Best things to do in Ireland
Find out more about those top places in Ireland
Dublin, the largest city and capital of Ireland, is located on the east of the country. Flanked by the Wicklow Mountains, Dublin is the historical and cultural hub in Ireland. You can get to Dublin by plane through Dublin Airport. There may be slender differences in temperature but irrespective of when you visit Dublin, even in summer, you will probably experience rain, so if you are planning to explore outdoors, a waterproof coat will come handy. Rich in history, the city has many tourist attractions. Dublin being the capital has a lot to offer, known for its customary food, good literature, folklore, traditional music and dance, and fresh pints of Guinness, the city never disappoints. Despite being a member of European Union, Ireland has its visa policies as it is not a member of Schengen Area.
It is said to be the largest cathedral in Dublin and is one of the most well-known and cherished churches in the world, accommodating about 500,000 guests annually. When you are there, be sure to spend time admiring the soaring domed ceilings and the intricate details that complement the Gothic style. Another essential sight there is the tomb of famous Jonathan Swift, author of "Gulliver's Travels".
Known as the largest enclosed public park in any European capital city, Phoenix Park is the place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Spreading across 3 miles (4.83 km) (and covering more than 1,700 acres), this park’s lush green lawns, shady wooded areas and cool, clean lakes are a sight for sore eyes. The main attraction in the park is the Dublin Zoo. The 70-acre zoo is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. It houses more than 400 animals in a variety of large habitats.
If you have an eye for arts, make sure you do not miss the National Gallery of Ireland built in 1854 housing Ireland's national art collection. Works of renowned artists such as Caravaggio, Vincent van Gogh and the French impressionists can be seen here but the main attractions are the works of some of Ireland's masters, with a remarkable collection of works by prominent people as William Leech, Roderic O'Conor and Jack B. Yeats.
If you’re a fan of drama and theater, Abby Theater is the place for you. Located on the lower Abby Street, this building stands tall with its glass front and looks quite contemporary. The theater consists of 628 seats and a constant playbill of Ireland's most talented play writers. The theater also offers a 90-minute backstage tour, which consists of a close look at the theater's present production, and its portrait collection.
Just a few blocks away from Trinity College, located in the heart of the city is the Dublin castle which has played in crucial role in Ireland’s history since the area was used by Vikings to build a fortress in A.D. 930. The castle serves many functions such as hosting foreign delegates and state feasts to housing some of Ireland's government offices and commercial space vacant for private events. It is a significant historic landmark of Ireland.
Located in the oldest college of Ireland, the Trinity College which was opened in 1952, the Trinity College Library is known for its huge collection of around 200,000 old books including the famous ancient Book of Kells, making it an interesting place to visit. What’s more, it also houses the historic Brian Boru Harp, a musical instrument from medieval era and here is an interesting fact; it is a must for all Ireland’s publishers to submit a copy of their work to this library.
Undoubtedly, any tour of Dublin is incomplete without visiting its oldest and arguably the most stunning building, the Christ Church Cathedral, which was built in 1030. This church has not only being a place of worship for about 1000 years but also a great tourist destination. While the church boasts its picturesque architecture along with awe-inspiring interior and interesting historic artifacts, it also houses one of the largest crypts in Ireland from the 12th century.
One of the leading tourist attractions in Dublin is the Ha’penny Bridge above the River Liffey. Walk across this famous historic bridge which was built in 1816, or if you want a more exciting experience, take a kayak tour which goes under the bridge and throughout the river. If you happen to be there at the right time you might get to applaud Dublin’s best musicians who present their music under the bridge, giving you an unforgettable experience.
Perched on the River Corrib with Lough Corrib on its one side and Galway Bay on the other, Galway is nothing if not fascinating and charming. The city is often referred as the "City of the Tribes" due to the fact that it was led by 14 merchant families during Hiberno-Norman period. The traces of tribes can still be seen which includes the Lynch’s Castle and a limestone house from 16th century. This is the city where medieval architecture meets the modern architecture. The River Corrib rambles through the city with beautiful bridges over it and with miles of coastlines, sharp mountain ranges, vibrant and colorful pubs, interesting festivals, further enhanced by the natural beauty, Galway is often touted as of the most enjoyable places in Ireland.
The Latin Quarter on the left bank of River Corrib is where you will find most popular restaurants, pubs, shops and galleries. You can enjoy traditional Irish music in the colorful pubs. The Galway Cathedral, which was built in 1965, is a fine piece of architecture and a hidden gem and the Galway museum which is located near the well-known Spanish Arch, conducts very informative exhibitions. There are also some festivals to experience and enjoy such as Galway International Arts Festival and Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.
Dunguaire Castle is one of the many medieval age castles in Ireland. Built in 16th century, on the shore of Galway bay, this castle is a significant landmark. The tower of this perfectly preserved castle is 75 m tall. If you want to see the medieval architecture of Galway, Dunguaire Castle is the place to go.
Built in 1965, Galway Cathedral is one of the largest buildings in the city. The stunning architecture of the cathedral makes it look like it is centuries old and itself is a reason to visit. The cathedral's design fuses Renaissance style and Chinese art.
Eyre Square is a beautiful public park in Galway. Located at the heart of the city the park is also known as John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. If you are looking for a peaceful place to relax and enjoy nature, do visit the Eyre Square.
Situated near the well-known Spanish Arch, the Galway City Museum was founded in 2006. The museum conducts a variety of very informative exhibitions where you can learn about the culture and history of the city.
If you are in Galway in July don’t miss out on one of the best festivals of Galway known as the Galway International Arts Festival. It is a two weeks event which offers programs related to theater, music, dance, opera comedy and much more.
Situated beside the Galway Bay, Galway Atlantaquaria is a beautiful aquarium which has a vast variety of marine species including Jelly fish, Clown fish, Irish sharks and many more. It is Ireland's national aquarium.