It's not easy to pick only the 10 best places to visit in Ireland, but if we had to, these are the top spots we'd stop off.
Editor's note: National Heritage Week celebrates all things heritage. It brings together organizations, cultural institutions, academics, and enthusiasts, to build awareness about the value of heritage and support its conservation. In 2019, more than 2,000 events took place across Ireland during the third week of August. However, to COVID-19-related restrictions on social gatherings, this year, it has gone online. In the spirit of sharing experience and knowledge on Irish heritage this week, we’re exploring Ireland’s most beloved Irish heritage sites.
It would be easier to pick the top 100 best places to visit in Ireland but if we really have to, these are the top ten places in Ireland to visit.
To visit Ireland means to go through Dublin. Not only is it a city with countless charms but also a city that bears witness to a rich history. You can visit many museums for free, such as the Writers' Museum, the National Museum, Christ Church Cathedral and its crypt, or galleries with wonderful treasures.
Feel free to walk the cobbled streets, cross the streets and stroll through the markets and taste the pints of 1,000 pubs strewn throughout the capital. Do not forget to stop at the Temple Bar, in the neighborhood of the same name, even if you are not a big drinker.
Take a look at the typical program that I recommend for a weekend in Dublin and book your activities and hotels at Reservations.com in advance.
Galway is a great place to live and have fun all the time. Many artists have stopped here and left their happy impression. In summer, you can participate in several festivals, whatever your age, although I imagine that you do not visit Galway to make a festival.
The cultural richness that emerges from the streets of the city will mark you for sure. It is often one of the Irish cities that we quote for its charm. Remember to visit historical monuments such as The Collegiate Church Of St. Nicholas, the legendary residence Lynch's Castle or a flashback to the Middle Ages: the Spanish Arch. Galway is a mine of human and artistic wealth inexhaustible.
Connemara is located right next to Galway City. The weather changes quite quickly so cover up to face the rain, the wind, and the sun ... Good, just the wind and the rain will be enough.
Nature is the center of the place, and if you are looking for a description of what you will see, I suggest you listen to Sardou, or look at some pictures, it's breathtaking!
If you are looking for a magical and intoxicating place, you must go to the Connemara Lakes. To get there, go through the N59 towards Clifden or along the coast on the other side. Weather permitting, take a ride in Connemara National Park.
Belfast is a city whose past was very turbulent. Indeed, history has not spared this city yet so charming to visit. The war between unionists and nationalists is still visible on some walls. Nevertheless, Belfast deserves attention. Rather than listing all that there is to see, I refer directly to my comprehensive guide on Belfast below.
The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland's most enjoyable routes to discover. Whether traveling by car, bike or on foot, you'll have something to do. You can go around in one day, depending on the number of stops you make. There are walks and panoramas everywhere along the main road, so it's up to you to see what you prefer to immortalize. Do not forget to make a short stop at Killarney National Park.
You can also book here an early excursion to the Ring of Kerry from Dublin if you do not have a car.
6. The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway is, I must admit, a rather magical and supernatural place! Located north of Belfast on the coast of Northern Ireland, the site is characterized by approximately 40,000 columns of vertical hexagonal volcanic stones juxtaposed forming a sort of paved road that starts at the base of the cliff and disappears into the sea ... Magic! The site has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1986 and attracts thousands of tourists every year. This place must be on your top three things to do in Ireland!
You can also book in advance a trip to the Giant's Causeway from Dublin if you do not have a car.
7. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher is one of the most visited places in Ireland as it offers an incredible view of the ocean; 214m high and 8km long, located on the Atlantic coast in County Clare in the west of Ireland.
On a clear day, you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as a small piece of the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara. I must admit, this is one of my favorite places ... except when there is fog and you can not even see the sea from the cliffs!
8. Aran Islands
Off the counties of Kerry and Clare, you can visit a whole series of islands called the Aran Islands. The wind blows very strongly, but that does not stop you from visiting the many churches, Christian monasteries or the remains of the castles that are there.
My good plan: opt for a bike tour, which will allow you to better appreciate the landscapes and their beauty. Good if there is wind, pay attention or go on foot, but if it's good, go for the bikes.
If you have the time, stay one night on one of the islands, so you'll have a little more time to go around these incredible islands.
9. The Dingle Peninsula
Wedged between the mountains and the ocean, Dingle is a charming and very typical place. This is one of my favorite places in Ireland. Cityside, you can visit the city center, paved with small shops very cute. Peninsula side, you will take the full view from the wild side of the landscape but also thanks to the many incredible views you will have on the ocean and its coastline. I really appreciate the mountain-ocean contrast in Ireland in general, and even more so in this region.
10. The Burren
The Burren is a strange and surprising site. You can see nature keeps its rights and the plants continue to cover the soil and rocks. The Burren Plateau stretches over 100 squared km, entirely rocky. The stone dominates the area and forms arabesques that deserve some photos.
This type of landscape does not exist anywhere else and inspired some writers like JRR Tolkien, who enjoyed the panorama so much that, according to legend, the name of one of the caves - Pol na Gollum - would have inspired him for the name of the famous character. Myth or reality? We will probably never know!
Where is your favorite place to visit in Ireland? Let us know in the comments section, below.
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.