From Dublin to Galway and Cork to Killarney, the Republic of Ireland is blessed with some beautiful cities and towns to explore for a thoroughly enjoyable trip away. Showcasing an array of sights including lush landscapes and medieval castles, the country is the perfect place to visit year-round but is best seen in the warmer months if you aim to head out and explore, as is certainly recommended.
With such an interesting range of places to visit across the isle, it can be difficult to know just where to start, and with so much to do you will want to give yourself plenty of time and plan your itinerary well. Below, we give you a taster of some of the more well-known places to head to in Ireland for a truly memorable trip.
The best place to start has to be in Dublin, the country’s capital and home to a hefty helping of literary history, a thriving social scene, a fantastic selection of museums and many delightful restaurants to please. One of the stops that any visitor should take is to the Long Room at the notable Trinity College’s Old Library. Here, you will find the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament and one of the oldest books in the world dating to around 800AD. Also to be spotted is a rare copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the so-called harp of Brian Boru, which dates to around 1400.
Don’t miss out on a visit to the National Museum of Archaeology, Kilmainham Gaol, National Gallery, St Patrick’s Cathedral and Guinness Storehouse, and rest your weary head after a long day sightseeing and Guinness consuming at one of the many top-rated hotels in the city. The Westbury, The Marker Hotel Dublin, The Merrion Hotel Dublin and the Shelbourne, Autograph Collection are just a selection of the hotel’s that offer many luxuries including spas, pools, plush rooms and elegant dining.
The next port of call on anyone’s list should be Cork, the country’s second city and the place often referred to as ‘the real capital’. In around the city you will find a range of sights to see including visiting the nearby medieval Blarney Castle and Gardens and also Blarney Stone, which grants the gift of the gab. The English Market, an 18th century covered food market sits in the city centre, while the expansive Fota Wildlife Park, to the east of the city, with its exotic animals and plants are sure to please. Cork Opera House is the number one entertainment destination while Crawford Municipal Art Gallery is a must-see, too.
The best way to get in and around this, and any city for that matter, has to be with a guided tour. Taking you directly to the sights with all the important information thrown in there too, Ireland tours are a great way to see a number of attractions in a short space of time and you can choose a range of tours to partake in based around your favoured interests.
For those who love to plunge themselves into stunning natural surroundings, Killarney is most certainly the place for you. Set in a glorious landscape of lakes, forests, waterfalls and 1000m peaks, the town boasts highlights including Ross Castle, Muckross House and the magnificent Killarney National Park. Venture a little further for the Gap of Dunloe, a scenic mountain pass and take a boat tour out to Skellig Michael, which sits a little further from the town at 80km away.
Young, fun and artsy, Galway is the perfect place to take in a festival, enjoy the range of street entertainers and take in some tunes in between your touring. Head to Galway City Museum for an interesting insight into the city’s history and check out the Spanish Arch, built in 1584 as an extension to the 12th century Norman-built town wall. Take a tour to the Cliffs of Moher, the 14km sea cliffs which house over 30,000 seabirds including Atlantic puffins, Peregrine falcon and Razorbills.
A wonderful blend of medieval sights and contemporary culture, the city impresses with the 12th century Kilkenny Castle, Dominican Black Abbey from the 14th century and Cathedral Church of St Canice and Round with its 9th century tower. Aside from religious sights you can seek out art at Butler Gallery, crafts at the National Craft Gallery and head to a historic bar and listen to live music at Kytelers Inn.