Visiting Ireland

Over the years, I’ve had a ton of folks ask me for tips on visiting Ireland. I lived in Ireland for close to three years and, honestly, still consider it my second home. I’ve spent a ton of time writing people emails and guides and decided that I really need to just publish this on my blog so that I can refer people to it.

Map of Ireland with Points of Interest
Map of Ireland with Points of Interest
I’ve written about quite a few places below but the map linked above has pinpoints to a ton of great places. Enjoy!

Dublin

Obviously most people start in Dublin as that’s the largest city and there’s a big international airport. Dublin is awesome and has a ton to do.

  • Downtown
    • Grafton Street – amazing walking street with a ton of shops and street performers – especially on the weekends.
    • Book of Kells – Awesome book hand-painted by monks that dates back to 384AD. Contains the 4 gospels from the Bible.
    • National Leprechaun Museum – Ireland has a huge legacy in folklore and this museum tells the stories. It’s amazing…
    • Tidal Flats – One of the things I love in Dublin is walking on or even just looking at the tidal flats. It’s beautiful and goes on and on.
    • Dun Laoghaire Pier – Great place to stop and get an ice cream, walk along the pier or watch the sailboats coming and going.
    • Dalkey Castle – Living museum where the tour guides are dressed in period clothing and give the tour in character. Fantastic peak into the old world…
    • Killiney Beach – Quiet little beach to walk on and collect shells, sea glass, play with dogs…
    • Howth Pier – Lovely pier with sea lions and lots of fresh fish restaurants.
    • O’Connell’s Bar – This is not on the drinking list because you should stop in here and have one of the best fish and chips you’ve ever had…
    • O’Neill’s Pub – Again, not on the drinking list as it’s a great “Carvery”. Go here for lunch and it’ll be worth it…
    • Hairy Lemon – Get the bread pudding.
  • Downtown Drinking… There’s a ton of great pubs but some of my favorites…

Northern Ireland

There’s a ton to see up north and I’ll be adding more as time goes on but here’s some highlights. And yes, I’m conflating some Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland places.

  • Giant’s Causeway – Fantastic views and stories here as there are huge pylons with a very cool octogonal shape. There’s a great legend involving giants and deception and more!
  • Europa Hotel Belfast – The most bombed hotel in all of Europe. It’s actually a beautiful hotel with a great pub.

Western Ireland

  • Cliffs of Moher – Many of the locals will tell you, “Oh yeah, you should go to the cliffs”. What they don’t tell you is that these cliffs are the “Grand Canyon of Ireland”…
  • The Burren – amazing natural place that’s about 30 square miles of limestone and amazement.

Galway

  • Quay Street – Pronounced “key” – great walking street with a ton of little pubs, shops, live music and so on…
  • Claddagh Jeweler – The Claddagh ring is a mainstay in Irish traditions and the original was made in Galway at this shop. Very cool little shop.
  • The Pie Maker – Some of the best meat pies that I’ve ever had in my life…

Cork

  • The English Market – stunning indoor food court and market.
  • Blarney Castle – Definitely worth visiting. I was terrified that this was going to be way too touristy but it wasn’t. It was awesome. Pro-tip though, the tour busses show up about 9:15 or so. They open earlier than that so get in early. There’s an awesome B&B across the street called The White House.

Other places in Ireland that you should definitely go

I’ll be adding to the list here and categorize these better sometime soon. The ones that ended up in this list are awesome and I love them, they just don’t categorize with the other items geographically.

  • Newgrange – This is where the celtic swirls are first spotted in this manmade structure that pre-dates the pyramids at over 5200 years old.
  • Sean’s Bar – This pub dates back to 900AD in the same location…
  • Kilbeggan Distillery – One of the oldest working distilleries in Ireland. They make some awesome whiskey here including one of my favorites – Connemara Peated Whiskey, the only peated Irish whiskey on the market.
  • Kilkenny Castle – beautiful castle and grounds in a beautiful little village. Oh, and have the Kilkenny Cream Ale in any of the pubs.
  • Knock, Ireland – in 1879, there was an apparition of the Holy Family and the heavens plus a few saints thrown in. They’ve built an amazing set of grounds for the 1.5 million pilgrims that come each year.
  • Derrynane Beach – When God made the world, this is where he put his thumbprint. It’s remote, quiet and absolutely beautiful. And the surfing is great!

Wrap up

This is far from complete and I’ll definitely be adding to it but this is a starting list with some descriptions.

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