Irish attractions the Giant's Causeway and Brú na Boinne included in the world’s top 500 must-see sights of all time
Six Irish attractions have made it onto a 2015 list of the world’s top 500 must-see sights of all time, compiled by guidebook publisher Lonely Planet.
The listings, which also included Grand Canyon National Park and Machu Picchu (see top 20 below), are from the publisher’s new book “Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist.” It was compiled by the company’s travel experts and authors on the ground who rated the world’s best mega-sights and hidden gems.
The Irish sites included in the listing include:
1. Giant's Causeway, County Antrim (#103)
The Giant's Causeway is 40,000 interlocking basalt columns stretching out into the sea. They are the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are about 12 meters (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 meters (92 ft) thick in places.
2. Bru na Bóinne, County Meath (#224)
Brú na Bóinne is the largest and one of the most important complexes of Megalithic sites in Europe, dating to the Neolithic period. The complex is situated on a wide bend in the River Boyne.
It’s most well-known large passage tombs are Knowth, Newgrange, and Dowth, built some 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic or Late Stone Age. There are about 90 additional monuments recorded in the area.
3. The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare (#378)
The Cliffs of Moher, located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, rise to their highest point of 214 meters (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower.
From the cliffs, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south. The cliffs rank amongst the top visited tourist sites in Ireland and receive almost one million visitors a year.
4. Titanic Belfast (#424)
The Titanic Belfast is a visitor attraction and monument to Belfast's maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city's Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built.
The museum tells the stories of the ill-fated Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank during her maiden voyage in 1912, and her sister ships RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic. The building contains more than 12,000 square meters (130,000 sq ft) of floor space, most of which is occupied by a series of galleries, private function rooms, and community facilities.
5. Trinity College, Dublin city (#468)
Trinity College Dublin is a research university right in the heart of the city center. It was founded in 1592 as the "mother" of a new university, modeled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and of Cambridge. It is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland's oldest university.
6. The Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary (#497)
A spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale including the 12th century round tower, high cross and Romanesque chapel, 13th-century Gothic cathedral, 15th-century castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral.
Speaking about the Lonely Planet listings, Fáilte Ireland Head of Communications, Alex Connolly said “The Irish sights which made it onto the list reflect the range of attractions Ireland has to offer and demonstrate that for a small country, Ireland is certainly punching above its weight internationally.
“The Lonely Planet is one of the premier sources of information for people all across the world when researching a holiday and lists like these quite literally put Ireland on the map and in the mind’s eye of thousands of potential visitors.”
Ireland was listed among some seriously impressive tourist attractions around the world.
Here’s the top 20 from the Lonely Planet travel list:
1. Temples of Angkor, Cambodia
2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
3. Machu Picchu, Peru
4. Great Wall of China, China
5. Taj Mahal, India
6. Grand Canyon National Park, USA
7. Colosseum, Italy
8. Iguazu Falls, Brazil-Argentina
9. Alhambra, Spain
10. Aya Sofya, Turkey
11. Fez Medina, Morocco
12. Twelve Apostles, Australia
13. Petra, Jordan
14. Tikal, Guatemala
15. British Museum, England
16. Sagrada Familia, Spain
17. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
18. Santorini, Greece
19. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
20. Museum of Old & New Art, Australia.
* Originally published in August 2015.