The top ten most
beautiful spots in Ireland
that every tourist should visit
the ragged Burren to the rolling hills of Wicklow – the wonderful landscapes of Ireland
By BRENDAN CHARLES, IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Saturday, July 14, 2012, 8:03 AM
Updated Sunday, July 15, 2012, 8:04 AM
1. The Burren, from the Irish Boíreann meaning “a rocky place,”
is a limestone-laden region in northwest County Clare.
The area encompasses 155 square miles, bound by the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay. A small portion earns the
distinction as one of the Republic
six national parks.
In 1651, one of Oliver Cromwell’s army officers
remarked, “It is a country where there is not water enough to drown
a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury them. This last
is so scarce that the inhabitants steal it from one another and yet their
cattle are very fat. The grass grows in tufts of earth of two or three
foot square which lies between the limestone rocks and is very sweet and
2. The Giant’s Causeway
in Co. Antrim
comprises 38,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of ancient
volcanic activity throughout the area. The cliffs maintain a stepped
appearance due to the succession of five or six lava flows through
geological time. Their average height is 328 ft. Currently,
it ranks as the most popular tourist destination in Northern Ireland.
3. The Dingle Peninsula, located in southwest Co. Kerry,
features steep, seaside cliffs, sandy beaches and rolling mountains.
National Geographic Traveler once described the Dingle
Peninsula as “the most
beautiful place on earth,” and Trip Advisor recently ranked the
locale as the second best destination in Ireland.
4. The Sperrin Mountains, sprawled across Counties Tyrone
and Derry, is designated an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
Recently, National Geographic included the location in its Top 101 Most
As one of the largest, yet least explored mountain
ranges in Northern Ireland,
Mountains provide a
picturesque backdrop to many indoor and outdoor activities.
5. Binevenagh, located in Co. Derry, marks the
western extent of the Antrim Plateau. Its steep cliffs, formed by molten
lava, extend for six miles across the peninsula of Magilligan and dominate
the horizon over villages such as Bellarena and
Downhill. Like the Sperrin Mountains,
it has been labeled an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It offers
views over Lough Foyle
and County Donegal.
It is a popular destination for hand-gliding, fishing and motorsport.
6. The Ring of Kerry, or Iveragh Peninsula,
is a tourist trail that has attracted visitors for hundreds of years. It
is renowned for its serene beauty and stunning views. Notable attractions
include the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain
pass between Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain.
7. The Wicklow
Mountains cross over Cos. Carlow,
Wexford and Dublin.
Composed primarily of granite, they form the largest continuous upland
are in Ireland.
designated as a Special Area of Conservation and as a Special Protection
Area under European Union law.
8. Located in Co. Clare, the Cliffs of Moher
are one of Ireland’s top visitor
attractions. They rise 390 feet above the Atlantic
Ocean at Hag’s Head, and increase to 702 ft. just
north of O’Brien’s Tower. The cliffs host approximately
30,000 birds, representing more than 20 species.
9. Co. Donegal’s Bundoran Beach experiences wild and
raging waves that continuously pummel its tan, sandy banks. Its steel
blue water blends seamlessly into the horizon, offset by clouds that
straddle its location on the northwest coast of Ireland.
The beach has hosted the European Surfing
Championships three times (as recently as 2011).
10. The Glencar Waterfall is located in Co. Leitrim, approximately 7 miles from Manorhamilton. It is 50 feet high, and flows into Glencar Lough.
Irish poet W.B. Yeats wrote of the waterfall:
“Where the wandering water gushes/ From the hills above Glencar/ In pools among the rushes/ That scarce could
bathe a star/ We seek for slumbering trout/ And whispering in their ears/
Give them unquiet dreams/ Leaning softly out/ From ferns that drop their
tears/ Over the young streams.”