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Top 7 Must-See Places in Ireland

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Fanad Head Lighthouse in Donegal, Ireland

Fanad Head Lighthouse in Donegal, Ireland

Ireland is all charm, history, and delight with incredible hospitality and an endless list of must-see destinations. 

Charismatic villages rise from lush hills and stand out against the dramatic seaside while medieval castles bring to mind epic battles and rich history. Vibrant local culture brings music and stories, while the past makes itself known with breathtaking prehistoric monuments and preserved legends. 

With no shortage of wonderful things to see, this list is just the start.

1. Dublin

Hapenny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

Hapenny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin illustrates the way that  Ireland blends contemporary culture with cultural heritage. Once the British Empire’s Second City, Dublin has retained a sense of noble ambiance with graceful Georgian buildings and lush parks set against the winding banks of the River Liffey. The city is rich with personality steeped in 18th-century grandeur and hints of its Viking past while embracing the multiculturalism of a contemporary cosmopolitan city. The streets themselves reveal both celebrated traditions and the diversity of modern-day Ireland.

Highlights: Trinity College | St. Stephen’s Green | National Museum of Ireland | Guinness Storehouse | Chester Beatty Library

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | September | October

2. Cork

The town of Cobh, in County Cork, Ireland

The town of Cobh, in County Cork, Ireland

With 17th-century alleys, glamorous Georgian avenues, and the peaceful banks of the River Lee barely scratch the surface of Cork’s ability to embrace tradition and invention. Cafes, pubs, and restaurants offer some of Ireland’s finest food scattered on the island of the city’s historic center wedged between the river branches. With touches of Viking raids and English occupation, a deep sense of history prevails while giving way to a flourishing contemporary culture of revitalized streets, elegant waterfronts, and a captivating arts scene.

Highlights: The English Market | St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral | Fitzgerald Park | Cork City Gaol | Blarney Castle

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | September | October

3. Kerry

Muckross House in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland

Muckross House in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland

Kerry is not a singular destination but a county that contains incredible highlights. You can enjoy Ireland’s natural allure and charm as you move through bogs shrouded in mist and emerald farmland divided by historical stone walls. The dramatic surf pounds against the sea cliffs and mountain peaks pierce the skyline giving way to colorful shops and pubs roaring with traditional music. Killarney easily acts as a starting point for exploring the county, but whether you discover Iveragh Peninsula or Dingle Peninsula, beehive huts or prehistoric ring fortresses, Kerry embodies the exquisite beauty that makes Ireland such a popular destination.

Highlights: Kenmare | Skellig Michael | Killarney National Park | Derrynane National Historic Park | Templenoe | Killarney

Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | September | October

4. Dingle

View along Sea Head drive on the Dingle peninsula in Ireland

View along Sea Head drive on the Dingle peninsula in Ireland

Dingle is a quaint town, a stunning peninsula, and a microcosm of greater Ireland. Customary songs ring out of the pubs while shops shine with colorful facades set against the stoic coastline marked with fishing ports. Even in its popularity, Dingle remains an authentic place steeped in traditional culture with the hem of the peninsula marking the most westerly edge of the island. Untamed wilderness, surprisingly cosmopolitan cuisine, and a cozy ambiance, comforting tea, and vast stretches of golden sandy beach immerse you in an Ireland that feels like a familiar story.

Highlights: Dingle Distillery | An Diseart | Gallarus Oratory | Kilmalkedar Church | Reask Monastic Site

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | September | October

5. Limerick

King John's castle in Limerick, Ireland

King John's castle in Limerick, Ireland

Beyond the poetic form, Limerick is a captivating city that overtakes the banks of the River Shannon. With its medieval and Georgian architecture abounding, Limerick will delight you both as a charming historical center and as a gateway to the wonders of surrounding County Shannon. Antique castles, culture parks that preserve the essential regional heritage, and manor houses that speak to the elegance of the aristocracy each add a different alluring layer to the countryside of Limerick and Shannon.

Highlights: King John’s Castle | St. Mary’s Cathedral | Hunt Museum | Limerick City Gallery of Art | Frank McCourt Museum | Bunratty Castle

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | September | October

6. Galway

The Claddagh in Galway, Ireland

The Claddagh in Galway, Ireland

Galway is intimidating in its history and gorgeous in its architecture, with the medieval city feeling like an intimate metropolis. The city pulses with an upbeat rhythm as countless festivals take place throughout the year. Local chefs celebrate the regional style of cuisine while fragments of the medieval walls create a mysterious mixture of history and folklore. The antique city boasts a contemporary ambiance that brims with creative energy you have to experience to truly understand.

Highlights: Eyre Square | Galway Market | Galway City Museum | Spanish Arch | St. Nicholas’ Church

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | September | October

7. Donegal

Marlin Head landscape in Donegal, Ireland

Marlin Head landscape in Donegal, Ireland

Donegal is an essential part of the Wild Atlantic Way that easily sums up Ireland’s untamed beauty. Sensational cliffs soar over 1,968 feet tall, and the protected landscape of the national park spreads across jagged mountains with a legendary romantic trail. The county stands perched on the rugged northern coastline of cliffs and golden beaches escaping inwards into fantastical scenery of glassy lakes, Gaelic villages, and a labyrinth of legends navigated by an enduring storytelling tradition.

Highlights: Lough Eske | Donegal Castle | Glenveagh National Park | Malin Head | Mount Errigal | Fairy Bridges

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | September | October

How many days is enough to see Ireland?

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

Two weeks is the best timeframe for your Ireland trip to allow time to experience the true highlights of the country. For any trip to Ireland, you will want time to blend the highlights with some time off the beaten path to uncover some of the country's hidden treasures at a leisurely pace. Two weeks also gives you more time to travel into Northern Ireland where you can visit famous places like Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.

More Travel Information & Tips

Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland

Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland

Ireland is the image of spirit and tradition with evergreen hills, epic stories, and captivating must-see destinations. The different regions provide endless opportunities for unique things to do, like drinking Guinness in the factory or learning the art of falconry on a regal, visiting a dramatic castle or listening to the timeless legends of the landscape. For more information and tips, you can find our Ireland Travel Guide. If you would like to plan a trip, you can speak with an Ireland travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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