55 AMAZING Things To Do In Ireland

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With over 10 million people visiting Ireland this year, there is no secret; the Emerald Isle is a magic land brimming with unique wonders, authentic heritage, dazzling sceneries and good-natured people.

things to do in ireland

A country that offers some of the planet’s most untamed and hushed countryside, the longest coastal road in the world and unlimited festivities, centuries of History and fearsome adrenaline experiences, idyllic beaches and a traditional bar culture; can only arouse interest and become addictive.

Shaped to be walked and dreamt to be lived; Ireland is an authentic land with endless possibilities. This is a special list of the 55 top things to do in Ireland that will take you through an epic journey.

#1 A Gourmet Delight

Picture of a Gourmet Delight

Both Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II visited the English Market in Cork. These sojourns mean there must be something undeniably special about it.

Is it perhaps the wide selection of organic products? The traditional and imported foods? The many cafés? Or possibly the unique atmosphere of this covered market?

Locals can go grocery shopping while tourists wander through cheese, bread and meat stalls from Monday to Saturday. A real must-do in Cork for foodies and anyone in search of a lovely way to start the day.

#2 Gougane Barra Forest, Co. Cork

Picture of Gougane Barra Forest

Anyone in need of peace and tranquillity will find their ideal setting in Gougane Barra, an hour and a half from Cork. The most famous feature of this valley is the small church built on the shore of the lake, a picture-perfect setup.

The years-long waiting list for weddings is a testimony to the magical appeal of this place. Open to the public, the church is surrounded by high barren hills and many walkways.

Located at the edge of the Sheehy Mountains, the site is part of The Saint Finbarr Pilgrim Way.

To beat the potential crowd and weddings, it is advised to head there in mornings or evenings.

#3 The “Magic Mushroom” or How to Defy Gravity?

Picture of the Magic Mushroom

In Jenkinstown, County Louth, there is a mystical route tenderly named “The Big Mushroom”. To go there, you must have a car. Ask local people for direction, as there is no sign pointing to this supernatural road.

Once you are there, switch your gear into neutral, turn off the engine and remove the car key from the ignition. This is when the magic happens. Your vehicle stopped downhill will start rolling uphill.

#4 Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum


Based within the Martello Tower in Howth, the Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio got its name from Seán Lemass, a former Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland), who visited the place. From fire and smoke signals to contemporary medium, you will master any types of information transmission by the end of your tour.

Pat Herbert, the custodian, gathered Irish historical communication artefacts, such as gramophones, radios, televisions and records, for over 60 years.

He has been displaying his personal collection and working voluntarily at the museum since 2003. Other exhibits include stamps, telegrams, valves, and “The Hurdy-Gurdy Man”, a 10-minute awarded movie about Herbert’s life. EI0MAR, an amateur Morse radio also grew roots within the premises.

#5 The Mythical Caves of Kesh


The Caves of Kesh, located in the Keshcorran Hill in County Sligo, were first explored at the beginning of the 20th century. The excavations revealed Neolithic remains (dating as far as 10,000 years ago) as well as arctic lemmings and reindeer bones.

The sixteen interrelated caves of cherty limestone, full of crystal quartz, are preeminent among Irish mythology. Considered part of the Celtic Otherworld, the caves were admired as much as they were feared. One of the legends says that, in the largest cavern (aka “Cave P”), Cormac Mac Airt, one of the most famous ancient High King, was stolen and raised by a wolf.

You can make it to the grottos by ascending a steep 200 meters grass-grown slope.

#6 Hike Slieve League Cliff

Picture of Slieve League Cliff

Slieve League Cliff, also known as Sliabh Liag, is one of Ireland’s best-kept secret. These sea rock faces, located in County Donegal, are the second highest in Ireland (right after Croaghaun) and among the most elevated ones in Europe. Donegal is one of the most undomesticated areas in the country and was rated “the coolest place in Ireland” by National Geographic Traveller.

There are two paths to reach the top of the cliff:

  • The Pilgrim’s path is a 2.5-hour walk (round way) and starts in Teelin.
  • Bunglass Viewpoint path is an easy 20 minutes climb.

#7 Dairying in Ancient Ireland

Picture of Dairying in Ancient Eire

Irish butter is legendary for being an outstanding and flavourful milkfat. The Butter Museum, in Cork, recounts the dairying origins in the country. It also displays the various historical production materials used throughout the centuries.

You will discover how and why “Cork international trade and exchange” turned into the largest market worldwide. You will also participate in the making and, of course, the tasting of this little slice of paradise.

#8 Surf one of the Longest Waves in Europe


Inch Strand in County Kerry is glorious for being the “place where an inch is actually three miles long”. Both experienced, and neophyte surfers will appreciate the swell and the peace of winter. National Geographic added the beach to the magazine’s list of “Ireland’s most picture-perfect spot”.

Famous for being the place of several movie sets (such as “Ryan’s Daughter” and “Playboy of the Western World”) and due to its dream location (near the rightly praised Dingle and surrounded by dunes), the beach tends to be a little too popular in summer.

#9 Entire Whale Skeleton


On January 15th of 2009, a confused finback whale washed itself ashore in Burren, Kilbrittain, County Cork. The community attempted to save the mammal for hours. They tried to pull the giant cetacean back in the water with a boat but no success. A crowd of volunteer took a turn to clean up the body, and the meat cooperative used its vehicles to transfer the remains.  

The village decided then to collect the bones and exhibit the 20-meter skeleton in their public park.

#10 Kayak the Killary Fjord


Shaped up by glaciers millions of years ago, Killary Harbour , situated in Galway, is Ireland one and only fjord.

Hire a Kayak and relish the picturesque views surrounding this narrow inlet. The North allows breath-taking vistas on the sharp-peaked Twelve Bens’ Mountain Range, when the South awards a panorama of the Mweelrea and Maumturk Mountains. The fauna will dazzle birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Otters, dolphins and hundreds of feathered friends populate and breed in this area.

The fresh razor and surf clams, blue mussels and oysters will delight the taste buds and palate of shellfish addicts. You can also go on a crustacean tour to understand the daily tasks to a thriving culture.

#11 Stargaze in Ireland’s First Dark-Sky Reserve

Picture of Stargaze in Ireland

Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve is the only one of its kind in Ireland. You will not need any gears to identify and distinguish the constellations, as this protected area does not show any sign of light pollution. On a cloudless and moonless night (new moon), your naked eye will observe the Milky Way, the Nebulas, the different Clusters and so much more. You can also hire a professional astronomer to broaden your knowledge of the star system and galaxies.

Note that this 700 square kilometres sector replete with wildlife and attractions, villages and hotels, pubs and delectable food.

#12 HorseRide the Wild Atlantic Way

Picture of HorseRide

The enchanting feeling of riding a beautiful Irish stallion, on a sandy beach, at sunset, is a beguiling adventure. You will be away from the crowd, surrounded by nature, with only the sound of crashing waves and the freedom to gallop across the flawless shore.  

Whether it is on sand dunes or within the ocean, for an hour or a full day, lonesome or in a group, Donegal Equestrian centre arranges classes for any levels.

Horse lovers, a thrilling and stimulating experience is awaiting you.

#13 Step Back in Time and Ride a Caravan

Source: Youtube

Have you ever dreamt of becoming an itinerant and riding your own horse-drawn caravan? Kilvahan Horse-Drawn Caravan experience in Coolrain, County Laois, will make your wish come true.

This award-winning company located in the Irish midlands grants you the freedom to be a real coachman. Go on an expedition and explore the countryside autonomously. Discover the villages and castles in the area. Fish your dinner in the river. Stop at the pub for a pint. Listen to traditional music and spend the night in your four-bed carriage.

Because you are not in the 21st century anymore, beware that bank services and ATM are lacking, even non-existent.

#14 Trace your Irish Roots


With 80 million people worldwide claiming their Irish lineage, you probably want to find out if you are one of them.

In Ireland, it is easily accessible to find out if you have some Irish ancestors. The country’s genealogical archives are open to the public. The Genealogy Research centre at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum has over 1.5 million interments recorded since 1828.

The National and Military Archives in Dublin recorded Census, Soldiers’ Wills, Diocesan Copies and Marriage Licenses and more since 1596.

If this seems overwhelming, the National Archives provides a complimentary consultation to guide your research. The National Library on its side offers free advice and as well as workshops and talks.

#15 Star-Shaped Military Fortress: Charles Fort


William Robinson, the Surveyor General of Ireland, designed the Bastion Fort in the 17th century. Located in Kinsale, County Cork, it is still one of the greatest military set up in Ireland. The sea fort witnessed both the Irish Civil War in 1922-1923 and the Williamite War in 1689-1691. The architecture itself is dazzling. The views from the site over the waters and James Fort ruins are striking. Free guided tours are available onsite.

If you plan on visiting many historical sites, Heritage card is available for purchase here. The price includes all sites except for one. Several plans are available for Students, Seniors or families as well.

#16 Purgatorium Sancti Patricii: The Oldest Irish Pilgrimage

Picture of Purgatorium Sancti Patricii
Source: Loughderg.org

With 15,000 visitors every year, Saint Patrick Purgatory is one of the most strenuous peregrinations. It is said that the holy site, located in Pettigo, County Donegal, dates back from the 5th century.

For three days, pilgrims will brave frigid conditions, food and sleep deprivation while praying and walking footwear off, and genuflect on a honed rock along the way.

Most people though decide on a single day retreat to pray and reflect. Others are spiritually curious to discover this mythical place and craving to learn about local beliefs. You will not be starving and will keep your shoes on. 

#17 Cycle the Great Western Greenway


The Great Western Greenway is a 42kms ride alongside an old railway coastal route. The trail starts and ends in County Mayo, from Westport Town to Achill Island. It is the longest off-road track in the country. You can either do it in one go or stop in the two towns on the way: Newport and Mulranny.

According to the EEA, European Environment Agency, Newport has two of the most exceptional freshwater fishing spots in Europe: Lough Betra and Newport River. Mulranny on its side hides a Salt Marsh with “Sea Pink Flowers”, orchids and lavender.

#18 Writer and Artist Retreat

Picture of Writer and Artist Retreat

Ireland has produced a significant number of talented writers and artists throughout the centuries. Oscar Wilde, William Orpen, James Joyce to name a few. The noise of the city can be burdensome to focus on your art. These retreats have been elaborated for artists and writers to boost their inspiration; either in groups or not. Workshops held by professionals are available for you to improve your skills, get inspired or receive feedbacks of your work. The main intention is to encourage your talent and make sure it does not go to waste.

There are several retreats throughout the country:

  • The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, County Monaghan
  • Anam Cara, County Cork
  • The Kilcoe Writers’ Retreat, West Cork 
  • The Long Barn, West Cork 
  • Molly Keane Writers’ Retreat, County Waterford.

#19 Anusara Yoga at Ard Nahoo


If it is either for a course, a workshop, a training or a full retreat, this eco-centre is where you want to practice your “Anusara” flow and realign your body. Indeed, this family business has won many awards and was proclaimed “One of the Top Ten Retreats Worldwide” by The Guardian.

Located between the River Bonet and Lough Gill, near the village of Dromahair, in County Leitrim, calm and peace is sure-fire. A sauna, a detox box, a hot tub and holistic massages will relax muscles and pains. A Celtic Native trail will teach you the essential aspects of the regional flora in the Celtic Legends and Folklore.

#20 Time Travel: When Technology Meets History

picture of Clonmacnoise site ireland

Clonmacnoise site, in County Offaly, has been defined as “one of Ireland most important ancient monastic sites” by Lonely Planet.

A team of archaeologists and developers decided to create a 3D technology app to offer a full understanding of this outstanding area to visitors. The idea behind this project was to reconstruct through realistic graphics and high resolution what time and life destroyed.

Download the “Lost City of Clonmacnoise app” on your phone/tablet and open it while you walk through the ruins and crosses. Something magical will happen. The historical settings will regenerate ahead of you. The power to time travel has never been within such easy reach.

#21 Fungie: a Close Encounter of the Third Kind


If connecting with wild mammals has always been a dream, then you are in for a treat. Fungie, Irish’ most famous bottlenose dolphin, is also one of the friendliest, cheerful and social untamed cetaceans.

He has been amusing people in the coast of Dingle, County Kerry, since 1983. Locals even have erected a statue in his honour. He is so dedicated and loyal that some tours are devoted to him only. Be ready to be drenched with enjoyment and laughter. 

#22 Windsurf the Blessington Lakes


Located in “The Garden of Ireland” (County Wicklow), this artificial lake is famous for being a brilliant site to start practising and learn the water sport. The Wicklow Mountains and hills encompass this safe and serene environment. Fun is guaranteed.

If you are not willing to try windsurfing yourself, set off to Malin Head and watch the pros reining the wind in one the wildest and finest spots in the world.

Other water activities are also possible on-site such as paddle boarding, kayaking and sailing. If the earth is more your element, cycling around the reservoir and through villages is also a great option.

#23 Scuba Dive in the Dingle Peninsula

Picture of Scuba Dive in the Dingle Peninsula

The Northern side of the Dingle Peninsula has been described as “some of the best diving in the world” and as “an exceptional beauty” by the most prestigious aquatic and sports masters such as Commandant Cousteau, National Geographic journalists and RedBull.

This treasure-trove includes immaculate reefs and colourful corals, friendly dolphins and hulking whales but is also acclaimed for being one of the top ones in Europe to shipwreck dive. Not only is the marine life incredible but also the scenery above the surface as The Brandon Mountain, pristine beaches and magnetising vistas surround the area.

#24 Meet the “Fratercula Arctica”

Picture of Fratercula Arctica

This Irish seabird is better known as the “Atlantic Puffin”. It was named “Fratercula Arctica” (little brother of the North) in the 19th century, due to its black and white feathers looking like a monastic robe. You can spot them during their breeding season, from March to September, all along the Irish West coast. The Cliff of Moher, the Skelligs Islands and Horn Head are three great locations to encounter this adorable but fierce hunter.  To see them nesting in colonies though, it is only from April to the early days of August.

#25 Enjoy the Water of Life like a Local


The word “whiskey” finds its origins in the Gaelic “uisce beatha”, the water of life. If Distillery tours are not your thing but you still want to experience, taste and learn about Ireland’s popular beverage; you should definitely stop at “Garavan’s ”; a multi-awarded whiskey bar in Galway city. The historical building displays over 120 whiskeys (including some of the world’s rarest ones) and offers a warm, authentic and traditional setting. Their skilled staff, also known as “usquophiles”, will teach you the three original steps to a successful feel: the “Nose, Taste and Finish”. Their selection of five tasting trays, coming along with expert notes, will make you live their “savoir-faire”.

#26 Walk the Unknown Part of the Appalachian Trail

Picture of Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is famous in the United States but what most people may not know is that this trail does not stop within the US territory. Indeed, its route spans through the ocean and only ends in Northern Ireland. The Slieve League Cliffs (some of the highest in Europe), in Donegal, is where the pathway starts again. It continues through the Bluestack Mountains, the English Valley and all the way to Larne and the Irish Sea.

#27 Blackrock Wetlands


For all nature lovers and birdwatchers out there, you have just found your dreamland. Located in the North East corner of Ireland, only 7km south of Dundalk, lies the Blackrock Wetlands. Protected under national and EU laws, this world-renowned area features terrestrial, coastal and marine habitats, welcoming tens of thousands of birds every year.

The old fishing village of Blackrock will welcome you with its hospitality, hotels, boutiques, restaurants and sea promenade. Do not miss the charming weekend market to find your next art, craft or second-hand souvenir.

#28 Cahersiveen, the Blend of Nature and History


Cahersiveen, in County Kerry, is the perfect combination of natural beauty and historical sites. The countless possibilities will not disappoint sports and outdoor lovers. Horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, sailing, windsurfing and cycling are part of the very long activity menu.
History and archaeology fans can rest assured, Cahersiveen will provide. Two stone forts, a 15th-century castle, the Old Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks, Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church and more is at your disposition.

With comfortable accommodations and a wide range of eateries, the town overlooking Valentia Harbour is undoubtedly a welcoming place for everyone.

#29 The Unspoiled Lost Valley

Picture of The Unspoiled Lost Valley

When the European Habitats Directive calls a place an “Area of Special Scenic Importance”, expectations are high. The Lost Valley lives up to its reputation with its fantastic scenery. Located in County Mayo, west of Ireland, the untouched beaches, the slopes of Mweelrea Mountains and waterfalls are all part of this sublime picture. Ireland’s only fjord can be seen from the valley as well.
The area has been empty for two centuries as the Great Famine caused the eviction of the villagers. Their heritage can still be seen today, as their cabins and fields have not been touched.
The 3 hours walking tour is the best way to discover this pristine land’s highlights, while guides explain all about the History and facts during this “cultural adventure”.

#30 Mannin Bay Blueway


A real gem for water-based activity and beach lovers. Near Galway, anyone will be astonished by all the shades of blue, the white sand, rock pools and water trails. One can enjoy kayaking around a small island and along the rocky shore, or discovering sea life while snorkelling in the natural pools.
Equipment rental is available onsite and booking in advance is strongly advised.

If you do not feel like swimming, hiking is a great alternative to enjoy the natural beauty of the bay.

#31 The Glen Phenomena

Picture of the Glen
Source: Wikimedia

We all love a good natural phenomenon. In the Coolera Peninsula, in County Sligo, lies a fantastic prowess of Nature, a chasm called the Glen. This fissure in the earth is 1200 meters long, gated by rock walls reaching 18 meters and looks like it was designed primarily for a fairy-tale. With a greener than green and lush flora, the micro valley is a paradise for botanists. Overgrown Ivy, vines, moss and countless trees contribute to its reputation of being another world.

Yet, the Glen is not a very well-known site, despite being located next to the regularly visited Queen Maeve’s Tomb.

#32 The Great Sugarloaf


This conical shaped mountain is a real icon, standing just outside Dublin. With 500m of altitude, it can be climbed by all fitness level in about an hour via the Sugarloaf Trail. Suitable footwear is recommended, as it gets steeper and rocky towards the top. From up there, a fantastic view over Dublin and Wicklow can be enjoyed while having a picnic.

For the early birds, this is a great sunrise viewing point.

#33 A 4,000-Year-Old Sport

Picture of 4,000-Year-Old Sport - Hurling

Which Irish sport has been played for 4,000 years, has players carrying a wooden stick, and is practised all around the world? That’s right, Hurling. Nowadays, it is one of Ireland’s most popular sports, with Gaelic football and Rugby.

If you visit Dublin on the 3rd Sunday of August, you can witness the final of the All-Ireland Senior Championship, one of Ireland’s key sporting event.

#34 Witness the Northern Lights


When talking about northern lights, the first thing that comes to mind is Lapland covered in snow. However, there is no need to go that far to admire the natural light display, since Ireland will do the trick just fine.

Although they can, in theory, be seen from all around the country; here are some advice to increase the chances to spot them: look out in forecasts for a strong geomagnetic storm, head north, avoid light pollution, and find high ground. There never is a guarantee to see them, especially if clouds join the party. Donegal is supposedly a location with consistent sightings. Happy hunting!

#35 Uncover Irish Biodiversity at Lullymore Heritage Park


Wondering how does it look like when nature reclaims its territory? Lullymore Heritage Park, in County Kildare, is an excellent reminder of that. 60 acres of peatlands, fauna and flora are to be discovered via trails and exhibitions. What used to be an industrial area can now be explored with guided tours; a real deep dive into the cultural and environmental features of the region. Make sure to check their event calendar before your trip to the Midlands.

#36 Dunquin Harbor: “One of the Most Picturesque”


Located along the unmissable coastal Slea Head Drive, lies the village of Dunquin, home to the picturesque Dunquin Harbour and The Sheep Highway. The port connects the mainland to the Blasket Island, uninhabited since 1953 due to an evacuation after extreme weather recurrences. Only the sheeps remained on the island. They are occasionally brought to the mainland to eat the abundant grass around Dunquin —which gave the narrow path up from the pier the nickname of The Sheep Highway.
The scenic haven with its dramatic landscape is one of Ireland’s most photographed place.

#37 Go to the Top of Hook Lighthouse


The Hook Lighthouse, in Wexford, is the oldest functioning and flawless lighthouse in the world. Located on the eastern side of Waterford Harbour, the current building, built by Knight William Marshal, dates back to the 12th century. Amazingly, it is possible to climb the 115 steps all the way up the lighthouse. From the top, visitors can enjoy the endless sea view.

Guided tours are available to head back in time and learn about the life of a light keeper and Ireland’s Ancient East.  You can also have lunch within the erstwhile keeper’s house.

#38 Cnoc Suain, a Cultural Retreat


Awarded “Ireland’s Best Cultural Experience” by the Irish Tourism Industry Awards of 2017, Cnoc Suain retreat, located in the restored Connemara village, offers an in-depth journey into Ireland’s History. The cultural journey takes place in the middle of 200 acres of stunning ancient bog lands. After a relaxing night in their 17th-century cottages, visitors can hop on a tour and fully immerse themselves into native traditions. With themes such as natural history, storytelling, poetry, céilí dancing and much more, the full spectrum of Gaelic heritage is revealed.

#39 Cliff of Moher, the Mother of Cliffs


Undeniably one of the most visited places in Ireland, with well over a million tourists every year. The reason lies within the 14km long and 200m high, jaw-dropping vertical cliffs descending straight into the Atlantic Ocean. To fully value the wilderness of the dramatic Irish coastline, there is a hiking trail all along the cliffs. To beat the crowd, it is advised to head there in the early morning or late afternoon.
The cliffs are a major stopover of the famous tourist trail “Wild Atlantic Way”, 2500km of coastline splendour.

#40 Powerscourt, Ireland’s Highest Waterfall

Picture of Powerscourt Waterfall

There is no shortage of cascades in Ireland. However, if you had to pick one, it would probably be the tallest. Powerscourt is a 121m high waterfall, located at Wicklow Mountains’ foothill. The area is a great getaway, just 35 minutes from Dublin centre. Picnics and barbecues can be savoured in the family and kids friendly natural attraction. Surrounded by various species of tree, such as Oak, Larch and Beech, visitors might have the chance to spot endemic wildlife. Pathways meander through the parkland to enjoy nature from up-close.

#41 Bunlahinch Clapper Bridge in Louisburg


Visitors nearby Louisburg, in County Mayo, should definitely take a peek at an unusual style of bridge, the Clapper Bridge. The 50 meters-long structure is the largest of its kind in Ireland. Composed of 37 arches, this pedestrian bridge has been built using a prehistorical design of stacked clapper (or limestone slab), positioned on top of stony piers. However, its actual construction is not more than two centuries old.

#42 Sleep in a Haunted Castle

Picture of a Haunted Castle

With centuries of turbulent history, the numerous castles of Ireland have witnessed some horrifying episodes, which still vibrates within them.

Haunted castles can be visited, but for the bravest, spending a night in one is possible. Kinnitty Castle is said to be possessed by Druids. The ghost of Lady Isobel Shaw knocks at guests’ doors in Ballygally castle. If this is not spooky enough, the Leap Castle is hard to beat, as it is perceived as being one of the eeriest and ghostliest fortresses in all of Europe.

Haunted castles can be visited, but for the bravest, spending a night in one is possible. Kinnitty Castle is said to be possessed by Druids. The ghost of Lady Isobel Shaw knocks at guests’ doors in Ballygally castle. If this is not spooky enough, the Leap Castle is hard to beat, as it is perceived as being one of the eeriest and ghostliest fortresses in all of Europe.

However, if having a spirit in your bedroom is not your thing, there is always the option of sleeping in a non-haunted castle, to feel like real kings and queens. Ireland is bountiful with castle’ hotels.

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#43 Slumber in a lighthouse

Picture of a lighthouse

Lighthouses have always fascinated tourists, with their unique structures and incredible roles throughout History. Day-trippers can visit them, climb on top and find pleasure in the magnificent vistas. It is always a little frustrating to leave the premises right around sunset time. Nevertheless, that is old news since it is now possible to sleep in some of Ireland’s lighthouse properties. Loop Head, Blackhead, Galey Head and St. John’s Point are just a few of the list of light-keepers’ cottages. At Wicklow Head Lighthouse, the entire tower is all yours for the night.

#44 Take Ireland’s Unique Cable Car


Can you hold your breath for 8 minutes? Well, that might actually happen if you take the intimidating Dursey Cable Car. Ireland’s only cable car is also the single one in Europe crossing open seawater. Initially designed to carry sheep, it traverses the Dursey Sound all the way to Dursey Island, offering spectacular views of the water, shores and the island from up top. On the other side of the 150 meters-wide passage, visitors can wander around the barren island, but bear in mind that there are no shops on the island. It is advised to bring your own food and water. Furthermore, the company functions on a first-come first-serve basis.

#45 Live the “Johnnie Fox’s Hooley Show”


If you had only one night out in Dublin, you would want an all-in-one venue. Luckily, there is the nationwide renowned Johnnie Fox’s Hooley Show. On the menu, a four-course meal with outstanding seafood (and more), going along with a live band playing various traditional Irish music. The entertainment continues with captivating Irish dancers performing on stage.

This is a must-do, culture-packed experience in Dublin. Shows are happening every evening, but it can get quite busy during the weekend, not surprising!

#46 The Little Ark of Kilbaha

Picture of the Little Ark of Kilbaha

In the mid-19th century, a cholera epidemic hit the West Clare region. Father Michael Meehan, was sent to attend the deceased and the dead. As there was no constructed church, the priest requested if he could erect one, but the landowners turned him down. He collaborated with a local joiner who built a rolling structure that he would trundle to the beach at low tide. The Friar added an altar and was ready to offer masses and give sermons. The Little Ark was born.

A quinquennium later, a concrete religious edifice, which still exists today, was put-up in Kilbaha. It has been home to the very well maintained “Ark” since then.

# 47 Taste Organic Smoked Salmon


The lore of smoking Atlantic salmon has been part of the Celtic World and Human History for over 22,000 years. To gather a qualitative reserve to survive throughout the winter months, people preserved the wild fish by placing it over a slow burning fire during extended hours.

Nowadays, the technics used to process the fish in Ireland are amongst the bests worldwide.

You can tour both The Burren Smokehouse, in County Clare, and The Connemara Smokehouse, in County Galway.  You will appreciate the savour on-site, buy some products to bring back home or order them online for your next celebration.

Other Irish traditional culinary specialities include:

  • Coddle, a leftover mixed dish
  • Drisheen, a Cork black pudding
  • Irish stew
  • Slow roasted lamb
  • Blaa, a soft bread roll
  • Champ (mashed potato)

# 48 The Incomparable Wonderful Barn 

Picture of The Incomparable Wonderful Barn - Castletown
Source: Pinterest

What comes after a discussion about the Wonderful Barn is “I have to see this thing!”. Reaching 22 meters high and dating back to 1743, the corkscrew-shaped structure is a real unconventionality. Located on the Castletown House Estate, County Kildare, it is believed to have been used as a versatile facility for stockpiling grains, game shooting and other tasks, in case of another famine. Though in need of some maintenance, it is delightful to roam around the area and admire the enchanting architectural presence of the Wonderful Barn.

# 49 Lough MacNean Sculpture Trail


With 67 km of locally made sculptures and natural beauty, the trail is much more than an open-air exhibition. Located at the boundaries of Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim Counties, the pathway promotes cross-community and trans-border reconciliation. The 11 pieces of art are the results of the work of local artists and local communities, schools and youth clubs. 

It is possible to hike, cycle or drive along the trail.

#50 Go on a Seafari 


If you consider that Safari means “journey” in Swahili, the term Seafari is self-explanatory. In Kenmare, County Kerry, Captain Ray from Seafari Cruises will take you on a 2-3 hours’ exploration of the tranquil bay on-board a sheltered passenger vessel. Encompassed by spectacular landscapes, you will observe seals and various bird species from the ship.  The Captain will entertain you with stories, facts and perhaps a little Irish lesson for the luckiest. You will find informational books about wildlife and regional attractions inboard, as well as binoculars and snacks. On top of it, the 20-meter ship is fairly eco-friendly, minimising waves and reducing harmful substances waste. An excellent choice for families and wildlife discovery cruise.

# 51 Avoca Handweavers, Ireland’s Oldest Surviving Business 


Established in 1723, Avoca Handweavers is not only Ireland’s oldest working woollen mill, but also one of the world’s oldest manufacturer, as well as Ireland’s oldest surviving business. With notoriety came success. Exporting their throws, blankets and much more all around the globe, the Irish family business operates in 11 locations in the Emerald Isles and employs 600 people.

 It is possible to visit the mill, café and shops, which are just an hour away from Dublin, in the village of Avoca. The Mill Tour will allow you to witness first-hand how the world-famous products are crafted by 3rd generation weavers.

If you cannot make it, their online store is here to ease your frustration.

#52 Tee Off and Strike the Ball

Picture of Tee Off and Strike the Ball

With over 300 courses, it sometimes feels like Ireland was sculpted for golfers. Some of the greatest players were either born or welcomed in “the green of dreams”. The only word Tiger Woods was able to express when he saw the Old Head Golf Links’ 15th tee was “WOW”. Indeed, these world-class courses are located in magnificent locations, with views of the seas, lighthouses, green hills and cliffs.

Some of the hidden gems include:

– Adare Manor, with a castle as part of the landscape

– Royal Curragh, the oldest club in Ireland

– The seaside Galway Bay

– Ceann Sibeal next to the Three Sisters’ cliffs

– Scenic views from the Bantry Bay golf course.

#53 The Old Thatch


Welcome to the oldest thatch pub in Ireland. While the building is close to being 400 years young, the new management is just over two years old. If you are in Killeagh, in East Cork, treat yourself with a great atmosphere at this traditional establishment that boasts a beer garden.

The wallet-friendly menu has over 36 carefully prepared dishes, served in a casual dining setup, accompanied by local drinks. 

The past is present all around the premise. Wooden walls and ceilings, old barrels and the 1851-hunted deer head, are some of the constant reminders of the age of the pub. The quality, however, is definitely 21st century.

#54 Coasteering, Ireland’s New Obsession


This is something the fainthearted will love. Coasteering is a new type of extreme sport that is gaining a lot of traction these days. It is basically a coastline exploration which involves cliff jumping, exploring sea caves, climbing up vertical rocks, and pretty much anything else that defies any logic.

Performed with a skilled instructor, this activity often involves dramatic landscapes. It requires a reasonable level of fitness, and heights can vary depending on how adventurous you feel. Perhaps a dolphin will come to admire the show.

#55 The Bangor Trail, via Ireland’s Only Road-Less Hill


If you are looking on a map for a road-less part of Ireland, chances are you will find Nephin Begs range, in County Mayo. For wilderness fans, this is where any good adventure should start. Here is an idea, how about hiking what is most likely the loneliest, most isolated trail of Ireland?

With 29km of untamed nature, streams, and mountains, the Bangor trail is purely stunning. It can be done in one or two days, with or without a guide. Either way, practice your orientation skills and bring a map because this old drover path is not clearly marked. Get ready for an intense but rewarding adventure.

Looking for More ?

#57 Experience a Horse Race

Picture of Horse Race

Welcome to the Mecca of horseracing, where some of the world’s top Thoroughbred horses come from. Horseracing is one of Ireland’s top national spectator sports and a €1 billion industry. There are races all year round in various parts of the country, such as the famous Irish Derby in Curragh (late June / early July) or the Irish Champion Stakes in Dublin (September).

The two types of horseracing in Ireland are the Flat Racing and Jump Racing. Apart from “Ladies’ Day”, there is no dress code since it is seen as a relatively informal type of event.

#58 Discover Ancestral Traditions and Learn Some Irish in Donegal Gaeltacht

Picture of Ancestral Traditions

Gaeltacht is an Irish word that defines a region with Irish as its primary spoken language. Donegal Gaeltacht happens to be the largest of them all. Going back in time over there seems to be a natural thing: its folklore, dance, music, Celtic and Gaelic heritage have been well looked after by the local population.

On top of it, Donegal Gaeltacht’s land is a pure Irish setting, with sandy beaches, lakes, and mountains. The region boasts enough accommodations and activities for everyone to enjoy a great journey in one of Ireland’s most intriguing areas.

Planning to Visit Dublin’s Area Exclusively?

Here are 266-day trips from Dublin.

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