Countless people we have come across have talked about going to Ireland “someday” and when that day comes they better have these magical spots on their list of places to visit.
For the magical Saturday mornings in Dublin’s city to the wild and almost inaccessible highlands of Donegal here’s a list of places in Ireland you should most certainly add to your list.
A Dubliner’s Dublin
As the song goes “Dublin can be heaven”. Especially on a sunny summer’s morning in Stephen’s Green, or a stroll down Grafton Street, the main shopping fare, and breakfast in Bewley's coffee shop where you will feel like you have stepped back in time.
Read more: Dublin and surrounding areas tours
The charm of Dingle
The fishing boats at Dingle. The Gaelic speaking town at the heart of the West Kerry Gaeltacht is a wondrous place to be.
Tiny cobblestoned streets, beautiful Atlantic scenery, wonderful pubs and craic and the soft tones of the oldest language in Europe. Perfect.
Sun going down on Galway Bay
Galway City is the jewel of the West of Ireland, with the liveliest social scene in the whole country. Be there for Galway Races or the Arts Festival and watch the city come to life with a million musicians, gamblers, actors, and entertainers.
Read more: Galway and the West tours
“I will arise and go now” to Yeats Country, essentially County Sligo, awash in memories of the greatest poet in the English language.
He name checked every little town and village river and pools that could “scarcely bathe a star”.
Go see his grave at Drumcliffe under the majestic Ben Bulben mountain and visit Rosses Point and Strandhill. Earth has nothing to show more fair.
The River Shannon
To see old Shannon’s face again. John F. Kennedy was captivated by the beauty of the Shannon region during his visit to Ireland in 1963 and it easy to see why.
It encompasses both Limerick and Clare and stretches form glorious beaches like Lahinch and Kilkee to the rugged grandeur of the Cliffs of Moher and inland to wonderful little towns and villages.
Read more: Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way tours
Tara of the Kings
The Hill of Tara was the center of the old civilization in Ireland, where kings were crowned and battles were fought and won and tribes made merry. In County Meath, just 20 miles or so from Dublin, take a giant step back into the past.
The Northern Ireland coast
“I wish I was in Carrickfergus” and the beautiful Northern Ireland coastline north of Belfast.
Unspoilt and untouched because of the former Troubles, the road north from Belfast is a magical mystery tour of the Giants Causeway, quaint little towns and wonderful beaches. You can spy Scotland in the distance.
Read more: Northern Ireland and Game of Thrones tours
"You take the high road” to the Donegal highlands
Again County Donegal’s highlands are impossibly remote and almost inaccessible, but well worth the effort. Towering mountains, wild seas, and gorgeous scenery, they are perhaps Ireland’s best-kept secret.
The Lakes of Killarney
They say that the lakes of Killarney are fair and indeed, they are.
The County Kerry town was first made famous when Queen Victoria of all people, pitched up there for a vacation back in the 1890s. She knew well what she was doing, not just the lakes, but also the mountains the valleys. The streams – a must-see destination beloved by Americans.
Read more: Ireland Golf tours
The Mountains of Mourne
Just across the border lies Warrenpoint and several little fishing villages, all in the shadow of the mighty Mourne mountains, which do indeed sweep down to the sea at this precious spot. The golf courses are magnificent – Ryder Cup star Rory McIlroy grew up here.
* Originally published in 2011.