After touring Ireland three times in the past four years, I've found that these cities are the best to visit.
Ireland is a travel destination that lives up to its nearly mythic reputation. The Emerald Isle really is that green, the sights are truly spectacular and the people are genuinely friendly. Despite its small size, bustling cities and sprawling suburbs, Ireland still boasts stretches of roads and trails where visitors can feel as if they have the island all to themselves. Those seeking a more sociable travel experience have only to walk into a neighborhood pub to feel right at home. Whether spending the night in an ancient castle, cycling along a coastal headland or viewing Celtic artifacts at a world-class museum, Ireland casts a spell of enchantment on every visitor.
Ireland that has the historical importance of Irish culture. Ireland is home to a wide array of historical and cultural tourist attractions, which may be easily visited by holidaymakers arriving in the country. Each one is relics from the Irish middle ages, dozens of them are literally dotted around Ireland. Many visitors to Ireland are drawn towards the megalithic and prehistoric monuments on the island.
Ireland’s Most Popular Tourist Attractions
Ireland’s magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Skellig Islands make a worthy side trip from the popular Ring of Kerry tourist trail, a pair of small rocky mounds that rise up from the sea off the coast of Portmagee. Not only are the two islands Skellig Michael and Little Skellig home to a fascinating 6th-century monastic complex perched on the 230-meter high cliff top, but they also host an impressive array of birdlife. Look out for Gannets, Black Guillemots, Cormorants, Razorbills and Herring Gulls as you climb the hair-raisingly steep 600-step climb to view the monastic remains.
The capital of Ireland, Dublin is home more than a third of the nation’s population. Unlike other major European cities, there’s a laid-back atmosphere in Dublin that makes it feel less like a metropolis and more like a small town. While there are plenty of cultural attractions to delight the most avid sightseer, unplanned rambles through the city can be just as rewarding. Book of Kells housed at library at Trinity College is a must-see for lovers of art and literature. From historic cathedrals like Christ Church and St. Patrick’s to the Guinness Storehouse and the pubs in Temple Bar, Dublin is a city that invites exploration.
Galway is just a fun town to stay in for a few days. There aren’t a ton of sights to see, so plan to just eat and drink your way through the main street in town, which has some of the live music/entertainment in Ireland. Be sure to check out King’s Head for great local bands who perform nightly.
Ring of Kerry
Ireland’s most scenic tourist trail, the Ring of Kerry, runs 120 miles through some of southwestern Ireland’s most jaw-dropping landscapes. A patchwork of lush meadows, glacial lakes and heather-topped mountains, the Ring of Kerry includes highlights like the rugged Beara Peninsula and the Kerry Way – Ireland’s longest and oldest walking route. Stop off on route at the Killarney National park, a UNESCO World Heritage biosphere reserve, home to the 15th century Ross Castle and a herd of wild red deer.
Cliffs of Moher
No visit to Ireland is complete without spending some time enjoying the view from on a high cliff overlooking the Atlantic, and the Cliffs of Moher take this experience to breathtaking new heights. Rising nearly 210 meters (700 feet) from the shoreline, the stretch of cliffs attracts almost one million visitors each year making it one of the most popular places to visit in Ireland. Understandably, access to the cliffs is restricted in windy weather. Boat tours offered at the pier in Doolin give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the cliffs from a different perspective.
I’m not a big fan of cheesy touristy things like medieval banquets, but the show at the Bunratty Castle is simply spectacular. After being serenaded by madrigal singers dressed in medieval garb, you’re escorted up one of the castle’s tiny circular staircases to the grand dining hall where you eat roasted chicken, potatoes, parsnips and more with nothing but a knife and your fingers! If the choir’s rendition of Danny Boy doesn’t turn you into a blubbering idiot, you have no soul.