These places are really out of this world, even by Ireland’s standards! Here is the 21 of the very best.
1. Duckett’s Grove, Co. Carlow
Duckett’s Grove, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, was formerly at the centre of a 12,000 acre (4,856 hectares) estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country.
2. Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry
Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry. Located beside the town of Killarney. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 (25,425 acres) of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, Oak and Yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks.
3. Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim
An absolute must. The Giant’s Causeway in Co. Antrim is one of the most unique rock formations in the world. It is on the beautiful Antrim coast to top it off. Just stunning.
4. Portsalon Beach, Co. Donegal
A very extensive 11 Beaches in Ireland You Simply Can’t Misssandy beach on the shores of Lough Swilly. It gently slopes towards the Atlantic ocean and is located in a Natural Heritage Area. The beach at Portsalon can be reached by travelling northeast in the R246 from Carrowkeel to Portsalon.
5. Glenoe Waterfall, Co. Antrim
Glenoe Waterfall, Co. Antrim. A beautiful waterfall nestling in the glens of Antrim. A short stroll from the charming village of Glenoe, steps and paths wind around a small glen with one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Ireland.
6. Slieve League cliffs, Co. Donegal
Ranked Number 1 attraction on TripAdvisor for County Donegal. Climbing to this point on Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal is a truly memorable experience. The views are fantastic! Highly recommended to add this place to the list of places to visit!
7. Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal
Glenveagh National Park is one of six national parks in Ireland. Situated in the Northwest of Co. Donegal, Glenveagh encompasses some 16,000 hectares in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. Such a great wilderness is the haunt of many interesting plants and animals. These lands were managed as a private deer forest before becoming a national park in 1975. With the completion of public facilities, Glenveagh National Park was officially opened to the public in 1986.
8. Glencar Waterfall, Co. Leitrim
Number 1 attraction on TripAdvisor for Co. Leitrim. Granted Certificate of Excellence in 2014. Glencar Waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11 kilometres west of Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. It is particularly impressive after rain and can be viewed from a lovely wooded walk. There are more waterfalls visible from the road, although none is quite as romantic as this one.
9. The Dingle peninsula, Co. Kerry
Stretches from Tralee to Slea head and looks west upon the famed Blasket Islands, home to a rugged island people until the 1950’s and inspiration for acclaimed writer Peig Sayers. Often referred to as the last parish until the New World, it is home to a number of rural Ireland’s most famous landmarks such as the Gallarus Castle and Oratory.
The Dingle peninsula caters for everyone’s taste and imagination, from aquatic pursuits, heritage trails, religion, patriotism to fine dining and luxurious surrounds, and all within a four-hour time frame by road. Slea Head drive is a popular route taken by tourists.
10. The Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim
The Dark Hedges is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland and a popular attraction for tourists from across the world. It has been painted by hundreds of visiting artists and is a favourite location for wedding photographs.
11. The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year. Standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point they stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland. From the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day one can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, Loop Head to the south.
12. Glenevin Waterfall, Co. Donegal
The walk up Glenevein Valley to the Glenevin Waterfall in Clonmany, County Donegal, takes the rambler on a safe, well-signposted route. Newly installed picnic areas blend easily into the natural landscape. Footbridges are dotted along the track as visitors criss-cross the stream using the stepping stones.
13. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
A popular day trip from Dublin, Glendalough, or the ‘Valley of Two Lakes’, is one of Ireland’s most prominent monastic sites, nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
The 6th-century Christian settlement was founded by St. Kevin and boasts a series of impressive remains set against a backdrop of the picturesque Irish countryside. Nicknamed ‘the garden of Ireland’, Wicklow is a nature lover’s paradise of rolling meadows, vast lakes and hillsides carpeted in purple heather.
14. Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim
Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast, and was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan.
There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641. The site has also witnessed to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives.
15. Keem Bay, Co. Mayo
Keem Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayo. Located past Dooagh village in the west of Achill Island in County Mayo. Keem Bay contains a Blue Flag beach. The bay was formerly the site of a basking shark fishery. There is an old British army lookout post on the top of Moyteoge to the bay’s south. To the west is an old booley village, at Bunown. To the north stands Croaghaun, with Europe’s highest cliffs. The road leading to Keem Bay is high with steep cliffs.
16. Newgrange, Co. Meath
Newgrange (Irish: Sí an Bhrú) is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, about one kilometre north of the River Boyne. It was built around 3200 BC, during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Newgrange is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside.
The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by ‘kerbstones’ engraved with artwork. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice.
17. Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry
Skellig Michael or Great Skellig, is an island (the larger of the two Skellig Islands) in the Atlantic Ocean, 11.6 km west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century, and was continuously occupied until its abandonment in the late 12th century.
The remains of this monastery, along with most of the island itself, were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1996. This location is also highly rumoured to be used in the new Star Wars movie! It certainly is out of this world!
18. The Rock of Dunamase, Co. Laois
Dunamase or The Rock of Dunamase is a rocky outcrop in the townland of Park or Dunamase in County Laois. The rock, 46 metres (151 ft) above a flat plain, has the ruins of Dunamase Castle, a defensive stronghold dating from the early Anglo-Norman period with a view across to the Slieve Bloom Mountains. It is near the N80 road between the towns of Portlaoise and Stradbally.
19. Belbulben, Co. Sligo
Benbulbin, sometimes spelled Ben Bulben or Benbulben (from the Irish: Binn Ghulbain), is a large rock formation in County Sligo, Ireland. It is part of the Dartry Mountains, in an area sometimes called “Yeats Country”. Benbulbin is a protected site, designated as a County Geological Site by Sligo County Council.
20. Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary
The Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock, is a historic site located at Cashel. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church.
The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe. Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
21. The Ring of Kerry, Co. Kerry
Irelands rugged rock, sweeping woodlands, coastal magnificence both salt and fresh, castles, chapels, museums, villages, estates, parks and studs are all contained in the Ring of Kerry. A 180km circular drive will occupy and fill any weekend!