Things to See
Dublin’s Dublinia Arch and Christ Church Cathedral (The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity). Photo by Donaldytong.
Ireland’s capital is a lively, beautiful Georgian city with great culture, impressive architecture, history up to the shillelaghs and wild pubs. See Dublin travel.
The famous Moher cliffs walk beside the Atlantic Ocean in County Clare. Photo by Gerald Tapp.
Moving north up the Atlantic coast to County Clare, hikers should stroll the Moher cliffs, various castles and the Burren in County Clare, an extraordinary limestone range with a unique floral habitat.
The luscious Aran Islands, across the mouth of Galway Bay, are where you can see rural Ireland as it was centuries ago; the traditional way of life of the Aran islanders has not been subject to modernisation and Irish is still spoken there. You can reach the islands by ferry from Galway.
Kylemore Abbey, County Galway. Photo by Bert Kaufmann.
Ireland’s least populated region (except during the superb Galway summertime festivals – such as the Oyster Festival – when the area becomes party central), and Connemara is the heart of it, with a wonderful landscape of moorland and mountains and still supports pockets of Irish speakers.
Athenry Priory in County Galway, one of two ruined attractions. The other is a castle. Photo by Andreas F. Borchert.
Horse Riding: all kinds of horsey holidays are on offer, and all utilising quiet, pretty trails and beaches, many in the south-west. Or. . . for a truly ethnic experience what about a horse-drawn caravan holiday!
Sailing/kayaking: very popular round the west coast, especially between Cork Harbour and the Dingle Peninsula, the coast north and south of Dublin and on the larger lakes.
Windsurfing: Steady year-round wind and good waves make this sport popular too.
Surfing: try the waves in Easkey in County Sligo, Castlegregory and Barleycove on the Mizen Head Peninsula.
Self-Drive Inland Boating: Ireland has over 400 miles of navigable rivers, lakes and canals that you can explore by yourself with minimal instruction on a narrow boat, with plenty of moorings and marinas en route.
Or take go on a cruise boat a let someone else do the driving.
Scuba: Yes, strange but true! From March to October hardy divers explore the rocky coasts and colourful fish courtesy of the Gulf Stream.
Hotels in Ireland range from luxury to shabby but all get busy in the summer season so book ahead. Hostels are popular, as are B & Bs and a chain of 26 Irish Youth Hostels known as An Oige.
* June, Music in Great Irish Houses Festival, mostly Dublin, plus counties Wicklow and Kildare. Excellent.
June, Eigse Carlow Arts Festival, all kinds of music and street entertainment.
June, Galway Pride, parades, fancy dress and general hard partying.
* July, Galway Arts Festival, all kinds of entertainment at this great show.
August, Waterford Spraoi Street Festival
August, Muff Festival, wild and wacky 3 day street event.
*August, Puck Fair, a bizarre 3 day event.
August, Kilkenny Arts Festival, set in superb surroundings.
*August, Rose of Tralee International Festival, a massive party celebrating romance!
August, Fleadh Cheoil, huge all-Ireland music competition, music everywhere, Clonmel, County Tipperary.
September, Galway Int. Oyster Festival, with fun events of all sorts.
End of October, Cork Jazz Festival, 4 days
*Mid October-early November, Wexford Opera Festival, small but perfectly formed.