Top 10 Places to Visit in Ireland in 2023
Discover the top 10 places to visit in Ireland in 2023 to start planning your dream trip, including the capital Dublin, Galway and more.
Ireland is a country that is on many people’s bucket list, and it has something to offer visitors of all types. If you are thinking of planning a trip, you’ll love our pick of the top 10 places to visit in Ireland in 2023, which will help you narrow down where to add to your itinerary.
Ireland may be a small country on the edge of Western Europe but it attracts millions of visitors each year. And with a history that goes back to the last Ice Age, monuments spanning more than 5000 years, and a landscape that will leave you in awe at every turn, it is a small island that packs a punch.
Whether you are a history buff, an adventure traveller, or someone who likes a city break, Ireland has it all. Let’s look at the top places to visit in Ireland this year so you can get planning that trip of a lifetime.
Top 10 places to visit in Ireland in 2023
One of Ireland's best places to visit is the capital, Dublin. A sprawling metropolitan city, Dublin is also one of the most visited places in Ireland, particularly since most visitors arrive at Dublin airport.
Dublin is also often the starting point for longer tours of Ireland and has great links to much of the rest of the country.
Whether you have 3 days in Dublin, an overnight, or are planning to spend a week in the city, you will not be short of things to do.
Interested in learning more about Irish history? Then a visit to Kilmainham Gaol, the GPO Museum Witness History, or EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, will have you learning for hours.
Travelling with kids and wondering how to keep them entertained in Dublin? Book your family on a Viking Splash tour or take the Hop on Hop off the bus to Phoenix Park, where you will find Dublin Zoo, an animal enthusiast paradise.
No matter your interests, there is plenty to see and do in Ireland's capital city.
One of the best places in Ireland to visit along the west coast is Galway. Hailed as the capital of the west of Ireland, Galway is a vibrant city where you can mix history, pub culture, and walks along the bay.
For the history fans among you, the Spanish Arch and the nearby Galway City Museum are right up your street. The collections at the museum include items from prehistoric and medieval Galway as well as items to introduce you to Galway’s social history.
Want to indulge in a pint or two and immerse yourself in pub culture? Then Galway is the ideal place to do this, with plenty of quaint and traditional pubs lining its cobbled streets where you might just find some traditional Irish music being played.
And finally, if you want to fill your lungs with some salty sea air, a walk along the Salthill Promenade, just outside of the city, is the perfect place for doing just that!
And located in Galway Bay are the beautiful Aran Islands. These three islands off the mainland are a popular destination in the summer for tourists who want to get a feel for ‘old-Ireland’ or for cycling.
The Aran Islands can be reached by ferry from Rossaveal (35 mins west of Galway City with a 30min ferry crossing), and there is a summer schedule departing direct from Galway City (1.5-hour ferry crossing).
The islands are perfect for cycling due to the low number of cars on the islands and their small size. This is a popular activity for tourists during the summer months.
The island of Inishmore has an Iron/Bronze Age fort, Dun Aonghasa, that is worth visiting as well as several ruined Christian churches.
The Aran Islands were featured in the film “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and when you see the unspoiled beauty of them you will quickly understand why.
Ring of Kerry and Killarney
One of the top 10 places to see in Ireland is the Ring of Kerry and the Killarney National Park that sits within this 177-km circular driving route in County Kerry.
Typically starting and ending from either Killarney or Kenmare, this driving route is one of the most scenic drives in Ireland, trailing along the coast in what is part of the longer Wild Atlantic Way.
Along this route, you can visit pretty coastal towns, see beautiful beaches and visit places such as Muckross Abbey, the Gap of Dunloe and the Torc Waterfall.
When it comes to places to visit in summer in Ireland, the Ring of Kerry is one of the best. Just be aware it gets very busy during this peak season, particularly with tour buses.
Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and can often be overlooked for more popular ones such as Dublin and Galway. But it is a great city to spend a weekend in.
The city centre is compact and walkable, and many of the best tourist attractions are located within what is known as the Viking Triangle. This city area is home to Reginald’s Tower, Ireland’s oldest civic building, the House of Waterford Crystal, the Medieval Museum, and Bishop’s Palace.
Waterford is also a great city to include if you want to explore various places and will be in Ireland without a car. There are direct links via public transport between Dublin and Waterford, and there is a direct bus link between Waterford and Kilkenny, meaning you can combine several cities in one trip.
And not too far from Waterford is Wexford. This is a county that packs a punch when it comes to things to do and can easily be combined with neighbouring Waterford if you have your own transport.
Wexford is also called the sunny southeast, mainly because it is one county in Ireland that gets the best weather, particularly during summer. It sees warmer, drier days than many other places in Ireland.
It is also where you will find plenty of things to do, whether you are travelling solo, as a couple or group of friends, or even as a family. Things to do include the Irish National Heritage Park, Johnstown Castle and Gardens, Hook Lighthouse, JFK Arboretum, and the Dunbrody Famine Ship.
If you are travelling to Ireland in the summer months and want to try get the best weather, head to Wexford.
Another one of the most popular places in Ireland for tourists is Tipperary, who flock here to see the famous Rock of Cashel. This ruined abbey that stands on a rocky outcrop surveying the landscape below is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions.
In County Tipperary you will also find one of Ireland’s finest castles, Cahir Castle, and the beautiful Swiss Cottage nearby.
Tipperary is also a great place to go if you want to go hiking or get closer to nature. It is the home of two mountain ranges, both of which have great hiking opportunities, and Lough Derg where you can partake in water sports.
One of the top places to visit in Northern Ireland is County Antrim. Home to another of Ireland’s great driving routes, the Causeway Coastal Route, County Antrim has plenty to offer visitors who venture north.
For a start, it is home to Ireland’s other capital city, Belfast. Titanic Belfast and the surrounding area is one of the best places to visit in Belfast and gives visitors a chance to learn about the ill-fated liner. Belfast has lots more to offer visitors, including a castle, beautiful Botanic Gardens, and more.
Outside of Belfast, Antrim is famous thanks to its other attractions, which include the iconic Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and that famous Game of Thrones filming location, the Dark Hedges.
Antrim is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore what Northern Ireland has to offer.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Ireland and one of the lesser-visited places is County Donegal. Sitting in the far northwest corner of the island, County Donegal is one of the most beautiful thanks to its ruggedness. Think unspoiled landscape that includes mountains, rivers, waterfalls and a rugged coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
Its beaches are popular with surfers, and it has some of the best beaches in the country. It is also home to one of Ireland’s national parks and also its highest sea cliffs which are higher than the more popular Cliffs of Moher (see below).
And last but not least, one of the 10 best places to visit in Ireland is County Clare. It is also hugely popular with visitors and tourists alike who come to see one of the most famous places to visit in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher.
These sea cliffs are Ireland’s top tourist attraction, with hundreds of thousands of people every year flocking to view them in all their glory. They stretch for 14km (9 miles) along the west coast and at their highest stand 214 metres (702ft). Visitors can enjoy the views (hopefully on a clear day), discover the flora and fauna of the cliffs in the Visitor Centre, and try and spot the Bens of Connemara and the Aran Islands from the top of O’Brien’s Tower. They are a must-visit in Ireland.
County Clare is also home to the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, the Burren National Park and other cliff walks in the Loop Head Peninsula.
While there are many great places to visit in Ireland, these are our top 10 picks for 2023. Whether you are a history fan, like adventure and outdoor activities, or just want a city break, Ireland has it all.
Cath Jordan is the founder and author of Travel Around Ireland, an Ireland travel blog dedicated to helping people plan their dream trip to Ireland. Cath is an Irish expat who returns to Ireland every year to visit family and explore more of the beautiful island of Ireland.
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