IRELAND What to See and Do

IRELAND What to See and Do – Guide 2024

Things to see in Ireland offer incredible places to visit and things to do in this wonderful Western European country . The Republic of Ireland, due to its verdant landscapes, is also known as the Emerald Isle . From its capital Dublin , archaeological sites, wonderful castles, traditions and a folklore still strongly present and postcard landscapes such as the Cliffs of Moher , there are many reasons that drive travelers from all over the world to this fascinating land. So let’s discover in our guide the best things to do and see here, thus discovering the country during a wonderful trip to Ireland!

Ireland, Why Visit It

Visiting Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland , which occupies most of the island’s territory, means taking a trip to a country with an ancient and fascinating history . From the Celts to the arrival of the Romans in the Hibernian period , passing from the Normans to the English , up to independence . Ireland, in addition to its historical heritage, also offers postcard landscapes, such as the fantastic Cliffs of Moher and the Connemara Park . Between green meadows, which gave it the name of the Emerald Isle, to places that have inspired poets, writers and singers, such as County Donegal . A trip that, thanks to its many things to see and do during your visit, will unite nature and history enthusiasts .

From the capital Dublin and the party atmosphere of Temple Bar , arriving at colorful Galway up to the fascinating bridges of Cork . Don’t miss medieval Kilkenny , Sligo and its abbey, the Aran Islands , one of the most fascinating places, where nature manifests itself in all its majesty. Ireland is also a land of castles , such as the medieval fortress Rock of Cashel , Cahir Castle and Blarney Castle ; where legend has it that there is the stone that gives eloquence to anyone who kisses it. Furthermore, among the things to do in Ireland, don’t miss the St. Patrick ‘s Day parade , its patron saint and a visit to the famous Guinness Storehouse . A land of legends , history and nature awaits you.

So let’s discover the 10 things to see in Ireland!

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Read also: Documents for going to Ireland: What are they?

What to See Ireland – 10 Things to See

After the introductions, let’s go and see together what to see in Ireland during our trip . In this Western European island, in fact, we will find many things to see and do.

In this article Ireland what to visit , you will find the map of the country, with the most significant places highlighted, thus discovering what to see in the country during your trip. Subsequently, we will analyze them in detail in our guide on Things to Visit in Ireland .

1. Dublin

If you are wondering what you can visit in Ireland , you are in the right place. Among the first things to visit and see during your trip to Ireland, we could only start from its capital . A city full of museums and monuments , all surrounded by a uniquely fascinating atmosphere along the River Liffey . Among the things to do in Dublin, stop in one of the pubs in Temple Bar to sip a Guinness , listening to traditional music. A city with timeless charm, which has enchanted travelers and poets of various eras. In addition to the lively nightlife and numerous events, we also find places that recall its ancient history. Another unmissable place to see here is Trinity College : a university founded in 1529 which hosted students such as Oscar Wilde.

Here, there is also the Old Library , the ancient library which houses over 200,000 precious volumes, including the Book of Kells , a Latin manuscript which contains the four gospels. Among the places to see in Ireland and the most visited in Dublin, we find the Guinness Storehouse , the factory of the famous beer. Seven floors to discover its history, up to the tasting at the Gravity Bar. One of the iconic monuments, however, remains St. Patrick’s Cathedral . Built around 1220 , according to legend, Saint Patrick baptized the first converts here 1500 years ago. Furthermore, one of the most famous deans of the cathedral was Jonathan Swift , writer of Gulliver’s Travels . Finally, for a breathtaking sunset, head to the Ha’ Penny Bridge .

St. Patrick's Cathedral Dublin - Ireland what to see - what to see in Ireland - what to see in Ireland
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

2. Cliffs of Moher

Among the most iconic places to see in Ireland, which attracts many travelers every year, we find the Cliffs of Moher, in Gaelic Aillte an Mhothair , cliffs of ruin . An evocative place where nature unleashes itself in all its splendor. Located on the west coast of Clare , near Doolin , they are among the places to visit in Ireland. The highest point in about 8 km of cliffs reaches 217 m , overlooking a cliff over the Atlantic Ocean. The Cape of the Witch , its southernmost point, reaches 120 m. Despite being a tourist place, with a car park and a visitor centre, it is important to respect the signs of the place, not walking along the closed paths, as they could be dangerous or lead to private property.

No ticket is required and the route open to visitors offers a suggestive view of the overhanging ocean; definitely not suitable if you suffer from vertigo ! Through the cutting of the cliff , it is possible to observe the rock , formed over millions of years and also taking a journey through its evolution . Furthermore, many films set in Ireland were also filmed in this place , such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . Here, there are also points of interest, such as O’Brien’s Tower , a stone tower from 1835 . By boat , however, you can reach the Giant’s Cave and other sea caves inside the cliffs; when climatic conditions allow it.

cliffs of moher
Le Cliffs of Moher

3. Connemara

Rugged and wonderful region of Ireland, absolutely among the things to see during your trip to the country, Connemara and its National Park will leave you speechless for various reasons, entering your heart forever. Located in County Galway , in the western part of the island, the area extends from the coasts of Killary Harbour , reaching Kilkieran Bay and the Maumturk Mountains . Its landscape is characterized by peat bogs and rolling hills, called drums , a barren landscape full of streams and ponds. Its name comes from the ancient Conmhaicne Mara tribe .

The area, until the 13th century , was in the hands of the Ó Cadhla-Kealy clan . Today, this wonderful and wild area of ​​Ireland is among the most important places to visit in the country, loved by hikers and beyond. Here, lies the protected national park of the same name, where horse riding and walking trips take place and sports such as rowing take place, especially in the Cleggan and Killary bays . This wilder side of Ireland, a must-see during your trip, has also been the location of numerous films and series, as well as having inspired singers and artists from all over the world. Furthermore, among the main places to see here we find Kylemore Abbey , an ancient abbey and historic home, linked to a tragic love story.

Kylemore Abbey Connemara - what to visit in Ireland - things to visit in Ireland
Kylemore Abbey, Connemara

4. Galway

On the River Corrib , which flows into the Atlantic, lies the charming, colorful city of Galway on the west coast. Absolutely among the things to see in Ireland, we also find numerous things to do and many musical events , especially in Eyre Square . The heart of the city and an 18th century square , it is overlooked by many pubs, shops and musicians often play traditional music, as in many of its streets. Having become popular above all for its bohemian atmosphere , Galway has a deeply rooted musical tradition, but not only that. Here, in fact, Claddagh rings are born , one of the best souvenirs to bring home from your trip to Ireland among the things to do and a traditional engagement ring.

In addition to music , Galway is also a UNESCO City of Film , boasting a rich film and festival scene. Among the things to see here in Ireland, don’t miss its Latin Quarter , where knight jousts were held in the Middle Ages, where today we find its historic center and the most beautiful house in Ireland in medieval times . Lynch’s Castle . The Long Walk , on the other hand, is the most photographed place in the city, thanks to its colorful houses. Another unmissable place is Galway Cathedral , where the canals intersect , beyond which lies the Eglinton beyond the Wolfe Tone Bridge : a hidden pearl of the city.

claddagh galway
Claddagh, a Galway

5. Rock of Cashel

Also known as St Patrick’s Rock , the Rock of Cashel, in County Tipperary , is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Ireland and a must-see. From the Gaelic caiseal , Cashel means fortress and this stands on an imposing archaeological complex, with ancient fortifications . Within its walls stands a tower and an abbey , today without roofs. Furthermore, in its entirety there was an ancient archbishop’s seat , which was built on more ancient settlements, and in the center stands a Gothic cathedral of which we can still admire part of the vault today. In addition to the importance of its ruins, from this place we can admire enchanting landscapes, including rolling hills and Celtic crosses .

Around this rock, among the things to visit in Ireland, there are also many legends . The most famous tells that it was donated by a pagan Irish king Aengus to the church thanks to Saint Patrick who, during the king’s baptism, accidentally pierced the sovereign’s foot with his stick, convinced that it was a test of courage necessary for baptism. A place of inestimable historical value for the country, which has seen the passage of kings and saints, wars and historical events, among the wonderful greenery of the Emerald Isle in Ireland’s Ancient East . Furthermore, in the chapel of the fortress, there is a Viking relic : the sarcophagus which, according to legend, contains the remains of Tadhg , brother of Cormac mac Airt .

Rock of Cashel - things to see in ireland - ireland things to see
The Rock of Cashel

6. Kilkenny

Located on the banks of the River Nore , in the central southern area of ​​the island and in the province of Leinster , Kilkenny is among the cities to see in Ireland. Popular for its medieval heritage, the Statutes of Kilkenny was drawn up here in 1366 , a statute that limited Celtic influence on the Norman populations . Furthermore , before the capture of Cromwell ‘s troops , it was the capital of the Irish Confederation . Today, renowned for its medieval architecture and buildings, it has earned the title of city of marble . The most important place to see here in Ireland is undoubtedly its castle , the ancient home of the Butlers . Inside, among the things to do here in Ireland, don’t miss the National Art Gallery and its wonderful ornamental garden .

A town with timeless charm, between medieval streets, narrow alleys and legends of witches and knights , with a modern creative soul. For shopping lovers , take the High Street , among shops, shops and craft centers. In Parliament Street , visit the Black Abbey, the Dominican abbey, and walk across Green’s Bridge , built in 1766 , which crosses the Nore , offering a unique landscape. If you enjoy Guinness in its factory in Dublin, don’t miss the Smithwick’s Experience in Kilkenny . Here, you can relive the history of Ireland’s oldest beer: Smithwick’s ale . Finally, to find out more about the history of the city, visit the former medieval church of St Mary , converted into a museum and which houses many Ossory High Crosses .

castello kilkenny
Kilkenny Castle

7. Aran Islands

In the middle of the Atlantic, 60 km from Galway , we find the Aran Islands, among the places to visit in Ireland during your trip. Archipelago made up of three islands, the last outpost in Ireland before arriving in America. Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore formed by breaking away from a land that emerged from the ocean and entered Galway Bay . According to legend, the fortresses on the islands were built by the Celtic tribe of Firbolgs . Today, however, we know that the strongholds were built by the Gaelic O’Brien and O’Flaherty families . In these islands, we still find Gaelic traditions and language strongly rooted today . Furthermore, the Aran Islands are famous for their knitted sweaters and thatched houses .

On the largest of the islands , Inishmore, among the things to see here in Ireland we find Kilronan , the main village and place of arrival of the boats. Here, we also find Dún Aonghasa , a prehistoric stone fort . Among the most beautiful places to visit on the Aran Islands, we find Kilmurvey beach , Blue Flag and with its white sand. Furthermore, the islands are a much loved place for hikers and have various circular routes between 3 and 8 km in Inishmaan. On the island of Inisheer, however, we find the wreck of the merchant ship Plassey , wrecked since 1960 , and O’Brien Castle . To reach the Aran Islands, the most convenient way is by taking the ferry from Rossaveal , near Galway, or from Doolin .

aran islands inishmore cliffs - what to do in ireland - things to do in ireland
The cliffs of Inishmore, on the Aran Islands

8. Ring of Kerry

Among the best attractions to see in Ireland, we find one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the country , the Ring of Kerry. Passing through the Iveragh peninsula , in County Kerry for 179 km , passing through green landscapes, between coasts and small villages overlooking the sea. Despite being a beloved tourist destination, it still maintains its wild charm today . This itinerary between jagged coasts and winding roads will allow us to discover an incredible landscape and unique photos at every bend. Among his stops to visit in Ireland during the trip, we find the small town of Kenmare , overlooking the fjord of the same name in the south of the county. Furthermore, this place is also a pearl of the Wild Atlantic Way , between the ring and the Beara peninsula .

Derrynane Bay is another hidden place to see along the itinerary, discovering it on foot , venturing among rocks and sand dunes to be alone with the sound of the wind among the reeds, walking along the coast. Crossing the bridge near Portmagee , you will instead find yourself on Valentia Island , popular for its beaches. Furthermore, the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid on this island , which reached all the way to Canada . The main village on the peninsula is Cahirciveen , reachable by ferry in summer, where there is also a statue of Charlie Chaplin ; his affectionate visitor. Opposite this location, we find what remains of Ballycarbery Castle , birthplace of Daniel O’Connell , who in 1829 obtained the Catholic emancipation of the country.

Gap of Dunloe ring of kerry
The scenic spot called Ladies View, along the Ring of Kerry 

9. Giant’s Causeway

Among the things to visit, despite being in Northern Ireland, we find the Giant’s Road , formerly Clochán na bhFomhórach . The Giant’s Causeway is a naturally created rock crowding , in County Antrim , 3 km from Bushmills . Made up of over 40,000 columns of volcanic origin , this rock conformation has inspired legends of titanic battles and giants. Furthermore, since 1986 this place to visit in Ireland has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site of geological value and scientific interest. Since 1987 the location where it is located has been a national reserve of the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty . Each of these columns with up to 8 sides, are approximately 12 m to 28 m high.

What not many people know is that these formations are only partially visible , continuing into the seabed. The area is also a paradise for some animal and plant species, such as the cormorant, the green coel and the hare’s foot clover. One of the legends regarding the formation of the Giant’s Causeway tells of the giant Ulster warrior Fionn Mc Cumhaill , who fell in love with the giantess of the island of Staffa , Scotland . In order to reach her, he built a stone road with her hands, which allowed him to court her every day. Visiting this magical place in Northern Ireland is simple, the site is free to access and walkable right down to the water, allowing us to explore every part of it. Furthermore, there are many routes for hikers that can last up to 3 hours.

The Giant's Path - places to visit in ireland - ireland places to visit
The Giant’s Path

10. Belfast

Among the things to see in Ireland, we couldn’t conclude our guide with the fascinating Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland . Despite being part of the United Kingdom , starting from Ireland on a day trip it will be possible to visit it without a passport . Situated on the floodplain of the River Lagan , it has historically been an important center for the production of tobacco, flax and shipping. Here, in fact, the Titanic was built , of which we all know the story and the tragic ending. The construction of the mammoth cruise ship in the 20th century brought Belfast world fame as a shipyard . Even today, it is an important industrial , but also artistic and university centre , becoming a fundamental economic centre.

During the period known as The Troubles or the Irish Question , the city suffered, slowly returning to prominence due to the IRA . Among the main things to visit here in Northern Ireland, don’t miss the Titanic Museum and St George’s Market , where you can taste its traditional Irish specialties . Furthermore, near the Ulster Museum , there are the Botanical Gardens dating back to the 19th century , a tribute to the Victorian era of the city. Art and theater enthusiasts can’t miss a show at the Metropolitan Arts Center Belfast , thanks to a packed calendar. Finally, go to Cave Hill Country Park . This place, protagonist of many events in the city, also hosts a castle , an ancient fort and the basalt rock called Napoleon’s Nose ; which inspired the character of Gulliver in the novel of the same name about his travels.

Titanic's Dock & Pump House
Titanic’s Dock & Pump House

What to do in Ireland, the 5 experiences not to be missed

During your stay in Ireland, in addition to visiting the main attractions and places described previously in our guide , we also want to point out the activities to do in the country, thus making your trip truly unique. Between culture , adventure , tradition , history and local cuisine , an experience in Ireland will certainly be able to unite the desires of all travellers.

So let’s not waste time and discover together the 5 experiences not to be missed in Ireland !

1. Bere una guinness al Guinness Storehouse

Among the things to do in Dublin, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is unmissable. Among the most visited attractions not only of the capital, but of the whole country, the factory , now also a museum , was founded in 1759 . Today, thanks to an ambitious project, it is possible to visit the oldest part of the factory, which has the shape of a pint , developing in height over 7 floors . Here we can discover the secrets of its production, from fermentation to its arrival in the brewery, its history and the culture developed around Guinness, which for the Irish is not a simple beer, but a real symbol.

Arriving at the top of the museum, from the Gravity Bar you can admire a unique 360° view of the city, while sipping a glass of Guinness, of course! Furthermore, on the fifth and sixth floors there are two restaurants, where you can enjoy different menus and typical Irish cuisine , combining everything with a pint. Among the experiences to have here in Ireland, you will also have the opportunity to earn a certificate by learning how to pour the perfect Guinness. Furthermore, the structure organizes numerous events around the city during St. Patrick’s Day , especially in Temple Bar . The perfect opportunity to enjoy a Guinness in a unique and festive context, savoring all the tradition of this special day for the Irish, listening to street singers.

guinness storehouse dublin - ireland what to visit - what you can visit in ireland
Guinness Storehouse, a Dublino

2. Traditional music in Temple Bar

The Temple Bar district, absolutely among the things to visit in Ireland, in Dublin, offers many trendy clubs, but above all traditional pubs where musicians perform every evening . An evening of beer and live music is a magical moment to spend in Dublin, immersing yourself in the true soul of the city. One of the most iconic and oldest pubs in the area is undoubtedly The Palace Bar , on Fleet Street . Also described by Patrick Kavanagh in his works as a temple of art, this place born in 1823 is still today a meeting place for young people, journalists and artists.

This pub, but also many other places in Temple Bar and throughout Ireland, are the ideal place to listen to traditional music. Music is in fact really important for the Irish, just think that the harp is a symbol of the country and the first instrument present and mentioned already in the Middle Ages. Furthermore, in this artistic context, pubs have a very important role, given that in these places new groups are born , have their first performances and new artists are discovered during often spontaneous sessions . The same, moreover, is true for traditional Irish dancing , which has evolved over time to include many genres, from Irish tap and step dancing, to jig and sean nós.

violin ireland
The live music played in its pubs plays a central role in Irish life

3. Take the Wild Atlantic Way

Among the things to do absolutely in Ireland, travel the spectacular landscapes of the Wild Atlantic Way. From County Donegal , reaching the peak of Malin Head , up to Cork , the landscapes of Western Ireland are breathtaking. Inspiration for painters, travellers, dreamers and poets from all over the world, among wild beaches , thatched roof houses, stone walls and barren landscapes overlooking the ocean and impervious cliffs , the Wild Atlantic Way is the road traced on the longest coast of all the world . Also called the Irish Route 66 , 2500 km long on the Atlantic coast. Starting north, from Inishowen, you arrive in County Cork, in Kinsale .

The route is characterized by fantastic places, such as the Mizen Peninsula , the southernmost place on the island. To the north, however, at Malin Head , the road meets the Causeway Coastal Route , another incredible itinerary that allows you to discover Northern Ireland. There is no starting point to discover the Wild Atlantic Way and the stages can be traveled freely, based on the places and locations we wish to visit during a magical road trip along one of the most beautiful roads in Europe.

Wild Atlantic Way dingle peninsula - things to do in ireland
The Wild Atlantic Way, on the Dingle Peninsula

4. Discover the legends of the Little People at the Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara , one of the places that cannot be missed among the things to see in Ireland, is an important place not only for the history of the country, but also for its legends and traditions . Here stood the residence of the Irish supreme king Ard-Rí na hÉireann , in County Meath , close to Dublin and in the Boyne Valley . This place, in fact, is an important international historical site , being like Newgrange an ancient necropolis . On the hill, the king gave proof of being chosen by the gods, trying to fly on the Stone of Destiny , the Lia Fail : a mythical menhir that holds up Ireland according to mythology. Rich banquets were also organized here and a druidic school was established for warriors and officials, but not only.

In fact, legend has it that right here lived, and still lives today, the people of the gods , the Túatha Dé Danann, also known as the Little People ; direct descendant of the Goddess Dan . This mythical people includes magical creatures , such as goblins, elves, leprechauns, fairies and benshees; still very present today in local stories. Furthermore, in the first centuries of Irish history, the Hill of Tara was one of the most important and venerated places in the country. This hill represents a sacred symbol for the town , among mounds , tombs, ritual stones and waterways, which has always inspired a population of storytellers .

hill of tara - ireland what to see and do to visit
La Hill of Tara

5. Watch a game of Peil Ghaelach

Finally, among the things to do in Ireland during your trip and numerous visits, stop to watch a match of peil Ghaelach: Gaelic football . During 1884 , under English rule and with Ireland divided between the poor south and the rich north, in County Galway the nationalists decided to focus on sport to lift spirits . Thus a discipline was created that combined Irish traditions with the English cultural standard , giving life to the Gaelic Athletic Association , codifying Gaelic handball.

To the casual eye, this sport may seem like a mix between rugby and football , with a goalkeeper and a small, spherical ball. Furthermore, the ball can be kicked or carried by hand for a maximum of four steps. The rules are simple, for a sport that is not boring at all, with lots of points , crazy races and tough fights between players. The matches are very fast , creating a fast-paced but easy to understand spectacle . If you have any problems, we assure you that the Irishman sitting next to you can’t wait to explain the rules to you! Matches last on average 60 minutes , divided into two halves. The championship final is held in September in Dublin, Croke Park .

gaelic football campo
The Gaelic football pitch

What to See in Ireland, Recommended Itineraries

So, after seeing what to see, visit and do in Ireland you are ready to pack your bags and leave !

Therefore, let’s discover the itineraries together based on your needs. Here’s what to visit in Ireland!

Ireland What to See in 7 Days

To discover the beauties of the west of the country in a week, we recommend our Classic Ireland Tour. The ideal trip for those who want to explore the most famous landscapes of the Emerald Isle, without neglecting its history.

Classic Ireland Tour

In short: Tour Ireland 7 days to discover the west.
Itinerary: Dublin, Kerry, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher, Galway.
Duration: 8 days – 7 nights
Confirmed Departures
Code: EIARCH0801

Ireland What to See in 10 Days

With 10 days at your disposal, however, what’s right for you is our Grand Tour Ireland. The ideal trip to completely immerse yourself in the wonderful Irish landscapes and its history, from the Celtic past to today, arriving in Northern Ireland from Dublin,

Grand Tour Ireland

In short: 10 Day Tour of Ireland between North and Ireland immersed in their landscapes.
Itinerary: Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Connemara, Cliff of Moher, Kilkenny.
Duration: 10 days – 9 nights
Confirmed Departures
Code: EIARCH1001

Available DaysWhat seeRecommended Tours
What to see in Ireland in 7 daysDublino, Kerry, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher, Galway.Classic Ireland Tour
What to see in Ireland in 10 daysDublino, Belfast, Derry, Connemara, Cliff of Moher, Kilkenny.Grand Tour Ireland

How to Visit Ireland?

Now that, thanks to our Ireland What to See guide , you have a clearer idea of ​​what to visit on your trip, before leaving we recommend that you find out as much information as possible about the documents needed for entry. Visit our Safe Travel section for all the necessary information and the various restrictions.

Furthermore, considering the unpredictable Irish weather, before organizing a trip to the country it is important to also take its climate into consideration , organizing ourselves based on the areas we want to visit. The best time to visit Ireland, in fact, is summer.

Read also:  When to go to Ireland? Climate and Period

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