By Amanda Little
Wandering through the Emerald Isle, going where the wind takes you, is an interesting way to see the country, but for those with a time limit while abroad or for those who prefer to have a bit more structure to their vacations, the below are six stunning places that Ireland has to offer.
Exploring the capital of Ireland provides so many opportunities for amazing, possibly once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Take the chance to stroll down Grafton Street, tour the Guinness Storehouse, and maybe swing by Trinity College to sneak a peek at the Book of Kells. While sightseeing is all fun, don’t forget to partake in the amazing nightlife Dublin has to offer. Visit Temple Bar and catch a real “trad session” or some up and coming musicians, all while having a pint of the fabled black stuff. Read our travel editor's recommended travel guide to Dublin for more tips and ideas.
Visit the city that was built by Vikings as they invaded Ireland. Waterford once had walls surrounding it and was a corner of the Viking Triangle. Today, museums proclaim its turbulent history for all to see, and the most amazing crystal is made there. For those looking to see a bit more into the crystal trade, they can visit the Waterford House of Crystal to get a look!
Breathe in the briny breeze that drifts through the coastal city of Galway. Enjoy live music drifting through the streets, take charming strolls through the town, and maybe take a day trip out to see the stunning Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. Walk a little on the adventurous side and enjoy the Galway-famous oysters while you’re there too! The City of Tribes has it all – history, culture, festivals and food! Read our travel editor's recommended travel guide to Galway for more tips and ideas.
Traveling through the many expanses of Ireland can leave this smaller town forgotten, but those who want to get a taste of the local life away from tourist traps need to come to this amazing little portside spot. Westport offers an amazing amount of history in its streets. Here, legendary pirates made port, Westport House stands overlooking the water as a beautiful attraction, and many come to climb Crough Patrick Mountain, occasionally barefoot to get stunning views of the countryside. While you’re here, walk over Westport’s charming bridges and enjoy the shopping or pubs that line the streets.
The university city in County Cork - the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland - shouldn't be missed. Get a taste for the local culture and food at The English Market, a covered market dating back to 1788. Take a stroll down the pedestrian-friendly St. Patrick's Street before visiting Cork City Gaol, a former prison with a fascinating history. Just outside Cork City is the famous Blarney Castle where you may kiss the Blarney Stone!
As the birthplace of the ill-fated Titanic and the gateway to Northern Ireland, Belfast has plenty to offer visitors. Explore the fascinating history at Titanic Belfast, feel like royalty at Belfast Castle, and sample tasty treats at St. George's Market. The UNESCO-certified Giant's Causeway makes an easy and beautiful day trip from the capital.