Natural Attractions in Ireland
Ireland is famous for its magnificent attractions. This amazing country is located in the north-west of Europe and offers many places to see the beauty of Irish nature. Some of these natural wonders have been around for millions of years, while others were formed by natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, they all embody stunning beauty and uniqueness.
In this article, we will have a look at some of Ireland’s most famous natural attractions:
Cliffs of Moher
- Official website Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are an amazing natural landmark on the west coast of Ireland, in County Clare. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ireland and one of the most impressive sites in the country.
The history of these cliffs goes back a long way. The Cliffs were formed a very long time ago by geological processes. Since then, they have been exposed to seawater and winds, resulting in the way they look today. In the past, the Cliffs protected the coast from attacks by Vikings and other hostile invaders.
The cliffs are more than 120 metres high and protrude from the Atlantic Ocean, creating an amazing panoramic view of the ocean and surrounding nature. The Cliffs are also home to many different species of seabirds. Also on the cliffs you can see caves, small islands and lighthouses that create an amazing view.
There are many different activities for the tourists here. You can walk along the beautiful trail that runs along the Cliffs and offers stunning views of the ocean. You can also take very beautiful pictures here, visit the interactive centre where you can learn more about this wonder of the world.
How to get there?
To visit Cliffs of Moher, the most convenient way is by taxi, private or hire car. If you prefer public transport, you’ll need to drive to the nearest town, such as Doolin or Ennis, and then take a taxi to the Cliffs. The distance from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher is about 8 kilometres, and from Ennis it is about 50 kilometres.
If you want to hire a car, you can use sites such as:
- Europcar (https://www.europcar.ie/)
- Hertz (https://www.hertz.ie/)
- Avis (https://www.avis.ie/)
- Budget (https://www.budget.ie/)
- Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.ie/)
You can also get to Cliffs of Moher by tour bus. The most famous tour operator in Ireland for offering tours there is Paddywagon Tours.
When visiting the Cliffs of Moher, it is important to dress comfortably and suit the weather conditions. At around 120 metres above the Atlantic Ocean, it can be quite windy and chilly and raining on the Cliffs, so it is worth wearing or bringing a warm windproof jacket, hat, sunglasses and gloves. Rubber soled shoes are also recommended as some areas can be slippery and dangerous.
Lake Glendalough is located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park in the south of Ireland. This lake is about 1.5 km long and up to 30 metres deep.
The history of the lake is linked to the ancient Celtic peoples, who used it as a place to worship their gods. There may have been a Celtic settlement on the shores of the lake, which later became St. Kevin’s Monastery. This monastery was founded in the VI century and remained one of the most important centres of culture and education in Ireland until the XIII century. The ruins of the ancient monastery buildings, including the bell tower and cross wall, can now be seen on the lake.
The lake is surrounded by beautiful nature and amazing views including the Poulanass waterfall, rolling hills and lakeside scenery. Close to the lake is a museum and exhibition hall dedicated to the history of the monastery, where you can learn more about the life of St Kevin.
Glendaloch Lake is a popular holiday destination and offers many activities for visitors. You can take a walk in the beautiful nature around the lake, go fishing or go cycling.
The lake is home to many different species of fish, including trout and salmon, making it a great place for anglers. It is important to check fishing opportunities and costs, and purchase a licence in advance from your nearest shop.
It is not possible to swim in this lake because of the sharp depth differences. The shoals are quite narrow and at some point suddenly break off.
How to get there?
How to get to Glendaloch Lake by public transport:
- You need to travel to the town of Wicklow by train or bus.
- In Wicklow, take bus number 183, which goes in the direction of the lake.
- Get off the bus at the Glendalough Visitor Centre stop. You can walk or cycle from the stop to the lake. The distance is approximately 2 kilometres.
It is also possible to reach Glendalough Lake by car. There is a car park near the lake where you can park your car.
It is recommended that you dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather conditions when visiting Glendaloch Lake. Depending on the season and the weather, you should wear a warm, windproof and waterproof jacket with a hood, a hat, sunglasses and gloves. You should also choose shoes with rubber soles to avoid slipping on smooth surfaces near the lake. It is advisable to bring water and snacks, as there are only a few places to buy food and drinks around the lake.
Powerscourt Waterfall is one of the most popular places to visit in County Wicklow in the east of Ireland. It is located in the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens, which are some of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland.
The story of the discovery of this natural attraction dates back to 1603 when the land of Powerscourt Gardens was purchased by Sir Richard Wingfield. For over 300 years, Powerscourt Gardens has continued to evolve and improve, and apart from the waterfall, there are many other interesting features to see.
Powerscourt Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ireland and attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is about 30 metres high and the surrounding nature and views of the River Dargle Valley create an incredible atmosphere.
As well as the waterfall itself, Powerscourt Gardens offers many activities and attractions. You can walk along beautiful paths, see other waterfalls, lakes and fountains, and visit the flower gardens, where plants have been growing since the 1840s. Powerscourt Gardens also has a café where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
How to get there?
To get to Powerscourt Gardens and its waterfall by public transport, take bus 185 or 44 from Dublin to Enniskerry in County Wicklow and then walk for about 25 minutes to the park. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Wicklow. You can see all the options on the official website of the attraction.
If you prefer group tours, you can book a bus ride from Dublin city centre. Hilltoptreks offers guided tours in Wicklow, including a day tour that includes Powerscourt Gardens and Powerscourt Falls and several other attractions.
To visit Powerscourt Gardens and Powerscourt Falls on its grounds, it is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes and clothing that is suitable for outdoor walking. If you plan to visit the park during the cold season, it is better to wear a warm jacket and hat. In warm seasons, it is recommended to wear light clothing and a hat to protect you from the sun and sunglasses. And of course an umbrella, where without it in Ireland.
Burren National Park
- Official website Burren National Park
Burren National Park is located on the west coast of Ireland, in County Clare. It resembles the surface of the moon and gives the feeling of being on another planet. It is a unique nature reserve with a rocky landscape, which was formed as a result of ancient geological processes. The park covers an area of over 1800 hectares and is one of the largest nature reserves in Ireland.
The history of the park is connected with the settlements of the Ancient Celts, who lived on this territory more than 6000 years ago. Here you can see the remains of ancient abodes and burial grounds that have survived to this day. The park also contains many villages and farms that were built hundreds of years ago and are still in operation today.
Burren National Park is famous for its unique landscape, which is a karst terrain with rocky plateaus and deep crevices. There are many wildflowers and animals that live in this landscape, which is unusual for many tourists.
The park has a number of walking and cycling trails, the most popular of which are the Kleer and Blackhead trails. There are also guided tours of the park, where you can learn more about the history and unique nature of the area.
How to get there?
If you plan to get to Barren National Park by public transport, you’ll first need to get to the town of Ennis. From Ennis there is bus number 133 to the village Corofin.
Here you need to get off and walk to the Barrens National Park information point. This point is open from May to September and provides a free bus service that runs every 30 minutes until 17:00 within the park.
This service gives visitors the opportunity to explore the park’s five scenic walking routes. You can also come by private car or rented car (see information on where to rent a car in paragraph 1 of the Cliffs of Moher article). There is a small car park near the park.
To prepare for a visit to the Barrens National Park, you should dress appropriately. The climate here is cool, so it is recommended to wear comfortable and warm water and windproof clothing with a hood and a hat, especially if you plan to hike in a hilly area.
You should pay special attention to footwear – it is better to choose comfortable and durable boots or trainers with non-slip soles. Don’t forget to bring water and food, as there are no cafes or restaurants in the park. There are toilets at the Barren National Park information point.
Killarney National Park
This is a national park in Ireland, located in County Kerry. It was established in 1932 and covers an area of about 10,000 hectares, including mountains, lakes and forest. The park is located near the town of Killarney, which is famous for its tourist attractions.
The two highest mountains in Killarney Park are Mount Mangerton (837 metres) and Purple Mountain (826 metres).
This national park has a rich history going back to ancient times. Over the centuries, the land was settled by monks who established monasteries and churches, as well as famous aristocratic families such as the McCarthys and the O’Donoghues. In the 17th and 19th centuries, a park was established here, which included much of the area of today’s national park. In 1932, the park was converted into a national park to preserve its natural beauty and biodiversity. The park is recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a biosphere reserve.
Killarney National Park is known for its natural beauty and variety of wildlife. Deer, goats and red squirrels can be seen here. It is especially beautiful in spring when the lilacs and rhododendrons are in bloom, and in autumn when the trees turn bright colours.
The park offers many different activities for visitors, such as hiking and biking trails, horseback riding and boating on the lake. The park also has many historical sites including monasteries and castles to visit.
How to get there?
You can get to Killarney National Park by train, car or bus. If you are travelling by train, you can get to the town of Killarney and then take a bus or taxi to the park.
If you are travelling by car, the park is close to the highway that links Killarney to Limerick and Galway.
If you prefer a bus, there are many flights from Killarney and other towns in Ireland that stop at Killarney bus station. From there you can take a city bus to the park.
A bus is provided within Killarney National Park, which runs every 30 minutes from May to September from Killarney National Park Visitor Centre and stops at various waypoints, allowing visitors to explore the walking trails and attractions of the park. The Information Centre has toilets and a café.
Not far from Killarney National Park, you can see another beautiful attraction, Mucross House. Queen Victoria used to holiday in this place. All about this attraction as well as other beautiful places in Ireland in this article.
To prepare for your visit to Killarney National Park, you should consider the following points:
1. Check the weather and select appropriate clothing and footwear, don’t forget a hat and sunglasses.
2. Make an itinerary and study a map of the park to understand where to go and what to see. There are many interesting attractions in the park.
3. Prepare enough drinking water and a supply of food, the park area is huge.
4. Don’t forget that smoking is forbidden in the park, you can’t bring alcohol or light fires, and you can’t pick wild flowers and plants.
Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a circular motorway, approximately 180 kilometres long, that runs through some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery around the Iveragh Peninsula. Historically, this road has been one of Ireland’s main transport routes.
Travelling by car or bus along this road you can see various natural and historical sights such as Killarney National Park, Loch Lane, ruins of ancient castles and abbeys, the Atlantic coastline, and much more. There are also plenty of local shops and restaurants along the route where you can sample local food, including authentic Irish Coffee.
There are several waterfalls on the Ring of Kerry, one of the most famous being Torc Waterfall. This waterfall is located in Killarney National Park and is one of the main attractions along the route. The waterfall is about 20 metres high and is surrounded by a beautiful forest where you can walk and enjoy nature.
The Ring of Kerry is known for its beauty, and many tourists recommend driving along this road for a complete immersion in Irish culture and nature.
How to see?
The Ring of Kerry is located in the south-west of Ireland in County Kerry. To get to the Ring of Kerry, you can use a private or hire car or take a tour bus.
If you are travelling by car, you can start your journey from the town of Killarney or Killorglin. The road will take you through towns and villages along the Atlantic coast and through the mountainous areas of Killarney and Dingle National Parks.
Travel agents, such as: Paddywagontours and others, also offer trips around the Ring of Kerry on excursion buses with stops at major attractions.
Carrick-a-Rede is a small island on the north-east coast of Northern Ireland, near the town of Ballycastle in County Antrim. The island is connected to the coast by a footbridge that was built in the 1700s by fishermen to reach salmon fishing grounds. The bridge has since become a famous tourist spot and is one of Northern Ireland’s top attractions.
Today, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a popular destination for tourists who come to the island to not only enjoy the scenic coastal and ocean views, but also to experience the thrill. Tourists can walk across the 20-metre-long footbridge, which is 30 metres above sea level, and admire the beautiful scenery. The island overlooks the neighbouring island of Rathlin, which is a few kilometres offshore. There are also picnic and recreational facilities on the island, and on the coast you can watch local fishermen catching salmon and other species of fish.
There are also many other interesting places to visit around Carrick-a-Reggio such as the famous Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, the colourful village of Bushmills famous for its famous whisky and much more.
How to get there?
Carrick-a-Reggio can be reached by car or tour bus. Carrick-a-Reggio can be reached by car from Belfast in about an hour, and from Dublin in about 3–4 hours. It is also possible to book a tour from Belfast or Dublin that includes Carrick-a-Reggio and other local attractions.
It is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and clothing to visit the island and walk across the bridge, given the possibility of rainy weather on the North Coast of Ireland. You should also be aware that the wind is often very strong in this area.
If you want to cross this rope bridge, you need to consider how prepared you are to do so. If there is a fear of heights, then maybe you shouldn’t. Also note that during the warm season there may be a lot of people on the bridge, so there may be queues.
The Giant’s Causeway is an incredible natural phenomenon on the north coast of Northern Ireland. It is located in County Antrim in the north-east of the island and is a national nature reserve.
The Giant’s Causeway is made up of around 40,000 basalt columns that were formed by the cooling of lava after a volcanic eruption. Each column is hexagonal and 30 to 40 metres high. The shapes of the columns resemble organic objects, but it is purely a natural process.
According to legend, the trail was created by a giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill in a struggle with a giant from Scotland. The giants fought each other by throwing huge stones, but Fionn mac Cumhaill created a path of pillars to cross the sea and fight the Scottish monster.
Today, visitors can walk along the trail, marvel at the incredible scenery and look at the different shapes of the stone columns. There is a museum within the reserve where you can learn more about the history and geology of the area, as well as a café and gift shop.
The Yeats Trail is a walking route through some of the most beautiful areas of Sligo in the west of Ireland. It was created in honour of the famous poet William Butler Yeats, who spent a lot of time in the region and was inspired by the local nature.
The Yeats Trail is approximately 10 kilometres long and begins in the town of Sligo, where there is a museum dedicated to Yeats’ life and work. From there, the trail leads to the Benbulben mountain range, which offers stunning views of the coastline. The trail also offers beautiful scenery of Gill’s Lake and the Knocknarea Hills.
One of the main tourist attractions of the Yeats Trail is visiting places where the poet himself lived and worked, such as his homes Thoor Ballylee’s Theatre des Sens and Carrowmore’s Carracken Palace. There are also many beautiful castles and fortresses to see along the route, including Parke’s Castle and Sligo Abbey.
For the adventurous and extreme sports enthusiast, the trail offers rock climbing on Benbulben. There are also fishing and surfing spots nearby.
How to get there?
By public transport, you can get to Sligo by bus from Dublin or from other cities in Ireland. From Sligo bus station, you can get to the Yeats Trail by city bus or taxi.
You can also get there by private or hire car.
It is advisable to dress comfortably and practically to visit the Yates Trail. It is better to choose comfortable shoes to make it safe to walk on the mountain trails. It is also worth bearing in mind that the weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to bring rain, sun and wind protection, as well as warm clothing if you plan to visit the Yeats Trail in cold weather.
Benbulben is a mountain on the Sligo coast of Ireland, about 526 metres high, which serves as the symbol of County Sligo. This mountain is known for its unusual shape, which resembles a giant comb or a stone fortress.
The history of this mountain dates back several millennia, it is considered a sacred place by the Irish and is shrouded in many legends and myths. For example, one legend links the mountain to the giant Fionnomac, who created it to protect his people from invading enemies.
Benbulben has many trails for hiking and mountain trekking that offer scenic views of the coast and surrounding area. There are also cycling, horse riding and kayaking excursions along the coastline.
Mount Benbulben is home to a variety of plants such as poppies, wild chrysanthemums and roses, asters, rhododendrons and mountain thyme, as well as various animals including deer and birds. The most famous trail on the mountain is called the Benbulben Mountain Trail, which stretches for 7.5 kilometres.
The Skellig Islands are two small islands in the Irish Sea, located 12 kilometres off the coast of Kerry in south-west Ireland. Historically they served as a refuge for monks, and today they attract tourists from all over the world due to their unique beauty and historical significance.
In 2016, the islands were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
On Skellig Michael Island, you can visit a well-preserved monastery founded in the 6th century by hermit monks. The monastery is located at the top of the island and is a set of stone buildings including cells, a stone table and an altar. Interestingly, the monks built their cells on rock ledges, some of which are more than 200 metres above sea level.
Skellig Beg Island has no buildings, but many species of seabirds such as Macron’s Tern, Grey Loon and Sea Gulls can be seen here. Whales, dolphins and harbour seals can also be seen on a boat trip if you know the time and place of their sightings.
For those looking for an active holiday, the islands offer snorkelling, diving or fishing. You can also try the true Irish pastime of crab and mussel fishing.
Aillwee Cave is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, located in County Clare.
The history of the cave goes back in time. It was discovered by accident in 1944 when a local farmer saw his cows descend into one of the cracks in the ground and disappear. After closer investigation, it was discovered that there was a huge cave under the ground, which was opened to the public in 1976.
Ailvi Cave is about 1.5 kilometres long and consists of several halls with beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and crystal formations. It is always dark and cool inside the cave, so it is best to dress warmly.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the cave, which includes visiting several halls and corridors. During the tour, tourists can learn a lot of interesting things about the formation of the caves and the life that takes place inside them. In addition, various cave animals such as bats, spiders and insects can be seen.
The cave also has a café and a shop where you can buy souvenirs and gifts. You can check the official website for the price of admission tickets and also check out other offers.
How to get there?
The most convenient way to get to the cave is by private or rented car. This will give you more freedom of movement and the opportunity to stop along the road and enjoy the panoramic views on the way to the cave. You can also book a guided group tour.
The inside of the cave is very wet and chilly, so it is best to wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes that do not slip on the damp surface.
The cave has an uneven surface, so be prepared for ascents and descents. Some sections require a little physical fitness, so it’s best to make sure you’re in good shape before visiting.
Lambay Island is located in the Irish Sea, 4 kilometres off the Irish coast, near Dublin. It is a private island of about 2.5 square kilometres, inhabited by only a few people, including the family of the owners, the sons of Baron Revelstoke.
The history of the island begins long before Baron Revelstoke acquired it in 1904. The island was inhabited in antiquity, as evidenced by archaeological finds such as stone circles and various tools. In medieval times, a fortress was built on the island, which was used for defence against the Vikings.
However, the island is now best known for Baron Revelstoke and his family, who have made it their holiday and art destination. The Baron purchased the island in 1904 and began its transformation. Together with the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, he created unusual buildings and estates on the island, including a castle, a farm, a chapel and guest cottages. The architecture is characterised by a combination of medieval and traditional Irish styles.
Lumbay Island is home to many species of wildlife and birds. Among them are rare species of eagles and seals. Deer, rabbits, sheep, kangaroos and other animals can also be found on the island.
To visit Lumbey Island, you need a permit from the Revelstoke family, who are the sole owners of the island. It is also possible to join one of the organised excursions that take place during summer.
The Dingle Peninsula is a picturesque place in the south-west of Ireland that attracts tourists with its beautiful scenery, rich history and unique culture.
The history of human life on the Dingle Peninsula dates back several thousand years. There are numerous ancient monuments, including Celtic crosses and stone circles. In the Middle Ages, the peninsula was settled by monks who left many churches and monasteries.
To see all the sights of the Dingle Peninsula, the best option is to take a «Tour to Dingle» excursion, such as Paddywagon Travel Agency. The tour bus will take you around the peninsula and see all the sights.
You will stop at the famous Inch beach, one of the most famous beaches in Ireland, which is a place of magnificent natural beauty. Then drive along the track known as the Slea Head drive and admire the Atlantic coastline. And of course enjoy the beautiful views of the Blasket Islands and perhaps see Sleeping Giant Island.
The tour will also include scenic views, Celtic crosses and stone circles, and a visit to the town of Dingle.
This is one of the most picturesque fishing towns in Ireland and is also famous for the Funghi Dolphin. It is said that he has been living here for almost 30 years. The town of Dingle is the heart and soul of the peninsula. Today it attracts visitors, including artists and musicians, from all over the world.
The Dingle Peninsula is also home to many restaurants, bars and shops where you can sample local specialities and buy souvenirs.
How to get there?
In order to see all the sights of the Dingle Peninsula, it is best to get on a sightseeing tour which operates from the cities of Cork, Killarney and Limerick.
Alternatively, you can hire a car or drive your own vehicle along the Slea Head Drive.
If you want to get to the town of Dingle, you can use public transport by travelling to Tralee first. From there you can get to Dingle by bus or taxi.
Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is a great place for nature and history lovers. It was opened to the public in 1984 and is located in County Donegal in the north-west of Ireland.
The history of the park goes back several centuries. In the 19th century, the park’s lands were acquired by John George Adair, who began construction of Glenveagh Castle, an important landmark in the park.
The original intention of the owner was to build a castle that would surpass the beauty of Balmoral, the residence of the Queen of England. The castle is now one of the main tourist attractions in the reserve.
In 1937, the land and castle were purchased by Irish businessman Henry McIlhinney, who then gifted it to the Irish government in 1983. Glenveagh was opened as Glenveagh National Park in 1984.
One of the main attractions of the park is Glenveagh Castle, a Renaissance style castle surrounded by a beautiful park with a lake. There are also several walking trails throughout the park that allow you to admire the beauty of the forests, lakes and mountain peaks.
Wildlife enthusiasts know that the park is home to many species of birds such as eagles, falcons, and many others. Noble deer and other animals can also be seen in the park.
There are several trails for hiking and picnics in the nature for the tourists. You can also go boating on the lakes, take a bike ride or visit the information centre where you can learn more about the history and natural features of the reserve.
Glenveagh National Park is a unique place where you can enjoy the beauty of Ireland’s history and nature and have an unforgettable holiday.
How to get there?
To get to Glenveagh National Park, you must first drive from Donegal, take public transport such as a bus to Letterkenny, then take a bus to the park and walk 500 metres to the information centre.
Alternatively, you can hire a car and drive to the park yourself. The park has free car parking for visitors.
In conclusion, we would like to say that Ireland is not only beautiful nature, but also rich history and culture. In addition to visiting natural attractions, we also recommend you to see historical and cultural places of the country, such as castles and monasteries.
Ireland also has many museums where you can learn more about the history, architecture and culture of the country. Travelling around Ireland will be an unforgettable experience that is sure to leave you with vivid impressions for a lifetime.