It’s how green everything is that first catches your eye when you finally land in Ireland and drive through it’s rolling, winding roads. The Green Isle lives up to its nickname. The wonder and striking variety of this island is part of its charm. There’s culture, and folklore, and history, and romance, and the wild west coast. Here are five spots (it was so hard to choose just five) that are a must see in Ireland!
Must-See Spots in Ireland
1. Blarney Castle, County Cork. Built almost 600 years ago, Blarney Castle stands on the lush grounds that house various plants and trees, a waterfall, The Wishing Steps, The Druid Stones, A Fairy Glade, the Witch Stone and so much more. You can get lost for hours exploring the grounds and all the magical corners and hidden treasures. Of course, you’ll ultimately want to make your way up to the top of the castle to kiss the infamous Blarney Stone. (Be aware, that in the high season, you could be waiting in line for a good hour or more.) Once you do get there though, it’s a fast turn, as the guide assisting you will dip you in what seems like a certain plunge backwards, directs you to kiss the stone, and whisks you back up and to your feet again.
2. The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare. If you are graced with good weather, you can wander the raw and wild cliffs for hours, saying hello to the cows grazing in the nearby pasture. Standing up on the top, overlooking the crashing waves below, the wind tossing your hair about your face, you see just how breathtaking nature can be. Once you’ve had your fill or need to get out of the cold rain, there is a gift shop and Visitors Centre to wander around in.
3. Aillwee Caves, County Clare. Aillwee Caves are tucked under the Burren mountainside of this interactive centre. When you first arrive, you have the option to go in and see shows of the many birds that live at the Birds of Prey centre. You can hold an owl on your arm, and watch as the handlers demonstrate the talents of the various birds there in one of many flying displays. Eagles, Owls, Hawks and Falcons are what you will find here. After the show you can make your way up the hill, by foot or by car, to the entrance of Aillwee Caves. There is a gift shop to peruse and small restaurant there to grab a quick bite and a steaming hot cup of tea, before you make your way into the caves. You’ll spend about thirty minutes underground, exploring the many crevices and chasms in the cool, dark air.
4. Killarney National Park, County Kerry. Just a short drive from the town of Killarney, is Killarney National Park. You’ll find the highest mountain range here, called McGillcuddy’s Reeks, and the lakes of Killarney where you can take a row boat from Ross Castle and float around for hours, taking in the amazing scenery. Explore the grounds and the ruins of the castle itself, tucked onto the shores of Killarney lake. Make sure to keep your camera handy, as Ireland’s ever changing weather, can make for some breathtaking pictures.
5. The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland. Last and certainly not least, is one of natures masterpieces. Forged from volcanic activity and said to be about 60 million years old, this World Heritage site, should definitely be on your list. Feel like you are jumping back in time as you wander the waters edge and the stepping stones, marvelling at the wonder of something so beautiful being forged from nature itself, so long ago.
If you have the opportunity to visit this unique island, make sure to keep your eyes open and your imagination active, as you explore the ever-changing landscape of Ireland. You could find fairies frolicking in a glade, or pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. Expect the unexpected, and enjoy the magical journey. You never know what you might find, just around the next bend in the road!