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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 a bridge, modern architecture and a river or creek
Dublin
Known for Bars, 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
Glucksman Gallery featuring modern architecture
Cork
Known for Friendly People, Dining and Shopping

Reasons to visit

  • English Market
    English Market
  • Cork City Gaol
    Cork City Gaol
  • Fitzgerald Park
    Fitzgerald Park
Dunguaire Castle showing heritage elements, a river or creek and heritage architecture
Galway
Known for Friendly People, Bars and Tour

Reasons to visit

  • Eyre Square
    Eyre Square
  • Galway Cathedral
    Galway Cathedral
  • Galway Harbour
    Galway Harbour
Muckross House featuring a park, flowers and heritage elements
Killarney
Known for Nature, Historical Buildings 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 showing a city, night scenes and a river or creek
Limerick
Known for Friendly People, Dining and Bars

Reasons to visit

  • King John's Castle
    King John's Castle
  • Thomond Park
    Thomond Park
  • Hunt Museum
    Hunt Museum
Ben Bulben featuring tranquil scenes and mountains
Sligo
Known for Friendly People, Bars and Rivers

Reasons to visit

  • Knocknarea
    Knocknarea
  • Sligo Abbey
    Sligo Abbey
  • Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
    Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

Popular places to visit in Ireland

Cliffs of Moher
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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
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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

The Guinness Storehouse is situated at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. The giant storehouse covers seven floors and is a popular point of interest for tourists - since it opened in 2000, it has received over four million visitors.

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.