From beautiful scenery to unique culture, Ireland is a destination where there is no shortage of amazing things to do.
If you’re visiting for a long weekend and time is limited, it can be difficult to know which attractions are the most important to visit.
Chill Insurance asked 1,000 Irish people to recommend their favourite things to do around the country. Below are eight of the most popular answers, revealing a guide to the best things to do in Ireland as decided by Irish people themselves.
1) Dublin Castle
Built in the early 13th century, Dublin Castle served as a headquarters for the English, and later British, administration.
Following Ireland’s independence in 1922, the castle was handed over to the new Irish government. Today, it is used as a government head office and conference venue.
It’s also one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. You can find Dublin Castle just off Dame Street, right in the heart of the bustling city centre and a stone’s throw from iconic landmarks such as Dublin’s City Hall and Christ Church Cathedral.
2) Sphere Within A Sphere
Created by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro in 1982, Sphere Within A Sphere is a bronze, globe-shaped piece of artwork. Pomodoro gifted the sculpture to Trinity College, where it currently sits.
You can find the sculpture outside the Main Library at Trinity College in Dublin.
3) Rock of Cashel
Located in Cashel, County Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most iconic sites. Before the Norman invasion, it was originally the seat of the High Kings of Munster during the 5th century.
The majority of the buildings currently on the site date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. With its unusual architecture and high plateau above the countryside, the Rock of Cashel offers an authentic slice of Irish history.
4) Doolin Cave
The hidden, natural beauty of Doolin Cave was first discovered in 1952 and quickly became a must-see attraction for visitors.
The cave is home to the Great Stalactite – the longest free-hanging icicle-shaped formation in the Northern Hemisphere. Measuring 23 feet in length, the stalactite is magnificent.
Doolin Cave is located about 15 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher and around five minutes from Doolin Village. You can expect to reach Doolin Cave in approximately three hours from Dublin.
5) National Gallery of Ireland
Founded in 1854, the National Gallery of Ireland is home to the national collection of Irish and European artwork.
Entry to the gallery is free, and during your visit you will be able to learn more about each artist and the different art movements.
You can also take in the peacefulness of the Fine Art Library and participate in workshops, lectures and tours. The gallery is located in the heart of Dublin city centre near to Merrion Square. There are a number of roads into the city and the attraction is well signposted.
6) Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle dates back to the 10th century. The building you see today, which is the third castle to have been erected on the site, was built by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster.
The castle is home to the Blarney Stone, the stone of eloquence. Legend has it, if you kiss the stone while hanging upside down, you’ll never be lost for words, making it a must-do for the thousands of people who visit the castle every year.
Blarney Castle can be found about five miles northwest of Cork city in Blarney Village.
7) Limerick City Gallery of Art
Limerick City Gallery of Art is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art galleries. It’s home to an impressive collection of Irish art, including 18th, 19th and 20th century pieces.
The gallery currently has works on display by renowned artists such as Camille Souter, Evie Hone, Paul Henry, Sean Keating and William Orpen.
The art gallery is situated at Pery Square in the heart of Limerick. The city centre is about a two and a half hour drive from Dublin and about one and a half hours from Cork.
8) Dublin Zoo
Since it first opened in 1831, Dublin Zoo has been one of Ireland’s most visited attractions.
It welcomes around one million people through its gates each year and prides itself on its contribution to the safety and protection of over 400 animals, including endangered species.
Dublin Zoo is situated in the city’s Phoenix Park. There are a number of major roads running into the city and the attraction is well signposted.
More from Travel
Fulfilling your travel dream doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many cost-effective ways to travel on a budget …