Irish heritage is celebrated around the world thanks to mass emigration from Ireland. Cultural celebrations such as St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween were adapted in numerous cultures because of it. If you share Irish heritage, one of the best ways to learn more about your heritage is to visit Ireland and immerse yourself in Irish culture.
These are some of the best things to do in Ireland. And while you’re there, explore traditional Irish foods.
Note: The island of Ireland has two parts, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This list includes locations from both.
Irish Castles and Ruins You Can’t Miss
With hundreds of castles and ruins spotting the countryside in Ireland, you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to explore Irish architecture. With so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow the list, but these are some of the best of the best!
1. Blarney Castle
Blarney is one of the most famous and most visited castles in Ireland for good reason. Part of its fame comes from the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that if you kiss the stone, you will be blessed with eloquence.
2. Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel, also known as St. Patrick’s Rock or Cashel of the Kings, is a huge complex that was once the seat of the high kings. It is noteworthy for its impressive collection of Celtic art and medieval architecture.
3. St Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located in Dublin, has been around since 1191 and is regarded as the national cathedral of Ireland. You can enjoy the impressive architecture and daily sung services.
4. Bunratty Castle
This castle serves as a “living working museum,” allowing you to step into the past and experience medieval Irish life as you explore the castle. While you’re there, enjoy the banquet, village street, and fairy village.
Significant Heritage Sites of Ireland
These historic sites provide a glimpse into Irish heritage. They provide a glimpse of ancient civilizations, royal histories, and more.
5. Brú na Bóinne*
Brú na Bóinne, or palace of the Boyne, is famous for three Neolithic passage tombs that were built 5,000 years ago—Knowth, Newgrange, and Dowth. The area also has 90 prehistoric monuments and one of the largest collections of megalithic art.
6. Navan Fort
Navan Fort is an ancient ceremonial site that serves as a remnant of Gaelic royalty. It also gives you the opportunity to interact with past generations through a living history museum.
7. Croagh Patrick
Not only does Croagh Patrick provide beautiful mountain scenery, but it has been an important religious site for over 5,000 years. You can hike the path your ancestors may have hiked to celebrate the harvest, or join 25,000 pilgrims on the last Sunday of July to attend the mountaintop mass.
8. National Museum of Ireland
If you are looking to learn about Irish culture and history, there’s no better place to go than the National Museum of Ireland. The museum emphasizes the history of everything Irish.
Landscapes or Nature
Ireland is filled with dramatic landscapes characterized by rocky cliffs, rugged mountains, and picturesque greens. Here are some of the most memorable places to see while you’re there.
9. Giant’s Causeway*
Don’t miss the incredible site of 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns that form stepping stones leading into the sea.
10. Bridges of Ross
Walk across the grass-covered natural bridge over the crashing ocean waves, or enjoy the view from afar.
11. Kerry Cliffs
You may have heard about the Cliffs of Moher; the Kerry Cliffs are equally impressive cliffs but with fewer crowds. As an alternative, you could walk the cliff-face path at the Gobbins to experience Ireland’s impressive cliffs in a whole new way.
If you are traveling with the whole family, these stops will be fun for everyone involved!
12. Leprechaun and Fairy Cavern
Experience Irish mythology in this fun family event, where a leprechaun whisperer tells the stories of Ireland’s leprechauns and shows you around enchanted caverns and tunnels.
Cobh is a seaside town with colorful historical buildings to explore. It’s a prime location to explore family history because over 2.5 million people left Ireland from Cobh. It also happens to be the last stop the Titanic made before it met its fate.
14. English Market
Peruse locally produced foods at the English Market in Cork. The market has been running for over 230 years!
What are you looking forward to on your trip to Ireland? Visiting the home of your ancestors can be a life-changing experience, so make the most of your trip, and explore your cultural heritage. Record your experiences to keep the memory alive.
*UNESCO World Heritage Site