From ancient castles to dramatic coastlines and pretty towns to thriving cities, the island of Ireland offers up a myriad of places to explore with camera in hand. Among all the breath-taking natural scenery there is an assortment of amazing attractions to see and experience, and what better way to enjoy the astounding natural scenery than via the road?
Enabling you to stop off at a range of locations and inviting towns as you see fit, while meandering your way around the country to visit a selection of top-notch sights, consider exploring via your very own motorhome. Companies like Thompson Leisure offer you the opportunity to buy brand-new or rent your very own explorer on wheels. Wake up mountainside and sleep with the stars in between your travels and live on the open road, it’s the ideal way to see as much of Ireland as you can at your own pace.
For a little inspiration on what to see first, we’ve shortlisted eight of Ireland’s must-visit places.
Host to state receptions and the inauguration of each President of Ireland, Dublin Castle boasts plenty of history within its walls. Take a guided tour and learn all there is to know about this historic building, from the site’s origins dating to the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland, to the current 18th century construction to its current usage as a government building, conference centre and tourist attraction.
Killarney National Park
The first national park in Ireland, Killarney National Park, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in County Kerry, is of great ecological value due to the diversity, quality, and extensiveness of its varying habitats and the range of species that reside here. Boasting over 102sqkm of space, expect to find the Lakes of Killarney, mountain peaks, red deer, native forest, oak and yew woodlands and more at this serene location.
Cliffs of Moher
With an average of 1.5 million visits each year, the Cliffs of Moher rank among the most visited tourist sites in Ireland. Situated in County Clare, the spectacular sea cliffs run for about 14 kilometres, rising 120 metres above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head and their highest of 214 metres at O’Brien’s Tower.
Blarney Stone and Castle
Dated to circa 1200, Blarney Castle, in the south of Ireland near Cork, was destroyed in 1446 and subsequently rebuilt with the building in partial ruin today with some accessible rooms and battlements. Visitors wishing to kiss the famous Blarney Stone – or Stone of Eloquence – must hang upside to do so but are said to gain the gift of eloquence. Guests can also enjoy the extensive gardens which boast a variety of interesting attractions.
Rock of Cashel
Head to the Rock of Cashel – also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock – for an impressive collection of Celtic art and medieval architecture. The cathedral boasts picturesque views and was built between 1235 and 1270 on the site in County Tipperary.
Built by farmers in the Stone Age, the Neolithic monument is older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza, having been constructed some 5,200 years ago. Located in the Boyne Valley in County Meath, the circular mound is around 85 metres in diameter and 13.5 metres high with an inner stone passageway and chambers.
One of the most popular attractions in Northern Ireland, Giant’s Causeway is a natural marvel and a must see for any visitor to the area. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national nature reserve, the wonder is made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that trail from the cliff and disappear into the sea. Formed by volcanic eruption, the tops of the columns resemble hexagonal steppingstones with the highest reaching 12 metres high.
While in the area, it would be wise to head to Titanic Belfast, a visitor attraction that opened 100 years after the maiden voyage of the famed ship, which hit an iceberg and sank. Learn about Belfast’s maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland and Wolff shipyard where the RMS Titanic was built along with RMS Olympic and HMHS Brittanic.