Must-See Ireland: 9 Most Beautiful Sights & Attractions
Ireland is as attractive as they come—in the “au naturel” way. Beautiful scenery abounds everywhere you look, but there are some attractions and landmarks in Ireland you truly can’t miss, especially if you’re a first-timer. But don't just take our word for it. We tapped the most in-the-know Irish locals we could find—our EF Ultimate Break Ireland Tour Directors—for their reccos on their favorite scenic spots.
If Ireland entered into a beauty pageant...
It probably wouldn’t win (because, you know, it’s a country). But if the judges in this hypothetical scenario could just look past that, they’d see that the breathtaking landscapes and rolling green hills make Ireland a solid contender.
It makes sense then that trips to Ireland are some of the most popular amongst our EF Ultimate Break travelers. Whether you're a fitness freak looking to hike and bike your way through Ireland's national parks, or you're just here for the St. Paddy's Day celebrations—we have a great Ireland sightseeing (or pub-crawling) adventure for you.
So where are the most beautiful places in Ireland? Luckily, many of Ireland’s top attractions are absurdly photogenic. But don’t just take our word for it. We asked a few EF Ultimate Break Tour Directors from Ireland what they’d recommend. If your bucket list is driven by awe and wonder, these are the best sights in Ireland to check off first. (And to make sure you fit in upon arrival, check out our first-timer tips for visiting Ireland).
Cliffs of Moher
This one’s a no-brainer, as one of Ireland’s most iconic landmarks. Even if you haven’t visited, you’ve at least seen photos of these seaside cliffs. And surely, upon seeing these photos, Ireland shot to the top of your “Daydreaming of Europe” Pinterest board. You don’t have a board like that? Oh, uh… me neither. Let’s move on.
The cliffs rise 700 feet above the ocean, giving you dramatic views of the coastline as well as a strong desire to spread your arms and yell “I’m on top of the world!” And while 700 feet is certainly not the “top of the world,” it sure feels that way. Not only is this a must-see in Ireland, but it’s one of the most stunning places in the world.
Have you ever seen a place so beautiful you just had to kiss it? No? Well clearly you’ve never been to Blarney Castle. Travelers flock to this medieval stronghold near Cork, Ireland to plant their lips on the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that kissing the stone gives you the “gift of gab,” which is just a fancy way to say, the ability to speak eloquently.
To kiss the stone, you lean backwards over a long drop while holding on to an iron railing. Essentially, it’s an upside-down Spider-Man kiss. You’re Toby Maguire, but Kirsten Dunst is nowhere to be found.
If you’re not into smooching an old rock, there’s more fun to be had. There’s the castle itself, which was built during the 15th century, as well as plenty of beautiful gardens to walk through.
Featured Trip: Grand Tour of Ireland
9 days. 4 cities. All the Guinness and craic (good times).
Pros: Frolic amongst the gorgeous countryside then cozy up in a pub with a pint and acoustic melodies. By the end of this trip, you'll be convinced Ed Sheeran's "Galway Girl" is about you.
Cons: You'll grow so fond of traditional Irish music, buy a fiddle, quit your job, and try to make it as a busker. Reality check: you won't. But you'll always have that night at the Temple Bar.
Ring of Kerry
Stretching 111 miles around Ireland’s Iveragh Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry is guaranteed to be one of the most scenic drives of your life. Yes, even more scenic than Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road. You can easily spend a day exploring all the hiking paths, waterfalls, vistas, and medieval ruins along the way.
EF Ultimate Break’s Irish Tour Director Marco agrees, offering up this little insider tidbit: “The most epic and favourite point on the Ring of Kerry is just after the tiny village of Waterville... the road starts to climb steeply to reach Coomakista Pass with stunning views of Scariff Island and if the weather permits, you might have the chance to spot the iconic Skellig Islands.”
There’s so much beauty in Galway, we tossed the whole damn city in here. Located on the western coast of Ireland, this picture-perfect town is downright delightful—a utopia of authentic Irish sightseeing. The streets are bustling, the buildings are rich in history, and the pubs are always buzzing with live music and merriment.
And would you really be in Ireland if spectacular natural beauty wasn’t a short walk away? Take a stroll along the River Corrib, gaze out at Galway Bay, think of us, and be glad you took time to read this post and plan a trip to Ireland.