Ireland things to see and do

Tourist offices

Tourism Ireland in the USA

17th Floor, 345 Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10154, United States
Tel: (212) 418 0800.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.
www.discoverireland.com/us

Tourism Ireland in the UK

Nations House, 103 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QS, United Kingdom
Tel: (020) 7518 0800.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 0915-1715; Fri 0915-1700.
www.discoverireland.com/gb

Things to see and do

Aran Islands

The stunning Aran Islands - located approximately 48km (30 miles) out from the mouth of Galway Bay in the Atlantic Ocean - are famous for their prehistoric and Christian monuments, including the spectacular Dún Aengus fort. The islands are criss-crossed with stone walls and visitors can enjoy cliff-top walks and remote coastal scenery.

Blarney Castle

Set in the Cork countryside, Blarney Castle is home to the famous Blarney Stone. Situated high in the battlements of the castle, the stone is thought to be half of the Stone of Scone – those that kiss it are said to inherit the gift of eloquent speech. The castle itself began life as a 10th-century hunting lodge.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland, featuring 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and artwork. A Folk Park lies in the grounds of the castle, with over 30 buildings making a 'living' village. A nightly medieval banquet enables guests to experience what it was like to be entertained in the castle's heyday.

Cliffs of Moher

The majestic Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most awe-inspiring natural attractions, towering 213m (700 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean. They’ve featured in everything from Harry Potter films to Westlife videos. The cliffs host a rich array of birdlife, including puffins, shags, kittiwakes and razorbills.

Cork

Georgian parades, on-trend restaurants and a laid-back vibe make the southern city of Cork a viable rival to Dublin for the title of Ireland’s most immersive metropolis. Some locals smilingly refer to it as ‘The People’s Republic of Cork’ and the place unquestionably has a spirit of its own, not to mention a bucketload of cultural attractions.

Dingle Peninsula

Located on the western tip of County Kerry, the dramatic Dingle Peninsula is a popular diversion off the Ring of Kerry tourist trail. It is made up of the Macgillicuddy's Reeks mountain range, a series of granite peaks that rise out of the Atlantic. Walking, cycling and dolphin-spotting are among its most popular draws.

Dublin Castle

Located in the heart of historic Dublin, Dublin Castle was built on the orders of King John, the first Lord of Ireland, in 1210 on the site of a former Danish Viking Fortress. Much of the castle has been rebuilt several times over its history with most of the modern day structure built at points during the 18th century. Nowadays, the castle is used for ceremonial procedures and to entertain visiting heads of state. It remains one of the most lavish places in Dublin.

Dublin Zoo

First opened in 1830 with animals supplied by London Zoo, Dublin Zoo covers a 173-hectare (70-acre) site at Phoenix Park and houses a wide variety of animals, including red panda, South American birds, Arctic fox, otter, elephants, and even a pack of grey wolves. Within the zoo is City Farm, which has a special children’s corner and a flock of Galway sheep.

Gaelic football and hurling

The thrill of a game of Gaelic football - a mix between rugby, football and American football (without pads) is an unmissable experience. So too is the ancient game of hurling, where players use a hurley (wooden stick) to hit a sliotar (small ball) into the opponents' goalposts. See www.gaa.ie for more information and tickets.

Glendalough

Glendalough is a beautiful glacially sculpted valley in County Wicklow. During Ireland's 'Golden Age' (AD 500-900), a reclusive monk - St Kevin - established a monastic settlement here; the ruins and the valley views make for a memorable afternoon on a sunny day.

Guinness Storehouse

Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is a brewery-turned-museum dedicated to Ireland's most famous export. Arthur Guinness first began brewing the 'black gold' on the site in 1759, with the present-day building used for fermenting and storing Guinness until the 1980s. Tours conclude with a free pint in the Gravity Bar, which offers spectacular views across the city.

Islands

Ireland's offshore islands range from the genteel Italianate gardens of Garinish in County Cork to the wild and wonderful Tory, off the shores of Northwestern Donegal. The Aran Islands off Galway are the most popular, known for their geological formation and historic monuments. Many of Ireland's islands are also rich in Irish culture and traditions, with a lot of the island populations speaking Irish as their first language.

Kilkenny

The medieval city of Kilkenny is renowned for its theatres, galleries and history-steeped buildings. Its pubs and nightlife are best enjoyed during one of the yearly festivals, which include the superb Cat Laughs comedy festival (www.thecatlaughs.com)and the Kilkenny Arts Festival (www.kilkennyarts.ie).

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park covers over 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of woodland, lakes, mountains, parks and gardens in the far southwest of Ireland. It was Ireland's first national park and was founded in 1932. Popular sports include trout fishing in the three lakes, boating at Ross Castle, walking and cycling. Muckross House, a Victorian mansion completed in 1843, is open to the public as is its working farm and the beautiful landscaped gardens.

Kilmainham Gaol

Get to grips with the hard edge of Irish history with a visit to Kilmainham Gaol (www.heritageireland.ie), Dublin, where most of the rebels against British rule were incarcerated and where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed.

Our Lady of Knock (Ireland’s National Marian Shrine)

Located in County Mayo, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock marks the site where, on August 21 1879, it is said the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the church's south gable. The main pilgrimage season is from the last Sunday in April until the second Sunday in October.

Ring of Kerry

Explore the iconic Ring of Kerry, a stunning, 180km (112-mile) scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula. Visitors can travel in either direction (although tour buses should travel anti-clockwise) on the circular route which passes through Kenamare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, Kells, Glenbeigh and Killorglin, with specific sights of interest in each location.

Rock of Cashel

Sitting high on a limestone base, the Rock of Cashel (also known as the Cashel of the Kings) is one of Ireland's most spectacular castle complexes. Its origins date back to the fourth century, and King Aengus was baptised here by St Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, in the fifth century. Visitors also come to see the Hall of the Vicars Choral and the 28-metre (92-foot) Round Tower.

Wicklow Way

Explore Ireland on foot by walking one of the country's 31 designated long-distance paths. The most famous is the Wicklow Way, which runs from the Dublin suburbs to County Carlow. For more information on walking in Ireland, try the National Trails Office at www.irishtrails.ie.

 

 

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