From the staggering Cliffs of Moher to the pristine Killarney National Park, Ireland is home to the kind of beauty that will instantly make you a believer. It's difficult to narrow down the list, but we think these destinations are among the best in the country.
Kinsale, Co. Cork
You'll probably never get tired of Ireland's fifty shades of green, but if you do find yourself wanting some diversity in your Instagram feed, head directly to the town of Kinsale. The historical fishing town is known for its winding roads lined with pubs and galleries, tucked behind facades of bright purple, cerulean, and hot pink.
Hikers navigate Carrauntoohil, Ireland's tallest peak at 3,400 feet above sea level. Part of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range in County Kerry, Carrauntoohil's terrain features deep lakes and hanging valleys, and its summit offers lofty views of land and sea.
Moll's Gap (Kerry)
A pass on the world-famous Ring of Kerry route, Moll's Gap has views towards the Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountains. The rocks here are Old Red Sandstone.
Inch Strand is a popular surf beach with six miles of sandy shoreline on a peninsula in Dingle Bay, County Kerry. West along the bay is the scenic harbor town of Dingle, setting of the Academy Award-winning 1970 film Ryan's Daughter—and an enduring tourist draw.
Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry
Pointing into the Atlantic Ocean like a nagging finger, the Dingle Peninsula is an incredible stretch of natural beauty: seaside cliffs, sheep-strewn fields, and Crayola-green hills. A short ferry ride away are the Blasket Islands, which once hosted a thriving community of Irish writers, but were abandoned in the 1950s after young residents emigrated en masse. Today, the on-site heritage museum—and remote, empty landscapes—are lovely yet somber reminders of a community lost.
The Conor Pass
On the Dingle Peninsula is just another one of those places in Ireland that takes your breath away without fail, no matter how many times you’ve seen it
Cliffs of Moher
The craggy Cliffs of Moher wrap around the western coast of County Clare, providing a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean. The rocky cliffs reach 702 feet at their highest point—just north of the Victorian-era O'Brien's Tower—and stretch nearly five miles across.
You might know them better as the Cliffs of Insanity from The Princess Bride, but this seaside wonder is actually located just south of Galway. Stretching for five miles along the Atlantic coast, the 400-foot-high cliffs offer one of Ireland's, shall we say, most inconceivable views.
Sitting out in the wild Atlantic Ocean, Downpatrick Head is an area of unrivalled coastal beauty and historical importance. Just a few kilometres north of Ballycastle village, County Mayo, is the the windswept outcrop of Downpatrick Head. This is the perfect place to park up and stretch your legs with an invigorating coastal walk.
Glencar Waterfall is 50ft high and is situated at Glencar Lough and served as an inspiration to the William Butler Yeats and features in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’
Benbulben Mountain, Co. Sligo
Formed hundreds of millions of years ago, this limestone formation hovers over Sligo like something from a fantasy novel. Benbulben's paved trails make it a popular destination for hikers and climbers, but the peak is perhaps best known for its literary associations. Irish poet W. B. Yeats drew inspiration from the mountain and its surrounding landscapes, most notably in his 1938 poem "Under Ben Bulben." Benbulbin (Sligo): In the heart of Yeats Country -- the childhood home and final burial place of the poet W. B. Yeats -- Benbulbin is a jaw-like slab of the Dartry Mountains. It gained its distinctive shape during the Ice Age. It can be found on the northwest coast.
Binevenagh is a mountain that is a few miles/km southwest of Mussenden Temple. You can hike to the summit if you would like an outstanding view.
The Dark Hedges
The hedges in Ballymoney, Co Antrim – best known for their appearance in Game Of Thrones. Just a short distance south of Giant’s Causeway you can find the Dark Hedges, a stunning avenue of beech threes. The Dark Hedges has become a more popular tourist attraction since it gained visibility through the HBO show Game of Thrones. The Stuart family planted the trees in the 1700s to line the path to their house. There are over 90 trees lining the road, although a few have come down in recent years. You can park at the nearby Hedges Estate Hotel and walk through the Dark Hedges.
White Rocks Beach, Portrush
The Great Arch at Whiterocks Beach on Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast dips a foot into the North Atlantic. The site’s limestone cliffs extend along the shore from Curran Strand to
Dunluce Castle. The sedimentary rocks form caves and headlands that dot the coastline. The town of Portrush is just west of Dunluce Castle. The town has three beaches: East Strand, West Strand, and White Rocks. White Rocks Beach is a great place for photography thanks to the limestone cliffs. Even amongst the spectacular cliffs, there are some distinct formations.
Science and mythology mingle at the Giant's Causeway, formed from volcanic activity some 50 to 60 million years ago. One of the most popular sites in Northern Ireland—and the first World Heritage site on the Emerald Isle—the landscape of around 40,000 basalt columns is considered a geological wonder. The giant of folklore is epic hero Finn McCool, who's said to have built a causeway to Scotland to challenge the neighboring land's resident giant.
The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most-well known attractions in Northern Ireland, especially among photographers. It is located on the northern coast, just outside of the Bushmills. This surreal landscape features thousands of basalt columns that are mostly hexagonal in shape. The columns, which are the result of volcanic eruptions, form steps that can be followed down to the water. Giant’s Causeway is a national natural reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dunluce Castle is also on the north coast of Northern Ireland, just a few miles/km west of Giant’s Causeway. This medieval castle is now in ruins, but it is still very photogenic on a large rock outcropping overlooking the ocean. There are steep drops all around, making it a very dramatic setting.
Portstewart Strand in Northern Ireland invites surfers and strollers to its stretch of sandy beach on the North Coast. A path through the sand dunes leads to a nearby bird sanctuary that protects wading birds and waterfowl along the Bann Estuary. But it’s not just for the birds—the beach was recently closed to the public to accommodate filming for the hit TV series Game of Thrones. The town of Portstewart is a short distance west of Portrush. Portstewart has a beautiful beach, and it is a popular area for tourists and locals. There are sand dunes to explore, and you can also hike along the Causeway Coast Way, a 33 mile (53 km) path to Ballycastle.
Fanad Head Lighthouse, Co. Donegal
Stunning seascape/ lighthouse opportunities. Close to Ireland's most Northerly point, with great night and astro opportunities, as the aurora can be pretty decent here. Also a great opportunity for sunrises. Built in 1818 to help guide ships (and sailors) safely to shore, the lighthouse—voted one of the most beautiful in the world—remains on its rocky outcrop between Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay. It has 79 steps, sits approximately 120 feet above sea level, and is considered an essential stop on the Wild Atlantic Way. The rugged stretch of coastline is regularly visited by whales, porpoises, and dolphins, and its northerly location means little light pollution (and lots of stars) at night. It now serves as a visitor's center with accommodation.
Mussenden Temple (Derry)
Another "Game of Thrones" filming location, Mussend
Hill of Tara (Meath)
The Hill of Tara is the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland and has been in use since the Neolithic era. Margaret Mitchell borrowed some of Tara's resonance when she gave its name to Scarlett O'Hara's beloved homestead in "Gone With the Wind."
This place has the most special stone formation I've ever seen. Particularly for long-exposure black & white photographs, this place is ideally suited.
Lough Tay, Wicklow Mountains
A beautiful private lake belonging to the Guinness family in the Wicklow Mountains near Dublin. Stunning views.
The Great Pollet Sea Arch
Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry
Although the boat ride out to Skellig Michael from the coast of County Kerry can be a rocky one, its well worth the effort. The craggy, emerald-green island houses the remains of a sixth-century monastery, which you can explore after ascending a chillingly steep 600-step climb. Who knows? Maybe you'll find a brooding Luke Skywalker once you reach the top.
Ballycastle Beach and Torr Head
Continuing southeast along the coast, Ballycastle is just a few miles/km from Kinbane Castle. The beach is a popular area, and a good location for photography. Fair Head is a rocky headland that dramatically rises nearly 650 feet (nearly 200 meters). Just east of Ballycastle, Torr Head is a rugged headland with amazing views. This is definitely a highlight of the area.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
Carrick-a-Rede is just east of Ballintoy Harbour. It is a famous rope bridge near the town of Ballintoy connecting the mainland to a very small island, Carrickarede. The bridge is about 60 feet (20 meters) long and 100 feet (30 meters) above the rocks and water. It’s a popular tourist attraction, and also part of a scenic landscape. The bridge is owned by the National Trust and there is a small fee to cross.
Cobh, Co. Cork
Cobh redefines charming with its rows of candy-colored homes along the water and towering cathedral standing sentry over the harbor. This town is particularly popular with cruise-lovers—about 60 ships stop there every year. In fact, Cobh was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic, and a commemorate museum stands in the city today.
Keyhole - Kilkee, Ireland
Slieve League Cliffs
Donegal’s Slieve League Cliffs, which are actually part of the Appalachian range as it crosses the Atlantic and reaches our shores
Connemara National Park
Mizen Head, Co Cork,
is as far South as you can go – and it’s absolutely stunning.
Inistioge is a little village that’s straight out of a postcard, and is naturally beloved of movie directors
Aileen’s Wave on the west coast is beloved by surfers all over the world – it’s not hard to see why