More than 9 million people choose to vacation in Ireland each year. And of that 9 million, 68% of visitors are experiencing Ireland for the first time.
If that number seems high to you, you must not know all that Ireland has to offer.
Ireland is a lot more than just beer and potatoes! From historical castles to adventurous hikes, Ireland has it all.
Planning a trip to the Emerald Isle? Keep reading to discover five of the best places to visit in Ireland and make the most of your trip.
Topping our list of best places to visit in Ireland is Galway. This slow-paced town is great if you want to explore on your own and on foot.
Galway is home to Gothicism of St Nicholas’ Church and Lynch’s Castle — both of which are historical sites full of rich history.
If you’re looking to add only a small bit of history into your trip, stop by Medieval City Walls. These castle walls have a mall inside them, allowing you to absorb some of the area’s history while stocking up on souvenirs.
Those with more of an artsy inclination should add the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden to their itinerary. And, if possible, plan your trip in July to enjoy the city’s annual art festival.
And no trip would be complete without a visit to the Aran Islands. Take a step back in history and enjoy traditional Irish music and handmade souvenirs. A trip to the islands also gives you a chance to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean.
Another one of the great places to see in Ireland is Dublin.
Museum lovers will never get bored in Dublin with different options for every interest. Visit the Dublin Writers Museum or the Irish Whiskey Museum. If you’re into all that is spooky, try the Kilmainham Gaol a 19th-century jail or a Gravedigger Ghost Tour.
If you aren’t into museums, there is plenty of natural beauty to explore as well. Learn more about taking a guided tour of all the highlights to make your traveling easier. With a tour, you can explore the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin Cave, and The Burren all in one day.
While you’re exploring, you may even recognize a few locations from the hit series Game of Thrones. If you’re a fan, enjoy a scene location tour to get the full experience.
Dublin is even home to a cruise port, giving you the option to book a cruise and further extend your dream vacation.
Wondering where to go in Ireland? Consider exploring Wexford.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love The Irish National Heritage Park. This outdoor museum explores 9,000 years of Irish history throughout its 14 hectares full of woodlands and forests. Take a journey back in time via the walking trail as you come across historically accurate dwellings and actors in time-period clothing.
Also, make time to visit Curracloe Beach. This attraction stretches 11 kilometers long, filled with sandy beaches and dunes. Enjoy the walking trails and explore the wildlife or take it easy and lay on the beach.
Still in the mood for more outdoor fun? Visit Blackwater Open Farm. This attraction provides up-close encounters with farm animals, such as donkeys, llamas, and horses.
When people ask where to visit in Ireland, Waterford always makes the list.
Viking fans won’t want to miss a visit to Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum. Viking settlers first came to Waterford in 900 AD and you can view ancient artifacts and learn about their history here. Also nearby is the Waterford Viking Triangle, Ireland’s oldest city.
The Curraghmore House is also a must-visit attraction in Waterford. This private residence dates back to the 12th century and features 2,500 acres of gardens and forests. Most notably, the residence is home to the oldest bridge in Ireland — King John’s Bridge, which was built in 1205.
Stop by Waterford Crystal for a hands-on, guided tour of the cut glass industry. Visitors of all ages will enjoy watching the glass-blowing process.
Sligo completes our list of top places to visit in Ireland.
Sligo is often considered a romantic getaway location for couples around the world. Enjoy walks along the pebbled beaches or townhouse-lined streets with your loved one in tow. The natural beauty is a perfect backdrop for any trip.
Add some excitement to your trip with a visit to Sligo Abbey. These ruins date back to 1200 AD. The self-guided tour allows you to explore at your own pace while taking in the extensive history of the ruins.
And no trip to Sligo would be complete without a stop at Inishmurray Island. This island was inhabited until the 1900s, but remnants of island life still remain. Spend the day walking around the old villages or explore the natural beauty of the beaches.
Beyond the Best Places to Visit in Ireland
Now that you know all about the best places to visit in Ireland, it’s time to plan your trip!
All of the above-mentioned locations are great places for both new and frequent visitors. If you’re having trouble deciding between a few, why not extend your trip and visit multiple locations?
Did you know that Ireland is approximately the same size as Indiana? This makes it easy to enjoy everything the country has to offer. Make sure you plan at least a full day in each town so you’re able to properly enjoy what it has to offer.
Looking for more great travel content to plan your next trip to Ireland? Check out the travel section of our site.