28 Things To Do In Ireland

Things To Do In Ireland

Ireland is a treasure trove of experiences, brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are drawn to its vibrant cities, ancient landmarks, or stunning landscapes, Ireland offers a diverse range of activities that cater to all interests. From the iconic Cliffs of Moher to the enchanting Wild Atlantic Way, there is no shortage of things to do in Ireland. This guide will take you through some of the most exciting and unforgettable experiences the Emerald Isle has to offer, ensuring that your visit is as enriching and enjoyable as possible.

Things To Do In Ireland

  1. Explore the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most iconic natural attractions. Stretching for eight kilometers along the Atlantic coast in County Clare, these cliffs offer breathtaking views that you won’t forget.

Standing at 214 meters at their highest point, the cliffs provide a spectacular panorama of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, and even the mountains of Connemara on a clear day. The visitor center, built into the hillside, features informative exhibits about the history, geology, and wildlife of the area.

For the adventurous, walking paths along the cliff edge offer stunning photo opportunities. Birdwatchers will be thrilled by the variety of seabirds, including puffins, that nest here. The cliffs have also been featured in several films, including “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” making them a cultural as well as natural landmark.

  1. Visit the Giant’s Causeway

Located in Northern Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most unique natural wonders in the world. It consists of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.

Legend has it that the causeway was built by the giant Finn McCool to walk to Scotland. The hexagonal columns, some as high as 12 meters, create a surreal landscape that feels like stepping into another world.

The visitor center provides an engaging experience with interactive displays and a guided tour that delves into the geological and mythical origins of the site. For a closer look, you can walk down to the shore and wander across the tops of the columns. The surrounding area also offers beautiful coastal walks with breathtaking views of the rugged coastline.

  1. Discover Dublin’s History

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a city rich in history and culture. From medieval castles to vibrant pubs, there’s something for everyone.

Start your exploration at Trinity College, home to the ancient Book of Kells. This illuminated manuscript, dating back to the 9th century, is one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures. The Long Room library, where it is housed, is equally impressive with its grand architecture and collection of rare books.

Next, visit Dublin Castle, which has been at the heart of the city’s history since it was founded in the early 13th century. The State Apartments, with their lavish interiors, offer a glimpse into the past grandeur of Irish governance.

No trip to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Learn about the history of Ireland’s most famous beer, see the brewing process, and enjoy a pint with panoramic views of the city from the Gravity Bar.

  1. Explore the Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most scenic drives, encompassing 179 kilometers of stunning landscapes. It offers a mix of mountains, lakes, and coastal views, making it a must-do for nature lovers.

Starting from Killarney, the route takes you through charming villages like Kenmare and Sneem. Each stop offers unique attractions, such as the Staigue Fort, a well-preserved Iron Age stone fort, and the Derrynane House, the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, a key figure in Irish history.

The Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass, offers one of the most dramatic landscapes on the route. Here, you can hike, bike, or take a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride.

For an unforgettable experience, take a boat trip from Portmagee to Skellig Michael, a remote island with a well-preserved early Christian monastery. This UNESCO World Heritage site is also known for its appearance in the “Star Wars” films.

  1. Visit the Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel, also known as St. Patrick’s Rock, is one of Ireland’s most important historical sites. Perched on a limestone hill in County Tipperary, this medieval complex includes a round tower, a high cross, a Romanesque chapel, and a Gothic cathedral.

According to legend, the Rock of Cashel is where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster to Christianity in the 5th century. The site’s impressive architecture and historical significance make it a must-visit.

The Cormac’s Chapel, with its intricate carvings and frescoes, is one of the highlights. The panoramic views from the top of the hill, overlooking the lush Tipperary countryside, are breathtaking.

The visitor center offers guided tours that provide a deep dive into the history and legends associated with the site. The Rock of Cashel also hosts cultural events and performances, bringing its ancient walls to life with music and storytelling.

  1. Experience the Aran Islands

The Aran Islands, located off the west coast of Ireland, are known for their rugged beauty and traditional Irish culture. The three islands – Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer – offer a glimpse into a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries.

Inishmore, the largest of the islands, is home to the ancient fort of Dun Aonghasa. Perched on a cliff edge, the fort offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The island’s landscape is dotted with stone walls, thatched cottages, and ancient churches.

Biking is a popular way to explore the islands, with rental bikes available at the ferry ports. The islands are also known for their traditional crafts, particularly Aran sweaters, which you can buy directly from local knitters.

The islands offer a peaceful retreat from the modern world, with traditional music sessions in local pubs and a slower pace of life. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins or enjoying the natural beauty, the Aran Islands provide a unique and authentic Irish experience.

  1. Wander Through Galway City

Galway, located on Ireland’s west coast, is a vibrant city known for its arts scene, lively pubs, and historic sites. It’s the perfect place to experience traditional Irish culture and hospitality.

Start your visit in Eyre Square, a central public park surrounded by shops, cafes, and pubs. The Spanish Arch, built in the 16th century, is a remnant of the city’s medieval walls and a popular spot for photos.

Galway’s Latin Quarter is a must-visit, with its narrow streets lined with colorful shops, restaurants, and bars. The area is known for its lively atmosphere, especially during the summer when the Galway International Arts Festival takes place.

For a dose of history, visit St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, founded in 1320, and the nearby Galway City Museum, which offers exhibits on the city’s rich heritage. The Salthill Promenade, a scenic walk along the coast, is perfect for a leisurely stroll with beautiful views of Galway Bay.

Galway is also a gateway to the Connemara region, known for its wild landscapes, and the Aran Islands, making it an excellent base for exploring the west of Ireland.

  1. Experience the Magic of the Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula, located in County Kerry, offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland. With its rugged coastline, sandy beaches, and charming villages, it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking tranquility.

The town of Dingle is a great starting point, known for its colorful buildings, lively pubs, and the friendly dolphin, Fungie, who has been a local celebrity for decades. Boat trips are available to see Fungie and explore the surrounding waters.

Slea Head Drive is a must-do, a circular route that takes you along the coastline with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Blasket Islands, and ancient archaeological sites. The Gallarus Oratory, an early Christian church, is one of the highlights.

For those interested in hiking, Mount Brandon offers challenging trails with rewarding views from the summit. The peninsula is also known for its traditional music, and you can often find live sessions in local pubs.

Whether you’re exploring historical sites, enjoying the natural beauty, or immersing yourself in local culture, the Dingle Peninsula offers an unforgettable experience.

  1. Explore the Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way is a spectacular coastal route that stretches for over 2,500 kilometers along Ireland’s west coast. It is the longest defined coastal drive in the world, offering an array of stunning landscapes, quaint villages, and cultural experiences.

The route begins in County Donegal in the north and ends in County Cork in the south. Along the way, you can stop at countless attractions, including the Slieve League Cliffs, which are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, and the charming town of Westport, known for its picturesque streets and lively music scene.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy activities such as surfing in Bundoran, hiking in Connemara National Park, and whale watching off the coast of Cork. The route is also dotted with historical sites, like the ancient ring forts on the Dingle Peninsula and the medieval Bunratty Castle.

Whether you’re driving, cycling, or walking, the Wild Atlantic Way offers an immersive experience of Ireland’s natural beauty and cultural richness.

  1. Discover the Burren

The Burren, located in County Clare, is a unique landscape of limestone karst that looks almost lunar. This area is rich in archaeological sites, rare flora, and fascinating geology.

One of the highlights of the Burren is the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a Neolithic portal tomb that dates back to around 3000 BC. This ancient site offers a glimpse into Ireland’s prehistoric past.

The Burren National Park is perfect for hiking, with several marked trails that take you through diverse habitats, from rocky pavements to lush valleys. The Burren’s unique microclimate supports a variety of rare plants, including Arctic-alpine and Mediterranean species.

Don’t miss the Burren Perfumery, where you can learn about the local plants and their use in natural perfumes and cosmetics. The nearby village of Ballyvaughan offers charming accommodations and traditional Irish pubs.

  1. Visit the Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast is a world-class visitor attraction located on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where the Titanic was built. This interactive museum tells the story of the Titanic, from its conception to its tragic sinking.

The museum’s nine interactive galleries use state-of-the-art technology to bring the Titanic story to life. You can explore detailed replicas of the ship’s cabins, walk through a virtual tour of the ship, and learn about the lives of the people who built and sailed on her.

The museum also covers Belfast’s maritime history and the industrial heritage of the early 20th century. The SS Nomadic, the last remaining White Star Line vessel, is docked nearby and open to visitors, offering a further glimpse into the Titanic’s era.

  1. Experience the Kilkenny Arts Festival

The Kilkenny Arts Festival, held every August, is one of Ireland’s premier arts events. It brings together world-class artists in music, theatre, literature, and visual arts for ten days of performances and exhibitions.

Set in the medieval city of Kilkenny, the festival makes use of the city’s historic buildings as unique venues. You can attend concerts in the stunning Kilkenny Castle, watch plays in ancient churches, and view art exhibitions in charming townhouses.

The festival features a mix of traditional Irish and contemporary performances, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Street performances, workshops, and family-friendly events make it a vibrant and inclusive celebration of the arts.

  1. Tour the Jameson Distillery

The Jameson Distillery, located in Midleton, County Cork, offers a fascinating tour for whiskey enthusiasts. The distillery, founded in 1825, is where Jameson Irish Whiskey has been produced for over 200 years.

The guided tour takes you through the history of Jameson, the distillation process, and the story of John Jameson, the brand’s founder. You’ll see the old distillery buildings, copper pot stills, and warehouses where the whiskey matures.

The tour ends with a tasting session where you can sample different Jameson whiskeys and learn how to appreciate their distinct flavors. For a more immersive experience, you can join a whiskey blending class or a cocktail-making workshop.

  1. Explore Glendalough

Glendalough, located in County Wicklow, is a glacial valley known for its stunning scenery and early medieval monastic settlement. Founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, Glendalough is one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites.

The site features a well-preserved round tower, several churches, and a visitor center with exhibits on the history of the settlement. The surrounding area is perfect for hiking, with several trails that take you through the scenic Wicklow Mountains.

The Spinc Ridge trail offers spectacular views of the valley and its two lakes. The shorter Green Road walk is a gentler option that still provides beautiful vistas. Glendalough is a peaceful retreat where you can enjoy nature and reflect on Ireland’s rich spiritual heritage.

  1. Visit the National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland, with its various branches in Dublin, offers a comprehensive look at Ireland’s history, culture, and natural heritage. Each branch focuses on a different aspect, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about Ireland.

The Archaeology branch on Kildare Street houses treasures from Ireland’s ancient past, including the famous Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch. The Natural History branch, known as the “Dead Zoo,” features a vast collection of animals, fossils, and minerals.

The Decorative Arts and History branch at Collins Barracks explores Ireland’s social, political, and military history, while the Country Life branch in County Mayo showcases rural life in Ireland from the 1850s to the 1950s.

Each museum offers engaging exhibits and interactive displays, making them ideal for visitors of all ages.

  1. Visit the Glens of Antrim

The Glens of Antrim, located in Northern Ireland, consist of nine scenic glens that offer some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country. Each glen has its unique character and attractions.

The most famous is Glenariff, often called the “Queen of the Glens,” known for its waterfalls and forest trails in Glenariff Forest Park. Here, you can hike along well-marked trails that offer stunning views of the glen’s lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls.

Other notable glens include Glenarm, with its historic castle and walled garden, and Cushendun, a charming village with picturesque coastal views and caves used in the filming of “Game of Thrones.” The Antrim coast is also renowned for its dramatic cliffs and serene beaches, perfect for a peaceful retreat.

  1. Explore Newgrange

Newgrange, located in County Meath, is one of the most significant prehistoric sites in Europe. This ancient passage tomb, built around 3200 BC, is older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza.

The tomb is famous for its Winter Solstice alignment, where sunlight illuminates the inner chamber at sunrise. Guided tours of Newgrange provide insights into its construction, history, and the people who built it.

The visitor center offers detailed exhibits about the Neolithic culture and the construction techniques used to build Newgrange. Nearby, you can also visit the smaller but equally fascinating tombs of Knowth and Dowth, which are part of the Brú na Bóinne complex.

  1. Experience the Burren Smokehouse

The Burren Smokehouse, located in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, is a must-visit for food enthusiasts. This family-run business has been smoking fish since 1989, using traditional methods to produce high-quality smoked salmon, trout, and mackerel.

A visit to the Smokehouse includes a tour of the production facilities, where you can learn about the smoking process and the history of the business. The on-site shop offers a chance to sample and purchase their delicious products, which make great souvenirs or gifts.

The Smokehouse also promotes sustainable fishing practices and local ingredients, making it a great example of Ireland’s commitment to preserving its culinary heritage.

  1. Visit the Skellig Islands

The Skellig Islands, located off the coast of County Kerry, are a UNESCO World Heritage site known for their rugged beauty and early Christian monasteries. The larger island, Skellig Michael, is home to a well-preserved monastery that dates back to the 6th century.

The island’s steep steps lead to the monastery, which includes beehive huts, oratories, and a church. The views from the top are breathtaking, offering a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Boat tours to the Skellig Islands depart from Portmagee, providing an opportunity to see these remote and mystical islands up close. The islands are also a sanctuary for seabirds, including puffins and gannets, making them a haven for birdwatchers.

  1. Tour the Wicklow Mountains

The Wicklow Mountains, located just south of Dublin, offer a stunning natural escape with rolling hills, deep valleys, and picturesque lakes. The area is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which provides numerous outdoor activities.

Hiking is one of the most popular activities, with trails ranging from easy walks to challenging treks. The Wicklow Way is a long-distance trail that covers 129 kilometers, offering diverse landscapes and spectacular views.

For a shorter hike, visit Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Ireland, located in the beautiful Powerscourt Estate. The estate also features a magnificent house and gardens, perfect for a leisurely day trip.

The Sally Gap and the Military Road offer scenic drives through the heart of the mountains, with stops at iconic sites like Lough Tay (the Guinness Lake) and Glenmacnass Waterfall.

  1. Visit the Rock of Dunamase

The Rock of Dunamase, located in County Laois, is a spectacular hilltop fortress that offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The ruins date back to the early medieval period and have a rich history associated with various Irish kings and Norman invaders.

Exploring the ruins, you can imagine the strategic importance of this site, which overlooks the fertile plains of Laois. The site is free to visit and less crowded than more famous attractions, providing a peaceful and atmospheric experience.

The Rock of Dunamase is also a great spot for photography, with its dramatic ruins set against the backdrop of rolling hills and valleys.

  1. Enjoy a Traditional Irish Music Session

Ireland is renowned for its traditional music, and there’s no better way to experience it than by attending a live session in a local pub. Many towns and cities across Ireland host regular music sessions where local musicians gather to play traditional tunes.

Some of the best places to enjoy traditional Irish music include Doolin in County Clare, known as the traditional music capital of Ireland, and Galway, with its lively pubs and street performers.

Dublin’s Temple Bar area is also famous for its vibrant music scene, with numerous pubs offering live music every night. These sessions provide an authentic taste of Irish culture and are a great way to meet locals and enjoy the convivial atmosphere.

  1. Visit the National Gallery of Ireland

The National Gallery of Ireland, located in Dublin, houses an extensive collection of Irish and European art. The gallery’s impressive collection includes works by renowned artists such as Caravaggio, Vermeer, and Jack B. Yeats.

The gallery is free to enter, making it an accessible cultural experience for all visitors. The collection spans from the Middle Ages to the present day, with highlights including Caravaggio’s “The Taking of Christ” and Vermeer’s “Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid.”

The gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and events, providing a dynamic and engaging experience for art lovers.

  1. Explore the Connemara Region

Connemara, located in County Galway, is a region of wild beauty with rugged landscapes, scenic coastal roads, and charming villages. The area is known for its traditional Irish culture and stunning natural scenery.

Connemara National Park offers several walking trails that take you through bogs, heathlands, and woodlands, with views of the Twelve Bens mountain range. The Diamond Hill trail is particularly popular, offering panoramic views of the park and the surrounding countryside.

Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful Gothic Revival castle turned Benedictine monastery, is another highlight of Connemara. The abbey’s Victorian walled garden and lakeside setting make it a picturesque spot to explore.

  1. Visit Cobh

Cobh, located in County Cork, is a charming seaside town with a rich maritime history. It was the final port of call for the Titanic on its maiden voyage and has a deep connection to Ireland’s emigrant history.

The Cobh Heritage Centre offers exhibits on the town’s maritime and emigration history, including its role in the Titanic story. The nearby Titanic Experience Cobh provides an interactive tour that traces the steps of the passengers who boarded the ship here.

St. Colman’s Cathedral, with its towering spire, offers stunning views of the town and harbor. Cobh is also a great place to enjoy fresh seafood and take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront.


Ireland’s charm lies in its rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are exploring ancient ruins, driving along the dramatic coastlines of the Wild Atlantic Way, or immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere of its cities, there is an endless array of things to do in Ireland. Each experience, from the rugged landscapes of the Burren to the cultural vibrancy of Dublin, adds a unique thread to your journey through this captivating country. As you plan your visit, let these activities guide you to create unforgettable memories and truly experience the magic of Ireland.

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