So you’ve decided to visit the beautiful country of Ireland.
Ireland is bursting with amazing things to do and extraordinary places to visit, and the only issue you will have is deciding what you have time for.
I’m pretty confident that after you’ve made your way through this list, you’ll find yourself wanting to return to Ireland over and over again.
Irish tourism statistics actually show that plenty of the island's most popular destinations are in Northern Ireland, so there's plenty of suggestions for there as well.
So sit back, relax and take a look at my list of the best places to visit in Ireland!
These are in no particular order and just as I remembered them.
The heart of Wicklow is the Wicklow National Park which is an area of outstanding beauty.
The highlight is Glendalough, a beautiful spot with lower and upper lakes including a variety of walking trails.
The area of Wicklow itself is worth a visit for the beauty that surrounds you.
Don’t forget that all you “PS I Love You” fans can visit some filming spots at the Wicklow National Park as it’s the backdrop to where Gerry and Holly first meet.
Wicklow is also home to powerscourt house and gardens which is a popular day trip from Dublin and a beautiful place to visit.
For more ideas on things to do in Wickclow, check out this guide on what to do there.
Where to stay in Wicklow: Check out Booking.com for the best prices on hotels in Wicklow.
Wexford is worth visiting for its beautiful coastline and stunning beaches.
I think it’s a great spot to visit in Ireland with the family and you’ll find the love the irish history on offer, the great beaches, and the views.
The Irish National Heritage Park is a really interesting place to visit in Wexford and makes for a great day out.
Where to stay in Wexford: Check out Booking.com for the best prices on hotels in Wexford.
Waterford is another of the great places to visit in Ireland for natural beauty, lots of entertainment, great beaches etc.
The town itself is a great place to experience some local Irish culture and pubs, and there’s lots to do in Waterford when it’s raining, such as bowling, cinema etc.
Then after the rain spots, simply head to the coast for the epic beaches when the sun makes an appearance in Ireland. (Rare indeed!)
Where to stay in Waterford: Check out Booking.com for the best prices on hotels in Waterford.
Kilkenny is a bustling town with a brilliant castle, wonderful bars and restaurants and generally a great vibe.
I think a visit there is worth it just for the fantastic castle which is in great condition and has stunning gardens surrounding it.
When the sun is out, this place is fantastic.
Also the castle has a tea room inside for a dash of sophistication.
Kilkenny is also a great place to try a local Irish pub and find Irish street performers playing live music.
Definitely one of the great places to visit in Ireland.
Read Also: Where to stay in Kilkenny
Cashel is a great authentic Irish town to visit and is home to some great sites so well worth a visit.
The best site in Cashel is the famous Rock Of Cashel which honestly is one of the best historical building remains I’ve ever seen.
It’s powerful and bold and I’m truly surprised it wasn’t used in Game Of Thrones filming (you’ll see what I mean when you visit!).
Read Also: Where To Stay In Tipperary
Another great Irish town filled with stunning beauty, castles, walks, and many bars and shops.
Cahir is home to Cahir castle which is a famous filming location for a variety of TV shows and films.
It’s also a super cute town packed with Irish charm and one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland.
Where to stay in Cashel: Check out Booking.com for the best prices on hotels in Cashel.
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Tipperary
Ah, the town of Blarney is typically Irish filled with great shops and restaurants, beautiful nature and only 20 minutes from Cork city.
If you’ve heard of Blarney, it’s probably because you've heard of the Blarney Castle which is one of Ireland's most famous castles.
But make sure you hang around the Blarney area for a night after the castle visit as you’ll want to visit some of the great bars on offer!
Where to stay in Blarney: Check out Booking.com for the best prices on hotels in Blarney and near the Blarney Castle.
This was one of my top places to visit in Ireland, simply because it’s a home base for Titanic and I love all things Titanic.
Cobh is a brilliant seaside town of Co Cork where the ships stop for the day.
Visit this awesome place for wonderful views, live music in the streets, an awesome vibe and ice cream by the port whilst you admire the massive ships. It’s also home to the Titanic experience.
Where to stay in Cobh: Check out booking.com for the best prices and choices on places to stay in Cobh.
Cork is a bustling student city that has a Wetherspoons and lots to see.
If you’ve not been to the UK (or Dublin) then you won’t know what a Wetherspoons is, basically it’s a pub that serves drinks a lot cheaper than anywhere else in Ireland, so it’s a great place to start a night of partying.
There is lots to see and do in Cork from the historic Gaol, lookout points, beautiful gardens and much more.
Where to stay in Cork: Check out booking.com for the best prices and variety on hotels and places to stay in Cork.
Read also: Best Things To Do In Cork (Ireland)
This is a beautiful seaside town perfect for a weekend break.
If you want a typical relaxing day by the seaside filled with fish and chips and delicious ice cream, then Kinsale should be on your list of places to visit in Ireland.
Where to stay in Kinsale: Check out booking.com for the best places to stay in Kinsale.
Did you know that Mizen Head is the most southern point in all of Ireland, well worth a visit for the natural beauty.
If you’re visiting all of Ireland then you should visit this point first, then make your way to the most Northern part in the North of Ireland.
Some people actually walk and cycle from one to the other-- now that’s a challenge!
The Ahillies is an area of stunning beauty in Ireland.
You come here for the views, the peacefulness and the sheer beauty that surrounds you.
I don’t even know how to describe this area to give it enough justice, but trust me, this should be top of your list of places to visit in Ireland!
Typically the starting or end point of the Ring of Kerry, this national park is bursting with beautiful places to stay and things to do including the brilliant Molls Gap and Gap of Dunloe, of course the highest mountain in all of Ireland is only a quick drive from here too called Carrauntoohil.
You can climb if you wish, or just look, like Brad and I did!
I’m not entirely sure if you can climb alone or need a guide, but it’s not “that” tall compared to other mountains in Europe, so you can probably do it alone.
A smaller but challenging hike is the Torc mountain on top of the waterfall too.
Read Also: Ring Of Kerry Travel Guide
If you want a traditional Irish night out with bars and bars of live music, a brilliant vibe until late, then visit Killarney.
Popular spot for hen and stag nights and plenty of atmosphere.
Probably one of my favourite nights out in all of Ireland.
Where to stay in Killarney: Check out booking.com for the best hotels in Killarney.
Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Killarney, Ireland
Without a doubt one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland.
Dingle town itself is a great spot by the sea and there are some great fish and chip shops there.
But as you drive around the Dingle area and the Peninsula you’ll witness breathtaking beauty at every angle.
There is lots to do in the area too!
Read Also: Where To Stay In Dingle
Beara is another great area in Ireland to visit thanks to its rugged natural beauty.
There is hardly any tourists in this area of Ireland, or even locals, so you feel like you’ve got this beautiful corner of the world all to yourself. Bliss!
It’s also an awesome place to fly a drone and capture some amazing footage.
Where to stay on the Beara Peninsula: Check out booking.com for the best places to stay around the Beara Peninsula.
Read Also: What to see on the Ring of Beara
Letterkenny is the unofficial capital of County Donegal and a shoppers paradise with plenty of bars and bundles of atmosphere.
It’s a great place to spend the day if it’s raining in Ireland as there’s lots to do in-doors.
Also there is an awesome gothic style cathedral to visit and walking tours are popular in this area.
Where to stay in Letterkenny: Check out Booking.com for the best hotels in Letterkenny.
Limerick is a well known city in Ireland and a popular hub for visitors.
It’s quite a business city and you’ll see a different way to Irish life when you visit here, compared to the vibe you get from the other more typical Irish towns.
It’s home to St John's Castle which is the most iconic thing to see there and you’ll notice it as soon as you arrive.
There are a variety of other things to do in the city too and there is a tourist information spot to help you plan your visit.
Where to stay in Limerick: Check out booking.com for the best prices on hotels in Limerick.
Lahinch is a lovely little coastal town that’s filled with amazing golf courses and beautiful beaches.
It actually hosted the Dubai open in 2019 and that’s when Brad and I visited.
The atmosphere was great and this little Irish seaside town was filled to the brim.
There are lots of cute hotels, great pubs and shops to visit, so it’s one of the great places to visit in Ireland for a weekend getaway.
Where to stay in Lahinch: Check out booking.com for the best places to stay in Lahinch.
Co Clare is another stunning area of Ireland home to lots of natural beauty and some of my favourite places to see in all of Ireland.
These include the iconic Cliffs of Moher, the cute town of Doolin, and the very unique Burren National Park.
There really are lots of things to do in Clare!
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Clare
Where to stay: Check out booking.com for all the best hotels in Co Clare at the best prices.
Doolin is the perfect place in Ireland for a local village experience.
It’s not overly big, but it’s super Irish in charm and atmosphere.
The pubs, the views, the location, Doolin as it all!
You could easily visit here in a couple of hours, but I think it’s worth visiting in the evening time and staying overnight so you can experience the live music in the pubs. But I do warn you, accommodation in this area sells out super quick!
So book in advance during the peak season.
Oh and from Doolin you can take a boat cruise to the amazing Cliffs Of Moher.
Where to stay in Doolin: Check out booking.com for all the best hotels in Doolin, but remember to book early to avoid disappointment!
One of the most famous cities in Ireland with the brilliant cathedral quarter filled with bars and restaurants, live music, street performers and much more. Galway is a place for everyone.
Plus it’s home to some amazing beaches too.
After you’ve experienced the culture in the city, head out to the coast and witness blue seas that challenge the French Riviera!
Read Also: The Best Galway City Hotels
Roundstone is a beautiful coastal village in Ireland that’s home to one of the most beautiful beaches in all of ireland (in my opinion), but it’s got super blue tones in the water and the beach looked a lot like the beaches I seen in the Philippines, so you can imagine how amazing it is!
You can swim in it, but it’s far too cold for me to swim in any of the beaches in Ireland- only for the brave!
Roundstone town itself is a great place to grab lunch and coffee and experience an authentic Irish town. I loved it!
I love Mayo! It’s an area of beauty with lots of things to do and see so it’s one of the best counties to visit in Ireland.
There are lots of beautiful beaches and amazing St Patrick's Head with the fascinating bubble grass (super unique and cool!).
Read Also: Where to stay in Mayo
Wonderful and popular coastal town in Ireland and it’s a perfect place to visit in Ireland with kids.
There are lots of family friend activities happening all over the place and even the Westport website has all the information of what’s going on daily.
Where to stay in Westport: To find the best hotels in Westport, check out booking.com
Lismore is such a cute town in Ireland and it’s one of my favourites.
I could easily visit here for a weekend. It’s also the setting of the beautiful Lahinch Castle, one of my favourite castles in all of Ireland.
When we visited it was super sunny which meant it was the perfect area for a picnic.
Where to stay in Lismore: Check out booking.com for the best hotels in Lismore.
Kerry is often regarded as one of the most beautiful areas in all of Ireland, and it’s true, it’s bursting with beauty! Kerry is one of the most popular areas on the Wild Atlantic Way and it’s honestly bursting with amazing things to do and see.
Read Also: Where to stay in Kerry
Sligo is a cute little town in Ireland that’s home to some beautiful beaches and attractions.
It’s actually where I got my first dog.
We found him on the beach and he followed us for the 4 days we were there and basically we asked around to see if anyone owned him and were told that a few weeks before his owners dropped him off down near the beach and drove away.
Well, 10 year old me begged my dad to take him home (he was a Springer Spaniel) and after convincing my mum, we had a new dog!
We named him Jack (after Jack from Titantic :P )
Where to stay in Sligo: Check out booking.com for the best choice of hotels and b&bs in Sligo.
Atmospheric coastal town that’s famed for its amusements and family fun.
I actually used to visit here as a child with my family and I have fond memories of the beach, the funfair and the candyfloss.
Bundoran is a great place to visit with kids in Ireland!
Where to stay in Bundoran: Use booking.com to find the best places to stay in Bundoran.
Donegal is the part of Ireland I have most visited.
Probably because it doesn’t take long to cross the border from the North. But Donegal is a super diverse part of Ireland with scenic road trips, awe-stopping cliffs, beautiful beaches and much more.
Without doubt one of the best places to visit and a key part of any Ireland road trip itinerary.
Don’t forget to check out Donegal town which is home to Donegal Castle.
Also remember that there is a saying that “if you throw a stone, it will land on a great beach in Donegal” basically meaning there are so many amazing beaches in Donegal to discover.
Read More: Best Things To Do In Donegal [Ireland]
Offering terrific views of the Atlantic ocean, this is one of the finest and highest cliffs in all of Europe.
I was so surprised when I visited here as I didn’t know such beauty existed in Donegal!
One of my favourite places to visit in Ireland.
Read Also: Where To Stay In Donegal
This was my favourite mountain in all of Ireland that we visited.
It looks like the tallest to me, but it’s actually not.
But, it’s certainly the most dramatic and beautiful mountain in all of Ireland.
The landscape that surrounds it is like something out of Lord of the Rings, and when we visited mist was setting a top of the mountain and added to the dramatic look. Amazing!
This is a brilliant spot to visit in Ireland when the sun is shining.
The park itself is beautiful but it also houses a very beautiful castle in which there is a walking trail too. You can tour the castle and there is a tea room located within so you can grab a bite to eat.
Fanad head is a great place to visit in Ireland if you’re interested in lighthouses as it’s home to one very important lighthouse with a very significant story too!
The Fanad Head lighthouse is home to a tragic sinking of a boat that was carrying gold, and they’re never actually recovered all of the gold so scuba divers go down there in search of it sometimes.
We spoke about Mizen head earlier as the most southern point in Ireland, well this is the northernmost point in all of Ireland and it’s a very beautiful spot to visit.
It’s in County Donegal so can be seen if you’re driving around that area anyway, and there is actually some beautiful beaches close by too.
Newgrange is one of the most historically significant and important places in all of Ireland to visit. It blew my mind and we didn’t even get to tour the whole area.
It’s older than the pyramids of Egypt, so you know it’s going to be interesting.
Basically we arrived too late, the tours of this place are free (Whilst the visitor centre is under construction) but that means they sell out within the first hour of opening.
Unfortunately, we were not aware of this and didn't have the time to wait 2 hours for a tour.
But you should 100% make this a priority on your Ireland itinerary.
Newgrange is close to Drogheda town which is a good place to base yourself if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.
Read Also: The Best Wild Camping Spots In Ireland
This is a beautiful little Irish town in County Lough that is surely worth a visit on your Ireland adventure.
It’s easy access from Dublin so it’s a popular day trip for those who are visiting the capital of Ireland.
You will find a unique Irish charm in this area and lots of traditional Irish pubs.
Skerries is another popular day trip from Dublin. It’s a cute little seaside town that has a small amusement park for children, lots of sea front restaurants, and a fish and chip shop in town!
There is also a really cute ice cream shop located on the waterfront which offers tea and coffees and if you want you can try paddle boarding and kayaking.
The Antrim coastline is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Northern Ireland.
Of course it’s home to all the best spots in the north including the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, the Bushmills factory etc but the drive along the coastline is also beautiful and you can stop at lots of cute seaside towns along the way for an ice cream and a bite by the sea.
Towns to check out on the Antrim coast include:
Enniskillen is a great town in Northern Ireland that offers a lot for visitors. It’s also home to Enniskillen Castle which is a significant stop in the town.
It also offers a great place for a night out on the town and there are lots of activities for children.
Where to stay in Enniskillen: Search booking.com for the best hotels in Enniskillen.
The boardwalk in Fermanagh or the “stairway to heaven” up the Cuilcagh Boardwalk which heads up to the highest mountain in County Fermanagh: Cuilcagh. This became an internet sensation a couple of months ago and the walk is not for the faint hearted. It’s a challenging walk but the views are 10000% worth it!
Other things to do in Fermanagh include
Derry is a significant place to visit in Northern Ireland as it provides a lot of details about the history of Ireland and Northern Ireland including the very recent troubles. You can visit free derry corner, the museums, the shop in the town, and visit the Derry walls.
Derry is the last walled city in Ireland which is pretty cool.
Where to stay in Derry: Check out booking.com for the best hotels in Derry
I’ve been visiting Lough Derg since I was maybe 2-3 years old, so for over 20 years-- and it’s still one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland, ever! It’s home to a monastery for pilgrims, which are quite popular in Ireland since it’s a Christian country.
But it’s also home to a beautiful forest park with a tranquil lake and some of the most peaceful moments ever.
I actually worked in Newcastle as a waitress for about 10 years before I left to pursue a life of being a digital nomad after university, but it’s still one of my favourite places in Ireland. It’s actually a seaside town and it’s a brilliant place for family and friends.
There are countless amusements, an amusement park, forest parks, the Mourne mountains (which you can climb), waterfalls, great restaurants (I worked in the Broadway Cafe if you ever visit!) and two outdoor swimming complexes (the last in Northern Ireland!)
This is a perfect day trip in Ireland and the Irish open was held here a couple of years ago.
Where to stay in Newcastle: Check out booking.com for the best prices on hotels in Newcastle.
Ah, Belfast, the city I was born and brought up in. It really is one of the great places to visit in Ireland and it’s the capital of the North so you’re guaranteed a lot of things to do. It’s home to the Titanic Quarter, since Titanic was built in Belfast, some fantastic museums, a brilliant nightlife, Belfast Castle, a great shopping experience and much more.
Where to stay in Belfast: Check out booking.com for the best places to stay in Belfast.
Read Also: Fun Things To Do In Belfast
Ireland is home to some brilliant islands just off the West Coast and I have to say, before we started our Ireland Roadtrip, I actually had no idea about all the islands.
The Aaran islands are probably the most famous and there are 3 of them dotted together.
You’ve got Innis moor which is the largest and Inis Oirr Or which is the smallest. They're well known for their dramatic beauty, their medieval fixtures and friendly people.
Easy to visit on your own DIY style or via an organised tour- whatever suits your travelling style better!
This is actually the most remote, yet inhabited island in Ireland which is located off the coast of Donegal. What is really interesting about this spot is that they run their own government and have a “king”, which I think is very interesting.
The most recent “king” has actually just passed away and they haven’t appointed a new one yet.
You can get day trips over to the island and even stay overnight. I don’t believe there are a lot of accommodation options since it’s so small, but if you want to know what it feels like to live on a remote island then a trip to Tory island should be top on your list of places to visit in Ireland.
Tory Island is accessible daily from April to October and five times a week for the rest of the year.
Castlewellan is a beautiful, yet quaint town situated in Co Down, Northern Ireland. It’s home to a wonderful national forest park that has a brilliant and grand castle, beautiful gardens and home to the largest hedge grown peace maze in all of Europe.
It’s a great place to visit and if you successfully find your way through the maze, you get to ring your victory bell!
Fun fact: When I was 12, I lost my mobile phone in the maze and never found it again...I was devastated at the time running frantically around a maze in search of it! So if you find an old brick Nokia, let me know.
This is a beautiful area in Ireland filed with green landscapes and natural beauty.
It’s actually home to one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in all of Ireland, which is the Croagh Patrick climb. Whilst Bradley and I didn’t do the climb ourselves we did stop at the bottom and it looks quite challenging!
Benbulbin is situated in County Sligo and it’s a very unique rock formation.
It’s known as Table Mountain and forms part of the Dartry Mountains. It’s really really cool and when you see it you’ll wonder how on earth it was formed like that! It’s a great place to throw a drone up to get a great capture of it, otherwise you can struggle to get a picture that does it justice.
You can drive to the information point and I believe you can do hikes up the mountain but they need to be guided and organised properly.
Be aware that a lot of these places are best visited in the summer months of June, July, August and September.
Not only do you have a better chance of getting decent weather, but a lot of the island trips and certain areas close down in the winter months due to problems with the roads and the fact it can be freezing.
But if you want to visit “off-peak” then Spring is often a beautiful time in Ireland and you can sometimes get decent weather. It tends to be much more unpredictable since climate change is making a real difference!
So there you have it, my guide to the best places to visit in Ireland! There is really something for everyone on a visit to Ireland.
Whether you’re looking for scenic views, a great night out, an interesting history, there is something to suit you!
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