35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Some of the prettiest places to see in Ireland are pretty far off the beaten track. When you talk about travel in Ireland most people think of places like the Cliffs of Moher, Galway City and its music heritage, the Ring of Kerry, Dublin and all the usual tourist suspects.

 All of us have our favourite places to see in Ireland and when we plan a visit we start putting together a list of what to see in Ireland from our dreams, readings, movies and often recommendations from other visitors.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Some of the best places to visit in Ireland are the Irish villages and small towns with thatched cottages, brightly coloured flowers, pubs to drink in and talk with the locals. Trad music pouring out into the misty Irish nights. All these things make our must-see in Ireland bucket lists.

In order to see some of the most beautiful villages in Ireland, you will definitely need to rent a car this can be a tricky proposition so make sure you get the best insurance and tell them you will be travelling between the north and the Republic of Ireland.

People often wonder what makes Ireland so special it is the warmth of its welcome in these small beautiful towns and villages.

Seaport Village of Cobh, Ireland

Fancy renting a traditional thatched cottage in Ireland?

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

The openness of the folks to have a chat with a stranger. The ongoing craic in pubs and the nightlife that doesn’t care if you are 19 or 90. Ireland is the land of a thousand welcomes and there are no better welcomes than in the small villages and towns across the entire country.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

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a lovely stone cottage with thatched roof in towns in Ireland

Questions about the prettiest towns and villages in Ireland

What are some of the prettiest towns and villages in Ireland?

In Ireland, there are countless villages and towns that showcase the country’s charm and character. Some of the most visually stunning include Dingle in County Kerry, Kinsale in County Cork, Galway city, Westport in County Mayo, Dalkey in County Dublin, and Kenmare along the Wild Atlantic Way.

What makes these towns and villages stand out?

These locations are known for their picturesque settings, whether it’s the colorful cottages in Kinsale, the stunning coastal views in Westport, and the Great Western Greenway or the charming harbour in Dingle. Each town has its own unique appeal, from the historic abbey in Adare to the traditional pubs in Galway, and the history of the Viking invasion of Ireland in Waterford.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Are there any must-see natural attractions near these towns?

Absolutely! Many of these towns and villages are situated near breathtaking natural wonders such as the Cliffs of Moher and the brilliant karst landscape of the Burren in County Clare, the Beara Peninsula in County Cork, and the Ring of Kerry in County Kerry. You can also explore the stunning coastlines, loughs, and beaches that dot the Wild Atlantic Way.

A panorama of the stunning and mars like landscape that is The Burren National Park, County Clare, Ireland at dusk, nobody in the image

Which towns are known for their food scene?

If you’re a fan of seafood, be sure to visit Kinsale in County Cork or Sligo. These areas are renowned for their fresh catches and delicious dishes. You can also enjoy a pint and some traditional Irish fare in the cozy pubs of Galway or Dingle.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Is it worth visiting the smaller villages in Ireland?

Absolutely! Visiting smaller towns in Ireland can offer a unique and authentic experience that you might not find in larger cities. These beautiful villages and small towns often have rich histories, charming architecture, and a strong sense of community. You can immerse yourself in Irish culture, interact with locals, enjoy traditional music and cuisine, and explore the stunning natural landscapes that surround these villages. 

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

22 of the prettiest villages and small towns in Ireland

Carlingford, Co Louth

Carlingford is absolutely one of the prettiest places in Ireland. Right beside the fabulous Carlingford Fjord which makes a natural border between the Republic and N. Ireland. Carlingford is a feast of pretty coloured houses side by side with medieval ruins.

Carlingford Ireland Quirky & Beautiful towns & villages in Ireland

Carlingford was a favourite with C.S. Lewis, of Narnia fame who grew up here. Lewis said, “That part of Rostrevor which overlooks Carlingford Lough is my idea of Narnia.”

Adare, Co Limerick

Adare is pretty special with its beautiful foliage, trees and gardens and oh the thatched cottages and historic buildings are amazing.

main street Adare Ireland

In Adare, you can explore the ramparts of Desmond Castle which dates back to the 12th century. Alternatively, if you are feeling particularly rich stay at the Adare Manor a truly luxury hotel and golf resort. Next, to the golf course are the ruins of a 15th-century Franciscan Abbey.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

On the main street are some truly lovely boutiques and fabulous places to eat and have a coffee. I particularly recommend the Village Bistro.  Where we had the best breakfast ever of brioche French toast with caramelized bananas and bacon – oh my god heaven on a plate.

Cobh, Co Cork

When you see pictures of Ireland and its colourful villages, you will almost always see photos of Cobh in Cork. Named as one of the most beautiful towns in Ireland Cobh (pronounced Cove) is where many Irish immigrants left for the Americas.

Cobh was for many years the last stopping point on the way to N. America. My husband and his family left Cobh in 1965 to make the journey to Canada.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

A truly quirky place the painted cottages of Cobh step down to the waterfront where there is a memorial to the Lusitania.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Cobh is a mecca for festivals from the Blues Festival to Sea Angling and Regattas. There are plenty of great restaurants, places to stay and much to do in Cobh it is a tourist delight.  

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Ardara, County Donegal

Ardara (pronounced ‘Ardra’) is located in the southwest region of Donegal one of five designated heritage towns in Donegal County.

Close to the Owenea River, where you can see the salmon and trout leaping and near the Glengesh Pass Ardara is famous in these parts for its love of traditional music, Donegal style.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Ardara, with its musical heritage, is home to one of the best traditional music festivals in Ireland the Cuppa Tae Traditional Music Festival held in early May.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Ardara has long been involved with the tweed and knitwear industry in Donegal and has some of the best outlets for these classic Irish favourites. The Ardara Heritage Centre features the development of the Tweed industry in Ireland and in particular Donegal.

Close to town you can visit the beautiful waterfall called Assaranca and then head down to Maghera Beach and caves, just watch the tides you don’t want to get stuck. If you cross to the other side don’t fall in as my son did, it’s not deep but it is bloody cold and the rocks hurt.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Nearby you will also find the Kilclooney Dolmen tombs these date back 3500 years. And if you are lucky when passing through Killybegs you may stumble across the secret Waterfall.

Birr, Co Offaly

Birr is in Ireland’s Ancient East and an area that is often overlooked by tourists. It’s a heritage town with beautifully preserved Georgian buildings painted in varying colours. A really beautiful town to visit which can be overlooked in the urge to get to Birr Castle

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 
Birr waterfall

Birr Castle is a fascinating place to visit. Although you can’t see the Castle itself, the grounds and gardens are outstanding. From rushing little waterfalls to walled gardens filled with unusual and exotic plant life Birr Castle is a real treat.

One of the sites on the grounds is a telescope built here and on the show to the public was the largest in the world for 70 years until 1917, and was instrumental in a number of important advances in the science of astronomy.

telescope at Birr Castle

Birr Castle also plays host to the Irish Game Fair every year. With dozens of stalls selling Irish handmade charcuterie to baked goods, wax Jackets to guns and hunting equipment. The Game Fair draws over 50,000 people every year. There are re-enactors jousting, Viking villages, hawks, eagles and hunting birds, dog trials, riding events and so much to see and participate in it makes an amazing day out.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Clifden, Co Galway

Clifden is a relatively new town in Ireland considering it only came about in the early 19th century. It was thanks to the building of Clifden castle, which did not succeed and fell into disrepair, that the town was built. Unofficially regarded, as Connemara’s capital it sits nearby the Twelve Bens, the Connemara Loop and off the coast is Inishboffin Island.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Clifden is also known throughout the world because in October 1907 the first commercial transatlantic message was sent from Marconi’s wireless telegraphy station in town to Glace Bay, Newfoundland.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 
©Martina McCauley

Dingle, Co Kerry

Dingle is one of those places that everyone has to visit when in Ireland. It sits at one end of the rugged Conor Pass on a fishing harbour. Known for its Irish culture and where Gaelic is spoken as much as English Dingle is home to some of the best pubs in Ireland and the craic is mighty. The Ring of Kerry is the must-do drive in the area, full of outstanding natural sites, easy to access the Skelligs to see puffins the Ring is an outstanding drive.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 
©Joachim Kohler Bremen

The bay is often populated with dolphins and there is an amazing aquarium in town where you can learn about the local “residents”. There is a lot to do in Dingle and here’s an article on the Top 10 Amazing Things to Do in Dingle Peninsula to whet your appetite.

Donegal Town, Co Donegal

Donegal Town is located in northwest Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way.  In Gaelic, Dun na nGall means Fort of the Foreigner. Donegal Town sits to the south end of Donegal at the mouth of the River Eske, with views of the Bluestack Mountains on one side and Donegal Bay on the other.

To get to Donegal Town take a drive through the dramatic Barnesmore Gap, which had a notorious reputation until the 1800s.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

There’s plenty to do in Donegal town from visiting the ancient Castle ruins to taking a boat tour of the Donegal Bay, you will also find some fabulous places to eat in town.

Aerial view of Kinnagoe bay in County Donegal, Ireland.

Donegal Town has a lot going for it, boat tours around the bay, you can visit the Abbey ruins, pay your respects at the famine graveyard and take a hike in the Bluestack Mountains.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Kenmare, Co Kerry

Near the head of Kenmare Bay, Kenmare itself is famous for its lace-making history. The Kenmare Lace and Design Centre are open to the public and you can learn all about the intricacies of this beautiful textile art.

Close to the town centre, you will also find a Bronze Age Stone Circle and a dolman.

Kenmare is a really picturesque village and convenient for tours around the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula. Home to many a fine restaurant and boutique shop in Kenmare you will feel like you are in the heart of traditional Ireland.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny

Kilkenny is both a beer and a Town. Kilkenny is absolutely one of the most visited places in Ireland. It’s a larger but beautiful town with a lot to see and do.

Kytelers Inn Kilkenny Ireland
Medieval Mile Kilkenny

From tours of Kilkenny brewing to the famous Medieval Mile and of course Kilkenny Castle and St. Canice’s Cathedral.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Kilkenny has an amazing Arts Centre near the Castle and is renowned for the Kilkenny Arts Festival which showcases Irish and international creativity over ten days every August.

Arts Centre in Kilkenny

Kilkenny’s Famous Witch trials

Killarney, Co Kerry

Killarney is easily one of the prettiest and most charming places in all of Ireland. The town is situated near the Ring of Kerry so take a jaunting cart around the Ring and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

On the ring of Kerry

The town itself is full of character and characters. Plenty of places to stay, eat and drink Killarney has some fine music venues and pubs to hear some traditional and non-traditional music.   

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Make sure you visit the Killarney National Park and Lough Leane. If you love a hike set out for the Gap of Dunloe. Or check out the restored Ross Castle, or venture over to Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Waterfall are also wonderful visits. 

If you fancy staying in a castle for a night or two and spoiling yourself silly there are several castles near Killarney to stay in. Or maybe you want to explore some haunted castles?

Wondering where to stay in Killarney? Since the town is so small, finding a place to stay close to the centre of town won’t be difficult (or too pricey).

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

A fun boutique hotel with starting rates of around $100/night, Scotts Hotel is a great option! Their bright, modern design makes for a more casual environment and certainly a nice place to call home for a few nights.

Want something a bit more luxurious? The Killarney Park Hotel is an upscale, luxury accommodation in town. A 5-star, high-end hotel with an indoor pool, extravagant decorations and a few antique elements add a unique charm to the hotel.

Probably the most sought-after accommodation in Killarney though is at The Lake Hotel. The Lake Hotel is located within Killarney National Park, right along the edge of Lough Leane Lake, and for such a prime location the nightly rates are surprisingly not that absurd. If you have the opportunity and the budget to stay here you absolutely should.

Kinsale, Co Cork

Kinsale is an Irish village to keep you dreaming for years. Colourful houses and buildings line the streets of this lovely fishing village situated on the banks of the Shannon river. Kinsale also has plenty of things to do, from James Fort and Charles Fort to the Kinsale Regional Museum, the Old Head of Kinsale and more.

Beautiful Towns in Ireland Kinsale picture book perfect

With a long naval and rebellion history, Kinsale was where the final Spanish Armada landed and united with Irish rebels, but the rebellion was quashed.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

The narrow streets of the old town make for a lovely stroll and you will find many fine seafood restaurants to whet your appetites.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Oughterard, Co Galway

A pretty village with a population of just over 1000 people, Oughterard is located on the shores of one of the finest fishing Loughs in Ireland, Lough Corrib. this historic little village sits at the gateway of the Connemara Loop.

Aughnanure Castle near Oughterard (Photo: Jennifer Young via Flickr)

A brilliant place to explore the area there is a lot to explore in the Connemara region. Just outside of town are a couple of castles, including the very impressive Aughnanure, which dates back to the 16th century and of course Kylemore Abbey.

Westport, Co Mayo

The Carrowbeg River that runs through Westport is one of the outstanding features of this lovely town. The houses running either side of the river are Georgian in design and their elegance epitomizes the town.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

One of the main draws of Westport is the nearby scenery, which includes Croagh Patrick, the mountain where many a pilgrim comes each year at the summer solstice.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

You can also visit Ireland’s Pirate Queen’s Castle and visit Clew Bay where her ships sailed from.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Cong, Co Mayo

Nestled right on the border of Galway, Cong is located close to Ashford Castle famous for its celebrity and royal guests.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

In Irish Gaelic, the name for Cong is Cúnga Fheichin, which translated means Saint Feichin’s narrows. This is a nod to the geography of the area as Cong is built on a narrow spit of land between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask.

John Wayne the Quiet Man statue in Cong Ireland

Home of the famous John Wayne film The Quiet Man, Cong pays tribute to the movie in every way it can. There is a Quiet Man Museum to visit, a ruined abbey, quaint little coffee shops and colourful BnBs to stay at. While you are in the neighbourhood don’t forget to visit the lunar landscape of the Burren in Clare.

Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal

Dunfanaghy – okay I know this is tough to pronounce but here goes dun-fan- yee, the town hugs the northern coast of Donegal near Muckish Mountain.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Only a hop skip and a jump from Glenveagh Castle and Glenveagh National Park Dunfanaghy is one of the coolest areas in Donegal. The landscape ranges from mountains to bogs, to rock-filled sheep fields and crashing Wild Atlantic Way waves.

Aerial view of the Glenveagh National Park with castle Castle and Loch in the background - County Donegal, Ireland.

Strandhill, Co Sligo

Right at the tip of the Coolera Peninsula is the surfing village of Strandhill. Known as having some of the best surfing in Ireland the beach is absolutely stunning. Not a swimming beach (as the currents are quite strong but there is plenty to do in the Village. Featuring some great eateries and even better ice cream Strandhill also has an amazing market.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Visit the ancient tombs at nearby Carrowmore then walk along the dunes behind the Sligo Airport and end your walk at the picturesque ruins of Killaspugbrone Church, where St Patrick is said to be buried. said to have lost a tooth

Sensational Sligo – Things to do in Sligo Ireland

Roundstone, Co Galway

I really don’t like the word “quaint” but Roundstone actually fits it perfectly. It clings to the edge of Galway’s northern coast at the foot of the Errisbeg Mountain. Boats bob up and down on the water of the harbour and the lovely bright houses hug the shoreline.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Only an hour’s drive from the Connemara National Park, It is an ideal base from which to explore the glacial remains of Roundstone Bog. To the South of the Village, you’ll find the superb beaches of Dog’s Bay and Gurteen

Roundstone is a great place for traditional crafts including Bodhran making. Take a seat at one of the many harbour cafes and watch the traditional Galway Hookers in the bay. Or take in a sunset over Inishnee.

Doolin, Co Clare

A centre for traditional Irish music, Doolin is situated atop a cliff with strong ties to the Gaeltacht region.  From Doolin, you can take a cliff walk and arrive at the north end of the Cliffs of Moher. This is a glorious walk that will allow you to skip the queues at the Visitor’s Centre.   

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 
Photo credit Jan Zeschky

A great central spot for both the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. A visit to the Burren National Park is a must-do when in the area. If you are going to explore this moonscape of limestone area why not go by horseback? Jeremy and Kate have the perfect article Exploring County Clare on Horseback that you should read, it’s all about a fabulous ride through the Burren and Doolin.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Schull, Co Cork   

 Schull is pronounced Skull and it is a coastal village in West Cork. Well off the beaten path Schull is the perfect headquarters for exploring West Cork, Mizen, the Beara Peninsula and Sheep’s Head. From Schull, you can also visit the islands of Cape Clear and Sherkin.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Baltimore, Co Cork

No, not that Baltimore this one is a lovely little harbour town at the very end of Ireland. Home of some of the finest seafood in Ireland you can even go deep-sea fishing and catch your own.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Whale watching, pub drinking, traditional music and lots of craic are here in Baltimore. Once home to pirates and buccaneers Baltimore the Village was once taken over by Pirates from Holland, Moroccan, and Algerian pirates and up to 200 villagers were taken captive. Baltimore also benefits from Ireland’s most temperate climate so it is a great place to explore the region around Roaring Water Bay the islands of Sherkin and Cape Clear and the Baltimore Beacon.  

Inistioge, Co Kilkenny

Inistioge is located in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Nore River in South Kilkenny. One of the most visited places in Ireland’s Ancient East Inistioge is tucked into the Nore Valley which contains some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Visit the Woodstock Estate or take on some of the woodland hikes, Inistioge is a perfect location for enjoying nature at its best.

 Prettiest villages and towns in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has been named one of the coolest places in the world and is famous for its stunning coastline, areas of outstanding natural beauty and of course filming locations of Game of Thrones.

Black Arc tunnel and Causeway Coastal Route. Scenic road along eastern coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK. Aerial view in sunrise light

Famed for its striking coastline and natural wonders, Northern Ireland has some of the most picturesque villages and towns in Europe.

With long sandy beaches, historic buildings, breathtaking vistas and spectacular mountains these are some of N. Ireland’s best villages to visit.

13 of the prettiest towns in N. Ireland 

Greyabbey, Co Down

Greyabbey is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the Ards Peninsula near Strangford Lough. The Abbey that the village is named after is a Cistercian Abbey that lies in ruins and dates back to 1103.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Alfreca wife of John de Courcy founded the Abbey but by the mid-1500 it was abandoned and left to rot. In the late 18th century, it was refurbished and further restoration took place in the 20th century. These days you can visit this quietly peaceful Abbey and its adjacent visitor’s centre.

There are beautiful parkland settings, a lovely little herb garden and the nearby grand house of Grey Abbey House, which is thought to be the finest of Georgian style architecture. The house itself has one of the finest gardens in the country with a massive array of unusual plants, trees, and flowers.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Greyabbey is well known for its superb art galleries and antique shops. Just outside of town a must-visit is   Mount Stewart House and Gardens.

Strangford Lough, Co Down

I’ve driven through Strangford several times and each time it enchants me more. A really pretty little village it’s a lovely place for a walk around the harbour and a lunch stop. It’s still in the AONB and has a brilliant Marine Reserve.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

I love the ferry that crosses the harbour to Portaferry, which is a really quick trip and only costs 5 sterling. In Portaferry, you can stroll the harbour, take in some fine views of the Lough, and visit Portaferry Castle’s historical grounds

Broughshane, Co Antrim

I fell in love with Broughshane many years ago on my first trip back to Ireland to visit family. This small village has been crowned Village of the Year for many years now and is picture-perfect.  

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

The town’s motto is ‘People, Plants, and Pride Growing Together’. Its host of volunteers works to protect the rare varieties of swans and geese that populate the river. There’s an old coaching house called the Thatch Inn to stay at that dates back to 1904 and a lovely high street for all your shopping needs.

Broughshane is also home to the actor James Nesbitt and the HBO show Game of Thrones has been filmed nearby.  

Carnlough, Co Antrim

Carnlough is found at the foothills of Glencoy, one of the famously beautiful Glens of Antrim and it sits on the harbour of Carnlough Bay. Glenarm Forest is only a mile away and the Village is home to the Londonderry Arms, which once belonged to Winston Churchill.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Glenarm Village, County Antrim

A little further along the Causeway Coast from Carnlough is Glenarm Village. Here you can visit the Glenarm Castle, walled gardens, stop for tea and scones in the Mushroom House and even stay for a night or two in the Barbican.

Glenarm Castle the Barbican

Book a stay at the Glenarm Barbican when visiting Northern Ireland.

Cushendun, Co Antrim

Cushendun was built in 1912 and at that, time consisted of only 7 houses. It is a lovely place to shop for Irish arts and crafts and has some really pretty tearooms and coffee shops.

Cushendun caves Fame of Thrones

Cushendun is also the place to visit the Game of Thrones caves near the beach. As you pass into the parking lot be sure to take some apples or carrots for the goat that stands guard. You will see Johan the Goat’s stature and tethered to the statue is the local friendly goat who loves an apple.

Johan the goat at Cushendun

Donaghadee, Co Down

Donaghadee is said to be home to Ireland’s oldest pub, Grace Neill’s and the first lighthouse built in Ireland in 1836. Over 403 years ago the pub known as Grace Neill’s was called the Kings Arms but a farmer bought it for his daughter Grace and for over 72 years Grace could be seen at the pub serving punters with a clay pipe tucked in her mouth.  

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

What is the best Causeway Coastal Route Itinerary?

Carrickfergus, Co Antrim

Carrickfergus is found on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. It is one of the oldest towns in Ireland. Parts of the original town can be spotted by the odds and ends of old stonewalls that are dotted around the town. Several artefacts have been found that date back to the 12th and 13th centuries when the walls were excavated and preserved. The town is also hem to one of the best-known and preserved castles in Ireland Carrickfergus Castle

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Coleraine, Co Derry (Londonderry)

Being somewhat biased because I was born in Coleraine this little town is pretty special. It’s located near the River Bann in County Derry and it has evidence of one of the earliest human settlements in Ireland.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Coleraine got its name when Saint Patrick arrived in town; the local Chieftain on which to build a church offered him some land. The land itself was next to the river and covered in ferns. Coleraine is a lovely town to stop at if you are on your way to the Causeway Coast, plenty of shops, restaurants and coffee places here.

Portstewart, Co Londonderry

A favourite seaside haunt of many on the Northern Irish coast, Portstewart is located in County Derry. There is a harbour, coastal paths and 2 miles of beach known as The Strand. Loads to do from surfing to swimming, cliff walks and trails to hike.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

You can also visit the Dominican Convent and College, built on the ruins of O’Hara’s Castle, and Saint Patrick’s well at the top of the strand where the horse races used to take place.

My dad always took us, kids, fishing at Portstewart. I don’t remember catching any but it was great fun checking out the rock pools and attempting to catch a fish for supper.

Portrush, Co Antrim

On the border of Antrim and Derry Portrush is a few miles down from Portstewart. Portrush is, of course, famous for its superb Links Golf course the Royal Portrush. This is the only golf course outside of mainland Britain to have played host to the Open Championship.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

We also used to go to Portrush for the gorgeous beaches that are known as the West Strand, the East Strand, Curran Strand and White Rocks. A real treat was to visit The Skerries, which is a habitat for many species of wildlife.

The town itself dates back to the late Mesolithic period and was once connected to the Giant’s Causeway by a Tram that sadly no longer operates.

Don’t forget to head down to Derry or Londonderry when in this area of N. Ireland you absolutely won’t regret it.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

Famous in Portrush is Barry’s Amusements, which had been there forever along with The Coastal Zone and many other popular activities for children and families. Sadly these days Barry’s Amusements is no more and the space will probably be turned into apartments.

Holywood, Co Down

Holywood can be found on the road from Belfast on the Mourne Coastal Route. Built on the shore of Belfast Lough Holywood is known for its annual jazz and blues festival. It is a well-kept town with loads of great shops and restaurants and also has some famous connections like Jamie Dornan (50 Shades).

Holywood County Down

The town is famous for the Old Priory, whose ruins date from the early 13th century and for its maypole in the centre at the crossroads. Its origins are not known but are said to have been erected around 1700 following the running aground of a Dutch ship on the nearby coast.

Small village on Antrim coast with coloured houses, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Ballycastle, Co Antrim

One of my favourite places and one of the prettiest towns in Northern Ireland, Ballycastle is located on the northeasternmost tip of Northern Ireland, on the Causeway Coast and Nine Glens of Antrim route.

35 of the prettiest towns & villages in Ireland 

From the harbour, you will see spectacular views of the coast as well as the Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland.

Take the ferry across to Rathlin Island to check out the puffin watching on a summer’s day this is a wonderful place to visit.

The town’s headland, Fair Head, rises 196 metres out of the bay. Visitors to the town often walk the famous trail known as The Grey Man’s Path, which winds its way around the rugged coastline. Knocklayde is a walker’s paradise a heather-covered mountain with amazing views of the town.

Fairhead near Murlough Bay on the Causeway Coast prettiest towns and villages in Ireland to visit

When it comes to picturesque towns and villages, Ireland is truly a treasure trove waiting to be explored. From the city streets of Dublin to the charming seaside towns, there is no shortage of stunning destinations in Ireland. A town not on my list yet is Dunmore East where Vikings first landed has stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and a historic stone bridge. The small pubs and 13th-century Dún add to the town’s charm.

For those who prefer a more secluded experience, the Aran Islands and Achill Island offer tranquil retreats steeped in history and culture. The Rock of Cashel and Birr Castle Demesne are also worth a visit for those looking to explore Ireland’s rich heritage. Slea Head Drive is a scenic drive along the coast that takes you through some of Ireland’s prettiest towns and villages, making it a popular port of call for tourists.

Truly determining the quirkiest and most beautiful towns and villages in Ireland is not an easy task. Every time I sat down to write this piece I came up with another perfect Irish Village to add, but you have to stop somewhere.

So, if you have visited a perfect Irish Village or beautiful town, let me know and I will add it to the list.

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The 9 Glens of Antrim Ireland an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Essential guide to renting a car in Ireland


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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