Home to rolling green hills and a rich history filled with mysterious Celtic ruins and crumbling castles, Ireland is truly a wonder to behold. With bustling cities to craggy mountains, use these Ireland tour guides to really help you ‘jump into Ireland’ like an expert.
A town well known for its folksy, Guinness-fuelled pubs and elegant architecture makes Dublin a worthy draw for tourists far and wide. Soak up the culture, heritage, and beautiful city landscape in Ireland’s capital while getting a pint at a local pub.
Local tip: While there, travel to Temple Bar Square; a restaurant well known for its world-class food and drink selection.
This city has a very rich history that include being one of Ireland’s most important and largest medieval trading ports. While it was the heart of medieval times, it has since transformed into a boho, quirky city replete with street performers and magicians on the weekend. Explore this amazing city and make your way to one of the many cafes that line the quaint streets.
Local tip: If you’re visiting in July, make sure to check out the city’s art festival for a taste of everything this amazing city has to offer.
Located in the center of Cork, this partly ruined castle is said to be dated back as far as the 1200s and is not a sight you want to miss. Many nature walks around the case will undoubtedly show you the magnificent and beautiful rock formations throughout the grounds and the Neo-Gothic Blarney House. While there, don’t forget to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, said to give you the gift of the Irish gab.
Explore the rest of Cork
Don’t travel to Cork just for the Blarney Castle. Take time to explore Ireland’s second-largest city. Found on the coastline of Ireland, this fun-loving and laid-back city offers a variety of amazing coffee shops and traditional pubs that are peppered within the city’s tight-knit streets.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most visited natural sites in Ireland. Set against the swells of the Atlantic Ocean, you will find Ireland’s trademark meadows and rolling green hills on the top while the waters of the Galway Bay crash against the stones jutting down below. These cliffs are 120 meters high and provide dramatic views of the coastline and Aran Islands. Make a stop at the brand-new visitor center to uncover some of the rich geological history that helped form these magnificent cliffs.
Though small, the town of Sligo is a welcoming escape with charming medieval architecture and 19th-century townhouses spotted throughout. While the town itself is an amazing site to explore, the backcountry is what really makes it stand out from the crowd. When you travel to this town, get ready for some truly inspiring (and Instagram worthy) natural beauty like the peaks of the Knocknarea Mountain while traversing across the pebble beaches of the salt-prayed towns of Sligo Bay.
Killarney National Park
Located within the natural treasure that is Country Kerry, Killarney National Park has remained a wild and incredibly untouched region within Ireland. Explore swathes of primaeval oak, yew, and ash forests and catch a glimpse of the majestic red deer herds that often wander the park. This National Park is the perfect place for walkers and wildlife lovers to see the beautiful mirror-like Lakes of Killarney while they weave between peat bogs and moss-caked forests.
The Rock of Cashel
This was the fortress of the Munster kings far back in the Early Middle Ages. While the fortress may not all be intact, the Round Tower and Cormac’s Chapel from that same time period are still standing, having stood up to English invaders throughout Ireland’s rough history. When you step foot into the Rock of Cashel, you’ll feel the gothic and eerie charm that this fortress has from its crumbling walls to the Game of Thrones-like keeps and turrets. After seeing the Rock of Cashel, take a stroll through the Celtic graves and take in the beautiful sweeping views of the Munster backcountry.
This city sits between the beaches of County Kerry and Mount Brandon and is dripping in Irish charm. Dingle is best known for its fishing boats and salt-washed character. If you’re a whiskey lover, then a trip to Dingle should definitely be on your list when visiting Ireland.
Local tip: Aside from whiskey, you can also explore Conor Pass, go dolphin spotting, and check out the pubs and some cute boutiques on central Quay Street during your stay in Dingle.
This hidden gem is often looked over by the casual traveller but lingering in Limerick is a sure-fire way to make the most out of your Ireland experience. Reinvigorated after coming very close to bankruptcy, you’ll find rowdy Guinness-fueled pubs and an unwavering reverence for rugby. Not only this, but Limerick is also Ireland’s National City of Culture where locals and tourists alike enjoy the Belltable Arts Centre and the EVA International festival hosted by the University of Limerick.
Located in County Wicklow in the east of Ireland, this place is perfect for any individual seeking a mix of Ireland’s rich history and natural wonders. At the center of Glendalough, you’ll find an ancient abbey, dating back to the 6th century. This abbey was founded by the revered Saint Kevin of Glendalough and now houses some of the best-preserved early medieval religious architecture in all of Ireland. After exploring the ancient abbey and its medieval artifacts, wander through the Wicklow Mountains National Park and be inspired and refreshed as you are surrounded by woodlands of oak, mountain ash, fern, and hazel.
If you have a little extra time and want to see some of Ireland’s most wild and least explored regions, the Aran Islands are the place to go. The Aran Islands consist of Inishmore, Inisheer, and large Inishmaan. These islands offer beautiful displays of red clover and arctic flowers and are also famed for their deep and traditional Irish culture and heritage. Most locals speak Irish and there are a large array of hearty pubs and farmers’ markets to explore during your stay on the islands.
Photo credits: Galway art festival parade - Author: Peter Clarke, Attribution: CC BY SA 4.0; Sligo, Author: Jeffrey Pioquinto, Attribution: CC BY 2.0; Dinge, Author: Rossographer, Attribution: CC BY SA 2.0; Limerick, Author: William Murphy, Attribution: CC BY SA 2.0