Top 25 Attractions & Things To Do In Ireland

Ireland is by far one of the most remarkable examples of that bewildering Jekyll-and-Hyde-like schizophrenia which typically makes a place worthwhile. On the one hand, there's cosmopolitan Galway, lavishly artistic Cork, and bustling Dublin epitomizing all that's urban and loud, but steer off the beaten path to face the grandeur of completely vertical cliffs plummeting violently into the churning sea, stretches of solitary grassland dotted with stern glacial lakes, and the screeching of Puffins that pierces through the overwhelming silence. There's a weighty element of history, too, starting back at Newgrange and ending with the recent Troubles. All this makes the Republic of Ireland a little emerald world to be explored on and on, but if you have time constraints, make sure you see at least some of the unquestionable highlights.

Following some research into the preferences and opinions posted by users of various social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as own resources and reviews by the most popular travel sites, Open Travel has compiled a list of top 25 things to see or do on your Ireland Vacations.

  1. Location: Donegal, Ireland

    Slieve League

    Photo by globalreachent

    Strangely enough, reaching almost three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League is by far less popular than Clare's famous attraction. But you know what, gaping down Europe's sixth-highest sea cliff is a lot more thrilling without hordes of overenthusiastic tourists gasping in awe b...

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  2. Location: Cill Mhantáin, Ireland

    Just a stone's throw from Dublin, the glacially sculpted valley of Glendalough is perhaps the most rewarding day trip you can make in the area. Once you get enveloped with the blissful silence of the place, it is easy to understand why a hermit priest St Kevin chose it as the perfect setting for...

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  3. Location: Cashel, Ireland

    Rock of Cashel

    Photo by RX-Guru

    Its origins shrouded in legend, the Rock of Cashel looms over the province of Munster like a fairytale castle of a wizard. Boasting one of the most exquisite collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture in Europe, the complex is unquestionably among the top five visitor attractions in Ir...

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  4. Location: An Clár, Ireland

    Cliffs of Moher

    Photo by Teosaurio

    At some points you can walk just centimeters from the edge that plunges abruptly into the raging Atlantic, and they say it takes around 7 seconds to fall down the 200-meter, entirely vertical wall. Beware. Such wild, overwhelming beauty can't go without claiming its toll, and as you saunter alon...

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  5. Location: Ciarraí, Ireland

    Skellig Michael

    Photo by amerune

    Jutting out steeply from the Atlantic Ocean about 12 km off the Irish coast, Michael's Rock attracts with its remoteness and mystery. The island, often veiled with clouds, is a home to mysterious 7th century monastic remains. Little is known about the brotherhood and their practices but the Spart...

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  6. Location: Cong, Ireland

    Ireland's School of Falconry at Ashford Castle

    Photo by beckmann

    You've seen it in plentiful movies. You've always envied the characters who hesitantly blew candles in their moonlit chambers just to get a wink of vigilant sleep tossing and turning in their huge four poster beds. Now you can try it yourself in the luxurious 5 star Ashford Castle dating back to...

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  7. Location: Cill Airne, Ireland

    Killarney National Park

    Photo by Jim Linwood

    The true nature enthusiasts shall find their piece of green heaven here! The 10,000-hectare park area soothes the senses of any townee with mountains, vast moorland, woods, rumbling waterways, parks and gardens. The glacial Lough Leane (the Lower Lake) baits not only fishermen with its trout, sal...

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  8. Location: Dublin, Ireland

    Dublin Castle

    Photo by Donaldytong

    Initially the fortified seat of the British rule in Ireland, today the Dublin Castle is the prime Irish government complex. The city of Dublin got its name from the Dubh Linn or, as the name translates, Black Pool on the site of the present Castle Gardens. Enjoy some guided tours of the State Apa...

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  9. Location: An Mhí, Ireland

    Bend of the Boyne

    Photo by Waku

    Brú na Bóinne - a place where all modern architects should pay tribute to the prehistoric pioneers. Covering 780ha and containing around 40 passage graves, it's not only the largest megalithic sites in Europe but also one that predates even the Egyptian pyramids. Built with exceptional sophis...

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  10. Location: County Galway, Ireland

    Inishbofin

    Photo by BK59

    ‘The island of the white cow' as the name explains, is an inspirational heaven for artists and photographers. Located about 8 kilometers (5 miles) off the coast of Connemara, the 5 by 3 km little island has been long favored by fishermen, exiled monks and fugitive pirates. Today it is the home...

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  11. Location: Dublin, Ireland

    Kilmainham Gaol

    Photo by Sean Munson

    What a morbid idea, you'd say, to visit a jail on you emerald holiday! The squeamish types may dock themselves in the National Irish Museum in Dublin, but those with a penchant for a real and at the same time thrilling lesson in Irish history, will you please follow the warder? One of the largest...

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  12. Location: Dublin, Ireland

    Temple Bar Area

    Photo by wili_hybrid

    In for some big pubbing, clubbing and culture with the capital "C"? Spreading on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, the Temple Bar is where you sample Irishness at its most quintessential and intimate. The endearing blend of cultural riches will have you look musicians and acto...

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  13. Location: Dublin, Ireland

    Guinness Storehouse

    Photo by ctoverdrive

    All you wanted to know about stout but you were just too thirsty to ask can be learned at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. You will be instructed on topics from how the beer is made to the ancient craft of barrel-making, all conveyed to you in a massive seven-storey building of former Guinness...

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  14. Location: Bunratty, Ireland

    Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

    Photo by jmenard48

    Two things come courtesy of Ireland's premier visitor attraction - an inspiring visit to the acclaimed 15th century Bunratty Castle and heaps of fun at the 19th century Bunratty Folk Park. As the most complete medieval fortress in Ireland, the castle boasts some remarkable examples of tapestries...

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  15. Location: Ireland

    Aran Islands

    Photo by Thapthim

    Embark on a ferry at Rossaveal and let yourself be taken to a place where even the wind speaks Gaelic. The three barren islands floating at the mouth of Galway Bay are a realm of stone forts and seaweed growing out of lifeless rock, as well as home to the smallest church in the world and a rustin...

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  16. Location: Blarney, Ireland

    Blarney Castle & Rock

    Photo by Heather Elias

    No visit to Ireland is complete without sightseeing the Blarney Castle. Set in idyllic Irish countryside and wrapped with acres of woodland, it makes an enjoyable trip. This medieval stronghold's major attraction is probably the Blarney Stone, an ancient Scottish piece of rock which, as the stor...

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  17. Location: Connemara, Ireland

    Connemara National Park

    Photo by Joebater

    Connemara has always been considered the emerald gem stone of Ireland. This natural terrain with its, in the words of Oscar Wilde, savage beauty is a green wonderland of sights and adventure. Clothed in ever changing colors and the dominant feature of the Twelve Bens mountain range, the area is a...

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  18. Location: Galway, Ireland

    Galway Cathedral

    Photo by Kanchelskis

    The brainchild of Bishop Michael Browne, the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas was intended to be ‘solid, dignified and worthy of Galway'. And it surely is with its large octagonal copper dome rising high above the roofs of the medieval city. The interior filled with cu...

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  19. Location: Uíbh Fhailí, Ireland

    When exploring Ireland have a peek at Clonmacnoise monastery. Although it is really not on the way, it's surely worth both the time and the gas. Situated on the ancient crossroads of the River Shannon and the Esker Way, the complex has survived numerous raids and invasions. Today remains present...

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  20. Location: Inis, Ireland

    Glór Irish Music Centre

    Photo by Cindy Funk

    You think a pint of Guinness in Dublin and a glimpse of cliffs in County Clare is enough to get the spirit of Ireland? Shame on you. To redeem your mistake pay at least a short visit to Ennis, which, in fact, can be walked all over in a hour or so. But it's not size that matters here. This bustli...

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  21. Location: Dublin, Ireland

    The Old Jameson Distillery

    Photo by bjaglin

    For the ultimate whiskey tasting experience make for the Old Jameson Distillery. You will be entertained, enlightened on malting, fermenting as well as maturing and maybe even granted with a much envied personalized Whiskey Taster Certificate. Placed in the heart of Ireland's bustling capital cit...

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  22. Location: Cill Mhantáin, Ireland

    Lough Tay (Guinness Lake)

    Photo by KaraNagai

    Driving south out of Dublin swing by and take a look at Lough Tay. The small but scenic lake in the Wicklow Mountains gets its name from the Guinness family whose estate borders with it. The northern coastline is edged with a strap of amazingly white sand imported by the landowners. Admired from...

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  23. Location: Mayo, Ireland

    National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock

    Photo by EamonnPKeane

    On the 21st of August, 1879, altogether 15 people witness a miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph, and St John the Evangelist at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. From then on, partly down to the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1993, which...

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  24. Location: County Donegal, Ireland

    Grab your ropes and off you go! The Muckross Head Peninsula presents one of the best rock-climbing spots in Ireland. Notable for the multi-layered horizontal structure of sand and mudstone, the crag offers endless breaks and overhangs to cling to. The climbs are usually 10 to 20m in height but qu...

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  25. Location: Tipperary, Ireland

    Holy Cross Abbey

    Photo by JohnArmagh

    With a particle of the Holy Rood enshrined, the Holy Cross Abbey has always been one of the most frequented places of pilgrimage on the Emerald Island. The sanctuary is a restored Cistercian monastery dating back to the 12th century and situated near Thurles upon the River Suir. Thousands of visi...

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USER RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. galiptekin Oct 10, 2009 10:03 AM

    :)

  2. travelingtricia avatar travelingtricia Oct 14, 2009 10:48 AM

    So beautiful. I cannot wait to travel there.

    TravelingTricia.com

  3. Coffeemanoff Oct 14, 2009 11:25 AM

    I visited at least 4 places from this list. It's really beautiful and attractive.

  4. Amy Nov 26, 2009 7:42 PM

    im surprised no N.Ireland places made the top 25...like the giants causeway

  5. Tourist Attractions Aug 7, 2010 2:27 PM

    A traveller characteristic is a abode of pursuit where tourists tour, typically for its underlying or exhibited ethnical reckon, past signification, unaffected or stacked model, or recreation opportunities.

  6. william Jan 23, 2012 12:49 AM

    went last april seen sever of top 25 and they are awsome we are going again in april

  7. tyler Oct 15, 2012 9:46 PM

    !

  8. george Mar 28, 2013 8:20 AM

    dovhidcb re

  9. Patrick Apr 25, 2013 8:31 PM

    I cannot take this list seriously without Dingle being on there. A joke. Having lived there it is a shame, as well as no Northern Ireland locations.

  10. Annie@GGT Oct 16, 2013 3:29 PM

    Everyone should obvoiusly go see Kilmainham Gaol - I was in Dublin a week this summer, got the Gaol recommended left and right, but found it was full every single day - so no luck :-(

  11. Name: Apr 17, 2014 6:22 AM

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