Ireland Travel Advice

Hi All--

In a previous post I asked for travel advice for Scotland, but ultimately our plans fell through and we’ve replaced Scotland with Ireland. Here’s some context:

My wife and I went to Iceland in 2022. 10/10 trip. Really enjoyed the dramatic landscapes, incredible nature, openness, etc. Looking to carry that focus on landscapes, nature, openness, etc. into our next trip.

We have our eyes set on Ireland. While we do intend to spend time in Dublin, we mostly want to spend our time outside of the cities. 

For those that have visited Ireland, what would be your top recommendations of places to visit or things to see? Through my trip planning I have identified some of the more common tourist destinations, but I thought I would ask WSO for tips/recommendations. Anything would be appreciated.

Thank you and I appreciate the help

Most Helpful

Notes from my trip there not long ago. I'm a history nerd, so thats what I spent a lot of time doing. I strongly recommend renting a car and driving around on your own. Explore the cities on foot, but driving the countryside will show you so much. Stop anywhere that seems to have a hike down to the cliffs or shore or anything - it's a special place. Anywhere in the cities is always a stones through from a pub - take the time to find the ones with no American beer and hang out for a while. Talk to folks and have a great time. 


  1. Guiness Factory (because you have to)
  2. War Memorial Gardens (no specific thing to do, but beautiful and important to cherish the memory and sacrifice and complicated history)
  3. Tour the Jeanie Johnston (ship carrying famine victims across the Atlantic and learn about the famine. Very depressing.)
  4. The main museum at the Dublin Castle
  5. Trinity College - go and see the big fancy library and deal with the tourists to see the old stuff they have. Worth it but be prepared to be annoyed at everyone.


  1. Try to take a private, guided tour that will show you some of the legacies of the Troubles. It's really, really messed up and you have to see it to even grasp how little we can understand it. Any tour that will guide you through Clonard, Shankill, and the peace wall are good.
  2. See the Harland and Wolff facilities where the Titanic was built
  3. If you want some outdoor activity, go do a tour of the Gobbins. Pretty cool, worth the time and energy.

Countryside Things

  1. Museum at Birr Castle and the gardens and the grounds. Really cool old telescope and also near modern science facilities of I-LOFAR right "next door".
  2. Spend time on the west coast and take the ride out to Skellig Michael, if you can. This is the place where they filmed Luke's hideaway in the new Star Wars films. Really fascinating history and fantastic scenery. 
  3. Cliffs of Moher - this is rather lengthy hike, but well worth it to get amazing scenery and pretty sense of the countryside
  4. Poulnabrone dolmen - tomb in the Burren National Park. Great stop on the road between other places
  5. Stop in Tipperary so you can sing along to the song.
  6. Fahan Beehive huts in Kerry

Dingle Peninsula

  1. Stay in Dingle. Walk around Dingle. Do the things they tell you to do around here, it's delightful.
"And where we had thought to be alone we shall be with all the world"

+1 on renting a car (right hand drive but you’ll get it down quickly enough).  We took a 12 day driving tour in early 2020 just before Covid and had a stellar trip.  We drove south out of Dublin along the coast over to Galway in the west and then back east to Dublin.  Check out Glendalough (south of Dublin), really cool early medieval monastic settlement, spectacular scenery.  Highly recommend Kinsale, a coastal town south of Cork I’ve heard described as the Martha’s Vineyard of Ireland, also known as gourmet capital of Ireland.  If driving, definitely drive the Ring of Kerry in the southwest.  +1 on Dingle as well, one of our favorite stops of the trip (check out the famous hardware store that turns into a pub at night).  Also +1 on the Burren and Cliffs of Moher.  If you have time, Aran Islands are incredible.  If you’re in that area, check out Doolin, which is known as the home of traditional Irish music.  While we enjoyed Cork, Galway and Limerick, the small towns and villages were our favorites.  Guinness tastes way better in Ireland btw.  Have fun, Ireland is wonderful!

Also, if you like to read, check out the historical fiction by Edward Rutherfurd, specifically The Princes of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland, good background of the country wrapped around some entertaining fiction.


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