Ireland Must-Sees for First-Timers

10.07.2019
Dublin, Ireland
 

An enchanting island in terms of nature, dream country for any royal architecture lover, and a must-visit place for a "Game of Thrones" enthusiast - Ireland has a lot to offer. It's impossible not to fall for its unique wild beauty, extensive history, and diverse culture. In this article, we'd like to introduce you to the reasons why you might want to consider Ireland as your next holiday destination.

 

Best Ireland Cities Not to Miss

Dublin, Ireland

Delightful Dublin

Naturally, the majestic capital of Ireland is the first place on the list. It's the biggest city on the Ireland map and a beautiful destination with a rich heritage.

Exploring Dublin, keep an eye out for the paving slabs with bronze artifacts depicted on them, they represent the items that were discovered by archeologists during the city's growth.

Besides the plate-hunting, there are a lot of ways to embrace the Irish capital's history. Visiting the National Museum of Ireland, the Dublin Castle or the Trinity College (the alma mater of Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Bram Stocker) are definitely among them. And while you are there, make sure you don't miss the Old Library and the world-famous Book of Kells exhibition.

 

Glorious Galway

Often referred to as the "Cultural Heart of Ireland", Galway is associated with the traditional Irish arts and language the most. You can't find a better place to explore the rich culture of Ireland!

Approximately 7000 citizens are Irish speakers, this scenic port city is known for its bohemian vibes and numerous festivals, including the famous Galway Arts Festival.

And the city offers a lot to explore. Enjoy the breathtaking panoramas as you travel along one of the most impressive coastlines in Ireland, taste some local food on the centuries-old Galway Market, and marvel at the grandeur of the Kylemore Abbey while there. This one-of-a-kind Gothic building attracts visitors by its gorgeous location and scenic garden.

Kylemore Abbey, Galway
 
Killarney, Ireland

Charming Killarney

The beautiful Irish city, immortalized in numerous pop songs, Killarney is a great destination to consider if you are a fan of the outdoor activities, there are a lot to choose from. Interestingly, the name of Killarney translates as the "Church of the Blackthorn" and no one exactly knows why.

You can start your tour by visiting the Killarney National Park, apart from fantastic views, it offers you an exciting chance to fly a hawk, to do a memorable treasure hunt (you can do it on foot, by bicycle, by jaunting car, on horseback or via any combination of these above), and to see the last remaining herd of the wild red deer in Ireland.

Continue with a boat trip to the Ross Castle along the breathtaking mountain pass and take a guided tour to the magical Innisfallen Island from there.

 

Colorful Cork

This picturesque city in south-west Ireland with incredible architecture is definitely not to miss.

Exploring the city, you will see dozens of impressive buildings dating back to the medieval period, including the Rock of Cashel, the Blarney Castle (yes, of course, you may kiss the famous Stone of Eloquence if you want to), and Glanworth Bridge, considered the narrowest and the oldest public bridge in everyday use.

Apart from admiring the architecture, there is a lot to do during your Cork stay. You can touch the most southern point of the beautiful Irish island, visit the spot where Michael Collins died, the first Ford Motor Company factory built outside of the USA, or the Port of Cork, Titanic's last port to call, just to name a few.

Cork, Ireland
 

Top Ireland Castles

Dublin Castle, Ireland

Undoubtedly, castles are one of the first things that come to mind when you think about Ireland vacations. They say, that over a thousand castles can be found scattered throughout the magnificent island!

Originally, almost all of them belonged to the most influential Irish families and were used as defensive homes. As time passed, they were abandoned, forgotten about, and were slowly coming to destruction. But, during the last hundred years many of the castles in Ireland have been restored and now are open for visitors. If you've ever dreamed about living like royalty (and who hasn't?), some of the manors even invite you to spend the night.

It's impossible to put all the must-see Irish castles on one list, but here are some honorable mentions. Apart from the majestic buildings mentioned above, the Bunratty Castle (and a chance to see what life was like when it was built),

King John's Castle in Limerick (where 3D models and 21th century touch screen technologies will make you feel like a part of the siege and warfare 800-year history), and the Dunguaire Castle (with it's medieval banquets held inside the castle) are definitely not something you'd want to miss.

Top Ireland Attractions

The Cliffs of Moher

Without a doubt, you’ve most likely seen dozens of photographs and read countless laudatory adjectives, describing the Cliffs of Moher, looking through the descriptions of the Ireland tours. But no words or pictures can ever do justice to the most popular and well-known Irish natural attraction. The gorgeous cliffs stretch along the magnificent ocean shore for 8 kilometers (5 miles) and offer to have a look on the jaw-dropping Atlantic from 214 meters (656 feet) above the sea level.

The Ring of Kerry

Take the chance to explore what is believed to be one of the most scenic routes in Ireland. As the name suggests, you can start your exploration from any spot you like (though most people choose Killarney or Kenmare) and, going non-stop, find yourself on that exact spot in a bit under 3 hours.

The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

 

This scenic path is a feast for any visualist: steep mountains, authentic villages, breathtaking views of the ocean, and numerous incredible valleys. If you are a history fan, the Ogham Stones, Iron Age forts, and several ancient monasteries are conveniently scattered along the route, making the Ring of Kerry a great point to add to your must-see list.

Ireland: Things to Do

For last, we've saved some Ireland travel advice on more ways to spice up your trip.

An important part of Irish culture is inextricably linked to the Guinness Brewery and the Old Jameson Distillery, so both of them are the ultimate must-visit places during your Ireland getaway. They offer guided tours with an opportunity to enjoy the degustation of the original beverages at the end (or you can try them out in any of 666 Dublin's licensed pubs.)

Apart from the tasting, both excursions promise a deep insight into the brand's history and production, a tour around some of the key buildings, and only small groups (up to 15 people).

And no Irish tour will be complete without seeing the cast of dancers from Lord of the Dance and Riverdance in action! Note, that the shows are very popular, so book your tickets for the performance in advance.

Jemeson Distillery, Ireland
 

Ireland is much more than the color green, shamrocks, leprechauns, and St. Patrick's Day. Every visit to this incredible country will reveal something new and leave you with a burning desire to come back. Have you already packed to start your Ireland vacation? In any case, if this beautiful destination caught your eye, don't hesitate to contact our travel specialists, who'll be dazzled to help you plan an itinerary of your dreams.

 
 

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