The 27 Best Things to Do in Ireland
Our tours cover the length and breadth of Ireland, exploring rugged coastlines, magnificent countryside, and lively cities where the best food and drink awaits (and where the atmosphere is always electric). With so much to do, it’s hard to know where to start and end with your travel itinerary. Need a little inspiration to create your perfect holiday to Ireland? Here are 27 of the best things to do across the country.
See the Cliffs of Moher
We simply cannot talk about the best things to do on an Irish tour without mentioning the legendary Cliffs of Moher. It is Ireland’s most popular attraction (with more than a million visitors each year), and all of our main tours journey here.
Located on the edge of the Burren region in Co Clare, these cliffs form the remnants of the last Ice Age, and they stand at 702 feet tall. There’s no better way to explore the cliffs than by foot, with a two and a half hour hike to really take in those views.
Have a night out at Temple Bar
If there’s one thing that can be said about the Irish, it’s that they know how to have fun and make their guests feel welcome. Experience the true meaning of ‘Craic’ (AKA having a great time) on a night out in Dublin. We recommend exploring the famous Temple Bar area, where you’ll find a choice of pubs and bars with everything from live folk music to DJ sets. There are some great places to eat too for those who prefer to line their stomach before a big night.
Walk to the edge of Dún Aonghasa
For a true taste of Ireland – in the most traditional sense – don’t miss the Aran Islands. We recommend adding a ferry trip to these rocky isles, where people are native Gaelic speakers and time feels like it stood still.
Inishmore is the largest of the islands, and is home to one of the country’s most stunning attractions. The stone fort of Dún Aenghus lies 100 metre above the ocean, offering the most mind-blowing views.
Enjoy the scenery on the Ring of Kerry
Our tours can also take you round the Ring of Kerry, one of the most famous drives in Ireland. This is the part where you’ll want to stay wide awake, as it’s a truly scenic loop. One of our favourite places to stop is Kenmare. It’s a gorgeous heritage town with a brightly coloured main street, and plenty of good cafes and pubs to grab some refreshments. If you’ve got time, you may also want to do a spot of shopping as there are lots of lovely independent shops.
Go dolphin spotting in Dingle
Dingle is a must if you love the water. Here, you can go kayaking in the bay and meet the local celebrity of the sea – Fungie the dolphin. Spend a couple of nights here to make the most of the town, where there are famous pubs, superb restaurants and some of the best live music around.
Witness The Burren in full bloom
The Burren’s glacial limestone landscape is out of this world. The cracked rock formations, caves and cliffs will make you feel like you’re visiting another planet for sure. Come here in the month of May and you’ll be able to witness the land at its most beautiful, with wildflowers growing between the rocks creating an explosion of colour.
Take a whiskey tour
Whiskey drinkers will love the Dingle Whiskey Distillery, where visitors get to sample the award-winning whiskeys. Even if it’s not your tipple of choice, the distillery is still worth a visit as you can learn more about the history and production, and they also have some lovely gins and vodka to try.
Drink a pint of Guinness in Kehoe’s, Dublin
No tour of Ireland is complete without a good pint of the ‘Black Stuff’. If you ask us, the best Guinness can be found in the city of Dublin. It is home to the Guinness Storehouse and museum after all. But nothing beats an authentic drink at an authentic pub, like Kehoe’s on South Anne Street. It’s considered to be the finest pub in the capital, according to some folk. We don’t want to get involved in the ongoing local debate on Dublin’s top pub though, so you should also pop into Grogan’s, Mulligan’s and Toner’s – then you can decide for yourself!
Cycle through Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland. One of the best ways to get around is by bike. Not only is it excellent exercise for your tour group, but you’ll cover a lot more in one day than on foot. Explore the park on two wheels and you can feel the wine in your hair, whilst taking in those glorious lake and mountain views.
Step on the stones at Giant’s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway in the North is another of Ireland’s top visited attractions. With more than a million visitors each year, it’s a bucket list destination for many. Over 40,000 hexagonal columns shoot out of the water and are fabled to be the work of Finn MacCool, an Irish giant. In reality, these black basalt formations were formed when molten rock was forced up through the earth’s fissures to create a lava plateau. We agree that the giant story sounds much better though.
Kiss the Blarney Stone for good luck
Don’t leave Ireland without kissing the legendary Blarney Stone. A famous block of limestone built into the battlements at Blarney Castle. According to folklore, kissing the stone will bring you good look and give you the gift of eloquence. The castle itself is well worth a visit, with wonderful gardens to walk around in, a lake area, plus dungeons and caves.
Get a famous Belfast Black Cab Tour
If you don’t have long in Belfast, take a Black Cab Tour to see the sights. You can bring your whole group in their 6 and 7 seater cabs, driving to all the major tourist spots such as the political murals of Shankill and The Peace Line, Crumlin Road Jail and Court House, The City Hall, Albert Memorial Clock, and the spectacular Crown Liquor Saloon.
Stay in the “real capital of Ireland” (Cork City)
Dublin is a must on a tour of Ireland. It’s the capital of the Republic of Ireland, and also the country’s largest city. But if you want to visit the “real capital” according to locals, make sure you add Cork to your itinerary. As one of Europe’s most vibrant centres, there’s so much to do. Pop into the famous English Market, go shopping down St. Patrick Street, take a stroll through Fitzgerald’s Park, and go to the Cork Public Museum.
Hike up Mount Brandon for 360° views
Did you know that Ireland is one of the healthiest countries in the world? With so many great hikes, it’s easy to see why. Our favourite? The trail up Mount Brandon. Once you get to the top, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Dingle Bay and Castlegregory down below. The short route will take you between 3 to 4 hours.
Experience bohemian Galway
A medieval city with a laid-back bohemian vibe, filled with cool shops, restaurants and bars. It’s also home to so many of Ireland’s top festivals. There’s always something going on here, no matter what time of year you visit. In the summer there are street performers, and local pubs feature live music regularly.
Go surfing in the sea
Catch some quality waves at some of the most well-known beaches in the country. Bundoran in Co Donegal is always a hit with the locals, or there’s the pretty surf village of Strandhill in Co Sligo. For anyone who’s planning to spend a day kayaking at Dingle Bay, Inch Beach is a great place to get some beginner’s surf lessons at the local surf school.
Visit the Little Museum of Dublin
It may only be small, but it was named “Dublin’s best museum experience” by The Irish Times. If you’re in the city, it’s definitely worth a visit. Located within an 18th Century Georgian townhouse, the setting is utterly unique. Inside you’ll find 5,000 artefacts, all collected through public appeal, to tell the story of the capital. There really is no museum like it!
Have award-winning food in Kinsale
Not too far from Cork is the seaside town of Kinsale, and it’s one of our top overnight stops. It’s a foodie heaven, known for its award-winning culinary delights and the biggest concentration of restaurants in the country. Two of our favourite places to recommend to hungry holidaymakers is The Supper Club on Main Street and Fishy Fishy Kinsale at Crowleys Quay.
If you’re travelling to Ireland in October, you won’t want to miss the Kinsale Gourmet Festival where the freshest seafood and local artisan flavours are on offer.
Spend the day in Clonakilty
Clonakilty, often shortened to just ‘Clon’, is a charming seaside town located in West Cork, in the south of Ireland. It was named the “best town in Europe” in 2017, known for its many festivals and events, as well as its fantastic music and culture. The colourful main street is a great little place for shopping, getting coffee and cake, or grabbing a few drinks to warm yourself up after a long day of sightseeing.
Walk through the Dark Hedges
GoT fans have to spend some time at The Dark Hedges on Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim. This atmospheric tunnel of beech trees is a well-known filming location, so make sure you bring your camera to capture the moment. Whether you watch Game of Thrones or not, it’s still a lovely stop on your tour – and it’s lots of fun for the kids too.
Taste Galway oysters
Want to taste the best oysters in Ireland? Come to Galway, where oysters harvested in the county are recognised worldwide for their superior taste. If you enjoy your seafood, you have to come to the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, which started back in 1954 and takes place every September. You’ll get to witness the amazing World Oyster Shucking Championships, whilst sampling the finest shellfish.
Take the 599 steps to Skellig Michael
There are nearly 600 steps to the top of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Co Kerry. The crag features one of the oldest and best preserved monasteries in Europe. It’s just a few miles west of the Iveragh Peninsula and has a peak of 700ft. If you’re in good health, come and take the 599 step challenge. Your legs will ache, but the views are just glorious.
Do a waterfall walk
Walking tours can be so much fun for all ages, and all group sizes. We particularly love waterfall walks, like Glenariff Nature Reserve, Mahon Falls, Glenbarrow, Powerscourt Waterfall, Kilfane Glen, Glendalough Upper and Lower Lakes, and the moderate Torc Waterfall trail. This is a great activity when the weather is good.
Visit Titanic Belfast
This is the world’s leading tourist attraction, and tells the tragic story of the RMS Titanic. It’s one of the top Titanic experiences, and guests will be able to explore the shipyard, walk the decks, and enter through nine different interactive galleries. On site, there’s a restaurant, café, bar, and a luxury afternoon experience by the Grand Staircase.
Sample the best Irish stew in Dublin
There’s so much food to try when you’re touring Ireland. One of our favourites? Traditional Irish stew, a filling dish that will warm you up when the weather’s cold. After a long day of adventure activities, hiking or sightseeing, you’ll get a much needed boost. Dublin is a great place to sample this dish, with some of the best spots being JK Stoutman’s, O’Sheas, The Bankers, JW Sweetman’s and The Hairy Lemon.
Plan a pub crawl in Liscannor
This tiny little village makes a popular base for exploring the Cliffs of Moher. There’s not much here, but if you love a good tipple, you won’t be disappointed with the choice of pubs. Because Liscannor has the most pubs per person than any other location in Ireland! Head to Vaughans Anchor Inn for a great seafood menu, or Considine’s Bar for closet proximity to the cliffs (handy after a long coastal walk).
Enjoy traditional music in Westport
A charming town where pubs stay open late and locals are always friendly. Craft beer fans will be delighted with what’s on offer here, and we recommend heading over to Matt Molloy’s if you’re after some traditional music. Live acts play seven days a week, so a party atmosphere is guaranteed anytime you come.
If there’s one place you can relax on your tour, Westport is the perfect town to wind down. You’ll be able to explore Clew Bay and the nearby Connemara National Park.