Ireland, the land of saints and scholars, has a lot to offer travellers from a hearty Irish stew, to sheer cliffs and ancient castles perched on green hills, and back again to a tasty pint of Guinness. But once you’ve ticked off all the classic Irish pastimes and sights, what’s next? Here are 15 things to do in Ireland once you’ve covered all the major sights.
1. Check out Dún Aonghasa on the Aran Islands
The prehistoric hillfort is pretty imposing and impressive, and visiting the site is one of the best things to do in Ireland. The circular walls look great from on high, but also magnificent explored on foot.
2. Sample Jameson Whisky in Cork
Who does whisky better, Scotland or Ireland? It’s best for you to decide yourself and sample Ireland’s perhaps most famous batch, Jameson. The distillery in Midleton in Cork gives tours and tastings, so it’s a no brainer really.
3. Hike in the Wicklow Mountains
There are many hiking trails in the scenic Wicklow Mountains that lead to viewpoints like Sally Gap, Lough Tay or Powerscourt Waterfall. If you have enough time in Ireland, put a day aside to head to the countryside and explore this locally-loved area. The view from Lough Tay, also known as Guinness Lake, especially is lauded as one of the prettiest views in Ireland.
4. See the tiny church by the lake
Gougane Barra is one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it places, but the tiny church on the edge of the lake is beyond cute. The hotel nearby has good food and sometimes hosts plays and small concerts in the summer.
5. Try Tayto crisps
Tayto crisps are an Irish snack staple. Like how Scotland has its Iron Bru, munching on some Tayto chips (sometimes on a white bread sandwich) is a must – they’re just one of the Irish foods you absolutely HAVE to try.
6. Visit the oldest library in Ireland
The Trinity College Library dates back to 1592 and it’s famous ‘Long Room’ has 200,000 books and manuscripts alone. It’s one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
7. Get beautiful with seaweed
Ireland has a lengthy coastline, so it’s hardly a surprise they have a lot of seaweed and that they’ve been using it in beauty remedies for yonks. From the Voya Seaweed Baths in Strandhill to shops selling weedy shampoo, it’ll leave you smoother than a selkie.
8.Surf on Inchydoney Beach
Bet you didn’t think you could surf in Ireland? This popular beach in West Cork is surfing friendly, and even if you’re not game for a dip, it’s a great spot to just chill and watch the sunset.
9. Watch the sunset off the Cliffs of Moher
You’re likely to take a walk along the treacherous cliffs anyway, but take it a step further (not literally) and find a spot to watch the uninterrupted sunset from.
10. Attend the biggest matchmaking festival in Europe
If you’re lucky enough to be in Lisdoonvarna on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way during the month of September you can attend the annual Matchmaking Festival. It’s Europe’s biggest singles event and has been running for over 160 years! Even locals think it’s fun to watch and have a bit of a chat with hopeful romantics.
11. Explore Kildare’s gorgeous gardens
Kildare boasts many lush, green gardens. Locals recommend exploring Irish National Stud & Gardens, a breeding facility for thoroughbred horses that has beautiful grounds inspired by Japanese gardens.
12. Tuck into real Irish ice cream and whiskey in Dingle
When in Dingle, try Murphy’s ice cream, which is made with milk from local Kerry cattle. Then taste a tipple of whiskey from the artisan Dingle distillery.
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13. Check out some Viking artefacts
Hiding under modern Ireland is a rich history with many tall Viking tales. Although maybe they’re not that tall at all when you see all the ancient relics left over from the raiding heyday. You can find museums showing off the old school wares everywhere, but Dublin probably has the most treasures.
14. Watch a Hurling match
A very unique experience and a very unique Irish sport, Hurling is the fastest ball game in the world and if you can score tickets to a match while you’re there, you won’t be disappointed.