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Ireland Bucket List: 37 Best Things to do in Ireland

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Are you searching for the best things to do in the Emerald Isle to add to your Ireland bucket list? If so, then you’re in luck!

From stunning scenery and fascinating historical sites to fun outdoor activities and delicious local cuisine, Ireland has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventure-filled family vacation, this beautiful country offers a wide range of experiences that will stay with you long after your trip is over.

We were lucky enough to study abroad in Ireland in 2019 and this beautiful country has truly stuck with us ever since. It’s almost like no other place will ever compare!

So grab your passport and prepare to explore this amazing destination—here’s our ultimate Ireland bucket list of must-do activities!

Things to do in Ireland

Enjoy a pint of Guinness at The Guinness Storehouse

Round table with two empty Guinness pint glasses on it and a view of the city behind

Enjoying a pint of Guinness at The Guinness Storehouse is a must-do experience when visiting Ireland. Not only is Guinness Ireland’s most famous beer, but the Guinness Storehouse itself is a popular tourist destination.

The Storehouse is located in Dublin and is considered one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The Guinness Storehouse is a seven-story building designed to resemble a pint of Guinness. It features various exhibits and interactive experiences, including the brewing process, tasting experiences, and even a rooftop bar with stunning views of Dublin.

Moreover, visitors can learn about the rich history of Arthur Guinness, the founder of the legendary brewery, as well as the history and cultural significance of Guinness worldwide. The Storehouse is also where visitors can learn to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.

Enjoying a pint of Guinness at The Guinness Storehouse is an unforgettable experience that perfectly captures the spirit and culture of Ireland. It’s a must-do on any Ireland bucket list and is guaranteed to leave visitors with lifelong memories.

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    Visit Jameson Distillery

    If you are a fan of whiskey and planning a trip to Ireland, then visiting the Jameson Distillery is a must-do activity to add to your itinerary. The Jameson Distillery is a world-renowned whiskey brand that has been in operation for over 200 years, making it an icon of Irish whiskey production.

    Located in Dublin, the Jameson Distillery offers visitors a chance to explore the history of the brand, learn about the whiskey-making process, and taste some of the best whiskey in the world.

    The Jameson Distillery is not just a place to learn about whiskey; it’s also an immersive cultural experience. The distillery is housed in a beautifully restored 18th-century building that embodies Ireland’s rich history and heritage.

    Visiting the Jameson Distillery in Ireland is a must-do experience for whiskey lovers and anyone fascinated by Irish history and culture. The distillery tour offers visitors an authentic insight into the complex process of whiskey making and the opportunity to taste some of the world’s best whiskey.

    Spend the night in a lighthouse

    Pier leading out to a small lighthouse with a couple of boats scattered in the water around

    If you are planning a trip to Ireland, spending a night in a lighthouse should definitely be on your bucket list. The country’s coastline is dotted with stunning lighthouses, many of which have been converted into cozy accommodations.

    Lighthouses offer breathtaking views of the rugged Irish coastline, with towering cliffs and crashing waves. You can spend hours admiring the scenery and taking in the crisp sea air, all from the comfort of your own private space.

    Many lighthouses in Ireland are steeped in history, having guarded sailors and ships for centuries. By staying in a lighthouse, you can experience a sense of the past and the important role that lighthouses have played in maritime history.

    Lighthouses in Ireland offer a unique and off-the-beaten-path accommodation experience. Instead of staying in a standard hotel or bed and breakfast, you can spend the night in a piece of history and immerse yourself in the coastal culture of Ireland.

    Hike the Howth Cliff Walk

    Woman with a backpack on sitting on a rock looking out over the sea

    If you are looking for an adventure that combines breathtaking scenery with a bit of exercise, then hiking the Howth Cliff Walk in Ireland should definitely be on your bucket list. Located just a short train ride from Dublin, this stunning hike offers some of the most spectacular coastal views in the country.

    The Howth Cliff Walk stretches along the coast, starting at the town’s harbor and ending at the summit of Howth Head. The trail winds its way along the cliff edge, providing some of the best views you can find in the entire country.

    Hiking the Howth Cliff Walk is not only a great way to stay active and connect with nature, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to experience the Irish coastline in all its glory. So, grab your hiking boots and make sure to add this incredible trail to your list of must-do activities in Ireland.

    Learn at Kilmainham Gaol

    Industrial style staircase leading up to the top floor of a large building

    If you’re planning to visit Ireland, then learning at Kilmainham Gaol should definitely be on your bucket list. This historic prison, located in Dublin, played a significant role in Ireland’s fight for independence from the British.

    Learning at Kilmainham Gaol is important because it provides insight into Ireland’s struggle for independence and the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom. By understanding the history of this prison, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for Ireland’s cultural heritage and the resilience of its people.

    In addition to its historical significance, Kilmainham Gaol is also a beautiful architectural landmark. The prison’s Gothic-style architecture is impressive, with its high ceilings, arched windows, and intricate details. It’s a great spot for photographers and architecture enthusiasts.

    Spend a day in Kinsale

    One must spend a day in Kinsale, a charming town located on the southern coast of Ireland! This town is known for its scenic harbor, colorful houses, and fresh seafood. Visitors can stroll along the marina, enjoy a pint of Guinness in one of the traditional pubs, or indulge in local cuisine in one of the many restaurants.

    History buffs can visit Charles Fort, a 17th-century star fort that was once used to defend the town. Kinsale is also a great location for outdoor enthusiasts, as there are many opportunities for fishing, sailing, and hiking in the surrounding area.

    With its mix of history, culture, and outdoor experiences, Kinsale is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Ireland.

    Go inside Temple Bar Pub

    studying abroad in dublin

    If you’re looking for one of the best experiences in Ireland, then Temple Bar Pub is a must-see. Located in the heart of Dublin, this pub has been a popular spot since 1840 and is an iconic landmark that should be on everyone’s Ireland bucket list.

    Not only does it have some of the most delicious craft beers and whiskeys around, but it also offers live music often with bands playing all types of music. Plus, its vibrant atmosphere makes it great for people-watching!

    There’s no better way to get a taste of Irish culture than by visiting Temple Bar Pub — so make sure to add it to your itinerary when planning your trip to Ireland!

    Hike up Croagh Patrick

    Hiking up Croagh Patrick in Ireland should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list. Not only is it one of the most iconic and beautiful natural sites in all of Ireland, but also a spiritual pilgrimage site for many who come to pay homage to St. Patrick.

    The hike itself is quite challenging, rising 2,500 feet above sea level with steep and rocky terrain that requires some preparation and stamina; however, the views from the summit are well worth it! With its unique combination of physical challenge and spiritual significance, hiking up Croagh Patrick is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Ireland.

    Visit Ashford Castle (a 5-star hotel!)

    Ashford Castle in Ireland is one of the most iconic and historic castles in the country, making it a must-see destination for any traveler. Not only does Ashford Castle offer stunning views of Lough Corrib Lake, but it also provides guests with a unique insight into Irish history.

    From its 13th-century origins to its impressive restoration over the centuries, Ashford Castle has been home to many prominent figures throughout Irish history, including members of the Guinness family.

    Plus, since it’s a 5-star hotel in Ireland, you can even spend the night there if you want to. It’s the perfect place to stay for a romantic getaway.

    Road trip the Wild Atlantic Way

    A car driving along a road right on the coast as waves crash into the cliffside next to it

    The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland is an incredible road trip experience that should not be missed out on. Spanning the entire west coast of Ireland, this stunning route provides breathtaking views and plenty of memorable experiences along the way.

    From dramatic coastal cliffs to charming villages, there are countless opportunities for adventure and discovery as you wind your way through this beautiful country.

    Whether you want to take a leisurely drive or go off-the-beaten-path, there’s something for everyone on the Wild Atlantic Way – making it one of the most beloved destinations in all of Ireland! If you’re a tourist visiting the country, there are also many tours that will bring you out this way so you don’t have to rent a car if you don’t want to.

    Do the Slea Head Drive

    If you’re planning a visit to Ireland, the Slea Head Drive is an absolute must-do. This scenic route is located on the Dingle Peninsula and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged coastline.

    As you take in the stunning scenery, you’ll also pass by historic landmarks like Dunbeg Fort and Gallarus Oratory. The Slea Head Drive is also a great way to experience traditional Irish culture, as you’ll encounter quaint villages and hear the sounds of traditional music from local pubs.

    So whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for an authentic Irish experience, the Slea Head Drive should be one of your must-do activities in Ireland.

    Explore Killarney

    City street with store lining both sides of it

    Killarney, Ireland, is a must-see destination for anyone exploring the Emerald Isle. Located in County Kerry on the Southwest coast of Ireland, Killarney is known for its stunning landscapes and natural beauty.

    From its vast forests and mountain ranges to its majestic lakes and breathtaking views, Killarney has something for everyone—whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a relaxing getaway. With plenty of activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, golfing, and more available in the area, it’s no wonder why Killarney is truly one of the country’s must-visit spots!

    We visited Killarney on a trip with Paddywagon Tours during our time in Ireland and it was our favorite town we visited in the entire country… and, trust us when we say that we saw a lot of Ireland during our five months living there.

    Marvel at the Book of Kells

    Woman looking at tall bookshelves filled with books with small statues at the end of every row

    Marveling at the Book of Kells in Ireland is an experience that simply cannot be missed. This ancient manuscript, created around 800 AD, is a true masterpiece. The illuminated manuscript is renowned for its intricate illustrations and ornate calligraphy.

    Visitors to Trinity College in Dublin have the opportunity to view the Book of Kells in all its glory and can also explore the college’s stunning architecture and historical grounds.

    The Book of Kells is a tangible link to Ireland’s rich cultural and literary heritage and is an inspiring testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of the Irish people.

    Take a tour of Kilkenny Castle

    Bridge going over a small river with a castle behind it

    Located on the banks of the River Nore, this castle was built in 1192 as a means of controlling the River Nore. The castle’s exterior is breathtakingly beautiful with its tall towers and turrets, while inside there are numerous rooms full of artifacts from centuries past.

    Taking a tour through Kilkenny Castle will give you an insight into Irish history that can’t be found anywhere else! Not only will you learn about life during medieval times, but also take in some stunning views along the way.

    Spend the night in a castle

    Spending a night in a castle in Ireland is an unforgettable experience that allows one to immerse oneself in the history and culture of this magical country. Many of these castles have been beautifully restored, offering visitors the chance to enjoy the grandeur and ambiance of a bygone era.

    Some of the most notable castles include Ashford Castle (mentioned above) in County Mayo and Dromoland Castle in County Clare, both of which are set amidst stunning landscapes and boast world-class amenities.

    Guests can enjoy a luxurious stay with fine dining, spa treatments, and access to outdoor activities such as golf and horse riding. Staying in a castle also provides a unique opportunity to explore Ireland’s rich history and folklore, with many of these properties offering tours and educational experiences.

    A night in a castle is a perfect way to fully experience the magic and enchantment that is Ireland.

    Attend St Patrick’s Day Festivities

    Attending St Patrick’s Day festivities in Ireland is an experience you won’t soon forget. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world flock to this spectacular event to celebrate the Irish culture and their patron saint.

    From parades and festivals to outdoor concerts and everything in between, there is something for everyone at this truly unique celebration. Plus, with its stunning scenery and friendly locals, a trip to Ireland during the holiday season will surely be one of your most cherished memories!

    Walk along Inch Beach

    Group of people walking along the edge of the water at a beach on a sunny day

    With its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean along the Ring of Kerry, this beach is one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland. The beach stretches over three miles (so, much more than an inch, HA) and offers soft sand and crystal-clear water perfect for swimming and surfing.

    One can also watch numerous seabirds and marine life along the waters here, depending on the time of year. Walking here is a scenic treat to the eyes and a therapeutic exercise for the body and mind. Whether one is a nature lover or simply seeking peace, Inch Beach is undoubtedly a destination worth exploring.

    See the Cliffs of Moher

    Large rocky cliffs covered in grass with bright blue water below

    If you’re looking for a truly awe-inspiring experience while in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher should be at the top of your bucket list. Located on the western coast of County Clare, these dramatic cliffs are among the most iconic sights in all of Ireland and offer spectacular views.

    Standing more than 700 feet above sea level, the Cliffs of Moher provide an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your trip is over. From hiking along their length to simply taking it all in from one spot, this natural wonder is a must-do when visiting Ireland.

    Go on a bike tour

    For those looking to experience the best of what Ireland has to offer, a bike tour is an ideal way to do it. Not only will you get up close and personal with the breathtaking landscapes, but you’ll also be able to explore some of the most remote parts of Ireland that cannot be reached by car or bus.

    You’ll have the opportunity to visit charming villages, sample local delicacies, and meet people who are passionate about their homeland – all while getting some exercise in! A bike tour through Ireland is sure to provide amazing memories that last a lifetime.

    Spend a day in Cork

    Electrical box with a boy wearing a crown painted on it and the words "Cork born kings landing bred"

    Cork is a vibrant and picturesque city located in southern Ireland. Spending a day in Cork is a must-do experience for anyone visiting the Emerald Isle. Known for its historic architecture, bustling streets, and friendly locals, Cork offers something for everyone.

    Take a stroll along the scenic River Lee, visit the famous English Market and sample some traditional Irish cuisine, or explore the stunning campus of University College Cork.

    For history buffs, a visit to the Cork City Gaol is a must, showcasing the city’s rich past through interactive exhibits and tours. And if you’re a fan of art, don’t miss the Crawford Art Gallery, featuring works from both Irish and international artists.

    Enjoy an Irish Breakfast

    If you’re looking for a truly authentic Irish experience, then you have to try an Irish breakfast. An Irish breakfast is one of the best things to do in Ireland, and it’s something that everyone should try at least once.

    Not only will it give you a taste of traditional Irish cuisine, but it will also allow you to enjoy some local flavors that can’t be found anywhere else. Irish breakfast traditionally includes eggs, hash browns, sausage, tomatoes that have been roasted, and beans. However, some might also include a hearty slice of Irish soda bread (yum!).

    Kiss the Blarney Stone

    Large, square stone castle with various trees growing in front of it

    Located at the Blarney Castle in County Cork, this iconic stone has been kissed by millions of people over hundreds of years – all in search of the legendary gift of eloquence that it promises to bestow upon those who kiss it.

    With its lush gardens, tranquil lake, and stunning castle ruins, Blarney Castle is also one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ireland. Plus, there’s even more than just kissing the stone – you can explore its secret passages and learn about Irish history as you wander around its grounds.

    Whether you’re looking for inspiration or simply want a unique way to experience Irish culture, kissing the Blarney Stone should definitely be on your list!

    Attend a trad session

    A trad session is a gathering of traditional Irish musicians playing folk music with instruments such as fiddles, flutes, and drums. It is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of Ireland while enjoying some amazing tunes.

    Not only will you hear some beautiful music but you’ll also get to meet local people who can tell you more about their country and its traditions. So if you want to make sure that your trip to Ireland is one that you won’t forget anytime soon, attending a trad session should definitely be on your list!

    Walk from Bray to Graystones

    Woman standing on a bridge looking over towards a small town right on the water

    One of the most scenic hikes in Ireland is the walk from Bray to Graystones. It’s full of breathtaking views of the Irish Sea and Wicklow Mountains. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, making it accessible for hikers of all levels.

    This walk is not only a great form of exercise, but also a fantastic way to connect with nature and take in the stunning views that Ireland has to offer. It’s highly recommended for anyone visiting Ireland to add this hike to their bucket list, and it’s actually a really easy day trip from Dublin.

    Road trip the Ring of Kerry

    Overhead view of large rocky cliffs with green grass on top and bright blue water below

    This 111-mile journey along the Iveragh Peninsula won’t disappoint!

    With breathtaking views of rugged coastlines, rolling hills, lush green countryside, picturesque villages, and ancient castles – not to mention plenty of outdoor activities available – it’s no wonder why this route is at the top of everyone’s Ireland bucket list.

    Pack your bags, grab your camera and hit the open road – because exploring The Ring Of Kerry is an unforgettable adventure that you’ll never forget!

    Go pub-hopping

    Pub hopping gives you a chance to sample some of the best Irish beers, ales, whiskeys, gins, and ciders while taking in all that Ireland has to offer. It’s also an excellent opportunity to meet new people and learn about local culture by talking with bar staff and other patrons.

    Whether it’s music at a lively pub or simply enjoying your drink in peaceful solitude – there’s something for everyone when pub hopping around Ireland!

    Visit Newgrange

    Large grassy field with a massive, round stone building in the middle

    Newgrange is one of the most iconic and important archaeological sites in Ireland. Located in County Meath, this ancient Neolithic passage tomb is believed to be even older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids of Giza.

    It’s a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore Ireland’s ancient past and should definitely be at the top of your Irish bucket list! The site consists of large stones arranged in a circular shape that was used as an astronomical observatory by its builders over five thousand years ago.

    Inside the structure lies a long passageway leading to three chambers where visitors can view some incredible megalithic artworks, including spirals, lozenges and zigzag lines carved into the stones. Visiting Newgrange will give you an up-close look at some remarkable history.

    Relax on Silver Strand Beach

    Silver Strand in Ireland is the perfect destination. Located on the west coast of the country, this stunning beach offers visitors an incredible array of activities to enjoy. From sunbathing and swimming in its crystal-clear waters to taking part in water sports, there’s something here for everyone.

    And with its picturesque surroundings, it’s no wonder that Silver Strand has become one of Ireland’s most popular destinations. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Silver Strand is the ideal place to spend your days soaking up the beauty of nature and having fun at the same time.

    Spend a day in Cobh

    Brightly colored houses on a hill with a large cathedral in the background

    Cobh, a charming seaside town located just outside of Cork City, is a must-visit destination in Ireland. Known as the Titanic’s last port of call, this picturesque town boasts a rich maritime history that is evident in its architecture and atmosphere.

    Visitors can take a stroll down the colorful streets and visit the Titanic Experience museum, which tells the story of the ill-fated ship’s tragic journey. The town is also home to the striking St. Colman’s Cathedral, a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture that dates back to the late 19th century.

    Those who prefer outdoor activities can enjoy a scenic harbor cruise, go fishing, or take a walk along the waterfront promenade. A day in Cobh is a unique and unforgettable experience that perfectly encapsulates the beauty and charm of Ireland.

    Go kayaking

    With so much coastline, Ireland offers some of the most beautiful and diverse kayaking experiences. From the sheltered bays and estuaries of Cork, to the rugged sea cliffs of Donegal, there are kayaking opportunities for every level of experience.

    Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, kayaking in Ireland is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed.

    Day trip to Skellig Michael

    Massive rock formations in the middle of the sea

    This small, rocky island off the coast of County Kerry is home to an early Christian monastery dating back to the 6th century. Visitors can climb the steep stairs to reach the top of the island and explore the well-preserved ruins of the monastery.

    In addition to the historical significance of the island, the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding islands make the trip well worth it.

    It’s important to note that the climb to the top can be strenuous, and the weather can be unpredictable, so visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and footwear. But for those willing to make the journey, Skellig Michael offers is the experience of a lifetime.

    See the Northern Lights

    The Northern Lights are a spectacular natural phenomenon, and an experience that is sure to be one of the highlights of any trip. For those looking for an unforgettable adventure in Ireland, seeing the aurora borealis should top their bucket list.

    Located on the edge of the Arctic Circle, Ireland offers some chances of witnessing this awe-inspiring event.

    The lights can be seen throughout most months from September to October – although they tend to appear more often during wintertime when it’s dark for longer periods – providing plenty of opportunity to witness this special moment in nature.

    With its unique location and breathtaking views, there’s no better place than Ireland to marvel at these captivating colors dancing across night sky!

    Attend a game at Croke Park

    Image from the stands of a camogie game being played on a green pitch

    Home to the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and some of the country’s most popular sports, such as hurling and Gaelic football, Croke Park is massive, with a seating capacity of 82,300.

    The atmosphere inside the stadium during a match is unparalleled, with passionate fans dressed in vibrant team colors and waving flags, cheering their beloved teams. The stadium also acts as a cultural center, showcasing the Irish identity and heritage through its interactive museum and tours.

    A trip to Croke Park is not only a chance to witness thrilling sports matches but also an opportunity to immerse oneself in Ireland’s rich history and culture.

    Golf with your friends

    Golfing with friends in Ireland is an activity worth putting on your bucket list. Ireland is home to over 400 golf courses, many of which are world-renowned for both their stunning scenery and challenging courses.

    Some notable courses include Ballybunion, Royal County Down, and Lahinch. The country’s temperate climate also means that golf can be enjoyed year-round, although be prepared for a bit of rain!

    Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, golfing with friends in Ireland is an experience not to be missed.

    Go inside St Patrick’s Cathedral

    Large historic cathedral with a walking path across the front of it

    Not only is it a stunning example of Gothic architecture, but St Patrick’s Cathedral‘s history and significance to Irish culture make it an absolute must-see for anyone visiting the Emerald Isle.

    Inside St Patrick’s Cathedral, visitors will find exquisite stained glass windows that tell stories from Ireland’s past, while outside, they can marvel at the beauty of its walls which have stood since the 12th century.

    Learn at The Little Museum of Dublin

    The Little Museum of Dublin offers an intimate and informative look at Dublin’s history. Visitors can explore of artifacts from across the centuries, including rare books, photographs, paintings, and documents that provide insight into what life was like in Dublin through the ages.

    The knowledgeable staff also offers guided tours to help guests even more. With its engaging displays and interactive activities, The Little Museum of Dublin provides a unique learning opportunity for travelers.

    Attend Temple Bar TradFest

    This annual event celebrates traditional Irish music and culture with performances from some of the country’s best artists. The festival takes place across various venues in Dublin’s iconic Temple Bar district, so it’s easy to find everything you need for an unforgettable night out.

    From lively street performances to intimate gigs and late-night sessions at local pubs, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with locals and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this popular area.

    So if you want authentic Irish entertainment that will have your feet tapping all night long, make sure to add this one-of-a-kind festival to your list.

    Ireland is a beautiful country with countless things to do and see. From the Cliffs of Moher to exploring Dublin’s vibrant culture, there are endless opportunities for adventure in this stunning nation.

    Whether you’re looking for an epic road trip or just want some amazing Irish experiences, our Ireland bucket list should give you plenty of ideas on what to do while visiting this wonderful destination. So start planning your next getaway today – it may be one of the best trips of your life!

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