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.
35 Famous Ireland Landmarks
Table of Contents
- 35 Famous Ireland Landmarks
- 1. Cliffs of Moher
- 2. Giant’s Causeway
- 3. The Titanic Quarter
- 4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- 5. Blarney Stone, Gardens and Castle
- 6. Newgrange Tomb
- 7. Dublin Castle
- 8. Ring of Kerry
- 9. Guinness Storehouse
- 10. Dunluce Castle
- 11. Carrickfergus Castle
- 12. Carrick-A-Rede Bridge
- 13. Skellig Islands
- 14. Kilmainham Gaol
- 15. Dublin’s General Post Office
- 16. Trinity College, Dublin
- 17. National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
- 18. Rock of Cashel
- 19. Aran Islands
- 20. Hill of Tara
- 21. Leap Castle
- 22. Glendalough
- 23. Dingle Peninsula
- 24. Spike Island
- 25. Killarney National Park
- 26. Wild Atlantic Way Coastline
- 27. Waterford Greenway (Deise Greenway)
- 28. Benbulben
- 29. Bunratty Castle
- 30. Glenveagh National Park
- 31. Knocknarea Mountain
- 32. Kilkenny Castle
- 33. King John’s Castle
- 34. Dalkey Castle
- 35. Connemara National Park
- 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, one of Dublin’s most famous landmarks.
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. One of the many interesting facts about Ireland is that 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 center.
The Dublin Castle was originally developed as a medieval fortress by orders of King John of England in 1230 in defense against Norman invaders.
Today, the Record Tower is the last remaining building from the original medieval structure. 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.
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.
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.
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.
13. Skellig Islands
These two rocky and uninhabited islands are located off the southeastern coast of Ireland in the Atlantic Ocean. One of the two islands has a monastery and it is possible to take a boat trip to visit both islands.
14. Kilmainham Gaol
This jail in Dublin has hosted some of Ireland’s most infamous characters including Charles Stewart Parnell and the 15 leaders of the Easter uprising. Today Kilmainham Gaol is a museum with exhibitions that cover Irish nationalism and republicanism.
15. Dublin’s General Post Office
This GPO was the headquarters of the 1916 Easter uprising and it was here that the proclamation of the Irish Republic was first read out. The building was nearly destroyed and some of the bullet holes from the time can still be seen today. It was rebuilt and still operates as Ireland’s General Post Office.
16. Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and is Ireland’s oldest University. Originally a monastery it is now one of the world’s most prestigious universities. It is also home to the Book of Kells and its Old Library contains a stack of 200,000 books.
17. National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
This Dublin museum contains items from the Celtic and Medieval eras and is best known for its archaeology wing. The beautiful building, which is home to the museum was built in Victorian Palladium style and the museum also contains several stunning mosaic floors.
18. Rock of Cashel
Legend has it that Satan spat a chunk of rock out of a cave after St. Patrick banished him to Cashel. Sitting on that limestone rock is a large medieval structure which includes a cathedral, chapel, tower and a castle.
19. Aran Islands
Located off the west coast of Ireland near Galway, this archipelago consists of three islands. These rugged islands are very beautiful but can get very very windy. There are rustic huts, the ruins of a castle, a fort and several other attractions to see on the islands. And one of the things that Aran islands are best known for are their famous knitted jumpers.
20. Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is referred to as a sacred place in Irish mythology. It was believed that the hill housed the entrance to the underworld. The legend goes that St Patrick headed to the hill to talk to the pagans as it was a sacred site. It was a seat of power for the 142 Kings who ruled in prehistoric times. Today, on a clear day it is possible to get fantastic views of much of Ireland from the top of the Hill of Tara.
21. Leap Castle
Built in the 12th century, Leap Castle’s claim to fame is that it is reputed to be the most haunted castle in Ireland. The castle’s history is full of violence and it is believed that the ghosts of those involved in these battles still haunt the castle today. Ghost tours are available.
Glendalough is located in the County of Wicklow and is a valley with two lakes. In addition to being extremely scenic, the town of Glendalough has several monastic sites, including ruins from both Viking and Norman attacks.
23. Dingle Peninsula
This beautiful peninsula is located on in the south west of Ireland. The small town of Dingle is extremely charming and filled with atmospheric Irish pubs; don’t miss Inch Beach.
24. Spike Island
Spike Island was originally a monastery and then became a fortress. In the mid 1800s it was converted into the biggest prison in the world. It is possible to visit the old prison cells and punishment blocks and see for yourself why Spike Island was referred to as hell on earth.
25. Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park covers 26,000 acres and and is home to rivers, castles and mountains. It is a wonderful area for hiking, walking and cycling.
26. Wild Atlantic Way Coastline
The Wild Atlantic Way is the beautiful coastline between the Inishowen peninsula and Kinsale in Cork. It is 1600 kilometers long and combines stunning views, cute villages and beautiful Irish countryside. There are 14 stages to the route.
27. Waterford Greenway (Deise Greenway)
This railway trail runs between Dungarvan and Waterford City. It is Ireland’s longest off road cycling path at 46 kilometers and walkers can also enjoy the route. There are 11 bridges and 3 viaducts along the Waterford Greenway as well as great views of the countryside and some castle ruins.
Benbulben Mountain was once known as being the only place in Ireland where you could actually see fairies. Formed in the ice age, today Benbulben is more for walkers and climbers than fairy searchers. Climbing Benbulben provides some fantastic views of Sligo Bay and the surrounding area.
29. Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle was built in the 15th century and is located in County Clare.
30. Glenveagh National Park
Ireland’s second largest national park has castles, great views, gardens and mountains. There are seven different walking trails through the park and don’t miss a visit to Glenveagh Castle.
31. Knocknarea Mountain
This limestone mountain is 327 metres high and located in Sligo town. Legend has it that kings were crowned on Knocknea Mountain in prehistoric times. Today, you can probably climb to the top of the mountain in 40 minutes and experience some terrific views.
32. Kilkenny Castle
Built at the end of the 12th century, this castle is located in the town of Kilkenny. The interior of the castle is Victoria in style due to when it was redecorated and the grounds of the castle are just lovely and cover 21 hectares.
33. King John’s Castle
Located in Limerick, this 13th century castle sits next to the River Shannon. Today the castle is home to 3D models and animations that bring medieval times to life. Don’t miss the views of the River Shannon.
34. Dalkey Castle
Dalkey is about 40 minutes from Dublin and was once a port. It is home to Dalkey Castle which is one of seven fortified structures in the town. Visits to the castle are brought to life with actors leading the tours.
35. Connemara National Park
Located in Galway, this is one of Ireland’s six national parks. The most popular walk in the park is to Diamond Hill where the views are fantastic. Connemara National Park is also home to birds, foxes, goats, and ponies.
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.
You might enjoy reading my article on Russian landmarks.
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