Encompassing some world class attractions and great days out in Ireland, this island has established itself as a top tourist destination, attracting discerning visitors from all round the world.
The capital cities of Dublin and, more recently, Belfast, led the way as prime European city-hopper weekend destinations; but today Ireland, in its entirety, is firmly ensconced on the 21st century map of world tourism.
For information on Dublin specific attractions, see What to do in Dublin
Easy Access to Ireland’s World Class Attractions
By air or sea, travel to the Emerald Isle couldn’t be easier. With plenty of cheap flight and ferry deals up for grabs, Ireland’s many wonderful attractions are less than an hour away by air and just over three hours by ferry.
In terms of activities and attractions, Ireland has something to suit visitors of all ages, tastes and interests: stunning scenery, ancient monuments and castles, rich cultural heritage, arts, music, rural pursuits, sports, as well as a vibrant, urban culture.
Ideas for Days Out in Ireland
A weekend or long weekend away just isn’t long enough to uncover the true beauty of the country and the numerous attractions and great days out in Ireland; to get to the heart of the matter you need time on your side. Possibilities include:
The Midlands: leisurely pace; historic towns, e.g. Shannonbridge, Co. Offaly, monastic ruins of Clonmacnoise; stately homes, e.g. Strokestown House, Birr Castle Gardens, Belvedere House Gardens; world class fishing; boat trips on the River Shannon, sailing on Lough Derg.
The Southeast: coastal expanses, sandy beaches; Wexford Town (Viking heritage); Kilkenny, an imposing mediaeval city; Kilkenny Castle; seaside town of Tranmore in Waterford; traditional fishing villages, e.g. Fethard-on-Sea; Waterford City (of Waterford crystal fame), Reginald’s Tower; Rock of Cashel, Tipperary, famous archaeological site dating back to the 4th century.
The Southwest: stunning scenery, traditional, friendly, quintessential rural Ireland, thatched, whitewashed cottages, stone walls; peaceful; Cork, Kinsale (dubbed ‘Ireland’s culinary capital’), Killarney, Bantry Bay, all popular tourist destinations; beautiful Iveragh Peninsula (called ‘The Ring of Kerry’), the Dingle Peninsula; Limerick’s surrounding countryside; Adare Manor, Glin Castle.
The West: under-populated; hauntingly beautiful barren landscapes; explore the Counties of Clare, Galway and Mayo; the Burren’s ‘moonscape’ terrain; magnificent Cliffs of Moher and Twelve Bens; university city of Galway (regular arts festivals); Aran Islands; Mountains of Connemara; towns of Clifden and Leenane (traditional, Irish hospitality); Westport (fishing town) and nearby beaches; Lady Gregory’s Coole Park in the picture-postcard village of Kinvara; Kylemore Abbey (magnificent Gothic Revival house); Ashford Castle (one of Ireland’s grandest hotels), see Hotels and Accommodation in Ireland.
The Northwest: allegedly, Ireland’s best kept secret; visitors receive an especially warm welcome; rural landscapes, stunning natural backdrops; Sligo countryside (Yeats’s country); Sligo Town (lively, traditional charm, culture, good food).
Belfast: one of Europe’s trendiest city break destinations, world class restaurants, boutique hotels, trendy, bars, pubs, clubs and up-market shops;
Giant’s Causeway: this World Heritage site stretches for approximately 50 miles (80 km) along the Atlantic shores of Northern Ireland; follow the awe-inspiring jagged headland of polygonal columns; attractions en route include: Dunluce Castle, picturesque fishing villages, natural splendour of the Glens area, Bushmills (oldest licensed distillery in the world).
Overall there are some excellent attractions and great days out in Ireland for all the family and more than enough to keep anyone entertained for the duration of their break.