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Best Places to Visit in Ireland - 2018 - Best Cities, Castles, Pubs, Shops, Flights and Tourist Attractions

Updated on September 12, 2018
The cliffs of Moher
The cliffs of Moher | Source
Dublin Airport
Dublin Airport

The Beautiful Island of Ireland

Planning a trip to Ireland? Most would be expecting a horse drawn kart to be carrying them through the streets of an antiquated Dublin. But before you start planning your trip, you need to be well aware that the days of old have long passed. Instead, Ireland has become a mixture of antiquity and modern architecture. It is a land with unique culture and an enormous amount to see and do which makes it in many respects, a land of unmatched fun.

After landing in the new airport terminal, T2 in Dublin, you will most likely rent a car and go explore. And you really are in for a treat.

Cliffs, Prehistoric Wonders, Art and Culture, Friendly laughs and the best pubs and clubs you could ever want, Unique sports, new beers and old faces. The best bag of chips (french fries) you will ever have, and maybe the worst hang over. It all awaits.

So much historical charm in the morning, matched only by the great life within the modern and comfortable cities at night. My top choice of cities would be Dublin, Cork, Galway and Kilkenny. For smaller towns there are far too many to choose from. Read on, to gain some knowledge of avoiding the greatest tourist pitfalls you can experience. Firstly, don’t do the touristy thing….. The path too often taken is not the best one.


Here Are Some Of The Best Hidden Gems From Around Ireland:

1. Newgrange, Dowth and Nowth in the Boyne Valley. These beautiful prehistoric monuments are all too often overlooked, and not many even know they exist. They are what many regard to be, ‘what Stonehenge wants to be’. They far pre date Stonehenge and even the pyramids of Giza. Dating as far back as 3200 BC, these Celtic monuments are as wondrous as one could want. This article has a more in depth view of the ancient temples of Ireland:

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Ailwee Caves
Ailwee Caves | Source

2. The Cliffs of Moher in one word… Majestic

3. Ailwee caves

4. The Giants Causeway

5. Aran Island…. Sheer beauty.

And some of the better known attractions:

6. Guinness Storehouse

7. Croke Park…82300 seater stadium, to watch the local Gaelic games, Hurling and Football, or maybe to attend one of dozens of great concerts on offer throughout the year in the capital. Lady Gaga, U2, the Chili peppers and Adele recently played in Dublin

8. Drive around county Kerry…. Bring a small car…. And enjoy the sights

9. The Burren, with its unique flora and fauna. Some flowers and plants here, exist in no other place in the world.

10. Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone. Kiss the blarney stone and get the gift of the gab.... or so the story goes. The truth behind this castle and the word 'blarney', comes from the ancient propaganda of the Irish Lord of Blarney, toward Queen Elizabeth of England. The Queen claimed the land to be hers during the long war between the two countries. Blarney refused to swear loyalty to her, instead holding up in the castle under siege.

11. St FinBarre Cathedral, Cork City, County Cork.

12. Trim Castle.

13. Fore Abbey, Co.Westmeath - The mysterious wonders of Fore. This ancient village is an untouched delight and surely worth visiting if you are in the area.


Oh the places we'll go!!

Dublin City:
Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland

get directions

Cork City:
Cork, Co. Cork, Ireland

get directions

Galway City:
Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland

get directions

Aran island:
Aran Island, Co. Donegal, Ireland

get directions

The Cliffs of Moher:
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

get directions

The Burren:
Burren National Park, Co. Clare, Ireland

get directions

Kilkenny City:
Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

get directions

Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

get directions

Brú na Bóinne:
Brú na Bóinne, Glebe, Co. Meath, Ireland

get directions

The majestic, 5,000 year old Newgrange, Nowth and Dowth.

Fore Abbey

Fore Abbey
Fore Abbey | Source

Blarney castle

Croke Park

Croke Park
Croke Park
Aviva Stadium
Aviva Stadium


Driving Pitfalls- IMPORTANT!

1. The back roads. Try to only use the back roads when you are heading out to an ancient monument, relic or tomb in the country side. Some of these old roads are relics in themselves. These roads are rarely used and some are more like walking trails. The main roads are top class. Stick to them.

2. Drinking and driving is strictly forbidden. Don't be surprised if you end up in a cell for the night.Its Zero tolerance. Even a tiny bit, and you're done. Ask a local for a taxi/ hackney number, and grab a 'seven seater' back to hotel or B&B when you have had a few too many.

3. Rent a small economical car. Petrol (gas) is expensive, and when visiting those old monuments, on the roads that no one ever uses, it is a lot easier in a small car than a big old gas guzzler.

4. Speed limit. The limit, unfortunately means the limit in Ireland. Go over the limit and face a Garda (police) car or motor cycle on your heels.

Lingo and the Locals

1. Irish people are just like everyone else, except for one thing. A lot of people like to make fun of you. A lot! I grew up there so I know. They call it 'Takin the mickey out of ya', 'having the craic', or 'just jokin around'. So be prepared to have a lot of fun, and keep a light heart.

2. Different areas have different accents. And you may understand people in one city easily but the others may be a mystery to you. Just remember that people are friendly, and wont be offended if you can't understand them.

3. Irish people are good fun in general. But try to cut down on the leprechaun silly talk. Its annoying. People will laugh the first time. But believe me, it gets really old really fast. St. Patrick's day may be the only time you see fully grown men dressed as Leprechauns. That can be quite the sight. So if you are into the cheesy Irish image rather than the historical or geographic appeal, the St.Paddy's day festival may be more suitable for you.

4. There isn't a whole lot of pitfalls. Dublin is a safer major city than most. As is Cork which was the European capital of culture in 2005. Common sense is all you need.

Visiting Ireland

Do you plan on ever visiting Ireland?

See results


Grabbing a flight into Ireland can be for as little as E500/ $650 per person from the USA, and as little as 50 quid from the UK or Europe. And a note for back packers, the price to Europe works the same, from Dublin, Shannon or Cork to any of these countries. Ireland is great for families, romantic getaways, stag nights, tours, acacking or even for a nice quiet hideaway that we all need now and then.

Please feel free to comment with questions and/or stories. I may even edit the article with any great suggestions. Check out the helpful links below, enjoy your trip and have fun!


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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      14 months ago from UK

      We visited Dublin a long time ago and also Belfast. From the UK it is a short and relatively cheap flight. I remember going to the Guinness brewery and the Jamesons distillery and also a bus tour of Belfast. I would like to go back to see the Titanc museum and also the Giants Causeway.

    • profile image

      Mary murley 

      2 years ago

      I am looking for an area to set up for easy car travel exploring. I want to rent a spot in southern close to the sea if possible. I've seen the major areas on 2 previous trips and now want to stay for one month to draw, paint and explore. I really liked Rosscarberry

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi there, I'm going to cahersiveen in June 2017, just wondered what myself and 3 adults could go and visit, we have a car and don't mind driving to place no matter how far, we like historical, fun days and lots of pubs and cafes, if anyone can suggest anything that would be great

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from The World we live in

      Thanks Lee. It was the first hub I ever wrote. I plate it here and there. If you have suggested additions, fire at will.

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 

      4 years ago

      Great hub, very interesting, very enjoyable read, thanks!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      I love Ireland. I have been living and working there for a few years and it was an awesome experience for me. I have been to the most places you have mentioned above. I´m glad that I had the chance to be there. Now I miss your country and my Irish friends and would like to spend a holiday again sometimes. Thanks for reminding me my beautiful life in Ireland.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great travel article on the best places to visit in Ireland. Ireland really is a beautiful country with lovely people. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up). -Rose

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Wow I want to go!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I loved reading this hub of seeing Ireland through your eyes. Also enjoyed the tips! I voted the "I wish" part of your poll. It would be lovely to see Ireland someday! Up, useful and interesting votes and sharing with my followers.

    • Thief12 profile image

      Carlo Giovannetti 

      6 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Great hub. I'd love to visit Ireland one day.

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Hart 

      6 years ago from Lanarkshire

      Great hub! Ireland is on my list of places to visit... its only across the water!

    • tastiger04 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great page, I've been before a few years ago, but I am going again next spring. I'll check some of these out!

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The World we live in

      Hi LA Elsen,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Plenty to see, and its best to do some reading into where to visit first. We will be moving back in May with our little girl who will be 2. Its such a great environment for the little ones, but on vacation, it may be hard to see what you want if they are too small.

    • LA Elsen profile image

      LA Elsen 

      6 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Great article. Cool pictures. I want to go to Ireland, but waiting for the kids to get bigger.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      @freecamping Aussie. Ask the locals how to get home from the bar. There is always a reliable way. A hackney is a good idea. :) Dublin is nice but very similar to other European capitals. I like (for cities) Galway and Kilkenny. They are small and fun. For towns, there are too many to name. Blarney, Killarney etcetera...... I love small towns at home. Like scarrif or fore where no tourists ever go. It's just just untouched and natural. Chat with the locals and have a quiet pint. :) enjoy.

    • freecampingaussie profile image


      7 years ago from Southern Spain

      I have been to Dublin for a weekend but are planning a visit next year with my husband to explore the countryside etc . It is a good job I read this especially the bit about zero tolerance for alcohol as we were planning to have meals & drinks in a few Irish pubs .......

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      Hi Gordon Hamilton,

      You should grab an aer lingus flight over. No better time than now when the economy is still down. Dublin is really nice. Maybe check out some Gaelic football. I've been to London. Beautiful city (and huge). My brother spend some time in edinburgh. He loved it. I would recommend Galway city and getting a bus out to the cliffs of mother and maybe a boat to the Arran islands by what you said you liked.

      Irish, English and Scottish should really visit each others countries more. Such varying cultures and so much to see. It's a great part of the world to live in and I think the future will be a lot better than the past! I'm really looking forward to the World Cup. My wife and I are moving back from the US next year to Ireland.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      7 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      I know it's my loss that I've never been across the Irish Sea, to either Ulster or the Republic. There are so many wonderful places I wish to visit and your Hub certainly highlights many of them very well.

      Simply due to my personal interests, I have long since wanted to visit for the rugby - the Five (now Six) Nations match between Ireland and Scotland. I've had the pleasure of enjoying the company of the visiting Irish for the Murrayfield fixture many times and would love to reciprocate.

      Perhaps more so, I know how wonderful Ireland can be for sea fishing and have seen many TV shows of fishermen and seafood chefs (particularly Rick Stein) visiting your country for what amounts to a sea fisherman's experience of a lifetime.

      Determined I will make it, for one or the other (hopefully both!) some day :) Thanks for the info and the read.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      @thumbi7 thank you for the share. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    • Tealparadise profile image


      7 years ago

      cfin - if I wrote a hub someone would mark it as "too promotional" for sure haha! Maybe I'll do it anyway. The whole experience of Ireland was totally amazing and deserves a good telling! Pinning your article :)

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      7 years ago from India

      A lovely article with beautiful pictures


    • molometer profile image

      Micheal is 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Maybe I'll give it a visit in the spring.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      molometer. There are so many places to see for such a small country.Never a better time than now when the hotels are dirt cheap. Glad you enjoyed the article. Newgrange, Dowth and Nowth are awesome!

    • molometer profile image

      Micheal is 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      A lovely hub full of the charms of the emerald isle. I really must get over sometime and visit Newgrange, sounds great.


    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      @ teal paradise. That is awesome. I am so glad you had fun and loved Killarney. I love it there too. You should write a hub about it and I could include it on here :)

    • Tealparadise profile image


      7 years ago

      I went to Ireland while backpacking about 6 months ago. It was amazing. We went to Dublin and Killarney. Killarney was one of my favorite places out of the whole trip. It was awesome because you can get in by train really cheaply, walk to the BEST hostel I have ever stayed at, and they'll direct you where to rent a bike. Rent your bike and spend 2 days just exploring the nearby national park and town. It was awesome.

      The scenery is amazing. The people are lovely. There's no "tourist trap center" full of locals who make a living by treating tourists like idiots, like in most of the European cities.

      Especially have to give a shout out to the Hostel I stayed in. If you are wary of staying in a hostel.... seriously try this place. Dark wood for miles, U-shaped rooms for a bit of privacy, huge beds (compared to what we were used to at that point), and an amazing old farm-house kitchen. Get a private room if you have 3 people or are willing to bump up the price. Staff was very laid back (bit hard to get a hold of!) but so so so friendly. Seriously feel like we made a friend in Killarney. "Killarney Railway Hostel."

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      @karen hellier, you should visit again. Things are cheaper now than they were for a good while. So much to do and such wonderful happy (but negative in a funny way.) people to chat to.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      @shining Irish eyes. You should check out my hub on newgrange. Its just a wonderful place. Here is the link :)

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      I loved your hub. I went to Ireland for 12 days in 1988 and when I came back to the U.S. I was homesick for Ireland. I could have moved there in a second. I went to a lot of places you mentioned so it was good to read about them and relive the memories. I loved your pictures as well. Voted up and interesting.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Fantastic! You have done my family proud with this informative review of the Emerald Isle.

      My kin originate from County Cork. My Irish Nana used to mention "The wailing of the banshees". I was always scared half to death, and loved every minute of it.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      @Donna. Thank you for your comment Donna. I will be adding some more sites from Westmeath, soon, if I get the time :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful and very interesting :-). Thanks for sharing :-).

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      @gclark. I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. I tried to include one of each type of site. 1 castle, 1 geographical wonder, 1 megalithic tomb, etc. I will be updating it soon a, and could thing of 20 more great places to visit off the top of my head. Check out aerlingus while the flights are cheap :) glad I could provide you with the information. Have a great Sunday.

    • GClark profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Interesting and useful article with lots of photos. This is going on my list of places to visit before I die. So many places and so little time. Thanks for sharing.

    • cfin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The World we live in

      Thanks for the comment Meg. The Burren is awesome, but I prefer the cliffs of moher. The best part about the cliffs is that you are free to roam. Its just beautiful.

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Can't vote in your poll - I'm already there! LOL. I see there are some places I need to visit. Would love to go to the Burren, I have heard it's totally out of this world - like being on the moon.


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