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Best attractions in Ireland: Top 25

To get acquainted with the interesting historical sites of Ireland will be interesting not only for those who are in love with this ancient country. The sights of Ireland are: luxurious parks, ruins of ancient castles, museums and modern constructions. All of these sights captivate at first sight and don’t let you leave the country without memorable photos and wonderful impressions. If you are coming here for the first time and don’t know what to see in Ireland, we have compiled a list of the most interesting places of this country especially for you.

What to see first in Ireland

As you explore the sights, you’ll find that some of them make sense to tour with a guide. Guides in Ireland who know Russian are not uncommon, so you will have no problem organizing a fascinating and informative tour. Without them it will be more difficult to navigate and communicate with the locals.

1. Dublin Castle (Dublin)

Dublin Castle

To explore Ireland, most tourists start from the city of Dublin. The sights of Ireland in this city are numerous and one of the most important is considered to be Dublin Castle.

This amazing historical monument was founded in 1204. It’s been excellently preserved to this day and is still the main castle of Ireland. Today it’s home to a government complex of buildings.

Reception of such high-ranking guests is a usual task for this historic structure. At various times during its many centuries of existence, it has housed the viceroys of the English crown in Ireland. The castle was their residence. It was for a time the residence of the King. President Hyde Douglas of Ireland chose the castle as his residence in 1938.

Most of the structures of the castle over the long centuries of its existence have been destroyed. Many of the buildings were built in the XVII-XIX centuries. But you can see the ancient walls, built almost a thousand years ago. Despite the high status of the government, excursions are held on the territory of this monument of architecture. The dungeon is beloved by the lovers of symphonic music because of its excellent acoustics.

Official website:

2. Kells Abbey (town of Kells, County Meath)

Kell Abbey

Kells Abbey is one of the most famous abbeys within Ireland. It is on the list of must-see places for those looking for something to see in Ireland due to the good preservation of all its buildings. A large number of religious buildings have been built in the country over the centuries, but much of them have not survived and were destroyed during the Viking raids. Kell Abbey escaped this fate, and its ancient walls have survived almost exactly as they were seen by the distant ancestors of the modern Irish.

It was in this abbey that the Book of Kell was created. This ancient literary work is now preserved in Dublin at Trinity College.

It is also worth a trip to Kells to enjoy the amazing natural beauty that surrounds Kells Abbey. There are untouched corners that perfectly frame the walls of the ancient structure. Once here, you can feel like a real passenger in a time machine.

3. St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Dublin)

St. Patrick's Cathedral

The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has long been popular around the world, but it is in Dublin that fans of this joyous celebration, while sightseeing in Ireland, can personally visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and experience the stories of his life.

This building was erected in 1192 and today is rightfully recognized as one of the most well-preserved constructions of those old years not only on the territory of Ireland but also all Europe.

The place of the building of the ancient cathedral became in those ancient times a spring of St. Patrick, which is located between the two branches of the river Poddel. Today the ancient St. Patrick’s Cathedral is known not just as an ancient church building. It became the cathedral church of this city as early as 1192, thanks to Archbishop John Comyn of Dublin. For many centuries groups of ecclesiastical buildings have formed around the cathedral. This is also where the archbishop’s house is located. A visit to the Cathedral grounds allows you to see all the features of the architecture over the years.

The cathedral has had its ups and downs over the centuries. Today it is once again one of Dublin’s leading government and ecclesiastical buildings. A Memorial Day ceremony is held here every year. Many of the celebrations held on the Cathedral grounds are attended personally by the president.

Official website:

4. Cair Castle (City of Cair)

The great impregnable Caire Castle
The courtyard of Cair Castle in County Trippeary

It’s hard to imagine the sights of Ireland without the beautiful and exquisite Cair Castle. It is located right in the middle of the River Shur, flowing through the territory of the town of Cair in South Tipperary. The uniqueness of this monument of architecture is that it is recognized as the most impregnable and the best-preserved castle in Ireland. It was built in XII century.

The first stone fortress on the place of its future location was erected back in 1142. The modern name the castle got in 1375, when King Edward the Third gave this monumental construction into the possession of James Butler, who received the title of Baron Keir. Butler received such a lavish gift for his loyalty to the crown. The impregnability of the castle lurks in the secret of its location in the middle of the river. But it survived for another reason - the castle’s owners always preferred to surrender without a fight.

One of the most memorable parts of the castle is the miniature “The Capture of Cair Castle in 1599.” This miniature consists of 1,000 figures of soldiers. Now this structure has become a real “TV star”. In recent years, it has been the site of such films as the story of King Arthur’s sword “Excalibur”, “Barry Lyndton”, “Danish Darkness”.

Official website:

5. Cathedral of Christ (Dublin)

Cathedral of Christ in Dublin

While sightseeing the many attractions in Ireland, every traveler should definitely visit the Cathedral of Christ in Dublin. This oldest cathedral is the main cathedral in the city. Its foundation dates back to 1031. The founder of the cathedral was personally legendary Viking King Sitrig. On excursions in Dublin you will be told that the Cathedral of Christ in Dublin is the fiefdom of both Anglican and Catholic archbishops.

The Cathedral grounds will be of interest to every visitor. History lovers will enjoy its ancient monuments, for example, visit the ruins of the priest’s house, dating back to the XIII century; visit the tomb of the knight Strongbow, which painstakingly depicts the full set of knightly arms of the early Middle Ages. St. Lawrence Chapel has held the embalmed heart of this saint since the 13th century. The ceramic tiles in the chapel are preserved from the same time.

Fans of modern trends in art are attracted to the cathedral to see the mummies of a cat and a rat. They became mummies after being trapped in an organ about three hundred years ago. These exhibits were removed from the organ during the last reconstruction in 1860.

Official website:

Feel the atmosphere of Ireland in this beautiful video!

6. Powerscourt Manor (Enniskerry)

Pegas by Lake Triton at Powerscourt Manor

Located in County Wicklow, the famous Powerscourt Manor is surrounded by lush parkland where you can take a great break from the noise of the city and enjoy the coolness of the gardens. The many green spaces, neat lawns and flowerbeds, ponds and fountains, bridges and statues in unexpected places, all impress the city dweller with their splendor and serenity. There is an air of tranquility.

The building was founded in the XIII century by a Frenchman named Power, hence the name of the estate. Nearly four hundred years later, it came into Sir Wingfield’s possession as a reward for military achievements. The structure was subsequently remodeled and acquired a modern, classic Irish look as early as the mid-18th century. And a young viscount set out to create around it the best park in Ireland, which was done.

In addition to the main building itself, there is a golf club and the luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel. Tourists will be interested to look at the pepperbox tower, which was built on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales and is an exact copy of the pepperbox from his service.

Official website:

7. Castle Rock of Cashel (County Tipperary, Cashel town)

The former residence of the kings of Ireland Castle Rock of Cashel

The sights of Ireland would not be complete without mentioning the incredible beauty of Cashel Castle, which was a royal residence in the past. It was also one of the many religious centers. What is interesting about this historical monument?

The first mention of the castle dates back to the IV century AD. Then it was a fortification, which was built at a height of sixty meters. Until 1101 Munster kings lived there. Then the building was granted to the church and became the residence of the archbishop.

In 1647, Cashel and its suburbs were almost destroyed. Until our times the castle has remained without a roof. In appearance (when viewed from above) it resembles a cross. The building has a high tower (28 m). This is the most famous part of the complex. In addition, it is possible to see there a transept (architectural object) with amazing beauty windows, two small chapels and burial places of archbishops.

The facade was decorated with arches, cornices, animal figures, etc. Inside you can see the wall paintings, which were discovered in the 1980s. Castle Cashel is an amazing opportunity to touch the history, architecture and culture of the past at the same time.

Official website:

8. Macross House (County Kerry, Killarney)

Museum Manor Macross House

Macross House Manor Museum is a mansion 6 km from Killarney, built in the mid-19th century and designed by the Scottish architect Berne. Now it is one of the important attractions in Ireland. The mansion is situated on a peninsula formed by Loch Lane and Macross Lakes.

The manor house has been open to the public since the sixties. Due to the fact that the building changed hands from one owner to another and then was vacant for a long time, there has been serious deterioration. It took more than a year to restore it to its current form.

Flora lovers are sure to enjoy themselves in the Macross House Garden. Lush rhododendrons bloom for months (April through July) here. The estate also has trees imported from other countries, including the southern hemisphere. The garden belongs to Killarney National Park.

Very close to the museum is a farmhouse depicting the life and daily work of Irish villagers from the turn of the last century. You can visit the cottage, the blacksmith shop, and the carpentry workshop. An annual festival for younger schoolchildren is held on this farm.

Official website:

9. Newgrange Sanctuary (Dublin)

A top view of the Newgrange megalithic cult structure in Ireland Ron Cogswell
Entrance to Newgrange Sanctuary in Dublin

Newgrange Sanctuary is part of the Bru-na-Boin complex. This amazing structure is the most popular place to visit among tourists.

“Newgrange is a monument of gray-haired antiquity. According to scientists, it appeared almost 5,000 years ago. The sanctuary is simply astonishing in its size:

  • 13.5 m high;
  • 85 m in diameter.

In the past it was an important part of people’s religious and spiritual life. Various rituals and ceremonies were held there. Nowadays it attracts travelers, researchers, historians. Even the most sophisticated tourists will find a lot of amazing things.

“Newgrange”, as well as some other attractions in Ireland, is on the list of UNESCO heritage. A visit to the sanctuary will not only immerse you in Irish history, but also learn about the architecture and culture of the country. For example, to learn about the fact that the structure was built using a unique, unlike any other technology, or the fact that it was intended for the worship of the god Dagda.

So what to see in Ireland? Be sure to go to the Newgrange Sanctuary, a visit to which will give you a lot of impressions.

10. National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin

Leprechaun Museum in Dublin

The National Leprechaun Museum was specifically created in Dublin in 2003 to remind you of this country’s unique identity. Now it is impossible to imagine the sights of Ireland without this museum. The entire exposition is dedicated to the funny and benevolent relatives of elves and fairies living in Ireland. Here every visitor is visited by a leprechaun bringing a pot of gold.

Among the exhibits of this institution is a real rainbow, in full accordance with the legends, showing where the treasure of gold is located. On the territory of the museum is a room of this fabulous creature, in which the visitor finds himself surrounded by furniture, three times larger than the usual home furnishings. This is what our furnishings look like, from the point of view of the authors, through the eyes of the fairy tale leprechauns. The guests of the museum understand how these little people see our world and how difficult it is for them to live in the big world of people.

The guides will tell how the meetings of fairy tale creatures with people took place in different centuries. After the walk each visitor will receive a portrait of his personal leprechaun. In the souvenir stores you can buy funny souvenirs in the form of cute fairy creatures in green costumes.

Official website:

Irish sights: what else to see while in Ireland

The number of companies that offer excursions in Ireland is huge, but sometimes it can be hard to know where you’d really like to go. We’ve created this list so you can make an informed decision and go on a weekend or vacation abroad with the clear assurance that the vacation will be enjoyable.

11. Guinness Beer Museum (Dublin)

The Guinness Beer Museum at a working brewery

Ireland is famous for its legendary alcoholic beverages. When choosing what to visit in Ireland, the Guinness Beer Museum in Dublin is the place to go.

The museum is open at a working brewery. Visitors will be told in detail how one of the best beers in the world is brewed. Here you can taste the fresh beverage made at the legendary production. There are several separate halls on the territory of the institution. Including the legendary Gravity, which offers a gorgeous panoramic bird’s eye view of Dublin.

Another iconic place in the museum is the hall on the 4th floor. Here the “ambassadors of Guinness” are waiting for visitors. Their main task is to teach all the secrets of drinking the legendary pint of this beer.

It is quite difficult to get here. As a rule, a long queue is lined up at the entrance. The number of visitors a year exceeds 700,000 people. You can pre-book your trip, making the purchase of tickets on the official website of the museum. The largest influx of visitors to the museum is on St. Patrick’s Day.

Official website:

12. Bunratty Castle (County Clare)

The Defensive Fortress of Ireland Bunratty Castle

The ancient Bunratty Castle was laid out back in the 13th century on the site of a former Viking merchant camp. The stone castle was erected by Edward de Clair. But a few decades later both the castle and the city nearby were completely destroyed in the war. In the first half of the XV century Bunratty Castle was rebuilt again and it got its modern look.

Now tourists can walk around the castle in the Folklore Park, where there are traditional Irish buildings, store, post office, workshops, etc., as well as take a trip to the Middle Ages and go to a feast in the Banqueting Hall of Bunratty Castle. No forks or knives are served at the feast - they were not yet used in the Middle Ages, so you have to eat with your hands. To wipe your hands, you can use a huge napkin, which is tied around the neck of the tourist. All dishes are served by the waiters in the clothes of those times. Recipes, by the way, are also medieval.

The castle has one of the country’s best collections of antique furniture, as well as luxurious tapestries. All exhibits depicting the life of the inhabitants of Bunratty of that time are equipped with detailed descriptions.

13. Killarney National Park (County Kerry)

Lake of Killarney's unique nature reserve

Travelers, when seeing the many attractions in Ireland, unanimously recognize Killarney National Park as the most beautiful place.

Killarney National Park on the shores of the lakes of the same name was founded in 1932. Unique natural conditions have been preserved here. As much as 10,000 hectares, on which the park is located, are occupied by heathland, orchards, and forests. Most of it is located in the mountainous terrain. In the park the traveler can meet the red deer, squirrel, marten. There live owls, white-fronted geese, peregrine falcons and falcons. All the inhabitants of the park live in natural conditions.

The jewel of the park is Ros Castle, built in the XV century, the ancestral home of the O’Donahue-Ros clan.

A walk through Killarney National Park takes you to the small town of the same name. Only about 15 thousand people permanently live here, but due to a large number of tourists the place can hardly be called deserted. The city of Killarney is one of the most popular places in Europe for weddings. No wonder that near every house there is a specially built veranda covered with roses.

Official website:

14. Jameson distillery museum (Dublin)

The main entrance to the Jameson Irish Whiskey Museum in Dublin Gpelogia

Almost everyone knows the name of the legendary Jameson whiskey. This hot drink is so popular that attractions in Ireland include the authentic John Jameson distillery in Dublin’s Smithfield district. For a long time now, it has been home to a museum.

The founder of the distillery, John Jameson, was born in Dublin in 1740. At the age of forty he founded his first personal distillery. That was the time when the hot drink got the slogan “Without fear” which has survived to the present day. The business was continued by the descendants of the founder of the distillery. Quite quickly the John Jameson & Son distillery became one of the most successful in the country, and this whiskey variety was loved by consumers all over the world.

For this reason a visit to Dublin and a visit to the distillery museum are a must when planning what to see in Ireland on your travels. Today no whisky is being distilled on its premises. The surroundings of the distillery from the XVIII-XIX centuries are preserved here. A specially created documentary film tells about the history of the distillery. All visitors are invited to an interesting tour, during which they will be offered to taste numerous varieties of the legendary Irish amber drink.

Official site:

15. Glendaloch (County Wicklow)

Red Stone Cross in the Glendaloch Valley

The green valley of Glendaloch, formed by a prehistoric glacier, was as early as the sixth century a refuge for a monk - St. Kevin. Here he and other monks erected a small monastery, which contained, in addition to the church:

  • a room for transcribing books;
  • a circular tower;
  • a hospital;
  • guest houses;
  • outbuildings.

Around it were built the dwellings of the laity. The monastery remained active until the thirteenth century. Then it was destroyed by the troops of England. Now there is a tourist center. Visitors will be interested to see the ancient double stone gate and inscribed on the wall at the gate cross, which is now considered probably the oldest symbol of Christians. Beautiful pictures are obtained near the round thirty-meter tower, which has an entrance at a height of about two human height and windows on all four sides of the world. It is assumed that this tower was used for surveillance. Near the church of St. Kevin is a small cemetery where monks and the local rich were buried. The nature here is very quiet, beautiful and peaceful. Lots of greenery and fresh air, which is not enough for the sophisticated tourist.

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16. Blarney Castle (County Cork)

The ruins of ancient Blarney Castle in County Cork

Blarney Castle, in the south of Ireland, is entirely in keeping with the notion of medieval castles - it is situated on a hill, it has underground passages, and there is a small lake nearby. But many tourists are attracted not so much by this as by a special “stone of eloquence,” which turned out here as a result of some historical events. Many visitors to the castle undergo an unusual ritual of bending over and kissing this sacred stone in the wall. According to this tradition in Ireland, anyone acquires the gift of eloquence just by touching it with their lips. The legend has been around for five centuries, dating back to the reign of Elizabeth I. For many years the McCarthy clan owned these lands, and during the Battle of Bannockburn, the King of Munster Cormac McCarthy sent 4,000 of his subjects to help the King of Scotland in battle. After the victory, the Scottish monarch gave Cormac half of the Scone Stone, on which kings had been crowned for many centuries.

Official website:

17. Skellig-Michael (County Kerry)

A view from the sea of the steep rocky isle of scuttlebutt - Skellig-Michael Jerzy Strzelecki
The ruins of ancient structures on "Archangel Michael's Rock" in the Atlantic Ocean Stinglehammer

Sailing west from the shores of County Kerry, after 15 kilometers travelers will meet a rocky island whose shores look like a petrified ocean wave. This is Skellig Michael, or Michael’s Rock - apparently, it is named after the archangel Michael, made famous in Christianity by his victory over the devil, who turned into a dragon. It’s hard to imagine that for 6 centuries this stone island was inhabited - at the end of the 6th century a monastery was built on the very top of the cliff from the fragments of rock - the monastic cells were miraculously kept on the rocky walls. Monastic life here flowed until the 12th century, when the hermits were forced to leave their habitat by a series of violent hurricanes. From the 16th century, a string of pilgrims streamed into the area, and in the last century extensive restoration work began at the monastery, after which Skelling Michael began to exist as a pilgrimage center and an important nature preserve.

18. Grafton Street (Dublin)

The busiest pedestrian and shopping street in Dublin dahon

Grafton Street, running from St. Stephen’s Park to Trinity College, is one of Dublin’s most fashionable and prestigious streets. In Victorian times this narrow pedestrian street was the mecca of Irish shopping and today each of the elegant establishments along Grafton Street is home to a prestigious boutique or restaurant and street performers are everywhere. As you stroll down the street, it’s worth paying attention to nearby landmarks. Trinity College, one of the oldest active universities in the world, was founded in the 16th century and has a huge library. St. Stephen’s Park is a wonderfully peaceful place, a corner of tranquility in the heart of Dublin. In addition, on Grafton Street is the most recognizable monument in the city, dedicated to Molly Mallone - the heroine of one of the urban legends, according to which the girl traded in the city streets and died of fever.

19. St. Stephen’s Green Park, Dublin

A top view of St. Stephen's Green Park in downtown Dublin during the Indian summer dronepicr

In early spring, the Irish island comes alive after its winter hibernation. As Ireland begins to turn green and bloom and the leaden clouds are replaced by gentle sunshine, it’s time to arm yourself with a camera and head for a park like St. Stephen’s Green. It’s a popular springtime destination for locals and a familiar sight for visitors. The park appeared on this site in the Victorian era, and to this day 3.5 kilometers of walking alleys surrounded by manicured greenery give vacationers precious moments of peace and unity with nature. The park got its present appearance in the late 19th century, when on the landscaped area was created by a fountain, arranged flower beds, planted trees. Many Dubliners come here at lunchtime to relax in the middle of the work day, and for families this is a great place for recreation and entertainment - for example, you can feed the ducks, watch a regular concert, visit the playground for children or just arrange a romantic walk.

Official website:

20. Kilkenny Castle (Kilkenny)

Visitors to 12th century Kilkenny Castle in the Irish town of Kilkenny on the banks of the River Nor Aldebaran

Kilkenny is an ancient and in its own way charming city for which eastern Ireland is famous. Every building here keeps its history, but especially interesting is the medieval Kilkenny Castle, the most visited tourist attraction in the city. It was founded in the 12th century and to this day is a fine example of Norman architecture. The stone fortification built at the very top of the hill above the River Nor was the home of the Butler family for 6 centuries, was besieged, destroyed and rebuilt several times until it was extensively rebuilt in the 19th century. The castle has long lost its original appearance, although the remains of the castle walls, moat and three towers have been preserved since its foundation. Today there is an art exhibit inside the castle with paintings by English and Irish artists, and archaeological excavations are being conducted in the surrounding areas.

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21. Shop Street (Galway)

Huge selection of stores for shopping fans on Shop Street in Galway

People come to Ireland not only for strolling through medieval castles and having fun in pubs, but also for a productive shopping experience. So, Shop Street in Galway is the perfect option for what to see in Ireland in winter and not get cold in the cold of January. Galway’s main shopping street is a beautiful place with a unique atmosphere, luxurious old buildings and numerous stores where you can find and buy anything you want. Most of the outlets are located either along Shop Street or on the adjacent pedestrian streets. You’ll find not only small shops but also big shopping malls like the Square Centre, a modern shop behind the old facades and Galway Shopping Centre, the biggest one in the West End of Ireland, on the adjoining Headford Road. Among the variety of goods, it’s worth highlighting the things you can only find here - such as Aran sweaters, local whiskey, honey wine, Irish cheese and tea, and crystal Irish souvenirs.

22. Temple Bar (Dublin)

One of the oldest pubs in the Temple Bar area in Dublin Svein-Magne Tunli -

Probably no tourist itinerary in Ireland is without a visit to Temple Bar, one of the oldest and most emblematic areas of Dublin, where, like centuries ago, the city life is in full swing. Historically the area dates back to the 14th century, but it took on its current form centuries later. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these lands were given to wealthy families, and in the last century an organization responsible for the preservation of the historic district was created. In 90s its old buildings underwent thorough restoration and now Temple Bar has become a popular tourist spot in Dublin with many museums, boutiques and art galleries. Street performers, musicians, fire lords, and other thrill-seekers constantly perform here. On weekends, there’s a book market in the main square and flea markets in the narrow streets.

23. Kinsale (County Cork)

The townscape of the small seaside town of Kinsale in Ireland Shadowgate

Almost all small Irish towns are very similar to each other - unusual colorful houses of 2-3 floors alternate with small stores and pubs, and the streets are buried in greenery and flowers. But even among these cozy, colorful towns stands out in brightly colored, rainbow-colored Kinsale, which boasts not only colorful façades but also more than a thousand years of history-at different times it was home to Celts, Vikings, and Normans. One of the oldest buildings, the Church of St. Malta, was built in the 12th century by the Normans on the foundations, preserved from the Celtic era. Another historic-architectural monument is the 16th-century Castle Desmond, originally erected as a customs house, but later converted into a military prison, and later it was home to the International Wine Museum. Today Kinsale is also the gastronomic capital of Ireland, known for a large concentration of restaurants and the culinary festival “Gourmet.

24. Ring of Kerry (County Kerry)

Landscape of Ring of Kerry on the Iverach Peninsula of County Kerry, Ireland Dionysos~commonswiki
O'Sullivan Falls in Killarney National Park on the Ring of Kerry Trail Phil Armitage

One of the most famous hiking trails in Ireland, passing through County Kerry, along the scenic coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. The length of the route is 166 kilometers. On the way tourists are waiting for a lot of interesting natural, historical and cultural attractions: a few castles, Black Valley, waterfall, a medieval church, a monastery, the Druid Ring and more. The Ring of Kerry can be traveled by car, bus, bicycle, and there are trails for hikers.

25. Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Road or Giant's Bridge on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland code poet

Northern Ireland is considered the smallest region of the United Kingdom of Great Britain in size, but by no means in importance. The sights of Northern Ireland are ancient castles, numerous historical museums, picturesque landscapes and friendly people. What is a must-do for the tourist visiting this amazing region for the first time? See the sights of Belfast, visit a distillery and drink the noble beverage, and of course see the mysterious Giant’s Causeway - an unusual trail of thousands of giant connected basalt columns, formed about 60 million years ago after the volcanic eruption. It is the tops of the columns form a kind of road, which begins at the foot of the rocks and disappears into the sea. Most of these columns are 6-cornered, although some have 4 to 8 corners - according to legends, giants once walked along this path.

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