An Irish road trip is a must on many people’s bucket list. From the green luscious countryside, to the historical buildings and ruins, to the Guinness factory, there is so much to see and do. Here we have narrowed down 9 of the must see sights in Ireland.
1- The Book Of Kells
If you find yourself in Dublin then a visit to Trinity College is a must. Not only is it one of the oldest colleges in Ireland but it is also home to the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a manuscript containing the four Gospels and dates back to the 9th Century. Admission to see the book also includes a tour of the Old College Library, which in itself is fascinating. Definitely a must for any history lover.
2- The Blarney Stone
Where: County Cork
Built into the battlements of Blarney Castle is the Blarney Stone. It is a block of limestone, and rumour has it if you kiss it you will be given the gift of the gab. I should point out though that kissing the stone is no easy feat. For starters you have to get to the top of Blarney Castle. It is pretty narrow so if you don’t like tight spaces this might not be for you.
Once you are at the top you wait in line to kiss the stone. You need to lie on your back and hold onto two metal bars. Someone holds onto you as you lean right back to pucker up. It is not for the faint hearted as it is pretty high up, and I took one look and decided against it. Dave was far braver and actually managed to do it. But even it you can’t do it, a visit to the Castle is still worthwhile and walking through the Castle Gardens is certainly relaxing.
Where: County Wicklow
Renowned for its early medieval monastic settlement, Glendalough is the perfect day trip from Dublin. It was founded in the 6th century by St Kevin, and remains a popular tourist destination today. You can visit the remains of the monastic settlement or take a walk around the lough. We thoroughly enjoyed walking around the water whilst gazing up at the rugged mountains.
You can read about our visit to Glendalough here.
4- The Ring of Kerry
Where: County Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a 179 km long circular tourist route which showcases some of the most beautiful sights Ireland has to offer. From its rugged mountains to its beautiful seaside towns, the Ring of Kerry has you covered. It takes about 4 hours to do the full drive, but realistically you need a good day to do it. You are going to want to stop a lot and take photos.
Read all about the drive here.
5- Rock of Cashel
Another historical site you have to see in Ireland is the Rock of Cashel, an archeological site based in Tipperary. Today you can explore the collection of medieval ecclesiastical buildings including the ruins of a Romanesque style chapel. We happened to stumble upon the chapel just as a choir were performing and the acoustics were just incredible. It is sights like this that remind you of how much history there really is in Ireland.
6- The Wild Atlantic Way
Where: The West Coast of Ireland
The Wild Atlantic Way is a driving route based around the Atlantic coast of Ireland. From County Cork to County Donegal this is the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. It might not be possible to drive the full route especially if your time in Ireland is limited, but we certainly recommend driving some of it. Highlights include the Cliffs of Moher as well as the coastal town of Sligo on the north west coast of Ireland.
Read about some of our highlights in the links below:
Exploring Sligo, Ireland’s best kept secret
Following the Sligo Wild Atlantic Way Route
7- Killarney National Park
Where: County Kerry
A lot of people visit Killarney before they embark on their adventures along the Ring of Kerry. Before you reach the Ring of Kerry you will reach Killarney National Park. There are so many incredible places to stop in the National Park and just walk around. Some of our highlights though had to be Torc Waterfall and Ladies View. Do take your time exploring the park, there is so much to see and it really is Ireland’s natural beauty at its finest.
8- Cliffs of Moher
Where: County Clare
So technically this is covered under the Wild Atlantic Way, but if you do not have time to drive along the coastal route then just visit the Cliffs of Moher. Made up of several vertical cliffs about 203 meters above the Atlantic Ocean the sight is popular with tourists year round. There are several walks you can take around the cliffs and they really are a must see in Ireland. Just don’t expect the weather to be perfect!
9- Guinness Storehouse
No trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Located at St James’ Gate in Dublin, the storehouse tells the story of the brewing process of Ireland’s most famous drink. The best thing is though as part of the tour you do get to sample some of that black gold. Even if you don’t like the taste of beer or stout (like me) you should still go. And as they say the Guinness always tastes better in Ireland anyway so it is worth a try.
For more Ireland bucket list inspiration checkout this post.