15 Best Things to Do in Ireland

Ireland is one of the best tourist destination to visit in Europe located near United Kingdom. This country posses rich cultural and heritage sites. Ireland is also known as the Emerald Isle as this country is surrounded by natural tourist attractions. It attracts large number of tourist from all over the world. This tour will take you from Dublin to Cork, through Killarney and on to Galway (via Limerick).

Visit incredible sights such as the Blarney Castle and the Ring of Kerry. The best thing about a good weekend in Ireland is the road trips one can go on this beautiful island. Packing all the goodies, having your best friends/family together, an amazing playlist ready for the journey and some great edible eateries packed, there is no better feeling for such an adventure.

A weekend when you can encounter all the mesmerizing views, laze around some beautiful and calm places and add some new experiences in your life, is what we can say wish come true! Just fill-in adequate gas in your car or caravan or any other vehicle you wish and think will suit best for this expedition on an adventurous weekend coming by for a great jaunting with your loved ones.

The best part of this island is that nothing is really far and therefore taking your own car and traveling with all the ease in the world is the best part for the trip. I was curious to discover just how much my visit to the Atlantic coast of Ireland would add to my experience. It was to prove an enlightening trip, yet also unforgettable for the natural beauty and excellent hospitality I found there.

When travelling it's always nice to beat the herd, so that you can visit exotic places with few tourists about. There's nothing worse than having to sidestep boatloads (actually, make that cruise ship loads) of tourists during the European summer swelter in an Italian city, or finding yourself walking in the road in London during rush hour, because there just isn't any room on the pavement in Oxford street.

So, here are some of the BEST LOCATIONS for all those who are looking for a getaway to a short and thrilling road trip during the weekend in Ireland.

Here we give you Ireland's second to none road trip destinations you must plan for the coming weekend.

1. Athlone

Sean’s Bar, in the town of Athlone, is one of the oldest (still existent) companies in the entire world. It was established as an inn and trading post in the year 900 by a man named Luain (to whom the town owes its name, which is an anglicized version of Áth Luain). It’s quite possible that it once served Vikings. To this day, it’s still a popular pub.

2. Sligo

A visit to Sligo Town and its surrounds in early summer or October will certainly help you beat the herd, with a cracking outdoor holiday also thrown into the bargain. Locals will confirm that October is one of the best times of the year to pay them a visit.

The droves of US tourists during the summer season also means that standards for tourists are very high, and you'll not believe the quality of coffee served in the most budget-friendly bed and breakfasts and castle hotels in Ireland, which to my mind are the best places in which to lodge during your stay there.

Hostels in Dublin and Cork, Galway, Limerick are nice so it doesn't matter which one you choose. Hostels are cheap and a great way to meet people. In the students season in August, September hostels are full and crowded with a lot of students.

The people are just so warm and also very welcoming. Sligo is a very charming and laid back town, built around the rushing Garavogue river that pushes out to the Atlantic. Sligo Town's also got some absolutely great restaurants, with 'Coach Lane' still sticking in the memory, and rated 4.5 on Tripadvisor. The locals are extremely friendly without being intrusive, and there's some pretty good shopping to also be had.

It's also the perfect place to start visiting the sights around Sligo County which are a hiker's paradise and more. Personally I was very curious to travel to Streedagh Strand, which was the scene of the Armada shipwrecks which feature in my novel. The sound of the bracing ocean winds are the only disturbance in an otherwise serene and peaceful location, which is after all the westernmost edge of Europe.

The hulking peaks of the Dartry mountains run alongside the coast, which are an incredible sight to behold and lead up to a picturesque spur called Ben Bulben. These countless mountain ranges also make for some great rock-climbing, with climbing for beginners.

If the story of the Armada survivors grabs your interest, you'll certainly be familiar with the letter written by sea captain Francisco de Cuellar, who managed to somehow make his way back home to Spain following his shipwreck in Ireland.

If you pull on your hiking boots you can visit many of the locations he mentions, starting with the ruins of Staad abbey further south along the coast, which is not to mention the great lakes in the valleys of Glencar and Glenade. It was here that de Cuellar was famously put to work by a ruthless blacksmith, until he was freed by sympathetic Irish natives of the MacClancy tribe.

Following the captain's footsteps will lead you north towards Lough Melvin, which was famously frequented by Charlie Chaplin, who had a house there. If fishing's your thing you can spend hours happily seeking to catch the Gillaroo (derived from the Irish for 'red fellow') trout, which is native only to Lough Melvin.

Yet if you want to keep to the De Cuellar trail, you can head to Rossclogher and walk along the banks of Lough Melvin, where you can observe the sole surviving keep of the MacClancy chieftain, a crannog (castle on an island) which sticks out like a finger of defiance in an otherwise calm and pristine lake, also home to many white swans. The best way to shadow De Cuellar's footsteps would be with excellent guide Eddie O'Gorman (who I had the great fortune of meeting during my visit to Sligo) of Wild West Irish Tours.

The architectural and natural sights are just endless, and making your way back to Sligo you can spot the huge cairn (Irish tomb) of Queen Maeve atop the flat-topped rise of Knocknarea, which stands alongside other beautiful bays of Sligo and Ballysadare where you can ride horses along the ocean. The house of Lord Mountbatten (who tragically also met his end there) can also be seen at the beautiful inlet at Mullaghmore.

Yet it's not all about hiking, and if surfing is your thing, you can pick up a wetsuit and board and join some of the other surfers hitting the waves at Mullaghmore, as well as Strandhill, Easky and Enniscrone. Windsurfers and kitesurfers can also be spotted on the ocean, and you'll sometimes also see them in huge lakes like Lough Allen.

If relaxing on a boat is among your things to do in Ireland, you can grab a ferry to tour Lough Gill, with the captain reciting the renowned poetry of the world famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats, who spent his childhood in Sligo, even coming to think of it as his spiritual home. Yeats' tomb can also be visited at St Columba's Church, Drumcliff, a fine example of neo-Gothic architecture.

The more inquisitive visitor can also grab a boat while traveling Ireland even further westward from the Atlantic coast towards the island of Inishmurray. Three of the Armada's galleys (one of which bore De Cuellar) berthed in its inlet before they were battered upon Streedagh Strand. Inishmurray was the site of many historical pilgrimages over the centuries, with the remains of an early Monastic settlement still clearly visible.

Although you'll instantly feel at home in Sligo, there's also many other areas close by which are worth a visit. You may fancy a drive to the old garrison towns of Belleek and Ballyshannon, further north of Rossclogher, or even visit Fermanagh, once the seat of power of the Gaelic chieftain Hugh Maguire.

A southward jaunt to Ballymote Castle and Boyle is also worthwhile, but along the way make sure you park the car and make your way up the steep uphill track towards the legendary Caves of Kesh. Although the caves themselves are remarkable in size, the stunning view from them of Lough Allen and surrounds will endure long in the memory.

3. Achill Island

Speaking of sea cliffs, Ireland is home to the third largest in Europe - after Hornelen in mainland Norway and Cape Ennisberg in the Faroes. It forms one side of the mountain Croaghaun, on Achill Island, and towers some 688 metres above the sea. Achill is also the largest Irish isle.

4. Westport

Have you ever heard of Croagh Patrick? In 441 AD, Saint Patrick climbed this mountain and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. It is one of the most challenging hikes, with loose gravel, steep angles, but worthwhile views of Clew Bay. It is said that Clew Bay has 365 islands, one for each day of the year.

5. Ring of Kerry

Travel around the Ring of Kerry and stop off in the famous town of Dingle which is full of great pubs and eateries. And leave the crowds of Dingle and the Ring of Kerry for a lesser known part of Ireland.

6. Doolin

One of the scenic landscapes are located in Ireland itself. Ireland offers you the view of the best places to visit such as Cliffs of Moher which is one of the major tourist attractions to visit. Ireland’s most famous natural landmark (at least in the Republic) is the Cliffs of Moher in the west. The Cliffs of Moher is the place of most interest in Ireland in recent years.

The Cliffs of Moher is located in County Clare, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. They are the oldest natural rock structures in Ireland. They rise to a height of 120 meters above the Atlantic Ocean at the point called Hag's Head and extend for 8 kilometres to reach a height of 214 meters. They are up to 214 metres tall, and stretch along 14 km of coastline.

The Cliffs of Moher renders you speechless. It’s a geographical and geological wonder. The rocks that make up the Cliffs of Moher were formed over 300 million years ago. The wind is unrelenting and looking down into the Atlantic from a height of over 200 meters is a daunting task.

The Cliffs of Moher in county Clare is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Ireland with easily over a million visitors per year. The natural beauty of the cliffs is breathtaking. To walk around the cliffs is free and is a serene walk, listening to the Atlantic ocean crashing against the cliffs. Definitely one of the top highlights along the Wild Atlantic Way.

What most do not know is that it has one of the world’s most dangerous mountain biking trails, less than a metre wide in parts.

Sail through the Burren National Park, which has won the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and have one of the most charismatic and exquisite landscapes IN THE WORLD. This site is full of fascinating views, interesting places to visit in Ireland with an array of flora and fauna that is perfect to add some awesome, charismatic and beautiful Instagram feeds. Enjoy your lunch at Ennis Town.

From the top, you can see the Aran islands, Galway Bay and the Connemara Mountains. It is the most visited tourist attraction in Ireland, so you can find small shops in ancient caves and a restaurant.

As we take our food, we take the opportunity to have lunch at the top of the cliffs. We could not be happier, since the last time we were there was too much fog and cold. With a smile from ear to ear and after having disconnected a lot, we head to Sligo. The trip lasted about 3 hours but they flew by with the stories that our guide told us. Even on the way back, he gave us a movie recorded in Ireland.

7. Bunratty

Make sure you visit the Folk Village adjacent to see examples of Irish houses and town buildings plus all their trimmings from the past. Also - drop into the very quirky Durty Nellies pub nearby before you leave - magical!

8. Dingle

Travel 2 peninsulas south to the Beara Penninsula in West Cork, with less crowds and every bit as scenic. A visit to Garnish Island from Glengarriff is recommended. You’ll pass the seal colony on the way out. You won’t want to leave the island but after 90 minutes, you’ll have to be back to Glengarriff where you can see the Blue Pool and have lunch.

The Public park near Glengariff gives great views of Bantry Bay. Driving south from Glengarriff there are plenty of stops to admire the view. Take the scenic Healy Pass over the Caha mountains, best travelled from Cork to Kerry. And do the Ring of Beara drive stopping off at Allihes half way for a swim. Some days it’s wild but the villages are pretty and the scenery is always stunning.

There’s also trips to Bere Island from the Harbour 2 miles before Castletownbere, a cable car to Dursey Island at the tip of the penninsula, boat trips from Garinish Harbour (not to be confused with Garnish Island), the grounds of Dunboy Castle 1 mile south of the fishing village of Castletownbere (where sadly McCarthy’s Pub is closed) and walks and hill climbing throughout the peninsula.

9. Killarney

On Valentia Island (the third-largest offshore isle of Ireland), you can find the fossilized tracks of an ancient amphibious tetrapod, dating back to 385 million years ago. They are among the oldest evidence in the world of vertebrates venturing onto the land, and thus are of great scientific importance.

10. Waterford

Waterford is the oldest city of Ireland surrounded by beaches. Start your trip via Hook head from Wexford to Waterford, encountering all the scenic beauty on the way. Take some breaks and get yourself clicked at some picturesque locations. Park your car somewhere near to the World’s oldest working lighthouse which is on its roll since the 13th century.

Hire a car-ferry to Waterford and drive to one of the many good pubs in the city for a perfect beer and some good and thrilling music to shake your leg. Reginald’s Tower is part of the Waterford Museum of Treasures. The spiral steps are quite steep so you have to be careful. There’s a cannonball still lodged in the buildings outer wall today.

A lot of artifacts from its era are displayed here. The windows are tiny due to the weaponry back then - bows and arrows. It was originally built from wood but was later rebuild with stone for extra protection. Museum of Treasure is FULL of Irish history, there’s a lot to take in.

11. Kilkenny

Kilkenny is the most beautiful town and you really can't stop admiring it. Kilkenny has one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland in the centre of the city which adds to its beauty. Kilkenny is also a touristy place where people come crowding on the weekends.

12. Wicklow

Escape on a weekend from the busy life in the capital city, and see the magical views of the greenery and a peaceful rural hicksville getting closer to the Wicklow Mountains. To enjoy a different day, schedule an excursion to the Wicklow Mountains, where you will find a dreamlike landscape and discover why it is known as the Garden of Ireland.

On the way you will pass through Kilkenny and you will also see the interesting town of Glendalough.

Grab a picnic spot at Powerscourt Waterfall, give yourself a restful, peaceful and calm time while enjoying the views at Sally Gap’s Pass and sip-in a great coffee in a charming and overwhelming village of Laragh. On the way to Portlaoise stop by to take the blessings of the almighty at St. Kevin’s Monastery.

A ride to Boyne Valley will give you some ancient monuments to explore in complemented with glaring green views. This historic town of Drogheda has some great places to visit in Ireland. One of them is St. Peters Church which gets its popularity of containing the real head an Irish Saint of 1600s named Oliver Plunket. Apart from this church, there are many other treats to your eyes like The Battle of Boyne Site, Hill of Tara, Slane Castle and many more.

13. Tralee

Wherever you go in Ireland, enjoy the experience and don’t just rush around, take it slow and use your feet as much as possible, you’ll discover far more. Much better, and you can even see Skellig Michael in the far distance, that had an ancient monastery on it, and was the filming location for Luke Skywalker in the new Star Wars movies. But being on the ground here and walking around you’ll also discover a bit of history at Lohar Pound.

The full Butter Road is 56-miles between Kerry and Cork. If you talk to the locals nicely they might even take you out on the lake, there is a little island within it, and on it the ruins of an old 7th century monastery. Or they might let you in to their backyard to see the Ogham stones.

14. Atlantic Way

If you could rent a car it would be easier to get around, you could take a trip down the Wild Atlantic Way, this is a scenic route that runs along the west coast of Ireland. You will get to see magnificent scenery, great beaches and picturesque towns and villages along the Wild Atlantic Way.

15. Connemara

Drive from Galway to the Abbey. The drive is just as amazing. Zig-zag along the road, passing through traditional Irish towns and villages that are hundreds of years old, occasionally getting down to take pictures of the countryside. The Abbey in itself is okay. But the overall trip is well worth the time. The Bonus factor of this trip is having some lovely towns alongside this journey giving you the exact break-time you wish for.
Kalyan Panja