Visit Kilmainham Gaol Co Dublin An Insightful Experience
It might not seem like everyoneâs cup of tea to visit a jail in Dublin, but it is the perfect experience to learn about the countryâs history, making this one of the most fun things to do in Ireland for adults.
What was once a former prison is now a museum for tourists to come and see. On the top floor is an art gallery with paintings and sculptures made by the prisoners themselves.
It will take you back in time to learn more about the Easter Rising in 1916 and the civil war that took place in Ireland for many years.
If you dare, you can even step inside the cells of these civil war prisoners and see where they spent their last moments before execution. It might not be the most lively thing you do during your stay, but it will help you understand the countryâs turbulent past.
Have A Stroll Down Around Giants Causeway
Next on the list is a place where, according to legend, a giant by the name of Fionn mac Cumhaill began his quest to defeat a cocky Scottish giant.
An official Unesco World Heritage Site since 1986, the Giants Causeway was formed between 50 to 60 million years ago as a result of a volcanic eruption.
The eruption led to the creation of a corner of the world so incredibly unique that it has been nicknamed the 8th wonder of the world.
Those that visit will see some of the estimated 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that make up this natural masterpiece.
Seans Bar Athlone Co Westmeath A Pint In The Oldest Bar In The World
If you are interested in Irish pub culture and are wondering what to do in Ireland, then you need to go to the very centre of Ireland!
It is heartening to be able to say you had a pint in the oldest bar in the world and that is why it is a worthy place on our Irish Bucket List!
Address: 13 Main St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
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Kiss The Blarney Stone At Blarney Castle
âKissing the Blarney Stone is one of the most famous things to do in Ireland, as you can tell by the huge crowds of people queuing for the chance.
No one knows exactly how the Blarney stone came to possess itâs powers, though the results are undeniable.
All those that kiss it are given the gift of eloquence, otherwise known as âthe gift of the gabâ.
Numerous celebrities have visited and kissed the Blarney Stone, not least Winston Churchill in 1912, a man who went on to give some of historyâs most inspiring speeches.
As well as the castle itself, the grounds around Blarney are a part of a private estate that is well maintained and is a great spot to wander for an hour or so.
Off The Beaten Path And Explore A Bit Of Hidden Ireland
One of the best things to do in Ireland, in my opinion, is to step off the beaten track and experience a bit of hidden Ireland.
If you fancy seeing places like Doon Fort or other hidden tourist attractions in Ireland, like secret waterfalls, youre in for a treat, as Irelands home to plenty of them.
In our guide to the best hiddenplaces to visit in Ireland, youll find 35 very unique things to do in Ireland, some of which you hopefully wont have seen before.
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Marvel At The Rock Of Cashel
Itâs so hard to decide which of Irelandâs castles was my favourite, but the Rock of Cashel is definitely up there!
The inside is very nice, and itâs cool to visit and learn more about its history as the seat of Kings of Ireland for hundreds of years.
However, by far the best way to appreciate the Rock of Cashel is from a distance.
It really is breathtaking and itâs hard to realise how derelict it actually is when staring at it on approach.
TOP TIP: Rather than paying to park in their car park, you can stop in town where itâs much cheaper and walk in.
Head Out To Powerscourt Gardens
Escape the city for the day and head out for eight hours on a scenic tour in Glendalough and Powerscourt.
Walk through the Powerscourt House and see the Powerscourt, the tallest waterfall in Ireland121 meters of flowing water. Its home to a plethora of wildlife and a peaceful scene, to say the least!
After all that, youll be sure to return to Dublin more relaxed.
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Grab A Cone At Murphys Ice Cream
Cool off with a sweet treat at this tourist-favourite ice cream shop along Strand Street. The stores vibrant blue facade matches the bright cups the ice cream is scooped into, and Murphys has become so well-known theyve opened a second location nearby.
Murphys Ice Cream
The desserts are all-natural, and staff keep things simple by using free range eggs, fresh farm milk, sea salt sourced from Dingle sea water and even scraping vanilla beans by hand.
Murphys Ice Cream
Visit Foynes Flying Boat Museum
Did you know that Irelands first major airport was at Foynes in Limerick? Or that the Irish Coffee was invented there? At the incredibly fascinating Foynes Flying Boat Museum youll discover it all, including how the town of Foynes became a major global aviation hub from 1937 to 1945. You can also explore the inside of a life-size replica Boeing 314 Flying Boat, the only one of its kind in the world.
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Explore The Ring Of Kerry Route
Ring of Kerry | MemoryCatcher/Pixabay
Why is the Ring of Kerry so amazing? This spectacular driving route hits many of the best places to visit in Irelandtowns like Killarney and Kenmare, as well as awesome natural sights like the Torc Waterfall and the Skellig Islands. But honestly, the time in between sights is the best partmile after mile of ocean views, dramatic cliffs, and vibrant green pastures. Renting a car is an easy way to enjoy this breathtaking route, but you can also sign up for guided tours from Cork .
Pro tip: Pressed for time? We get it! Connect with a local who can tell you about the best sites to see along the Ring of Kerry.
Bend Of The Boyne County Meath
Bend of the Boyne is one of the most historically significant locations not just in Ireland, but also Europe.
This complex megalithic site predates even the Egyptian pyramids and its origins can be traced back to the Neolithic period during the 32nd century BC. Because of the rich history behind it, Bend of the Boyne has been designated as a World Heritage Site.
The most striking aspect about this attraction has to do with how it was built. It features an assortment of chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and grave passes constructed from a bewildering knowledge of astronomy and science that people in the past just could not have possibly possessed without divine help (or assistance from aliens and computers.
This is how unbelievably sophisticated the construction of the Bend of the Boyne is and youll need to pay the place a visit to see it for yourself.
During the winter solstice every year, a beam of light travels the entire length of the Newgrange passage grave, which is a sight you dont want to miss.
Its estimated that up to 200,000 people flock to see this unique sighting every year, with each tour taking only a maximum of 15 people into the tomb at any one time.
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Pay A Visit To Father Teds House In Clare
For any fans of Father Ted, a visit to Father Teds House in County Clare is a must for your Irish Bucket List. The house is known locally as Glenquin House, and is situated in a beautiful valley with Slieve na Glasha to the north and Mullagh Mor and its National Park to the south.
Open year round but you must book in advance. And dont forget to get your classic kicking Bishop Brennan up the ass photo.
Stay In A Historical Manor
Did you know there are tons of beautiful historical manors in Ireland you can stay at? The company, Irelands Blue Book, is the place to go to if you want to experience a premier and authentic Irish countryside getaway in a historic estate.
We enjoyed our stay at Coopershill HouseinSligo, Irelandduring our trip. Its one of the most best things to do if you love country landscape, history, antiques, and an experience that you just cant get at a regular hotel.
The home we stayed in felt like we were staying in a living museum filled with antiques and furniture passed down from generation to generation the house is immaculate and restored beautifully.
You cant help but be impressed that even the smallest details from photos to bathtubs in the home are antique. Staying here felt like taking a step back in time and an experience we wont forget.
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Where To Stay In Northern Ireland
Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is one of Northern Irelands most luxurious resorts. It is located on the beach on one side and Royal County Down Golf Links on the other. Its a great place to start exploring the Northeastern Coast.
Ballygally Castle Hotel is located on Causeway Coastal Route, Ballygally Castle, a 17th Century Castle overlooking Ballygally Bay. Ballygally Castle Hotel is a great base for exploring the Causeway Coast.
Causeway Hotel We loved staying here because it was so close to Giants Causeway. We could walk down at sunrise and at sunset avoiding all the tour buses and crowds.
Watermill Lodge Besides eating at Watermill Lodge, we also stayed overnight. Located on Lough Erne, it is a wonderful and luxurious country retreat.
An Old Rectory Guesthouse was originally a Church of Ireland rectory. It was built in 1896 to house the rector of St Johns, Malone. The Victorian-era property is situated in South Belfast, close to all transport links and onsite parking.
Get An Aran Jumper Straight From The Source
One of the most iconic and unique things to do in Ireland is track down an authentic Aran Wool sweater, or jumper as the locals say. The Aran Wool sweaters originate from the clans of the Aran Islands located off the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way.
The islands are still the place to visit in Ireland if you want to experience traditional Irish culture and villages that have barely changed with modern civilization.
The famous cream cable knit sweaters were worn by fishermen. They arent just for warmth either! Each clan in Ireland had their own cable knit pattern and it was said that this was used to identify fishermen whose bodies were recovered after lost at sea. But then there are those who say this was just a marketing ploy. Either way the sweaters are a cool souvenir from Ireland.
The best place to get an Aran Wool sweater is the source, the Aran Islands. I found mine from a local woman during our day trip to Inisheer who handknit the sweater over a 3-4 week period and was selling out of her house. She only had three at the time so I was lucky to nab one.
If you have any Irish heritage and want to find your familys clan cable knit you can check a few of the authentic shops one being the Aran Sweater Market in Killarney.
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Complete The Atlantic Drive
The Atlantic Drive is a short 20km-or-so route that takes you round one of the peninsulas in county Donegal.
Itâs naturally a part of the Wild Atlantic Way, so if you are following this then you will go along it anyway.
However the Atlantic Drive has gained notable fame in recent years as a great mini road trip if you are just visiting Donegal.
It only takes about an hour to do, and thatâs if you take it slow and stop about halfway round to enjoy lunch .
Search For The Wormhole On Inis Mr
A trip to the Aran Islands is never a bad idea and should you find yourself on Inis Mór, the largest of the three islands, be sure to check out one of Irelands most unique natural attractions.
Poll na bPéist, or the Wormhole, looks like it was carved out of the rocks but is actually completely natural. The rectangular pool is not the easiest spot to find, but there is some signage from the village of Gort na gCapall, which at least points you in the general direction of it. I cant make it too easy on you, as finding it is all part of the adventure!
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Go Mountain Biking In Ballyhoura
Hop on your bike and plan a day on the Ballyhoura mountain biking trails on the borders of Limerick, Cork and Tipperary. As one of the best places to go mountain biking in Ireland, there are trails for all levels and abilities. Blast down technical trails or spend a day exploring the entire network. For those without a bike, there are bike rental shops nearby.
Walk Along The Slieve League Cliffs In Donegal
To many people, Slieve League is the older, more rugged brother to the Cliffs of Moher. They are certainly less tamed, with no fences, no visitor centre and no tour guides.
They are also, in my opinion, a lot more spectacular, when the weather is crap and this sea mist creeps in over the cliffs hiding the sheer drop below. They are also one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe and and when you get there you will see that Slieve League is more of a mountain by the sea than simply cliffs. Well worth the trek to Donegal.
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Kilmainham Gaol Co Dublin Irelands Most Famous Prison
No one place in Irish has as much history of Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. It is one of the most famous jails in the world and definitely Irelands most notorious prison.
The walls of this prison have held some of Irelands most prominent leaders and those who evoked political change throughout Irish history.
The prison has also been used in many films, including the original Italian Job and In the Name of the Father.
Wed highly recommend the daily tours to anyone, especially Irish history enthusiasts.
Address: Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland
Walk On Through Gap Of Dunloe: Irelands Most Beautiful Spot
Possibly my favourite thing to do in Ireland was visiting the Gap of Dunloe.
When you think of rural Ireland, you think of green hills, rolling valleys and wee leprechauns jumping around.
Well, as the manager at our campsite in Killarney put it,
âIf Leprechauns were to live anywhere in Ireland, then the Gap of Dunloe is where you would find them.â
And itâs safe to say we werenât let down!
Itâs possible to walk the whole way through it, taking you the best part of 2 hours each way.
Whatâs great is that the further you walk down, the better it gets, with the landscape ever-changing.
Put it this way, if you have time to head anywhere near Killarney, then one of the things you must see in Ireland is the Gap of Dunloe.
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Drive Round The Dingle Peninsula
Once again, the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland is another driving opportunity almost as wondrous as the Ring Of Kerry.
If youâre a fan of photography, then youâll love the Dingle Peninsula, as all around are laybys to stop off at and capture shots of crashing waves hitting the rugged cliffs.
In fact, the views are so great the whole way round, that itâs hard to actually drive without wanting to keep stopping to take photos!
Visit One Of The Many Castles In Ireland
Irelands home to an almost endless number of castles and theyre at the top of the must see in Ireland list for many of those that visit.
In our guide to the best Irish castles, youll get an insight in the many different castles that you can find in Ireland along with which ones we think are most worth visiting.
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Capture Some Magic At The National Leprechaun Museum
The Irish people are famous for their folklore and storytelling, and the National Leprechaun Museum has some of the finest examples around town. It has great exhibits and tours that teach you all about the magic side of Irish history.
There are daytime tours for the young ones and nighttime tours for adults and those who want a spookier and darker take on Irish folklore.
Live Like The Locals At The Hairy Lemon
One of the most famous pubs in Dublin, the Hairy Lemon is a great place to feel like a local Irishman. Order a pint of Guinness, watch the local sport or even jig to some traditional Irish music.
It is where all the locals will be on a weekend or even during a lunch break, so make sure to keep your eyes open for some great people watching!
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