10 Breathtaking Spots to Visit in Ireland

If you're planning a trip to the Emerald Isle, be sure to make time for these incredible destinations. You won't want to miss any of these Irish gems!

Ireland might be relatively small, but it’s packed to the gills with scenic sights. Its natural beauty and historic landmarks stretch as far as the eye can see. But it’s not all castles and coastlines! When you visit Ireland’s cities, you’ll be amazed by the ever-growing foodie and art scene.

Let’s explore Ireland’s most scenic, special, and historic routes and stop at the most spectacular spots along the way.

Wild Atlantic Way

World famous Cliffs of Moher, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. Aerial view of widely known tourist attraction on Wild Atlantic Way in County Clare.
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The Wild Atlantic way is widely considered Ireland’s most scenic route. This winding road wraps around the cliff-covered coast for 1,500 miles. There’s no bad place to start or stop your drive, but some landmarks are considered absolute must-sees. So do a little research and build a road map with its most scenic spots in mind.

Per National Geographic, “The Atlantic Drive is not only the most spectacular wild stretch of coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s been named one of the most scenic drives in the world. It skirts rocky headlands, cliffs, and inlets, highlighted by water shooting up from blowholes when the waves are right.”

Dingle Peninsula, Kerry

Scenery of Dingle seaport in County Kerry, Ireland
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Dingle has a “worlds away” vibe, and it’s home to one of the most quintessentially Gaelic traditions in all of Ireland. It’s also where the Other Voices music festival is held each year. And the Dingle Food Festival is not to be dismissed.

Vividly remote and all-around charming, take a breezy drive around Slea Head and catch other-worldly views of the Blasket Islands and Sybil Head, which famously appears in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

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Cliffs of Moher, Clare

Ireland countryside tourist attraction in County Clare. The Cliffs of Moher and castle Ireland. Epic Irish Landscape UNESCO Global Geopark  along the wild atlantic way. Beautiful scenic nature hdr
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When it comes to ranking scenic spots in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher is usually placed at the top. With their swirling winds and staggering 702 ft drop-off, the cliffs are truly breathtaking–and not for the faint of heart.

For almost nine miles along the County Clare coast, you’ll take in unforgettable views of the Galway Bay and Aran Islands. Make your way to the five-mile coastal Doolin Cliff Walk and bask in the endless, natural splendor. And be sure to stick around for the eternally celebrated sunset.

Waterford Greenway

Kilmacthomas Viaduct - Waterford Greenway
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Once upon a time, Ireland was intertwined with a significantly larger network of regional railways than it is today. But those formerly functioning train lines of the 19th and 20th centuries aren’t just sitting there. With passersby in mind, they’ve been repurposed into paths for various forms of foot traffic, including off-road walking and cycling routes.

This famous 28-mile trail falls between the port city of Waterford and the seaside town of Dungarvan. Traveling through the countryside and by the sea, you’ll feel transported to a simpler time in one of the most idyllic regions of Ireland.

Connemara

Kylemore Abbey, beautiful castle like abbey reflected in lake at the foot of a mountain. Benedictine monastery founded in 1920, in Connemara, Ireland
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To be at one with Ireland’s wilderness and rich history, head northwest of Galway. Here you’ll find one of the most hauntingly places in all of Ireland: Connemara. In a notably scenic corner of County Galway, this gently colored, magical region is forever wild at heart.

Famed for its “legend, folklore, and profound beauty,” it’s a local gem worth exploring. And don’t stop at the natural wonders. Make your way to the food scene and taste the local flavor in the most traditional of ways. You’ll also have your pick of countless hiking trails in the 40,000-acre Connemara National Park.

Cork

Cathedral  and colored houses in Cobh, Ireland
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No matter which side of the River Lee you’re standing on, you’ll be in the middle of Cork. This once-booming merchant city is what many residents lovingly call “the real capital of Ireland.” Its heyday came in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it’s full of old familiar feelings for locals.

Stroll through the English Market, where shops have been drawing in crowds for centuries. You’ll find local shops, sights, and colorful architecture all over the countryside dating back to the late 1700s. Stop by the Glucksman Gallery, nestled on the grounds of the University College Cork. The Crawford Art Gallery is also worth a visit, even if just to explore the repurposed 18th-century Customs House.

Newgrange, Meath

Newgrange, a prehistoric monument built during the Neolithic period, located in County Meath, Ireland. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Newgrange is one of Europe’s most well-preserved Neolithic archaeological sites. This tunnelly tomb also happens to be older than the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. Dating back to 3,200 BC, its main chamber lights up once a year. Be sure to go in December for this uniquely illuminated view.

Watch the rising sun of the winter solstice through the slim slit over the entrance and take in a special slice of Ireland’s history. Per Conde Nast Traveler, “The site forms part of the larger Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage site, set within a bend of the River Boyne, one of the most important clusters of prehistoric sites in Europe.”

Kilkenny City

Famous place in the city where stand in a row different bars and pubs. Kilkenny is a popular touristic destination in Ireland
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For a brief period in the Middle Ages, Kilkenny was dubbed the Irish capital. And while it no longer carries that title, this well-preserved, medieval countryside city remains at the heart of Ireland.

If you’re looking for a place sprawling with architectural heritage, Kilkenny is globally considered a must-stroll. And be sure to pay a visit to the Medieval Mile Museum and the 12th-century Kilkenny Castle. No matter where you roam, Kilkenny won’t disappoint.

Glendalough, Wicklow

Monastery, Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland - August 14th: Old medieval Celtic Cross at Glendalough in Ireland
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Dubbed the “Monastic City,” Glendalough is an ancient monastery tucked into one of Ireland’s most wondrous regions. While human history here dates back centuries upon centuries, it’s also a particularly scenic area for nature lovers.

Full of hiking trails and bound by two glittering lakes, you’ll be in the thick of Wicklow Mountains National Park. It’s adored by locals and tourists alike, but the crowds never get too heavy. “The most visited area is the scenic Glendalough Valley where the ancient monastic settlement of St. Kevin is located,” per National Parks of Ireland.

Rock of Cashel, Tipperary

Idyllic Irish landscape, Rock of Cashel castle on background, Tipperary county, Ireland travel photo. Rock of Cashel is iconic landmark of Tipperary province.
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All over the world, Tippery is most famed for horse breeding. However, it’s also home to one of the most special spots to visit in all the land. Sometimes called “St Patrick’s Rock,” the Rock of Cashelsits sits atop the lush outcrop of limestone.

The 13th-century ruins are picture-perfect and worth all-day exploration. This ancient royal site remains one of Ireland’s most important historic spots and by far one of its most celebrated beauty marks.

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