60 BEST Things To Do In Ireland in 2023

Bradley Williams
Written By:
Bradley Williams
Last Updated:
December 29, 2022
Drinking Guinness, discovering ancient castles, kissing the Blarney Stone ... all this and MORE on my ultimate list of the 60 best things to do in Ireland.

Ireland has long been on my bucket list for countries to visit.

Well, we were lucky enough to embark on an epic 16 day road trip all around this spectacular country!

On the way, we passed through 27 out of the 32 counties, discovering almost all of what Ireland has to offer.

So I wanted to take some time to break down what I believe to be the ultimate list of the best things to see and do in Ireland this year!

I’ve also mentioned which country each of the sites is in, so that you can more easily plan your own visit to the Emerald Isle.

So, in no particular order, let’s start with ….

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Show Table of Contents

1. Have a pint (or several) at Temple Bar (Dublin)

temple bar dbln

Easily my favourite thing to do in Dublin is getting yourself a pint in Temple Bar.

It is widely considered one of the most famous pubs in the world, largely because it offers Ireland’s widest selection of whiskies (more than 450 in fact!).

Seeing that I’m not much of a whisky drinker, for me the best reason to head to Temple Bar is the atmosphere.

They play live music almost every night and it is always packed full of people.

Put it this way, if you’re visiting and wondering what to do in Dublin, then you should stop in at Temple Bar for at least one drink.

2. Have a walk round to Dublin Castle (Dublin)

Dublin Castle, Ireland

Few castles in Ireland are as historically significant as Dublin Castle.

Though the castle you see now was mostly built from the 18th century onwards, a castle has stood on the same grounds since 1204.

It has served as the seat of governments and lorships for almost all of its lifetime, and nowadays is one of the city's biggest attractions.

And it’s not just the castle that people go there to see, but also the surrounding 11 acres of grounds which host guided tours all throughout the day.

3. Learn how the magic happens at the Guinness Storehouse (Dublin)

Guiness Storehouse, Ireland

Though I’m not a fan of Guinness, you can’t travel all the way to Dublin and not visit the site where this infamous drink is made.

It is one of Ireland’s most famous products and is served in 120 countries all over the world.

As well as entry to a guided tour, your entrance also allows you to try a free pint of Guinness, brewed on the site right where you are standing.

Did you know, that this is actually Ireland’s most popular attraction!

In 2017 alone, the Guinness Storehouse had more than 1.7 million visitors; beating out even the Cliffs of Moher!

4. Go for a stroll at Powerscourt House and Gardens (Dublin)

powerscourt house and gardeens

Outside of Dublin city, one of the coolest things you should be sure to check out is Powerscourt House & Gardens.

As it’s located so close to Dublin, it gets get very busy with tour buses all day; however, it’s no surprise why.

The grounds around the building are absolutely stunning, offering some lovely walking opportunities.

It’s also a great way to escape the crowded nature of Dublin and enter the lush, green Ireland that we all know and love.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Dublin, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

5. Explore the beauty of the Wicklow National Park (Wicklow)

wicklow national park

 If you’re heading south from Dublin, then the number one spot to visit should be the Wicklow National Park.

It is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ireland and this gorgeous region is a world away from the busy roads and motorways around Dublin; it’s almost as if you’ve slipped into another world!

It's a popular place to spend a night or two, and there are some great glamping opportunities in Wicklow.

We chose to drive through as much of it as possible, stopping off at a few famous spots where P.S. I Love You was filmed; including Sally Gap and Lackan Village.

As you head all the way through the Wicklow National Park you come to a massive lake called Glendalough.

Here, you can park up and go for a long walk up through the forests and down to the lake.

You don’t have to walk the full thing, but on a lovely clear day, there are few better spots to visit in Ireland.

6. Head south to the historic Hook Lighthouse (Wexford)

hook lighthouse ireland

Hook Lighthouse is one of Ireland’s most famous lighthouses (yes there are quite a few of them) mainly because it is the world’s oldest operating lighthouse.

Of course, the lighthouse you see there today is a lot different to the original one and has undergone a lot of renovation, but it’s situated on a lovely part of the coast.

If you’re really keen, you can even go on a tour up into the lighthouse.

They have a lovely cafe there, as well as a large layby right outside the entrance where it’s possible to park up and camp for the night.

7. Eat lunch on the gardens at Kilkenny Castle (Kilkenny)

kilkenny castle

Kilkenny Castle is one of Ireland’s most grandiose castles, and has a vast open lawn right outside.

It ended up being the perfect spot to sit and enjoy our lunch whilst staring up at the beautifully well-kept castle.

It’s also possible to go inside, and you can learn more about the castle’s long history.

There’s plenty more to see on a visit to Kilkenny and it’s a wonderful town, but for me, nothing beats Kilkenny Castle.

8. Marvel at the Rock of Cashel (Tipperary)

rock of cashel

It’s so hard to decide which of Ireland’s castles was my favourite, but the Rock of Cashel is definitely up there!

The inside is very nice, and it’s cool to visit and learn more about its history as the seat of Kings of Ireland for hundreds of years.

However, by far the best way to appreciate the Rock of Cashel is from a distance.

It really is breathtaking and it’s hard to realise how derelict it actually is when staring at it on approach.

TOP TIP: Rather than paying to park in their car park, you can stop in town where it’s much cheaper and walk in.

9. Go strawberry picking at Apple Farm (Tipperary)

strawberry picking

When we stayed at the Apple Farm Camping & Caravan Park in Tipperary, we weren’t expecting to find what we did.

As well as acres and acres of apple trees, the farm is an expert grower of some of Ireland’s best strawberries.

They grow a few different varieties in their store, all of which taste incredible!

Best of all, from July onwards they allow guests to go strawberry picking.

I’m a big fan of strawberries, so loved the chance to pick and eat fresh some of the best strawberries you’ll find in the country.

10. Snap a few shots at Cahir Castle (Tipperary)

cahir castle

On the journey further southwards towards Cork, you come across Cahir Castle, situated in the lovely town of … you guessed it … Cahir.

Perhaps it was the amazing weather we had that day, but for some reason I really enjoyed this small town with its large, charming castle.

There is a big field located right beside it, perfect for a picnic before heading for a long walk of the nature trail situated there.

Like most well-kept castles in Ireland, it’s possible to enter and go on a guided tour.

Cahir Castle is particularly noteworthy as being a filming location for the film Excalibur and the TV series The Tudors.

11. Enjoy the incredible views at The Vee (Tipperary)

views from the vee

Perhaps the best thing to do in Ireland is to simply head out and enjoy the amazing views on offer all across the small country.

Well, The Vee, a viewpoint located on the way between Cahir Castle and Lismore Castle, offers up some of the most dramatic views in Ireland.

To get there, you must drive up winding twisting roads high into the mountains.

We were lucky that this day was so warm and clear, as we had the chance to see for miles out over the green rolling fields of Ireland.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Tipperary, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

12. Walk the gardens of Lismore Castle (Waterford)

lismore castlesand gardens

Lismore Castle is another one of Ireland’s best kept castles and is still a permanent residence, even today.

Construction began as early as 1285, meaning it’s even older than Dublin Castle.

Like most castles, it’s had a rich and illustrious history and was once owned by Sir Walter Rayleigh.

Nowadays, it’s only possible to enter the castle if you rent it for a private venue; however you are still able to walk the well-maintained grounds.

The lower gardens give you great views looking up at the castle and the owners have even built a child’s play area down there.

On the other side, you have the upper gardens, where you’ll find a large lawn area, perfect for enjoying a picnic.

They also have a cafe and an art gallery on-site.

13. The Titanic Experience Cobh (Cork)

titanic experenece cobh

Did you know that Cobh was the last port that the Titanic stopped off at before embarking on its doomed maiden voyage across the Atlantic?

Well, it’s true, 123 people boarded in Cobh, two-thirds of whom died making the trip.

The museum there is perhaps the town's biggest attraction, operating guided tours every 15 minutes.

Upon entering they give you a passenger card for one of the 123 people who boarded.

After the tour, you can head to a mini museum where you can learn more about the Titanic and research your passenger, to see what their eventual fate was.

It’s a really interesting tour and you get the chance to see remakes of original rooms that guests slept in onboard.

14. Kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle (Cork)

kissing the blarney stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone is one of the most famous things to do in Ireland, as you can tell by the huge crowds of people queuing for the chance.

No one knows exactly how the Blarney stone came to possess it’s powers, though the results are undeniable.

All those that kiss it are given the gift of eloquence, otherwise known as “the gift of the gab”.

Numerous celebrities have visited and kissed the Blarney Stone, not least Winston Churchill in 1912, a man who went on to give some of history’s most inspiring speeches.

As well as the castle itself, the grounds around Blarney are a part of a private estate that is well maintained and is a great spot to wander for an hour or so.

15. Drive the Ring Of Beara (Cork/Kerry)

ring of beara

Though it is nowhere near as famous as the Ring of Kerry, the Ring of Beara is, in many ways, actually more enjoyable.

Not least the fact that it is far less busy and we met hardly any other cars on the way round despite visiting in the busy tourist season.

Almost the whole way round, you can enjoy winding roads and dramatic cliff drops.

You pass through at least a dozen quaint towns and villages, any one of which you could happily stop off for a night or two, enjoying the local pubs each evening.

As you make your way out right to the western end, the roads get even more windy and narrow, particularly if you stray off the main road.

Making it a truly picturesque and wonderful Ireland road trip.

16. Take the Dursey Island Cable Car (Cork)

Dursey Island, Ireland

If you head of the main road and venture all the way to the westernmost point of the Beara peninsula, you come across another one of Ireland’s best things to do, the Dursey Island cable car.

It is unique in that it’s Ireland’s only cable car and one of only a few in Europe that runs over open sea water.

It’s popular with hikers and tourists looking to visit for the day to walk around the fascinating small island.

Just be sure to check their timetable and prices prior to your visit as the times change frequently throughout the year.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Cork, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

17. Drive the Ring Of Kerry (Kerry)

ring of kerry drive

The county of Kerry really is an incredible county, arguably Ireland’s best!

It’s home to many of Ireland’s best places to visit, most namely the Ring Of Kerry.

As Ireland has become an increasingly popular tourist spot, the Ring Of Kerry has seen a massive rise in popularity.

The 179 km long circular route takes you all the way out from Killarney to one of Kerry’s westernmost points at Portmagee.

It’s become so popular largely because of the diverse array of scenic things to do you find along the way.

Including popular sites near Killarney, such as Muckross Abbey and Torc Waterfall.

However, the most dramatic parts lie right out on the peninsula where you see huge cliff faces dropping right down into the ocean below.

It’s worth noting that there isn’t an exact route to follow, as you can take a few detours along different roads if you wish.

Also, all tour buses head anti-clockwise so as to help avoid narrow roads getting blocked up by 2 buses trying to cross past each other.

However, if you are driving it yourself, then it’s best to go clockwise; that way, if there are any bug delays caused by slower-moving buses, then you won’t be stuck in traffic waiting for them.

18. Take a day trip to Skellig Island - The film location for Star Wars (Kerry)

Skellig Island, Ireland

Since the release of the Star Wars movies, tourists have been flocking to the small island of Michael Skellig.

It was on this island that they filmed the scenes where Luke Skywalker goes into hiding.

It is first revealed at the end of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and plays a larger part in Episode XIII: The Last Jedi.

Tours usually last a few hours and allow you to sail around the island, as well as to get off and go for a walk around it; unleashing your inner Jedi.

Read Also: Ireland Packing List

19. Head on up to Portmagee Cliff View (Kerry)

Portmagee, Kerry, Ireland

At the westernmost point of the Ring Of Kerry you have a  dramatic cliff view at Portmagee.

You can park up and, for €4 per person, can walk up to a viewpoint offering great views all across.

On the day we visited, a mist seemed to descend so views weren’t at their best. But even still, it’s a wonderful spot to stop off at.

20. Have a night on the town in Killarney (Kerry)

Killarney, Kerry, Ireland

One of my fondest memories from our time in Ireland was standing in bars in Killarney listening to bands play traditional Irish music.

It was the best spot we found in terms of atmosphere, as there were at least a dozen pubs and bars, packed to the rafters with people all blaring out live music.

You’ll see tonnes of groups out, presumably on hen nights and stag nights; and it’s no surprise really as it's the perfect place for it!

My favourite bars were O’Connors and Murphy’s.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Killarney, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

21. Walk on through Gap of Dunloe: Ireland’s most beautiful spot (Kerry)

gap of dunloe

Possibly my favourite thing to do in Ireland was visiting the Gap of Dunloe.

When you think of rural Ireland, you think of green hills, rolling valleys and wee leprechauns jumping around.

Well, as the manager at our campsite in Killarney put it,

“If Leprechauns were to live anywhere in Ireland, then the Gap of Dunloe is where you would find them.”

And it’s safe to say we weren’t let down!

It’s possible to walk the whole way through it, taking you the best part of 2 hours each way.

What’s great is that the further you walk down, the better it gets, with the landscape ever-changing.

Put it this way, if you have time to head anywhere near Killarney, then one of the things you must see in Ireland is the Gap of Dunloe.

22. Walk the Kerry Way - Or at least part of it! (Kerry)

The Kerry Way, Ireland

All around Kerry you’ll keep seeing signposts for “The Kerry Way”.

This is a 200km+ hiking trails taking you on a route not too dissimilar to the ring of Kerry; but instead of walking on roads, you take the scenic trails.

After passing through the Gap Of Dunloe we kept seeing signs for the Kerry Way and groups of young people out walking it.

It really would be an epic walk, and I have been looking for my next big challenge ever since walking the Camino last year.

Past the Gap of Dunloe, you then have the pleasure of walking Molls Gap and Ballaghbeama Gap, two equally encapsulating landscapes.

23. Check out Carrauntoohil: Ireland’s tallest mountain (Kerry)

irelands tallstmntan

As Ireland’s tallest mountain, you can’t pass through Kerry without stopping off at Carrauntoohil.

However when driving past I was a little disappointed to find that its difficult to get a good view and even spot it.

Carrauntoohil is surrounded by a string of other mountains, all almost as high.

I would love in the future to go back and climb it, I’m sure the views would be pretty darn epic!

24. Drive round the Dingle Peninsula (Kerry)

dingle drive

Once again, the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland is another driving opportunity almost as wondrous as the Ring Of Kerry. 

If you’re a fan of photography, then you’ll love the Dingle Peninsula, as all around are laybys to stop off at and capture shots of crashing waves hitting the rugged cliffs.

In fact, the views are so great the whole way round, that it’s hard to actually drive without wanting to keep stopping to take photos!

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Dingle, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

25. Take a walk up Inch Beach (Kerry)

Inch Beach, Ireland

As you drive into the Dingle Peninsula from Killarney, one of the first places to visit is Inch Beach.

Don’t worry, though it’s named “Inch” Beach there is absolutely zero chance of you missing it; it’s huge, stretching 5km out into the ocean and really is a unique (and incredibly windy) spot.

It sticks out so drastically, that it actually creates a safe little harbour for boats on the other side of the spit.

26. Enjoy the best fish & chips in Dingle (Kerry)

Dingle Ahoy, Ireland

If you're backpacking Ireland, then one of the top things to do is to enjoy a nice freshly cooked meal of fish & chips.

This classic dish is a fond favourite of mine, and there are a few restaurants in Dingle, all famous in their own way for offering great fish & chips.

We opted for Dingle Ahoy! and I would definitely vouch for the quality of their fish.

I recommend heading over to the sea front to enjoy your meal whilst looking out over the water.

27. The Lios Stone Circle + Sheep Petting & Feeding (Kerry)

sheep petting in dingle

Another great point on the Dingle Peninsula that I recommend you stop off at is the Lios Stone Circle, located about a 15 minute drive further along from Dingle.

This ended up being one of my favourite, unplanned things to do in Ireland.

Here, you have one of Ireland’s oldest sites, an ancient stone circle dating back hundreds, if not thousands of years. 

But the best part of visiting is that you can pick up animal feed and take time petting and feeding their wide array of goats, sheep, horses and pigs.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Kerry, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

28. Enjoy sunset at Doonagore Castle (Clare)

sunset in clare

Doonagore Castle is one of the more unique and inspiring castles in Ireland, though it’s nowhere near as big and imposing as the rest.

Instead, what makes it so special is where it’s located, right by the coast with incredible views of the cliffs just behind here.

It just so happened that we arrived here around 8pm, as the day was drawing in.

It ended up being a wonderful spot to drone at and capture some lovely photos of the Irish coastline, with this wondrous castle taking centre stage.

29. Spend a night in the quaint village of Doolin (Clare)

Quaint Village, Ireland

Just up the road from Doonagore Castle, you have the quaint little village of Doolin.

It really is small, but the main part of the village has a row of pubs and restaurants.

We spent much of the evening in Gus O'Connor's pub, a spot famous locally for great craic and live music many days of the week.

The food here was very tasty, I’d recommend trying the sausage and mash; and surprisingly, they actually served the cheapest pints we found from any pub across Ireland!

As well as pubs and chocolate shops, Doolin has a pier that shuttles people over to the Aran Islands.

Also, it’s the starting point for a walk that takes you all the way along the coastline to the Cliffs of Moher in west Ireland.

30. Walk along the Cliffs of Moher (Clare)

cliffs of moher

If you plan on heading over to the west coast of Ireland, then one site you simply can’t afford to miss out on are the Cliffs of Moher.

The whole way up the coast you are greeted by incredible cliff views, but Cliffs of Moher are the most impressive.

Stretching as high as 700 feet, they make for some incredible walking opportunities.

In fact, you don’t even have to drive to them but can instead walk the whole way there and back from Doolin.

I recommend getting here as early as possible as, from about 10am onwards they get very busy

Not only does this take away from the views a bit, but it also means that the cliff walks get quite a lot more dangerous.

31. Go on a day trip to the Aran Islands (Clare)

The Aran Islands, Ireland

When in Doolin (or Galway), it’s possible to get yourself a day tour out over to the Aran Islands.

These are a series of big islands not far off the coast; with the biggest and most popular being Inishmore.

Here, you can walk or cycle all around the coast, taking in unspoilt views the whole way around.

There are a number of companies offering a variety of tours, all depending on how long your want to be out for.

If you’re interested, here are some of the tour options

32. Head to the moon … I mean, the Burren National Park (Clare)

burren national park

Ireland is filled with a number of national parks, all unique and wonderful in their own way.

However, perhaps the best and most unique of them all is the Burren National Park.

What makes it stand out so much is that it’s much more open, barren and covered in large stretches of rock.

So much so that it looks, at times, more like the surface of the moon than a park in Ireland.

Parking in the park can get quite crowded, and it’s recommended you stop off at the visitor centre about 10 minutes down the road.

Here, you can get a short, free shuttle up to the park, as well as reading up and learning more about the park itself.

33. Visit Father Ted’s House! (Clare)

fatheer ted house

Yep, that’s right, you can actually visit Father Ted’s House!

It still looks exactly the same as it did when being used for filming more than 2 decades ago, and is located slap bang in the middle of the Burren National Park.

It’s a private residence, so you can’t just turn up and expect a visit, however it is possible to go inside on certain days throughout the year.

To find out more about visiting times and prices, you can check out their website here.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Clare, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

34. Have a night out in Galway’s many traditional pubs (Galway)

pubs in galway

Another one of Ireland’s best places to visit is Galway; in particular, the many pubs that line it’s old cobbled streets!

It’s one of the most lively and exciting cities in Ireland and on a good day the streets are packed full of wandering tourists, live outdoor music and street performers, as well as tables and chairs for sitting outside and enjoying a drink.

It’s also home to many of Ireland’s quirkiest pubs, such as O’Connell’s Bar which has an outdoor beer garden set up to look like a row of shops. It was very cool.

I also recommend stopping in at The Front Door which is actually a part of 5 pubs all in one giant building!

35. Hike through the Connemara National Park (Galway)

national park galway

Walking through the Connemara National Park is another one of the great things to do in Ireland, as they offer 4 well laid out walking trails, all ranging in difficulty.

As Cazzy’s blood sugars that day were a bit all over the place, we opted for the 2nd longest walk.

But if you are feeling up to it you can head for the longest route which takes the best part of a couple hours and lead you all the way up a mountain.

The views from up there must be pretty epic, especially on a clear day.

To find these trails, you need to set your map to take you to the Connemara National Park Visitor Centre.

36. Be sure to stop off at the 1897 Happening (Galway)

The 1897 Happening, Ireland

Though this wasn’t initially on my list of places to stop off at, we were lucky enough to spot it when driving past.

Search for it in Google and you will find this landmark, where a statue has been built to commemorate one of Ireland’s oldest and most significant spots.

Throughout history, at this very location, a number of key events have taken place which have shaped the very Ireland we know today.

I won’t say too much more as it would take too long, but just be sure to stop off and spend some time reading up on what events occurred there.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Galway, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

37. Walk the grounds of Ashford Castle (Mayo)

ashford castle

Ashford Castle is one of Ireland’s most grandiose Castles; with rooms there starting at about €800 a night.

You have to pay to enter the grounds here but they are very well maintained and make for a lovely walk.

Otherwise it is possible to see the castle for free, if you park just down the road outside St. Mary’s Church in the town of Cong.

You can then walk for free through trails in the nearby park and walk almost the whole way down to the castle before you need to pay.

The walk along the river there is lovely, again, as long as it’s not raining hard; we even got to enjoy a peaceful lunch in The Monk’s Fishing House.

38. Drive around the beautiful Lough Mask (Mayo)

Lough Inagh, Ireland

On the drive west from Ashford Castle to the coast, you drive through some of Ireland’s best landscapes.

Here there are a number of loughs, both large and small, with Lough Mask being one of the best!

It’s possible to drive the whole way round, and the views are more than worth it.

We also took some time checking out the smaller Lough Inagh, which is just as spectacular.

39. Take an epic hike up Croagh Patrick (Mayo)

croag patrick climb

Unfortunately we arrived too late to do the walk ourselves, but after speaking to the people we met at the bottom, we found out it is meant to offer some of the best views in all of Ireland.

It takes a good few hours to get up and down and it is a walk not to be taken lightly!

However, it is a very worthwhile venture, especially if you are religious; as it is Ireland’s holiest mountain.

Every year on Reek Sunday, thousands of people flock to this sight of pilgrimage and climb the mountain.

Stories have it that St. Patrick climbed the mountain in 441BC and spent 4 days here praying and fasting.

40. Drive around the cliffs of Achill Island (Mayo)

camping location on Achill Island
Just search for the co-ordinates and Google Maps should take you right there!

One of my favourite nights spent wild camping in Ireland was on Achill Island.

Originally, we never had plans to visit this small island, but decided to drive over as a means to find a camping spot we heard about online.

Well, it ended up being one of the most breathtaking parts of the western Ireland coastline.

It’s well worth a visit if you are passing by and you can complete a full loop of the island in about an hour.

Better yet, if you are looking for somewhere to stay, then here’s a screenshot of the location we camped that night …

41. Snap some shots at Downpatrick Head (Mayo)

downpatrick head

On a clear day, one of the nicest spots in Ireland to go for a walk is around Downpatrick Head.

As well as the famous stack out in the water, you can stroll all along the cliffs, taking in the views and filling your lungs with some good old fresh sea air.

On this site, there was a base during the second world war, so you can check out some of the old buildings and a monument built there.

Perhaps the most surprising part of our visit here was to see people mackerel fishing right out over the cliffs!

I’m a big fan of sea fishing, but you would never find me fishing in such a spot!

With nothing to stop them from falling over the edge, people are their casting out and reeling in, almost right on the edge of the cliff face!

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Mayo, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

42. Check out Benbulben (Sligo)


When you see pictures of Benbulben, it almost seems as if it shouldn’t belong in Ireland.

To me, it reminded me a lot of Lion’s Rock from Sigiriya in Sri Lanka ;though I guess it’s just one more example of Ireland’s rich and diverse landscape.

If you are driving on up from Sligo, like us, then at first you might be unsure of which mountain is Benbulben.

Well, all you need to do is keep driving round until Benbulben properly presents itself.

There’s a village called Grange that you pass through, and from here you can get some of the best views of Benbulben.

43. Check out the monastery at Lough Derg (Donegal)

Lough Derg, Donegal, Ireland

For years now, Cazzy has been camping at Lough Derg with her family, and I’ve been lucky enough to join them for the last few visits.

Well, it’s no surprise that her family chooses to revisit this site every year, as it is easily one of Ireland’s best loughs!

It is a huge body of water, with a track going the whole way round, which it is possible to walk or cycle.

However, by far the most striking part of the lough is the large monastery located on a small island right in the middle!

It’s so secluded that you have to get a boat out to it and it’s possible to go on a pilgrimage there for a few days; if you’re that way inclined.

44. Be amazed by the spectacular Slieve League cliffs (Donegal)

slieve cliffs in donegal

Visiting the Slieve League cliffs is perhaps the best thing to do in Donegal.

We parked up at the bottom and walked the whole way up, enjoying views of the cliffs all along the way.

However, if you’re keen to climb Slieve League mountain itself, then you might be better off driving up through the gate and parking at the top of the cliffs.

Like many things to see in Ireland, Slieve League cliffs are best enjoyed on a clear day you can look out to sea for miles.

We were fortunate enough to visit on such a day and it was a really memorable experience.

45. Be impressed by the imposing Errigal mountain (Donegal)

mount erigal

Perhaps the most impressive mountain in Ireland is Errigal.

Located on the outskirts of Glenveagh National Park, it really is very impressive, stretching up 750 metres all on it’s own.

It’s the tallest peak in Donegal, though still almost 300 metres shorter than Carrauntoohil in country Kerry.

But that being said, it’s a lot more impressive than Carrauntoohil and well worth driving by.

I didn;t actually realise until later but it is possible to climb Errigal, though they do advise caution as it can get a little treacherous if the weather is bad.

46. Walk in Glenveagh National Park (Donegal)

Glenveagh National Park, Ireland

As the second largest national park in Ireland, taking a walk in Glenveagh is pretty much a must-do.

Though I’m sure there are walking trails all around the area, the most popular choice is to park up at the visitor centre and walk on down to Glenveagh Castle.

It’s a 4km walk alongside Lough Beagh and when you arrive at the castle you can relax for a bit and enjoy yourself in the castle tea room before heading back.

47. Complete the Atlantic Drive (Donegal)

atlantic drive

The Atlantic Drive is a short 20km-or-so route that takes you round one of the peninsulas in county Donegal.

It’s naturally a part of the Wild Atlantic Way, so if you are following this then you will go along it anyway.

However the Atlantic Drive has gained notable fame in recent years as a great mini road trip if you are just visiting Donegal.

It only takes about an hour to do, and that’s if you take it slow and stop about halfway round to enjoy lunch (like we did).

48. Malin Head: Ireland’s northernmost point (Donegal)

malin head

That’s right, Ireland’s northernmost point is actually located in “southern” Ireland, not Northern Ireland.

We arrived here late one night and it was, in a way, a massive sense of achievement.

We had driven all the way from the south of Ireland in Cork, following the winding western roads up Ireland, and then reached the northernmost point.

There’s not too much to see here, except for a few disused buildings and some public toilets.

But it’s still a nice spot and it’s great being able to say you’ve gone that far.

You’ll also see plaques here on one of the buildings, left behind from people who cycled the whole way from Ireland's southernmost point to this, the northernmost.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Donegal, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

49. Lust after Castle Saunderson (Cavan)

castle in ireland

Located just over the border in Ireland, Castle Saunderson ended up being my favourite castle from anywhere in Ireland.


Because I want to own it someday!

It’s a beautiful big stone castle that looks exactly what I think a castle should look like.

The only shame is that it’s in disrepair and you can’t go in!

Apparently a fire happened here in 1990 and it’s been unused ever since.

However, you can just picture it as the perfect hotel or wedding venue, located in the midst of beautiful green fields all around.

Finding the castle is actually pretty tricky as there are zero sign posts for it anywhere.

Instead, you need to head the the Castle Saunderson Scout Centre, and you will see an entrance to the castle grounds just to the right of the scout centre.

50. Visit Slane Castle - and watch an epic concert! (Meath)

Slane Castle, Ireland

Okay, full disclosure, we never got to watch a concert at Slane Castle, but we would 100% love to!

We visited it in the daytime and it really is a cool and interesting castle, with a massively rich history over the last few decades.

As well as almost burning down in 1991, over the last 30 years it has hosted some of the biggest and best concerts anywhere in Ireland.

Such as the 1986 performance by Queen, which Cazzy’s parents were at (jealous much!?).

If you’re a fan of Irish whiskey, then you might also be interested to learn that they have their own Slane Distillery that’s open to the public.

51. Discover 5000 year old prehistoric sites at Newgrange (Meath)

Newgrange, Ireland

You may be surprised to learn (like us) that Ireland has a wide number of prehistoric sites located all across the island.

They actually refer to the region as Ireland’s Ancient East, with Newgrange being the oldest and most prominent site of them all.

At 5200 years old, this even predates the building of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, so yes, they are well worth a visit!

To get there, you need to go on a guided tour that starts from Brú na Bóinne visitor centre.

When we got there in July 2019 the visitor centre was under renovation, so all tours were free.

Just be aware that you need to get there EARLY!

Big queues form at the very start of the day, meaning tours quickly sell out so you could end up having to wait around for hours for the next one.

You can learn more about Newgrange on their official page.

52. Learn about kings of old at the Hill of Tara (Meath)

Hill of Tara, Ireland

The Hill Of Tara is another one of Ireland’s oldest sites, with one underground passageway believed to have been built at around the same time as Newgrange.

Amongst other rituals and ceremonies, it served as the inauguration site for the great Kings Of Ireland for hundreds of years.

You can park up just at the base of the park and then walk up and onto the hill.

You can clearly see mounds dotted around the landscape which are remnants of ancient monuments.

If nothing else, it’s a lovely spot to enjoy scenic views all out across county Meath.

53. Roadtrip Ireland in a campervan

driving campervan in ireland

Though it’s number 53 on our list, I would say this is by far the best thing to do in Ireland!

Having your own vehicle offers up so many unique and wonderful opportunities in Ireland by allowing you complete freedom over your itinerary.

In any itinerary suggestions made in other posts on this blog, I always make it clear that the best parts of Ireland lay between the major towns and cities.

Sure, places like Dublin, Belfast and Killarney are all lovely, but they are not the best sites.

Instead, the open roads, rolling hills and small villages are the most enjoyable part of any Ireland road trip.

Most of all, the incredible cliff views the whole way up the west coast of Ireland.

Also, when getting off the beaten path, you suddenly escape all of the tour buses and crowds that line the popular roads.

Interested, check out my in-depth guide on hiring a campervan in Ireland.

Read Also: Spaceships Campervan Rentals: An In-depth Review

54. Visit a traditional Irish pub (or 10) for food, Guiness and Irish music!

irish pub food

At night time in Ireland, there is nothing better than finding a typical local pub and tucking into some food and a pint whilst listening to traditional music.

One of the best things about Ireland is that you will find bars and pubs literally everywhere, with small villages usually having at least 3 or 4.

If you are visiting the small villages and towns, then you will usually have to wait until Friday or Saturday night for live music.

However, if you’re in a bigger tourist spot, notably Galway, Killarney and Dublin in Ireland, then you will find live traditional music almost every night.

What I also love is that somehow a nice cold pint of cider tastes 5 times better in an Irish pub than it does anywhere else; it must be because of the atmosphere!

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Belfast, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

55. Go surfing (if you feel brave enough)

If you visit at the right time of the year, then you may be surprised to learn that Ireland has some pretty awesome surf opportunities.

If you are a beginner, you will find a number of surf schools dotted around the western and southern coast; such as at Inchydoney Beach.

I can’t comment on surfing any big waves on the western coast, as I’m still yet to experience this; however this post here has a lot of great information to read.

Just be aware, it will be VERY cold in the water, regardless of what time of the year you go, so make sure you have a decent wetsuit before jumping in.

56. Play a round of golf at the many famous Irish courses

Dromoland Golf Course, Ireland

One day, I would love to return and visit Ireland, purely to do a golfing road trip.

When we were there, we passed by both the Irish Open held at Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare (Ireland) and the Open held at the Royal Portrush in County Antrim!

And it’s no surprise that so many world class championships are played here, as Ireland is home to some of the most gorgeous courses anywhere in the world.

As a whole, the country is famed for its lush, green fields; due largely to the hefty amounts of rain the country gets all throughout the year.

This makes for some of the best rounds of golf you could possibly wish to have.

If you’re up for a real challenge, head to the coast for some particularly tricky links courses.

Here’s a look at some of the toughest golf courses in Ireland.

57. Spend the night in a castle!

Overnight stay, Ireland

That’s right, as well as offering some of the best views from the outside, many of Ireland’s top castles allow you to spend the night in them!

Perhaps the grandest such castle is Ashford Castle, located in County Mayo.

This circa 800 year old castle has been renovated a number of times in it’s life, particularly throughout the 20th century.

It is now one of the largest and most spectacular buildings in Ireland with acres of maintained gardens.

You can stay here for the trivial sum of €800 a night for the cheapest room.

If you're interested, then check out my post on the best castles in Ireland, where I list which ones you can stay in.

58. Go fishing anywhere around the coast

Downpatrick Head, Ireland

I’ve been a big fan of sea fishing for years now, and have always wanted to try my luck on the coast of Ireland.

With direct access to the Atlantic ocean, it offers better fishing opportunities than the coast of Kent in England.

What I loved was that all around the coast you see signs pointing down to designated fishing beaches.

So rather than having to search around for the best spots, and wondering whether or not the fishing any good, the government has already done all the hard work for you!

You could literally hire a car, pack a rod and your gear and drive around the coast until you find a spot that you like.

The most extreme fishing spot that we came across was at Downpatrick Head.

Here, there were perhaps a dozen guys mackerel fishing directly off the cliffs!

59. Discover your own wild camping spot

Bantry, wild camping, Ireland

We tried to wild camp as much as possible in Ireland, and managed 10 out of 15 nights on the road.

Though we managed to find a few spots online in forums, many of the best spots we found were ones we spotted whilst driving each day.

Because Ireland has so many incredible beaches and cliffs, you’ll find parking bays or disused car parks in some of Ireland's most tantalising spots.

You can then cook up a BBQ whilst watching the sunset over the horizon, and wake up in the morning to the sun resurfacing above the ocean.

These truly were some of the best moments from our entire trip.

60. Drive the epic 1,600 mile long Wild Atlantic Way

Long Atlantic Way, Ireland

Last, but certainly not least, you should consider driving the whole Wild Atlantic Way.

There are a number of famous drives in Ireland, such as the Ring of Kerry and Ring of Beara.

However, nothing comes close to the epic Wild Atlantic Way.

This 1,600 mile route takes you along all of the minor and major coastal roads that closely follow the cliffs of Ireland’s western coast.

Along the way, you naturally pass through or close to many of Ireland’s best cities and towns, as well as completing almost all of the Ring of Kerry and Ring of Beara anyway!

Simply put, if you want to roadtrip Ireland and don’t know where to start, simply head down south and start working your way up the coast, and you’ll discover many of the best places to see in Ireland.

And if you need to hire a camper, then I recommend the affordable Delta Campervan from Spaceships Rentals!

Final thoughts

Phew that was a lot of writing, well done for making it to the end!

I know 60 things is a lot to cram in, but it can be done, especially if you have your own vehicle and a good 2 or 3 weeks to spend here.

For more help planning your route, here are some useful posts we have published form our time in Ireland:

Oh yeah, and remember, north of Ireland, you also have Northern Ireland!

So rather than missing out on what the north has to offer, you should check out this post I put together on the best things to do in Northern Ireland.

Coupled with this, you’re sure to plan the most incredible Ireland itinerary possible!

If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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