ViaHero · September 5, 2019
Since Ireland is home to hundreds of amazing things to do, it’s necessary to narrow down where you want to go and what you want to see. Below, we’ve created a 10-question quiz that will tell you exactly which Ireland points of interest belong at the top of your itinerary. From craggy cliffs and castles to puffins and pubs, you’re about to discover Ireland’s best points of interest—it’s just a matter of choosing wisely and traveling smart.
If a unique, one-of-a-kind trip to Ireland sounds right up your alley, have an Irish local plan your trip. They’ll create an itinerary from scratch that matches your interests and budget to a tee—all while showing you Ireland from a local's perspective. Learn more.
Question 1: How long will your Irish adventure be?
- A few days—While it might seem like Mission Impossible, you can see a surprising amount of Ireland in 3-5 days. If you know what you’re doing and have some, local recs, you can see tons of Ireland’s essential things to do without running around like the Energizer Bunny.
- 1-2 weeks—Now we’re talking. Since Ireland is about the size of Indiana, you can easily drive a loop around the island in this timeframe. It all depends on how you pace your Ireland itinerary—for instance, if you want to see Ireland like a local, it’s best to explore more of Ireland’s hidden gems, which tend to be within reach of popular attractions like the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, or the Blarney Stone in Cork.
- Forever—Okay, we get it; you’re just moving to Ireland. Don’t rub it in.
Question 2: Are you traveling solo or with a group?
- Solo all the way—Ain’t no shame in flying solo. Since Ireland is one of the world’s safest countries, it’s the perfect place to meet new friends on the road. Since you’ll be able to prioritize which places you want to see in Ireland, live it up—do pub crawls in Northern Ireland, go on solo hikes through Shannon’s Mourne Mountains, and join a folk festival in Dublin. Ireland is your oyster.
- With the fam—Europe is very family-friendly, and Ireland is no exception. From world-class museums to whale watching and cliff climbing, Ireland has amazing things to do for every type of traveler—even your great-aunt who’s eternally grumpy or your two-year old who has the attention span of a goldfish.
- With my BFF(s)—Ayyy, it’s a party now. As you and your besties create an itinerary, keep in mind that some of Ireland’s coolest points of interest require advance notice for large groups. So, for peace of mind, make sure to have an Irish travel expert make your reservations.
Question 3: Are you visiting bucket-list locations on a budget?
- Yes, I’m keeping an eye on my wallet—We see you saving that dough. You’ll be happy to know that many of Ireland’s coolest things to do aren’t just cheap, they’re also free. See ancient manuscripts for free at Dublin’s Chester Beatty Museum, take a free visit to Cork’s Titanic Pier, explore Achill Island’s megalithic tombs for free—the keyword here being free.
- Kind of, but my budget is flexible—So basically you don’t want to splurge. We can roll with that. In this case, you’ll save quite a bit of money (and time) by planning your trip with a local expert—not only do they know Ireland’s points of interest like nobody else, but they can easily keep your budget on track.
- No, I’m actually Gatsby—In that case, your luxury trip to Ireland awaits, my liege. Stay the night in castles, throw outlandish parties on private islands, hire a professional bagpipe player to follow you around—hey, to each millionaire their own.
Pro tip: For another good way to save your hard-earned cash, make sure to stay at local inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and AirBnBs instead of big-named hotels. Nothing says experience Ireland like a local like a homemade Ulster fry, stories by the fire, and $70-$150 per night.
Question 4: Would you rather explore ancient ruins or lounge on the beach?
- Ancient ruins, 100%—With thousands of castles, monasteries, forts, Viking encampments, and prehistoric remains, Ireland will satisfy all your cravings for ancient ruins. Local history experts say you can’t miss Kells Priory in Kilkenny, The Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, and Dunluce Castle in Bushmills.
- I’m a beach bum—Forget the tropics; Ireland’s got all the stunning beaches, dolphins, and sapphire waters you could ever want. Don’t miss Inchydoney Beach in Cork, Keem Beach in County Mayo, and Coumeenole Beach in Kerry. Since many of Ireland's best places to visit are an easy drive to and from the country’s coastline, you’ll have plenty of time to plant your buns in the sand with a Guinness in your hand.
- I’m more of a “sit in the hotel room” person—We personally refuse to accept this as a legitimate answer. You made it all the way to Ireland, and you want to just stare at the walls? Even if you’re staying in one of Ireland’s best accommodations, there’s really no good excuse here.
Question 5: Have you dreamed of visiting real-life movie locations?
- I’d sell my soul to visit a movie set—While you’re welcome to do whatever you want with your soul, it’s not necessary to sell it for visiting Ireland’s IRL movie locations. For some of the most fandom-friendly things to do in Ireland, take a ferry around eerie Skellig Islands (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), hike the haunted Dark Hedges forest (Game of Thrones), and spend the night in the Mourne Mountains (The Chronicles of Narnia).
- Dream is a strong word—Okay, fine. Even if real-life movie locations don’t entice you, just check out these dramatic landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Even Ireland travel experts can’t resist the draw of such awe-inspiring beauty.
- I’ll stick with seeing them on the big screen—Bummer for you. While you’re sitting in a dark, crowded movie theater, the rest of us will be living our movie dreams on the Emerald Isle.
Question 6: What kind of lodging are you looking for?
- A quaint cottage B&B—The Irish practically invented quaint cottage B&Bs. Averaging $100 a night, these comfy homes-away-from-home can be found throughout Ireland. Get a local’s input on where to stay and when, especially since these little corners of paradise can be in high demand, depending on the season.
- A mountainside getaway—Again, no need to shell out the big bucks (unless you want to). Mountain resorts in the Mountains of Mourne, Ballyhoura, and Galway are $90-$150 a night.
- An urban townhouse—Want to live that city life? We’re right there with you. Ireland’s best cities are home to super-cozy yet elegant townhouses that start at $120 per night. AirBnB is a reliable, safe way to find urban accommodations, but getting feedback from a city local helps to find the lodging that most suits you.
- No cozy lodging for me, thanks—Well, you could sleep on the rocks of The Burren Geopark or The Cliffs of Moher, but you’d wake up with a nasty backache. You do you.
Pro tip: If none of these options tickle your fancy, don’t worry—Ireland’s castles, monasteries, villages, mansions, and resorts are home to incredible, unique, and very comfy accommodations. Ask a local travel expert which lodgings are best for your tastes, budget, and itinerary.
Question 7: Do you go crazy for cute animals?
- OMG. Bring. Them. On.—You’ve got to take a trip to Ireland ASAP. Depending on what time of year you travel, you’ll see baby puffins learning how to fly around Rathlin Island, lambs trotting around the countryside, and whale families swimming in the Atlantic.
- I’m allergic to cuteness—We’ve heard of unconfirmed “cute allergies” like yours, but this sounds more like a serious case of grumpies. Just a few minutes kayaking next to baby dolphins, and you’ll be good as new.
Question 8: How does world-class whiskey and beer sound?
- I’m here for it—Good, because drinking a pint (or five) is an Ireland-must. Most tourists head to the original Guinness Brewery in Dublin for a pint (and rightly so), but you’re missing out if you don’t try the 400-year old whiskey at The Bushmills Distillery or Smithwick’s Ale at the St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny.
- I’ll stick with water—We can work with that. Even if you’re not drinking a drop of brandy, Ireland’s pub scenes are home to spectacular food and local bands that are second to none.
- Hydration is for the weak—In that case, make sure you have really good travel insurance, because dehydration equals a trip to the hospital. Ask an Irish travel expert to explain to you how international healthcare (and dehydration) work.
Question 9: Are you up for the world’s best road trips?
- Totally, count me in—Ireland’s scenic highways set the standard for all other road trips, forever. Ireland’s most well-known road trip is the Wild Atlantic Way, an 11-stop route that runs from northwestern Erris Head Loop to western Galway. You’ll get to a ton of Ireland’s must-dos, like a ferry tour of the Aran Islands and a hike around the Cliffs of Moher.
- Maybe, but car travel isn’t my thing—Fair enough, although we don’t know how you’d take a road trip without a vehicle. Buses could technically count, but since they take a few hours to get from place to place, you’re better off flying from major hubs like Dublin. Or you could walk, just like the ancient pilgrims used to—actually, there are some great walking routes in Ireland, like along Dingle Way.
- No, I can only have fun once a year—What an existence. We would say, “Have fun with that,” but you can’t.
Pro tip: Americans driving in Ireland don’t need an international driver’s license—just bring your U.S. driver’s license and (of course) your passport. However, you’re required to purchase extra insurance for your vehicle—a local travel expert can explain why.
Question 10: Do you want to get off the tourist path?
- Yes, I want to see Ireland as authentically as possible—For a genuine Irish adventure, it’s best to go off the beaten path. The key to having the most authentic experience possible is getting a local’s perspective. With an Irish local’s feedback, you won’t just explore Dunluce Castle—you’ll get to the secret caves beneath the castle grounds. Rather than dodging tourists at The Cliffs of Moher, you’ll hike to the nearby but little-known Burren Cliffs. See what we’re getting at?
- No, I’d rather go on the same trip as everyone and their grandmas—That sounds like a personal problem. It’s time to chat with an Ireland travel expert before you end up on a tour bus carrying 50 cranky seniors who smell like mothballs. Your call.
Congrats! You’ve started to narrow down your long list of Ireland’s points of interest for your itinerary. Now, make your travels (and life in general) a lot easier with an Irish local planning your trip. To design a customized Ireland itinerary, a local travel expert pinpoints exactly which things to do and places to go to best suit your timing, budget, and travel style—all with an invaluable, unique, local perspective of their homeland. Learn more.
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