21 Incredible Reasons to Visit Ireland
Stretches of lush green paddocks, charming towns, and dramatic cliffside landscapes are just a few reasons why visiting the majestic country of Ireland is a must. Also known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is home to green hills that roll across castles, cathedrals, and acres of rich history.
While living in Ireland for three months, I was able to travel throughout the country and discover why it’s such a special place that millions flock to. Ireland houses a unique culture that is celebrated and perpetuated through its proud and welcoming people.
Is Ireland Worth Visiting? Absolutely
If you’re wondering if Ireland is worth visiting, the answer is absolutely! From the famous Cliffs of Moher to Irish dancing to bustling cities like Dublin and Cork, there are dozens of reasons to visit Ireland.
Below are 21 of the top reasons why you must add Ireland to your travel list.
1. Breathtaking Landscapes
Regardless of where you travel to within Ireland, you can’t escape the natural beauty that stretches across the country. With incredible landscapes of rugged cliffs to rolling emerald hills atop the sea, prepare for views that will take your breath away.
2. The Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way is one of the most scenic drives in the world, spanning about 1,500 miles of coastline. Ireland is best explored by car so you can discover hidden gems that are sprinkled throughout the country. Take the Wild Atlantic Way and see why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle.
3. Welcoming People
One of the best parts of visiting Ireland is engaging with the warm and welcoming Irish people. Strike up a conversation with the locals to not only enjoy their lovely accents, but to learn about their history and culture.
4. Historic Castles
If you’re looking to visit castles in Ireland, you’re in luck. There are over 3,000 castles throughout the country, some of which date back to the 11th century. A couple of my favorites are Blarney Castle, where you must kiss the Blarney Stone for good luck, and the beautiful Dublin Castle.
5. Charming Towns
Many towns throughout Ireland are hidden gems. They’re quaint, charming, and built around laneways lined with colorful buildings and potted florals. Some of my favorite towns in Ireland are Kinsale, pictured below, Doolin, and Clonakilty, named “Best Town in Europe 2017.”
6. Home of Guinness and Jameson Whiskey
If you love Guinness or Jameson Whiskey, you’re in luck. See where Guinness is made at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, and enjoy the panoramic views of the city on their upper level. Visit Cork to see where Jameson Whisky is made and take a tour of their distillery.
7. Cliffs of Moher
Ireland’s most famous cliffs are the Cliffs of Moher, located on the western coast of the country. Its towering cliffs stretch five miles long and soar over 700 ft. high. There’s no denying the Cliffs of Moher are a natural wonder, and a must-see while visiting Ireland.
8. Visit Dublin
Dublin is the capital of Ireland and the largest city within the country. It’s home to the famous Trinity College, Guinness Storehouse, and vibrant culture. Wander through its decorated laneways and visit Dublin Castle and St. Stephen’s Green while there.
9. Visit Cork
Cork is my favorite city in Ireland, although I’m partial to it since I lived there! It’s the second-largest city in Ireland and has been named the foodie capital of the country. Cork houses an authentic Irish charm, as well as numerous amazing restaurants.
Check out this blog post for a full list of things to do and see in Cork, including day trips and tours.
10. National Parks
There are six national parks in Ireland that are very worth visiting. Pictured below is Killarney National Park, which spans more than 24,000 acres of mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. You could easily spend a full day exploring one of these parks; see a map of all of them here.
11. Delicious Food
Ireland claims several unique foods like Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, and black pudding. Try as many local cuisines that you can while there, and wash them down with pint of Guinness or Beamish. Visit the foodie capital, Cork, and take a food tour to check out popular markets and try local dishes.
12. Experience Irish Culture
Irish culture infuses music, dance, folklore, food, and so much more. It’s a culture that has been brewing for thousands of years and still honors its traditional and familial roots. Experiencing it means feeling the magic that flows throughout the Emerald Isle.
13. Gaelic Football
Attend a Gaelic football game and experience one of the most traditional and oldest Irish/Gaelic sports. Gaelic football is one of four indigenous Irish games, which also include Hurling, Rounders, and Handball. Visit Croke Park in Dublin and catch a game while there.
14. Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is another popular scenic drive that features impressive rock formations, sandy beaches, and cliffside ocean views. It covers 120 miles of the Iveragh Peninsula, which is located in the southwestern part of Ireland.
15. Medieval Heritage
Scattered throughout Ireland are notes of the country’s medieval heritage. Towns like Kilkenny, Waterford, and Carlingford preserve Ireland’s medieval history. Visit Waterford’s Medieval Museum to experience what things were like in medieval Irish times.
16. Dingle Peninsula
The Dingle Peninsula is arguably the best area to see endless stretches of lush greenery and breathtaking views. Drive around the peninsula and visit Slea Head and Dunquin Pier. The roads are narrow and get busy over summer months, so take precaution when going!
17. Beautiful Gardens and Parks
There are dozens of gardens and parks throughout Ireland that are beautiful for picnics or strolling through. Some of my favorites are St. Stephen’s Green park in Dublin, and the gardens at Blarney Castle in Cork.
18. Historic Cathedrals and Churches
In addition to Ireland’s incredible castles are historic cathedrals and churches. Check out Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland’s national cathedral, as well as Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork.
19. Music Culture
Music comprises a huge part of the Irish culture and significantly amplifies the buzzing energy of Ireland. Whether you’re attending a show, at the pub, or passing a local musician on the street, it’s inevitable to hear traditional Irish folk tunes while visiting.
20. Experience Irish Dancing
Dance is another huge part of Irish culture, and Irish dance is unlike any other. Popular types of Irish dance include step dancing, which dates back to the 18th century and incorporates traditional costumes. Catch a Riverdance show while in Ireland and marvel at the art of Irish step dancing.
21. Endless Green Paddocks
Have I mentioned the endless stretches of green paddocks? It’s hard to find such lush greenery anywhere else outside of Ireland that appears infinite upon gazing. No matter the time of year you visit Ireland, revel in the green fields and take it all in.
How many days should you spend in Ireland?
In order to see the best of Ireland and truly experience the country, spending at least seven to ten days there is ideal. With so much to see in Ireland, you can easily spend more time there to explore and immerse in the Irish culture.
Is Ireland a good place for Americans to visit?
Ireland is one of the most friendly countries to all tourists! The Irish people are very warm and welcoming. I’ve found that they’re always happy to help tourists navigate and get around the country.
What months should you go to Ireland?
I would recommend visiting Ireland during the spring and fall seasons, when the weather is pleasant and there’s not too many tourists. The ideal months would be between March through May, and September through October. You could also consider going in December when the country will be decorated for Christmas.
Conclusion: Is Ireland Worth Visiting?
I hope that after reading this, you agree that Ireland is worth visiting! There’s so much to experience throughout the entire country, from its major cities, colorful towns, and breathtaking landscapes. Make sure to pack a rain jacket, regardless of which season you visit Ireland.
Enjoy the beautiful Emerald Isle, I know you’ll very much love it there.