42 Must-See Places to Visit in Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland

Ireland, often referred to as the "Emerald Isle" for its lush green landscapes, is filled with natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Whether you're an intrepid traveller, history buff, nature enthusiast, or just looking for a picturesque getaway, Ireland has something to offer everyone.

The term "Emerald Isle" is often used to refer to the entire island of Ireland, which includes both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is a poetic nickname that highlights the lush green landscapes, rolling hills, and abundant vegetation found throughout the island, giving it a vivid green appearance, especially in the countryside. So, both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are collectively known as the Emerald Isle due to their stunning natural beauty.

We'll take you on a virtual tour of the top 22 places to visit in the Republic of Ireland and the top 20 places to visit in Northern Ireland. From vibrant cities to serene countryside, the Emerald Isle has it all.

Explore the Best of the Republic of Ireland

skellig michael

The Republic of Ireland, known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, is a dream destination for travellers. From vibrant cities to serene countryside, there's something for everyone to discover. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you on a journey through the top 22 places to visit in the Republic of Ireland.

22 Must-Visit Places in the Republic of Ireland

Location Highlight
Dublin Experience the vibrant capital city.
Cliffs of Moher Marvel at the stunning coastal cliffs.
Ring of Kerry Drive through picturesque landscapes.
Killarney National Park Explore Ireland's first national park.
Blarney Castle Kiss the famous Blarney Stone.
Connemara Discover rugged, wild landscapes.
The Burren Stroll through otherworldly terrain.
Galway Immerse yourself in traditional Irish culture.
Cork Visit the charming city in the south.
Dingle Peninsula Enjoy picturesque coastal views.
Kilkenny Explore medieval charm.
Rock of Cashel Witness ancient Irish heritage.
Slieve League Hike along Europe's highest sea cliffs.
Waterford Learn about Irish Viking history.
Glendalough Wander through a serene glacial valley.
Aran Islands Experience a Gaelic-speaking community.
Newgrange Step into prehistoric Ireland.
Westport Enjoy a vibrant town on the west coast.
Kinsale Explore a picturesque seaside town.
Clonmacnoise Visit an ancient monastic site along the Shannon.
The Wild Atlantic Way Embark on a coastal adventure.
Wicklow Mountains National Park Discover diverse landscapes.

 

Exploring the East and South

christchurch cathedral dublin

1. Dublin - Ireland's Dynamic Capital

Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, is a vibrant city known for its literary history, lively pubs, and rich culture. Don't miss Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells, and the lively atmosphere of Temple Bar.

2. Cliffs of Moher - Majestic Coastal Beauty

The Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most iconic natural attractions, rise dramatically from the Atlantic Ocean. These towering cliffs offer breathtaking panoramic views of the rugged coastline.

3. Ring of Kerry - Scenic Drive Extraordinaire

The Ring of Kerry, a 179-kilometer circular route, offers some of Ireland's most stunning vistas. Drive through charming villages, gaze at breathtaking landscapes, and explore hidden gems.

4. Killarney National Park - Ireland's First National Park

Killarney National Park is a natural paradise featuring woodlands, lakes, and mountains. Muckross House and Gardens are must-see attractions within the park.

5. Blarney Castle - A Magical Kiss

blarney castle

Blarney Castle is famous for the Blarney Stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eloquence upon those who kiss it. Explore the castle's gardens and enjoy a day trip from Cork.

6. Connemara - Rugged Wilderness

Connemara's wild and rugged landscapes offer a serene escape. Explore Kylemore Abbey, Connemara National Park, and take in the breathtaking beauty of this untouched region.

7. The Burren - Otherworldly Terrain

newgrange

The Burren's unique limestone terrain is a geological marvel. Hike through its lunar-like landscape, visit Poulnabrone Dolmen, and explore this enchanting region.

8. Galway - The Heart of Irish Culture

Galway, a cultural hub on the west coast, is famous for its traditional Irish music, arts scene, and friendly locals. Stroll along Shop Street and immerse yourself in the city's warm atmosphere.

9. Cork - The Rebel City

Cork, Ireland's second-largest city, boasts a rich history and a vibrant culinary scene. Explore the historic English Market, take a scenic walk along the River Lee, and enjoy the charm of the city.

10. Dingle Peninsula - Coastal Beauty

The Dingle Peninsula offers some of Ireland's most stunning coastal views. Explore the charming town of Dingle, take a boat trip to see Fungie the Dolphin, and drive the scenic Slea Head route.

11. Kilkenny - Medieval Charm

Kilkenny, often called the Marble City, is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture. Don't miss Kilkenny Castle, the Medieval Mile Museum, and the city's vibrant arts scene.

12. Rock of Cashel - Ancient Irish Heritage

The Rock of Cashel, also known as St. Patrick's Rock, is a historic site that showcases Ireland's ancient heritage. Explore the medieval buildings and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

13. Slieve League - Europe's Highest Sea Cliffs

slieve league

Slieve League in County Donegal boasts some of Europe's highest sea cliffs. Hike along the rugged coastline for breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the dramatic cliffs.

14. Waterford - Viking History

Waterford, Ireland's oldest city, is known for its Viking heritage. Visit the Waterford Crystal Factory, explore the historic Viking Triangle, and learn about the city's rich history.

15. Glendalough - Serene Glacial Valley

Glendalough, nestled in the Wicklow Mountains, is a serene glacial valley famous for its ancient monastic settlement and stunning scenery. Hike the trails and visit the picturesque Upper and Lower Lakes.

16. Aran Islands - Gaelic-Speaking Community

The Aran Islands are a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland where Gaelic is the primary language. Experience a unique Gaelic-speaking community, explore ancient forts, and take in the island's rugged beauty.

17. Newgrange - Prehistoric Ireland

poulnabrone dolmen

Newgrange is a 5,200-year-old passage tomb and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit during the winter solstice to witness the remarkable illumination of the inner chamber and step back in time to prehistoric Ireland.

18. Westport - Vibrant Coastal Town

Westport, located on the west coast, is a charming and vibrant town known for its Georgian architecture, lively pubs, and picturesque harbour. Explore Westport House and Gardens, enjoy traditional music, and savour the town's welcoming atmosphere.

19. Kinsale - Seaside Charm

Kinsale, a picturesque seaside town in County Cork, is famous for its colourful buildings, historic streets, and exceptional seafood restaurants. It's a delightful destination for those seeking coastal beauty and culinary delights.

20. Clonmacnoise - Ancient Monastic Site

Clonmacnoise is an ancient monastic site situated along the River Shannon. Explore the well-preserved ruins of churches, round towers, and high crosses, and delve into Ireland's early Christian history.

Discovering the West and North

wild atlantic way

21. The Wild Atlantic Way - Coastal Adventure

The Wild Atlantic Way is not just a destination; it's an epic coastal adventure. Stretching along Ireland's western coast, this route offers stunning views of cliffs, beaches, and charming villages. Explore its beauty by car or embark on a scenic hike.

22. Wicklow Mountains National Park - Diverse Landscapes

Wicklow Mountains National Park is a paradise for nature lovers. It features diverse landscapes, including mountains, forests, and pristine lakes. The Glendalough Valley, with its ancient monastic site and walking trails, is a highlight.

This list of 22 must-visit places in the Republic of Ireland will help you plan an unforgettable adventure.

Discover the Magic of Northern Ireland: 20 Must-Visit Places

northern ireland

Northern Ireland, a captivating region within the United Kingdom, is a land of natural wonders, rich history, and vibrant culture. From dramatic coastlines to ancient castles, there's something for every traveller to explore. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you on a journey through the top 20 places to visit in Northern Ireland.

The Top 20 Places to Visit in Northern Ireland

Location Highlight
Giant's Causeway Marvel at unique geological formations.
Belfast Dive into the rich history and culture of the capital.
Carrick-a-Rede Bridge Walk across a thrilling rope bridge.
Dark Hedges Stroll through an enchanting tree-lined avenue.
Titanic Belfast Explore the interactive museum dedicated to the ship.
Dunluce Castle Visit the dramatic ruins perched on a cliff.
Glenariff Forest Park Verdant Wilderness
Glens of Antrim Hike through picturesque glacial valleys.
Mournes Mountains Enjoy outdoor adventures in stunning landscapes.
Derry-Londonderry Discover the history and culture of this walled city.
The Causeway Coastal Route Drive along one of the world's great road trips.
Castle Ward Explore a historic house and beautiful gardens.
Mussenden Temple Admire a stunning clifftop architectural gem.
Ballintoy Harbour Experience a charming coastal village.
The Sperrins Trek through an unspoiled mountain range.
Ulster American Folk Park Learn about Irish emigration to the U.S.
Rathlin Island Explore Northern Ireland's only inhabited island.
Marble Arch Caves Delve into an underground world of caves and rivers.
Armagh Discover the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.
Fermanagh Lakelands Enjoy serene lakes and waterways in County Fermanagh.

Northern Wonders

giants causeway

1. Giant's Causeway - Nature's Masterpiece

The Giant's Causeway is a geological marvel, featuring hexagonal basalt columns formed by ancient volcanic activity. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Northern Ireland's most iconic attractions.

2. Belfast - Capital of Culture

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, offers a fascinating blend of history, culture, and modernity. Explore the Titanic Quarter, where you'll find the interactive Titanic Belfast museum and the historic shipyard where the RMS Titanic was built.

3. Carrick-a-Rede Bridge - A Thrilling Stroll

Carrick-a-Rede Bridge is a thrilling rope bridge suspended over a 30-meter chasm. Crossing it provides panoramic views of the rugged coastline and Rathlin Island.

4. Dark Hedges - Enchanted Avenue

dark hedges

The Dark Hedges is a captivating tree-lined avenue featured in "Game of Thrones." Walk beneath the gnarled beech trees that create a magical tunnel-like effect.

5. Titanic Belfast - Maritime History

Titanic Belfast is an award-winning museum dedicated to the RMS Titanic. Explore the ship's history, the construction of the vessel, and the stories of those on board.

6. Dunluce Castle - Cliffside Ruins

dunluce castle

Dunluce Castle is a dramatic medieval ruin perched precariously on a cliff overlooking the sea. Its eerie beauty has inspired countless stories and legends.

7. Glenariff Forest Park - Verdant Wilderness

Glenariff Forest Park, often referred to as the "Queen of the Glens," is a lush and verdant wilderness nestled in the Glens of Antrim. Explore the network of scenic trails that lead you through enchanting woodlands, alongside cascading waterfalls, and offer breathtaking views of the glacial valley. Glenariff Forest Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and provides a tranquil retreat in the heart of Northern Ireland's captivating landscapes.

8. Glens of Antrim - Natural Beauty

The Glens of Antrim are a series of picturesque glacial valleys, each with its unique charm. Hike, cycle, or simply enjoy the stunning landscapes and quaint villages.

9. Mournes Mountains - Outdoor Adventures

The Mournes Mountains offer a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike through rugged terrain, climb peaks, or enjoy the peaceful beauty of Silent Valley.

10. Derry-Londonderry - Walled City

Derry-Londonderry, often referred to as Derry is a historic walled city with a rich and complex history. Explore the city walls, visit the Guildhall, and walk along the Peace Bridge.

Coastal Charms and Cultural Treasures

causeway coastal route

11. The Causeway Coastal Route - Epic Road Trip

The Causeway Coastal Route is one of the world's great road trips. Drive along winding coastal roads, passing landmarks like the Carrickfergus Castle and Cushendun Caves. Enjoy panoramic views of the North Atlantic.

Cushendun Caves, located along the Causeway Coastal Route, are a geological wonder formed over centuries by the powerful forces of the North Atlantic. Explore the unique caves and marvel at their intriguing shapes and textures. The stunning coastal views surrounding Cushendun make it a must-visit destination for those seeking both natural beauty and geological fascination in Northern Ireland.

12. Castle Ward - Historic House and Gardens

Castle Ward is a historic house with a twist—it's split between Georgian and Gothic architectural styles. Explore the house, gardens, and scenic estate, which also served as a filming location for "Game of Thrones."

13. Mussenden Temple - Clifftop Gem

mussenden temple

Perched dramatically on a clifftop, Mussenden Temple offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a unique and romantic architectural gem in County Londonderry.

14. Ballintoy Harbour - Coastal Village Charm

Ballintoy Harbour is a picturesque coastal village that offers a serene escape. The rugged coastline and quaint harbour have also been featured in "Game of Thrones."

15. The Sperrins - Mountain Adventure

The Sperrins, an unspoiled mountain range, is a haven for hikers, mountain bikers, and nature lovers. Explore winding trails, and ancient forests, and enjoy the tranquillity of this pristine wilderness.

16. Ulster American Folk Park - Emigration History

The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh tells the story of Irish emigration to the United States. Walk through interactive exhibits and historic buildings to learn about this fascinating history.

17. Rathlin Island - Island Adventure

Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland's only inhabited island. Take a ferry to explore its rugged beauty, visit the RSPB Seabird Centre, and enjoy birdwatching along the cliffs.

18. Marble Arch Caves - Underground Wonderland

Discover the subterranean wonders of the Marble Arch Caves in County Fermanagh. Guided tours take you through limestone caverns, underground rivers, and fascinating geological formations.

19. Armagh - Ecclesiastical Capital

armagh cathedral

Armagh is often referred to as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. Explore St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Armagh Public Library, and learn about the city's religious and cultural significance.

20. Fermanagh Lakelands - Tranquil Lakes

County Fermanagh is known for its serene lakelands and waterways. Take a boat trip on Lough Erne, visit historic Enniskillen, and enjoy the tranquillity of this water-rich region.

Northern Ireland is a treasure trove of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and cultural gems. Whether you're drawn to the unique geological formations of the Giant's Causeway, the rich history of Belfast, or the breathtaking landscapes of the Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland offers a diverse range of experiences. This list of 20 must-visit places in Northern Ireland will help you plan an unforgettable journey through this captivating region. From thrilling adventures to serene escapes, Northern Ireland has it all.

So, pack your bags, embrace the culture, and explore the magic of the Emerald Isle. Sláinte!

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