Ditch Dublin and Head to These Irish Gems Instead

When most people think of visiting the Emerald Isle they rarely ever go beyond Dublin, drawn to its Guinness-fuelled bars and vibrant cultural highlights. But what about all the other places to visit in Ireland?


To only visit Dublin is tantamount to a crime, with many areas of the country offering an array of experiences that few others on Earth are able to match. Here are some of Ireland’s hidden gems, all of which have a story to tell and a rugged beauty to match.


This should be some craic!


Places to visit in Ireland, Cork

Mystical Cork


Check Out These Places to Visit In Ireland


Explore Galway


Although Dublin is hard to beat for a good night on the tiles, Galway is a close runner-up, with all manner of pubs and bars lining both the tightly packed Latin Quarter and the cobbled Quay Street.


Also be sure to check out the quaint Kirwan’s Lane, with its cosy venues and old-world vibe.


Another good reason to be in Galway is for the famous Galway Races when the best racehorses from around the country and beyond come to compete in what is a wild festival of racing as well as speculating.


The town even has three casinos on offer for those who wish to play late into the night, although there are plenty of mobile casino sites to keep your entertained if your friends force you to stay pub-bound the whole night long.


Places to visit in Ireland, Galway

Galway has some of the best seafood you’re likely to taste anywhere in the world


Visit Cork


Ireland’s second city, Cork has undergone something of a revival of late, with Silicon Valley firms flooding in to set up shop. As a result, the city is as vibrant as ever, although its main attractions are still rooted deep in history.


One of these is Blarney Castle, where visitors can give the Blarney Stone a kiss for good luck. There are plenty more ancient architectural feats to explore as well, with St Anne’s Church and even University College Cork being well worth a visit.


Places to visit in Ireland, Donogal

Donegal is hard to beat for windswept natural beauty spots


Adventure In Donegal


Catch a break with the weather and the west coast of Ireland really is a sight for sore eyes, and Donegal has some of the most dramatic coastal and mountain scenery to be found anywhere in the Irish counties.


Some of the main spots to check out are Malin Head, with its barren charm and local residents with endless tales to tell.


Then there’s Tory Island, a place that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with natural wonders, nestled as it is a few miles off the coast, and being home to just a few 100 residents, many of whom only speak in Irish.


Lastly, there’s Bundoran, which if you’re into surfing is the place to be. Just remember to use a full-body wetsuit and then wrap up warm with a soothing pint of Guinness when you’re done being pounded by the Atlantic Ocean.



Muckross Abbey Ireland

Muckross Abbey Ireland


A Favorite of Mine, Killarney


Often billed as Ireland’s outdoor pursuits capital, Killarney has something for everyone when it comes to hiking, mountain biking and virtually any other outdoor sport you can imagine.


As well as all that there’s the highly recommended Ring of Kerry; a road route that takes those who follow it through stunning countryside villages and leads to perfectly positioned viewpoints, ideal for photo opportunities.


Of course, this wouldn’t be Ireland without there being a sprinkling of castles. Killarney has its fair share, with Ross Castle and Muckross Friary two to look out for.


Places to visit in Ireland, Kylemore Abbey

Me, the Little and Brian at Kylemore Abbey in Galway, Ireland. This was my son’s and Brian’s first trip out of the U.S. and it was made entirely possible by Tourism Ireland through my blog brand.


Magical Connemara


Not a million miles from Galway is Connemara, which is the place to go if you want away from crowds and congestion. Out on this section of the Atlantic coastline, visitors are more likely to encounter herds of sheep than gaggles of tourists.


Once again it is advised to get your waterproofs and walking boots out for this one because it really is worth immersing yourself fully in the wilds of the beguiling Connemara National Park.


There are so many wonderful places in Ireland to visit. I can’t stress enough that you take the time to venture beyond the city and explore all this magical country has to offer.



About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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