Ireland is the second largest Island of the British Isles. Located in the west of Great Britain, it is a popular tourist destination, attracting around 11 million tourists every year. If you’re looking for tourist destinations, then Ireland is the perfect place as it has many famous attractions, amazing landscapes, music, and welcoming people. From the Lakes of Killarney to Belfast to the amazing Giant’s Causeway, there are many places to tour during your visit. In this guide, we’ve selected some of the best Irish tourist destinations to visit.
First on our list is the lively capital, which is also the largest city in Ireland. Though the city is not as populated as many capital cities, it has a rich history and many cool destinations you may not find in many large cities. Dublin has vibrant spots and friendly locals who will be happy to talk to you. Here are some cool spots to visit in Dublin:
- The Little Museum of Dublin: This museum is a must-see for people who are interested in the history and evolution of Dublin over the years. Located at the top of Dawson Street, the museum holds various exhibitions and events. It features interesting historical artifacts and treasures from Northern Ireland.
- Christ Church Cathedral: This is located on the site of the first church in Dublin, founded in 1028. It was restored in the 19th century and it features amazing early Gothic designs and a crypt with parts dating from the 13th century.
- National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology - This museum is located near the National Library, Kildare Street. It is worth visiting as it includes impressive exhibitions such as the Viking Collection. Ireland’s Gold, and Prehistoric Ireland. The National Museum also offers tours, educational events, and workshops.
- Phoenix Park/Dublin Zoo: Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed urban park in Europe, with a size of about 1,750 acres. It is filled with amazing scenery and wildlife, alongside an 18th century property home and the official residence of the President of Ireland. People wishing to know more about the park can visit the visitor center, close to Ashtown Castle. For many tourists, the Dublin Zoo serves as the main attraction as it attracts over a million visitors each year. It includes exotic animals, restaurants, play areas, and more.
Apart from the amazing locations in Dublin, there is also an extensive list of restaurants to help you experience more of the cultural diversity.
Giant’s Causeway is made up of massive basalt columns stretching out into the sea. This is a captivating tourist destination mainly because of the mazing scenery and the unique structure. The Giant’s Causeway was created by forces of nature including volcanic eruptions, erosion, and the movement of tectonic plates over time. Another captivating fact about this destination is that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the Visitor Centre, you can get to listen to the legend of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and other interesting facts about this site.
Galway is an amazing city on the West Coast of Ireland with a population of approximately 100,000. This vibrant city was voted to be Europe's Capital of Culture 2020, which show testament to its amazing culture. Galway is home to some amazing historical sites and parks, such as the Connemara National Park.
Killarney is a town located in County Kerry. The town is surrounded by spectacular sights such as waterfalls, mountain springs, and wildlife, perfect for nature-lovers. While viewing the countryside, you can also visit the Killarney lakes and take a tour through the popular Ring of Kerry. Just about 16km from Ross Castle is the Killarney National Park. It’s thousands of acres of amazing scenery, wildlife, waterfalls, and much more. You can explore the park by foot, boat, or jaunting car while getting a bite of the local food.
While Belfast used to be an industrial powerhouse in the past (The RMS Titanic was built here), today it has become a huge tourist attraction. There is the Titanic Belfast museum, a popular destination created in memory of the famous ship. While touring the city, you can also visit the botanic gardens, the zoo, opera house, and many other tourist attractions.
Within the Botanic Gardens is the Ulster Museum, a 90,000 square ft area containing unique artifacts and art which detail the history of Ireland. Belfast also offers different forms of art, such as drama, street theatre, poetry, and the popular Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher is a popular location for filmmakers and photographers. The location was featured in the popular movie adaptation ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’. This natural landmark rises high above County Clare’s west coast and is one of the best tourist destinations in Ireland. At the top of the cliffs is an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean, with the Aran Islands in the distance.
The Cliffs of Moher is open to visitors and it features a visitor center, gift shop, cafes, and other facilities. It is accessible by car and is quite easy to locate. You can also reach the cliffs through the public bus system or any of the coach tours in the area. Though you can visit all year round, the best times to visit are during the spring, summer, or early fall. If you are a fan of birdwatching, then the best time to visit is between May and August.
This capital of the Dingle Peninsula has been described as one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located on the southwest corner of the Emerald Isle, it offers spectacular views and cuisines, and friendly locals. Dingle is also renowned for the wide variety of restaurants offering tasty seafood and the number of local pubs. At Cumeenoole Beach, you can enjoy surfing, walking, or simply lounging. Visitors who prefer hiking can also go uphill to visit the ancient Eask Tower.
Also known as the Marble City, Kilkenny is an hour and half away from Dublin. It was known for its abundant supply of polished marble in the past and has now become a popular tourist destination. With a lively nightlife scene, it is known for weekend getaways and stag parties. You can experience the culture and art during the arts festival in August or have a good laugh during the annual Cats Laugh Comedy Festival. Kilkenny also features top class golf courses and is a good destination for sports fans.
Located in an estuary of River Brandon, Kinsale was once a medieval fishing port that has now become a tourist attraction. It offers a scenic harbor and numerous points of interest such as Charles Fort. Kinsale is also a haven for foodies, with the annual Kinsale Gourmet attracting many to enjoy the delicious seafood and wide array of meals the town is known for.
We hope this list has helped you know more about the best places to visit in Ireland. To enjoy more outdoor time, the best period to visit is during the summer. In June, you’d get up to 17 hours of sunlight and outdoor activities, though you might pay higher fees as it the most popular period for tourism. To get around, it is advisable to travel by car, so you can afford to pull over at scenic spots and attractions along the way. With adequate planning, you are sure to enjoy your stay and have an unforgettable experience.