Ireland Bucket List: 30 Places to See in Ireland Before You Die!

Ireland is one of the world’s dreamiest destinations with its epic landscapes, bustling cities, and fantastic culture. Whether you’re looking to road trip the country, visit the two capital cities, or try some delicious food, this place has so much to offer. To ensure you have the best time, I’ve come up with the ultimate bucket list for Ireland!

This incredible island is actually split up into two key areas; the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK). Not only will you get to visit two European countries on the same trip, but you’ll get to see a variety of fascinating sights along the way. From historic castles to breathtaking road trip routes, there are endless options.

This Irish bucket list guide is going to take you through the top Irish landmarks and experiences. To make this article easier to digest, it’s been split up into sections. This way, you’ll easily be able to see the places that are most suited to you! So what are you waiting for?

Table Of Contents
  1. The Ultimate Ireland Bucket List Experiences
  2. Epic Roadtrips for Your Bucket List in Ireland
  3. The Best Cities and Towns for Your Bucket List
  4. The Best Landscapes for Your Irish Bucket List
  5. Unique Experiences for Your Ireland Bucket List
  6. Bucket List Ireland Conclusion
Bucket list in Ireland

The Ultimate Ireland Bucket List Experiences

1. Visit the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

The Cliffs of Moher are a must for any bucket list! As one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland, they aren’t a sight that you want to miss, especially as these towering cliffs stand at an impressive 702 feet (214 meters) at their highest point. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking too, and you’ve got a great chance of spotting marine life such as dolphins in the waters below.

For the best experience, I’d recommend allowing at least 2 hours although you’ll certainly want longer. This will give you enough time to walk part of the iconic coastal walk, visit the viewpoints, and learn about the cliff’s origin at the visitor center. For those short on time, this day tour from Dublin is a fantastic option!

Cliffs of Moher, Ieland

2. Go on a pub crawl in Galway, County Galway

Galway is one of the best places to visit in Ireland if you’re looking to relax in some traditional Irish pubs. There are plenty of them to choose from, and many of the establishments are located relatively close together, which makes this city the perfect place for a pub crawl. In fact, that’s one of the best things to do in Galway, especially as you’ll get to listen to live Irish music too!

Some of the best pubs to visit in the city include An Púcán, The Kings Head, The Quays, and Monroe’s Tavern. Don’t forget about the iconic O’Connor’s Famous Pub either, which is where ‘Galway Girl’ by Ed Sheeran was recorded.

Galway City, Ireland bucket list

3. Appreciate the landscapes of the Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim

The Giant’s Causeway is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. This epic landscape is made up of over 40,000 basalt rock columns, and these formations are estimated to date back around 60 million years. As you wander along the causeway, you’ll get to marvel at these incredible geological formations and admire the views!

This place can get extremely busy so try to visit early if you can, preferably before the tour buses come. For those with more time, make sure you walk part of the famous Causeway Coast Way. If you’re staying in Belfast, then you can always check out this awesome Giant’s Causeway day trip which includes some other locations too.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

4. Walk along the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim

If you’re exploring Northern Ireland, then you can’t miss out on the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. It’s a must for any Ireland bucket list and can be accessed via the Causeway Coast Way. The rope bridge has been around since 1755 and was erected by salmon fishermen, who wanted easy access to an island off the mainland.

As you walk along the path to the rope bridge, you’ll be treated to spectacular coastal views. Not only that, but you’ll have the chance to spot marine life! The bridge itself is suspended nearly 100 feet (30 meters) above the ocean, so walking along it is an exhilarating experience for sure. Just do your research if you’re scared of heights!

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Causeway Coast Way

5. Take a tour of the Old Bushmills Distillery, County Antrim

The Old Bushmills Distillery has been around since 1608 which makes it the oldest whisky distillery in the world! Over the last 400 years, this company has perfected the distillery process through the use of Irish barley, so it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular drink!

For the best experience here, you’ll want to go on a guided tour. These tours last for around 40 minutes, and you’ll get to learn all about the distillery process and how this iconic whisky is made. There’s also a cafe on-site and you can visit the shop to grab a cheeky souvenir if you wish.

Dublin in a day itinerary

6. Visit the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, County Dublin

If there’s one thing Ireland is known for it’s Guinness! You’ll find this iconic drink throughout the country, but I’d recommend heading to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin for the ultimate experience.

On the guided tour, you’ll get to learn all about the brewing process, the drink’s history, and the advertising campaigns that made it so famous. Not only that, but your entrance ticket includes a free print of Guinness at the end of the tour.

Don’t forget about the rooftop bar either as you’ll be treated to incredible views of Dublin. Try to allow at least 1.5 hours for your visit as this isn’t an experience you want to rush.

Dublin in a day

Epic Roadtrips for Your Bucket List in Ireland

7. Drive the Wild Atlantic Way (or part of it)

The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s most popular road trip and it’s not hard to see why! Covering an impressive 1600 miles (2600 km), it’s one of the world’s longest coastal routes and is home to dramatic landscapes and charming towns.

The full route runs from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork. It will take you through nine different counties and is split up into 14 different stages to make it more accessible. To drive the whole thing, you’ll need at least 7 days but preferably more, as there are so many fantastic places to visit along the way.

Wild Atlantic way, Ireland bucket list

8. The Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is another famous road trip route in Ireland. In fact, it makes up part of the Wild Atlantic Way. The Ring of Kerry covers a distance of around 111 miles (179 km) and you’ll get to visit some incredible places as you drive along. Some of the highlights include Torc Waterfall, Moll’s Gap, and the Gap of Dunloe.

So you don’t rush your time in this area, try to allow at least 3.5 hours for the best experience. If you don’t drive, then you can always take a guided tour from Killarney or Cork. However, having your own transport does allow for more flexibility.

Famous landmarks in Ireland
Famous landmarks in Ireland

9. The Coastal Causeway Route, County Antrim

If you’re exploring Northern Ireland then check out the Coastal Causeway Route. This awesome road trip starts from Belfast and ends in the city of Derry, which makes it a great adventure for any Ireland bucket list. This route covers a distance of around 120 miles (193 km) and the majority of it runs along the coast, so you’ll get breathtaking views.

Try to allow at least 3-4 days if you plan to do this route, although longer is always a bonus. There is plenty to see along the way including the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the Old Bushmills Distillery, and Rathlin Island.

Coastal Causeway Route
A charming town along the Coastal Causeway Route!

10. The Sky Road, County Galway

Unlike the other road trips mentioned so far, the Sky Road won’t require much time at all. It’s only 10 miles (16 km) long, but allow at least 2.5 hours so you can explore some of the top sights in the area. There’s an upper and lower road that you can take, with the upper road offering the best views. However, you can always do both if you wish (just allow more time).

Driving the Sky Road is one of the most popular things to do in Clifden so don’t leave it off your bucket list. The views are breathtaking if you get a clear day, and there’s an awesome viewpoint along the upper road where you can park up.

The Sky Road, Clifden

11. The Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry

The Dingle Peninsula is undeniably one of Ireland’s most scenic areas which is saying a lot! To drive the whole route, you’ll want to allow a full day; especially if you plan to do the Slea Head Drive Loop as well.

There are so many fascinating places to visit along the Dingle Peninsula including the colorful town of Dingle, Dun Chaoin Pier, and Clogher Head. Just make sure you take your time on this road trip route, as the roads are narrow and winding. You’ll find that there are many single-lane roads too so keep an eye out for passing places.

Dingle Town, Ireland bucket list

12. Boyne Valley Scenic Loop, County Meath

If you’re looking to explore some of Ireland’s history then check out the Boyne Valley Scenic Loop. The full route covers around 140 miles (225km) although the beauty of this road trip is that there’s not really a ‘start’ or ‘endpoint’.

The sites along the Boyne Valley Scenic Loop boast over 9,000 years of history so allow plenty of time to visit them. Some of the highlights include the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre (where you can visit the tombs of Newgrange and Knowth), the Hill of Tara, the Battle of the Boyne Site, and the Old Mellifont Abbey. Trust me, this isn’t a road trip that you want to rush!

Newgrange Tomb

The Best Cities and Towns for Your Bucket List

13. Explore the city of Dublin

Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and is a fascinating place. It’s the largest city in the country and is known for being a UNESCO ‘City of Literature’. Thanks to its endless museums, traditional Irish pubs, and diverse history, Dublin has amazing tours, and offers something for everyone.

When it comes to planning the perfect Dublin itinerary, there are a few places that you don’t want to miss. This includes the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College (and the Book of Kells), Phoenix Park, and Kilmainham Gaol. If you’ve got the time, then I’d recommend checking out this River Liffey Sightseeing Cruise too!

2 Days in Dublin

14. Learn about Northern Ireland’s history in Belfast

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland (which is actually part of the United Kingdom). Here, you’ll find a variety of brilliant attractions including Titanic Belfast, the Ulster Museum, St George’s Market, and Crumlin Road Gaol. For the best experience, you’ll want to spend at least 2 days in the city so you can experience all it has to offer.

Belfast has a lot of history, especially regarding political conflict, for example ‘the Troubles’. This Political Taxi Tour offers you the chance to learn all about the city’s history and the events that have shaped it throughout the years. Just make sure you book it in advance as it’s popular!

Belfast City, Ireland bucket list

15. Appreciate the culture and nightlife in Galway

There’s no denying that Ireland has fantastic nightlife and one of the best places to experience this is Galway. However, this charming city also has plenty more to offer. For starters, it’s located along the Wild Atlantic Way, so can be visited during your epic road trip. Galway is also a UNESCO ‘City of Film’ and is famous for its traditional Irish music.

Some of the best places to visit within this city include the Latin Quarter, Eyre Square, the Salthill Promenade, and Galway City Museum. One of the best ways to explore the city is with this sightseeing tour as you’ll be taken around by a local!

Galway, bucket list for Ireland

16. Admire Cork’s incredible architecture

For those exploring Southern Ireland, don’t miss out on visiting the city of Cork. Boasting riverside walks, incredible architecture, and a scenic location on the River Lee, it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful urban areas in Ireland. It’s also extremely compact and walkable, yet there are plenty of day trip opportunities from here too.

To learn more about this impressive city why not check out this historical guided tour? You’ll also want to save some time to visit the highlights including the English Market, Cork City Gaol, Fitzgerald Park, and the Blackrock Castle Observatory. If you’re looking to take trips out of the city too, then allow at least 3-4 days for your visit.

Cork City, Ireland bucket list

17. Explore the city of Derry

Derry (or Londonderry) is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and is famous for its food scene and variety of museums. It’s also home to the famous TV show ‘Derry Girls’. Not only that, but you’ll find Ireland’s only completely intact walled city here, which is another reason to visit.

Like Belfast, Derry has a history of political issues and was several impacted by the ‘Troubles’. To get an idea of what life used to be like here, you may want to go on this private guided tour. You’ll get to learn about the city’s history and visit some iconic sites including the Peace Bridge, Free Derry Corner, and the Bloody Sunday Memorial.

The city of Derry

18. Visit the charming town of Killarney

Killarney is another of Ireland’s scenic towns as it’s located near the shores of Lough Leane and is surrounded by the McGillycuddy Reeks (the country’s highest mountain range). Not only is the town center charming, but you’ll find plenty of things to do in the nearby area too.

For starters, Killarney National Park is just a short walk away or you can opt for a jaunting car tour instead. While in town, you’ll also want to head on a boat tour of the Lakes of Killarney, visit Ross Castle, and explore Muckross Abbey. There are also ample day trip opportunities from here, such as the Ring of Kerry and Slea Head Drive.

Killarney, Ireland bucket list

The Best Landscapes for Your Irish Bucket List

19. Take a day trip to the Aran Islands, County Galway

The Aran Islands are another must for your Ireland bucket list. There are three islands in total; Inis Mór (Inishmore), Inis Meáin (Inishmaan), and Inis Oírr (Inisheer). Inishmore is the largest and offers the greatest variety of things to do, so that’s the one I’d recommend! There’s a lot to see on this island, so allow at least a full day to explore if you can.

For those who don’t have much time, you can always opt for this day tour from Galway. It includes a Cliffs of Moher cruise and a trip to one of the Aran Islands (Inis Oirr) so you can visit two of the country’s most famous landmarks in one day!

The Aran Islands

20. Visit the Skellig Islands, County Kerry

Located off the coast of County Kerry, you’ll find the striking Skellig Islands. There are two islands; Little Skellig and Great Skellig, with the latter being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can access the island via boat and it’s home to a 6th-century monastery which the monks of St Fionan used to call home.

Although the monks later moved to the mainland, the monastery is still a fascinating place to explore. Great Skellig is also famous for its variety of birdlife, and if you time your visit right, you’ll get to see plenty of puffins! So if you’re exploring County Kerry, don’t miss this place off your itinerary.

The Skellig Islands

21. Walk along the huge Slieve League Cliffs, County Donegal

The Slieve League Cliffs boast an impressive height of 1,972 feet (601 meters). This makes them the highest cliffs in the country. In fact, they’re one of the highest cliff faces in Europe so as you can imagine, the views are breathtaking! If you can, time your visit here on a clear day, so you can appreciate the views all around you.

Once you reach Slieve League Cliffs, head to the visitor center first as you’ll get to learn so much about the surrounding area. Afterward, walk along the coastal trail. This will take you along the clifftop, where you’ll get to visit some of the viewpoints. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Slieve League Cliffs, Ireland bucket list

22. Admire the views from Mizen Head, County Cork

Mizen Head is the country’s most Southwesterly point. To reach it you’ll need to walk along the trail that starts from Mizen Head Visitor Center. A round-trip journey takes around 1-2 hours but take your time, as you can spot marine life in the waters below. This includes dolphins, seals, and whales! Not to mention the views are striking.

For those short of time, this full-day tour from Cork is a great option! It lasts for around 9 hours and will take you to some other fantastic spots including Bantry, Clonakilty, and Gougane Barra National Forest. However, if you’ve got the time, this is definitely somewhere that you don’t want to rush.

Mizen Head, Ireland bucket list

23. Visit Dun Chaoin Pier, County Kerry

When putting together this bucket list for Ireland, I simply couldn’t leave off Dun Chaoin Pier. Often referred to as Dunquin Pier, this incredible destination is located along the Dingle Peninsula. There’s actually a ferry that departs to the Blasket Islands from here if you’re looking to combine a visit to the two. However, this ferry service is seasonal so just keep that in mind.

The natural beauty of this area is unparalleled and you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean as you wander down to the pier. If you’re planning to visit Dun Chaoin Pier then make sure you don’t forget your camera!

Dun Chaoin Pier

24. Explore Connemara National Park, County Galway

Connemara National Park is often visited as a day trip from Clifden or Galway. Covering an area of 2,000 hectares, you won’t run out of things to do here although hiking is the most popular activity. There are a variety of trails to choose from, but the Lower and Upper Diamond Trails seem to be two of the most popular. This national park is also home to a ton of wildlife including the Connemara pony, otters, deer, and foxes.

If you’re unable to visit the park self-guided then check out this Connemara tour from Galway. As well as visiting Kylemore Abbey and Roundstone, you’ll get a 3-hour stop in the national park.

Connemara National Park

Unique Experiences for Your Ireland Bucket List

25. Visit the many Game of Thrones filming locations

If there are any Game of Thrones fans reading this, then you’ll be glad to hear that many of the scenes were filmed in Northern Ireland! Throughout the country, you’ll find locations that were used for iconic places in the show such as Dragonstone, Winterfell, and Slaver’s Bay. Some popular filming locations include the Dark Hedges, Fairhead Cliffs, Castle Ward, and Murlough Bay.

While in NI, do some research on these locations and create your own itinerary. You’ll also want to go on the Game of Thrones Studio tour as it has a lot to offer! Trust me, there are tons of places to visit if you’re a huge GOT fan!

The Dark Hedges, Ireland bucket list

26. Learn about the RMS Titanic at Titanic Belfast, County Antrim

Located in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, you’ll find Titanic Belfast. This incredible interactive experience will allow you to learn all about RMS Titanic and its tragic sinking in 1912. This iconic ship was built right here in Belfast and you’ll get to learn about its history, the workforce behind Titanic, and its disastrous maiden voyage.

For the best experience, I’d recommend booking your Titanic Belfast tickets in advance as this is a popular attraction. As such, it can get extremely busy so you’re best visiting first thing to avoid the crowds. There’s a lot to see here too, so make sure you’re not in a rush.

Titanic Belfast

27. Kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, County Cork

Blarney Castle & Gardens attracts over 400,000 people every year, and dates back over 600 years. Although the castle is spectacular in itself, it’s the ‘Kissing Stone’ that primarily put this place on the map. If you kiss the stone during your visit, legend has it that you’ll be gifted with the skills of persuasiveness and eloquence.

If you’re not short of time, then allow at least half a day to explore as the grounds of Blarney Castle are huge, consider one of the best Ireland bucket list. However, there’s also this day trip from Dublin that will take you to the castle, along with some other locations. This includes the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle.

28. Go on a walking food tour in Dublin

The capital city of Dublin has a fantastic food scene, and what better way to appreciate it than by heading out on a Irish Food Trail tour? You’ll have a local guide with you who will show you the best foodie spots and you’ll get to try some traditional dishes. What’s better than that?

This awesome Dublin walking tour is run by Secret Food Tours and lasts for around 3.5 hours. The tour is limited to 12 people so you’ll have a small-group experience and you’ll get to visit authentic cafes, pubs, and food markets. Examples of some of the foods you’ll get to sample include Irish stew, fresh soda bread, and a traditional Irish potato cake.

a pub in Dublin

29. Head out on a dolphin and whale-watching tour

Thanks to its location in the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland is a fantastic location for whale and dolphin watching. Some of the best counties for this include Cork, Kerry, and Donegal. However, you’ve got a great chance of spotting them throughout the country too. Plenty of other species call these waters home as well including basking sharks, sunfish, seals, and killer whales.

This dolphin and whale-watching tour departs from Dingle and lasts for around 4 hours. Included with this tour, you’ll have a local guide, a professional photographer guide, and free parking on the pier. You’ll also head past Slea Head on the boat tour, which is the Westernmost point in Europe.

bottlenose dolphins

30. Marvel at fossilized footprints on Valentia Island, County Kerry

Now, this may not have been something that you’d have thought to include on your bucket list in Ireland! However, it’s one of the coolest things to do in the country. Valentia Island is home to prehistoric tetrapod footprints and these are thought to date back 350-370 million years. In fact, these footprints are one of the oldest examples of life on land. Now, that’s pretty incredible!

The footprints are only a short walk from the car park although parts of it are relatively steep. It can also get slippery during wet weather so mind your footing as you go down. There’s an information board located here if you’re wanting to learn more about the area and its footprints.

Bucket List Ireland Conclusion

There you have it, the ultimate bucket list Ireland! No matter where you choose to visit in the country, you’re sure to have some fantastic experiences. With so much on offer, it can often feel overwhelming when planning an itinerary. That’s why I’ve put together this guide so hopefully you’ve found it helpful.

From the towering Cliffs of Moher to the bustling streets of Dublin, there are so many fascinating places to visit in Ireland. You’ll also find plenty of unique experiences in this country too. Whether you’re looking to learn about the RMS Titanic, find ancient fossilized footprints, or visit iconic filming locations, Ireland has something for everyone! To encompass several of the sights in this guide within the same trip, check out this Wild Atlantic Way itinerary!

If you’ve got any further questions about this Ireland bucket list then just leave a comment below. For those who’ve already visited, what is your favorite place or experience in this incredible country?

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