland’s principal settlement by the 12th century Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland.
The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century and was briefly the second largest in the British Empire and sixth largest in Western Europe after the Acts of Union in 1800.
Following independence in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, renamed Ireland in 1937.
Dublin is a centre for education, arts and culture, administration and industry.
As of 2018, the city was listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city, with a ranking of “Alpha minus”, which places it as one of the top thirty cities in the world.
Dingle is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. The only town on the Dingle Peninsula, it sits on the Atlantic coast, about 50 kilometres (30 mi) southwest of Tralee Town and 71 kilometres (40 mi) northwest of Killarney.
Principal industries in the town are tourism, fishing and agriculture. Dingle is a major fishing port, and the industry dates back to about 1830.
Galway is a city in the West of Ireland, in the province of Connacht, which is the county town of County Galway. It lies on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay.
Located near an earlier settlement, Galway grew around a fortification built by the King of Connacht in 1124.
A municipal charter in 1484 allowed citizens of the by then walled city to form a council and mayoralty. Controlled largely by a group of merchant families, the Tribes of Galway, the city grew into a trading port.
Following a period of decline, as of the 21st century, Galway is a tourist destination known for festivals and events including the Galway Arts Festival.
In 2018, Galway was named the European Region of Gastronomy. The city was the European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside Rijeka, Croatia.
Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in the suburban town of Blarney in the administrative area of the city of Cork, Ireland.
Though earlier fortifications were built on the same spot, the current keep was built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty, a cadet branch of the Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446.
Blarney Castle is now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements. At the top of the castle lies the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the Blarney Stone.
Tourists visiting the castle may hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone, which is said to give the gift of eloquence. There are many versions of the origin of the stone, including a claim that it was the Lia Fáil — a numinous stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.
Surrounding the castle are extensive gardens. There are paths touring the grounds with signs pointing out the various attractions such as several natural rock formations with fanciful names such as Druid’s Circle, Witch’s Cave and the Wishing Steps.
The grounds include a poison garden with numerous poisonous plants, including wolfsbane, mandrake, ricin and opium, as well as cannabis. Blarney House is also open to the public.