101 Outstanding landmarks in Ireland
It’s easy to see why Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, when seen from the air as you land you will spot all the 40 shades of green that Johnny Cash wrote about in his song.
There are so many landmarks in Ireland to see and you can add to your Irish bucket list everything from ruined castles to wild Irish beaches, mountains and hikes that seem to go on forever. Visiting those magical places like stone circles, drinking a Guinness with views of Dublin that stretch on forever, travelling the narrow lanes of the rural areas and finding those charming Irish villages – it’s all here for you.
Landmarks in Ireland are easy to find in every county and it will take a lifetime to really see all of this magical country. So having said that here is my list of 101 landmarks in Ireland to add to your bucket list.
My Irish landmarks list is in alphabetical order so when you are planning your dream trip to Ireland keep this in mind.
101 Landmarks in Ireland for your bucket list
- 101 Outstanding landmarks in Ireland
- 101 Landmarks in Ireland for your bucket list
- Achill Island
- Ahenny High Crosses
- An Grianan
- Ancient East
- Aran Islands
- Ashford Castle
- Ballyhoura Mountains
- Benbulbin, Sligo
- Birr Castle
- Battle of the Boyne
- Blarney Castle
- Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
- Cahir Castle
- Carrowmore Cairns
- Cavan Burren Park
- Ceide Fields
- Clew Bay
- Cliffs of Moher
- Connemara National Park
- Croagh Patrick
- Dark Sky Reserve
- Dingle Peninsula
- Downpatrick Head
- Drombeg Stone Circle
- Dublin Castle
- Dublin GPO
- Dun Aonghasa
- Dun Briste
- Dunguaire Castle
- Dunmore Cave
- English Market
- Fairy Bridges Tullan Strand
- Gallarus Oratory
- Galtee Mountains
- Galway City
- Gap of Dunloe
- Glasnevin Cemetery
- Glen of Aherlow
- Glenveagh National Park
- Gougane Barra
- Guiness Brewery
- Loch Tay
- Hill of Uisneach
- Hore Abbey
- Irish National Stud
- Jerpoint Abbey
- Kells Priory
- Kilkee Cliffs
- Kilkenny Castle
- Kilkenny Medieval Mile
- Killarney National Park
- Killary Fjord
- Kilmainham Gaol
- Knock Shrine
- Kylemore Abbey
- Hook Lighthouse
- Limerick Milk Market
- Lough Derg
- Lough Gur
- Malin Head
- Mellifont Abbey
- Mount Errigal
- Mizen Head
- National Botanic Gardens
- Poisoned Glen
- Ring of Kerry
- Rock of Cashel
- Rockfleet Castle
- Saltee Islands
- Skellig Islands
- Slane Castle
- Slieve league
- Spike Island
- St. Canice’s Cathedral
- St. Michan’s mummies
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
- St. Peter’s Tin Church
- St. Valentine
- Stone Circles
- Sugar Loaf Mountain
- Swiss Cottage
- The Burren
- The Great Western Greenway
- Trinity College
- Tory Island
- Valentia Island
- Viking Triangle Waterford
- Wicklow Mountains & Sally Gap
- Wild Atlantic Way
- Yeat’s Grave
- 101 Landmarks in Ireland for your bucket list
Achill Island is of course the island that most tourists flock to in the season. The largest of the Islands in Ireland it has a coastline of nearly 80 miles. Achill is one of the few Irish Islands that you can get to overland as it is connected to the mainland by a swing bridge.
Ahenny High Crosses
A splendid example of early Christian art and craftsmanship, these 8th century High Crosses are ornately carved with intricate Celtic designs. The Ahenny crosses are part of the Ossory group of High Crosses; Ossory was an ancient kingdom that straddled Tipperary and Kilkenny.
This restored Cashel or ring fort is over 23 metres in diameter with surrounding earthworks and sits atop Grianan Hill Donegal with 360-degree views across Lough Swilly, Lough Foyle and the gorgeous countryside of the Inishowen Peninsula. On a clear day, it is believed that the view includes 5 counties. At 3.9 meters thick and 5 metres tall, the dry stone walls of the “Stone Palace of the Sun” have three interior walkways, which are easily reached by several inset stairways.
This area of Ireland encompasses 17 counties and has hundreds of attractions ranging from Neolithic sites, to castle and covers over 5000 years of Irish history. This makes Ireland’s Ancient East more of a touring region rather than a touring route like the Wild Atlantic Way. The region has been divided into three very unique areas.
Sink into the Irish language in a dramatic setting with views of the Wild Atlantic Way, UNESCO World Heritage site Dun Aonghasa, and landscapes that are jawdropping. The Arans are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. From west to east, the islands are Inishmore the largest; Inishmaan the second-largest; and Inisheer the smallest.
One of Ireland’s greatest castle hotels Ashford Castle is the epitome of luxury, service with amazing facilities available for their guests. Ashford Castle was established as a hotel in 1939 and became renowned for its “country pursuits” for the rich and famous. This is where many of the stars of The Quiet Man stayed while filming in Cong just down the road.
Situated at the crossroads of Munster, on the borders of counties Tipperary, Limerick and Cork, Ballyhoura Country is an area of undulating green pastures, woodlands, hills and mountains. The ancient and unspoilt landscape, an abundance of significant heritage sites, thrilling outdoor activities and friendly people make it the perfect place to discover rural Ireland.
At 526 metres high, it’s no small task to climb Sligo’s famous mountain. The journey to the summit takes about two hours, but the views you get at the top are awe-inspiring.
Birr Castle has stood in Ireland since the Anglo-Normans built a castle on the motte. The castle is a private residence but you can visit the Birr Castle Science Centre and wander the stunning grounds and gardens. The Castle is in Offaly a short drive from the Rock of Cashel
Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne centre commemorates the biggest battle in the history of Ireland that took place in 1690. There’s a lot to learn here and some great displays and an audio-visual display with a huge 3-dimensional map of the battle. The grounds are pretty spectacular as well.
Probably one of Ireland’s most famous landmarks the legend of the Blarney Stone is one that many tourists pilgrimage to. Not my idea of fun as you have to hike up many stairs and then take care that someone has a good grip on you as you literally bend over backwards to kiss the stone. But it does seem to be high on many a bucket list.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Bunratty Castle and Bunratty Folk Village are high on the Irish bucket list for visitors and locals alike. The imposing Castle can see seen just of the motorway and it is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most loved castles. Located in County Clare (where you will find the Cliffs of Moher the Castle is famous for its medieval banquet, outstanding Folk Village and of course Durty Nellies pub.
Cahir Castle in County Tipperary is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Ireland. But visiting Cahir Castle is not on most tourists bucket list. This is a shame because Cahir Castle and the Swiss Cottage are only a few miles away from the Rock of Cashel and relatively free of tourist crowds. There isn’t much furniture in the castle but it is fascinating and you can see things like the old portcullis and its mechanism and go up to the higher floors and enjoy the views of the town and the river in which the Castle sits.
This is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland (located in Sligo) and is also among the country’s oldest, with monuments ranging from five thousand to five thousand eight hundred years old. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs of which 30 are visible. A restored cottage houses an exhibition relating to the site. Access to the tombs may be difficult for people with disabilities.
Cavan Burren Park
At Cavan Burren Park in Cunty Cavan you can experience a wonderful interpretative centre and five amazing walking trails that highlights the spectacular prehistoric tombs, fantastic geology and special stories that make this such a unique environment. Carefully placed interpretation throughout this site explains all the features as you take in the 360° views. Stories of Giants and moving glaciers come to life with every step you take in this breathtaking prehistoric park.
The Ceide Fields overlooks the Atlantic Ocean located on the Wild Atlantic Way in Mayo the Ceide Fields are a system of fields, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs which together make up the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world. The stone-walled fields, extending over hundreds of hectares, are the oldest known globally, dating back almost 6,000 years.
Clew Bay was home to the Pirate Queen Grainne O’Malley and is overlooked by Croagh Patrick to the south and the Nephin Range mountains. The bay has 365 islands, one for every day of the year; 117 of them are Ireland’s best example of drumlins of limestone, Clare Island, the biggest island, guards the entrance of the bay.
Cliffs of Moher
One of Ireland’s most visited natural sites the Cliffs of Moher overlooks the rugged and wild County Clare coast. There’s a visitors centre, a huge parking lot for guests and a café to enjoy a cuppa when the fog, winds and rain roll in.
St Ciarán founded this monastery on the banks of the River Shannon in County Offaly in the 6th Century. The ruins include a cathedral, two round towers, three high crosses, nine Churches and over 700 Early Christian grave slabs.
Cobh, Ireland (pronounced cove) is a small village on the shores of the Atlantic in Ireland. Its history is deeply linked with those who emigrated from Irish shores to the new world. Famous for being the last port of call for the Titanic and the rows of coloured houses tumbling down the hillside.
Cong Ireland is found in County Mayo about an hour’s drive from Westport in the southwest region of Ireland. It’s a small village that is known worldwide as the place where The Quiet Man was filmed which starred John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park in county Galway covers over 2,000 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range.
Ireland’s most sacred mountain and place of pilgrimage the views from the top of the mountain are breathtaking but even if you don’t make it to the top you must visit Clew Bay, Westport and the hundreds of other sites to be seen in this region of County Mayo.
Dark Sky Reserve
View the stars on the Wild Atlantic Way on the Ring of Kerry, Country Kerry. Stargazing to the sound of the ocean in pristine dark skies is as good as it gets!!
Because of the lack of light pollution in the Kerry International Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve, you will see the star constellations and planets as they were seen by your ancestors.
Voted the most beautiful place on earth by National Geographic the Dingle Peninsula stretches 30 miles (48 kilometres) into the Atlantic Ocean on the south-west coast on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The peninsula is dominated by the range of mountains running from the Slieve Mish range to the Conor Pass and Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest peak.
The magnificent coastline consists of steep sea-cliffs such as Slea Head, dramatic headlands broken by sandy beaches, with the award-winning beach at Inch and a jaw-dropping visual delight of a drive.
Known as the musical capitol of Ireland Doolin is located on the edge of the Burren in County Clare. Doolin is a colourful little village full of character and charm.
Located near the Ceide Fields in County Mayo this dramatic seascape will remain in your memories forever. The Dun Briste sea stack, the waves roaring of the rugged rocky coast epitomize the Wild Atlantic Way Route.
Drombeg Stone Circle
Drombeg is known as the Druid’s Altar and can be found in County Cork. In one of those magical in-between places in Ireland, there remains an air of mystery and spirituality around this magnificent stone circle.
Erected in the early thirteenth century on the site of a Viking settlement, Dublin Castle served for centuries as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland. In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, Dublin Castle was handed over to the new Irish government. Take a tour of the
The GPO Museum is an immersive, interactive and engaging experience telling the story of the 1916 Easter Rising and Modern Irish History. The Museum is located on O’Connell Street in Dublin and is a must-visit to appreciate Irish History.
Found on the Island of Inishmore off the coast of Galway Dun Aonghasa is one of Ireland’ iconic sites clinging to the cliff edge of the island. Dún Aonghasa is over 3,000 years old. Excavations have revealed significant evidence of prehistoric metalworking, as well as several houses and burials.
Dunamase Castle is the seat of the ancient Kings of Laois. The Rock of Dunamase is the spectacular hill that the Castle of Dunamase sits atop and overlooks the Valley of the O’Moores just outside Portlaoise in County Laois.
Located at Downpatrick Head Dún Briste (Gaelic for Broken Fort) was once joined to the mainland. The sea stack stands 45 metres (150 feet) tall and it is one of Ireland’s most photographed sites.
Dunguaire Castle and its history lie at the heart of Ireland’s literary revival in the early 20th century. Located near Kinvarra Galway the Castle became the site of a great revival in Irish literature exemplified by the works of writers such as Synge, Yeats Shaw and O’Casey. It became the venue for meetings of literary revivalists such as W.B. Yeats, his patron Lady Gregory, George Bernard Shaw, Edward Martin and J.M. Synge.
In County Kilkenny, the Dunmore Cave has been known for centuries and referred to as one of the ‘darkest places in Ireland’. The Annals of the Four Masters, tells how the Viking leader Guthfrith of Ivar massacred a thousand people there in AD 928.
The English Market Cork has a reputation for showcasing the best in local produce, artisanal bakeries, speciality butchers and the market holds tight to its traditions to provide a fantastic place to meet foodies with tons of events throughout the year. There is also your pick of foods to grab and go or check out the cafe on the second floor and enjoy a Full Irish Breakfast.
Fairy Bridges Tullan Strand
You can find the Fairy Bridges and the Wishing Chair in Bundoran, Donegal. The Fairy Bridges and the Wishing Chair are signed from Roguey’s Walk are subject to legends and stories dating back to the 1700s and probably further. The fairy bridges are sea stacks hundreds of years old, locals believed them to be haunted by the fairies with the result of the name “The Fairy Bridges”.
The Gallarus Oratory in County Kerry was built between the seventh and eighth century and is the best preserved early Christian church in Ireland. It represents the peak of dry-stone corbelling, using techniques first developed by Neolithic tomb makers.
The Galtee Mountains or Galty Mountains are a mountain range in Munster, located in Ireland’s Golden Vale across parts of counties Limerick, South Tipperary and Cork. The name “Galtee” is thought to be a from the Irish “Sléibhte na gCoillte” translated as “Mountains of the Forests” in English. The Galtees are Ireland’s highest inland mountain range, taking the form of a high ridge which rises up almost sheer from the surrounding plain.
Galway is one of those cities that live for music. Wandering the streets of Galway you are bound to find a busker or 6 performing on all the corners of the main pedestrian area. Just one of the many reasons to love Galway.
Gap of Dunloe
Visible for miles around, the iconic Gap of Dunloe in Killarney, Kerry is found between the highest mountains in Ireland (McGillycuddy Reeks) and Killarney’s Purple and Tomies mountains. The Gap has become an important landmark in every tour of Killarney.
Glasnevin Cemetery Museum is also a central location for those wanting to trace their Irish ancestors. The cemetery is free to visit and wander around the grounds.
Glen of Aherlow
The Glen of Aherlow in Tipperary is a lush valley where the River Aherlow runs between the Galtee Mountains and the wooded ridge of Slievenamuck. Bounded by the rural villages of Bansha and Galbally, the Glen was historically an important pass between Limerick and Tipperary.
The early Christian monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, and known as Glendalough is located just south of Dublin in the superb Wicklow Mountains National Park. Glendalough walks and lakes are jaw-droppingly beautiful. An area of outstanding natural beauty is also home to one of the most important historic sites in Ireland. The Glendalough Monastic Site is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Ireland according to Lonely Planet.
Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh Castle, Donegal lies deep in the heart of the Glenveagh National Park which is the second largest national park in Ireland. With a dark history, Glenveagh Castle and its grounds provide some stunning walking and hiking trails.
An area of wild and beautiful scenery, this magnificent Forest Park in County Cork covers over 137 hectares (339 acres). It is tucked in a lush valley at the edge of the Sheehy mountains, the ideal place to hike, get in touch with nature. This is where you will find the iconic St Finbarr’s Oratory or Small Church on the lake island, with beautiful old stations of the cross and stunning stained glass windows
Everyone wants a pint of the black stuff when coming to Ireland. Well, what could be better than learning how to pour it yourself and then drink it while overlooking the magnificent views of Dublin from the bar above the Guinness Brewery. A tour here will teach you all you need to know about Guinness and its history in Ireland.
Nicknamed Guinness Lake the Lough is one of the most photographed locations in Wicklow and home to the filming sites for HBO’s Viking TV show. The stunning scenery surrounded by the mountains makes it one of the most iconic locations in Ireland. Its glorious white beach (imported by the Guinness family who owns the Loch and Estate) and the shape of the lake makes it look like a pint of Guinness.
Hill of Uisneach
The Hill of Uisneach is on private land all visits must be made through booking a tour. The Sacred Centre of Ireland is spread over 250 acres, our guided tours are delivered completely outdoors meandering in and out of lush working farmland. An ancient ceremonial site in Westmeath It is a protected national monument. It consists of numerous monuments and earthworks—prehistoric and medieval—including a megalithic tomb, burial mounds, standing stones, holy wells and a medieval road.
Hore Abbey, of which there is a magnificent view from the Rock of Cashel, was founded in the 1270s by an order of Benedictines. It is hauntingly beautiful, placed in a meadow directly opposite the Rock, Hore is also known as St. Mary’s as it was dedicated to the Saint.
Irish National Stud
Home to Ireland’s finest horses the stud produced the winners of all five Classic races. You can visit the Stud and admire the horses and visit the Japanese Gardens, renowned throughout the world and the finest of their kind in Europe.
Historians and archaeologist believe that Jerpoint was founded during the 12th century by the King of Ossory, Donal Mac Gilla Patric was possibly the founder of Jerpoint abbey as a Benedictine monastery. It was inhabited by Cistercian monks 20 years later. The ruins are located in Kilkenny near Thomastown.
Although time has taken its toll on the many ruins of Ireland, Jerpoint Abbey is a unique historic site with its beautiful stone carvings and cloister arcade which still contain stunning stone carvings.
You’ll find Kells Augustinian Priory about a kilometre from the village of Kells in Kellsborough, Co. Kilkenny. Founded by Strongbow’s brother-in-law Geoffrey FitzRobert Kells Priory covers over 3 acres and there are two entrances to the area. The local name for the Priory is “the Seven Castles” which was inspired by the tower houses and their military defences. Since 1893, Kells Priory has been a National Monument,
One of Ireland’s best-kept secrets lies in the Wild Atlantic Way on the Loop Head Peninsula County Clare and it is the Kilkee Cliffs. The Cliffs of Kilkee are an incredibly dramatic landscape that is rarely trespassed by tourists. This is one of the most dramatic and pristine locations on earth and a hidden secret that contains a small population and it is a protected environment so there is no development to spoil the views.
Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands the crossing on the River Nore and dominates the ‘High Town’ of Kilkenny City. Kilkenny Castle is a complex structure that has evolved over 8 centuries and contains many architectural styles.
Kilkenny Medieval Mile
The City is known for its Medieval Mile and also as the Marble City because of its distinctive black marble. When walking the Mile you will see medieval slipways or alleys, a Tudor Inn, a Dominican Abbey and a fine example of a 17th-century merchant’s house and the only example of its kind in Ireland.
You can visit a recreated medieval garden, climb St. Canice’s Round Tower (the oldest standing structure on the city), and take a glimpse inside the lives of the Butler family and their servants at Kilkenny Castle. Or feel the hairs rise and your heart beat faster at tales of witchcraft in Kyteler’s Inn here since 1324.
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park brings thousands of tourists to Killarney every year. The park itself is an outdoor lover’s playground; waterfalls, lakes, rivers, wildlife, and woodlands make up roughly 40 square miles of the park. The town itself is one of Ireland’s most charming with great pubs, traditional music and lots of craic.
Killary Harbour extends 16km (10 miles) inland from the Wild Atlantic Way to its head at Aasleagh, below Aasleagh falls right within the Connemara Loop. The Harbour forms the border between Mayo and Galway and the area certainly contains some of the most spectacular scenery in the Irish west.
Opened in 1796 and closed in 1924 Kilmainham is a stark reminder of how the Irish were treated during those times. Today the museum stands as a monument to the civil war and all of Ireland’s rebellions and uprisings. It is a haunting place and a must-see when visiting Ireland.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock usually is a Catholic pilgrimage site and National Shrine in the village of Knock, County Mayo, Ireland, where observers believed that there was an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist, angels, and Jesus Christ in 1879.
The flattish summit of the mountain Knocknarea Sligo is topped by the massive Queen Maeve’s Cairn, The ancient stone cairn looms over Sligo town. From the parking lot, it is a walk up a neat path and it takes around 40 to 45 minutes to reach Queen Maeve’s Cairn. The cairn is about 10 meters high and is visible for miles around.
Kylemore Abbey was built for love – the love of Dr Mitchell who built the manor house for his wife Margaret who tragically died young.
The real highlight of visiting Kylemore Abbey is strolling the 6-acre Victorian Walled Garden. The buildings are beautifully restored and there are woodland walks, gurgling streams, nature trains and play trails for the children.
Hook Lighthouse in Wexford is truly one of a kind. Purpose-built 800 years ago by Knight William Marshal, take a step back in time and enjoy a guided tour hearing tales of medieval times and life as a lightkeeper. Take in the spectacular view from the balcony with miles of the sea rolling out before you. Enjoy the visitor centre with a gift shop, art workshop, exhibits and café.
Limerick Milk Market
As in many countries, Ireland is working to emphasize buying local, buying fresh and supporting small producers and the Limerick Milk Market is the epitome of that ethos.
A bustling foodie mecca the Milk Market Limerick has something for everyone. From special events to foodie tastings and cooking classes the Milk Market covers the gamut of gourmet events in the area.
Lisdoonvarna, in North Clare, is Ireland’s premier Spa town and is famous for its music and festival – while it is also perfectly placed for visits to the Burren National Park. Festivals are a feature of ‘Lisdoon’, the two premier ones being the September Festival – one of Europe’s largest singles match-making festival of romance; and the Burren Slow Food Festival.
Walk-in St. Patrick’s footsteps at Lough Derg. Lough Derg is an ancient sanctuary of St. Patrick and it is a pilgrimage site set on an island in the middle of the Loch. It welcomes pilgrims and you can spend the day or three days and walk in the footsteps of St. Patrick.
Lough Gur is a magical and mysterious place that is rich in folklore along with a wealth of archaeology and history dating back to Stone Age times. The Heritage Centre provides a fascinating interpretation of the sites associated with Lough Gur. The Heritage Centre is located 5 km’s from the Great Grange Stone Circle – Ireland’s largest stone circle!
The furthest north you can go in Ireland Malin Head in Donegal is absolutely worth a visit. The landscapes are stunning and if you walk or hike you will be in heaven. When visiting Malin Head you will spot the white stone word “Eire” written on the grass. Recently uncovered these stones date back to WWII so that it was a beacon for the N. American planes flying supplies into N. Ireland.
Mellifont Abbey is a 12th-century Cistercian abbey with an incredible set of ruins that are quite breathtaking. There is an octagonal lavabo which is an ancient washing place for the monks before meals. The arches are Romanesque and the carvings really detailed. You can hear the river whispering in the background and if you listen carefully you can just imagine the chanting of monks as they went about their daily routines.
It’s not Mount Errigal but simply Errigal and it’s close by the Poisoned Glen, Errigal and surrounding areas are within Glenveagh boundaries, and the main entrance lies a 10-minute drive from the Errigal Car Park. The Poisoned Glen lies at the foot of Errigal. The views here are probably some of the most photographed in Ireland. From Lough Dunlewey and the old Church is a photographers dream.
Mizen Head is Ireland’s most Southwesterly Point and a Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way At the end of the Mizen Peninsula, the cliffs of Mizen Head rise high above the Atlantic Ocean, where the currents meet from the west and south coasts and waves from the mid-Atlantic crash into the land.
Monasterboice is one of Ireland’s historic monastic centres and one of the earliest Christian sites with its round tower, high crosses and its displays of Irish Christianity. Monasterboice is near Drogheda in County Louth. These impressive ruins include a large cemetery, two churches, one of the tallest round towers in Ireland and two of the tallest and best high crosses.
National Botanic Gardens
Glasnevin is also home to The National Botanical Gardens, with its beautiful historic glasshouses that date back to 1795. The flower, which inspired Thomas Moore’s “Last Rose of Summer”, is said to bloom still near the main entrance gates. The gardens were built originally to study agriculture but by the 1830s the pursuit of botanical knowledge had overtaken the original purpose.
Newgrange is a Stone Age (Neolithic) monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, it is the jewel in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East Newgrange is a Neolithic monument that was constructed about 5,200 years ago (3,200 B.C.) which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Newgrange is a large circular mound 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high with a 19 meter (21 yards) stone passageway and chambers inside.
The Poisoned Glen lies at the foot of Errigal in Donegal. The views here are probably some of the most photographed in Ireland. The Poisoned Glen got its name from the wrong translation from Irish to English and the correct name should be ‘Heavenly
Another story is that the King of Tory, Balor, had a gorgeous daughter who he kept closed away in a Tower out of men’s view. However, word of her beauty spread and she was kidnapped and brought to Magheroarty. Balor followed and got her and killed her kidnapper with a giant stone. At the entrance to The Poisoned Glen one such stone stands, and it is said to be the poisoned eye of Balor.
One of the must-see when visiting Ireland is the magnificent Powerscourt House and Gardens. Just south of Dublin in Wicklow, it’s an easy drive and there are many bus tours to the area. The Gardens at Powerscourt are the great attraction of the place. With stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain, they stretch over 47 acres and offer a breathtaking blend of formal gardens, statuary, fountains, lakes, Japanese gardens, a Pet Cemetery, the Pepperpot Tower, sweeping terraces, secret hollows and rambling walks.
Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry on the wild Atlantic way coastal route. Taking you through some of the most breathtaking vistas in Ireland the route is a circular 179 km.
Rock of Cashel
The Rock rises out of the landscape as you approach it placed high on top of limestone outcrops where it oversees the fertile landscape of Tipperary. Stonewalls circle a round tower, a 13th-century Gothic cathedral and an exceptional 12th-century Romanesque chapel containing some of Ireland’s oldest frescoes.
Rockfleet Castle is also known as Carraigahowley, an English interpretation of the Irish Carraig an Chabhlaigh, meaning “rock of the fleet”. The tower house was built around the middle of the 16th century. When Grace O’Malley (Ireland’s Pirate Queen) divorced her second husband in 1566 she moved her ships and army to Rockfleet. Grace gave birth to a son Tiobaid na Loinge or Toby of the Ships onboard her ship which was later attacked by Barbery pirates. On her return to Rockfleet, she reunited with Richard to protect her people from the English.
The Saltee Islands are situated approximately 5km off the coast of Kilmore Quay County Wexford. The larger island, Great Saltee, is the most famous bird sanctuary in Ireland and is very popular with both day-trippers and birdwatchers – think puffins – alike. Day visitors are allowed on Great Saltee between 11 am and 4:30 pm only. These are privately owned islands.
Skellig Michael & Small Skellig lie 13 km from the southwest coast of Valentia Island. Weather permitting you can head to the Skelligs by way of boat. Over 1400 years ago Skellig Michael became home to a small group of men seeking religious solitude and isolation. This is also the world-famous location of the Star Wars home of Luke Skywalker.
Famous around the world for its concert events Slane Castle is located in the town of Slane, within the Boyne Valley of County Meath, Ireland. Set in the middle of a 1,500-acre estate it offers Glamping, a new Whiskey Distillery and castle tours.
These Cliffs are believed to be the highest in Europe and offer absolutely spectacular views and the rough and rugged landscape is a sight you must see before leaving Donegal. There are several ways up the mountain. In season there is a shuttle bus to take you to the top viewing point, but during quieter seasons you pass the second parking lot and enter the trail by car through the gate, simply close the gate behind you and drive up to the viewing point.
Just off the coast of Cobh Spike Island is Ireland’s former penal colony where convicts were put when waiting for transport to Australia (known as Van Diemen’s Land then) and Barbados. The island was a prison to rebels during the Irish War of Independence and even held IRA inmates up until 1985 including any rebels from the IRA during the Irish War of Independence
St. Canice’s Cathedral
St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny contains some of the finest ancient monuments in Ireland and surprisingly to many is not a Catholic Cathedral but a Church of Ireland building. The Cathedral is one of the most well-known sights in Kilkenny, which was once a Medieval centre of Ireland. The roots of St. Canice’s Cathedral extend back to the 6th century when the Church of St. Canice stood here.
St. Michan’s mummies
The foundations of St. Michan’s in Dublin dating back to 1095, the church was originally built to serve the Vikings, who were still in Ireland. Caskets are strewn and tucked into niches in the walls but with the conditions in the crypt the coffins are disintegrating and in some of them you can see some of the remains. The main four “mummies” are the Unknown Woman, The Crusader, the Thief who is missing parts of both feet and his hand ( which was said to be his punishment) and The Nun.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. An 800-year-old building constructed on the site of an ancient well supposedly used by Saint Patrick himself. Major restoration works were carried out in the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel in 2012/2013, allowing visitors to get a glimpse back in time to what the space would originally have looked like. The Cathedral hosts masses daily and at Christmastime, the services are a must-attend.
St. Peter’s Tin Church
It is said that the beautiful Tin Church in Laragh County Monaghan was a gift from the mill owner James McKean to his wife after their honeymoon in Switzerland where she saw and fell in love with it. Built of tin the Church sits on a rock in a beautiful woodland setting. It is part of Ireland’s irreplaceable built heritage and was listed as a Building of National Importance by National Inventory of Architectural Heritage in 2014
Whitefriar Street Church Dublin holds the remains of St. Valentine the casket sits beneath the marble altar in a niche which is protected by an ornate iron and glass gate. Above the altar stands the life-sized statue of the saint set into a marble mosaic alcove. The casket is wooden and on top bears the papal coat of arms of Gregory XVI along with two large gold plates which have the letter of Cardinal Odescalchi inscribed in English upon them. Between these two plates and beneath the papal crest is a smaller plate with the inscription: This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus the Martyr, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood.
Ireland’s winding lanes and ancient roads can lead to incredible ancient monuments from the Stone Age onwards. Shrouded in mystery and kept safe by legends these ancient monuments are a source of intrigue for both the Irish and the tourist. Found all over Ireland and dating back tens of thousands of years Irish stone circles tend to be much smaller than places than stone circles found in Britain. Many are on private land and can be difficult to find and hard to get to.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Great Sugar Loaf Mountain dominates the skyline as you drive south from Dublin into Wicklow. This unique mountains stand apart from the rest of the upland and is instantly recognisable by its conical shape. The shape is what gave the mountain its name as back in the day sugar came in a cone that had to be scraped off to be used in a cup of tea.
A 2km walk from Cahir Castle you will find the Swiss Cottage a picture-perfect thatched-roof building tucked into a gloriously beautiful estate. Swiss Cottage is believed to have been designed by the famous architect John Nash. The cottage is quite lovely with its thatched roof and climbing flower trellises.
One of the most revered and ancient historical sites in Ireland is Tara the ancient Irish seat of the High Kings in County Meath. It is a huge site that is continually being investigated archaeologically. Tara encompassed the Rath of the Synods, The Mound of the Hostages and the Stone of Destiny or the Lia Fáil. This is one of the top attractions in Ireland.
The name Burren means “great rock” Boireann is Irish Gaelic. Located in Northwestern County Clare it covers between 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi) and 560 square kilometres (220 sq mi).
The Great Western Greenway
The World Class Great Western Greenway is the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland. Completely traffic-free cycling and walking trail it follows the route of the Westport to Achill railway which closed in 1937.
Check out this stunning college that holds Ireland’s greatest treasure the Book of Kells. Take a tour of the old library and pick up some quintessential Irish gifts in the bookshop. You can book tickets online but keep in mind the pages are turned every day and you may not see some of the most beautiful illustrated pages and the lineups are immense.
Just off the coast of County Donegal near Dunfanghy lies Tory Island. A place steeped in myth and majestic landscapes. If you’re planning a trip to this magical island, be aware that ferries travel daily from the mainland between April and October, and five times a week during the rest of the year.
Located on the Skellig Coast in the Southern Peninsulas of the Wild Atlantic Way adjacent to the Ring of Kerry, Valentia Island is still one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. Valentia Island is scattered with ancient Cairns Dolmens, Wedge tombs, Standing Stones, Ogham Stones, a promontory fort, remains of churches, numerous beehive huts and the Tetrapod Tracks.
In 1844, an experiment took place from Valentia Island actually measuring distance physically in conjunction with time to Greenwich in England. This marked out the lines of Longitude. Then in 1862, because Valentia Island was connected by telegraph to the mainland, a different experiment took place to confirm the readings from 1844. The second experiment used an instrument called an Altazamuth (the actual instrument is housed at the observatory in Greenwich).
Viking Triangle Waterford
Waterford was founded by the Vikings around 1000 years ago and today it boasts the largest collection of medieval walls and defensive towers. Reginald’s Tower is found at the highest point of the Viking Triangle, you can’t miss it as there is usually a Viking Boat just in front of the Tower. Inside you will find Ireland’s most comprehensive Viking exhibition that includes grave finds from a Warrior’s tomb. You can see the Waterford Kite Brooch, weapons and much more.
Wicklow Mountains & Sally Gap
The Wicklow Mountains National Park covers over 20,000 hectares of stunning scenery and mountain hikes. The park includes the incredible historic valley of Glendalough and its historic legacy. The Sally Gap mountain pass is one of the two passes that meander through the Wicklow Mountains.
Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way route sits along the West Coast of Ireland, covering 2700 kilometres – the longest defined coastal route in the world. The WAW encompasses 9 counties each and every one of which is stunningly beautiful.
“tread softly, for you tread on my dreams”
Yeats was laid to rest in 1948 under the shadow of Ben Bulben Mountain in Drumcliffe, Cemetery County Sligo. An unassuming grave holds his remains in St. Columba’s Church.
There you have it 101 Irish landmarks to visit or add to your Irish bucket list. Keep in mind this isn’t a definitive list as there are thousands of places to see and visit in Ireland so hopefully, this will help you create your Irish bucket list before you visit.
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