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IrelandEurope

Explore a Neolithic tomb, walk along rocky cliffs as waves crash below or just enjoy a laugh with the locals in this long-inhabited island nation.

The island of Ireland has been inhabited since around 8,000 B.C. Ancient ruins dot the landscape alongside medieval castles. Despite its long human history, Ireland still features large swaths of undeveloped natural landscapes, including desolate islands and Europe’s highest seaside cliffs. Explore Ireland’s ancient artifacts and rocky coast before heading into Dublin and having a pint of creamy stout.

Start at one of Ireland’s oldest sites, Brú na Bóinne, a collection of burial sites north of Dublin that are more than 5000 years old. Get a guided tour through Newgrange, one of the most impressive sites. Walk through the narrow halls of this massive grass-covered burial mound.

Stop at Ireland’s beautiful castles, which are spread across the landscape in various states of preservation. Cahir Castle in the island’s southern interior is a well-preserved 12th-century fortress, one of the country’s largest. Walk its corridors and look out over its battlements. Well-kept Ashford Castle in Galway functions as a five-star hotel. Make a reservation if your dream is to stay overnight in a 13th-century castle.

Rent a car to explore Ireland’s rugged Atlantic coastline. Nearly the entire coast is lined with steep, rocky cliffs that descend straight into the ocean’s heavy surf. The most desolate and dramatic coastal landscape can be found in the Aran Islands just off Ireland’s west coast. Head to Inishmor, the largest of these three islands. Walk along an almost completely uninhabited slab of gray rock with the ocean just below you.

Complete your trip to Ireland with a visit to the welcoming city of Dublin. During the day, see its architectural attractions like Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. At night, experience its main cultural attraction: the pub. Have a Guinness and enjoy conversation with Dublin’s famously sociable locals.

Fly into Dublin or take a ferry from France or the UK to reach Ireland. The northeast corner of the island, including Belfast, belongs to the UK, but you can cross the border freely.

Popular cities in Ireland

Dublin showing night scenes, a city and modern architecture
Dublin
Known for Bar, Tour and Live Music

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Reasons to visit

  • Guinness Storehouse
    Guinness Storehouse
  • Trinity College
    Trinity College
  • Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
    Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Cork showing a coastal town, rocky coastline and landscape views
Cork
Known for Friendly People, Dining and Shopping

Reasons to visit

  • Blackrock Castle
    Blackrock Castle
  • Fitzgerald Park
    Fitzgerald Park
  • English Market
    English Market
Dunguaire Castle showing heritage elements, a castle and heritage architecture
Galway
Known for Friendly People, Bar and Tour

Reasons to visit

  • Eyre Square
    Eyre Square
  • Galway Cathedral
    Galway Cathedral
  • Galway Harbour
    Galway Harbour
Muckross House which includes a garden, heritage elements and flowers
Killarney
Known for Nature, Historical Building and Live Music

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Reasons to visit

  • Killarney National Park
    Killarney National Park
  • Ross Castle
    Ross Castle
  • Muckross House
    Muckross House
Limerick which includes a river or creek, night scenes and a city
Limerick
Known for Friendly People, Dining and Bar

Reasons to visit

  • King John's Castle
    King John's Castle
  • Thomond Park
    Thomond Park
  • St. Mary's Cathedral
    St. Mary's Cathedral

Popular things to do in Ireland

Cliffs of Moher
Image for Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Velvety green fields drop away into sheer ocean cliffs amid the intriguing ecology and geology of Ireland’s most visited natural attraction.

Ring of Kerry
Image for Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry

Visitors have taken this route through deep forest and rugged Atlantic coastline for hundreds of years.

Guinness Storehouse
Image for Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

A tour of this pint-shaped hall in a historic brewery provides an intoxicating journey through the making of Ireland’s signature drink.

Blarney Castle
Image for Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Walk in the footsteps of ancient kings, wander amid mystical gardens and kiss the venerated Blarney Stone at this centuries-old castle.

Killarney National Park
Image for Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

See the rare fauna and visit the quaint cottages adorning the picturesque lakes and forests of this mountainous national park.

Dublin Castle
Image for Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Discover medieval excavations from a Viking ruin and appreciate the majesty of the state apartments, the chapel and the landscape gardens.