I’ve moved from the mainaland to live in Ireland over 5 years ago but never realized how different this island is from the rest of the old continent. While most of the Irish land still remains unspoiled, the capital seems to be more lively than most European cities. There is a good reason Ireland was number of times voted by travel magazines among 20 most beautiful countries in the world. I guess the most interesting in Ireland travel is that you can still reach undiscovered places and magnificent unique landscapes of nature. The west dramatic oceanic coast of the island is covered with cliffs, rocky beaches and caves. I’ve traveled around the island few times but every time it seems to be a different adventure.
Here are top 10 best places to visit in Ireland. These are not only places, these are adventures to experience!
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – one of the best places to visit in Ireland! An unforgattable walk through a rope bridge over the sea
It’s an unforgettable walk 30 metres above the sea surface through the rope bridge, which links the mainland with the small island. The original rope bridge was built by salmon fishermen in 18th century, so they were able to set the nets deep in the sea. Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge is located in Northern Ireland and offers stunning views of the Causeway Coastal Route. It might be a little scary experience if you are afraid of heights. But when you keep focus on the breathtaking panoramic view over the wild landscape and you’ll shortly find yourself on the other side of the rope path.
I consider this place as one of the most beautiful in the whole island. Once you get on the small island you can’t stop enjoying the coastal view. I tried to make a movie while walking the bridge but it’s not allowed to stop in the middle of it. The guards keep chivvying you to make movement more efficient, as there’s only 10 people allowed to walk the bridge on the same time. This is definitely a place you should travel at least once and also because there are many great places nearby to visit in Northern Ireland. Interesting thing is that I’ve asked many Irish people have they seen the bridge and not too many of them have traveled there.
Read more about Carric-a-Rede Rope Bridge and how to get there HERE.
The Dark Hedges Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland – the stunning tree tunnel you saw in the Game of Thrones!
The Dark Hedges is an avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. While this is just a valley of trees, it’s a very untypical place and feels like a magic path.
Howth – fishing village in Dublin. You can’t miss one and only Howth port
Had to place my city Dublin on the top of the list. Maybe beacuse this attraction is so easy accesible and lies in the middle of the capital of Ireland. Howth village used to be a small fishing village. Nowadays it’s a main toursit attraction for it’s unforgettable atmosphere. The greatest attraction in Howth are: sea food in one of the harbour restaurants and cliff walk. If you decide to do a full loop you’ll be able to discover small rocky beaches and incredible wildlife like dolphins and seals. Howth peninsula is a great destination for a beautiful day walk on the cliff path leading around the coastline. The violet path is around 10 km but you can call in to see the town. The view from Howth cliffes spreads across Dublin Bay and Wicklow Mountains. A start point is a fishing port, where you have a choice of plenty seafood restaurants. Trust me the, fish there is one of the best I had!
Dingle in County Kerry (Ring of Kerry) and The Wild Atlantic Way
County Kerry is considered as one the most scenic county in west coast of Ireland. Ring of Kerry is one of the most popular 180 km loop route, taking you through majestic landscapes of the region. This is definitely a place you should visit while traveling in Ireland for many reasons. County Kerry is well know for its Irish-language speakers and plenty of attractions. One of them is Killarney National Park with the highest peak of Ireland. You should also see Carrauntoohil, Dingle Peninsula, incredible Skellig islands adventure, stunning beaches and unforgetable seaside villages.
Wild Atlantic Way – one of the longest coastal route in the world!
Wild Atlantic Way covers 2600 km on the west of Ireland coast and it is one of the most dramatic and longest coastal route in the world. It’s a fantastic drive for exploring west of Ireland. The road trip takes you along the west coastline of Ireland starting form the Donegal city on the north of the country. Then along the west coast of Ireland, down to West Cork, finally uncovering the wildest spots of the oceanic side of the island.
Cliffs of Moher – one of the best places to visit in Ireland
County Clare is another region where you can explore amazing beauty of the west coast of Ireland. The main attraction of the region are Cliffs of Moher. This is probably a must place to visit as they say it is a signature of Ireland. The entrance is quite expensive and be prepared for hundreds of tourists. If you plan to spent more time around Cliffs of Moher, take a walk along the cliffs to explore and anjoy this fantastic scenery from different perspectives.
Carrantoohill – the highest peak of Ireland and Killarney National Park in County Kerry!
National Park in County Kerry is one of the best places to visit in Ireland with Carrauntoohil – the highest peak in the island. There are number of hiking trails across this stunning park. One route to the top of Carrauntoohil is Devil’s Ladder. It’s very challenging but absolutely stunning expedition with highly rewarding views from the top, so I highly recommend doing! This is one of my favourite views over Ireland of the green valleys and two lakes of the shape of human lungs. Devil’s Ladder is definietly a trail for hiking lovers.
Devils Ladder route is the hardest and very challenging trail. The beginning of the route is flat and it’s hard to imagine it turns into a steep rocky trail! No special equipment is needed to climb the mountain but be careful. The route has become more dangerous in recent years due to loose stones. On the way to the top you pass two beautiful lakes, which look like human lungs from the top view.
More information of the 6 most scenic hiking trails in Ireland to check HERE.
Wicklow Mountains are most famous hiking destination in Ireland with number of trails. Lugnaquilla is the highest point of Wicklow Mountains – 925 metres – and it’s a decent hike! But any route in Wicklow is stunning – Lought Tay and most famous Glendalough are fantastic, not challenging but rewarding trails. They are easily accesible from the car parking.
Giant’s Causeway – incredible phenomenon formed 50-60 million years ago!
The Loop Head Peninsula
Loop Head is probably one of my favourite walks in the west coastal of Ireland. It is marked with a lighthouse built in 1670 and a fascinating history is linked to this building. The lighthouse is the main landmark on the northern shore of the Shannon River. Loop Head offers dramatic views from 90 metre high cliffs of the sea down to Kerry Head and Dingle to the Cliffs of Moher in the north.
Galway – a must stop on the Wild Atlantic Way
Galway is a charming city and it should be your stop in the Wild Atlantic Way. With only 80 000 inhabitants it is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy local pubs for Irish music. Don’t forget to check out tiny busy streets for Irish crafts and general for an unforgetable atmosphere.