Where are the best places to visit in Ireland? Well a lot of Ireland is surprisingly untouched, even though it neighbours the UK, it has its own history and unique landscapes. From its green fields to its mystical castles and then on to the sprawling coast lines and cliffs, Ireland is a country of beauty and wonder, which literally takes your breath away. I’m unable to talk about Ireland without the warm, funny and hospitable people springing to mind, they’re truly special and magical people, who make a visit even more unforgettable.
Of course the hoard’s are drawn to Dublin, which is undeniably beautiful, but at the end of the day it’s a city and when you’re embarking on a road trip around Ireland you want to see some green and get on some open highways or some winding roads. Having said that, it’s a suitable starting point. On the outskirts of Dublin you’ll find Malahide Castle, which dates back to the 12th century and is situated on over 260 acres of wonderful parkland estate. From there I’d recommend heading south. Around a 3 hour drive from Dublin you’ll find Blarney, Blarney Castle and The Blarney Stone. According to local legend, kissing the Blarney Stone will give the Gift of the gab(the ability to speak with great flattery) to the kisser. The stone can be found built into Blarney Castle, which is also fabulous by the way.
Also nestled in the County of Cork and the southernmost parish of Ireland is Baltimore, it’s not so popular with tourists, but it’s a gem of a place. Acting as the ferry port to close-by islands, it’s a quaint old fishing village with bags of character. You can easily hop on a ferry from the port and reach one of the amazing islands. Sherkin Island is just 10 minutes away from Baltimore by ferry and once on the Island you’ll be blown away by its beauty. On the Island you’ll come across an automated lighthouse, maintained and operated by locals, a 15th century Franciscan abbey and the renowned O’Driscoll’s clan castle. Whilst strolling along one of the 3 sandy and secluded beaches, you may be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a school of dolphins, some otters, seals or even a few porpoises which gave the Island its name.
Making your way up the West coast you can take in the Cliffs of Moher. They’re mind blowing and go on for around 9 miles, the steepest of which is 214 metres above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head, which makes them some of the highest in Europe. You can walk along the cliffs at your own pace for free, however, spaced out on the cliff top paths there are a few paid for attractions. But they’re definitely worth the money. The Cliffs attract over 1.5 million visitors per year and it’s not hard to see why.
Cliffs of Moher
From the Cliffs of Moher it’s possible to see Galway, which would be the next destination to visit. Located an hour and a half North from the Cliffs, the drive takes you along more rugged Atlantic Ocean cliffs, which is far better than a 2 hour highway trip, staring at a constant stream of trucks. Once in Galway you can consume the atmosphere of this neat little city. It’s a real mixture of old and new, that results in a quite charming and cozy place. The food? 10/10, the beer? 10/10, the people? 10/10. It’s got such a great feel about it, kind of eccentric, but kind of cool at the same time.
Let’s keep going North right up to County Donegal, where you can see the wild. Mountains, moors, cliffs, beaches, forests and bogland, County Donegal has it all ticked when it comes to nature. Add to this some rich cultural heritage and some water sports, and you have something for everyone to enjoy. From the Northwest of Donegal, you can loop back round to your starting point of Dublin, why? Because you missed the Guinness factory tour of course! And now you can happily return home.