From cathedrals and castles to historically significant sites and striking landscapes, The Emerald Isle is home to many famous landmarks. These sites shaped the country and gave it the deserved title as one of the world’s greatest countries.
Visitors are awed by Ireland’s friendly people, rugged landscapes, and fascinating yet tragic history. Dubbed as one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, you’ll be captivated by war-torn structures, sheer cliffs, ancient tombs, and wild islands.
Embark on one of the many hiking trails along the Ring of Kerry or admire the beautiful stained glass in Dublin’s Cathedral. Sample some world-renowned Guinness beer at their storehouse or learn about some interesting stories from the past.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of Ireland’s most famous landmarks to add to your bucket list.
12 Famous Ireland Landmarks
Table of Contents
- 1 12 Famous Ireland Landmarks
- 1.1 1. Cliffs of Moher
- 1.2 2. Giant’s Causeway
- 1.3 3. The Titanic Quarter
- 1.4 4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- 1.5 5. Blarney Stone, Gardens and Castle
- 1.6 6. Newgrange Tomb
- 1.7 7. Dublin Castle
- 1.8 8. Ring of Kerry
- 1.9 9. Guinness Storehouse
- 1.10 10. Dunluce Castle
- 1.11 11. Carrickfergus Castle
- 1.12 12. Carrick-A-Rede Bridge
- 2 A Footnote: Famous Ireland Landmarks
1. Cliffs of Moher
As one of Ireland’s most popular attractions and an undoubtedly famous landmark, the Cliffs of Moher is a must-see while visiting the Emerald Isle. Located in County Clare and hugging the Wild Atlantic Way, these sheer, cascading sea cliffs are over 320 million years old. They form part of the UNESCO Global Geopark.
Stretching for 14 km and rising 214 meters at their highest point, these cliffs offer spectacular viewpoints. Head to the observation tower, the O’Brien’s Tower, to get the best-unobstructed panoramas of the areas.
These cliffs, however, offer more than just beautiful vistas. A modern centre was built to improve the visitor experience and provide information about the area’s geology and geography. Here you’ll find many unique bird species that call this place home, such as razorbills, falcons, kittiwakes, and more.
Join one of the fabulous day tours to the Cliffs of Moher and explore the area. Tour buses depart daily from major metros, including Galway, Dublin, and Cork.
2. Giant’s Causeway
Located in County Antrim, the Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most impressive landmarks. It’s famous for its odd-looking hexagonal rock columns. There are approximately 40,000 of these basalt columns along 6 kilometres of the Antrim plateau, resulting from an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. There are typically five to seven irregular sides jutting out of the cliff faces.
Legend has it that this strange formation was built by the Irish warrior Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill) to fight the Scottish giant Benandonner. Finn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so the two giants could meet.
The Giant’s Causeway is an enjoyable place to visit, and there are plenty of day trips and tour options to choose from. Some highlights not to be missed here include the Giant’s Boot, the wishing chair (a natural throne), and of course, the largest of three rock outcrops, the Grand Causeway. And if you’re an avid hiker, there are some incredible cliff-top trails along the causeway.
Access to this landmark is free of charge. There is, however, an entrance fee to the visitor centre.
3. The Titanic Quarter
Situated in the heart of Belfast, the Titanic Quarter is home to where the notorious Titanic ship was first created. Today, it houses a state-of-the-art Titanic-themed museum to pay tribute to the world-famous cruise liner.
Visitors’ experience at this museum is second to none, with interactive exhibits and world-class art galleries enabling you to explore the world of the Titanic. Here you can uncover the building processes right through to the disastrous events and the underwater remains. Head to the slipway to find some unique souvenirs and to see where the Titanic, and her sister Olympic, were built and first launched.
I highly recommend you book entrance tickets to explore the fascinating history of the Titanic in this magnificent museum.
4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also known as the National Cathedral of Ireland, is steeped in over 800 years of Irish history. It’s a historical and religious site that is one of the most famous landmarks in Dublin.
It was built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick, who baptised converts into the Christian faith. Founded in 1191, the building offers visitors a rich and compelling cultural experience.
The Gothic cathedral boasts beautiful stained glass and historic architecture. Another highlight here is the tomb of Johnathan Swift. He is the famed author of Gulliver’s Travels and was the dean of the cathedral in the 1700s.
And if you have enough time, be sure to listen to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral choir (which was founded in 1432). The cathedral is open from Monday to Friday; however, service times vary throughout the week. Take a bike tour to see the cathedral and Dublin’s main attractions.
5. Blarney Stone, Gardens and Castle
The Blarney Castle is located in County Cork and is one of Ireland’s most revered historical landmarks. The medieval castle was constructed in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster.
The iconic attraction here is the Blarney Stone, which, according to the legend, can grant you the gift of eloquence if you kiss it. The 600-year-old castle looks like a mystic building from one side and a war-torn hero from the other.
Other highlights here are the stunning, well-manicured gardens of Blarney Castle. While you’re exploring this remarkable green space, be sure to check out the Poison Garden, The Seven Sisters, the Fern Garden, and more.
Tourists come from far and wide to give this stone a smooch in the hope of some Irish luck. So, I highly recommend booking a tour to learn about the grounds’ thrilling history and its legends.
Admission to the Blarney Castle is $21 for adults and $10 for children. Opening times are from 9 am to 5 pm every day.
6. Newgrange Tomb
Located in the Boyne Valley in County Meath, the Newgrange Tomb is the focal point for other-worldly ceremonies and symbolises Ireland’s Ancient East. The 5,200-year-old stone passage was constructed around 3,200 BC, which makes it older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt!
It was built by Stone Age farmers and sits on a circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers, aligned with the rising sun on the mornings around the Winter Solstice. It’s around 85 meters in diameter and 13 meters high. There’s a passage measuring 19 meters, leading to a chamber with three alcoves.
The Newgrange Tomb forms part of a complex of prehistoric sites — including Knowth and Dowth — and is known as Brú na Bóinne. Visitors can enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site monuments via the Brú na Bóinne Visitors Center. Alternatively, there are plenty of tours to explore the Newgrange.
7. Dublin Castle
Nestled in the heart of Dublin city is the 600-year-old castle that served a range of possessors, from the Danish Vikings to the British Empire. The historic building served as a residence for the Viceroy of Ireland (the British monarch’s Irish representative) and a ceremonial and administrative centre.
The Dublin Castle was originally developed as a medieval fortress by orders of King John of England in 1230 in defence against Norman invaders.
Today, the last remaining building from the original medieval structure is the Record Tower. Other noteworthy areas in the castle include a Viking excavation area, a Medieval Tower, the State Apartments, the Chapel Royal (a church), and the gardens.
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Admission into the castle costs $10, and it’s open Monday to Sunday from 9.45 am – 5.45 pm. You can take a self-guided tour using the Dublin Castle app. Alternatively, there are plenty of tours following the sites and happenings behind this castle’s history.
8. Ring of Kerry
Situated in County Kerry and part of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Kerry has attracted visitors to its unspoilt scenery.
The 179-kilometre-long circular tourist route takes its visitors around the Iveragh Peninsula and through majestic valleys, rivers, mountains, towns, historic sites, and beaches. The landscape is varied, from the rocky bay of Rossbeigh Strand to the Killarney lakes and mountains.
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Hop in your car and head on an unforgettable road trip, or find your seat on a tour to explore the heavenly scenic route. Along the way, stop by some of Ireland’s noteworthy sites including, Ross Castle, the Kerry Cliffs, and the Cahergall Stone Fort. And, don’t forget to visit some exquisite beaches and enjoy some of the stunning hiking trails along the way.
9. Guinness Storehouse
Who doesn’t love a good beer? Or even if you don’t, as one of the most famous exports from the Republic of Ireland, the storehouse certainly deserves a visit. The ‘black stuff’, as it’s fondly known, has been brewed in Dublin since 1759. It’s housed in the St. James Gate’s Brewery, the largest stout brewery in the world.
It’s a dedicated space to the 250-year-old art of brewing the world-famous beverage. A self-guided tour around the seven-floor brewery takes around 1.5 hours. Head to the Gravity Bar at the top to sample the iconic Irish beer while enjoying panoramic views of the city.
The Guinness Storehouse entrance tickets are around $17 (€15) to $28 (€24) per person. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 2 pm to 9 pm and are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
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10. Dunluce Castle
One of the most picturesque and romantic of the Irish Castles, Dunluce has a spectacular location on the dramatic cliffs of north County Antrim. The castle was built by the MacQuillan family around 1500. It was seized by the MacDonnell clan in the 1550s and became the seat of the earls of Antrim in the 17th century.
Today it is a key tourist attraction in the area. Don’t miss Magheracross Viewing Point for some great views of Dunluce Castle in its amazing location.
11. Carrickfergus Castle
Another spectacular castle in County Antrim with a great location, Carrickfergus Castle sits on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle played an important military role until 1928. It was besieged by Scots, Irish, English and even the French.
The castle is 800 years old and one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland. Don’t miss the Great Hall at the top of the Great Tower.
12. Carrick-A-Rede Bridge
This rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen in 1755. It is suspended almost 100 feet above sea level and connects Carrick-A-Rede island to the mainland.
It is possible to cross the bridge with a clean drop to the Atlantic Ocean underneath – not advisable if you have a fear of heights. The island is home to just one building which is a restored fisherman’s cottage.
A Footnote: Famous Ireland Landmarks
Scattered across Ireland, visitors come to find some of the country’s most incredible stories, steeped in history and astonishing landscapes. Incredibly rich in culture, the ‘Emerald Isle’ is sure to set alight a sparkle in anyone’s eye.
Now that we’ve scratched the surface for some of Ireland’s famous landmarks, you’ve got the idea of how spectacular this country truly is. So, it’s time to get cracking and start packing for an unforgettable trip to Ireland to see these places for yourself.
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