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Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Ireland

by Thomas Lyons
top rated tourist attractions ireland

Whether it’s exploring the countryside on a hike or taking in the sights of Dublin and Belfast, Ireland has plenty to offer for all visitors. 

In fact, Ireland is considered one of the most scenic destinations on Earth with its lush, green countryside and picturesque cliffs, lakes, and coastlines. It is also known as the Emerald Isle and is home to many famous landmarks. These include the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, the Blarney Castle in County Cork, and the Ring of Kerry in County Kerry. Ireland has a lot for tourists to see and to enjoy. 

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top-rated tourist attractions in Ireland to share with all of you. 

best tourist attractions in ireland

19 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Ireland:

Ireland is a beautiful country full of rich history, culture, and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. And we don’t want you to miss any of that. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!

Co. Clare:

  1. Bunratty Castle & Folk Park:

Opened in 1425 and was restored in 1956, the Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is also one of the best tourist attractions in Ireland. Europe is full of ancient monuments, and Ireland is no exception.

The architecture of this castle takes you back to ancient times. The castle walls tell you the stories of the golden era of Ireland. Be careful, though, as you should not violate any rules here, or else you could face repercussions.

The Folk Park has more than 20 shops built on the design of old times. In simpler words, visiting the castle and the garden means visiting the past.

  1. The Cliffs of Moher:

The Cliff of Moher is among the top tourist attractions in Ireland.

Even with thousands of words, it would be impossible to do justice to the sense of wonder one feels here. If you are visiting Ireland or live in Ireland and have not been to this place, you must stop here on your next trip.

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular natural wonders, rising up to 702 feet (214 meters) above the Atlantic Ocean and stretching for five miles (eight kilometers) along County Clare’s rugged western seaboard. The cliffs offer breathtaking views of Galway Bay and beyond, and on a clear day, you can even see across to Galway Bay, Connemara, and the Aran Islands.

And trust us, it is worth a visit. Once you reach the top, you will know why.

Co. Cork:

  1. Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone:

It is a reality that ancient castles are in the majority among famous tourist attractions in Ireland. These high buildings that were built hundreds of years ago are still standing strong.

The Blarney Castle’s walls are approximately 90 feet high. Its construction started in 1446; however, it is still standing strong, but its condition is deteriorating at a fast pace, and some sources call it a “partial ruin.”

Furthermore, the Blarney stone was also set into the tower in 1446 when the construction was started. There is a legend that whoever kisses this stone gets a gift. That is the reason why the castle and stone are always included in the famous tourist attractions in Ireland.

  1. Kinsale:

Let’s come down from the hills and head to the ocean. Kinsale has historical importance and has been among Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. You can also have some Spanish feelings here, and the food here? It is great!

Visitors come here from worldwide to eat great foods, do fishing, boat sailing, and other sea activities. Many famous festivals are celebrated here every year. So, if you are interested in doing some fishing and boat sailing, book your trip.

  1. The English Market:

There is not a single foreign visit that can go without shopping. So, how about we take you to one of the famous markets in Ireland, the English Market. You can find a lot of different shops here, from the best food stores to top clothing brands from around the world.

Even Queen Elizabeth II visited the English Market, exchanged jokes, and talked with the staff and people in 2011. So, what are you still waiting for? You can find many fantastic activities here.

Co. Dublin:

  1. Grafton Street:

Grafton Street is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Ireland, especially Dublin. Home to a lot of food vendors, clothing stores, and famous cafés, it’s a must for all tourists. Dublin is Ireland’s capital, and it is no surprise that the city would have the most attractive places.

  1. The Little Museum of Dublin:

Located at 15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Little Museum of Dublin was founded in October 2011. All the modern history of Ireland, especially Dublin, is placed there. This museum is home to some of Ireland’s ancient and modern monuments.

You can even hire a personal guide to tour the whole museum and get to know all you need to know about the museum and Dublin history. 

  1. Kilmainham Gaol:

Every country in the world has mixed histories, and if we only talked about all the positive sides of history, that wouldn’t be right. 

Kilmainham Gaol was a prison back in the old days and was converted into a museum later on. It is located at Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28. 

If we were talking about Ireland’s museums, then Kilmainham Gaol would have been among the top tourist attractions in Ireland.

  1. Stephen’s Green:

If you want just to relax a bit and lay down, Saint Stephen’s Green is the place for you. You can also feed the ducks here and go for a picnic here. The park is located in the center of the city of Dublin.

The park has an area of 22 acres with many trees, colorful flowers, beautiful bridges, and many others. 

Co. Galway:

  1. Dún Aonghasa:

Among the best tourist attractions in Ireland, Galway is not less than any other county in the country. The breathtaking views of this place are just the best: clean and cool air and pretty good weather. 

One thing that separates Dún Aonghasa from other tourist attractions is the culture you find here wouldn’t be found anywhere else in the country. The island truly depicts Irish heritage.

  1. Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden:

The garden is located at Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul. The garden was built for a woman by her lover in 1867. Later, it was bought, and after that, it was converted into a tourist attraction and was opened for tourists.

Co. Kerry:

  1. Great Skellig:

Located in the Atlantic Ocean, the Great Skellig is a small island. In 1996, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its historical significance. The island’s area is 54 acres, and its highest point is 714 feet above sea level. The summit was named for Christ’s Saddle because of its rigid profile that resembles the shape of a saddle.

  1. Killarney National Park and Muckross House & Gardens:

The Killarney National Park and Muckross House & Gardens in Kerry are sure bets for must-see attractions on any tourist’s itinerary. When Queen Victoria visited the gardens, the palace staff went to great lengths to make her comfortable, and you will still notice the results of their efforts today. The park’s peaceful landscape, framed by the green hedges of this Victorian-era garden, is a sight to behold.

  1. The Ring of Kerry:

Those who love history would love to take a walk here to encounter the beautiful views of the Atlantic ocean, mountains, villages, and many other views.

The Ring of Kerry route is a one-of-a-kind scenic route around the Iveragh Peninsula, beginning and ending in Killarney. It takes in the major sights: Moll’s Gap, Torc Waterfall, and the Gap of Dunloe, but there are lots of hidden gems to discover along the way: lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and grand houses.

  1. The Dingle Peninsula:

History, art, Irish culture, and beauty, all of these things are in one place at the Dingle Peninsula.

The Dingle Peninsula is a gorgeous area to visit—bohemian, artistic, and genuinely friendly. You’ll love it! In fact, the town of Dingle is a lively place. The pubs are charming and quirky, the locals are friendly, and the rolling hills and lush grass of the area’s famous coastline seem to go on for miles.

But don’t just stay in the town of Dingle itself. The peninsula has an incredible 6,000 years of history, along with dramatic cliffs and wide racing skies. 

Once you get out from Dingle, there is Gallarus Oratory (an Early Christian church), Coumeenoole Beach (with its haunting views of the Blasket Islands), and the Conor Pass (the highest mountain road in Ireland). It’s truly amazing here!

Co. Meath:

  1. Newgrange:

The prehistoric monument known as Newgrange is a large circular mound — approximately 85m in diameter with a 19m stone passageway. Estimates suggest that the monument was built around 3200 BC and still stands tall, even today. Some sources claim that these monuments are as old as the pyramids of Giza.

Co. Tipperary:

  1. Rock of Cashel:

The Rock of Cashel is located in Ireland and is visited by tourists from all over the world. The Rock of Cashel consists of four main buildings: a chapel, round tower, cathedral, and castle. The Rock of Cashel has much more to offer than just its history and legends; it also offers a beautiful view to those who visit it.

Co. Wicklow:

  1. Powerscourt House & Gardens:

Powerscourt House & Gardens, one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, was built in 1731 and opened for the public ten years later after its complete construction. It features Palladian architecture. 

Set on the side of a mountain, Powerscourt is a magnificent place to visit in any season as it is surrounded by beautiful gardens. 

The Italian Gardens feature fountains and statues, while the Rose and Kitchen Gardens feature hidden paths and secret corners. There are more than 200 varieties of trees, shrubs, and flowers, many with fragrant blossoms. A visit there is sure to please all your family members.

  1. Glendalough:

Glendalough is also known as the Monastic City because it was once home to a group of early Irish monasteries. Today you can see the ruins of these buildings, which date back to the 6th century. These old monuments have lovely views of the surrounding countryside and are a popular tourist attraction.

Visitors can walk through Glendalough and learn about its history. Beautiful views of the countryside and many historical Celtic crosses make for a life-changing experience.

The Takeaway:

Ireland has more than its share of magical sights and attractions that make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. From the lush green hills to the rolling surf, Ireland is a nature lover’s dream. There are also many exciting cities and towns with castles, museums, restaurants, and nightlife.

Also, any Ireland itinerary would not be complete without a visit to one of the country’s most famous natural sites, which is why we recommend heading out to each of the above-mentioned top-rated tourist attractions. 

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