30 BEST Things To Do In Ireland in 2024

Bradley Williams
Written By:
Bradley Williams
Last Updated:
January 18, 2024
Drinking Guinness, discovering ancient castles, kissing the Blarney Stone ... all this and MORE on my ultimate list of the 30 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!

Hopefully this will allow you to easily plan your own visit to the Emerald Isle.

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

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1. Drink in a traditional Irish pub

temple bar dbln

No trip to the 'Emerald Isle' is complete without heading to a traditional Irish pub. There's nothing better than tucking into some local food and a pint whilst listening to traditional music.

No matter where you visit in the country, you'll find some fantastic bars and pubs. However, we think the best can be found in the capital city of Dublin.

One of our favourites has to be 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.

Alternatively, head out on an pub walking tour like this one, where you'll visit some of Dublin's most traditional pubs. As your guide takes you off the tourist trail, you'll learn all about Ireland's iconic drinks and how they were invented (as well as sample them along the way).

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

2. Check out the many amazing castles Ireland has to offer

Dublin Castle, Ireland

As well as its lush green landscapes and Guinness, Ireland is also famous for its charming castles.

In fact, there are around 30,000 castles in the country so you won't be short of options! 

Some of the most popular spots include Blarney Castle, Bunratty Castle, Kilkenny Castle, and Castle Saunderson (one of my faves).

However, 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 lordships 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.

This Dublin walking tour lasts for approximately two hours and includes a visit to Dublin Castle, as well as other spots such as Trinity College and City Hall. You'll have a fully-accredited guide who will teach you all about the city and its castle.

3. Visit Ireland's top tourist attraction - the Guinness Storehouse (Dublin)

Guiness Storehouse, Ireland

As Ireland's most popular attraction, the Guinness Storehouse is a must-visit.

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 ticket also allows you to try a free pint of Guinness, brewed on the site right where you are standing.

In 2023 alone, the Guinness Storehouse had more than 1.5 million visitors; beating out even the Cliffs of Moher!

Read Also: Ireland Packing List

4. Visit some of the country's filming locations

Skellig Island, Ireland

Due to its beautiful landscapes, endless movies and TV shows have been filmed in Ireland. As such, there are some really cool spots you can visit!

First of all, you can take a trip to Skellig Island, which is where Star Wars was filmed. Since the release of these 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.

This Skellig coast tour is a great option. As you won't be landing on the actual island, this boat tour is a much more affordable option. You'll also get to learn all about Michael Skellig's historical and religious significance from a local guide.

If you’re heading south from Dublin, then you need to visit Wicklow National Park too.

Easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ireland, this is where scenes of P.S. I Love You were filmed; including Sally Gap and Lackan Village.

This national park is a popular place to spend a night or two, and there are some great glamping opportunities in Wicklow too.

5. Admire some of Ireland's iconic lighthouses

hook lighthouse ireland

As Ireland is quite literally an island, there's a seemingly endless amount of lighthouses in the country.

Hook Lighthouse is one of the most famous lighthouses, mainly because it is the world’s oldest operating lighthouse.

Of course, the lighthouse you see there today is a lot different from 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 café there, as well as a large layby right outside the entrance where it’s possible to park up and camp for the night.

Other interesting lighthouses to visit in Ireland include Rathlin West (County Antrim), Fanad Head (County Donegal), and Wicklow Head (County Wicklow).

6. Explore County Tipperary

cahir castle

This land-locked Irish county is home to stunning mountains, lakes, and rivers, so is known for its natural beauty.

There are plenty of fantastic places to visit in this part of Ireland, and below, we'll take you through some of our top spots.

First of all, there's the Rock of Cashel. Not only does the castle boast a breathtaking exterior but it's got a great history, as it was the seat of the Kings of Ireland for hundreds of years.

For the best experience, admire the Rock of Cashel from a distance. You'll also want to park in town, as it's much cheaper and you can just walk in from there.

Alternatively, you can visit on this day tour from Dublin. As well as the Rock of Cashel, you'll visit a couple of other spots in Ireland such as Cork and Blarney Castle. It includes all transportation and your guide will take you through the history of each place.

Another fantastic place to visit is Apple Farm, where you can go strawberry picking from July onwards. Best of all, you can stay here as it's a camping and caravan park.

However, one of our favourite spots in County Tipperary is Cahir Castle. Located in the town of Cahir, this castle is well-kept and you can explore it on a guided tour.

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

Finally, we'd recommend heading to a viewpoint called The Vee. Found between Cahir Castle and Lismore Castle, it offers some of the most dramatic views in Ireland.

To get there, you must drive up winding twisting roads high into the mountains. If you can, time your visit with a clear day as you'll see for miles!

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

7. Visit 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.

8. Visit some of County Cork's other popular attractions

Dursey Island, Ireland

County Cork is one of our favourite parts of Ireland. It's undeniably beautiful and there's just so much to see and do here.

One of the most popular things to do in this beautiful county is kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle. You can tell this by the huge crowds of people queuing for the experience.

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.

Another highlight of County Cork is the Dursey Island Cable Car.

This is 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.

Other popular spots include Mizen Head, the English Market in Cork City, and BlackRock Castle Observatory.

This County Cork Highlights Tour is a great option for exploring the area as all your entrance tickets are included. You'll have a tour guide with you to explain Cork's history, and you'll visit popular attractions including Blarney Castle, Charles Fort, Kinsale, and Cobh.

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

9. 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!

For those who'd prefer not to hire a car, you can take a private Ring of Beara tour from Killarney or Kenmare.

Free hotel pick-up and drop-off are included, as well as private transportation, and WiFi onboard the vehicle.

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

Alternatively, you can take this Ring of Kerry tour from Cork. It includes transport and a tour guide, and lasts for around 11 hours, taking you to plenty of awesome spots along this route. This includes Killorglin, Killarney National Park, and Waterville among others.

11. Visit some of County Kerry's natural landscapes

Portmagee, Kerry, Ireland

One of the main reasons to visit County Kerry is the endless amount of stunning natural landscapes on offer.

First of all, there's Portmagee Cliff View, which is located at the westernmost point of the Ring Of Kerry. On a clear day, the views from here are breathtaking (we visited when it was misty, which although not as scenic, gave this place a moody atmosphere).

The Gap of Dunloe is one of Ireland’s most beautiful spots, and it's also found in County Kerry.

Quite possibly one of my favourite locations in all of the country, the Gap of Dunloe is known for its rolling valleys and lush green hills (and maybe even wee leprechauns).

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.”

It’s possible to walk the whole way through the Gap of Dunloe, taking you the best part of 2 hours each way. There's also this full-day tour that departs from Killarney, which will see you trek this incredible area, as well as take a boat ride along the Gearhameen River.

This part of Ireland is also home to the country's tallest mountain, Carrauntoohil. Standing at an impressive 1,038 meters (3,405 feet) tall, it's a great spot for hiking.

Unfortunately, as we just drove past, we didn't manage to get a great view of it. However, we'd love to go back and climb it in the future!

Inch Beach is another beautiful spot, known for its 5 km stretch of sand dunes and epic views.

12. 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

13. 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 trail 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.

14. 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!

For those who aren't planning to drive around Ireland (although I recommend that you do), there's this full-day Dingle Peninsula tour.

This awesome tour includes a local driver/guide, onboard commentary, and the opportunity to visit Slea Head and the charming town of Dingle.

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

15. Enjoy some of more unique attractions in Kerry

sheep petting in dingle

Located along the Dingle Peninsula, you'll find Lios Stone Circle.

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.

While backpacking Ireland, you'll also want to enjoy a 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.

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

16. 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 the 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.

If you're staying in the Irish capital of Dublin, then this awesome day trip is the perfect option.

It includes a professional guide, entrance fees to all attractions, and a guided walking tour of Galway City (as well as a visit to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren).

17. Enjoy some of County Clare's other popular spots

The Aran Islands, Ireland

As one of Ireland's most beautiful counties, you don't want to rush your time here. There's a lot to see, so allow at least 3 to 5 days for your visit if possible.

Your first stop should be the stunning Aran Islands, which are a series of islands located 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, and looking out for marine life.

You can either take the ferry or opt for a day tour, such as this awesome tour from Galway. Not only does it include a visit to one of the Aran Islands, but you'll also head out on a Cliffs of Moher Cruise, to admire the cliffs from another perspective.

Doonagore Castle is another popular spot, which is best admired at sunset. The castle is located on private property so you can't enter, but you can get some cool photographs from the road.

There's also the quaint village of Doolin, which is located just up the road from Doonagore.

Although small, there are some great pubs and restaurants here, most notably Gus O'Connor's Pub. This spot is famous for its great craic, live music, and delicious food (I'd recommend trying the sausage and mash).

You'll also find that Doolin has a pier (which shuttles people over to the Aran Islands), along with some great chocolate shops.

It's also the starting point for a walk that takes you all the way along the coastline to the Cliffs of Moher in west Ireland.

While in County Clare, make sure to visit Father Ted’s House too! It still looks exactly the same as it did when being used for filming more than 2 decades ago.

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.

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

18. Explore some of Ireland's beautiful national parks

Glenveagh National Park, Ireland

There are six national parks in Ireland; Ballycroy, Connemara, Glenveagh, Killarney, The Burren, and Wicklow.

All of them are worth a visit, but we do have our favourites!

First up is the Burren National Park in County Clare.

Its landscapes are often compared to the moon, as it's very open and barren, with the surface covered in large stretches of rock.

Parking can be crowded here, so stop off at the visitor centre instead. From here, you can catch a short, free shuttle up to the park.

In County Galway, you'll find Connemara National Park. Hiking is popular here, with 4 well laid out walking trails available, all ranging in difficulty.

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

Alternatively, you can explore with this full-day tour from Galway. On this tour, you'll learn all about the local language and culture, and you'll have a knowledgeable local driver/guide. You'll also have free time in Connemara National Park, where you can hike Diamond Hill if you wish.

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

Located in County Donegal, this national park offers some great walking trails, with hiking to Glenveagh Castle being one of our top picks.

19. Have fun in Galway

pubs in galway

Visiting Galway is one of the top things to do in Galway! 

Known for its variety of festivals and events, traditional music, pubs, and colourful buildings, this city has something for everyone.

Galway is one of the most lively and exciting cities in Ireland, and is the perfect place for a night out.

You'll find a seemingly endless amount of traditional pubs and bars in the city, with O’Connell’s Bar being one of our to picks (it has an outdoor beer garden).

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

There are also some great attractions to see, including the Spanish Arch, the Latin Quarter, Eyre Square, and Galway Cathedral.

Not to mention, Galway is a great location for foodies with this popular food tour being a fantastic activity. You'll learn all about (and sample) local dishes, while also visiting one of the city's oldest pubs. Not to mention, you'll be given a goodie bag once the tour is finished! 

On a good day the streets are packed full of wandering tourists, live outdoor music and street performers, so enjoy the atmosphere while you explore.

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

20. Fall in love with County Mayo

downpatrick head

County Mayo is home to some of our favourite destinations in all of Ireland.

One of these is Downpatrick Head, which is one of the best places to visit if you're looking to admire the country's beauty.

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 also check out some of the old buildings and a monument built there.

While in County Mayo, you'll also want to drive around beautiful Lough Mask (as well as the smaller Lough Inagh, which is just as spectacular).

The cliffs of Achill Island are another great driving spot, and we think this area offers some of the most breathtaking views in Western Ireland.

A full loop of the island takes about an hour or you can stay at this awesome camping spot like we did.

If you're after something more active then why not hike up Croagh Patrick? As Ireland's holiest mountain, it's certainly worth a visit (especially as the summit offers some of the best views in all of Ireland).

Finally, take some time to walk the grounds of Ashford Castle. You can either pay to enter or walk through trails in the nearby park, where you can 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.

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

21. Explore County Donegal

slieve cliffs in donegal

This is another County we're extremely fond of as the landscapes in this part of Ireland take your breath away.

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

Rising nearly 598 metres (1,961 feet) from the ocean, these are the highest sea cliffs in Ireland.

We parked up at the bottom and walked the whole way up, enjoying views of the cliffs all along the way. Like many things to see in Ireland, Slieve League cliffs are best enjoyed on a clear day so you can look out to sea for miles.

Ireland's Northernmost point, Malin Head, is also located in County Donegal. Here, you can enjoy unspoilt landscapes as you stand at the edge of the country.

Malin Head is known for its bird life and marine life too, with boat trips running from Bunagee Pier.

The imposing Errigal mountain is also found in this part of Ireland. Stretching up to 750 metres (2,460 feet), it's located on the outskirts of Glenveagh National Park.

It's the tallest peak in Donegal, and it is possible to climb Errigal, though they do advise caution as it can get a little treacherous if the weather is bad.

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 is possible to walk or cycle along.

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

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

22. 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).

23. Discover prehistoric sites in County 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. 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'll also want to learn about the Kings of Old at The Hill of Tara. It's 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, where you'll clearly see mounds dotted around the landscape which are remnants of ancient monuments.

This Boyne Valley day trip from Dublin includes skip-the-line entrance tickets to Newgrange and Bru Na Boinne, as well as transport and a knowledgeable guide.

It's a great option for those who are staying in the capital, but still want to admire Ireland's prehistoric sites.

24. Road trip Ireland in a campervan

driving campervan in ireland

Though it’s number 24 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 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

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. 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 €600 a night for the cheapest room (although this varies depending on the season).

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

28. 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 is 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!

29. 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 places 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.

Read Also: Interesting Ireland Travel & Tourism Statistics

30. 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 road trip 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 30 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.

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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