Are you planning a trip to Ireland, but you don’t know what to see, where to go and how to get there? You will have heard of the country’s capital, Dublin, but beyond that, you may not know much about the island. So, here are some great recommendations for places to go in Ireland. Starting with the Aran Islands, we will detail why we have chosen these places as being well worth the visit. We will also look at County Donegal and the city of Cork. Each of these places is located in a different corner of Ireland and each has its own magical, historical and fun selling points. Let’s dive in!
The Aran Islands
One of the most stunningly beautiful areas of Ireland is the Aran Islands. Located off the west coast, in the Atlantic, the Aran Islands are home to prehistoric ruins, breathtaking cliffs, and lots of Christian spiritual history and significance. The largest of the three islands is called Inis Mor and it is the most popular to visit. You can go to Inis Mor by ferry from Doolin or Rossaveel, but the most popular route is from Galway City.
The Galway City ferry lasts just 90 minutes. Once there, visitors have four and a half hours to enjoy the shops, pubs, beaches, and forts located on the island before the ferry leaves for its return journey. Or, you can choose to stay the night and experience Inis Mor’s nightlife, restaurants, and cozy accommodations. Visiting the Aran Islands is a quintessentially Irish experience and for many, it is also something of a spiritual journey.
The most northern county of mainland Ireland is Donegal, and here lies the most northern point of Ireland, known as Malin Head. This is a striking place to visit as it is very rural, the landscape is wild, and you can gaze out at the turbulent Irish sea. Malin head is further north than any point in Northern Ireland.
County Donegal also stands out as one of Ireland’s most beautiful spots as its beaches are some of the best in the country. There, you will find Kinnagoe Bay, Ballymastocker Bay, and Culdaff Beach to name just a few. These beaches are remarkably scenic and worth visiting even on a cold day just to see the color of the water and the dramatic landscapes.
Finally, visiting Donegal provides you with the chance to venture into Northern Ireland, where you will find the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, the ancient walled city of Derry, and the characterful capital, Belfast. If you have time while in Donegal, Northern Ireland is worth the visit too!
The City of Cork
Another great Irish spot is Cork, which is located in the southwest of the island of Ireland. Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, after Dublin, and is located in the province of Munster. This beautiful city was built on the banks of the River Lee. This means that there are many idyllic and scenic spots for dinners, drinks, and walks. Cork is well known for its great range of restaurants, bars, and pubs, which offer high-quality dining in fun environments.
Moreover, from Cork, you can visit Blarney Castle. This is a medieval stronghold that dates back to the year 1200. Though now the oldest remaining structures date back to 1446. The ruin still has some rooms and battlements intact that make for a fascinating tour. On top of that, you can walk around the extensive gardens and marvel at the natural rock formations and many poisonous herbs.
There are many more great things to see and do in Cork, but our last top recommendation is to do the Jameson Distillery tour. If you love whisky, or you want to sample one of Ireland’s most iconic drinks (don’t forget Guinness!) then this is a must-do! You can sample the drink, learn a bit about the process of making whisky, and tour the premises where the magic happens.
This has been a brief look at just some of the awesome places in Ireland that you should visit. We have looked at the Aran Islands, County Donegal, and the city of Cork. Each of these spots boasts its own unique selling points, offers striking views and fun activities, and is a great example of what Ireland has to offer. Moreover, we have suggested that if you have time, you can check out Northern Ireland. Have a great trip and don’t forget to sample some Guinness and some whisky while you travel the country.