Lonely Planet reveals its Top 21 Irish attractions

Lonely Planet has just published the 12th edition of its Irish guide. Here are its Top 21 things to do in Ireland.

 1. Dublin

“From world-class museums and entertainment, superb dining and top-grade hotels, Dublin has all the baubles of a major international metropolis. But the real clinchers are the Dubliners themselves…”

2. Connemara, Co. Galway

“A filigreed coast of tiny coves and beaches forms the beautiful border between the Connemara Peninsula and the wild waters of the Atlantic… inland, the scenic drama is even greater.”

3. The Pub

“Every town and hamlet has at least one: no matter where you go, you’ll find that the social heart of the country beats loudest in the pub.”

4. Traditional Music

Western Europe’s most vibrant folk music…”

5. Galway City

“Join the locals as they bounce from place to place, never knowing what fun likes ahead, but certain of the possibility…”

6. Dingle, Co. Kerry

Fishing boats unload fish and shellfish that couldn’t be any fresher if you caught it yourself, many pubs are untouched since their earlier incarnations as old-fashioned shops, artists sell their creations at intriguing boutiques, and toe-tapping trad sessions take place around roaring pub fires…”

7. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow

“St. Kevin knew a thing or two about magical locations…”

8. Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary

“Soaring up from the green Tipperary pastures, this ancient fortress takes your breath away at first sight…”

Rock of Cashel
9. Links golf

“If Scotland is the home of golf, then Ireland is where golf goes on holiday… and the best vacation spots are along the sea.”

10. Cork City

The Republic’s second city is second only in terms of size… in many other respects, it will bear little competition.”

11. Walking & hiking

Yes, you can visit the country easily by car, but Ireland is best explored on foot, whether you opt for a gentle afternoon stroll along a canal towpath or take on the challenge of any of the 31 waymarked long distance routes.”

12. Brú na Bóinne, Co. Meath

“Looking at once ancient and yet eerily futuristic, Newgrange’s immense, round, white stone walls topped by a grass dome is one of the most extraordinary sights you’ll ever see.”


13. Ring of Kerry

“Driving around the Ring of Kerry is an unforgettable experience, but you don’t need to limit yourself to the main route…”


14. The Causeway Coast

“County Antrim’s Causeway Coast is an especially dramatic backdrop for Game of Thrones filming locations…”


15. Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Co. Sligo

“What makes a visit here truly fascinating is the ongoing process of discovery, as archaeologists continue to excavate new monuments and piece together clues as to the site’s deeper meaning…”

16. Kilkenny City

“From its regal castle to its soaring medieval cathedral, Kilkenny exudes a permaneence and culture that have made it an unmissable stop…”

Kilkenny Castle

17. Titanic Belfast

“The experience is heightened by the use of photography, audio and – perhaps most poignantly – the only footage of Titanic still in existence.”

Belfast - Titanic Belfast
18. Donegal Coastline

“Depending on what direction you travel in, the craggy, crenellated Donegal coastline is either the wildly dramatic finale of the Wild Atlantic Way, or its breathtaking beginning.”

19. A Gaelic football or hurling match

“Attending a match of the county’s chosen sport is not just a unique Irish experience, but also a key to unlocking local passions and understanding one of the cultural pillars of Ireland.”

20. Derry

“A city filled with a restless creative energy, expressed in its powerful murals, vibrant music scene and numerous art galleries – not to mention the guarantee of a good night out.”

21. Clare Coast

“Bathed in the glow of the late afternoon sun, the iconic Cliffs of Moher are but one of the splendours of County Clare…”


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