We recently returned from exploring the magical country of Ireland and we want to share with you our favorite places. Ireland is easily one of the most enchanting places on earth, from the Cliffs of Moher to the daunting Skellig Michael Island. Ireland is a mystical land just waiting to be explored. Let’s start this off with our Ireland Top 10.
Located in Northern Ireland, about a three-hour drive from Dublin, Giants Causeway is one of the most recognizable places in all of Ireland. It’s famous for its jagged cliffs and over 40,000 basalt columns that form perfect hexagons that cover the coast. According to legend, the causeway was built by an Irish giant so he could cross the Northern Sea. When we were there, we started by hiking above the cliffs and then made our way down to the causeway. We were just amazed by the bizarre rock formations and had such a fun time walking on them. It’s wild to think they were made by nature. While you’re there, you can also hike around to other spots on the coast, such as the amphitheater. We really like this one rock formation called the Chimney Stacks on the cliffs.
Still in Northern Ireland, we’re going to head over to Carrick-a-Rede. It’s a scenic bridge that crosses the sea over to this little island. We were just amazed by the watercolor there, which is so blue and contrasted perfectly with the cream cliffs. Now, just 20 minutes from there, you can visit the Dark Hedges. It’s this avenue lined with over 90 beech trees that were planted almost 250 years ago. According to legend, there’s a ghost called the Grey Lady who wanders the road. Definitely has a spooky vibe, especially at night.
Sliabh Liag Cliffs
Located in the County of Donegal, about a four-hour drive from Dublin, the Sliabh Liag Cliffs are some of the highest cliffs in all of Europe, with a height of 601 meters. When you’re there, there’s plenty of lookout points, and there’s a path that walks along the cliffs that offers astounding views the whole way. We went there for sunset, but if you want to get the best lighting, we recommend going for sunrise. The light will hit those cliffs really nicely. Another really beautiful nearby place is the village of Malin Beg. It’s just a 30-minute drive from Sliabh Liag and is home to one of the best beaches in all of Ireland, called the Silver Strand. It’s this horseshoe-shaped beach surrounded by green cliffs. If the ocean wasn’t so cold, you would think you were on a tropical island. There’s a stairway that walks you down to the beach, and we had such a great time walking along the sand and exploring the grassy cliffs. Also, in Mountain bike, there’s this really cool Napoleonic Signal Tower that was built over 200 years ago, and you can also get another vantage point of the Sliabh Liag Cliffs from there.
While we’re still in Donegal, you can visit Mount Errigal. It’s the tallest peak in Donegal with a height of 751 meters. If you’re up for a challenge, you can make the four-kilometer hike to the top to get some phenomenal views of the area.
Afterward, we’re going to visit Eagles Rock. It’s located about 40 minutes from Donegal and is Ireland’s highest freestanding tower with a height of 330 meters. You can hike about six kilometers to reach the top of the plateau, and it’s really a beautiful area over there.
Afterward, we’re going to head back to the coast to visit Downpatrick Head. It’s located on the Wild Atlantic Way in North Mayo and is a distinctly shaped headland home to the impressive Dún Briste sea stack. During World War II, a lookout post was built here with the markings of Air 64, which was used by American aircraft so they knew they had reached neutral Ireland. It’s just pretty cool history.
Cliffs of Moher
Next, we’re going to visit the most famous place in all of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher. Located on Ireland’s west coast, about three hours’ drive from Dublin, the cliffs stretch over 14 kilometers, the highest reaching 214 meters above the sea. When you go to the cliffs, you can park at the visitor center. When we were there, we parked at this place called Garen’s Path. It’s about five euros a person and a short walk to the cliffs and not nearly as many people there. When we reached them, we were just amazed by the size of the cliffs. They were way bigger than we imagined, and they just drop off straight into the ocean. If you want to walk to the end of the cliffs, you can make the trek to Hag’s Head. Also, another cool spot is O’Brien’s Tower, which was built in 1835. If you can, we definitely recommend waiting for sunset as the light hits the cliffs, giving it a strikingly orange glow. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular places in all of Ireland. Another really cool spot right next to the cliffs is Dun Aonghasa, just 10 minutes away. It’s a 16th-century tower house, and we just love its unique shape.
Afterward, we’re going to visit the Aran Islands. They’re located right off the Galway, and the Aran Islands are made up of three islands, with Inishmore being the largest. To get to the islands, the best option is a ferry from Rossaveal. You can also leave from Doolin, which is close to the Cliffs of Moher. The island is covered in these recognizable stone walls made from limestone, and they’re just literally everywhere. While you’re on the island, you can rent a bike or just walk around and explore the intriguing landscapes and historical sites of the Aran Islands.
Another really cool place on the mainland of Ireland is Derryclare Lough. It’s located about an hour’s drive from Galway, and it’s this lake, and it has this island with these distinct trees. It kind of reminds us of the island in Harry Potter where Dumbledore’s wand was hidden. It’s just this really scenic site on the countryside, and it’s worth a visit, especially if you’re into photography.
Gap of Dunloe
Afterward, we’re going to the County Kerry to visit the Gap of Dunloe. Located in the southwestern tip of Ireland, about a four-hour drive from Dublin, the Gap of Dunloe is this incredibly scenic mountain pass. You can drive it if you’re comfortable with skinny, windy roads. We parked at the beginning of the pass near Kate Kearney’s Cottage and then walked up. One of our favorite features of the Gap of Dunloe is its bridges. You can reach the Wishing Bridge with just a short walk from the parking lot. Another thing we really loved about the pass was just the size of the mountains.