Ireland, the Emerald Isle, has been enchanting travelers for centuries. Used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, chronicled in beloved classic literature, and attracting millions of visitors each year, Ireland is like something out of a fairy tale. The rugged cliffs and lush surroundings will weave their spell on you in moments.
If you’re ready to discover this small but mighty country, here are the best places to visit in Ireland.
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
As the home of Guinness Beer, Dublin attracts over 1.5 million visitors each year. They all flock to the Guinness Storehouse which has been brewing Guinness since 1759. The iconic building now features seven floors and a pint-shaped atrium. Visiting the Storehouse will give you a first-hand look at the brewing process and see the legacy of the Guinness brand in their advertising archive. You can even have a pint at the seventh-floor Gravity Bar and look out on amazing views of Dublin. You may also take a class on how to pour the perfect pint, have Guinness-inspired dishes in the on-site restaurant, and visit the tasting room. No trip to Dublin is complete without a stop here and it’s well-known as one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
Formed between 50 and 60 million years ago by shifting volcanic rock, Giant’s Causeway is a stunning vision in Ireland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The formation features 40,000 black basalt columns protruding from the sea and is a breathtaking sight. While you may just wander around and view the stones, there’s another way for adventure seekers to discover the magic of the Giant’s Causeway. The Clifftop Experience is a five-mile walk around the grass and gravel paths surrounding the site. You begin at Dunseverick Castle and make your way to this most northern part of Northern Ireland with tour guides sharing the myths and legends of the stone on the way.
Killarney National Park, Killarney
Killarney National Park was the first national park of Ireland and spans over 25,000 acres. The diverse landscape includes mountains, lakes, woods, and waterfalls, but offers more than just its beauty. The Muckross House is a historic 19th-century property on the grounds, and features guided tours for a small fee. Not far from the home are the ruins of the Muckross Abbey and some lovely gardens to tour. If you love to see how people lived in the Victorian age, it’s a great attraction. The park is also home to Ross Castle, 15th-century home and fortress. Legend says that the original owner was sucked into the nearby Lake Lough Leane, appearing in May every seven years. If you can spot him, you’ll have good luck for the rest of your life.
Ring of Kerry, County Kerry
Ring of Kerry is more than a place, it’s an adventure for anyone wanting to see Ireland beyond the typical tourist destinations. As a 174 km circular route winding through some of the most beautiful places in Ireland, it’s ideal for hikers, history lovers, and photographers. The route includes Killarney, Kenmare, Killorglin, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh then back to Killarney. Each destination includes attractions and some of the best places to visit in Ireland for serene natural beauty. View sites like the 5th-century Dunloe Ogham stones, Ballymis Castle, and Torc Waterfall as you make your way around the route.
Dunmore Cave, Kilkenny
The Dunmore Cave is a small limestone cave that’s perfect for those looking for the weirdest and best places to visit in Ireland. As the site of a Viking massacre that reportedly claimed 1,000 lives, it has a mysterious spirit and it and has offered several exciting archaeological discoveries; in 1999, researchers found a small cache of bronze items dating back to 940 A.D. Even you don’t find any gold or bronze, you’ll certainly be enhanced by the cave’s strange stalactite formations and eerie presence.
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
You likely won’t feel a rush comparable to what you feel when viewing the Cliffs of Moher. Perched above the Atlantic nearly 200 meters above the water, the cliffs are the epitome of Ireland’s beauty and are popular on Instagram. Getting to the cliffs is not for those scared of heights — you need to walk down a winding path and then you’re met with the 200-meter drop below. Luckily there’s a visitor’s center for safer viewing, and it also includes a multimedia presentation on the Cliffs.
Castle Ward Estate, Belfast
This one is just for the Game of Thrones fans. As the show recently aired its finale, fans are eager to explore Ireland’s filming locations for Game of Thrones. The 18th-century mansion Castle Ward is one such location and was used as Winterfell. Visitors can take a private tour or explore the grounds. Sites here include Walder Frey’s Twins Castle, Robb’s Camp in the Riverlands, and the Whispering Woods. You may take pictures, go on a biking tour of more filming locations, throw axes, and just enjoy the scenic grounds. Even if you haven’t watched an episode of the show, Castle Ward has plenty to see and do.