10 LESSER-KNOWN Irish GEMS off the beaten path

Fancy getting off the beaten path in Ireland and escaping the crowds? Then check out these exciting hidden gems located across the country.

10 lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path.

What if we told you there is more to Ireland than the Guinness Storehouse, the Cliffs of Moher, or the Ring of Kerry?

These spots are unmissable, but if you have already ticked off Ireland’s top attractions or fancy steering clear of the crowds and discovering some of the country’s hidden gems and best-kept secrets, you may find these ten spots appealing.

To give you a taste of Ireland’s secret spots, have a look at these ten lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path – for an authentic Irish experience you won’t forget.

10. Mullaghmore Head, County Sligo – home to Ireland’s biggest waves

A shot of foam and waves breaking at Mullaghmore Head, Sligo.
Credit: geograph.ie / N Chadwick

Ireland is not short of options for scenic drives, but have you heard of Mullaghmore Head?

This beautiful, rugged area is ideal for leisurely coastal driving, offering dramatic sea views. Moreover, this wild coast is known to have some of the biggest waves in the world, so keep your eyes peeled during the autumn and winter months.

Address: Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, Ireland

LEARN MORE: Mullaghmore Head: history, facts & visit info

9. The Fermanagh Lakelands, County Fermanagh – an excellent place for fun and activities

An expansive shot of the Fermanagh Lakelands, one of our lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / ErneWaterTaxi

Fermanagh is a county often overlooked when it comes to gems of Ireland, but believe it or not, it boasts an impressive collection of lakes, which are a joy to discover.

From hydro biking and kayaking on Lough Erne to winter wonderland walks, the Fermanagh Lakelands are magical and worth visiting any time of the year.

8. The Glens of Antrim, County Antrim – nature without the crowds

An expansive shot of the Glens of Antrim at Waterfoot.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Paul Lindsay / Tourism Ireland

Known locally as the Glens, this stunning region in County Antrim is a wonder of Ireland and is a great place to venture into nature without the crowds.

As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Glens of Antrim comprises nine glens stretching from the Antrim Plateau to the coast, making for a great day out.

READ MORE: Five reasons why Glenariff truly is the “Queens of the Glens”

7. Clare Island, County Mayo – journey to Clew Bay

An aerial shot of the lighthouse, cliffs, and water at Clare Island, Mayo. Clare Island is one of our lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Niamh Whitty

Clare Island in County Mayo is in Clew Bay, an area which boasts a stunning turquoise colour when the sun shines.

Getting here is easy since it takes just 20 minutes from Roonagh Quay, and the island offers a tranquil escape and a chance to step back in time – after all, this was the home of the Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley.

Address: Clare Island, Lecarrow, Co. Mayo, Ireland

6. Guinness Lake, County Wicklow – a natural gem in County Wicklow

A shot of Guinness Lake and its surroundings on bright day.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Chris Hill

Guinness Lake, officially known as Lough Tay, is a wonder of County Wicklow and a great photo opportunity.

The stunning mountainous backdrop, paired with the bright white beach, make it a unique feature of the county, and it is well worth discovering this lake, which, in fact, looks like a pint of Guinness.

Address: Ballinastoe, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

READ MORE: Guinness Lake (Lough Tray): your 2024 travel guide

5. Ireland’s Eye, County Dublin – a must for nature lovers

A seal and two people on a kayak near Ireland's Eye in the Irish Sea. Ireland's Eye is one of our lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Courtesy Caroline O’Keeffe

Many people visit Dublin to see the city’s top attractions yet overlook Ireland’s Eye, just a 15-minute ferry from Howth on Dublin’s northside.

This untouched island is a must-visit for nature and wildlife enthusiasts since it is a hub of many nesting birds, puffins, and grey seals.

Address: Ireland’s Eye, Co. Dublin, Ireland

4. Trim Castle, County Meath – an iconic Irish castle

A shot of Trim Castle, Meath, and its surroundings on a gloomy day.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tony Pleavin

Trim Castle in County Meath was a filming location for Braveheart in 1995, which brought fame to the town.

As well as this, the castle is Ireland’s largest and best-preserved Anglo-Norman castle, which makes it a popular choice with history buffs.

Address: Manorland (1st Division), Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland

3. Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, County Kerry – the best place for stargazing

The silhouettes of two people look through telescopes at Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve. Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve is one of our lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Valerie O’Sullivan

One of the best lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path is the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, which is free to access.

This area in the south of Kerry has some of the best conditions to see the stars and constellations as our ancestors did, making it a fascinating place to discover.

2. Loop Head, County Clare – one of Ireland’s most dramatic headlands

An aerial shot of Loop Head Lighthouse in Clare, with the water and horizon in the background.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Fáilte Ireland

Loop Head is one of Ireland’s most dramatic peninsulas, yet you won’t find many crowds here despite being a filming location for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

This is a fantastic place to embark on the Loop Head drive, or the Loop Head walk, both offering sensational coastal views and boasting a lighthouse at the headland’s tip.

Address: Loop Head, Ireland

1. Dursey Island Cable Car, County Cork – a unique Irish experience

A cable car in action at Dursey Island, Cork. The Dursey Island cable car is one of our lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Ireland

Did you know Ireland had a cable car? One of the best lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path must be the adventure to get to Dursey Island in County Cork.

Located at the southwestern tip of the Beara Peninsula, the Dursey Island Cable Car has been around since 1969 and is a unique experience many overlook when visiting Ireland.

Address: Ballynacallagh, Co. Cork, Ireland

These are ten lesser-known Irish gems off the beaten path, yet there are plenty more where these came from since Ireland is packed full of secret spots. So, where will you begin your next adventure?

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