16 Can’t-Miss Famous Landmarks in Ireland
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You can’t miss out on these famous landmarks in Ireland!
Nicknamed ‘The Emerald Isle,’ Ireland is home to some of the most stunning scenery in Europe and is steeped in history and mythology. It’s regularly voted as one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
There are hundreds of famous landmarks in Ireland worth visiting. Whether you’re a landscape lover, a history geek or something else entirely – you’re sure to find something you love in Ireland’s landmarks and attractions. Read on to discover just how much this spectacular country has to offer.
Did you know Ireland is home to a monument older than the Pyramids of Giza? Newgrange dates back to 3200 BC, and archaeologists believe it was a place of high spiritual and ceremonial importance. Newgrange is a must-visit for any history lover; it’s fascinating to consider how complex its architecture is for its age.
The site is located in County Meath, which is part of Ireland’s historic East. A visit can be combined with the other nearby monuments of Knowth and Dowth – these are the three principal tombs of Brú na Bóinne, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Tickets cost €10 and include a tour and access to the exhibition.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin
St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most famous places in Ireland and is the country’s largest Cathedral. It opened in 1191, making it one of the only remaining parts of medieval Dublin.
The Cathedral has a choir – but this isn’t any ordinary choir. St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir School is one of the oldest in the world and was founded in 1432. Visitors can attend a performance by the choir – a must-do Dublin activity. The ethereal sounds of this ancient choir echo through the building’s tall ceilings, and the atmosphere is nothing short of chilling.
There is a €9 entry fee to visit, and tours by knowledgeable volunteers are also available.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the best natural landmarks in Ireland. These dramatic limestone cliffs rise to a height of 704ft, towering above the fierce Atlantic sea. The cliffs are located on Ireland’s westernmost edge, in County Clare.
Visiting is a must; the rugged beauty of the cliffs epitomizes Ireland’s untouched natural charm. Visit at sunset, when the crowds have thinned out and the last golden rays of the day spread over the headlands.
Admission to the visitor’s experience costs €6 and includes parking.
The Dingle Peninsula in Kerry is a 363 square mile area, home to spectacular scenery, eclectic towns, and Ireland’s best beaches – you can’t miss a visit to this incredible place.
Dingle town consists of charming, brightly colored terraced houses, and the locals are a true example of Irish hospitality. It’s full of quirky little pubs, like the famous Foxy Johns – a pub doubling up as a hardware shop. The town has a buzzing food scene, and menus are packed with seafood caught fresh from the Atlantic.
The peninsula also has a whopping 64 mountains, making it the perfect place for hiking enthusiasts.
Hill of Tara
County Meath is home to the historic Hill of Tara, an archaeological site dating back to the stone age. The site consists of the grassy remains of hill forts and is steeped in rich history and mythology. The area was the seat of the high kings of Ireland; 142 kings sat upon this hill, reigning over the country.
Sitting atop the grass, it’s fascinating to imagine the things this place has seen. The hill of Tara has a magical air to it, and it’s one of Ireland’s landmarks and attractions worth visiting.
Visitors can enter the site for free, but guided tours come highly recommended to learn about the site’s interesting past.
Killarney National Park
Nature lovers won’t want to skip Kerry’s beautiful Killarney National Park. Home to postcard-worthy lush green landscapes and Ireland’s highest mountain range, the park is awe-inspiring. Entrance is free, although some of the museums charge an entrance fee.
The park has an impressive number of walking trails – think everything from woodlands to beaches. Each trail offers different vistas, none of which fall short of spectacular. If walking isn’t your thing, the park can also be explored via bike. Killarney Bike Rental offers bike hire starting at €15 per day for an adult bike.
Book of Kells (Trinity College Dublin)
The Book of Kells is one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland and has been coined by some historians as medieval Europe’s greatest treasure.
Created by monks between the 6th and 8th centuries, each page holds an astonishingly intricate biblical illustration, and hours can be spent admiring the staggering attention to detail. It’s believed that monks created the book for display, so visiting it feels like a fitting homage to its creators.
You can find the book at the world-renowned Trinity College Dublin. Tickets to visit cost €18.50 and include a downloadable audio guide.
Ring of Kerry
A must-visit famous landmark in Ireland is the Ring of Kerry, a 111-mile-long circular drive. Forty shades of green cover the hills and mountains; rain or shine, you’re guaranteed to be blown away. The ring takes you along Kerry’s wild coastline, where imposing cliff walls rise out of the ocean swell below.
The ring begins and ends in the colorful town of Killarney. It will take most of the day to drive the ring, and hire cars are easily accessible. Tours are available for those without a car, ranging in price from €45 for a coach tour, to €460 for a private tour. If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, the Ring of Kerry can also be completed by bike!
In the mouth of Galway Bay sit three rocky isles – these are the Aran Islands, and you don’t want to miss them. Each wind-whipped limestone islet offers something slightly different, but they all have one thing in common – you won’t run out of things to do!
The islands are home to captivating historical sites such as Dún Aonghasa, an ancient stone fort perched atop a 100-meter cliff edge. Each island offers countless pubs and restaurants serving hearty Irish fare, best accompanied by the soul-warming sound of a live trad music session.
Ireland might not be somewhere you associate with scuba diving, but the diverse underwater world surrounding the Aran islands holds a reputation as one of the best dive spots in Europe.
In the high season of April to September, visitors can catch a ferry to the islands from Galway city. A return ticket costs €49 and takes 90 minutes.
People travel far and wide to a small town just outside the city of Cork for a peculiar reason. Blarney Castle is home to a stone steeped in legend and mystery, and visitors flock to the stone to… kiss it! This peculiar tradition has been going on since the 18th century.
There are a few different legends surrounding the stone, but all lead to the belief that kissing the stone blesses the bestower with the ‘gift of the gab’ – after you’ve kissed it, you’ll have a new eloquence and skill for persuasion.
The Blarney Stone is a big part of Ireland’s mythical history, and ought to be visited. The castle itself is set in 60 acres of picturesque gardens, including a poison garden, with some plants so poisonous they have to be contained in a cage! Admission to the castle costs €16.
Dublin Castle has had an astounding number of roles in Ireland’s history. This 13th-century building has been a defensive fortification, an official residence of the Viceroy of Ireland, and the seat of British rule in Ireland – amongst many other purposes.
The Castle is one of Ireland’s most important historical sites and is a must-visit Dublin landmark. Visitors can tour the State Apartments, the Medieval section and the Chapel Royal, and the castle regularly hosts art and history exhibitions. Admission costs €8 for a self-guided tour.
Dublin GPO (General Post Office)
Dublin’s General Post Office has played a huge role in Ireland’s complex political history. The GPO has been the headquarters for the Irish postal service since its construction in 1814. However, its status as one of the famous landmarks in Ireland doesn’t simply come from its 200-year-long service.
During the 1916 Easter rising (the insurrection against British rule in Ireland), the GPO was the main stronghold of the rebels. To this day, the exterior columns of the GPO are scarred with bullet holes, a chilling reminder of the violence that occurred that bloody weekend.
A visit to the GPO is a great way of understanding just how much this country has seen. The site contains a museum, hosting an immersive experience open to tourists. It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday and admission costs €15.
A trip to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without sampling a silky smooth pint of Guinness. What better place to do this than at the Guinness Storehouse? This famous Dublin landmark is the most famous landmark in Ireland, and for good reason.
Inside this quirky-shaped seven-story building (it was designed to look like a giant pint of Guinness!), you’ll learn everything there is to know about the manufacture and history of Ireland’s most iconic beer.
After a tasting session and a lesson on pouring the perfect pint, the experience ends in the top-floor gravity bar. Here visitors can sip on a pint of Guinness (included in the ticket price) while enjoying panoramic views of Dublin. Gazing out at this beautiful, sprawling city from above is an experience not to be missed.
General admission costs €22, and it’s recommended to pre-book.
These two uninhabited rocky formations off the coast of County Kerry look like they could be on another planet… which might have been why they featured in two Star Wars films. This UNESCO site is frequently voted one of the most beautiful places in the world, so it’s not to be missed on your Ireland adventure.
There are so many puffins on the islands that when Star Wars was being filmed, the creators had to come up with a new creature, Porgs, as they couldn’t edit the puffins out!
A return journey to the islands costs €125. As the islands are one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland, pre-booking is vital.
Something different to visit in Dublin is Kilmainham Gaol. The Gaol opened in 1796 and was active for over 100 years. This notorious prison held many of Ireland’s most prominent political prisoners, making it a symbol of Ireland’s fierce fight against British rule.
Touring the Gaol is a way of delving into Ireland’s history, and hearing stories of those who fought for the Ireland that exists today. Guides share tales of the Gaol’s gruesome past, and although it’s no longer a prison, there’s a palpable eerie energy throughout the building.
Admission includes an insightful guided tour, and costs €8.
Rock of Cashel
County Tipperary is home to arguably Ireland’s most impressive cluster of medieval buildings, the Rock of Cashel.
Few of Ireland’s ancient sites come without an accompanying legend, and the Rock of Cashel is no exception. It’s believed that the rock of Cashel came to exist when the devil took a bite out of a mountain and spat it out in the middle of the Tipperary countryside. The limestone rock looks so out of place amongst the rolling green hills; it’s an easy myth to believe!
As you wander within the walled perimeter, admiring the vast collection of Celtic artwork, it’s easy to get a sense of the grandeur these buildings would have held.
Ireland is a country well worth exploring. With its rich history, magical mythology and captivating landscapes – there is truly something for everyone to enjoy amongst the famous landmarks in Ireland. Just be warned… it’ll be hard not to fall in love with this captivating place.
More IRELAND posts
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, you’re in luck! I studied abroad there and have tons of Ireland posts. Explore them below!
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