Ireland! For such a small island it is bursting at the seams with culture, history, and scenery to fall in love with. It’s no wonder we are a jewel, the Emerald Isle with a jagged and rustic heart to capture. If you have yet to be swept away by its beauty, history and splendour then let us guide you with a definitive bucket list of the must-see places on this amazing island.
1: Cuilcagh – Fermanagh
Nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven, this incredible boardwalk trail located in County Fermanagh is really a sight to behold, and an exercise regime not for the faint hearted! Finding its way through a blanket bog, the stunning scenery is sure to hold your attention and admiration as you carefully take it step by step. The steep climb brings you to the viewing platform on Cuilcagh Mountain which we assure you is worth the ascent!
2: Solomon’s Hole – Wexford
Solomon’s Hole has been declared one of the country’s best swimming and snorkelling spots. Located at Hook Head at the peak of County Wexford, this is a natural salt-water pool which is completely and beautifully surrounded by rock. It is a haven for swimmers. Access is via Slade Harbour with multiple exit spots.
3: Spike Island – Cork
Spike Island is Ireland’s own Alcatraz! A sight to be seen. Once a remote monastery, this fortress also held the world’s largest prison. Learning and understanding the 1300-year history behind this incredible island will leave you mystified and in awe at such an interesting and bewildering place. With several museums, exhibitions, and scenic walks to take, a visit to Spike Island has to be added to your bucket list.
4: Croagh Patrick – Mayo
Croagh Patrick is referred to as the Holy Mountain by many pilgrims who take part in the annual pilgrimage. Associated with Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick, this mountain has deliriously stunning views of Clew Bay and the western coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s challenging climb is often down to the gravel and rock underfoot, so wear good hiking boots if you add this stunning route to your bucket list.
5: Valentia Island – Kerry
Staying along the Wild Atlantic Way, we encourage you to pay a visit to the welcoming and beautiful Valentia Island in County Kerry. The island is an interesting blend of old and new, fusing all that Ireland has to offer in Irish culture, history and development. Blending tourism, history, community and natural beauty, Valentia Island has a huge amount to explore. From Bray Head, the old slate quarry, to viewing Skellig Michael Island, you may very well fill up your bucket list on Valentia Island alone!
6: Glendalough – Wicklow
Glendalough is one of those places which truly has to be seen to be believed. The intense beauty of this spot, its ideal tranquillity and its rich history makes it one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. It’s no wonder it is one of the top attractions along Ireland’s Ancient East. Along with the must-see monastic settlement, Glendalough offers some of the most stunning walks you will ever experience along the “valley of two lakes.”
7: Portroe Quarry – Tipperary
Once on Ireland’s list of abandoned places, Portroe Quarry is a diving spot to be seen before you can ever believe somewhere like this exists in Ireland. With its intense blue waters, this quirky destination deserves a spot on your bucket list. It claims to be one of the best diving spots in Ireland and we won’t argue. Despite having to pay a visitor fee to dive, the quarry is worth the trip with its 40 metre depths and interesting attractions to be found at the bottom of the pool!
8: The Giant’s Causeway – Antrim
The Giant’s Causeway is a natural splendour to be admired and loved by all. This stony stalwart of nature was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Mixed with a history of science, legend and filtered with myths, the stunning interlocking basalt rocks are a bucket list essential. With a fascinating terrain, the views are an additional stunning reason to visit this unique spot.
9: Murder Hole Beach – Donegal
Don’t be put off by its name! Murder Hole beach is a hidden gem in Donegal and although a little difficult to find, it is worth searching out. To get to this secret beach you have to make a somewhat laborious trek cross-country to its steep descent down towards its sandy shoreline. What awaits you is a beautiful tranquil beach, captivating caves, and stunning cliffs.
10: Clew Bay Islands – Mayo
They say Clew Bay hosts 365 islands, one for every day of the year. One of the most beautiful bays in Ireland, most of the islands are uninhabited but are a stunning capture of a natural landscape. The largest of the islands is Clare Island which is said to have been the home of the pirate queen, Grace O’Malley. With Croagh Patrick lurking over the bay, this is an especially extraordinary part of the west to be admired and remembered forever.