The Irish Bucket List


If there is one thing that this pandemic has thought us, it is that this little island that we are so lucky to call home is breathtakingly beautiful. There are so many little gems to discover and explore right under our noses, and I am ashamed to say that pre pandemic we took very little interest in these sights and activities, and instead we boarded a plane at every given opportunity to explore mainland Europe and beyond.

Without further ado lets crack on and virtually explore all of the bucket list worthy destinations that the Emerald Isle has to offer.

Experience the most dramatic coastal walk in Europe

The Gobbins Cliff Path, Northern Ireland

The Gobbins experience is located in Islandmagee, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on the Causeway Coastal Route. Experience a thrilling world, where bridges will carry you over crashing waves to sunken caves and sheer cliff faces. This extraordinary place is only accessible on a guided tour. The Gobbins Visitor Centre is open from 8.30 am – 5.00 pm daily.

Click here to learn more about the experience, book tickets and more.

Immerse yourself in nature

Photo by: Extreme Nomads

Gougane Barra Forest Park is located in West Cork (70km from Cork City). It was Ireland’s first National Park, when it opened in 1966. There are a number of walks in Gougane Barra forest park comprising some 350 acres. Nature lovers will revel in the extensive areas of natural and cultivated forestry which abounds in wildlife. You can drive along the ring road in the forest or take some of the very enjoyable walks. Sli Laoi a delightful walk along the floor of Cumrua follows the course of the infant Lee to the head of the valley.

Click here to learn more about this stunning park.

Fall in love with Ireland’s heart shaped lake

Photo by: independent.ie

Lough Ouler Loop is a 7.4 km moderately trafficked loop trail located near Roundwood, County Wicklow, Ireland that features a beautiful heart shaped lake. The loop walk is rated as moderate.

Click here to learn more about the loop.

Discover Coumshingaun Lough

Photo by: alltrails.com

Coumshingaun Loop Walk is a moderate 4 hour (7.5 km) walking route around a natural amphitheatre of splendour and silence, the Coumshingaun Corrie Lake and the surrounding mountains in County Waterford, Ireland.

Click here to learn more about the Loop Walk

Watch the Sunset on Valentia Island

Photo by: Valentia Island Tourist Office

Valentia Island is steeped in history, culture and beauty. It is located just off the Ring of Kerry. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge, making it easily accessible. Head to the Geokaun Mountain to enjoy a breath-taking sunset while you are on the island. You can walk or drive to the summit, so even with the kids in tow this is a must see. Enjoy views over Dingle Bay, The Skelligs and Kerry Mountains.

Click here to find out more

A tomb older than The Pyramids

Photo By: Discover Ireland

Newgrange is a Stone Age (Neolithic) monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath. Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the Winter Solstice sun. The starting point for all visits to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.

Click here to find out more, and to book your tickets

Experience Europe’s Highest Sea Cliffs

Sliabh Liag Cliffs

Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) is located in South West Donegal. Sliabh Liag are the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe, where the cliff face of Bunglas rises over 600m above the ocean below. You can choose from various trails, with something to suit a variety of fitness levels. If you don’t fancy walking you can take a shuttle bus to the viewing point, or even opt to take a boat tour of the cliffs instead.

Click here to find out more

Visit Ireland’s most haunted castle

Photo by: Ireland Before You Die

Leap Castle is located in Co. Offaly. Built in the early 1500’s, Leap is allegedly home to many horrific spirits. The Castle has been the centre of much bloodshed and brutal atrocities. Leap Castle is open to visitors on request.

Click here to find out more

Come face to face with the world’s largest creatures

Photo by: Cork Whale Watch

Coming face to face with the world’s largest creatures is sure to be deserving of a place on everyone’s bucket list. You don’t have to travel far to see these creatures in their natural habitat. West Cork attracts minke whales, fin whales, and humpback whales to feed in its rich waters every year, and you have the opportunity to see them by taking one of West Corks whale watching tours.

Click here to find out more and to book your tickets

See the severed head of a 17th-century Irish martyr

Picture By: The Irish Examiner

Oliver Plunkett, a 17th-century Irish martyr, became Ireland’s first new saint in nearly 700 years after being canonized in 1975. In 1997, he was deemed the country’s patron saint for peace and reconciliation. On 1st July 1681 St Oliver Plunkett was hanged, drawn and quartered, the relic of his head now stands in a shrine in St Peter’s Church in Drogheda Co. Louth.

Click here to find out more.

Drive along one of Ireland’s most scenic roads

Slea Head Drive

It wouldn’t be an Irish Bucket List without the inclusion of the breath taking Slea Head Drive. Starting and ending in Dingle Co. Kerry, this is one of Ireland’s most scenic routes, it takes you on a journey through historic sites, Irish speaking villages, famous Hollywood film locations with close up views of the world renowned Blasket Islands and distant views of the Skellig Islands on the south western horizon.

Click here to learn more

Feast your eyes on Europe’s longest free-hanging stalactite

Photo by: doolincave.ie

Doolin Cave and visitor centre in Co. Clare is home to the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres (23feet) it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in Europe. The Great Stalactite, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier, is truly astounding. 

Click here to learn more and to book your tour

Dive headfirst into the Worm Hole

Picture By: Irish Examiner

The Worm Hole (Poll na bPeist), is located on Inis Mór (the largest of the Aran Islands). You may recognise it as as the location for the Red Bull diving competition. What looks like a manmade swimming pool with it’s perfectly rectangular shape, is actually a naturally formed rock pool.

Click here to find out more

Experience stunning views of the Dún Briste sea stack

Picture by: Go Wild Magazine

Downpatrick Head is located in Ballycastle in Co Mayo. It is a sea stack that stands 45 metres tall. It was once connected to the mainland, and it is widely accepted that an arch leading to the rock collapsed during very rough sea conditions in 1393.

Click here to learn more

Take a trip to The Saltee Islands

Picture by: Fran Byrne

The Saltee Islands are located just off the south Wexford coastline. They are home to an array of seabirds such as puffins, gannets, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, manx shearwater, gulls as well as many other species of wildlife. The islands are accessed by the Saltee Ferry which runs day trips from Kilmore Quay harbour.

Click here for more info on tickets, prices and to book your trip

Soak up the views on this spectacular cliff walk

While it is no doubt that the Cliffs of Moher are the most popular cliffs in Ireland and definitely worth a visit, I have omitted them from our bucket list in place of Kilkee Cliffs. Why? At the Kilkee Cliffs, there are no barriers or visitor centres, which makes the experience a lot more authentic.

Click here for more info to help you plan your trip

Climb the Stairway to Heaven

Picture By: thetaste.ie

Culcaigh is Fermanagh’s highest mountain. The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail also nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven is located in Co. Fermanagh. A steep climb is required to reach the viewing platform which provides breath-taking views of the surrounding low lands.

Click here for info on the trail and how to get there

Watch as your car reverses up a magic hill

Picture By: sligowalks.ie

Gleniff Horseshoe is located in north county Sligo. The Gleniff Horseshoe is a 9km looped drive in a valley of mountains. Tievebaun and Truskmore to the left and the back of Benbulben and Benwiskin to the right. Make sure you stop at the “magic hill”.  This is a hill that’s so magical, that your car will reverse up the hill on its own.. or so it seems.

Click here for more info on the drive, some walking trails and the magic hill

Drive along one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland

The Conor Pass is located on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. If you’re a nervous driver it’s probably best to pass on this one. The Conor Pass runs from Dingle out towards Brandon Bay and Castlegregory. It is one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland. The views from the road are breath-taking, as the glaciated landscape of mountains and corrie lakes comes into view.

Click here to find out more

Visit one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland

Picture By: Lonely Planet

The Dark Hedges are located in County Antrim. Game of Thrones fans may recognise this spot as the King’s Road in Westeros. 90 Beech trees line the road creating a canopy of twisting branches overhead. The trees were planted in the 18th century by James Stuart.

Click here to find out more

Relax with the sand between your toes on the most picturesque bays in Ireland

Picture by: Newstalk

Located on the Western end of Achill Island in County Mayo, Keem Bay is one of the most westerly points in Europe. You will find a blue flag beach that is perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling, with crystal clear waters revealing a variety of fish and sealife. The cliffs to the western side of the valley are home to one of the most thrilling cliff walks in Ireland.

Click here to find out more

The Gateway to the Underworld

Picture By: Cork Beo

Bull Rock Island is located about 9 kilometers away from Cork and 4 kilometers from Dursey Island. Legend has it that the tunnel passing through the midddle of the rock is the Gateway to the Underworld. There are two tour operators providing tours to Bull Rock.

Click here to find out more

I told you earlier in this blog post that Ireland is a magical place, do you believe me now? And the best part, we haven’t even scratched the surface. I will continue to add to this blog post as and when we discover more Irish gems. I would love your input too, if you have any places that you think NEED to be on the list pop me a message over on my Instagram page and I will look at getting them added.

Last but not least, don’t forget to share this post with your family & friends and lets inspire others to get out there and explore our little slice of heaven.

Categories: Ireland Travel, travel

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