The 20 best places to visit in the Republic of Ireland

 

In the Docklands area of Dublin stands a memorial to the million people who died during Ireland's Great Famine of the mid 19th century.

20. Famine

 

Built in 1743 The Wonderful Barn is a unique corkscrew shaped building with it's staircase on the outside. The true purpose as to why it was built in this way is still uncertain.

19. The Wonderful Barn

 

Just south of Dublin is a twenty acre garden known as Victor's Way Indian Sculpture Park. Within the area are 44 Indian inspired statues and sculptures of varying sizes, the most notable of which are the 'Separation', the 'Split Man' and a 3.5 metre (11.5 ft) bronze replica of a 1st century iconic statue known as the 'Fasting Buddha'.

Pictured is the Ferryman.

18. Victor's Way Indian Sculpture Park

 

Built in 1191 AD in Dublin is the Gothic styled St. Patrick's Cathedral. This wonderful looking building with it's 43 metre (141 ft) spire is the largest and tallest church in the country.

17. St. Patrick's Cathedral

 

Just north of Dublin is the 'Palace Of The Boyne', containing one of the most important prehistoric landscapes dating from the Neolithic period. The area is a complex of Neolithic mounds, tombs, henges, standing stones and prehistoric enclosures dating back to the 35th century BC, making it older than the Pyramids. Each of the three main megalith sites were built with sophisticated knowledge of both science and astronomy, with Newgrange and Dowth having been built in alignment with the winter solstice, and Knowth aligned towards the spring and autumn equinox. The area known as 'Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne' has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured is the Newgrange Passage Grave.

16. Brú Na Bóinne

 

Built in 1425 AD near the town of Limerick is 'The Castle At The Mouth Of Ratty', better known as Bunratty Castle, a national monument of Ireland.

15. Bunratty Castle

 

Completed in 1213 AD, Kilkenny Castle has undergone quite heavy restoration work in the 19th century to maintain the excellent condition it is in today. This pretty looking castle along with the surrounding parklands and gardens has become one of Ireland's top attractions. 

14. Kilkenny Castle

 

At 30 metres (98 ft) tall towering above the trees, gravestones and nearby church is the round tower of Glendalough. Some have said it reminds them of the tower from the famous German fairy tale, Rapunzel.

13. The Round Tower Of Glendalough

 

Originally built in 1871 as the lavish Kylemore Castle, by 1920 it had become a Benedictine Monastery and has remained as such to this day. In the beautiful surroundings of the Connemara countryside on the banks of the river, the abbey and it's walled Victorian gardens are open to public tours and nature walks.

12. Kylemore Abbey

 

Sometimes called the Cashel Of Kings or St. Patrick's Rock, the Rock Of Cashel is a historic site in the southern centre of the country. Notable buildings within the walled site include a 28 metre (90 ft) round tower dating back to 1100 AD, Cormac's Chapel from the same time period that holds within it one of the best preserved Irish frescoes from the time and a cathedral built around 1270 AD. Though much of the site is in ruin it has been described as one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.

11. Rock Of Cashel

 

On the banks of Loch Leane in the beautiful surroundings of Killarney National Park is the 15th century tower house, Ross Castle. From the top of the castle tower there are impressive views over the lakes, rivers and surrounding parkland.

10. Ross Castle

 

Originally built as a castle in the 13th century, it was extensively altered into a country estate in the 18th century and today is noted as a historic building surrounded by fine landscaped gardens. Within the valley owned by the estate is the Powerscourt Waterfall, at 121 metres (397 ft) it is the tallest waterfall in Ireland.

9. Powerscourt Estate

 

In the south of the country close to Cork is the 13th century medieval stronghold Blarney Castle. At the top of the castle lies the Blarney Stone, also known as the Stone of Eloquence. Within the grounds of the partially ruined castle are many gardens, several rock formations and the grand fortress-like Blarney House.

8. Blarney Castle

 

Completed around the year 1230 AD in the countries capital is the incredibly pretty medieval Dublin Castle.

Pictured from the southern park outside the walls of the castle is the record tower with the Chapel Royal to it's right.

7. Dublin Castle

 

In the south west of the country in County Kerry is a heavily trodden tourist route known as the 'Ring of Kerry', a 179 kilometre (111 mile) circular road around the Iveragh Peninsula's rugged coast. At the extreme south west of this route visitors will eventually come across the view of Valentia Island with the rolling green hills making their way down to the sea.

6. Valentia Island

 

Around 11 kilometres (7 miles) off the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula of County Kerry is a steep mountain of land rising from the sea known as Skellig Michael. The remains of a 6th century Christian monastery and most of the tiny island have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Skellig Michael

 

Just south of Dublin the Wicklow Mountains form the largest continuous highland area in the country, it's tallest peak being the Lugnaquilla which stands at 925 metres (3,035 ft) above sea level. The national park encompasses the area of southern Dublin, the historic Glendalough area with it's early medieval monastic structures and the Powerscourt Estate. The park is known for it's natural beauty, high mountains, forests, sweeping grasslands and large lakes.

4. Wicklow Mountains National Park

 

On the western coast overlooking the Atlantic Sea is the most visited location in Ireland, the Cliffs Of Moher rising to a maximum of 214 metres (702 ft) above the water. From the cliffs visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay and the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges.

3. Cliffs Of Moher

 

In the south west of the country visitors will find Killarney National Park, the first protected conservation area in Ireland. Encompassing some 102 square kilometres (40 square miles) of diverse ecology, the park includes the Lakes of Killarney, woodlands of international importance, the most extensive forested area in Ireland, mountain ranges and the last remaining herds of native red deer.

Pictured from Ladies View.

2. Killarney National Park

 

Once part of the Kylemore Abbey estate, Connemara National Park is today one of the most rugged areas in the country with mountains, bogs, grasslands, lakes and forests. When the purple moorgrass is in full bloom it creates a colourful landscape unique to the park, though it remains beautiful whatever time of year you visit.

1. Connemara National Park

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