Ireland

What To Do In Ireland | The Emerald Island Opens Up Its Secrets

charlotte

Maybe you’ve been planning your trip to Ireland for a while, or maybe you’re not yet convinced. In either case, this list of what to do in Ireland will leave you packing for the land of leprechauns.

As you surely know, Ireland is a land of magic and mysticism. But it has also been taken giant leaps to become modern and cosmopolitan. Be sure you’ll find something for all tastes. Ready? Let’s go for our ride!

What to Do in Ireland | Top Attractions

We’ll start our tour with some unmissable, such as cities and their main attractions. Trust us, you need to hear about these spots!

Dublin

Dublin in Ireland

The capital city of Ireland is one of the most beautiful, active, and mystical cities in the country. Dublin is on the east coast of Ireland. It offers the perfect combination between a bohemian city and nature.

There is just so much to do in Dublin that we would need a list all of its own. But, some other highlights: you can read at the Trinity College Library. It has such a fascinating collection and an excellent ambiance. If you’d like some fresh air accompanied by music, enjoy the bohemian Grafton street. Here, street musicians accompany pedestrians as they stroll and window shop.

Dublin is one of those places that beg you to stay longer. If it has crossed your mind or you have already decided to study in Ireland, check our experiences in Dublin. You can take a course or even study for a Master’s degree that also allows you to work. Plus, you get to know an emblematic city in depth. Click below!

Cork

Cork in Ireland

Ok, here goes another Irish city. But, what a city! Cork is one of the quietest cities, despite being the second-most populous city in Ireland. You’ll find it to the southwest on the River Lee. And it forms a small urban center island. The main characteristic of Cork is its peace. It gives you the feeling of being in a small town with little noise from horns and people walking carefree.

The center can be easily explored on foot. Among the main places, you can visit is the Victorian Quarter. Here you’ll find the famous McCourtain Street, ideal for art lovers or simply for those who like colors and a relaxed cultural atmosphere.

Besides, the Triskel Arts Center is a venue that used to be a church. Can you imagine? You can take a tour of the English Market, the Shandon neighborhood, or even kayak on the River Lee.

Cobh

Cobh

To round up the cities in Ireland, we’ve reached Cobh. This is a small seaside town that is part of the Cork harbor complex and is steeped in history. Did you know that it was the last port where the Titanic made a stopover? It happened in 1912 when its name was Queenstown. You can learn more at the Titanic museum, located above the former offices of the White Star Line. The entrance costs about 10 euros.

Another must-visit in Cobh is the cathedral with the same name, along with the port surrounded by multicolored houses, and an original wooden dock of the Titanic. Also, you can visit the Lusitania Memorial, another famous ship that sank during World War II. If the sea calls upon you after so many ship adventures, take your own! From Cobh harbor, you can take small boats or large ferries to enjoy the ocean.

Marvel at the West View and its colorful houses or embarking towards Spike Island. It’s a must! Cobh is one of the most historic places to see in Ireland, and one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities.

Wicklow Mountains

Wicklow Mountains

From the cities, we move on to nature and the fresher air. Because we’ve reached the mountain range that runs from north to south the southeast of Ireland. On a drive through the Wicklow Mountains, you will encounter Guinness Lake, Glencree Valley, and Glendalough County Nature Preserves.

Besides, as an additional tip for movie lovers, several scenes of Braveheart, and P.S I Love You were filmed here.  In short, this is a mandatory stop for romantic couples or for lovers of nature. But also for those who want to witness the beauty of Ireland in its purest form . Tours depart from Dublin and take about an hour to arrive. These mountains in Ireland are surely worth your while.

Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway

The Causeway of the Giants or Giant’s Causeway is a mandatory stop, so keep the eastern coast in your itinerary. You’ll find it in County Antrim. And, this natural wonder owes its origin to the rapid cooling of volcanic lava that must have been stagnant on a slope of coastal terrain. This phenomenon happened about 60 million years ago and it formed about 40 thousand basalt columns with geometric shapes.

But, if you ask the Irish, they might tell you a different story. According to the legend, two giants, the Irish Finn and the Scotsman Bennandoner constantly fought by throwing rocks at each other. Thus, they formed a bridge with them. There are different versions of the legend, so we recommend you hear them from the locals themselves. 

Clonmacnoise

Clonmancoise

Ireland never ceases to amaze by the amount of history it contains in every corner you see. Clonmacnoise Abbey is another clear example of this. It is a monastic complex of the first Christians in the region that currently functions as a museum. And it is also a complex of ruins that preserves the mystique of religion. Since it was a place where many European monks came as part of their training.

The place is halfway between Dublin and Galway and to get there you need private transport. Once you get here, the magic that still grips the area will amaze you. Plus, you can enjoy a lovely field trip, surrounded by nature and water. Picnic, anyone?

Blarney Castle and Gardens

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle, a fortress located on the outskirts of Cork, is another historical attraction to see in Ireland. This fortress is on the outskirts of Cork. Founded in the 13th century. Despite being partially destroyed, its architectural beauty remains captivating.

Besides all that, its main attraction is at the top of this castle: the famous stone of eloquence. According to legend, it grants you the gift of eloquence for seven years if you kiss it from the bottom. Wanna give it a try?

The gardens surrounding Blarney Castle are also an obligatory part of your sightseeing tour. With a beauty that combines the color and mystery characteristic of an old and historical building. Tours depart from Dublin and can be combined with a visit to Cork city.

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

Ok, if we are talking about natural attractions in Ireland, this is a must. It is the first national park established in the country. And, it is located in County Kerry. Among its main points of interest is that it is the highest mountain range in Ireland, with 1000m of height. So, you can spend the day walking through the park. Here, you can experience a peculiar connection with nature. How couldn’t you with all the waterfalls, lakes, and oak forests in the more than 102km that its territory covers?

Within the Park, you will also find Ross Castle and St. Mary’s Cathedral, quite photo-worthy if you ask us. In 1981 this park was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.To get there, you can do it via the Killarney Shuttle Bus. Which runs through the park and stops at points of interest. It costs about 10 euros for the whole day, depending on the route. Without a doubt, another unmissable place to see in Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

There is a song that recites: “Meet me where the cliff greets the sea”. And, most likely, it was inspired by the Cliffs of Moher. These are the most famous cliffs to see in Ireland. They have a height of more than 200m. And, its beauty lies in its strength and grandeur which, at the same time, reflects the magic of nature.

If it’s magic you’re looking for, get this: part of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was filmed here. But its mysticism and history go way, way back. On clear days you can see not only the Atlantic Ocean in all its splendor but also the Aran Islands and Galway Bay.

The entrance to the place costs only 4 euros if you book online. Book it in advance! You will not regret it.

Galway City

Galway

There was another city enlisted in here. But, can you blame us? Galway’ picturesque and medieval flair captivates at first glance. It is a coastal city in the east of Ireland. The youthful and pleasant atmosphere is one of its main characteristics. Be sure to include in your tour of Galway the Latin Quarter with its multicolored streets. Among these, Quay Street stands out, full of bars and shops.

Also, you can visit the Saint Nicholas church where, according to some, Christopher Columbus stepped foot. Another place to appreciate is Galway Cathedral with its majestic architecture.  Although its entrance is free, a donation is always requested for its maintenance. You also have the Galway Museum to the north of the city and Dunguaire Castle just outside.

When you get hungry, visit The Dough Bros, a mythical pizzeria that is always full of people. An excellent sign, isn’t it? Galway has a lot to offer. Visiting Ireland and not visiting it, would be a shame. 

Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry in Ireland

There’s a very famous circular route to visit in Kerry Country: The Ring of Kerry. It is an ideal tourist circuit to travel by car while you are stopping by various landmarks. And, each one has its own charm. Did you know that there is a statue of Charles Chaplin in Waterville? Yes, that’s because it was there that the famous actor and director spent many summers.

Be enchanted by this and other attractions of the Ring of Kerry. Such as the beauty of its beaches, wild islands, small coastal towns, and castles typical of Irish architecture.Keep in mind the route is approximately 180km. It can be done in a day by car. Or, if you prefer, you have the option of getting a bus. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t leave it off your list of places to see in Ireland.

Aran Islands in Ireland

Aran Islands in Ireland

Islands within islands? How can it be? Well, this is a group of three islands that you can reach from the mouth of Galway Bay. And, believe us, they are worth the trip. The largest is called Inishmore; the middle one, Inishmaan, and the smallest, Inisheer. They stand out for their impressive landscapes with rural houses and dazzling beauty. Take a step into the Gaelic world of the Emerald Island as you are dazzled by the landscapes. 

Plus, the islands have no more than 900 inhabitants. So, the rural charm will grip you right away. You can get there by plane in just eight minutes or by ferry from Galway or Clare. While there, you can explore the islands on foot or by renting bicycles. Quite worth a day or two from your itinerary.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Bridge

Another increasingly popular tourist spot to see in Ireland is the Carrick-a-Rede suspension bridge. This takes you away from the mysticism a bit. And, is ideal for lovers of adventure and challenges. Keep in mind the length of this bridge is 20 meters long and a height of 25 meters.

It connects the coast with Carrick Island, where you can enjoy quaint fish stores. There are indications that there was a much older bridge. But the one that is currently enabled was built in 2008. Would you dare to cross it?

Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle in Ireland

Although it is no more than ruins are now, the magic of Dunluce Castle remains intact in time. Its location makes it imposing as it is on a basalt cliff overlooking the Atlantic. And, it is close to the Giant’s Causeway. So, to get there you have to walk over a small bridge that connects it to the coast, where you will also find the small town of Bushmills. You’ll feel transported to a mystical quest in time. And, in the end, you’ll find the whiskey distillery with the same name. Irish whiskey time!

This castle dates from the 12th century. And its peculiar location was useful to keep it safe from invaders. Furthermore, its popularity increased when it became a television star, as it was used for a scene of Game of Thrones. If you liked the series and want to appreciate this impressive and powerful landscape up close, you cannot miss it. Even if the series was not your thing, this is a place to visit and remember.

Go to Ireland with GrowPro Experience

Go with GrowPro

Well, we’ve come to the end of our list of what to do in Ireland. Many places to see were left off this list because this amazing country has so much to enjoy. But, we’re sure you will discover them as you go through its corners full of history and tradition. Its natural landscapes are imposing! Besides to being majestic, reflect the strength of a civilization that was built with courage that has given way to the simplicity and hospitality of its inhabitants.

Did you know that Ireland is one of the friendliest countries in the world? Get up close and personal with its attractions and culture. We have no doubt you’ll fall in love with the country. So much so that you’ll want to extend your stay. Fortunately for you, we can help you out with this.

GrowPro Experience can bring you closer to fulfilling the dream of knowing the Irish tradition. Choose your experience and get a quote! One of our Student Advisors will be at your disposal to help you plan!

About the author

Charlotte Koks

Hey there! My name is Charlotte, and I'm working as an International Project Manager at GrowPro Experience. My goal is to help students all around the world to live the experiences of a lifetime 🙌🏽. I'm trying to inspire students by means of telling the story of former growers, showing what we are doing at each destination and writing about our cities and tips on our blogs. I got a big passion for adventures, doing sports in the park, learning new languages and seeing new places 🌏. That's one of the reasons why I studied European Studies and why I currently work for GrowPro, to expand my horizons. Hopefully, I can inspire you to do the same!