See the best of Ireland

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

Ireland is a remarkable place to visit with its lush, green landscapes, historic sites and lovely locals. With so much to explore, it can be difficult to prioritize what places are worth visiting in the country. Here are the best, can’t-miss sites I recommend to everyone who ventures to the Emerald Isle for the very first time.

Cliffs of Moher
Few places on earth compare to the beauty that can be seen at the Cliffs of Moher. These 700-foot-tall cliffs span eight miles across Ireland’s coast and are arguably the most picturesque location of the country. Travelers from all over the world flock to take in the views of this natural wonder — despite the infamous, unpredictable weather they may encounter. One moment can be sunshine and rainbows and the next could be a windy storm. Nevertheless, it’s a must when visiting Ireland.

Ring of Kerry

One of the most popular routes in the country, the Ring of Kerry is packed with an abundance of sites. This circular, unspoiled 110-mile route highlights many charming aspects of Ireland’s countryside. From roaring waterfalls to sparkling rivers and old monasteries to castle ruins, the Ring of Kerry has lots of history and scenic landscapes to appreciate. There are many villages along the route filled with small shops providing authentic Irish items to include knitwear from Quills Woolen Market, chocolate from Skelligs Chocolate Company, homemade cheeses from Portmagee’s Farmer’s Market and books and souvenirs from the Friary Book Shop. A drive along the spectacular Ring of Kerry is not to be missed!

Dingle Peninsula
Within the Wild Atlantic Way is the Dingle Peninsula boasting captivating scenery from mountains, beaches and quaint, seaside towns. Make stops at Inch Beach and the town of Dingle all while taking in the sandy coves, old chapels and abandoned villages along the way. The peninsula is known for its seductive, artsy flair being home to fabulous museums, festivals and shops filled with artists, musicians and craftsmen.
 

Blarney Castle

Nearly 600-years-old, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s favorited landmarks thanks to the famous Blarney Stone or Stone of Eloquence. Many people visit the stone, housed atop the castle’s tower, for one reason — to kiss it! Puckering up to the stone became popular back in the 1800s as people hoped to receive the “gift of the gab” (also known as the “gift of flattery”)when kissing the stone. Whether you believe in the legend or not, it’s definitely a bucketlist item when visiting the Emerald Isle. Take time to wander through the 60 acres of enchanting gardens surrounding the castle ruins as well. There’s more to Blarney Castle besides the famous stone!

Dublin
Home to the Temple Bar District, Guinness Factory, Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College (which houses the captivating Long Room Library and historic Book of Kells) — Dublin may very well be the absolute best of what Ireland has to offer. If you’re short on time, take a free walking tour with Yellow Umbrella Tours. We knocked out all of the must-see sites in less than three hours, leaving us room to uncover hole-in-the-wall pubs and restaurants in the evening.

There’s no shortage of exciting things to see and do in the Emerald Isle with its flawless scenery, picture-perfect towns and iconic landmarks. Be sure to make time for the best of what Ireland has to offer as you traverse it!

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