Photo Bucket List: Ireland @fontSize>
Visiting Ireland is a treat in and of itself, even if you only spend time in small towns passing away the hours chatting with locals. Here’s our bucket list of must-see places in Ireland that will make your trip memorable—and highly photogenic.
Kissing the Blarney Stone
Known for its powers to impart the gift of eloquence to those who kiss it, the Blarney Stone has been an important historic landmark of Ireland for more than 200 years. While many myths surround what the Blarney Stone originally was, today we know it as a piece of limestone set within the wall of a battlement at Blarney Castle, which sits roughly five miles outside the city of Cork. To kiss the Stone (which you simply must if you visit Blarney), you have to literally bend over backward from a stockade walkway while gripping the iron railings on either side of your body. Kissing the Blarney Stone may not be a pot of gold, but if your wish comes true, you’ll be a natural storytelling paramour in no time.
The Cliffs of Moher
Known for the most naturally breathtaking views of Ireland’s untamed western coast, The Cliffs of Moher are more than a tourist checklist item. Located in County Clare near Liscannor, The Cliffs were named after Fort “Mothar” or “Moher,” (depending on pronunciation), where Hag’s Head sits today. A marvel of natural beauty, The Cliffs also represent Ireland’s work at conservation and are visited by more than a million people annually. If you’ve dreamed of taking postcard-worthy photos of Ireland, The Cliffs of Moher are a must for you.
The Ring of Kerry
While its name makes it sound like a mythical piece of Irish jewelry, the Ring of Kerry is actually a scenic route located in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry, following two major Irish highways: the N71 to Kenmare toward the N70 to Killorglin. Starting in Killarney, sightseers on Kerry Ring find traditional Irish pubs, delectable dining, and several different festivals throughout the year. The Ring of Kerry is known for its illuminating, panoramic views of the southwestern Irish coast, complete with outlooks onto mountain ranges, mountain goats, and lush scenes of pastures. On route are many lesser-known landmarks, including Ballycarbery Castle, Derrynane House, Staigue Fort, Dromquinna Manor, and stunning views of numerous beaches. While motoring down Kerry Ring, you’ll eventually find yourself in Killarney National Park—another Irish national landmark of scenery not to be missed.
Rock of Cashel
Known to most as St. Patrick’s Rock, the Rock of Cashel was purportedly home to the High Kings of Munster during the 5th century. Today, however, the site boasts remnants of both Germanic and Hibernian structures from later periods, including the 12th and 13th centuries. As a historic site, the Rock of Cashel is known for the mythical tale in which St. Patrick banishes Satan from one of the rocky formation’s caves. The sharply rising limestone rock is dotted by ruins from a time when pagans ruled as well, and evidence of their forts surround what’s left of what is believed to be the castle founded by the Eoganachta Dynasty. Regardless of which ancient era is fascinating to you, the Rock of Cashel is an icon of Irish history, and a gorgeous one at that, with views that span hundreds of miles outside the surrounding parish of Tipperary.
Twelve Bens Mountains
The mountain range known as Twelve Bens is located in western Ireland, just northeast of the cultural region of County Galway. Known for its jagged, steep hillsides and small streams, Twelve Bens is a masterpiece of Mother Nature with a high point of nearly 2,400 feet. All the tiny streams trickling down Benbaun (the highest point) end up joining much larger streams at the foothills of the formation. For hikers and climbers, Twelve Bens offers a multitude of walls, cliffs, and crags, not to mention beautiful Irish scenery perfect for every sightseer’s camera.