Ireland is a magnificent scenic country located on the Northwestern coast of Europe, bordered by the frigid Atlantic Ocean. The Emerald Isle is filled with ancient castles, warm people, cultural monuments and lilting music. Visiting Ireland is a trip of a lifetime and a great way to explore culture, literature, and gastronomy unique to the Irish people. No matter what type of traveler you are, from the intrepid adventurer to the leisurely wanderer, Ireland has plenty of incredible experiences to provide. 

Here is a list of the best things to do in Ireland when visiting!

1. Visit the Cliffs of Moher

The majestic Cliffs of Moher stand tall along the west coast of Ireland, dramatically dotting the landscape. The dramatic Cliffs of Moher are the tallest in the country, ranging between 600-700 feet and stretching for a total of 8 kilometers.

Visitors to the Cliffs of Moher can take in the incredible view from either the cliffs themselves, the projecting O’Brien’s Tower or the surrounding observation points. Brave folks can choose to step out onto the smaller, sea-worn rocks, full of tiny nooks and crevices.

2. Explore the Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most beloved tourist attractions and consists of a 179-kilometer circular route between the towns of Killarney and Kenmare. The route winds around sleepy villages, breathtaking landscapes and other cultural milestones like the Kinsale Point Lighthouse.

Highlights of the Ring of Kerry include the stunning MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range, the vibrant Killarney National Park, the historic Ross Castle and the Skellig Islands, two UNESCO World Heritage identified sites where ancient monasteries were built on rock platforms.

3. Stop at the Guinness Brewery

The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s most hallowed landmarks. Nestled in the Dublin Brewery just outside the city center, the building is known to contain a well-preserved record of the production process and history of the famous beer.

The Storehouse is made up of seven floors, with each dedicated to different aspects of the brand. From seeing what goes into making a pint of Guinness to learning about some of the most famous marketing campaigns, one can spend an entire day learning about this well-known production.

At the top of the experience, visitors can sit back and enjoy a cold Guinness with a view of the beautiful Dublin cityscape.

4. Dine in the Temple Bar

A visit to Temple Bar is an absolute must for any tourist in Ireland, especially those that are looking for traditional Irish cuisine. Located in Dublin’s city center, Temple Bar is a mix of trendy eateries, unique restaurants, and street performances.

Visitors to the Temple Bar can soak up the lively atmosphere while enjoying some of Ireland’s most beloved food. Popular recommended dishes include beef and Guinness pies, Irish whiskey-coated oysters, and potato and leek soups. There’s also plenty of traditional chocolate trifle to enjoy as a dessert.

5. Stan at Galway Cathedral

Gorgeous Galway Cathedral is a must-see for any visitor to Ireland, and it’s sure to be a highlight of the trip. This spectacular Neo-Gothic building is one of the biggest pieces of architecture in the western world, positioned at the center of Galway City.

The stunning views of Galway Bay and the River Corrib are a sight to behold, but the cathedral’s most remarkable feature is the Galway stained-glass window. This vibrant window is intricately crafted to depict the twelve apostles and is the largest of its kind in the world.

6. Tour the Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is a collection of more than 40,000 perfect basalt columns that look like they were made by giants. This UNESCO Heritage Site is off the coast of Antrim, and it will leave you breathless.

Visitors to the Giant’s Causeway can take part in interesting guided tours that take you to the sea and back – discovering the natural rock formations, learning about the geological phenomenon, and walking in the footsteps of giants.

7. Wander Around Kilkenny

Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s most charming and idyllic cities. Sitting in the southeastern corner of the country, Kilkenny is regarded as one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in the world and dates back to 902 free of Viking raids.

Kilkenny’s picturesque cobblestone streets and colorful townhouses give the city life and energy, while its plethora of monuments, museums, galleries, and designer boutiques gives visitors and locals plenty to explore and experience. Visitors should definitely stop in Kilkenny Castle, one of the country’s most favored landmarks.

8. Climb Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick, also known as Ireland’s ‘holy mountain’ is a 2,500-foot peak in County Mayo. Each year, over 100,000 people come to embark on this religious pilgrimage, often referred to as ‘the Reek’.

Visitors should note that the climb up Croagh Patrick can be a difficult one, with many steep and boggy routes along the way. Before attempting the hike, visitors should adequately prepare and make sure they have the necessary gear, such as proper shoes and waterproof clothing.

9. Shop in Dublin

Dublin has some of the best shopping and nightlife in all of Ireland, and it also boasts plenty of hidden gems scattered throughout the city. From vintage shops and flea markets to 6 story shopping centers, Dublin has something for every type of traveler.

Popular shopping areas in the city include Henry Street, which is one of the main shopping areas in Dublin, the pedestrian-only Grafton Street, and the Cornmarket area, which is known for its independent boutiques. The quayside area is a great place to find trendy and unique apparel.

10. Catch a Traditional Music Session

What’s a trip to Ireland without experiencing some of its classic traditional music? Traditional music pubs are often seen as one of the most authentic experiences of Irish life, and they’re scattered throughout the Emerald Isle.

Popular traditional music pubs in Dublin include The Gravity Bar, The Cobblestone, and The Auld Dubliner. Traditional music performances are often spontaneous, so be sure to hang around for more than a few songs, as you never know when something special might happen.

11. Sample the Irish Whiskey

Ireland is renowned for its delicious whiskey, and its distilleries are one of the top experiences to have in the country. Visiting a whiskey distillery can be a fantastic way to learn more about this alcoholic beverage, as well as its history and tasting notes.

Popular distilleries in Ireland include the Old Jameson’s Distillery in Dublin, the Knappogue Castle Distillery, and the Tullamore Dew Heritage Center. There are multiple whiskey tasting experiences throughout the country, so be sure to book one if you’re a whiskey enthusiast.

12. Explore the Burren

The Burren is a limestone-rich region on the western coast of County Clare, listed as one of Ireland’s most unique geographical landmarks. This ancient landscape is full of unique flora, including plants that are not found anywhere else on the planet, and is often a used as the backdrop for numerous film and television productions.

Visiting the Burren is a great way to experience a vast area of natural beauty, with breathtaking views of the sea and other geological wonders. Most tours of the Burren take you on a walk through the rocky grounds, and many are accompanied by a guide who can explain the history and the geology behind this fascinating area.

13. Cycle the Beara Peninsula

The Beara Peninsula is an extraordinary landscape that sits at the south-western tip of Ireland. This rugged region has some of the country’s best coastal scenery, with miles of dramatic cliffs and islands, tiny traditional villages, and plenty of outdoor activities.

Cycling the Beara Peninsula is one of the best ways to explore this area and its grand views of the ocean. It’s possible to take either guided or self-guided tours, with most starting and ending in the West Cork area.

14. Take in the Blarney Castle

The Blarney Castle is one of the most sought-after attractions in the Emerald Isle and a great way to understand Irish culture and folklore. This 15th-century stronghold is positioned just outside of Cork, and it’s full of ancient tales and mysteries. It’s most famous feature is the Blarney Stone, a special stone which grants the luck of eloquence to those who kiss it.

A visit to the Blarney Stone also includes a tour of the castle, with its gorgeous gardens, picturesque walls and hidden staircases. Visitors should also make sure to stop at the castle mill on the way out and purchase some Blarney wool, which is a unique regional souvenir.