Things to do in Ireland

No matter what you’re into, you’re going to fall for the Irish scenery. It really is quite spectacular. You’ll be snap happy around the awesome cliffs on the edge of the Atlantic and you might just want to run with gay abandon in the many lush green fields. On the Ring of Kerry, you’ll see some of the best natural beauty in the country. Surprisingly, there are some pretty spectacular beaches there too on the southeastern coast. If you’re looking for good surf (and have packed your super steamer wetsuit), head to the northwest coast to Galway and Sligo.

There are also tonnes of castles, houses and museums worthy of exploring. Scattered across the country, the castles and forts vary in their size and state of ruin. The Stone Age forts on the Aran Islands are quite impressive and you’ll find many other ring forts around the country too, like Charles Fort, Birr, Kilkenny and Bunratty. There are many stately homes open to the public including Castle Town House, Malahide House and Belvedere House. A few of the must-see museums include Trinity College Library, which houses the ancient book of Kells; The National Museum; National Gallery and Dublin Castle’s Chester Beatty Library.

You don’t hear about them much, but Ireland’s islands are pretty spectacular. Off the coast there are many isles, but most of them are only inhabited by birds. The most visited islands are County Mayo’s Achill Island and County Galway’s Aran Island. If you’re doing the Ring of Kerry though, the Skeligs are not to be missed – the wildlife here is fascinating.

Of course, there’s also everything you’d expect in world-class cities in Dublin – fine eats, fancy clubs and some pretty great shopping too. There’s much to discover in this Celtic nation, but here’s our top picks.

St Patrick's Festival

St Patrick’s Day celebrates the patron saint of Ireland on March 17 annually and is by far the most popular event on the Irish calendar, now a 5-day festival. So massive is this day, people from across the world celebrate along with the resident Irish population. 

Guinness Storehouse

It would be un-Australian to not tour the Guinness Storehouse. Tour the 7-floor facility including the brewery, interactive exhibits and more all in the name of Irish history, of course.

Galway

Galway is an arty, bohemian Irish seaside city with charming brightly painted pubs, street performers, cafes, plenty of festivals all year round and some seriously spectacular cliffs.

Cork

It’s the second-largest city in Ireland and often referred to as the true Irish capital by many locals. Cork is also home to the famous Blarney Stone. Will you pucker up for the gift of the gab?

Ring of Kerry

It sounds like a historical monument or something, but it’s actually a road. It is historic though, as this picturesque route will take you through over 10,000 years of Irish history in County Kerry.

County Donegal

Located in the very northwest of Ireland near Northern Ireland, this picturesque and remote county is impossibly green and contrasted with rugged mountains and cliffs as well as being home to traditional Irish-speaking communities.