If you grew up in Ireland and lived there for a long period of time and you’ve been abroad for multiple holidays, then there is no excuse for not experiencing your own island. If you’ve been to 8/10 of these essential places then you have experienced the essentials. If not, you probably should be embarrassed.
1. The Cliffs of Moher – Ireland’s Most Popular Natural Attraction
Let’s get the cliche one out of the way first – The Cliffs of Moher. There’s a good reason why almost 1.5 million people visited the Cliffs of Moher last year alone. First of all, look at them! Considered one of the natural wonders of the world, the dramatic cliffs stretch for 5 miles and soar over the churning Atlantic below. Getting a photo here has become a rite of passage for those travelling in Ireland – just watch out for the 30,000 pairs of seabirds photobombing!
2. The Guinness Storehouse – Ireland’s Most Visited Attraction
Once you make a trip to the Guinness Storehouse, you’ll see why it’s Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction. Located in the original Guinness brewery, the tour charts the history of the iconic black stout through detailed exhibitions, demonstrations and tasting rooms. End by savouring a complimentary pint in the Gravity Bar, a 360-degree panoramic bar with views across Dublin City.
3. Father Ted’s House – Icon of Ireland’s Funniest TV Show
For fans of the television show, this is a must-see place! It is extremely rare to get the opportunity to go here. Most people can’t find the house as it’s literally in the middle of nowhere, a house with no number and a road without a name! Lucky for you we can provide directions! You have to get a photo outside it before you die!
4. Malin Head – Ireland’s Most Northern Point
When in the Inishowen Penninsula, you have to go to Malin Head which is the most northern point of the whole island of Ireland. The area is absolutely stunning!
5. Kilmainham Goal – Ireland’s Most Legendary Prison
Kilmainham Gaol is a legendary former prison located in Kilmainham in Dublin, which is now a museum. It has been run since the mid-1980s by the Office of Public Works (OPW), an Irish government agency. Kilmainham Gaol played an important part in Irish history, as many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed in the prison by the British and in 1923 by the Irish Free State.
6. The Skelligs – Islands that are out of this world!
What do Jedi, hermit monks and puffins have in common? They all lived on Skellig Michael at one time or another, a remote island that rises from the Atlantic. The massive outcrop appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will have an even bigger role in Episode VIII. Boat tours – not the Millennium Falcon – can take you there in 2017.
7. Glendalough – The epicentre of ‘The Garden Of Ireland’
If you want to see Ireland’s 40 shades of green, look no further than Glendalough. Part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, this glaciated valley is a haven of woodlands, moors and lakes. It was first inhabited by St Kevin in the 6th century, whose monastic site can still be seen in the round tower and Celtic crosses that remain at the lower lake. Hey, if it’s good enough for a saint.
8. Titanic Belfast – The location where the world’s most famous ship was built
The pride of industrial Belfast, this tribute to the Ship of Dreams truly is the stuff of dreams. Recently named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, it’s situated on the exact spot the Titanic was built over a century ago. Equal parts museum and interactive exhibition, you’ll have no time to argue over whether Rose really could have shared that piece of wood with Jack Dawson.
9. The Giant’s Causeway – The north’s most famous landmark
Northern Ireland’s coastline is dotted with crumbling castles, rugged islands and secluded beaches. But the most impressive of all its coastal quirks has to be the Giant’s Causeway, a sweeping path of 40,000 hexagonal stone columns that tumble into the sea in a blaze of black basalt. Some say it was made by warring giants, others volcanoes. Whatever you believe, there’s no doubt that this is a must-see stop.
10. The Dingle Peninsula – One of the most beautiful places in the world
The Dingle Peninsula is the northernmost of the major peninsula in County Kerry. It ends beyond the town of Dingle at Dunmore Head, the westernmost point of Ireland and arguably Europe. The drive around the peninsula is one of the best in Ireland!