Known as the ‘emerald isle’ due to its beautiful green scenic countryside, Ireland is home to an extensive selection of historical buildings and places of interest, outdoor and indoor pursuits, museums, zoos and amusement parks. Needless to say, there are plenty of things to do in Ireland and lots to see during your trip to the Country. The question is which attractions should you spend your time visiting?
Ireland is a complete beauty! Whatever the season, whether you visit in the summer or winter, there are some wonderful destinations that simply cannot be missed. From the wild drama of Donegal; the prehistoric monuments at Brú na Bóinne; the monastic legends at Glendalough; the Titanic Experience at Cobh; and the Guinness Tour in Dublin, there really is a surplus in culture to explore while staying in our Irish holiday cottages.
Not only that, the Irish are renowned for their hospitality and wherever you go you will discover a very warm and welcoming nation. Following any tour or trip, you simply must visit an Irish Pub. Every city, town or village will definitely have one and here that you’ll get to experience the true heart of Ireland, plus you’re more than likely to discover some Irish traditional folk music playing too.
Castles are something that Ireland has in abundance – in fact there are around a thousand of them. So if you’re looking for things to do in Ireland, no matter where you are staying, there is probably one on your doorstep. The only problem is most of the island’s castles are in ruins. Therefore if its turrets and medieval splendour you’re after, you may want to put one or two of these on your ‘to visit’ list.
Standing prominent with views over the Tipperary countryside is the Rock of Cashel, one of the Country’s most treasured historic sites, but if its legend you’re after, then ‘by gorrah’ you must kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in County Cork.
For large castles with impressive exteriors, in County Meath is Trim Castle which was used as a backdrop for the last scenes of the film Braveheart; and probably the most dramatic is Ross Castle at Killarney in County Kerry.
No time to ‘go country’? Dublin weekenders may like to take a short train ride to the coast to see the fully restored Malahide Castle; or take a visit to Dublin Castle in the city centre which has tours of its historic vaults.
To experience the land and learn its legends, the rugged Connemera is an absolute ‘must’ on your list of things to do in Ireland. This is the place to absorb the isolation of this western coast surrounded by mountains, deserted beaches and bogs populated with incredible wildlife.
When it comes to a destination that offers a combination of history and mysterious folklore, then it doesn’t come better than the Glendalough Monestry. Established in the 6th Century by St Kevin it has a minute church known as St Kevin’s Kitchen which is worth exploring.
You may be surprised to know that Ireland has one of the most astounding prehistoric sites in Europe. Newgrange at Brú na Bóinne is a Stone Age passage tomb which precisely aligns with the sun at the winter solstice. It also predates Egypt’s pyramids. The monument’s purpose is unknown, but various Celtic myths surround its mystery.
‘Wow’ is just one word that sums up The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare. This is Ireland’s most visited natural attraction and you can certainly see why. The Cliffs stretch for miles along the Atlantic coast and rise up to 124 m. Take a trail walk to experience their powerful impact.
For activity-based things to do in Ireland that embrace the great outdoors, then look no further.
Walking is certainly in our top five and there are some picturesque trails which suit both power walkers and strollers. Our picks include the Barrow Towpath in Kilkenny; the green forests at the Glen of Kilkenny in Tipperary; and Killarney National Park.
The Atlantic is one of the best oceans to surf and with Ireland bordering this sea, the waves can get high, like the infamous ‘Aileen’s’ wave at the Moher in Clare. Enjoy the swells at Bundoran, County Donegal or the surfing beaches at Mayo including Bertra at Clew Bay.
Golfers will love Ireland’s most respected golf courses. Amazing locations include Royal County Down below the Mourne Mountains and Laninch at the Cliffs of Moher.
Prefer being on water than land? Sailing in Ireland is best in the sheltered spots on the east coast including Dublin Bay and Lough Swilly in Donegal. Going more inland? Then Waterford offers canoe trails to experience the Irish waterways.
Finally, whether along the deserted beaches or hilltops, horseriding is a popular activity in Ireland. Try the Croach Stables in Westport or the Paddocks Riding Centre in Dublin.
From day trips to 3 day up to 11 day tours, depending on the time available and what you would like to see and experience, there are plenty of things to do in Ireland. Many of these tours start and leave from the capital Dublin. A typical 3-day Kilkenny, Waterford and Kinsale Tour will take you to see Blarney Castle and provide the opportunity to explore the West Cork Coves; investigate Kinsale, a beautiful port town; dig deep at Cobh and the Titanic, visiting the last port of call for Irish emigrants on the ship; and take on Ireland's oldest and Viking city, Waterford. If you just have a day available from Dublin, then you cannot miss a trip to the legendary Giant’s Causeway including the Dark Hedges and Ballintoy, famed by TV’s Game of Thrones.
A tour will give you some memorable days and it simply goes without saying that Ireland is a fantastic touring country, offering wild landscape and beautiful scenery and seascapes at every turn. You can come here for history, beaches, outdoor activities, traditional art and music and gastronomic delight.