Below are my favourite Irish sights – excluding Dublin.
Cliffs Of Moher -Western Ireland
If you do not see the Cliffs of Moher while you are visiting Ireland, you are missing out! Just mind the strong wind and the chilliness (must be the coldest spot on the island).
Walking boots and a pair of gloves are essentials to enjoy this stunning and beautiful phenomenon!
The cliffs are really spectacular, one of the most amazing things in the world. You get absolutely swept up in the moment!
The beaches are quite expansive, with clear water, truly fantastic. It consists of fine sand (not a mud composite or shale/shell mix).
If you are on the Kerry Way, make a small detour to Derrynane House and beach and you’ll be awestruck by the rugged beauty of the beach.
There are several beaches and coves strung together in a truly spectacular setting. It has everything – breath-taking views, a ruin to explore at one end, calm and peaceful.
Ring of Kerry Route
No visit to Ireland would be complete without a drive on the Ring of Kerry, no disappointment here. The views around the ring are beautiful, amazing!
I don’t recommend taking a bus tour because it is really great when you can just stop anywhere if you want to have a look around. There are lots of nice places to stop and just breathe in the fresh air and beauty all around.
Many places along the Ring rent bikes, and we encountered many cyclists on the road. Probably the very best way to experience it!
Just one warning: people tell you the roads are narrow, but not HOW narrow. I recommend you take full insurance coverage for your rental car.
Drive slow when getting off the path to give way, especially to the tour busses, which is why I would venture to go against all the advice on the net that tells you to drive the opposite way as the busses.
That advice makes no sense to me, as those busses take up ¾ of an already narrow road and you have to give way when sometimes there is no space. They don’t drive slowly and you can’t drive faster anyway because of the narrow, winding roads, rather follow them!
Also, you don’t want to drive fast, because there is so much beauty to take in. Don’t miss it, it is so worth it!
This castle is Close to the city of Cork. It is a very touristic spot, so if that’s what you’re into by all means, it is great fun going through the ruins of the castle.
Everything is labelled so you know what the room was and the climb to the top is crazy as the stairs are narrow and steep – Many steps and twisting staircases, some of which are spiral.
I know it’s a touristy thing to “kiss the Blarney Stone” but one of us had to do it! Kissing the stone reminded me of a Santa Claus line…
You lie on your back and bend backwards to kiss the stone. An attendant grips you firmly to prevent you from falling into the protective steel framing below the stone that is a safety feature, but there are also hand rails to hold.
While you kiss the stone your picture is taken which you can buy from the shop afterwards.
The Blarney castle gardens are truly amazing… pleasant to walk, interesting plants and flowers, small river, gift shop, etc. We finished up early and had plenty of time to kill so we went to just check out the gardens.
I am very happy we visited.
After strolling around the quaint town of Dingle and having some of the famous ice cream, we made a stop to see Funghie. Funghie is a wild dolphin who loves to entertain people in the bay, daily. And while watching Funghie was great fun, seeing the town of Dingle from the water along with the caves etched into the cliffs was worth the price of admission alone.
I can’t recommend this trip enough, and wish continued success to this company for the future.
Funghie is lovely and anyone who takes this trip won’t be disappointed. He came along-side of the boat, and swam along for some time just under the surface and jumping out of the water – great fun.
I thought he might feel a little harassed by the boats circling around him, though he seemed to enjoy it as much as the spectators.
Towards the end of our boat ride Funghie headed out of the bay to feed which was a lovely indication he is still his own boss and the boat trips are on his terms.
Slea Head Drive
… and then it gets better. The Dingle Peninsula on the west coast in County Kerry is spectacular
This is where the mountains meet the blue sea, and all contribute together to yield an experience not to be missed. The whole drive is amazing and I think it is one of the most picturesque places in Ireland.
Before traveling to Dingle we had very high expectations on doing the Slea Head drive, but nothing prepared us for the real thing! It turned out to be spectacular!
It is tight in places and you have to concentrate driving but the passengers have a wonderful view. Driving towards Dunmore Head we saw many rock walls dividing the farms, making it a unique landscape.
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park offers a lot of activities ranging from sedate to active. Spend as much time as you can here. There is so much to do… walking, cycling and several fantastic trails.
Get a free map at the tourist office. In the beginning you’ll meet other tourists but keep on breathing and you’ll leave them behind.
Visit the Torc Waterfall for a more strenuous hike with breath-taking views in every direction, including that of the Muckross House.
At Muckross House there is a cafe and the house tour should not be missed.
The views all around are gorgeous but Ladies View can’t be beat.
Oh, one last thing! Do not miss the live music in the pubs!! This is where you truly come close to the real Irish people and traditions. It was a fantastic way to spend our last night in Ireland!
Hoping to be back someday, I encourage everyone who hadn’t been before – you have to see Ireland before you die…