20 Of The Best Places to Visit in Ireland in 2023
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Are you considering visiting Ireland and trying to decide why to make your next trip to the Emerald Isle? Let us count the ways! Well-known for its friendly welcomes, Ireland certainly doesn’t disappoint with dramatic landscapes either. Add to that a growing culinary scene and some fantastic city escapes, and Ireland has pretty much everything you can want from a holiday destination.
But with that comes one big problem – where to go? Check out our pick of 20 of the best places to visit in Ireland for some serious wanderlust! The list could have been endless, but the followings are some of the places you don’t want to miss when visiting the Republic of Ireland.
If you need to organize your trip to Ireland and you are looking for logistical support directly from Ireland, get in touch with us. Contact us via email to tell us about your trip to Ireland and ask us about everything you need.
- 1. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
- 2. Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
- 3. Blarney Castle, County Cork
- 4. Ring of Kerry, County Kerry
- 5. Sligo
- 6. Connemara National Park
- 7. Skellig Michael
- 8. Newgrange, County Meath
- 9. Wicklow
- 10. Dingle Peninsula
- 11. Waterford Greenway
- 12. Galway
- 13. Aran Islands
- 14. Cobh, County Cork
- 15. Ben Bulben, County Sligo
- 16. Adare Village, County Limerick
- 17. English Market, Cork City
- 18. Murder Hole Beach, County Donegal
- 19. Sean’s Bar, Athlone, County Westmeath
- 20. Kinsale, County Cork
- Travel to Ireland: a few resources for you
- Best Ireland Travel Guides
- Useful Reads
1. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
For most people’s first venture into all the delights of Ireland, Dublin is both the national capital and its largest city. Rich in history and culture, the city is also home to Ireland’s most famous export.
No fusty warehouse space, the Guinness Storehouse is a fully-interactive visitor centre at the historic St James’s Gate brewery (whose lease doesn’t run out for another 8,700 years). Occupying seven floors, it tells the story of the drink from its humble 1750s origins onwards. It leads to a top floor bar with sublime Dublin views, where you can enjoy a pint of the black stuff with a new appreciation for everything that goes on behind the scenes.
Read our review of the Guinness Storehouse and book one of the following tours or tickets to experience it at its best:
If you want to save money when visiting Dublin, buy a Dublin Pass that also includes the entry to the Guinness Storehouse. The Dublin Pass is valid for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. You can buy the Dublin Pass here at the best price.
The Dublin: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour has the Guinness Storehouse as one of the stops and it’s one of the best ways to visit the city and arrive at the Storehouse if you are not keen to walk. Buy your ticket for the Dublin: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour bus.
2. Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Situated on the country’s Atlantic coast, the Cliffs of Moher hold the record for the world’s longest cliff line. Stretching for a staggering 14 kilometres, there are plenty of opportunities to get away from the crowds that gather around the visitor centre and take in one of nature’s most magical landscapes.
Averaging a height of more than 200 metres above the waves, the cliffs are crisscrossed with walking paths providing vistas across to sea stacks, the Aran Islands, and some of Ireland’s finest sunsets. One of the best viewpoints lies just a few hundred metres north of O’Brien’s Tower. Meanwhile, the visitor centre details the region’s natural history.
If you want to visit the Cliff of Moher but don’t know how to reach the destination, you can book one of those tours:
- From Dublin: Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey & Galway Day Tour
- From Galway: Full-Day Cliffs of Moher and Sightseeing Tour
- From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Tour with Cruise
3. Blarney Castle, County Cork
Dating back to 1446, the present incarnation of Blarney Castle lies in partial ruins in the south of Ireland just outside of Cork.
An impressive example of a medieval castle keep, all the same, visitors are able to explore several rooms. However, the main attraction to any visit to Blarney Castle is the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone.
Involving hanging upside down over a straight drop, successfully kissing the stone is supposed to give you the gift of the gab – in other words, the ability to talk anyone around to your way of thinking.
If you want to visit Blarney Castle but don’t know how to reach the destination, you can book one of those tours:
- From Dublin: Cahir and Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour
- Ireland: Blarney Castle, Kilkenny & Irish Whiskey 3-Day Tour
- Ireland: 5-Day Escape to the Southwest Tour
4. Ring of Kerry, County Kerry
Easily achievable with just a day to spare, the Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s best road trip destinations. Starting and ending in Killarney in the country’s southwest, the 180-kilometre route comprises quiet country roads which wind their way around the Iveragh Peninsula.
Rising and falling with the mountains, and dotted with charming isolated villages, the Ring of Kerry has been created in such a way as to truly celebrate the region. Attractions to look out for include the 110-metre high Torc Waterfall, and beaches that look as though they belong in the Caribbean, including Caherdaniel Beach.
If you want to tour the Ring of Kerry but don’t have a car at your disposal, book one of those tours:
- Killarney: Ring of Kerry Tour
- From Dublin: 3-Day Cork, Ring of Kerry & the Cliffs of Moher
- Ring of Kerry: Lakes of Killarney Scenic Coach Tour
Cut in two by the meandering path of the River Garavogue, Sligo’s heart retains its medieval footprint. Over the years the buildings lining these streets have been upgraded, resulting in an impressive gathering of nineteenth-century structures in particular.
Among them, you’ll still find relics of a former age, with the cloisters of Sligo Abbey an evocative site. Nearby, you’ll also find the Yeats Building, whose exhibition space is dedicated to the works of poet William Butler Yeats. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 for the power of his words.
6. Connemara National Park
Entirely free of roads, anyone looking to immerse themselves in Ireland’s natural landscapes can find few better places in the country than Connemara National Park. Located roughly midway between Sligo to the north and Galway Town to the south, it features some of the country’s most diverse habitats.
Ranging between grassland, heath, forest and mountain, the park spans some 2,000 hectares in total area. The diversity means the national park is also one of the best places to visit in Ireland for birdwatching, with species including the peregrine falcon and mistle thrush regularly spotted.
To get there, just follow the coastal N59 to Letterfrack.
These are some of the tours we recommend in the area:
- From Galway: Connemara National Park Full-Day Tour
- From Galway: Connemara & Kylemore Abbey Full-Day Guided Tour
7. Skellig Michael
While one of the least visited attractions anywhere in Ireland, that’s not because Skellig Michael isn’t worth the time. Lying a short distance out into the Atlantic Ocean, this rocky pinnacle is only accessible during the calmer summer months, and even then to only 180 lucky individuals per day.
Those who succeed in finding their way to this tiny island must take a path which almost immediately climbs up 600 ancient stone steps. They lead to a long-abandoned monastery complex, revealing what life was like for the monks who lived and died here 1000 years ago.
Note: booking is absolutely needed because the access to Skellig Michael is restricted due to the nature of the place and the conservation efforts.
8. Newgrange, County Meath
If ever a site has been misnamed, it’s Newgrange. Predating the construction of the Great Pyramids of Egypt and Britain’s Stonehenge, it is one of the world’s oldest UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
A Neolithic passage tomb more than 5000 years old, the Newgrange site is dominated by a massive man-made burial mound ringed by decorated stonework and topped with grass. Within it are cut a warren of passageways and chambers which can be explored as part of one of the regular guided tours.
This Boyne Valley and Trim Castle Day Tour from Dublin includes everything that you want to see in the Boyne Valley, including Newgrange.
Known as the Garden of Ireland, much of what makes Wicklow one of the best places to visit in Ireland is the contrast between its historic gardens and the wild open spaces that surround the town. With its eateries and a lot of paths to walk, Wicklow is definitely a must-see in Ireland.
If you want to experience something different in the town, do not miss Wicklow Historic Gaol. Used to imprison revolutionaries during the 1798 Rebellion against British rule, it is the ideal backdrop to learn about the country’s sometimes complex history.
10. Dingle Peninsula
Poking out into the Atlantic Ocean like an outstretched finger, the Dingle Peninsula occupies almost 50 kilometres of the magical Irish coast. Part of the 2,500 kilometres Wild Atlantic Way, this much more manageable chunk nonetheless consists of areas of astonishing beauty.
One minute you’ll be gazing down on seals in the surf, while the next you’ll be contemplating the grandeur of Ireland’s second-highest peak, Mount Brandon. Alive with native flora and fauna and the Gaelic tongue, the peninsula has a myriad of hidden gems. And while we could share the range of the craft breweries and boutique shops with you, we think the Dingle Peninsula is the sort of place best discovered for yourself.
This Dingle Peninsula Day Tour is the best solution if you want to visit the area but don’t want to drive.
11. Waterford Greenway
Although best known for its glassmaking industry, the town in the southeast of Ireland is an excellent hiking and biking destination because of the creation of the Waterford Greenway. Also known to some as Deise Greenway, it is Ireland’s longest such route at 46 kilometres long.
What makes the greenway so special is the fact it uses routes once occupied by the region’s railways. Much of this architecture remains, including a 400-metre-long tunnel and the Kilmacthomas Viaduct, whose arches span some of the greenway’s finest spots.
Take part in the House of Waterford Crystal tour to get a unique behind-the-scenes look at how master craftsmen create some of the world’s most exquisite crystal objects.
European Capital of Culture in 2020, Galway’s eclectic array of attractions has been drawing visitors for many years. Alive with authentic charm, traditional music is never hard to find, while cosy pubs provide a space to relax between visits to Lynch’s Castle on Shop Street and St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church – the largest of its kind still in everyday use.
Forming around sea trade that extended as far as the shores of North Africa, The Claddagh is the oldest area of Galway. Here you’ll find the court of the elected Claddagh King (now an honorary title) and the original makers of the Claddagh rings – a traditional symbol of friendship.
Have a look at our guide on the best things to do in Galway and book one of those tours if you like:
- Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Tour with Cruise from Galway
- Scenic Cruise of Corrib River and Lake
- Connemara & Cong: Full-Day Tour from Galway
- Full-Day Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour from Galway
13. Aran Islands
Lining up to protect Galway Bay from the open ocean, the Aran Islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. Remains from this period can be explored at Dun Aengus on Inishmore. An ancient fort dating back to the bronze and iron ages, it would be an impressive feat if built today, with walls four metres thick wrapping around the centre of the site for roughly 50 metres.
The Black Fort shares a similar heritage, while the ruins of Teampall Bheanain chapel are thought to be linked to Saint Benen, a follower of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.
You can enjoy and organise a trip to the Aran Islands on your own or book one of those tours:
- From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Tour with Cruise
- From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Day Cruise
- From Doolin: Cliffs of Moher Cruise
- Connemara/Galway: Inis Meáin Return Ferry Transfer
- Rossaveel, Galway: Ferry Transfer to Inis Mór (Aran Islands)
14. Cobh, County Cork
With its narrow streets on the hill and a tremendous view over the sea and the Cork Harbour, Cobh is one of the most beautiful Irish towns. Aside from its worldwide and picturesque colourful houses, Cobh is also well known for being the last port of call for the Titanic.
From Cobh, you can also sail to Spike Island: what is now a museum, it was once an isolated monastery, then an important defensive location and finally prison.
15. Ben Bulben, County Sligo
Ben Bulben holds a passing resemblance to Cape Town’s Table Mountain by Dominating the landscape for miles around. The flat-topped monolith pushes through its skirt of grass to a height of 526 metres.
As well as offering unmatched views for those who follow the sloping paths from its southern side, Ben Bulben is also the only place in Ireland where it’s possible to find an attractive wildflower called fringed sandwort. It is believed to have existed here for 100,000 years.
16. Adare Village, County Limerick
Often called the prettiest village in all of Ireland, Adare gets its picture-postcard look from a run of well-styled cottages built in the 1800s for the workers contracted to Adare Manor by the Earl of Dunraven.
Today many of the cottages have been converted into independent craft stores and places to enjoy a dinner out without losing any of their original charms. At the same time, Adare Manor is known for its golf course and its Michelin-starred restaurant.
17. English Market, Cork City
One of the best places to visit in Ireland for foodies, Cork’s English Market is a massive covered marketplace hosting some of the country’s best independent producers.
First opened in 1788, the arching ceiling and carved wood decorative work date from the mid-eighteenth century. Creating exactly the right mood for discovering foods such as buttered eggs and drisheen (blood pudding), the English Market is celebrated by chefs and royalty alike. Both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles have paid a visit in recent years.
Nor do you have to go far to try what’s on offer, with cafes on the mezzanine level serving up the freshest ingredients from the market as part of their menus.
Why don’t you book a tour of Cork to discover its beauty?
- Cork: Jameson Experience Whiskey Tour
- Cork: Full-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour
- From Cork: Guided Full-Day West Cork to Mizen Head Tour
18. Murder Hole Beach, County Donegal
See the golden sands of Murder Hole Beach for the very first time and you’re sure to forget the rather off-putting name. While the reasons for its name are now lost, there’s certainly no losing the sense of awe you’ll feel sitting on its sands.
Edged by rolling hills and dunes, low tide reveals a series of naturally formed caves. High tide splits this beach on the Rosguill Peninsula into two, both of which look out towards an outcrop known as Rough Island.
19. Sean’s Bar, Athlone, County Westmeath
It may not look it from the faux-Greek pillars or the otherwise plain exterior, but Sean’s Bar in Athlone is in serious contention to be considered the oldest pub in the world.
Incredibly, archaeological evidence carried out by the National Museum of Ireland hints at the possibility that alcohol has been served on the site for 1100 years. A certificate from Guinness World Records hangs above the bar, which is regularly filled with the sound of live music on the weekends. have a look at Sean’s Bar website to know more.
20. Kinsale, County Cork
The quaint town of Kinsale is located at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way and it is famous for its colourful streets and amazing landscape.
Aside from its beauty, Kinsale is also famous for its culinary scene and it’s been very often called The Gourmet Capital of Ireland.
It’s easy to reach from Cork and ideal as a start/finish point of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Travel to Ireland: a few resources for you
If you’re planning to book a future giveaway to Ireland, these are a few resources we recommend:
- Booking.com – Book accommodation safely, without paying a deposit, and get 100% reimbursed if you cannot travel (terms and conditions apply). Click here for more information.
- EuropCar – Rent a car to travel and avail of a special discount and special conditions. Click here for more information.
- GetYourGuide – Book the best experience in Ireland and visit the Emerald Island at its best. Click here for more information.
Best Ireland Travel Guides
If you want to plan your trip to Ireland, these are the travel guides we recommend:
- 10 Unique Places to Stay in Ireland in 2023
- Planning a trip to Ireland: advice and useful information
- Car Rental in Ireland: Local Tips and Advice
Get in touch with us for customized tours, travel tips, itineraries, and everything you need for your trip to Ireland: no one better than those who live on-site can advise you and make you experience Ireland like a real local.
[This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost, if you make a purchase through a link.]