Ireland is a land of natural splendor and friendly people. It’s somewhere people dream of visiting from all over the world. My Ireland bucket list will show you how to experience this beautiful country in all its glory.
Irish culture is rich with color. But there’s so much more to the Emerald Isle than meets the eye, even if you don’t venture too far off of the beaten path.
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When it comes to traveling in Ireland, there’s a lot on offer—from bustling cities like Dublin and Cork to serene countryside landscapes that look untouched by time or human hands—and while some may call this country “the emerald island,” others might say that its true green hue can only be seen in its natural beauty.
No matter what your interest: foodies who want traditional foods prepared authentically; history buffs who relish thinking about how life was lived centuries ago; families looking for outdoor adventures as well as kid-friendly stuff; Irish heritage enthusiasts seeking Irish festivals and Irish culture-Ireland has something for everyone
From castles to hiking to drinking, you’ll get the ultimate Irish experience with my guide of the best, unique and unusual things to do in Ireland.
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Here’s a breakdown of some the most beautiful places you have to add to your Ireland bucket list.
- Co. Antrim
- Co. Clare
- Co. Cork
- Co. Donegal
- Co. Dublin
- Co. Galway
- Co. Kerry
- Co. Kilkenny
- Co. Limerick
- Co. Mayo
- Co. Meath
- Co. Offaly
- Co. Sligo
- Co. Tipperary
- Co. Wicklow
- Conclusion to my Ireland Bucket List
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a rope bridge connecting the mainland to an island near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It’s 20 metres long and 30 meters high which makes it great for tourists who want some amazing views!
The National Trust owns this historic landmark that spans across two countries – from Great Britain into Ireland. Not for the feint hearted, this piece of history will have you on pins and needles as you take your first steps onto its rickety wood planks but one thing’s for sure: with over 485,000 visitors a year, it’s one of the most popular destinations in Northern Ireland.
The Giant’s Causeway is a spectacular sight to see in Northern Ireland. The “Causeway Coastal Route” driving route even took its name after the famous creation because it offers some absolutely breathtaking views not just at day but also when fog rolls in during sunset or early morning hours!
This formation of over 40,000 basalt columns was created from an ancient volcanic eruption more than 60 million years ago and has been photographed thousands of times. Interestingly, no one column is the same as another.
Well, at least that’s the scientific explanation for how the Giant’s Causeway came to be. But here’s how the legend goes…
Irish giant, Fionn mac Cumhaill (also known as Finn McCool) was feuding with Scottish giant, Benandonner. He decided to make his way across the sea to confront his enemy and started throwing rocks to use as stepping stones to run across the water.
However, when he saw Benandonner he realised he was no match to the Scottish giant’s size so he ran all the back to Ireland. With Benandonner hot on his heels, he needed a plan. His wife disguised him as a baby and when Benandonner arrived and saw the size of this ‘baby’ giant, he figured the dad had to be much bigger than him.
So he retreated quickly back to Scotland, crumbling rocks along the way, thus forming the Giant’s Causeway.
The Titanic Quarter is Belfast’s very own take of the historic Irish Titanic.
The quarter is built on the old Harland & Wolff shipyard site, where the RMS Titanic was built and where many other ships were built up to 2003.
The Titanic Quarter is now home to museums, hotels, restaurants and even an Irish pub or two! If you’re into Irish history, this is the place for you Visitors even have the opportunity to explore what the Titanic Quarter was like over 100 years ago when it was operational as a shipyard!
It’s also a great site to visit at night! If you do venture out, you can see the lights from Belfast City Hall shinning brightly and the quayside will be bustling with Irish music.
Located in the Glens of Antrim, Glenoe is a spectacular 30 meter waterfall that’s a must see on your Ireland bucket list. It’s especially beautiful to see during the winter months when it has more water flowing behind its walls than usual (Ireland is known for it’s rainfall afterall).
This Irish wonder and the surrounding areas make for a lovely walk through the valley, allowing you get up close to the waterfall.
Other places to visit in Co. Antrim
- Whitehead Railway Museum
- Dunluce Castle
- Dark Hedges (for the GoT fans)
- Bushmills Distillery – the oldest distillery in the world
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are most definitely something you need to see at least once in your lifetime. Rising 8km (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare, this site is one of Ireland’s most visited landmarks and it truly is one of the most spectacular sites too.
These cliffs stretch for about 14km (8.7 miles) and only come to an end when they meet the Atlantic ocean below.
There’s a wide range of Irish wildlife here too including 20 different species of birds. And if you’re a movie buff, you might recognise the cliffs from movies such as The Princess Bride, Harry Potter and Leap Year.
If you’re looking for some breathtaking views and maybe a little Irish adventure, then try out one of Ireland’s famous cliff walks… Just remember to bring your walking shoes and your sense of balance if you want to conquer this Irish gem!
Another wonder to check off your Irish bucket list is Ailwee Caves. These caves were formed over millions of years and continue to be eroded by water which forms the impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations that now adorn the inside of this spectacular Irish site.
The caves were founded by a farmer out walking his dog one day. His dog started chasing a rabbit, which led them straight to the caves. The farmer didn’t tell a soul about his find for over 30 years, and when he did cavers went in to explore further.
Nowadays, visitors can explore these magical caves by guided tour. The tour lasts approximately 40 minutes where you’ll stroll through beautiful caverns which open up a distinct Burren subterranean habitat, revealing uncommon rock formations.
Outside of the caves, you can visit the Birds of Prey Centre where you’ll learn about the unusual Burren landscape and get up close and personal with hawks, owls, eagles and falcons.
Fr. Ted’s House
This quaint little house is home to the fictional Craggy Island priests, Fr. Ted, Fr. Jack and Fr. Dougal… but there are some real life connections too!
The exterior scenes of this famous Irish abode were actually filmed here in Killinaboy, County Clare
One of the best things about visiting this site is that you can even see where all three priests sat next to their fire drinking tea! It’s safe to say that any fan will love seeing the inside of Fr. Ted’s house for themselves!
The current owners of the house even invite you in for one of Mrs Doyle’s famous cups of tea and biscuits.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Bunratty Castle is one of Ireland’s most beautiful castles and my all-time favourite castle to visit since I was a child right up to this day!
This Irish mainstay offers both historical castle tours as well as a gorgeous little folk park where visitors can enjoy real life medieval villages from all over the country.
Walking down the main street of Bunratty Folk Park will have you feeling like you’ve been teleported back in time. Stop at the old post office and sweet shop to buy some old fashioned hard candies, have your family portraits taken all dressed up in olden day clothes, and sit inside the school at the bottom of main street – girls to the school on the left, boys to the school on the right!
The castle itself is a stunning structure from the outside, but it’s just as beautiful from the inside too. Inside the main building you can climb the winding stairway all the way to the lookout at the top or stop in the banquet hall where, to this day, banquets are held in the evening time.
Read also: The best castle tours Ireland has to offer
The Burren National Park
Ireland’s Burren region is one of the most unique landscapes in the country.
It’s characterised by its rocky landscape, underlain by limestone, that stretches on for miles and miles.
The Burren Scenic Drive offers visitors the opportunity to meander through the incredible landscape, while stopping off along the way to take in the sights and scenery. Start your drive at the quaint fishing village of Ballyvaughan and set your own pace.
This area also has some fantastic stone age sites which are definitely worth checking out – especially Poulnabrone Dolmen – somewhat like a portal tomb. The Irish Dolmen comprises of three upright slabs of stone with a larger flat slab laying on top.
After a recent excavation, the remains of more than 30 people were found buried under the dolmen and it is believed they were from around 3200 BC. Today you can visit the dolmen but a rope barrier has been placed around it stop people getting too close.
Other places to visit in Co. Clare
- Cratloe Woods
- Lahinch seaside town
- Doolin Cave
- Kilkee cliff walk
Blarney Castle is most especially famous for giving people the ‘gift of the gab’. All you have to do is kiss the Blarney Stone and you’ll never shy away from talking in public again. This isn’t for the feint hearted as you’ll need to climb up a narrow, very steep spiral staircase to reach it, lie on your back and lean back out, while supporting yourself by holding onto a railing above you!
At first this seems like a terrifying idea but after getting your head around the thought, it really is an amazing experience! I definitely recommend giving it a go if you ever visit Blarney Castle.
What’s more terrifying is that when I was a kid, the railings that are now there to protect you as you lean out over the castle’s edge wasn’t there…But I survived and, as you can probably tell, the kissing of the Blarney Stone worked wonders in giving me the gift of the gab!
The gardens in the area surrounding Blarney Castle are also worth a visit too if you have some extra time to wander around.
Cobh is a little seaside town located just outside Cork city.
One of the main reasons Cobh is on my list is to visit The Titanic Experience. Here, you can learn tales of the Titanic through interactive exhibits and audio-visual tours, as well as find out what became of the 123 passengers who boarded the renowned ship in Cobh.
The town also has a rich history, which you can find out all about at Cobh Heritage Centre.
And just 15 minutes away from Cobh is Fota Wildlife Park, home to animals and birds from all over the world.
Wild Atlantic Way drive
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way drive is a must do if you’re travelling to the west of Ireland.
The Wild Atlantic Way begins in Co. Cork and consists of a long stretch of road that travels up and then back down the west coast of Ireland, stopping in places along the way to see various different nature-based sites such as cliffs, beaches, lighthouses, seals and much more!
Dursey Cable Car
If you fancy getting up high and marvelling at the views of Ireland’s amazing landscape, then Dursey Cable Car is just the activity for you.
This cable car, the only one in Ireland, takes visitors from the mainland of Ireland to Dursey Island off the coast of Co. Cork. The view as you slowly make your way across to the island is absolutely breath-taking. And if you’re lucky, you might spot some dolphins and whales in the waters below you.
Other places to visit in Co. Cork
- Kinsale town
- Bull rock
- Whale watching
- Inchydoney Beach
- Fastnet Rock Lighthouse
Slieve League Cliffs
The Slieve League Cliffs in Co. Donegal are a must if you’re a nature lover and want to give yourself one of the best views in Ireland.
These cliffs stand at about 600 meters tall and offer amazing views for hours on end. The only barrier is the thick mist that often rolls over this part of Ireland but even then, you can still get an idea of how fantastic these dark green rocks jutting out into the sea really are.
Visiting Slieve League Cliffs is a relatively easy walk, however I would say it’s also best to be prepared for the rain if you are planning on hiking here (although I would say that about hiking anywhere in Ireland!).
Arranmore Island (Árainn Mhór)
Arranmore Island is a small island off the coast of County Donegal. It’s not as popular as some other places around Ireland, but it’s definitely worth a visit for those who want to experience something different and off the beaten track.
This small island has an incredibly friendly community and if you’re after a real taste of Irish island life, then this is the place to visit. Traditional music and dancing can be found in the pubs and it’s the perfect opportunity to try a Guinness for the first time.
To get there, you’ll need to take a ferry ride from Burton Port which will then drop you off on this wonderful little island that looks like something out of an Irish fairytale.
Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park houses the ruins of a castle from the 19th century as well as being home to deer, hares and various other animals.
If you’re an outdoor adventurer then a trip to Glenveagh National Park should be on your Ireland bucket list.
The park itself is 4,000 acres of land so you’ll definitely be able to find plenty to do here without getting bored! There’s also a visitor centre with an incredibly knowledgeable staff who can give you information on what else there is to see and do in Donegal.
Donegal is said to have the some of the best surfing beaches in the world! At Ballymastocker Bay in County Donegal, you’ll find some of the best waves around. If you’re a surfer, this is definitely the place to be.
The readers of the British Observer named Ballymastocker Bay the second most beautiful beach In the world!
If surfing isn’t your strong point, don’t worry about it because there are other beaches equally as beautiful but without the huge waves which may come as a relief to beginners or those who simply aren’t big fans of water sports.
Other places to visit in Co. Donegal
- Doon Fort
- Malin Head
- Fanad Lighthouse
- Glengesh Pass
Templebar is the heart and soul of Dublin City. It’s a place that will always be full of life, especially if you go late at night.
The coble stoned streets of Templebar makes it one of the most atmospheric parts of Dublin and if you want to take photos, you’ll definitely want to visit here as this area is so full of life. While you’re there, don’t forget to try traditional Irish food in some of the local restaurants.
Templebar is also known as the cultural quarter because it houses many theatres and galleries – including The Gate Theatre where Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting For Godot’ had it’s Irish premier.
There are pubs around every corner and up every street, with many playing traditional Irish music, with locals and tourists alike who come here for a fun time whether it be day or night.
Malahide Castle & Gardens
Malahide Castle is the oldest occupied castle in Ireland and it’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in Irish history.
This stunning castle has managed to survive through centuries of war, famine and peace – all while protecting its important records. So needless to say, its location might be considered as both strategic and lucky!
The castle opened itself up to visitors back in 1967 so now people can marvel at how well it’s survived over hundreds of years with their own eyes.
Enjoy a Whiskey Tasting Experience, the Butterfly House, Casino Model Railway Museum and the Fairy Trail all within the Castle.
There are also beautiful gardens which are lovely to stroll around during the summer months when the sun is out.
The Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular attractions in Dublin and for good reason. With seven floors to explore, each with their own unique displays and exhibitions, you’re sure to learn something new about Ireland’s favourite drink!
If you’re a fan of Guinness, this place is a must. And if you’ve never tasted it, this is your chance. Not only will you get to know everything there is to know about the history of your favourite pint but you’ll also get to see how it’s made from start to finish.
At the top of the storehouse is a bar where you can enjoy a glass of the black stuff like you’ve never tasted it before, with a view looking out over Dublin City. There’s no better way to finish off your time at this Dublin attraction than to sit back and relax with a drink in your hand!
Dublin is home to many great museums and attractions, but Kilmainham Gaol offers a unique experience for tourists.
This stunning building once served as a prison where some of Ireland’s most notorious prisoners would stay during their sentence, such as Eamon de Valera and Charles Stewart Parnell. These days, however, it’s been converted into an interactive museum that tells you about its history as well as the brutal conditions that inmates were forced to live through
A visit to Kilmainham Gaol offers a harrowing insight into prison life and includes a guided tour as well as entrance to the exhibitions.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
As the oldest cathedral in Dublin, St Patrick’s Cathedral has stood by the city since 1191 and is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland.
Not only is it a place of worship, it is also a visitor attraction and it hosts a number of events throughout the year, such as concerts and culture evenings.
Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, is buried at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The Book of Kells at Trinity College
The Book of Kells, often referred to as the Book of Columbia, is much more than just a beautiful book that dates back to the 9th century – it’s also considered to be Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure.
The Book of Kells is housed at Trinity College and you can see it for yourself in the Old Library Building, one of Ireland’s most beautiful libraries, where you are free to come and explore its history and admire the book.
This incredible manuscript contains the four gospels of the New Testament written in Latin script by monks who used black, yellow, red and purple ink.
It might be an understatement to say that the book’s pages are beautifully decorated as they’re filled with intricate and detailed patterns and drawings.
When you think of Irish traditions and culture, whiskey is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. And for good reason!
The oldest licensed distillery in Dublin can be found at Jameson Distillery where it’s possible to take a tour around and see just how the drink is made as well as sampling many different types during your time there too.
Your tour will go into great detail about the history of Ireland’s favourite tipple and you’ll even get the chance to blend your own take home whiskey, so this place will become an important part of any trip to Dublin.
Dublin Castle is incredibly popular amongst visitors to Dublin City, which means you’re very likely to bump into other tourists while exploring. Get there early in the morning to beat the queues!
It’s one of the oldest buildings in the capital and was originally built for defensive purposes back when Dublin still formed part of a larger kingdom. And while it’s become a lot more ornate over time, that hasn’t stopped it from remaining an impressive site.
You can visit some great exhibitions here too, including tours of the State Apartments where you’ll get to see where Ireland’s monarchs once lived. There’s also the Viking Excavation which is located where the castle meets the city walls, in the Lower Castle Yard. And lastly, you can visit the Chapel Royal, a gothic revival building famous for its galleries and carved oaks.
Johnnie Foxes Pub
When you think about Ireland, pubs are probably one of the first things that come to mind. After all, it’s not only a big part of the Irish culture but also an important piece of history too.
This means there are lots of amazing places you can go for a drink in Dublin, but Johnnie Foxes is one of the most impressive given its incredibly high position above Dublin! You can find this pub on top of Glencullen Dublin Mountains where it offers some stunning views across the city – which makes it perfect for watching sunsets over Dublin too.
A night out at Johnnie Foxes is, as the Irish say, great craic (craic means fun…)! There’s traditional Irish food, bands playing Irish music, and even Irish dancers on the stage. If you’re one of the chosen ones, you’ll be up on stage dancing with them!
The National Leprechaun Museum
Some people might find it strange to visit a museum based on myths and legends, but The National Leprechaun Museum is one of Ireland’s unique attractions. You can learn all there is to know about leprechauns here, including their possible history as well as what they would have been like if they really did exist!
There are plenty of amazing facts about leprechauns at this place too, with one being that the word comes from the Gaelic ‘leipreachán’ which means ‘small body’. It doesn’t get much stranger than that!
Many people decide to visit Dublin during St Patrick’s Day festivities where you’ll see the city liven up with all the Irish traditions, so if you’ve vising during this time then the National Leprechaun Museum is a must for your Ireland bucket list.
The Forty Foot
Historically, this bathing spot was once men’s only, but these days everyone flocks there to jump off the 40 foot ledge into the Irish sea below. And if you’ve read James Joyce’s Ulysses, you’ll recognise the Forty Foot where ‘Buck Mulligan’ took a dip.
The weather isn’t always the nicest in Ireland, however no matter what the time of year, no matter what the weather, you’ll always find people jumping off the Forty Foot in south Dublin. In fact, a Christmas morning tradition for many Dublin families is leaping off the Forty Foot first thing!
The Forty Foot has even been named as one of the best swimming spots in the world by the New York Times!
Other places to visit in Co. Dublin
- Glasnevin Cemetery
- Irish Jewish Museum
- Phoenix Park
- Natural History Museum
- The Little Museum of Dublin
- The Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship
This incredible castle in County Galway is one of the most expensive in Europe, with some rooms costing more per night than your entire trip to Ireland!
Ashford Castle began life as a 13th-century structure before being changed into what you see today in the 16th century. It belonged to the Guinness family during much of its time too.
The 20th century was when things started to change for Ashford Castle though when it became a luxury hotel that could be visited by the public. In fact it’s Ireland’s only ‘Forbes Five Star Hotel’!
There are plenty of different activities on offer here too – you can go horse riding or fishing and for the more adventurous, there’s ziplining and tree climbing. You can even take part in archery if you’re feeling competitive!
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the beach while taking advantage of some stunning scenery, look no further than the town of Salthill. This seaside resort is incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike, so it’s the perfect location if you want to get away from busy cities.
Salthill has been a popular spot for years too since it offers something different to other parts of Ireland. There are amazing views here that will take your breath away, especially when you consider just how far across Galway Bay you can see from this area.
Salthill is just 1.5km from Galway City and there’s even a specific trail you can take. So if you’re just looking for a stroll and to take in some scenery, I suggest walking out to Salthill from the city centre.
Aran Islands are three islands located off the coast of Galway which offer some incredible views, scenery, and even history too. If you have a few days to spare, I suggest island hopping between the three as they all have something unique to offer.
The three islands are:
- Inis Mór
- Inis Meain
- Inis Oirr
Inis Mor is the largest of the three islands (Mór meaning big in Irish). You’ll find forts and ruins, as well as lively pubs and glamping spots on the islands.
This inspired Aran Islands’ traditional patterns that can be seen in many places today including sweaters, socks, scarves, blankets, jumpers – even bags! There are many companies who specialise in producing these items today because of how popular they’ve become with tourists and locals alike. So don’t forget to pick up your Aran jumper before you leave!
Other places to visit in Co. Galway
- Eyre Square
- Inishbofin Island
- Connemara National Park
- Kylemore Abbey
Dingle Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland.
This peninsula is somewhat unique due to its position and what’s on offer here, making it perfect for those who want an entirely new experience.
There are lots of things to do on Dingle Peninsula too! You can go sea angling for example, which allows you to see some incredible marine life. Head out in a boat for the day and get the chance to meet Fungie the dolphin, Kerry’s most famous resident!
Alternatively, you can climb a mountain, go windsurfing, sail, dive or kayak into the sunset in the Dingle Peninsula.
Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is another popular route in Co. Kerry, known for its scenic coastal beauty throughout the year.
This particular “ring” is a circular 179km route that can be visited by car or bus, though it’s also possible to walk or cycle here too if you want a more active way to explore!
It circles the Iveragh Peninsula and you’ll be treated to panoramic Atlantic Ocean views, as well as spectacular mountains, islands and picturesque villages along the way.
It’s not for the feint hearted though, some of those twisty Irish country roads can get a bit hairy if you’re not used to them!
Killarney National Park
While driving the Ring of Kerry, take some time to stop off at Killarney National Park, one of Ireland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This incredible national park has lots to offer visitors, including the chance to explore the famous lakes known as ‘The Lakes of Killarney’.
There are great hiking trails in this place so you’ll have more than enough space to look around and admire everything it has to offer. I recommend hiking the Torc Waterfall loop for a great view of the impressive waterfall.
You can also visit Muckross House if you want a taste of history – a 19th century Victorian mansion. The house is now a popular part of Killarney National Park and hosts some incredible gardens too. Take a guided tour of the house to learn more about its history and then enjoy a stroll around the beautiful gardens.
Again, once you’re on your Ring of Kerry drive, Valentia Island is a wonderful place to stop off and visit, especially if you’re looking for something more adventurous.
There are cafes and restaurants where you can stop for a bite to eat after admiring the views.
If you still want to do some more exploring then you can hike to Geokaun Mountain and the Fogher Cliffs, which offers incredible 360 degree views.
For fans of Star Wars, Skellig Michael will probably look slightly familiar. It was featured in both The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
There aren’t actually any Star Wars connections here though, this is just one of the most magical places in Ireland.
Skellig Michael is an island that rises out of the sea, with towering peaks that are surrounded by deep waters. It’s also home to colonies of birds including puffins! The views are incredible and there are lots of other things to do too.
Take a boat trip for example which will allow you to see everything from close range – it’s even possible to kayak around Skellig Island if you’re feeling really adventurous!
Other places to visit in Co. Kerry
- Inch Beach
- Torc Waterfall
- The Kerry Cliffs
- Blasket Islands
Dunmore Cave is a popular attraction in the east of Ireland.
This limestone cave system is massive and is home to lots of incredible calcite rock formations, including stalagmites and stalactites.
There are guided tours available which will take you through the vast chambers and through the history of the site. One ancient story is that Viking leader Guthfrith of Ivar is said to have killed over 1000 people. While that hasn’t exactly been proven, human remains found in the cave does show Viking activities.
This impressive 12th century castle is one of the most visited attractions in Co. Kilkenny.
While there are some tours available to see the inside, it’s possible to just wander around outside too, with 50 acres of land to explore!
A stroll through the gardens will give you a chance to admire the surrounding woodlands and an abundance of wildlife. Other features include a man made lake, a rose garden, a playground and a tearoom.
They also have various orienteering trails to explore and a park run every weekend where you can beat the clock in a 5km run.
Other places to visit in Co. Kilkenny
- The Smithwick’s brewery
- Kilfane Glen and Waterfall
- Stay the night in Tubbrid Castle
St. John’s Castle
Another castle in Ireland that’s full of history, St John’s Castle has been an important part of the region for centuries.
Located in the heart of Limerick’s Medieval Quarter, the castle’s turbulent history dates back to the Vikings, and it has been besieged, fought over, and won several times throughout its lengthy existence.
You can take a tour of the castle and explore the outside courtyard where you’ll find various characters such as a blacksmith in his workshop. There are also various medieval games you can try your hand at – archery, medieval seesaw, tug-o-war and storytelling!
The visitors centre has interactive activities and exhibitions to get involved in too. It’s a great day out for kids and adults alike.
Adare is a small picturesque village in County Limerick, which is best known for its impressive abbey ruins.
You’ll find traditional thatched cottages and stone walls lining the streets of Adare, giving you the ultimate Irish village experience.
Take a stroll down the main street where you’ll find small coffee shops and restaurants, antique shops and galleries.
Stop by the Heritage Centre to learn more about the rich history of this beautiful village through an audio visual show and exhibition.
Other places to visit in Co. Limerick
- Fairy Gardens
- Flying Boat Museum
- St. Mary’s Cathedral
Climb Croagh Patrick
Croagh Patrick is one of the most stunning climbs in Ireland, and it’s definitely worth doing for those who are up to it, especially on a clear day when you’ll get panoramic views from the top.
One of the main reasons that people come here though is not specifically for the climb, but instead they come here to make a pilgrimage. It’s believed to have been a pagan pilgrimage site going as far back as 3000BC.
If you’re looking for a quiet hike, it’s best to do so off season. As many as 30,000 people head to Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday in July to attend a mass held at the summit. Up to 1 million people climb the mountain each year.
In terms of difficulty, it’s a moderately tough climb and takes around 3-4 hours to reach the top.
Other places to visit in Co. Mayo
- Achill Island
- Downpatrick Head
- Westport town
This impressive structure is Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman castle and has been standing guard over Meath for centuries, having first been built during the early 12th century by Hugh de Lacy.
The castle itself is twenty sided – you read that right! It’s so big, that it was used in the filming of Braveheart, not just as one castle, but as four separate ones!
You can stroll around the outside of the walls to see firsthand exactly how large this castle really is and then get the guided tour inside. The view from the top of the tower is unmissable, giving you spectacular views of the town of Trim below.
This Neolithic site is one of the most impressive in Ireland and it’s a very popular place to visit. Located in Brú Na Bóinne (meaning palace of the Boyne) in Co. Meath, the stone age passage tomb of Newgrange is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
It was built over five thousand years ago and contains some incredible structures which include stone carvings and artefacts that can’t be found anywhere else.
You must visit with a guided tour, you can’t just wander by yourself. The absolute best time to visit Newgrange is during the winter solstice, when the entire chamber becomes illuminated by the winter sun on the shortest day of the year.
Other places to see in Co. Meath
- Ice Cream Trail at Causey Farm
- Tayto Park
- Boyne Valley
- Kells Round Tower
Also known as the ‘most haunted castle in Ireland’, Leap Castle is one of the most popular attractions to visit during Halloween (although you can also visit any other time during the year).
Constructed at some stage between the 13th to 15th centuries, Leap Castle is now owned by musician Sean Ryan and his wife, Anne, who are more than happy to let you explore.
The owners say that they hear footsteps, talking and doors opening and closing at night. There’s no fear though! Sean believes that the spirits have as much a right to be there as him and visitors often have a calm sense about them when visiting. Many guests to the castle have spoken of feeling someone touch them but when they look around there’s nobody within reach.
Birr Castle Demense
Birr Castle Demense is one of the finest examples of an 12th century demense in the country.
The castle itself is stunning, both from the outside and inside…but it’s definitely worth visiting for their wonderful gardens too.
The 50 hectares of land is home to over 40,000 species of plants, as well as waterfalls, rivers and lakes.
The grounds also house a Science Centre which reveal secrets of early astronomy, photography and engineering.
Other places to visit in Co. Offaly
- Stay the night in Kinnity Castle
- Slieve Bloom
Visit W.B. Yeats Grave
The Irish poet and Nobel prize winning author William Butler Yeats is buried in Drumcliffe Cemetery just outside Sligo town and overlooking Benbulben Mountain.
Yeats had made his wishes clear that he wanted to be buried here and in 1948 his body was exhumed and brought back to Sligo.
Yeats’ grave has become an Irish monument over time as the locals have left little offerings on it like trinkets, coins and poems.
There is no charge to visit the grave, although donations are welcome within the church.
Surf at Strandhill Beach
If you’re an experienced surfer looking to try out the best surfing beaches in Ireland, Strandhill Beach is a must.
Strandhill is a northwest-facing beach that receives varying degrees of swell from southwest to north, making it one of the most consistent surf spots in the world.
Every August bank holiday weekend, one of the country’s biggest surfing events, The Strandhill Open Surf Competition, takes place and sees spectators and surfers join from all over the world.
Other places to visit in Co. Sligo
- Caves of Keash
- Glencar Waterfall
- The Devil’s Chimney
Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel is a stunning example of the Irish medieval period. Set upon a hill of limestone, it is the most spectacular cluster of medieval buildings in the country.
In fact, when you visit it today it feels like you’re walking into an ancient fairytale with its dramatic cliff top location and grassy castle ruins dotted around the landscape.
It’s not surprising that it’s been used as a filming location for Game of Thrones too!
I highly recommend taking a tour of the site so you can get a true sense of how big and impressive this place really is.
This is one of Ireland’s most unique pubs. Why? Because it’s also an undertakers! In historical times, many Irish pub owners often moonlighted as undertakers, grocers, bakers and drapers.
The sign on the outside of the premises states: “Pub, Restaurant, Undertaker”. “Yes, Undertaker”.
“We wine you, dine you and bury you”.
Other places to visit in Co. Tipperary
- Lough Derg Way
- Cahir Castle
- Sounds of History Exhibition
Wicklow Mountains National Park
The Wicklow Mountains are most renowned for their beautiful mountains, lush green slopes and picturesque lakes. Lots of movies have been filmed in this gorgeous region including some scenes from the original Star Wars Trilogy…the picturesque lakes and mountains make for a stunning backdrop.
You can’t miss them if you’re touring the country by car or bus, but I recommend looking out for one of the many walking trails too
This tiny monastery situated in the Wicklow Mountains has a rich, deep history.
Glendalough Monastary is absolutely beautiful so definitely one to add to your list if you’re ever visiting Co. Wicklow
One of my favourite things to do here is take a walk around the lake since there are some wonderful trails that lead down into a hidden valley.
There’s even a path which leads up the mountains other side back towards Glendalough Monastary itself…definitely worth exploring!
Other places to visit in Co. Wicklow
- Sally Gap Drive
- Powerscourt Whiskey Distillery
- Sugarloaf Mountains
- Bray town
Conclusion to my Ireland Bucket List
So that’s it for my list of 50 Ireland bucket list ideas.
I’ve included some must sees as well as other places you might not have heard about but should definitely visit if you ever get a chance!
These are just some of the top places in Ireland that will make your heart sing or head west to explore some hidden gems across the country. Happy travels!
Have you ever been to any of these places in Ireland? What did you think? Have I missed anywhere you loved?
Vourneen is a travel junkie and chronic illness warrior. Although she was late to game in terms of travelling, she has picked up numerous tips and tricks from the almost 30 countries she has visited in the past 5 years.