Plan a Bucket List Trip to Ireland

 

Explore Sights and Sounds of the Emerald Isle

From breathtaking natural wonders to cozy pubs, all hosted by the kindest people in the world, Ireland is a dream destination for many reasons. Imagine yourself looking over the Cliffs of Moher by day and relaxing to joyous folk music in a pub by night. Located northwest off of continental Europe, Ireland is an island steeped in history. Roughly the size of Indiana, the Emerald Isle is home to an estimated 30,000 castles and ruins. To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “She may be small, but she is mighty.”

Are you looking for an experience off the beaten paths of Europe? Or are you just feeling the “luck of the Irish”? Check out our list of some must-see activities when visiting Ireland.

dublin temple bar pubs ireland
Image courtesy of Matheus Camara da Silva

Enjoy A Beverage (Or Two) In Dublin

Looking for a foamy adventure in Dublin? Get ready to sip some of Ireland’s finest brews! Start at Temple Bar, where the lively crowd and traditional music are as refreshing as the beer itself. The pub has been around since 1840 and is still going strong. It is even home to a Guinness World Record thanks to musician David Brown who once played a marathon guitar set for 114 hours, 6 minutes, and 30 seconds. 

Next, head to the Guinness Storehouse, an iconic spot that’s not just about drinking beer, but understanding its history, too. The highlight? The rooftop Gravity Bar, where a pint of Guinness comes with a 360-degree view of Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains beyond. 

Finally, pop into Nancy Hands, a cozy and historic pub. Savor the creamy texture of their stouts and the rich flavors of their ales. Dublin’s beer journey is more than just drinks – it’s about soaking in the city’s spirit, one pint at a time. Slainté!

ireland folk music galway
Image courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo

Listen To Traditional Irish Music In Galway

Excited to fill your ears with the vibrant sounds of Ireland? Galway is your ultimate destination! This lively city is famous for its traditional Irish folk music. Wander into a snug, bustling pub, and you’ll likely hear the enchanting strum of a guitar, the sweet sigh of a fiddle, and maybe even the rhythmic tap of an Irish bodhrán drum. These melodies, often happy, sometimes haunting, will make your heart dance. Who knows? You might get lucky and stumble upon an impromptu jam session, where local musicians share tunes as freely as stories.

horse back riding ireland dingle
Image courtesy of K. Mitch Hodge

Ride A Horse In The Burren

If you spend any time in Ireland, you’ll feel your adventurous side start to come out. Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping quite like hopping on a horse and exploring The Burren! This rocky, moon-like landscape offers a unique backdrop for a thrilling ride. Feel the rhythm of the horse beneath you as you trot along limestone pavements, surrounded by rare plants and vibrant wildflowers. Peek into hidden caves, trot past ancient stone forts and tombs, and marvel at the sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s like a journey back in time, with nature providing all the special effects! Make sure to hire a local guide who can show you the secrets of this wonderful corner of Ireland.

cliffs of moher ireland atlantic ocean
Image courtesy of Brady Skye

Hike The Cliffs Of Moher

If you haven’t heard the name, then you’ve definitely seen the pictures. The Cliffs of Moher are considered a natural masterpiece. At the top, you’ll get to see a stunning view of the West Clare Coast. Definitely plan to stay a few hours to let it all soak in. Don’t be surprised if the scenery looks like a movie, the Cliffs of Moher are featured in films like The Princess Bride, Leap Year, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, to name a few. You can walk along the cliffs for miles, but be careful to not get too close to the edge. After your hike, you can spend the night in the charming nearby town of Doolin.

ballyseede castle ireland hotel
Image courtesy of Ballyseede Castle

Stay Overnight In Ballyseede Castle

Ready for a fairytale stay in Ireland? Check into Ballyseede Castle, the only castle hotel in County Kerry. Originally built in the 1590’s, this castle has been beautifully maintained over the last four hundred years. From the moment you enter its grand hallways, you’ll feel like royalty. Every room is a slice of history, filled with antique furniture and medieval charm. The castle grounds are just as magical, with enchanting woodland paths, vibrant gardens, and even some friendly Irish wolfhounds to greet you. After a day of exploring, feast on delicious Irish cuisine in the castle’s elegant dining room. As you drift to sleep in your four-poster bed, don’t be surprised if you dream of knights and princesses. Staying at Ballyseede Castle isn’t just a vacation, it’s stepping into a charming Irish storybook!

blarney castle stone gift of gab
Image courtesy of K. Mitch Hodge

Kiss The Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone has a rich history from the past 200 years. Whoever kisses the Blarney Stone is believed to receive the gift of persuasiveness and eloquence. Sir Winston Churchill, Stan Laurel, and Ronald Reagan are just a few of the many public figures that kissed the stone. The Blarney Castle, home of the famous stone, also has a beautiful garden that seals the deal for why you should make a stop – even if you don’t want to pucker up!

murphy's homemade handmade ice cream
Image courtesy of Murphy’s Ice Cream

Grab A Cone At Murphy’s Ice Cream

For those of us with a sweet tooth, you’ll want to make a beeline for Murphy’s Ice Cream, handmade in Dingle. This is no ordinary ice cream shop – it’s a paradise for your taste buds. Every scoop of Murphy’s is homemade with fresh, local milk and heaps of creativity. Try their legendary sea salt flavor, where sweet meets salty in a delicious dance, or go for Dingle Gin for a true taste of Ireland! And the fun doesn’t stop with ice cream. Murphy’s also serves heavenly baked goods and hot chocolate. All of their ice cream is handcrafted in Dingle, but you can find Murphy’s Ice Cream in Galway, Dublin, and Killarney, too.

ireland falconry dingle
Image courtesy of David White

Learn Falconry In Dingle

Prepare for a breathtaking adventure in Dingle, with an unforgettable falconry experience. This isn’t your typical birdwatching! You’re not just observing these awe-inspiring birds of prey, you’re stepping into their world. Under the guidance of a professional falconer, you’ll get to interact with majestic falcons, nimble hawks, and perhaps even a wise old owl. You’ll learn how to summon these stunning creatures to your gloved hand, watch them climb the sky, and witness their impressive swoop back down with precision. All the while, you’ll be surrounded by Dingle’s stunning landscape of rolling hills and the fresh scent of sea air. So, brace yourself, extend your arm, and watch in wonder as a falcon gracefully lands on your hand. It’s an Irish escapade that will take your spirit to new heights!

Image courtesy of Mick Haupt

Discover Glencar Waterfall

The Glencar Waterfall is located on the edge of County Leitrim. The waterfall served as inspiration for a poem called “The Stolen Child” by William Butler Yeats who was a prominent Irish poet. Standing at 15 meters high (50 feet for you Yanks), the waterfall offers a gorgeous view. It is free to visit the site year-round and is accompanied by a picnic area and children’s playground. An added bonus is that the scenic walk to the waterfall is wheelchair-friendly!

ring of kerry slea head drive ireland
Image courtesy of Brady Skye

Drive Along One Of The Most Scenic Roads In The World

Ireland is home to some of the most jaw-dropping vistas anywhere. It may sound surprising, but sometimes the best way to take in the view is from a car. Start with Slea Head Drive, a spectacular route in the Dingle Peninsula. As you wind along the coast, you’ll marvel at massive cliffs, lush green fields, and the endless blue ocean. Don’t forget to wave at the friendly sheep! Next, set your wheels on the famous Ring of Kerry. This scenic drive loops around rugged mountains, serene lakes, and quaint little towns. Each twist and turn of the road unveils a new breathtaking view that will have you pulling over for photos. Remember to take the turns slow as these roads can be extremely narrow!

killarney national park bike carriage walk
Image courtesy of Brady Skye

Explore Killarney National Park

Nature lovers will fall head over heels for Killarney National Park, a treasure trove of fun and sights. First, there’s the natural beauty. Think towering mountains, sparkling lakes, and lush forests that seem to stretch forever. Feel like a walk? The park has trails that take you past waterfalls, ancient trees, and even herds of native red deer. Want something more relaxing? Hop in a traditional jaunting car, a horse-drawn carriage, and enjoy a leisurely tour. 
Don’t forget to visit the historic Muckross House and Gardens, where you can step back in time and explore beautiful rooms and stunning gardens. Make sure to sign up for a guided tour in advance in order to see inside the stunning Victorian home.

carrauntoohil mountain ireland highest peak view from
Image courtesy of Elle Leontiev

Climb To The Highest Point In Ireland

The Carrauntoohil Mountain is the highest point in all of Ireland. It stands at approximately 3,414 feet (1,040 meters) and is nestled in Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. There are a few different routes you can take depending on your hiking experience. In order from least challenging to most challenging, there are several route options such as Devil’s Ladder, Brother O’Shea’s Gully, and Coomloughra Horseshoe. Just keep in mind that hiking a mountain like this one is definitely not an easy feat. Still up for the challenge? Book your trip between April and September when the weather is best!

Bring The Taste Of Ireland Home

You don’t need to book a trip to Ireland to get a taste of the Emerald Isle. Tommy Moloney’s premium meats, including bacon rashers, puddings, and sausages, are just one click away.

Tommy Moloneys