Explore lush pastures, plunging cliffs, and medieval castles with our roundup of the 10 most beautiful places in Ireland.
1. Cliffs of Moher
Located along the southwestern edge of County Clare, the rugged Cliffs of Moher offer travelers some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Ireland. More than a million people visit the iconic cliffs each year, which have been featured in films such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Princess Bride. Standing 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, travelers can enjoy spectacular views of nearby Aran Island in Galway Bay.
2. Ring of Kerry
This 120 mile-long scenic trail is home to green meadows, winding streams, and cloud-capped mountains. Travelers exploring Ireland’s oldest and longest walking trail can witness highlights including Killarney National Park, 15th Century Ross Castle, and rare herds of wild red deer.
3. Rock of Cashel
This awe-inspiring historic site in the heart of County Tipperary is steeped in Irish history. The Rock of Cashel held the traditional seat for the King of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman Invasion. In 1101, it was donated to Ireland’s Roman Catholic Church. Today the complex remains one of Europe’s most remarkable examples of medieval architecture and holds an impressive collection of Celtic art.
4. Giant’s Causeway
This geological wonder is comprised of roughly 40,000 interlocking basalt columns resulting from an ancient volcanic eruption. Or, if you’re a fan of Irish Mythology, they’re remnants of a path build by giants across the sea. Either way, Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see for visitors.
5. Dingle Peninsula
National Geographic once called this region “the most beautiful place on earth” – and it’s no wonder. Located on Ireland’s southwest Atlantic coast, the area is ringed by sandy beaches and craggy cliffs. In addition to it’s natural beauty, Dingle Peninsula is a bastion of Irish culture and language. Charming Dingle Town is an established beacon for artists, musicians, and craftspeople, as well as a popular destination for fans of folklore.
‘Connemara is a savage beauty,’ as Oscar Wild once put it. This rugged district in western Ireland is home to wildlife such as the famous breed of Connemara Pony Horses, as well as rolling landscapes and the Twelve Bens mountain range. It’s network of hidden beaches and scenic trails offers travelers a world of treasures to explore.
7. Kylemore Abbey
Situated in the heart of Connemara, Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded by nuns after World War I on the grounds of Kylemore Castle. The estate’s well-manicured Victorian Gardens are a great place for a leisurely nature walk.
8. Ashford Castle
The rich history of Ashford Castle dates back to the thirteenth century. The former residence of Ireland’s famed Guinness family was acquired by The Travel Corporation in 2013 and added to the luxury Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Named the World’s Best Boutique Hotel by Travel + Leisure, the 350 acre property in Western Ireland includes a golf course, falconry, tennis, and more.
9. Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland
The Antrim Coast contains some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in Northern Ireland. Charming towns, picture-perfect landscapes, and spectacular coastal views draw travelers to the area. A visit to nearby islands offers a glimpse of what is was like for Vikings coming ashore – upholding Northern Ireland’s unique allure.
10. Dublin’s Pubs
We had to include Dublin’s traditional pubs for good measure. After a long day of sight seeing, one of the most beautiful sights of all is a cheerful Irish pub; and what better way to experience the country’s local flavors than with a pint of frothy ale in hand?
Dreaming of Ireland? Explore the country’s most popular destination and best kept secrets with our collection of guided vacations.