1. Books of Kells, Trinity College Dublin
The Book of Kells is an illuminated, or decorated, copy of the Gospels written about 800AD and a fantastic example of Celtic knotwork. It’s held in Trinity College Dublin and there is an easy to follow and informative exhibit on Irish monasteries before the book itself.
The Book of Kells was rebound in four volumes in 1953 for conservative reasons and two volumes are normally on display. One is open to a fully decorated page and the other is open to the beginning of text.
Admission to see the Book of Kells also includes a visit to the Long Room of the library, which hosts a menagerie of artifacts.
2. Gaiety Theatre, Dublin
Built in 1871, the Gaiety Theatre is home to many plays and musicals, including the original Irish dance hit, “Riverdance”.
The theatre hosts a wide range of shows; and will soon be hosting a performance of “Steel Magnolias.”
On Friday and Saturday nights the theatre transforms into an in demand venue featuring various bands, DJ’s, and movies.
After the show take a stroll down Grafton Street, a chic shopping area of Dublin.
3. National Museum of Ireland, Dublin
With a far reaching range of collections and exhibits holding almost four million objects and specimens, the National Museum of Ireland is sure to have something for everyone.
Notable pieces include the Ardagh Chalice, St. Patrick’s bell and shrine, and the spooky bog bodies, Iron Age bodies well preserved in Ireland’s peat bogs.
The Museum also offers family friendly tours and activities.
4. Bunratty Castle and Park, County Clare
Built in 1425, Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic example of a medieval fortress in Ireland.
The castle contains 15th and 16th century furnishings and has a real dungeon. The grounds beyond the castle encompass over 30 buildings including several homes, a school house, and post office and represent daily life in the 19th century.
After a day of exploring the park, guests may stay for dinner at either a Traditional Irish Night featuring music, song and dance, or the Bunratty Medieval Banquet with a show by the Bunratty Castle Entertainers.
5. Temple Bar, Dublin
Stop in for a pint and enjoy the craic with the locals in the heart of Dublin’s fair city. Temple Bar contains a wide range of pubs and restaurants and shops. Between 25th January and 29th January, there is the 7th annual Temple Bar Tradfest, which hosts film screenings, internationally renowned artists, and festival concerts. Temple Bar is full of energy and a must see in Dublin.
6. Ballymore Historic Features, Wexford
Located in Wexford, the Ballymore Historic Features is an award winning museum that includes the remains of a 14th century Norman Castle and an 18th century period farm and family residence.
There were family members on both sides of the 1798 rebellion and the house itself was occupied as a rebel camp site for some weeks during the rebellion. Visitors are also invited to stroll the grounds which include an old church and graveyard.
7. Jameson Experience, Cork
Take a guided tour through the distillery in Midleton, Cork and learn how to tell the difference between Scottish, American, and Irish whiskey. Guests have the opportunity to join in some comparative taste testing.
The tour ends with an Irish Whiskey Taster Certificate and a complimentary glass of Jameson with a mixer of the guest’s choice.
8. Michael Collins Memorial Centre
Expert guides will lead you through the times and life of Irish revolutionary and chairman of the Provisional Government, Michael Collins. Located in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Collins’ birthplace, the site contains the repaired remains of Collins’ childhood home and the outline of his later home, which was burned by the Black and Tans during the Irish War for Independence.
9. Skibbereen Heritage Center
Located in Cork, the Skibbereen Heritage Center features several exhibits, most notably on the Great Famine and natural marine resources. Skibbereen was one of the worst hit areas by the Famine as shown by the mass graves in the area.
The Lough Hyne Visitor Centre features an audio-visual display on early Irish marine sources and the folklore about them. The Center also features genealogy information to help you trace your Irish roots.
10. Latin Quarter, Galway City
Among the variety of pubs grab a bite to eat and see Irish dancers perform at The King’s Head, a pub named for its connection to King Charles I’s executioner who lived there in the 17th century. Afterwards listen to a traditional Irish music session at the local pub Tig Coili, a pub popular with both tourists and locals in this lively part of the City of the Tribes.
Must-see off the beaten track spots around Ireland (PHOTOS)