When people talk about dream vacation destinations, Ireland often tops the list. If you are planning a trip with the family to the Emerald Isle, make sure you build your itinerary around these must-see sites to make the most of your trip.
Located on the western shores of Ireland in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The dramatic natural landscape of these cliffs facing the wild waters of the Atlantic Ocean makes the Cliffs of Moher a great place to experience the power of nature. These stunning cliffs, which reach heights of more than 700 feet, can be reached many ways but the best way to experience the surrounding countryside is by renting bicycles from one of the nearby towns like Lahinch or Doolin. The cliffs are accessible daily, 8 a.m.–9 p.m., and visitors should plan on spending up to half a day to explore and enjoy the views.
Killarney National Park
Located in Southwestern Ireland near the town of Killarney in County Kerry, Killarney National Park is a place of raw natural beauty. The park is situated in mountainous terrain and includes peaceful lakes and natural woodlands. It is a great place for families to spend a day hiking in the wilderness to enjoy the sites and the local wildlife, which includes the country’s only herd of red deer. Visitors can explore Killarney House and Muckross Traditional Farms, tour the beautiful gardens or see the park by water on a boat tour or by canoe. Killarney is open year-round with 24-hour pedestrian access and daily hours for the various attractions.
The Blarney Stone
You’ll be hard-pressed to visit Ireland without the obligatory trip to Blarney Castle, just a short trip from the city of Cork. Legend has it kissing the castle’s famous Blarney Stone, a block of limestone built into the castle wall, gives the kisser the gift of eloquence. While you may not feel compelled to follow local legend and the thousands of other tourists who lay their lips on the rock each year, visiting the castle itself is a great way to see the countryside and experience a Medieval Irish castle. The castle is open year-round (except Dec. 24 and 25) starting at 9 a.m. Closing time varies depending on the season and there is a café on site.
The town of Sligo on the country’s northwestern coast has established quite a reputation as a must-see tourist destination thanks to its rugged beauty and old-world charm. There are traditional castles and quaint cottages, noteworthy restaurants serving delectable local dishes and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is also rich in history with sites like Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, which dates back to the Neolithic period. Another noteworthy site is Benbulben, also known as Table Mountain, a lush, flat-topped mountain outside of town ideal for an easy hike through the local countryside.