trips planned today
out of 5
Trustscore rating

Best things to do in Ireland

Itinerary planner
+ Add destination
2 adults
- +
- +
- +
Where in the world: Europe  /  Ireland
The list of things to do in Ireland goes far beyond downing a pint of Guinness in a local pub. Comprising rugged coastal areas, sprawling national parks, and long sandy beaches, Ireland's spectacular landscapes hide stories of leprechauns and romantic legends. Its gentle green hills are dotted with medieval castles, such as Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, where a 19th-century Irish village comes to life with a little help from costumed actors. The busy city of Dublin is home to some of Ireland's most visited attractions, including Guinness Storehouse and Kilmainham Gaol, one of history's most notorious prisons.

Ireland is best known for its Specialty Museums, Nightlife, and History Museums.

Top 15 things to do in Ireland

1. Kilmainham Gaol Museum, Dublin

Kilmainham Gaol Museum turns the clock back a few decades, offering you a look inside one of history's most notorious prisons. The imposing gray building played a key role in Irish history for over a century, finally closing its doors in 1924. Before then it provided a grim setting for the imprisonment of notable participants in the many uprisings for Irish independence, culminating in the execution of 14 men who led a rebellion that took place during Easter week in 1916. You can take a guided walk through the history of this eerie site, now one of Europe's largest unoccupied structures of its kind. Before you leave, look in on the yard where the infamous 1916 executions took place.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about Kilmainham Gaol Museum
Tours including Kilmainham Gaol Museum:

2. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

Have a pint of Ireland's favorite beer at Guinness Storehouse, which narrates the history of one of the country's major exports. The old storehouse is the only part of a massive brewery open to the public--its signature attraction is a glass atrium designed to resemble a pint of Guinness. Discover the history of both the historical brewery and the popular brand on the ground floor, and then proceed up through seven more floors that demonstrate everything from the selection of barley and hops to the transportation and advertising of the finished product. Once you reach the top, claim your complimentary pint of the black brew at the storehouse's glass-enclosed bar, which offers panoramic views of the city.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Guinness Storehouse
Tours including Guinness Storehouse:

3. Temple Bar, Dublin

Capture Dublin's street culture at Temple Bar, a former slum now recognized for its vibrant nightlife. In the 1980s this neighborhood on the south bank of the Liffey River offered cheap rent to artists and young entrepreneurs, and quickly became the city's foremost cultural quarter. The neighborhood's cobbled streets offer family-friendly attractions during the day, including shops, restaurants, and galleries. After dark this riverside neighborhood transforms into a magnet for rowdy partygoers, attracted by the quarter's many pubs and bars. If daylight activities seem a bit more appealing, visit one of the area's four markets, offering everything from rare books and vintage clothes to organic foods and decorative arts.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Temple Bar
Tours including Temple Bar:
Plan your trip to Ireland
  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.

4. St Stephens Green, Dublin

Made famous by writer James Joyce, St Stephens Green has been Dublin's favorite picnic spot for over a century. Opened in 1880, the park is adjacent to one of the city's major shopping streets, drawing equal numbers of nature lovers and shoppers in need of a place to rest. The largest of Dublin's Georgian gardens, this 9 hectare (22 acre) urban park once provided a marshy setting for public whippings and executions. Today, the elegantly landscaped garden features Georgian buildings and statues of some of Ireland's most celebrated figures, including Arthur Guinness, Robert Emmet, and W.B. Yeats. Located in the heart of Dublin, the park is accessible by tram from almost anywhere in the city.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about St Stephens Green
Tours including St Stephens Green:

5. Phoenix Park, Dublin

Wilderness in the middle of a big city, Phoenix Park features tree-lined avenues and vast grasslands and is home to a herd of wild deer. Encompassing over 700 hectares (1,700 acres), the park serves as one of the largest walled urban parks in Europe. The site includes a zoo, cricket and polo grounds, and several 18th century mansions, including one serving as the official residence of the country's president. To see the best of this big park quickly, rent a bike and ride all or part of a 14 km (8 mi) long network of traffic-free lanes. You can also hop on the tourist train that stops at the park's Victorian garden, noted for its ornamental lake, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Learn more about Phoenix Park
Tours including Phoenix Park:

6. Killarney National Park, Killarney

Discover Ireland's true colors at Killarney National Park, prized by nature lovers for its lakes, mountain peaks, and oak and yew woodlands. This national park, the first established in Ireland, shelters the country's only native herd of red deer. Protected as a biosphere reserve of international importance, the park encompasses over 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) with vast sections available for hiking, cycling, boating, and fishing. The park also contains one of the country's foremost stately homes and gardens, noted for its collection of original furnishings and fully restored Victorian glasshouses. Ask your guide to take you on a horse-drawn ride through the park, or take a boat trip on the three interconnected lakes.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Killarney National Park
Tours including Killarney National Park:

8. Trinity College Dublin, Dublin

To soak up the academic atmosphere of a historical university, take a student-guided tour of Trinity College Dublin. Established by Queen Elizabeth I over four centuries ago, this college is one of the country's major architectural landmarks, its campus boasting numerous well-maintained Georgian and Victorian buildings. The college library holds 250,000 rare volumes, most notably the "Book of Kells," a lavishly decorated sacred text created around the year 800. End your day with a visit to the science gallery, featuring engaging exhibits about the relationship between art and science. Check online for available tour dates and times, and remember to pick up your library tickets at the university's front gate.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Trinity College Dublin
Tours including Trinity College Dublin:

9. Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula

Cruise past stunning natural landscapes along Slea Head Drive, a circular driving route that begins and ends in Dingle. Start your journey driving across the Milltown Bridge and then past the Burham woodlands. Consider a stop in Ventry, a seaside village, to enjoy beach and water activities. Your trip continues westward past Dunbeg Fort and along the Atlantic Ocean. Take in views of the clifftop fort on one side and the ocean on the other.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Slea Head Drive
Tours including Slea Head Drive:

10. Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor

Leaning out over the ocean, Cliffs of Moher represent the rugged side of coastal Ireland. The imposing cliffs rise more than 200 m (700 ft) above the Atlantic and consist mainly of shale and sandstone. More than 30,000 birds live on this rocky part of the coastline, and nearly 1 million people come to visit each year. Begin your adventure at the visitor center, featuring exhibits about the natural and historical significance of these cliffs. To observe puffins and hawks nesting in this area, bring binoculars and hike along a well-posted trail to the highest point of the cliffs, where you'll find a historical tower built in 1835. It can get windy and cold here, so dress appropriately.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Learn more about Cliffs of Moher

11. Skellig Michael, County Kerry

Visit Skellig Michael, the larger of the two Skillig Islands, to see the natural beauty and the famous ruins of early religious settlement. The remains of the historic monastery, along with much of the Atlantic Ocean island, were named a World Heritage Site in 1996. The monastery was established on the island between the 6th and 8th century, but was abandoned in the 12th century. Take a tour of the island, weather permitting. If you like to dive, take advantage of one of the dive sites.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Skellig Michael

12. Jameson Distillery Bow St., Dublin

Have some history with your Irish coffee at Jameson Distillery Bow St., which provides guided tours and tutored tastings of its best-selling whiskey. The distillery closed for business in 1971 and the building now houses a visitor center and bar, located right above the original fermentation vats, which you can still see through the glass floor of the atrium. Guided tours explain the history of Irish whiskey through a series of reconstructed scenes from the old distillery, as well as through several exhibit areas displaying all of the main stages of traditional whiskeymaking. If the tour's complimentary glass just doesn't hit the spot, drop by the second-floor restaurant, where you can take the next drink with a gourmet meal.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Jameson Distillery Bow St.
Tours including Jameson Distillery Bow St.:

13. Dublin Castle, Dublin

A taste of medieval times in the middle of a modern downtown, Dublin Castle served as the seat of British rule in Ireland for over seven centuries. Although it remains part of a major government complex, the castle now mostly serves as a venue for ceremonial events, such as the inauguration of the country's president. Transformed over the ages from a medieval fortress to a Georgian palace, the castle complex contains an 800-year-old tower, the sole survivor of the original fortifications built on this spot in the early 13th century. Take a guided tour to see the gardens built over a site once occupied by a black pool, the "dubh inn" from which the city of Dublin got its name.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Dublin Castle
Tours including Dublin Castle:

14. Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

The resting place of writer Jonathan Swift, Saint Patrick's Cathedral represents the largest church in Ireland. Over a thousand years old, this imposing Gothic structure features a 43 m (140 ft) tall spire, one of the city's major architectural landmarks. Built in honor of Ireland's patron saint, the building stands next to an old well allegedly used by Saint Patrick to baptize converts to Christianity. Pay the small fee to sightsee inside the historical cathedral, which contains fine examples of medieval stained glass and a 4,000-pipe organ, one of Ireland's largest. Check online for a downloadable audio guide and a schedule of daily services, guided tours, and special events.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Tours including Saint Patrick's Cathedral:

15. Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre, Galway

Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre encompasses diverse landscapes that include vast grasslands, dense woodlands, high mountain peaks, and swaths of bogs and heaths. Established in 1980, the park spans nearly 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) and contains several remnants of megalithic human civilizations, including 4,000-year-old tombs. A good pair of binoculars can open a window into the park's world of songbirds, which include meadow pipits, skylarks, chaffinches, robins, and wrens. You can begin your trek across the sprawling park at the visitor center, offering a brief introduction into the area's wildlife and geology. Guided nature walks, which depart from the center, cover rough and very boggy terrain, so dress appropriately if you choose to join in.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre
Tours including Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre: