There are 32 counties on the island of Ireland, and each county has a lot to offer. So, narrowing the most beautiful down to a small amount is almost impossible.
From medieval castles to sandy beaches, wild beauty to seaside towns, the Emerald Isle is a truly special pocket of the world.
We have done our best to narrow Ireland’s counties down to the top ten, which are displayed below, through a rigorous selection process. Read on to discover the ten most beautiful counties in Ireland, ranked.
10. Co. Sligo – the Yeats County
County Sligo is one of Ireland’s smallest counties, yet, it has a lot of beauty to offer. Benbulben and Mullaghmore are areas of outstanding beauty, putting Sligo rightfully in the top ten!
9. Co. Down – Mourne county
County Down is located north of the Irish border and is a place of tremendous beauty. Places like the Mourne Mountains and Strangford lough are simply breathtaking. Pictures do not do this county justice!
If you’re heading for a trip to Northern Ireland, make sure to have County Down on your list, as it’s one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland.
8. Co. Clare – the Banner County
County Clare is the home of Father Ted’s (real) house, but the county has much more to offer.
The Burren is located here along with The Cliffs of Moher, which is Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. Another spot worth visiting is Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
7. Co. Galway – the City of Tribes
Galway is one of Ireland’s biggest counties, and it is packed with beautiful places. The best places within this county include Connemara and the Aran Islands, but there is much more!
From the vibrant nightlife to Galway Bay, the City of Tribes is certainly one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland.
6. Co. Mayo – the Maritime County
County Mayo is a scenic county located on the west coast of Ireland. The county is mostly rural and sparsely populated.
Still, it is packed with beautiful places, including Downpatrick Head, Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay, Achill Island, Ireland’s largest island, and so much more for the curious traveller to discover.
5. Co. Wicklow – the Garden County
County Wicklow is a phenomenal county that isn’t too far from Ireland’s capital city, Dublin.
This place is full of beauty from the coast surrounding Wicklow town to the Wicklow Hills and, of course, Glendalough.
4. Co. Cork – the Rebel County
County Cork is Ireland’s largest county, so it is not hard to imagine the amount of beautiful places and picturesque towns that can be found here!
The highlights of this county include the coast around Mizen Head, the hills of west Cork, Beara and the town of Kinsale, one of Ireland’s historical fishing towns. Cork city is dotted with cobbled streets featuring charming shops, pubs, and galleries.
3. Co. Kerry – The Kingdom
Kerry is one of Ireland’s most southern counties, and it borders Cork. This beautiful part of the country is well-known for the Ring of Kerry, which is a very scenic circular road which goes through mountains and the coast.
County Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula is also found in this county which has been named one of the most beautiful places in the world by National Geographic.
Enjoy spectacular views of mountains, a rugged coastline, national parks, wooded forests, and so much more in County Kerry.
2. Co. Antrim – The Glensmen
County Antrim is well-known for being home to Belfast, but it is also home to many beautiful places.
Game of Thrones uses its unique and scenic landscapes for filming the show. From the Glens of Antrim to the Giant’s Causeway, this place is magical!
1. Co. Donegal – Ireland’s Forgotten County
County Donegal is a favourite for holidaymakers, and for very good reason! It is bursting with spectacular places to see, including Malin Head, the Slieve League Cliffs, Glenveagh National Park, and Portsalon beach, to name just a few.
If you haven’t been to this county, you need to go! Tory Island is located off the northwest coast of Donegal, too, and is one of the most remote and interesting parts of the country.
Other notable mentions
County Derry: While Derry might not be the most beautiful county in Ireland, it has a rich history to check out and discover.
County Offaly: Consisting of some of the most beautiful towns in the country, this county in the heart of the Midlands offers bogs, meadowlands, and undiscovered pastures.
County Limerick: Situated in Ireland’s southwest, there are many beautiful sights to see in County Limerick, including King John’s Castle and the Ballyhoura Mountains.
FAQs about the most beautiful counties in Ireland
What part of Ireland is the most beautiful?
While it’s hard to narrow it down to just one place, the Wild Atlantic Way is often touted as one of the most mesmerising parts of Ireland in terms of natural beauty.
This is a beautiful driving route that involves nine counties from Donegal to Cork, with spectacular scenery and impressive views along the way.
What is the most interesting county in Ireland?
Another tough question, but counties Derry and Antrim are perhaps two of the most interesting counties in Ireland due to their history with The Troubles. Dublin is, of course, also a county with a rich history spanning centuries at this rate.
Which is the safest county in Ireland?
According to official crime statistics in Ireland, Roscommon and Longford are considered the safest places to live in Ireland. However, County Mayo is actually the county with the lowest crime rates.