ViaHero · September 6, 2019
Between the Cliffs of Moher, Trinity College Library, and castles for days, Ireland’s tourist attractions are among the world’s best. But therein lies the problem. How do you narrow things down and see the best of the best—without getting stuck on the tourist track? To help out (we gotchu, boo) check out these 7 easy steps to seeing Ireland’s best tourist attractions like a pro.
Whether you want to explore Irish tourist attractions or hidden gems, connect with a local to plan your trip. They’ll design an itinerary based on your interests and travel style—so you’ll see Ireland like a local, not a tourist. Learn more.
Step #1: Make a bucket list
What’s on your Ireland bucket list? The Cliffs of Moher? Trinity College Library? The Titanic Museum in Belfast? (These are all great choices.) Whatever it is, sit down and decide which places to visit in Ireland are musts—and from there, you can start crafting the perfect Ireland itinerary. (It’s also helpful to jot down a few you don’t want to see.) With a few clear priorities in mind, the rest of it can get a lot easier.
Step #2: Decide when you want to travel
Ireland is wonderful all year round, but it’s no stranger to gray skies, misty days, and rain. If you’re hoping to explore tourist attractions like Killarney National Park or if you’re dying for that Instagram-perfect picture of the Cliffs of Moher, you may want to plan a trip for the summer. Just keep in mind that everyone loves Ireland in the summer. So hotels will be pricier, and you may face more crowds at popular spots.
Fortunately, many of Ireland's best things to do are indoors (hey, the Irish have been living with the rain for a long time). You can visit every castle and pub in the country without worrying about the weather. And some of the best things to do in Dublin stay forever cozy and dry—think the Trinity College Library, Dublin Castle, and the Guinness Storehouse.
Step #3: Pick a couple of cities to explore in-depth…
You can’t go wrong when it comes to visiting Ireland’s best cities. From Dublin to Galway, they’re incredible hubs of good food, culture, and (of course) pubs. Plus, many of Ireland’s top tourist attractions are either clustered in cities or are nearby—for example, one of the best things to do in Cork is just a short hop from the town itself: the world-famous Blarney Stone.
But if you’re averse to renting a car, it’s totally possible to spend a trip enjoying the tourist attractions within city limits. Just connect with an Irish local like our friend Ian, who can plan a city-themed trip based on your travel style (he’s been living in Ireland his whole life, so he knows what he’s talking about).
Step #4: ...or rent a car to see them all!
Of course, it’s really fun to visit Ireland’s small towns too—they’re so wonderful—and the best way to do that is with a car. Irish towns like Kinsale and Dingle are tourist attractions themselves and offer visitors a unique look at Irish life. Plus, having a car makes it easier to get off the beaten Irish path and discover some of the country’s hidden gems.
If you have a car, you can think about focusing your trip around a region rather than a city. There are so many great things to do in the west of Ireland, and Northern Ireland bursts with exciting sites. To see the unique side of these regions, connect with an Irish local to plan your trip!
#5: Plan to explore more than Dublin
That’s right, folks—there’s way more to Ireland than Dublin. Yes, the capital is one of the best places to visit in Ireland, but you’re missing out if it’s all you see. And Ireland makes it easy! Even if you want to start in Dublin, it’s easy to explore all the cool things to do in Kilkenny, for example—it’s just about 90 minutes away. And Kilkenny is home to one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions—the impressive Kilkenny Castle.
#6: Consider crossing the border
Don’t let a border crossing deter you! Although most travelers focus on the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland is really fantastic—Belfast has some amazing stuff to do. So does Derry.
While you’re in the north, it’s also easy to visit cities like Donegal or Carlingford; back in the Republic of Ireland, Donegal is about an hour south of Derry and Carlingford is an hour south of Belfast.
TL;DR: some of Ireland’s coolest places to visit are up north, and you shouldn’t let a border crossing deter you. Just remember to bring your passport!
#7: Connect with an Irish local to plan your trip
Whether you want to see Ireland’s tourist attractions or are hoping to discover hidden gems, connect with an Irish local to help plan your trip. They’ll help design an immersive itinerary that includes all the top Irish sights, designed around on what you want to see, and how you want to travel! With their help, you’ll discover the best way to see Ireland’s tourist attractions.
If you want to see the real Ireland, ask a local to show it to you! They’ll help you navigate Ireland’s tourist attractions as well as the country’s hidden gems—by designing a custom itinerary that combines *your* interests and *their* insight. Basically, it’s like having a best friend in Ireland. That beats lugging around a guidebook every time. Learn more.
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