Everyone is familiar with the rugged coastline of Ireland and its world famous Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route. However, there are many beautiful sights to explore inland. This article outlines the Top 10 sights to see inland that most people won’t be familiar with.
10. Rínn-Dún Disserted Medieval Town, Co. Roscommon
There are very few places within Ireland that even the locals are not familiar with. This “Town-in-Ruins” date’s back the 13th Century and at the height if its history approximately 1000 people live there. However for an unknown reason the village was abandoned and left to ruin making it only known to the people of the closest existing town. This abandoned medieval village is perfect for the “Off the Beaten track” tourist. It has no visitor center or guided tours. Finding it can even be difficult as you need to travel down a small road and then walk through several fields just to get there.
9. Carrowkeel Megalithic passage tombs, Co. Sligo
This is another spectacular off the beaten track experience for those who like to be adventurous and get tired of the typical visitor center/tour guide experience. Located on the hills of County Sligo you find 14 passage tombs from the Megalithic age all dotted in close proximity to each other the first of which was only excavated in 1911 by Robert Lloyd Praeger who documented this find in his book “The Way That I went”.
8. Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo
Beside the town of Westport is a very popular attraction for the Irish themselves. If you are looking for an attraction that not many tourists visit and you want to mix with the Irish themselves ten this you your number one. The mountain is tied to the Patron Saint of Ireland Saint Patrick. He is said to have banished all the snakes from Ireland atop this mountain and also completed a 40 day fasting from food here. Its religious importance is so strong they even have a small church at the very top.
7. Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry
Near the town of Killarney you can find largest mountain in Ireland. It is perfect for a camping weekend. Camping facilities are located near the base of the mountain. Allow plenty of time for this as it will take approximately 6 hours to complete.
6. Kylemore Abbey & Walled Victorian Gardens, Co. Galway
This iconic structure took 4 years to Build (1867 – 1871). It was built by a rich English businessman Michael Henry. Michael Henry and His Wife are now laid to rest on the same grounds. The Estate is so vast it’s hard to imagine that it reached 13000 acres. The castle is now used by the Benedictine nuns who live there. This will take you a full day so please allow time to enjoy and experience it in its fullest.
5. Leenane Village, Co. Galway
This is one of the most spectacular villages in Ireland. It is located in Connemara (A region where they speak Gaelic as their first language). This village consists of a few little cafes/restaurants and some pubs.
It is located right in the middle of a large glacial valley and lough. The town looks almost abandoned as there are so few people around. On your drive her be careful as there are sheep constantly on the main roads and the show no fear of cars.
4. Birr Castle, Co. Offaly
This amazing structure predates the 1500’s. One of its most prevalent features is the 12 Foot high walls that enclose it. Within the 50 acre grounds, you can find the world’s largest box hedges and over 2000 species of plants. This is well worth a visit for a romantic stroll through the Irish countryside.
3. The Burren, Co. Clare
This landscape is known as a Karst Landscape. The area is world famous and studied extensively as it is one of the very few places on the planet that is natively home to Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants. If you look in the right places you can also find Portal Dolmens.
2. Newgrange Passage Tomb, Co. Meath
This is one of Ireland most popular visitor attractions and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed approx. 3200 years ago making it older than the world famous Stonehenge and even the Great Pyramids of Giza.
The people who built this had the most mathematically advanced architecture you can find. It was built with one purpose in mind and this purpose draws thousands to it on one particular day of the year – The 21st of December (Winter Solstice).
Every year without fail the passage tomb lights up with the sun and illuminates the inside of the whole structure through one narrow passage. The only downside to this attraction is that it is constantly busy all year round.
1. Ben Bulben Co. Sligo
The famous Ben Bulben mountain is a must do before you die for Irish People. The view and mythology behind this mountain are hard to beat. From a scientific perspective, Ben Bulben is actually home to an Alpine flower known as “Sandworth” which would have existed within Ireland since the time woolly mammoths ruled Ireland