You will definitely want to check out these beautiful places in Ireland if you are planning your next trip. You’ve probably been daydreaming about scenic overlooks and castle tours and fun, local pubs that you can put on your itinerary. There are so many pretty places in Ireland it can be hard to choose only a few to visit. Most people know Ireland by its nickname, The Emerald Isle, but there are far more beautiful places to see than the rolling green hills.Ireland enchants the heart and mind with dramatic cliffs, ancient castles, and hidden beaches. You will discover a little bit of magic wherever you look and we are here to help you discover the most breathtakingly, beautiful places in Ireland.
We’ve compiled a list of the most pretty places in Ireland that are a must-do to make an amazing visit. We’ve even included special sites for Game of Thrones and The Princess Bride fans. Without further ado, let’s get started exploring these beautiful locations in Ireland.
12 Stunningly Beautiful Places in Ireland You MUST Visit
Cliffs Of Moher
Fans of ‘The Princess Bride” movie know the Cliffs of Moher already but by another name -“the Cliffs of Insanity”. Even if, inconceivably, you’ve never seen “The Princess Bride” you may have seen the Cliffs of Moher in pictures or other films, but you absolutely must visit them in person. This is truly what Ireland is famous for!
This is one of the most iconic, beautiful places in Ireland. The majestic cliffs tower 702 feet above the Atlantic Ocean at their highest point. The dizzying drops and moody Atlantic views will take your breathe away. The Cliffs of Moher are also a great place to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife as they are home to more than 20 species of sea birds.
Give yourself ample time to explore this pretty place. You should plan on spending at least 2 to 4 hours along the edges of the cliffs. One thing to note before you go is the weather. You can check for live weather updates and wind advisories on the Cliffs of Moher official tourism website.
Deck of Cards Houses
The Deck of Cards Houses in Cobh, Ireland are striking with their bright color facades and unique design. The houses have been built on a hill, with each house touching the one next to it. The joke is that if the house at the bottom were to collapse, then all the others would fall down too, something like a deck of cards.
The Deck of Cards Houses neighborhood is hugely photogenic. The vibrant houses are stacked on a steep hill and lie in the shadow of St. Colman’s Cathedral, which draws quite a contrast from the rainbow of quaint houses, but makes for some truly appealing photographs. You will want to have your camera ready as you roam this attractive neighborhood.
Use this location to easily find the Deck of Cards houses. After you have explored this candy painted hill you will want to check out the rest of the city of Cobh, which is pronounced Cove. This seaside city is one of the prettiest cities in Ireland and rich with history and Irish culture. You will find plenty of interesting things to do around in our post 12 Fun Things to do in Cobh, Ireland.
Make sure to check out our post about the Best Time To Visit Ireland which breaks down the weather, what to do etc!
Slieve League Cliffs
Some of the most beautiful places in Ireland are found in the landscapes themselves. Slieve League Cliffs does not disappoint! Get ready to touch the sky standing atop these monumental cliffs. At nearly 3 times the height of the Cliffs of Moher, they are some of the tallest sea cliffs in Europe.
The cliffs are just over an hour’s drive from Donegal and driving is the most accessible way to the cliffs. Winding up the steep, narrow road, dotted with sheep, may be part of the excitement for some. For those nervous passengers, be sure to keep your eyes open. The outstanding scenery makes the trip worth it. The last stop before reaching the cliffs is the adorable Slieve League Visitor Centre. Here you can schedule a coach tour or grab a cup of coffee at the Ti Linn Cafe for your adventure. When you come to the fork in the road, go left to the viewing point or take a right to see the sites on a thrilling hike along Pilgrim’s trail.
The viewing point has a rustic fence near the edge but tread carefully if you venture outside the fence. High winds can pick up at any time and make simply standing quite difficult on a blustery day. There are several car parks where the sheer magnitude of the Slieve League Cliffs is nothing short of inspiring.
Bring a warm jacket and a good pair of boots if you plan to do some walking. Only skilled hikers should venture down One Man’s Pass. This hiking trail sweeps you up to the very top of the cliffs before looping back into Pilgrim’s trail. It is extremely narrow in places, with rocky terrain but yields jaw-dropping views of the deep blue Atlantic.
Naturally, being just outside Donegal it is a good idea to add this Irish city to your itinerary. You can find a great pub for a warm authentic meal after a day among the rugged Slieve League Cliffs. Here are 10 Delightful Things to do in Donegal Ireland to help you round out your time in this Irish city.
Achill Island has miles of splendid beaches! The island of Achill tourism website boasts some of the finest beaches in Ireland to dip your toes in the cool waters. Add Keem Bay, Trawmore Strand, Silver Strand, Dooega and Golden Strand to your beach tour list! Each beach offers a unique experience and tranquil views. These 5 beaches hail a blue flag beach rating for their excellent water quality and environmental wellness.
Before relaxing in the sparkling waters you have to get to Achill Island. The only way to get onto the island is by driving over the Michael Davitt bridge. The new bridge sits on the historic site of the original bridge constructed in 1887. Driving is also the best mode of transportation while on the island so hang onto those car keys.
After brushing off the beach sand, explore the ancient structures scattered about the island, including the Deserted Village and Kildamhnait Castle. Delve into the intriguing historical lore that springs to life in this beautiful place in Ireland.
Achill Island is located in Mayo County and enclaved in the Wild Atlantic Way. Follow this link to The Ultimate Guide Of Things To Do In Mayo Ireland for more adventures in western Ireland.
Irish Giant Fion mac Cumhail constructed Giant’s Causeway across the North Channel to meet Scottish giant Benondonner, or at least that’s how the legend goes. The hexagonal basalt columns are one of the remarkable features that make Giant’s causeway one of the prettiest places in Ireland and one of the most popular tourist destinations. This is one of the many cool things Ireland is famous for and you should visit!
The big four formations to see are the Grand Causeway, Giant’s Boot, Wishing Chair and the Camel. For walkers and hikers Away a Wee Walking offers an amazing 5 mile fully guided tour starting at Dunseverick Castle meandering along the clifftops, offering a unique view of Giant’s Causeway.
If all this talk of giants has you thinking of grand adventures, remember you are in Northern Ireland, surrounded by the exciting filming locations of Game of Thrones. We’ve put together an epic 5 day “Game Of Thrones Locations” Ireland Itinerary that you can read about here.
Not far from the Giant’s Causeway, at the tip of the stubby finger of land outstretched to the sea, Dunlace Castle still stands, poised and stoic. The powerful walls show signs of the centuries that have passed slowly by. The lapis waves swirl beneath, while emerald fields unfurl behind it.
Dunluce castle captivates the imagination the moment you set eyes on it. It is no wonder Game of Thrones featured Dunluce Castle prominently as the House of Greyjoy. It even seems the castle ruins were once embroiled to a real-life game of thrones having passed through 3 separate families. Aside from the spectacular views, there is a ton of interesting historical facts to learn about at this beautiful place in Ireland.
Skellig Michael rises out of the sea mist as though it was created solely for the purpose of being a secret lair. The craggy, rocky peaks define the island. This formidable spike rising out of the tumultuous waters is easily recognizable to any Star Wars fan as Luke Skywalker’s hideaway in “Return of the Jedi”.
Originally the site of a Gaelic monastery between the 6th and 8th centuries it makes perfect sense that Jedi Master Skywalker chose this secluded and beautiful place for his home. The awe-inspiring ruins of the monastery are incredibly well preserved, and while there may not be porgs sightings on Skellig Michael, there are adorable puffins. They might be the cutest birds known to man.
Boat tours to Skellig Michael depend on sea conditions. The island draws a good crowd during the busy season so it is best to book in advance, plus only 15 boats are licensed to land at Skellig Michael. Here is a list of tours and booking tips to send you on your way.
Back on the mainland in County Mayo, we set our sites on the expansive coastline. Downpatrick Head graces visitors with unparalleled ocean views. The alluring Dun Briste sea stack, with its multi-colored rock layers, lingers just off the rugged coastline, further out to sea lies a small island cluster, the Staggs of Broadhaven.
Downpatrick Head is named after St. Patrick and the ruins of the church he founded are still visible. Each year pilgrims descend on Downpatrick head on the last Sunday in July for mass at this key religious site.
Slea Head Drive
This expedition is definitely about the journey! Take your time, enjoy the drive, stop and partake in the local fare. Slea Head Drive incorporates an entire road trip of beautiful places in Ireland. The narrow road abuts the coastline making for dramatic and unique views throughout the gorgeous drive in Ireland!
Slea Head Drive is a loop, both beginning and ending in Dingle. Most travelers set out in a clockwise direction to avoid coming head to head with a beastly tour bus on the slender road. there are plenty of stops along the route for scenic photos from golden beaches, to sheer cliffs and historic ruins.
Get the whole scoop on the incredible experience in our post listing the 12 Best Stops on Dingle’s Slea Head Drive.
At Ireland’s most northerly point, also known as Banba’s Crown, you can hike, fish, hunt for treasure or simply become enthralled with nature. Walk along the largest sand dunes in Europe at Five Finger Strand, where the wreckage of the ‘Twilight’ haunts the shore during low tide.
Malin Head is another pretty site on the Wild Atlantic Way. On a clear day, you can stretch your legs, thoroughly enjoying the panoramic views of the peninsula meets the turbulent ocean, and may even spot the Tory Islands off the coast. Don’t forget to continue your walk down to Hell’s Hole, a massive subterranean cavern.
The biggest treat Malin Head has to offer up is a showing of the breathtaking Northern Lights. There is no light pollution here at the top of Ireland so you can watch the colors dance across the sky. You are most likely to see them on clear nights in winter and spring. And if you haven’t already read our post about Donegal, then look no further. Here are 10 Delightful Things to do in Donegal.
Portrush Whiterocks Beach
This is one of 10 Stunningly Beautiful Beaches in Ireland. This astonishing beach gets its name from the soft white limestone formations. Time has chiseled out a maze of arches and caves, some of which are only accessible by sea. Some of the well-known structures are Wishing Arc, Lion’s Paw, Elephant Rock and Shelagh’s Head.
This sunny beach entices you to stay just a little bit longer. It’s a sparkling variation from the moody Wild Atlantic Way, complete with brilliant sunsets. Be sure to spare some time for this pretty place you absolutely must see!
Climb the rustic stone steps up through the leafy treetops until you find the river falling down the mountainside. Take the Torc Waterfall Loop from the parking area off N71 near the Muckross House. This delightful 1.5-mile hike carries you through the lush foliage before opening into a pleasant view of Muckross Lake. Continue on crossing over the main falls before reaching the best vantage point to see the remarkable 66 ft. falls.
The origin of Torc Waterfall is associated with a myth of a man cursed to transform into a wild boar. Upon having his plight exposed he crashed through the mountain causing the water to burst forth. The word ‘torc’ is Gaelic for wild boar.
The waterfall is located inside Killarney National Park and an excellent stop to add on the Ring of Kerry. Many pretty waterfalls decorate the countryside of Ireland. Renting a car is the best way to get around Ireland and also allows you to stop at as many waterfalls as you want.
To truly have enchanted experience add some or all of these beautiful places in Ireland to your itinerary. Your eyes and soul will delight in the dazzling sites.
We hope you loved these beautiful places in Ireland!