Country Travel Guide

Best Things to Do in Ireland – Travel Guide

Planning a trip to Ireland? From the best things to do to the times of year to visit, and even where to stay, our travel guide for X has you covered.


Welcome to the Emerald Isle, a land of rolling green hills, rugged coastlines, and charming towns that exude warmth and hospitality. Ireland, located in the northwestern corner of Europe, has a rich history and a vibrant culture that has captured the hearts of travelers for centuries. From the bustling streets of Dublin to the windswept cliffs of the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland offers a unique experience that combines stunning scenery, ancient landmarks, mouthwatering cuisine, and lively pub culture. So whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to immerse yourself in a new culture, Ireland is a destination that will leave you enchanted and inspired.

Top Things to See and Do in Ireland

Discover the Magic of Dublin: Ireland’s Vibrant Capital

Dublin, the beating heart of Ireland, is a city that effortlessly blends old-world charm with modern sophistication. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history by visiting the iconic Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Trinity College, which houses the famous Book of Kells. For a glimpse into contemporary Irish culture, stroll down Grafton Street, Dublin’s bustling shopping district, or catch a show at the world-famous Abbey Theatre. Food lovers will be spoiled for choice in Dublin, with an endless array of traditional Irish dishes and innovative culinary creations on offer. For an exceptional dining experience, head to Chapter One, a Michelin-starred restaurant known for its inventive dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. And when it comes to accommodations, the trendy neighborhood of Temple Bar is the perfect spot to base yourself, with its lively atmosphere and proximity to many of Dublin’s top attractions. Whether you’re exploring historic landmarks, enjoying a pint of Guinness in a cozy pub, or simply soaking up the vibrant atmosphere, Dublin is a city that will capture your heart and leave you longing for more.

Experiencing the Magic of County Clare: A Journey to the Cliffs of Moher

County Clare is home to some of Ireland’s most iconic landmarks, including the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. Take a scenic drive along the coast, stopping to explore charming towns like Doolin and Lahinch along the way. For a taste of Clare’s local cuisine, check out Greg. When you finally reach the Cliffs of Moher, be prepared to be awed by the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean from the 700-foot-high cliffs. Take a leisurely walk along the cliff edge or go on a guided tour to learn more about the history and geology of the area. Before you leave, be sure to visit the visitor center to learn about the local wildlife and conservation efforts. Overall, a journey to the Cliffs of Moher and County Clare is a must-see experience for anyone visiting Ireland. With its breathtaking scenery, charming towns, and delicious cuisine, it’s a destination that will leave a lasting impression on any traveler.

Experience the Beauty of Galway: Ireland’s Cultural Capital

Nestled on the rugged west coast of Ireland, Galway is a city that exudes creativity, culture, and charm. Known as the “Cultural Capital” of Ireland, Galway is a hub of artistic expression, with street performers, musicians, and artists dotting the city’s bustling streets. Take a stroll down Shop Street, where you’ll find a range of independent boutiques, galleries, and cafes, or visit the Galway Arts Centre to see exhibitions by local and international artists. Foodies will love Galway’s vibrant culinary scene, which includes traditional Irish pubs, fine dining restaurants, and food markets that offer fresh, locally sourced produce. For a truly special meal, head to Aniar, a Michelin-starred restaurant that showcases the best of modern Irish cuisine. The best way to explore Galway is by foot, as the city’s compact size makes it easy to navigate. For a central location, stay in the Latin Quarter, a lively neighborhood that is home to many of Galway’s best restaurants, bars, and cafes. From the stunning Connemara National Park to the picturesque Claddagh neighborhood, Galway is a city that will captivate your senses and leave you longing for more.

Uncover the Charms of Cork: Ireland’s Foodie Haven

Nestled on the southern coast of Ireland, Cork is a city that is renowned for its culinary delights and historical landmarks. From the famous English Market, which dates back to 1788, to the plethora of innovative restaurants and cafes, Cork is a food lover’s paradise. Sample local delicacies such as freshly shucked oysters, traditional black pudding, and creamy cheeses at the bustling food markets, or dine at the highly acclaimed Ichigo Ichie, which offers a modern take on Japanese cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. Take a stroll through the winding streets of Cork’s charming neighborhoods, such as the colorful and bohemian Shandon area, where you can climb the iconic Shandon Bells and take in panoramic views of the city. For a central location, stay in the historic Victorian Quarter, where you’ll find a range of hotels, restaurants, and bars. Cork is also home to many notable cultural attractions, such as the Cork City Gaol and the Crawford Art Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of Irish and European art. With its blend of culinary excellence, rich history, and charming atmosphere, Cork is a city that is sure to delight visitors of all tastes and interests.

Discover the Beauty of Kilkenny: Ireland’s Medieval Gem

Located in the southeast of Ireland, Kilkenny is a city that is steeped in history and culture, making it a must-see destination for history buffs and art lovers alike. The city’s medieval architecture, narrow streets, and historic landmarks, such as the Kilkenny Castle and St. Canice’s Cathedral, transport visitors back in time to the medieval era. Kilkenny is also a hub for contemporary arts and crafts, with a thriving art scene that includes many galleries, workshops, and craft stores. Take a stroll down the city’s main thoroughfare, Kieran Street, to browse the local shops and markets, or head to the Kilkenny Design Centre, which showcases the best of Irish design and craftsmanship. For a taste of traditional Irish food, visit the acclaimed restaurant Ristorante Rinuccini, which serves up authentic Italian cuisine with a twist of Irish flavors. For a central location, stay in the heart of the city’s historic district, where you’ll find many charming guesthouses and B&Bs. From the picturesque countryside to the bustling city center, Kilkenny offers a unique and unforgettable experience that combines the best of Ireland’s past and present.

Experience the Tranquility of Westport: A Hidden Gem in the West of Ireland

Nestled on the west coast of Ireland, Westport is a charming town known for its stunning scenery and friendly locals. Surrounded by mountains and sea, Westport is the perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Take a hike up Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain, or cycle the Great Western Greenway, a 42km trail from Westport to Achill Island. Westport is also home to some of Ireland’s best beaches, such as Bertra and Old Head, perfect for surfing and swimming. When it comes to food, Westport has plenty of options, with many restaurants and cafes serving up delicious locally-sourced cuisine. For a unique dining experience, check out The Shebeen, a traditional Irish pub that offers a wide range of craft beers and delicious pub grub. Finally, stay in one of Westport’s cozy B&Bs or guesthouses for a truly authentic Irish experience. With its natural beauty, friendly locals, and endless outdoor activities, Westport is the perfect destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Exploring the Rugged Beauty of County Donegal: A Wild Atlantic Way Adventure

Located in the far northwest of Ireland, County Donegal boasts some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes. The Wild Atlantic Way runs along its coast, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an adventure. From the towering cliffs of Slieve League to the stunning beaches of Malin Head, Donegal’s natural beauty will leave you speechless. The county is also steeped in culture, with many traditional Irish music sessions held in local pubs. For a taste of Donegal’s local cuisine, head to the Olde Glen Bar in Carrigart, which serves up fresh seafood and other locally-sourced ingredients. Stay in the charming village of Dunfanaghy, which is surrounded by some of Donegal’s most picturesque scenery.

Discovering the Hidden Gems of County Mayo: An Irish Escape

County Mayo is a gem waiting to be discovered. With its rugged coastline, rolling hills, and charming towns, it’s the perfect place to experience Ireland’s natural beauty. Explore the stunning Ashford Castle, a medieval castle that’s now a luxury hotel, or take a hike up Croagh Patrick, one of Ireland’s most sacred mountains. For a taste of Mayo’s local cuisine, check out The Tavern Bar and Restaurant in Murrisk, which serves up delicious Irish comfort food. Stay in the bustling town of Westport, which is home to many lively pubs and cafes.

Exploring the Vibrant City of Limerick: A Cultural Adventure

Limerick is a city full of history and culture. Visit the medieval King John’s Castle or take a stroll along the River Shannon, which runs through the heart of the city. Limerick is also home to some of Ireland’s best food, with many restaurants serving up locally-sourced ingredients. Check out The Copper Room for a fine dining experience or The Milk Market, a bustling outdoor market where you can sample a variety of street food. Stay in the colorful neighborhood of the Georgian Quarter, which is full of historic architecture and charming cafes.

Ireland Travel Costs

Ireland is a popular destination for travelers of all budgets, but it’s important to know what to expect in terms of costs. As a general rule, Ireland can be quite expensive, especially in major cities like Dublin. A backpacker can expect to spend around €40-€60 per day on food, accommodation, and transportation, while a middle-tier digital nomad can expect to spend around €80-€120 per day. Luxury vacationers can expect to spend around €200 or more per day, depending on their preferences for accommodation, dining, and activities. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the season and location, so it’s always a good idea to do your research and plan ahead to get the most out of your trip to Ireland.

Costs of Accommodation in Ireland

Accommodation in Ireland can vary greatly depending on your budget and preferences. Backpackers and budget travelers can find hostels and guesthouses for around €15-€40 per night, while mid-range travelers can find comfortable hotels and B&Bs for around €70-€120 per night. For those seeking luxury accommodation, Ireland has a range of options, including high-end hotels, resorts, and castles that can cost €200 or more per night. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the season and location, with higher prices in popular tourist destinations like Dublin and during peak travel seasons. It’s always a good idea to book your accommodation in advance and compare prices to get the best deals for your budget and travel needs.

Costs of Restaurants and Local Cuisine in Ireland

Irish cuisine has a rich history and incorporates a range of flavors and influences. Local cuisine includes hearty stews, fish and chips, and potato-based dishes like colcannon and champ. Traditional Irish breakfasts are also popular, featuring bacon, eggs, sausages, and black pudding. In recent years, Ireland has also developed a vibrant foodie scene with a range of high-end dining experiences showcasing modern takes on traditional dishes, as well as international cuisine. The cost of food in Ireland can vary widely depending on where and what you eat. Local pubs and cafes offer affordable meals for around €10-€20, while mid-range restaurants can cost €30-€50 per person. High-end dining experiences can cost upwards of €100 per person but offer a unique and memorable culinary experience. As always, it’s a good idea to do your research and read reviews to find the best dining experiences for your budget and taste preferences.

The Best Events and Festivals of Ireland

Ireland has a rich cultural heritage that is celebrated through a range of festivals and events throughout the year. Here are some of the best events and festivals in Ireland, along with a brief description of each:

  1. St. Patrick’s Festival – Celebrated on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and is marked with parades, concerts, and other cultural events.
  2. Galway International Arts Festival – This multi-disciplinary arts festival takes place in July and showcases a range of visual arts, theatre, dance, and music performances.
  3. Cork Jazz Festival – Held in October, this festival is one of the biggest jazz events in Europe, featuring a range of local and international jazz performers.
  4. Dublin Theatre Festival – This two-week festival in September showcases the best of Irish and international theatre, including plays, musicals, and other performances.
  5. Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival – Taking place in September and October, this festival is a celebration of Irish matchmaking traditions and features music, dancing, and other cultural events.
  6. Galway Oyster Festival – This festival in September celebrates Galway’s seafood heritage with oyster shucking competitions, tastings, and other food-related events.
  7. Bloomsday – Celebrated on June 16th, this festival is a celebration of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses and includes readings, performances, and other cultural events.

These are just a few of the many events and festivals that take place throughout Ireland each year. From music and art festivals to cultural celebrations and sporting events, there’s always something to see and do in this vibrant country.

Different Types of Trips to Ireland

When it comes to planning a trip to Ireland, there are a variety of ways to experience the country, depending on your travel style and interests. For those looking to immerse themselves in the culture of a single city, Dublin offers a wealth of history, art, and entertainment. Visitors can explore museums, wander through Trinity College, or enjoy a pint of Guinness in a local pub. For those looking to see more of the country, a multi-city itinerary can include stops in Galway, Cork, and Killarney. A potential route could include exploring the vibrant arts scene in Galway, sampling local seafood in Cork, and hiking through the stunning landscapes of Killarney National Park. Digital nomads can take advantage of Ireland’s thriving tech scene and work from coworking spaces and cafes throughout the country. Backpackers can explore Ireland’s rugged beauty on a budget with a route that includes hiking the Wicklow Way, exploring the Aran Islands, and taking in the stunning views along the Wild Atlantic Way. No matter what type of trip you choose, Ireland offers a wealth of experiences for travelers of all kinds.

When is the Best Time to visit Ireland?

When it comes to visiting Ireland, there’s no bad time to go, but the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to experience the warmest temperatures and longest days, then summer (June to August) is the ideal time to visit. During this time, you can take advantage of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and exploring the country’s stunning beaches. However, summer is also the peak tourist season, which means crowds and higher prices. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are also great times to visit, offering milder temperatures and fewer crowds. During spring, you can catch the beautiful wildflowers blooming throughout the country, while autumn is a great time to explore Ireland’s fall foliage. Winter (December to February) is the quietest time to visit, offering lower prices and fewer tourists. While temperatures can be chilly, there’s still plenty to see and do, including visiting Christmas markets, exploring cozy pubs, and enjoying traditional Irish music sessions. Whether you’re visiting Dublin, the Wild Atlantic Way, or the Ring of Kerry, each region of Ireland offers its own unique attractions and experiences no matter what time of year you go. So go ahead and plan your trip to Ireland, and prepare to fall in love with the country’s charming culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality.

Is Ireland Safe?

When it comes to staying safe while traveling in Ireland, it’s important to take some precautions to ensure your trip is enjoyable and stress-free. Firstly, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas or on public transport. It’s also a good idea to carry a copy of your passport and important documents with you at all times and to leave a copy with someone back home. When it comes to transportation, be sure to use licensed taxis or public transport, and avoid hitchhiking. If you plan on driving, be aware that Irish roads can be narrow and winding, so take extra caution and be prepared for the unexpected. It’s also important to be mindful of the weather conditions, especially during the winter months, when storms can be unpredictable. Finally, it’s always a good idea to do some research on local customs and laws and to respect the culture and traditions of the people you meet. By taking these precautions and being aware of your surroundings, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Ireland and make unforgettable memories along the way.

By Sohail Kamran

A freelance writer/dad/love to party!

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