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Top 8 Things to Do in Ireland

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Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland

Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland

With no shortage of wonderful things to do, this list gives you insight into the seven must-see places to explore and experience the wonders of Ireland.

Ireland is all charm, history, and delight with incredible hospitality. 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.

During your Irish adventures, you will come to learn about the whimsical folklore in Cork and Dingle, uncover the history of Galway, embrace the spirit of Dublin, and more.

1. Uncover the Layers of Ireland’s Cultural History

Stone Age Passage Tomb at Newgrange in the Boyne Valley, Ireland.  Photo courtesy of Brian Morrison / Tourism Ireland

Stone Age Passage Tomb at Newgrange in the Boyne Valley, Ireland. Photo courtesy of Brian Morrison / Tourism Ireland

History comes alive in Ireland as a place where cultural heritage lives. Rich in historic landmarks, prehistoric history, and active discovery, there is no shortage of places to explore. The depth of the past speaks for millennia and influences contemporary culture with experiences and folklore. The energy and spirit brought by the warmth of traditional culture delights with enchanting scenes from ancient burial grounds to aristocratic estates.

Best Places to Visit for Cultural History: Dublin | County Meath | County Tipperary | County Mayo | County Offaly | County Kilkenny

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

2. Find the Surprising Delights of Traditional Irish Flavors

Sea bass dish at Flanigan's Gastro Pub in Ireland

Sea bass dish at Flanigan's Gastro Pub in Ireland

While Irish cuisine may not be as famous as other European gastronomic traditions, the island abounds with fine seasonal ingredients. Both inside pub kitchens or while at Michelin-starred restaurants, there is much to enjoy around the table in Ireland. Helped by abundant river systems and the cold Atlantic Ocean, sweeping emerald hills, and historic distilleries, Ireland has crafted authentic, elegant, and memorable dishes that embrace local county flavors. Simple ingredients like oysters and cheese, salmon, and potatoes have helped bring acclaim to Ireland’s cooking traditions.

Best Places to Visit for Food: Cork | Dingle | Dublin | Galway | Waterford

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

3. Sample Tradition and Taste Innovation

Whiskey tasting at the Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland

Whiskey tasting at the Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland

Whiskey is a staple for Ireland, so if you are inclined, a tasting introduces you to an essential part of Irish culture. The Emerald Isle’s reputation for distilling some of the world’s finest whiskey brings insight to the past while revealing the diversity of flavors. With different production methods influenced by the mash to maturation, the water to the storing techniques, there is a distinguished nature of Irish whiskey that dates back to the 12th century.

Best Places to Visit for Whiskey: Dingle | Galway | County Carlow | Dublin | County Cork

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

4. Follow the Winding Irish Trails

Biking Inis Mor, Aran Islands, Ireland.  Photo courtesy of Garet McCormack / Fáilte Ireland/Tourism Ireland

Biking Inis Mor, Aran Islands, Ireland. Photo courtesy of Garet McCormack / Fáilte Ireland/Tourism Ireland

By far, Ireland is one of the best places in the world for cycling, with nearly 62,000 miles of roads that wind through stunning countryside with incredible geographic diversity. You can follow the trails along the untamed coast cliffs or ride through the misty woodlands. You might venture over the winding mountain routes or cross inland along the stretch of lush hills coupled with medieval cities, Gothic castles, and regal estates. Ireland is like a playground for cyclists giving you the satisfaction of both relaxing and challenging provinces to explore at your own pace.

Best Places to Visit for Cycling: Kingfisher Trail | Great Western Greenway | Rostrevor Route | Inis Mor Loop | Waterford Greenway

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

5. Embrace the Diversity of Cultural Artifacts

Celtic headstones at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum in Dublin, Ireland

Celtic headstones at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum in Dublin, Ireland

Irish museums connect ancient history to contemporary art, allowing you to enjoy the fabric of the island’s cultural heritage found across the country. Brimming with ancient treasures that span thousands of years, you can find the origins of island culture to the sovereignty of the Republic, the travails of Viking incursions to a timeline of the infamous famine. Each monument, artifact, and artwork add to Ireland’s penchant for telling fascinating stories.

Best Places to Visit for Museums: National Museum of Ireland - Archeology | National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History | Glasnevin Cemetery Museum | Medieval Museum | Hunt Museum

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

6. Explore Ireland’s Glamour and Drama

Ashford Castle in Ireland

Ashford Castle in Ireland

With more than 30,000 castles and castle ruins, Ireland is an exceptional destination to become deeply involved in the drama of the past. Medieval grounds show defensive strongholds preserved as bastions of specific eras or as partial remains that have crumbled with time. From luxurious renovations that have restored castles to their former glory to hidden fragments representing legendary battles, the castles in Ireland are indelibly linked to the national heritage and the allure of Irish culture.

Best Places to Visit for Castles: Bunratty Castle | Rock of Cashel | Dunluce Castle | Ashford Castle | Blarney Castle

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

7. Wander New and Exciting Trails

Hiking Connemara National Park in Ireland

Hiking Connemara National Park in Ireland

Hiking in Ireland will leave you amazed at the natural wonders that spread from the coastline to the hills, slowly revealing the spectacular beauty for which the island is known. The best trails dot the countryside and wind along the rolling hills, connecting to the jagged coastal cliffs, touching villages draped in pastels, and leading to hidden waterfalls. With 954 officially developed trails, it is easy to find the epic landscape or simply enjoy a casual stroll along the emerald hills.

Best Places to Visit for Hiking: MacGuillycuddy’s Reeks | Diamond Hill Loop | Torc Mountain | Gap of Dunloe | Dingle Way | Wicklow Way | Muckross Abbey Loop

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

8. Find the Pin in the Green

The 1st hole at Killeen Golf Course in Killarney, Ireland.  Photo courtesy of Killarny Golf and Fishing Club

The 1st hole at Killeen Golf Course in Killarney, Ireland. Photo courtesy of Killarny Golf and Fishing Club

Golf and Ireland are inextricably linked with some of the world’s most celebrated courses that have become must-see attractions in themselves. Each course possesses a wildly different personality that can show you regional character, the geographical diversity, and the local culture all at once. With more than 300 courses to choose from, you can experience golf’s traditions and innovations on renowned fairways or secret greens known mainly to locals, historic grounds dating back to the 19th century or brand new courses that focus as much on the scenery as on the game.

Best Places to Visit for Golf: Dublin | Cork | Killarney | Sligo | Dingle | Ballybunion

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

More Travel Tips & Information

Fanad Head Lighthouse in Donegal, Ireland

Fanad Head Lighthouse in Donegal, Ireland

Ireland is a mesmeric experience that gives you an escape into authentic culture intermingled with contemporary life. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly castle adventure or time on a celebrated golf course, coastal cliffs or classic folklore, Ireland gives you a touch of enduring natural charm easily reached with a variety of transportation options. You can find more helpful tips and hints in Zicasso’s Ireland Travel Guide. If you want to plan a trip, you can speak to an Ireland travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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