Ireland is one of the most remarkable places on earth – everyone knows that, from the residents of our beautiful little island to those who talk with pride of their Irish heritage.
This list suits both of those groups – so whether you live here and need to do more exploring, or are planning a trip to come see what the place has to offer, here’s the ultimate checklist.
Time to get cracking…
1. Visit The Aran Islands
A hospitable people on an inhospitable but beautiful landscape, jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Catch a live show In Johnny Fox’s
Just outside Dublin, the evening shows are amazing craic, they have superb food and there are plenty of pints to be had.
3. Take in the majestic Giant’s Causeway
Looks like something from another planet, and has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated – seeing the pics doesn’t cut it.
4. Say hello to Fungi the Dolphin in Dingle
Dingle as a small town is wonderful enough, and a great base for seeing the region – but to top it all off, it’s also got a celebrity dolphin.
5. Climb Croagh Patrick
A great challenge – and when you do get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible view imaginable.
6. Hang out with the deer in Phoenix Park
One of the biggest public parks in the world, where the deer are so friendly you can get up good and close (while staying safe, obviously) and get some incredible photographs.
7. See where Star Wars was filmed, in Skellig Michael
As if this coast wasn’t amazing enough, true Star Wars fans have an even bigger reason to come here now.
8. Nab yourself some tickets to the All Ireland Final
You don’t have to even be supporting one of the two teams to get in on the atmosphere of these matches, which take place every September.
If you are lucky enough to bag a ticket to either final you’ll be rewarded with incredible passion on a wonderfully Irish day.
9. Cruise along the Shannon
Rent a boat and gently cruise down the beautiful river at your ease, taking in the incredibly scenery and stopping wherever you fancy.
10. Stay in Dromoland Castle
Or any Irish castle for that matter – but we had to pick one of the very best. Make a weekend of it and escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax by walking the grounds and taking in the magical scenery.
11. Drive the entire Wild Atlantic Way
Recently the setting for a Top Gear episode, it’s easy to see why this is fast becoming one of the must-drive roads in the world.
12. Attend the Galway Races
A unique date in the Irish sporting and social calendars when people travel from all over the island for a week of pure fun.
13. Do the Howth Cliff Walk
A day spent in Howth is always a worthy experience, with wonderful seafood and picturesque views at every turn. Make sure to do the looped cliff walk and marvel at the scenery.
14. Get spiritual at Newgrange
People have been on this little island for thousands of years and you won’t get a better feeling for the past anywhere else.
15. Play golf at The K Club
This is an island with hundreds of great golf courses – more per capita than anywhere else on earth, in fact – but to play thus Ryder Cup venue in such luxurious surroundings is a once in a lifetime experience.
16. Visit the Titanic Museum in Belfast
Probably the most famous ship ever made, and this place truly brings it to life.
17. Eat strawberries in the summer in Wexford
One of the true tastes of Irish summer, they only get better by eating them at the source – ideally picked up from the side of the road from the farmer themselves.
18. Attend Electric Picnic
Music festivals come in all shapes and sizes around the world but you haven’t lived unless you have been to the Picnic.
19. Visit Father Ted’s house
One of the most famous shows on TV, on this side of the Atlantic anyhow, and worth the trip for that one picture in front of the house alone.
20. Picnic at Powerscourt Waterfall
An incredibly picturesque park where you can climb the waterfall and set off on all sorts of walks at a leisurely pace. Sitting here having a picnic is pure happiness.
21. Kiss the Blarney Stone
Who knows if it actually works or not – but who are we to pour cold water on the tradition?
22. Visit the English Market in Cork
Cork is known to have some of the best artisan food producers in the country and the very best of what they have to offer is available in this wonderful market. A must for foodies.
23. Swim at the Forty Foot in Dublin
You can do it at anytime of the year but for the full experience try it in the colder months or even on Christmas Day!
24. Catch a live music session in The Cobblestone
Ireland is a country known for great music, and with thousands of venues to choose from it’s unfair to select one – but such is the nature of this list. (Besides, we did also mention Johnny Fox’s…)
Head to this popular Dublin haunt and marvel at the live music.
25. See the Northern Lights
You don’t have to travel to Norway or the Arctic Circle to see the Aurora Borealis; you’ll often see them here in Ireland. Go as far North as you possibly can for the best chance.
26. Eat in Chapter One
Voted Ireland’s best restaurant on a regular basis, and a great example of the diverse food made using the very best produce this wonderful island has to offer.
27. Have a late night in Copper Face Jack’s
People may laugh at this being on the list but easily the best known nightclub in the land – and always sure to provide a good night.
28. Sunset at the Cliffs Of Moher
People come from across the world to see these cliffs; they’re a postcard for the island of Ireland. Make things even more spectacular by being here for a sunset, facing into the western horizon as the sun dips and brings your day to a close.
29. Grafton Street at Christmas
That magical feeling is in the air, people are all in a good mood and if you are really lucky you might even hear Bono banging out a few tunes.
30. Surf in Lahinch
Ireland may not be the warmest country in the world but we do have some of the very best waves in the world. A great spot for people of all standards to come and learn or catch the biggest waves going.
31. Take the Black Taxi Tour in Belfast
It can be hard to understand the history of this island – but in Belfast, sitting in the back of a Black Cab, you feel as if you are still living through it. A phenomenal experience.
32. Full Irish in Neven Mcguire’s MacNean House
There are many full Irish breakfasts to be had across the country but go for one of the very best in this wonderfully hospitable little spots. Wonderful chef and incredible location.
33. An of course, have a pint of Guinness and a toastie in Grogan’s
We had to finish with a pint of Guinness – and why not have it in one of the cosiest and most authentic pubs in the country.
Ideally on a sunny day while watching the world go by. But really? Any time will do…