Ireland offers a fantastic variety of family activities and inspiring attractions for everyone. Steeped in history and culture, Ireland has one of the world's greatest selection of ancient castles. It is home to stunning cathedrals and churches and visitors can enjoy it's variety of museums, distilleries and theme parks. Ireland has everything for truly memorable days out.
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Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter there is lots to do in this beautiful country of ours. If you are a local or just passing through, below you will find a comprehensive list of the best things to do in Ireland. From the Titanic Quarter in the North to the Ring of Kerry in the South, you will never want to leave after seeing what Ireland has to offer. Read on for our top destination picks on the Emerald Isle.
The Wild Atlantic Way often features as one of the most highly recommended destinations in Ireland, and it's easy to see why. Stretching along the entire West Coast of Ireland from Cork in the South to Donegal in the North, The Wild Atlantic Way is a must see. Along the way you will see some of Ireland's finest scenery.
Located in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains is the stunning Glendalough National Park. Only 40 minutes drive from Dublin, a visit here is definitely one of the best things to do in Ireland. Glendalough is an ancient monastic settlement on the shores of Lough Tay. It's free and it's magical, especially if you get there early enough to take in a sunrise over the lake.
Blackrock Observatory is located just outside Cork city. Open 7 days a week, this interactive experience is suited to seasoned stargazers and newbies alike. Come along and star gaze alongside the experts or just take in some fascinating facts about our universe.
It's possibly only an Irish thing, but no trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to Father Ted's house in County Clare. Located in the stunningly beautiful valley of Slieve na Glasha in Mullagh Mor National Park, the house is open year round to fans of the show. Go on, go on, go on...
Dursey Sound lies at the South West tip of the Beara Peninsula. This rugged and remote part of Ireland is unique in that it is home to Ireland’s only cable car. The cable car takes you from the mainland to the island, where if you're lucky you will spot dolphins in the waters below.
As Christy Moore sang, Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is a one of a kind. Taking the entire month of September, this festival is uniquely Irish. Things to do in Ireland don't get better than this. If you don't meet your future husband or wife, you'll be sure to return with a good story or two.
This is one of the favourite things to do in Ireland. Home to Ireland's only wildlife park, Fota Wildlife Park is where you will find elephant roaming freely alongside ostriches, kangaroos and giraffes. The animals are as exotic as the park itself, with flora and fauna all replicated from the African plains.
In case you didn't know, Ireland is a wet and windy Island off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Our weather is terrible. But on the plus side, we get some of the biggest and best surf in the world. Located just a few miles off the coast of Bundoran, Co. Donegal is Mullaghmore. This is known to be one of the biggest waves in the world. For surfers, it's definitely one to add to the bucket list.
A trip to the rocky outcrop North of Dublin Bay. It's home to puffins, seals and dolphins. And it's a great place to visit for an afternoon. Accessible by bus or DART, Howth is a 30-minute journey from Dublin's city centre. Starting from the top of Howth Hill, walk the rugged coastal path down to the village. Along the way, you will take in the spectacular views over Dun Laoghaire. After all that hard work, why not treat yourself to some fish and chips on the harbour wall and watch the world go by. A little piece of heaven.
The Healy Pass is a winding road connecting Cork with Kerry. It's a stunningly beautiful part of Ireland and is most popular with cyclists. It will take you on some of the most scenic parts of Ireland. If you like mountains, rivers, valleys and lakes this is definitely one for the list of things to do in Ireland.
Home to a sixth-century monastery housing devout monks, this is one of the best things to do in Ireland. The Skelligs are a rugged, remote, rocky outcrop off the coast of Kerry. Home to seabirds and little else, the monks made it their home for thousands of years. On sunny days, you will bask alongside the puffins and seals on its treacherous cliff face. The producers of Star Wars loved it & we think you should put it on your list of things to do in Ireland too.
Be Blown Away By Slieve League Cliffs Located in Donegal, Slieve League Cliffs are oft considered to be more impressive than the Cliffs of Moher. Certainly they are less developed in terms of tourism, with no fencing or visitor centre. This makes them a lot more appealing. One of the highest cliffs in Europe, the drive up the mountain is worth the trip alone. Put this on your must see list of things to do in Ireland.
Take a road trip like no other. The Ring of Kerry is often voted one of the top ten things do in Ireland. This stunningly beautiful part of Ireland stretches along the South West Coast of Ireland taking in the Dingle Peninsula. Along the way you will pass through mountainous terrain, rugged cliffs, lush green pastures and sweeping valleys. Bike or drive it. Either way, it should be on your bucket list.
Tayto Park is one of the best amusement parks in Ireland. Located just outside Dublin, it's a top choice for family days out. Home to Europe's biggest wooden roller coaster, the park has lots more things to do, such as a zoo, petting zoo for smaller children, adventure zone, restaurants, rides and lots more. A fun day out for the family.
A food haven that's not to be missed. This truly is a treat for food lovers and tourists alike. Fresh, locally made produce all under one roof, the market is a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Fresh fish, meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables are all on display. There is a coffee shop and number of restaurants on site. Perfect for a day out in Cork city.
You can walk from Bray to Greystones in a little under two hours. Or vice versa. It's a great day out for those looking for outdoor activities in the fresh air. This coastal path will bring you alongside rugged cliff tops and stunning views of the Wicklow and the seascape below. It's one of the best things to do in Wicklow, and is easily accessible from Dublin via Dart and Wexford by train.
Mayo in the West of Ireland is a stunning place to visit. The Mayo Greenway is a cycle path stretching over 40 km which connects Westport to Achill Island. The route takes you through breathtaking views of the rugged West Coast of Ireland and it's many remote islands. Along the way you will pass through some of the most picturesque country villages and towns.
Shake off those cobwebs and take a bracing walk with the rare white deer and Fallow deer in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Phoenix Park is the biggest park in Europe. Home to Dublin Zoo, The Phoenix Park Visitors Centre, the home of the President of Ireland and Farmleigh House, The Phoenix Park is definitely one of the best places to visit on your trip to Ireland.
Whales are big business if you'll pardon the pun. And Ireland is a whale watcher’s paradise. Our island is the perfect location for taking a trip to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat. Some of the best whale watching is off the coast of West Cork. Take a trip during the summer months when you have a better chance of seeing them in clearer weather. Trips generally last for four hours and are guaranteed to be fun, fun, fun.
Ireland is full of beautiful castles. They range from ruined remains to the meticulously restored. Our heritage is tied to our castles, with many battles that shaped our history intertwined with these beautiful, mythical buildings. There are far too many to mention in this list but YourDaysOut.ie recommends a visit to Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Clontarf Castle in Dublin and Waterford Castle in County Waterford.
Climb scree-covered Croagh Patrick in County Mayo and stand atop the holiest mountain in the west of Ireland. For saints and sinners alike, the mountain is a challenge. Try it bare-footed(I dare you). From the top of the mountain you will have stunning views over Clew Bay in County Mayo and out over Clare Island. When you get back to the bottom, reward yourself with a warm stew and well deserved pint of Guinness.