A small island with a memorable punch, Ireland's breathtaking landscapes and friendly, welcoming people leave visitors floored but looking for more.
Ireland of the Postcard
Everything you’ve heard is true: Ireland is a stunner. The locals need little prodding to proclaim theirs the most beautiful land in the world, and can support their claim with many examples. Everyone will argue over the must-sees, but you can't go wrong if you put the brooding loneliness of Connemara, the dramatic wildness of Donegal, the majestic mountains of Mourne, the world-famous scenery of counties Kerry and Cork, and the celebrated Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland on your to-visit list.
History is everywhere, from the breathtaking monuments of prehistoric Ireland at Brú na Bóinne, Slea Head in Kerry and Carrowmore in Sligo, to the fabulous ruins of Ireland's rich monastic past at Glendalough, Clonmacnoise and Cashel. More recent history is visible in the Titanic Experience in Cobh and the forbidding Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. And there's history so young that it's still considered the present, best experienced on a black-taxi tour of West Belfast or an examination of Derry's colourful political murals.
A Cultural Well
It's become almost trite to declare that Ireland operates a cultural surplus. Its main strengths are literature and music, where Ireland has long punched above its weight, but it is well represented in most other fields, too. Wherever you go you will discover an abundance of cultural expression. You can attend a play by a literary great in Dublin, toe-tap your way through a traditional-music session in a west-of-Ireland pub, or get your EDM on at a club in Belfast. The Irish summer is awash with festivals celebrating everything from flowers in bloom to high literature.
Tá Fáilte Romhat
On the plane and along your travels you might hear it said: tá Fáilte romhat (taw fall-cha row-at) – you're very welcome. Or, more famously, céad míle fáilte (kade meela fall-cha) – a hundred thousand welcomes. Irish friendliness is an oversimplification of a character that is infinitely complex, but the Irish are nonetheless genuinely warm and welcoming, and there are few more enjoyable ways of gaining a greater understanding of the island's inhabitants than a chat with a local.
10 best beaches in Ireland
6 min read — Published April 6th, 2021
From quiet coves known only to a few to great stretches of golden sand that are a destination in their own right, Ireland’s coastline is a beachgoer’s paradise.
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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ireland.
Wicklow's most visited attraction is this magnificent 64-sq-km estate, whose main entrance is 500m south of Enniskerry. At the heart of it is an elegant…
Newgrange is one of the most remarkable prehistoric sites in Europe, famous for the illumination of its passage and tomb during the winter solstice sun…
Historic SiteRock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland's most spectacular historic sites: a prominent green hill, banded with limestone outcrops, rising from a grassy plain…
Historic SiteSkellig Michael
The jagged, 217m-high rock of Skellig Michael (Michael's Rock; like St Michael's Mount in Cornwall and Mont St Michel in Normandy) is the larger of the…
Historic SiteKnocknarea Cairn
Sligo's ultimate rock pile sits atop a magical mountain hike. Knocknarea Cairn is popularly believed to be the grave of legendary Queen Maeve (Queen Mab…
Archaeological SiteCarrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery
With a bird's-eye view of the county from high in the Bricklieve Mountains, it's little wonder this hilltop site was sacred in prehistoric times. But for…
Christian SiteGlendalough Monastic Site
Nestled between two lakes, haunting Glendalough (Gleann dá Loch, meaning 'Valley of the Two Lakes') is one of the most significant monastic sites in…
Natural FeatureSliabh Liag
The Cliffs of Moher get more publicity, but the cliffs of Sliabh Liag are higher. In fact, these spectacular sea cliffs are among the highest in Europe,…
LibraryOld Library & Book of Kells
Trinity's greatest treasures are found within the Old Library and the incredible Long Room is one of the most photographed rooms in Dublin, for good…
Archaeological SiteCarrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
One of the largest Stone Age cemeteries in Europe, Carrowmore is finally receiving the renown it deserves and is Sligo's must-see attraction. Some 30…
Curving, dune-backed, 3km-long Streedagh Strand occasionally sees parts of the Spanish Armada washing up on its shores from three wrecks offshore: La…
Natural FeatureDun Briste
An astonishing sea stack that's lashed by foaming sea, Dun Briste is Mayo's top natural sight. Legend attests that St Patrick drove all the vipers from…
ParkKillarney National Park
Sprawling over 10,236 hectares, this sublime park is an idyllic place to explore. Ross Castle and Muckross House draw big crowds, but it's possible to…
Historic SiteCorlea Trackway
Don't miss the extraordinary Corlea Trackway, an Iron Age bog road built in 148 BC. An 18m stretch of the pavement-like oak track has been preserved in a…
This astonishing beach is a dream come true, especially if you are rewarded with a gorgeous sunset. Get here during lowish tide to explore the caves in…
Gloriously placed overlooking the River Shannon, 7km northeast of Shannonbridge, Clonmacnoise is one of Ireland’s most important ancient monastic cities…
On a narrow road from Glencolumbcille to Ardara, past remote mountain bogland, magnificent Glengesh Pass (Glean Géis; meaning 'Glen of the Swans'),…
Lackan Bay's beach is a stunning and vast expanse of golden sand – it's particularly beautiful as the sun goes down, making it one of Ireland's most…
CathedralSt Canice's Cathedral
Ireland's second-largest medieval cathedral (after St Patrick's in Dublin) has a long and fascinating history. The first monastery was built here in the…
MuseumNational Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History
Once the world’s largest military barracks, this splendid early neoclassical grey-stone building on the Liffey’s northern banks was completed in 1704…
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Ireland.
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