Top 10 best off the beaten path destinations in Ireland

There are some places you’re sure to think of when planning a trip to Ireland. However, others may have not yet crossed your mind.

Planning a trip to Ireland, you will no doubt have included Dublin, the Wild Atlantic Way, and the Causeway Coast to your bucket list. However, if you want to explore lesser-known Ireland, we will fill you in on some of the best off the beaten path destinations in Ireland.

From quaint seaside villages to bustling historical towns, there are so many places in Ireland that don’t get the attention they deserve.

So, if you want to find some hidden gems that won’t be overrun with tourists, here are the top ten best off the beaten track destinations in Ireland.

10. Portrush – the ideal location on the Antrim Coast

First up on our list of off the beaten path destinations in Ireland is Portrush.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

Most visitors to Northern Ireland will be sure to visit the iconic Causeway Coast, home to attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. Still, many will not stop at the cute seaside town of Portrush.

A popular destination for locals when the sun comes out, Portrush is home to several beautiful golden strands, fun-filled amusements, and delicious cafes and restaurants. A must-visit if you want to explore lesser-known Ireland.

9. Clifden, Co. Galway – world-class hospitality

Clifden is a must-visit of lesser-known Ireland.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

This County Galway coastal town located in the Connemara region is definitely one of the best off the beaten track destinations in Ireland.

Nestled between the Twelve Bens mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, Clifden is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and is known for its history, heritage, and world-class hospitality.

8. Strandhill, Co. Sligo – a haven for adventure enthusiasts

Strandhill is one of the best off the beaten path destinations in Ireland.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Strandhill is an energetic village located on the Wild Atlantic Way’s surf coast. Home to sandy beaches, stunning views, bustling cafes, and restaurants, Strandhill is a must-visit while in Sligo.

A haven for outdoor adventure enthusiasts and a quiet piece of lesser-known Ireland, Strandhill is the perfect place to take a surfing lesson or hop in a kayak. If you’re more in favour of staying on land, it is well worth checking out Strandhill People’s Market.

7. Greystones, Co. Wicklow – in the shadow of the Wicklow Mountains

Greystones is a must-visit.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Lying in the shadow of the Wicklow Mountains, this beautiful seaside town on Ireland’s east coast is just a few miles south of Dublin.

Walk the Bray to Greystones Cliff Path, grab a bite to eat at the health-conscious Happy Pear, and breathe in the sea air at Cove and South Beach.

6. Dunmore East, Co. Waterford – a picturesque seaside town

Dunmore East is one of the best off the beaten path destinations in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Dunmore East is a charming seaside town, which, thanks to its location in the southeast of Ireland, enjoys much more sunshine than many other parts of the country.

Some of the best things to explore in this sunny fishing village are its lively harbour, its whitewashed buildings, and its abundance of beautiful beaches.

5. Strangford, Co. Down – incredible views of Strangford Lough

You need to visit Strangford.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

A small village at the mouth of the incredible Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland, Strangford is one of the best off the beaten path destinations in Ireland.

With plenty of great attractions, like Castle Ward, an 18th-century house set in 820 acres of walled gardens, you’ll never run out of things to see here.

4. Allihies, Co. Cork – in a picturesque location

Allihies is one of the best off the beaten track destinations in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Located on the western tip of the Beara Peninsula in County Cork is the fantastic town of Allihies.

In a picturesque location between a rocky mountain range and the rugged Atlantic coast, and known for its colourfully painted buildings, some of the best things to do here include taking the Dursey Island Cable Car and checking out Dzogchen Beara.

3. Waterville, Co. Kerry – a hidden gem

Waterville is a gem of lesser-known Ireland.
Credit: Flickr / Robert Linsdell

Situated on a narrow isthmus with Lough Currane to the east and Ballinskelligs Bay to the west, Waterville is a hidden gem in the Kingdom of Kerry.

Offering incredible views of the surrounding mountains, some things you need to check out are Waterville Beach, the numerous historical monuments, and the abundance of Irish pubs and restaurants.

2. Cong, Co. Mayo – home to an amazing five-star hotel

Cong is a must-visit.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Coming in at number two in our list of off the beaten track destinations in Ireland is Cong. Home to the luxury Ashford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort, many people will not pay a visit to Cong unless they are staying here. However, it has so much more to offer.

Some of the best sights are the 12th-century Augustinian Abbey, Pigeonhole Cave, and Lettergesh Beach – and for fans of The Quiet Man, it’s well worth taking a filming locations walking tour!

1. Portmagee, Co. Kerry – a must on the Iveragh Peninsula

Portmagee is one of the best off the beaten path destinations in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Located on the Iveragh Peninsula, just south of Valentia Island in County Kerry, is the beautiful little village of Portmagee. One of the best bits of lesser-known Ireland.

Visitors often pass through this small fishing village on their way around the Ring of Kerry or when they’re visiting the Skellig Islands, but very few stop to explore the town itself.

A treasure trove of great pubs, restaurants, and places to stay, Portmagee is definitely one of the best off the beaten path destinations in Ireland.

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