As many of you already know, Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and has some amazing sites. Many people have listed it as their dream destination, as a place they want to visit at least once in their lifetime. Whether it be the adventurous hikes or the cultural exhibitions attracting people to our shores, one thing is certain – they will have a great time when they get here.
Being capital cities means that Belfast and Dublin attract a higher number of tourists than other cities. However, places like Leinster have also been making its way on to more and more people’s travelling bucket list, thanks to its scenic views and the prospect of outdoor activities. There’s a lot more to discover outside of the capitals and Leinster as there’s plenty of Irish destinations that host exciting activities.
Whether you’re a local looking for a staycation idea or a tourist looking for some tips, here are some of the best trips, tours and activities that Ireland has to offer.
For Those Who Love the Outdoors
In recent months many of us have to come realise the healing power of nature and the joy of being outdoors. If you’re after a breath of fresh air then a trip to Carrauntoohil in County Kerry or the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail in County Fermanagh is in order. They’re said to be some of the most beautiful and scenic walking routes in the whole of Ireland. The Cuilcagh Boardwalk is often referred to as ‘the stairway to heaven’ and that says it all.
If hiking or climbing up steep stairs is not really you’re thing then there are plenty of natural splendours to discover, the most famous of which is the Giant’s Causeway. The Gaint’s Causeway is a magnificent rock formation that formed over 6 million years ago and according to Irish legend it was created by the first Irish giant Finn McCool. This is definitely a must for the Irish bucket list as you can’t really say you’ve been to Ireland without seeing this natural wonder.
Heading across the border you’ll also find another famous natural beauty spot – the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs are 8 miles long and stand up to an impressive 702 feet tall, offering some impressive views across to the nearby islands. Remember to take your camera as the Cliffs of Moher are very photogenic.
For Those Who Love History
Ireland has a long and complicated history, ideal for history buffs as it means there’s plenty to explore.
Why not take a black taxi tour around Belfast and learn about what is commonly referred to as ‘The Troubles’? On this trip a well-informed chauffeur will tell you all about this complex part of Ireland’s history. You’ll see some of the most notorious political murals as well as the areas most affected by this time.
While you’re in Belfast head to the Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. Tour around the 9 different galleries and watch the parts of the Titanic’s tragic tale fall into place.
Now a visit to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a castle. Perhaps the infamous Leap Castle in County Offaly will possess you with its spookiness, as it’s believed to be the most haunted castle in the world. That’s right, the world. A private tour of the castle can be arranged, but maybe it’s best to visit in the day.
If you’re looking for something a little less scary, then there’s always Dunluce Castle one of the most picturesque ruins you’ll ever visit. It was also built in the 13th century so it has a long, rich history to explore and uncover.
For Those Who Love TV and Movies
Not surprisingly, Ireland’s beautifull and unique landscape has drawn in not only visitors but also film and TV cameras looking for the perfect backdrop. As a result, there’s plenty of tours on offer that will show you around filming locations in Ireland.
Pretend you’re Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow for the day and wander around the key filming locations at Tollymore Forest Park, The Mourne Mountains in County Down and the Dark Hedges in County Antrim. These locations are most well known for their appearances in season 1 and 2 of Game of Thrones. The Dark Hedges is also quickly becoming a must for any Game of Thrones bucket list and as a result, is becoming one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Ireland.
If you’d prefer to swap your sword for a light-saber then a tour Skellig Michael, the remote island off the coast of Kerry, is just for you. This UNESCO World Heritage site with it’s dome-like stone structures is instantly recognisable from it’s appearance in the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
For Those Who Love a Drink
The Irish are known to like a drink, especially a tall pint of Guinness. So what better way to enjoy this iconic local drink than with a tour around The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. It’s Ireland’s most-visited tourist destination annually. It also makes for an excellent day out and should be on everyone’s bucket list, especially the Guinness-lovers!
For those that like something a bit stronger, then look no further than the Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim. Not only is it the oldest operating whiskey distillery in the world, but it also offers one of the best whiskey tours. Don’t just take our word for it, ask one of the 120,000 visitors that take the tour each year. But make sure to try the famous Black Bush blend while you’re there.
Next stop is Athlone in the centre of Ireland. Here you can visit Sean’s Bar, which has been serving alcohol since 900 AD, that’s a whopping 1,121 years. That makes it the oldest bar in the world. After a trip to Sean’s bar you can easily cross off an authentic Irish pub experience from your bucket list.
This is not a definitive list of all the trips, tours and activities that Ireland has to offer, as that would be impossible to fit into one post. But here is a good starting point for those creating their Irish bucket list and it just goes to show that Ireland has something for everyone.