One of Ireland’s four provinces, Leinster, has a lot of offer. Here are the 28 best things that everyone must have on their Leinster bucket list.
From historical monuments to scenic natural wonders, there is lots to see and do in Leinster. We have rounded up 28 amazing things to do below.
Taking in Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Offaly, Longford, Louth, Meath, Laois, Westmeath, Wexford, and Wicklow, Leinster takes up much of southeast Ireland.
So, if you’re hoping to explore this incredible province, here is everything you need to include on your Leinster bucket list.
28. River Shannon from Athlone Town, Co. Westmeath – a stunning stretch of Ireland’s longest river
The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland at 360.5 km (224 miles). The stretch from Athlone Town is an amazing part of the river.
Certainly a sight to see and a must on your Leinster bucket list!
Address: Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland
27. Molly Malone, Co. Dublin – an iconic Dublin statue
‘Molly Malone’ (also known as ‘Cockles and Mussels’ or ‘In Dublin’s Fair City’) is a popular song set in Dublin, Ireland, which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin City.
The then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe, unveiled the Molly Malone statue on Grafton Street during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, declaring 13 June as Molly Malone Day.
The Jury’s Hotel Group presented the statue to the city to mark the Millennium.
Address: Suffolk St, Dublin 2, D02 KX03, Ireland
26. Newgrange, Co. Meath – a famous prehistoric monument
Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, about 1 km (0.62 miles) north of the River Boyne. It was built about 3200 BC, during the Neolithic period, making 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.
Many disagree about what the site was used for, but speculation says that it had religious significance. It is aligned with the rising sun, and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice.
It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth. As such, Newgrange is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Address: Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland
25. Trim Castle, Co. Meath – a fantastic Norman castle
Trim Castle is a Norman castle on the south bank of the River Boyne in Trim, County Meath.
Over a period of 30 years, Hugh de Lacy built it with his son Walter as the caput of the Lordship of Meath. The castle is noted for its part in the Mel Gibson directed film Braveheart.
Address: Castle St, Trim, Co. Meath, C15 HN90, Ireland
24. Proleek Dolmen, Cooley Peninsula, Co. Louth – a must-add to your Leinster bucket list
The megalithic dolmen at Proleek, located in the legendary Cooley Peninsula, is one of the finest examples in Ireland and is widely photographed and documented.
Access to the dolmen is through the grounds of a hotel then across a golf course, but it is well worth a visit. Nearby is a wedge tomb or gallery grave.
Address: Proleek, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland
23. Wheat, Collon, Co. Louth – a look into Ireland’s agricultural past
Experiencing the amazing wheat in County Louth is a reminder of the enormous role agriculture has played in the history of Ireland. The beauty of a wheat field is amazing.
Address: Collon, Co. Louth, Ireland
22. Birr Castle, Co. Offaly – a large, historic castle
Birr Castle is a large castle in the town of Birr in County Offaly. It is the home of the seventh Earl of Rosse, and as such, the residential areas of the castle are not open to the public.
However, the grounds and gardens of the demesne are publicly accessible.
Address: Townparks, Birr, Co. Offaly, Ireland
21. The Abbey at Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly – for 1500 years of history
The monastery of Clonmacnoise is situated in County Offaly, Ireland, on the River Shannon, south of Athlone.
St. Ciarán, a young man from Rathcroghan, County Roscommon, founded Clonmacnoise in 544. Until the 9th-century, it had close associations with the kings of Connacht.
The strategic location of the monastery helped it become a major centre of religion, learning, craftsmanship, and trade by the 9th-century. Together with Clonard, it was the most famous in Ireland, visited by scholars from all over Europe.
From the 9th– until the 11th-century, it was allied with the kings of Meath. Many of the high kings of Tara and Connacht were buried here.
Address: Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly, N37 V292, Ireland
20. River Liffey, Co. Dublin – the iconic city river
The Liffey is a river in Ireland that flows through Dublin’s centre. Its major tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle, and the River Camac.
The river supplies much of Dublin’s water and plays host to a range of recreational opportunities.
Address: River Liffey, Co. Dublin, Ireland
19. Trinity College, Co. Dublin – Dublin’s iconic university
Trinity College in Dublin is arguably the most prestigious university on the island of Ireland.
The architecture on the campus is spectacular and historic. It is also home to the Book of Kells. The campus is always full of tourists. It is a university like no other!
Address: College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
18. Kilmainham Gaol, Co. Dublin – an informative tour
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison located in Kilmainham in Dublin, which is now a museum. The Office of Public Works (OPW), an Irish government agency, has run the site since the 1980s.
Kilmainham Gaol played an essential part in Irish history. Many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed in the prison by the British and in 1923 by the Irish Free State.
Address: Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland
17. Ha’penny Bridge, Co. Dublin – a stunning photo opportunity
The Ha’penny Bridge, known later for a time as the Penny Ha’penny Bridge, and officially the Liffey Bridge, is a pedestrian bridge built in 1816 over the River Liffey in Dublin.
Made of cast iron, the bridge was cast at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, England.
Address: Bachelors Walk, North City, Dublin, Ireland
16. Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin – a historic castle just outside Dublin City
Malahide Castle, parts of which date to the 12th-century, lies, with over 260 acres of remaining estate parkland close to the village of Malahide, 14.5 km (9 miles) north of Dublin in Ireland.
The estate began in 1185, when Richard Talbot, a knight who accompanied Henry II to Ireland in 1174, was granted the ‘lands and harbour of Malahide’.
The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 12th-century. It was home to the Talbot family for 791 years, from 1185 until 1976. The only exception was 1649 to 60 when Oliver Cromwell granted it to Miles Corbet after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
Corbet was hanged following the demise of Cromwell, and the castle was restored to the Talbots. The building was notably enlarged in the reign of Edward IV, and the towers were added in 1765.
The estate survived such losses as the Battle of the Boyne when 14 members of the owner’s family sat down to breakfast in the Great Hall and all were dead by evening, and the Penal Laws, even though the family remained Roman Catholic until 1774.
Address: Malahide Demesne, Malahide, Co. Dublin, K36 C432, Ireland
15. Stradbally, Co. Laois – a quaint and picturesque town
Stradbally is a picturesque town in County Laois, located in the midlands of Ireland along the N80 road, a National Secondary Route, about 12 km (7 miles) from Portlaoise.
It is known as the birthplace of motor racing, the Steam Rally, and Electric Picnic. Stradbally is a must for your Leinster bucket list.
Address: Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland
14. Mount Usher Gardens, Co. Wicklow – a beautiful floral garden
Mount Usher is among Ireland’s most loved gardens by both professionals and the wider public.
The gardens were first planted in 1868 in the Robinsonian style, named after the Irish garden designer William Robinson, who emphasised informal planting in harmony with the natural setting of the garden.
Address: Ashford, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
13. Wicklow Mountains, Co. Wicklow – one of the most scenic places in Ireland
The Wicklow Mountains form the largest continuous upland area in Ireland. They occupy the whole centre of County Wicklow and stretch outside its borders into Counties Carlow, Wexford, and Dublin.
Where the mountains extend into County Dublin, many know them locally as the Dublin Mountains. The highest peak is Lugnaquilla at 3,035 ft (925 m).
Address: Laragh West, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
12. Powerscourt Gardens, Co. Wicklow – one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland
Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow is one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland. The gardens were laid out over two main periods, and many of the people involved in their creation and development never saw the gardens completed in their lifetime.
When the house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the surrounding grounds were also remodelled.
The design reflected the desire to create a garden that was part of the wider landscape. And what a view it is!
Formal tree plantations framed the vista from the house to the north, while a walled garden, fish pond, cascades, grottos, and terraces lay to the south.
Walks wound through the wooded grounds, and a fine tree-lined avenue was created. Today, hundreds of beech trees will guide your visit when you arrive at the tree-lined avenue today.
Address: Powerscourt Demesne, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
11. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow – for the Valley of the Two Lakes
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.
Address: Lugduff, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
10. Avoca, Co. Wicklow – a beautiful small town
Avoca is a beautiful small town near Arklow, in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is situated on the River Avoca and lies on the R752 regional road linking Rathnew with Woodenbridge.
Bus Éireann route 133 serves the village from Dublin (66 km/41 miles) and Wicklow (21 km/13 miles) to Arklow (10 km/6.2 miles), with two departures in each direction every day from Monday to Saturday and one each way on Sundays.
Address: The Old Courthouse, Main St, Kilmagig Lower, Avoca, Co. Wicklow, Y14 Y5D9, Ireland
9. The Tholsel and Main Street, Co. Kilkenny – a must for your Leinster bucket list
Kilkenny is a city located in the southeast part of Ireland and the county town of the eponymous County Kilkenny. It is built on both banks of the River Nore in the province of Leinster. Kilkenny is a popular tourist destination.
In 2009, the City of Kilkenny celebrated its 400th year since the granting of city status in 1609.
Kilkenny’s heritage is evident in the city and environs, including the historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral and round tower, and Rothe House.
Other sights to see include Shee Alms House, Black Abbey, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. Francis Abbey, Grace’s Castle, and St. John’s Priory.
Many regard Kilkenny for its culture with craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens, and museums.
Address: Gardens, Kilkenny, R95 K851, Ireland
8. Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny – an important piece of Irish history
William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, built this fantastic castle in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways.
It was a symbol of Norman occupation. In its original 13th-century condition, it would have formed an important element of the town’s defences with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today on the Parade.
Address: The Parade, Collegepark, Kilkenny, R95 YRK1, Ireland
7. River Nore, Co. Kilkenny – a long river in southeast Ireland
The River Nore is a 140 km (87 miles) long river located in the southeast of Ireland. Along with the River Suir and River Barrow, it is one of the constituent rivers of the group known as the Three Sisters.
The river drains approximately 2530 sq km (977 sq miles) of Leinster. The river rises in the Devil’s Bit Mountain, County Tipperary. Flowing generally southeast, and then south, before emptying into the Celtic Sea at Waterford Harbour.
Address: River Nore, Ireland
6. River Barrow, Co. Kilkenny – the second-longest river in Ireland
The Barrow is a river in Ireland. It is one of The Three Sisters, the other two being the River Suir and the River Nore. The Barrow is the longest of the three rivers.
At 192 km (119 miles), it is the second-longest river in Ireland, behind the River Shannon.
Address: River Barrow, Ireland
5. The Lake and Altamont Gardens, Co. Carlow – the most romantic gardens in Ireland
Known as the most romantic garden in Ireland, Altamont is an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens located on a 100-acre estate.
Whilst still little known, it ranks in the top ten of Irish gardens and is often referred to as ‘the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown’.
Address: Altamont, Co. Carlow, R93 N882, Ireland
4. Milford Mills, Co. Carlow – one of the must-visit locations on your Leinster bucket list
The Alexander family fouded Milford in 1790 before a fire totally destroyed it in 1862. It has recently been refurbished and stands beside the River Barrow in County Carlow.
Address: Cloghristick, Co. Carlow, Ireland
3. Wexford City, Co. Wexford – for a glimpse into Ireland’s Viking and Norman past
At first glance, Wexford (Loch Garman) appears a sleepy port town with a silted estuary that sees considerably less traffic than Waterford and Rosslare Harbour.
However, there are reminders of its glorious Viking and Norman past in the meandering lanes off Main Street, as well as some medieval monuments. It’s a pleasant pause if you’re looking for an urban break from the coast.
Address: Wexford, County Wexford, Ireland
2. Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford – for stunning grounds and gardens
Daniel Robertson, who is famed for the gardens at Powerscourt in County Wicklow, designed the spectacular ornamental grounds and gardens surrounding the 19th-century castle.
Address: Johnstown, Murntown, Co. Wexford, Ireland
1. Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford – one of the best things to include on your Leinster bucket list
Lonely Planet listed Hook as the number one Flashiest Lighthouse in the World!
Lighthouses have a magic and mysticism of their own, none more so than the 13th-century Hook Lighthouse. One of the top things to do and a great day trips from Wexford or Waterford!
Address: Hook Head, Churchtown, Co. Wexford, Ireland