The map of the main Irish landmarks is literally the markers under which the “celebrities” of the world are hidden. There are dozens of medieval castles alone in the country, and there are also megalithic ancient structures, majestic cathedrals, museums with the richest expositions and, of course, natural beauties that overshadow all the creations of human hands. Gourmets, horse-riding fans, lovers of mysterious legends, and masters of art photography readily answer the question of what to see in Ireland.
TOP 15 attractions in Ireland
Cliffs of Moher
The majestic cliffs on the Atlantic coast are called cliffs, and the most famous of them are the Cliffs of Moher. They were formed under the influence of the surf and in some places reach 200 meters in height. The Rocky Wonder is located in County Clare in the west of the island. Cliffs of Moher is among the candidates for the title of Seven New Wonders of Nature and appears frequently on screen in fantasy films.
A complex for guests is open on the cliffs, which includes a news agency, picnic tables, souvenir shops and other necessary infrastructure.
- You can get to the cliffs from Dublin. Follow the train towards Galway or Limerick and then take the bus to Cliffs of Moher.
- A less difficult path is to buy a tour in Dublin. Day trips in groups include the Burren Plateau and the Cliffs of Moher. The cost starts from 40 euros.
An adult admission ticket to Cliff Moher costs € 6, children under 14 are eligible for free admission. The tourist center is open from 9 am daily.
Blarney Castle and the Speech Stone
Among all the castles in Ireland that tourists in love with chivalric romances would like to see, Blarney is the most popular. It was built in the 15th century by Dermot McCarthy, who was then the ruler of the historic province of Munster in the south of the country. Today these lands are part of County Cork.
The main attraction of Blarney Castle is the Stone of Speech, donated to the owner of the castle by King Edward II. The ancient relic is half of the Skunk Stone, which was used to crown the rulers of Scotland. The wonderful property of the Stone of Eloquence is its ability to reveal the gift of oratory in people. In order to get the priceless quality, the applicant must kiss the stone, hanging from the parapet in a special way. They say that the ritual is dangerous to life and health, but many daredevils do it every day. The skeptics are also supported by the fact that the stone is recognized as the most unhygienic attraction on the planet.
- The nearest town is the city of Cork, where buses, trains and even planes go from Dublin. In Cork, look for the Merchants Quay bus station, take bus 215 to the Blarny Village stop.
- Blarney Castle is open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm in summer and until 5:30 pm in winter. The cost of an adult ticket is 15 euros, there is a system of discounts for children, pensioners and families.
Before planning your trip, it is important to check the schedule of visits on weekends and holidays
Guinness Beer Museum
The number one attraction in Ireland, according to men, is the Guinness Beer Museum. This iconic Dublin establishment has long been the country’s most visited free attraction, hosting up to 700,000 guests annually.
Already from the official name of the museum “Brewery at the Gate of St. James” it follows that the excursion will be interesting, tasty and memorable for a long time. The museum is open daily from 9.30 am to 7 pm. You can get to Dublin’s most famous landmark by bus 123, which leaves every 10 minutes from O’Connell street or Dame street.
The Dingle Peninsula in the southwest of the island will appeal to tourists who cannot imagine traveling without beautiful landscapes. Here is the westernmost point of Ireland, Cape Dunmore Head. The coastline of the Atlantic in these places is heavily indented, cozy coves and bays form a bizarre pattern, and on the secluded sandy beaches you can sunbathe and watch birds.
The old Norman-style building is located in County Clare on the site of an ancient Viking camp. Powerful walls, loophole windows, carved turrets and an amazing emerald lawn give the impression that time has stopped, and you are in the distant Middle Ages. The castle is open daily from 9 am. Within its walls there is an exhibition of wood carved furniture and tapestries from the 15th century. The price of an adult admission ticket is 15 euros.
Most of the buildings at Dublin Castle date from the 18th century. The castle was built for defensive purposes, then served as a royal residence, and today it hosts official receptions of heads of foreign states and banquets. The castle houses the Chester Beatty Library, the largest collection of early printed books and art in the country, from jade books from the Chinese Imperial Palace to 2nd century biblical texts written on papyrus.
Immerse yourself in the gloomy atmosphere of a former Dublin prison, where many fighters for the independence of Ireland languished in the dungeons of the 18th and 20th centuries. Today, the Kilmanham building houses a museum on the history of Irish nationalism, and a local gallery displays paintings, sculptures and even jewelry made by prisoners. You will find the former prison on Inchicore road in Dublin.
Part of the unique area located in County Clare has been declared a national park. On the plateau, you will see not only dozens of ancient megalithic burials, but also underground caves. By the way, the caves are one of the most famous natural attractions in Ireland. Do not forget to look at the stalactites, the largest of which is nine meters long.
Rock of Cashel
This castle served as the seat of the Irish kings for several centuries until the Norman invasion. The protagonist of Irish history, Saint Patrick, who converted the local king to Christianity, preached here. Numerous sieges and battles, sustained by the inhabitants of the castle during its history, gave the right to consider the fortress a symbol of courage and fortitude of the Irish. Rock of Cashel is open to the public and is located in South Tipperary County in the south of the country.
The glacial valley is famous not only for its magnificent natural views, but also for the ancient monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. The monastery played an important role in the life of Ireland, and its founder is today revered by the Roman Catholic Church and is the patron saint of the Irish capital. He lived as a hermit, and a chapel named after St. Kevin has survived at Glendalough. In modern Ireland, the monastery is a place of pilgrimage. County Wicklow, where Glendalough is located, can be found in the east of the island.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The Church of St. Patrick, belonging to the Anglican Church, was erected in the XII century on the site of the holy source. It is the largest temple in Ireland, built in the early English Gothic style. The main relic of the cathedral is an old Celtic cross, found during the restoration. In the 16th century, the first public clock in Dublin was installed on the temple, which is still regularly counting the time. The high spire of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is visible from almost anywhere in the city center and is considered the hallmark of the Irish capital.
In the lists of national monuments of Ireland, which are worth seeing for all fans of ancient history, there is a structure called Newgrange. The construction of the megalithic cult tomb dates back to 2500 BC, and the attraction itself is part of the Brun-na-Boyne complex.
The dimensions of the structure are impressive, and the structure of the burial chamber itself resembles the English Stonehenge. Monoliths placed vertically in the form of a ring weigh from 20 to 40 tons, and the circle of stones at the entrance to the room is covered with ancient ornaments.
But the most amazing thing is the orientation of the tomb in space. The tunnel “looks” strictly towards the rising of the Sun, and on the days of the winter solstice, its rays penetrate to the inner chamber through a small window above the entrance.
- The complex is located 40 km north of the capital of Ireland. To see the ancient megaliths, you will have to travel from Dublin to the city of Drogheda (train or bus), where you change to the Bus Eireann bus, which runs to the Bru-na-Boyne tourist center twice a day.
- Entrance fees: 6 euros for an adult and 3 euros for schoolchildren.
It is more convenient and interesting to inspect the burial structure as part of an organized excursion. Groups are formed locally. The walk takes just over an hour.
Kylemore Castle in the west of Ireland is called the most romantic place in the country. A photo of a beautiful mansion on the shores of Lake Pollacappul has been replicated in millions of images on postcards and postage stamps. The castle was built by the Henry couple in the second half of the 19th century. The guides will tell you a touching story of their love, be sure to draw your attention to a small church built by an inconsolable widower in memory of his untimely deceased wife. Particularly striking is the interior decoration of the temple, the columns of which are made of various types of Irish marble. The abbey is located in Connemara in the west of Ireland.
Clonmiknois Monastery in County Offaly is not listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in the 6th century by St. Cyrian, who converted the first Christian supreme king of Ireland into the true faith. What to see on the territory of the monastery? Pay attention to the 12th century Romanesque church with a round tower called the Fingin Temple, the 8th century North Stone Cross and the small Kyrian Church, which is no more than a few meters in area. According to legend, the founder of the monastery was buried in it.
Cathedral of Saint Finbarr
The cathedral in the city of Cork is a beautiful structure in the neo-gothic style. It was erected in the 19th century on the site of a medieval cathedral destroyed by internecine wars. Today it is the seat of the bishop. The bell tower is decorated with chimes, and the interiors of the temple are decorated with gilded painting, stone carvings and skillfully made colored stained-glass windows.