With all the things there is to do in Ireland, it can be hard to pick just one. Between Dublin, Killarney, Cork, Limerick, and others there’s almost too much choice. That’s why I put together this list of the top 10 things to do in Ireland.
Trinity College is found in the heart of Dublin and is ranked as the greatest college in the nation. Trinity College also ranks in the top 40 universities worldwide. The college was established in 1592 and the current building has stood tall since the 1700s. The college has a rich history just waiting to be explored, including traditional Georgian architecture and he Old Library; home to the Book of Kells. This sacred text is displayed specially and is a sight to see.
Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is a mountain pass created by glacial ice millions of years ago. The valley stretches for 6 miles between the Purple Mountains and Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. The gap passes five lakes and ends in the Wishing Bridge. Any wish you make while crossing the bridge is said to come true. Kate Kearney’s Cottage is on one end of the valley, while Lord Brandon’s Cottage – and passage back to Killarney – is on the other. Kate Kearney’s cottage has become somewhat of a tourist trap in modern times, but you can still get a lovely drink and a bite to eat.
It’s said that the Irish have the gift of the gab. It’s also said that the reason for this is the Blarney Stone. People have come to kiss the Blarney Stone for the past two centuries to get a silver tongue of their own. Old traditions call for you to be hung over the battlements by your ankles, but these days there’s a parapet walkway you can hold on to; which is much safer.
When visiting the Blarney Stone, you owe it to yourself to visit the Blarney Castle that houses it. The fortress also comes with plenty of handsome gardens and a group of rock formations known as the Rock Close; comprising the Witches’ Cave and Wishing Steps above others. The stone itself is worth a trip, but don’t forget about visiting the rest of the castle.
Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a 110-mile scenic route of narrow roads that lets you explore the south of Ireland and the Iveragh Peninsula. Travellers typically start and end their loop of the Ring of Kerry in Killarney; stopping in County Kerry, Killarney National Park, and some of the Irish Castles. Tours of the Ring of Kerry can also begin in other towns but if you’re looking to start outside of the ring, you can get started in Dublin, Cork, and other cities.
Ireland is one of the top destinations for golfing vacations. You’ll be spoiled for choice thanks to the 360+ golf courses scattered through the country. If you want to see the best of Irish golf, you’ll want to head to the southwest of the country, as the Irish coastal region is perfect for links golf. Links golf is one of the first – and most difficult – forms of golf but it can be played in just about any condition. This makes it great for Ireland which sees a lot of rain. One of the best places for golfing in Ireland is Ballybunion Golf Club in County Kerry.
It wouldn’t be right to visit Dublin and not take a trip to the Guinness Brewery to enjoy a pint of the black stuff. The brewery is always running tours and offering up some samples of the stout drink, so make sure you take a look at the website and book your own. Even if you aren’t much of a drinker, the tour is worth it just to learn more about the history of one of the cultural icons of the country.
There’s plenty to see in Dublin Zoo. There’s the usual animals of course – the bears, tigers, and lions – but there’s also animals that are unique to Ireland. You’ll come face to face with the horn-less Galway sheep. Lovers of animals – both real and stuffed – will enjoy Dublin Zoo thanks to the expansive gift shopped filled with one of the largest ranges of stuffed animals in all of Ireland. They won’t let you take any real animals home with you, but you can get the next best thing at least!
Bike Through Ireland
Ireland offers some of the best biking in Europe. The country is filled with flatlands, incredible bike stores, and plenty of routes between villages, making for a truly wonderful biking experience. Cycle along the south of Ireland and through the coastal cities. If you feel like a challenge then tackle the Mourne Mountains. Most ferry companies in the country let you travel with your bike for free, while bus and train companies charge a small fee at the most.
Hike Through Ireland
Why not get off the bike and hike through the Emerald Isle instead? One of the best places for hiking in Ireland is the aforementioned Mountains of Mourne; considered to be the most spectacular mountains in the country. The Mourne Mountains are found in County Down to the north of the country. There’s also Rathlin Island, which is just six miles off of Ballycastle in Northeast Ireland.
Ireland really is the kind of country you’ll need to visit more than once. At least, if you want to take in everything there is at least. On the plus side, you’ll have plenty of excuses to keep on coming back for more!