Ireland is called the Emerald Isle for a reason, and it becomes crystal clear the moment you step on its soil! With spectacular natural panoramas all around, the country is favored by all kinds of travelers – ones looking to take dramatic photographs, get a sense of serenity and inspiration, or do some exploration.
However, since there are so many beautiful corners to visit and explore, planning the trip might get overwhelming, so we are here to assist you in making the right choices! So, let’s walk through the most breathtaking Irish landscapes!
Cliffs of Moher
Naturally, the famous Cliffs of Moher take first place among the most striking landscapes in Ireland!
Towering over the West Clare coast, the cliffs create the perfect panorama of Irish ruggedness – soft waters and wild greenery invites you for a selfie, a hike, or even a picnic. Of course, it takes a lot of time to explore the surroundings and take in all the beauty, but the safe and preserved pathways make it easier and definitely more enjoyable!
You might recognize Cliffs of Moher from the media as it played an essential background to one of the most iconic shots in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie production. If you are a fan, consider yourself lucky that the famous set is so easily reachable! Just travel to County Clare until you reach the southwestern edge of the Burren region!
While some prefer exploring the cliffs individually, we highly suggest choosing guided Ireland tours for this, as you will learn more about its origins, legends, and other exciting stories!
Rock of Cashel
A runner-up for the most visited natural wonders in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel is the country’s signature symbol and an important natural landmark.
The monument is set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale and allows you insight into the most breathtaking collection of historical buildings in Ireland. Adorning the horizon are the round tower, a Romanesque chapel, a high cross, a Gothic cathedral, an abbey, the Hall of Vicars Choral, and an impressive Tower House.
To see this breathtaking, mysterious scenery, head to Cashel, County Tipperary. Also, if you wish to explore all the establishments thoroughly, we suggest setting aside a reasonable amount of time. Just make sure you are not in a hurry to get to any appointment and give yourself time to truly appreciate the wonder that is the Rock of Cashel.
The Wild Atlantic Way
The road as beautiful as its name, the Wild Atlantic Way, is a bit more challenging site to visit, but first, let’s tell you all about it!
The perfect place to see all of the most stunning objects in Ireland, including the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Achill Island, and even Galway, the road takes you through 1,500 miles of unspoiled nature and the most striking sights you could wish for.
However, to see all that, you must cross all of the Wild Atlantic Way, therefore – a road trip! If you are a fan of those, this will be the perfect choice for you, but if it is not something you do quite often, the long hours on the road will prove to be quite challenging.
If you are up for it, which we highly recommend, we suggest spending some time preparing for the trip; make sure to research all the stops and desired locations along the way. The Wild Atlantic Way mainly focuses on Ireland’s west coast, probably the most beautiful part of the country. So, your eyes will most likely be glued to the window the whole time!
Generally, the road is very easy to follow, and you can start your journey from Dublin. Just make sure to have a map on you at all times! And, of course, a camera!
Undoubtedly, the most popular road trip destination in Northern Ireland, Mourne Coastal Route is the one to enjoy!
If you start your journey from Belfast, then head through North Down and the Ards Peninsula, you will reach the most gorgeous landscape of all – the Mourne Mountains! The highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland is quite easily reachable, and if you still doubt its majestic surroundings, just wait till you hear! These mountains served as the backdrop for numerous scenes for HBO’s Game of Thrones and even an inspiration for CS Lewis’s Chronicles of the Narnia!
Highly appreciated by travelers, especially hikers, the Mourne Mountains present the most beautiful Irish panorama, albeit a bit gloomy. There are plenty of convenient roads for you to see everything up close, and that is primarily how we suggest exploring them. The trek works for beginner, intermediate, and advanced-level hikers, so you will have no problems!
Located in southwest Donegal, Sliabh Liag, or Slieve League, is the ultimate adrenaline-increasing mountainous experience!
Standing at the edge of Sliabh Liag’s cliffs, you truly feel endless. Absolutely nothing in the sights in front of you will give you a good kick of adrenaline, yet at the same time, complete peacefulness. With 600 meters above the raging ocean, the cliffs are an unforgettable experience. To fully appreciate rugged beauty and ruthless nature, we suggest leaving your car at the parking a further way back and walking the rest of the way until you see the cliffs.
Sliabh Liag is also often visited for the sake of tradition. The sacred mountains were the highlight of numerous trips on Christian pilgrimage just to cherish and treasure their cultural heritage. So, if you are interested in adding to Sliabh Liag’s history, make a visit! All you have to do is take the road from Donegal to Killybegs and then to Carrick. Then, turn left in the middle of the village to the Sliabh Liag Lodge and enjoy!
If endless mountain ranges and intimidating beauty become a bit much, visit the village of Adare next!
Deemed the prettiest village in Ireland, Adare is located in County Limerick, on the banks of River Maigue, and attracts people with the genuine vibe of coziness and ancient livelihood. Its main street is adorned with medieval buildings and thatched cottages; the whole area is very inviting and picturesque!
Historians and archeologists also love Adare as there are many sites with remains dating back to 1200 AD, making it the perfect ancient town. We mostly suggest Adare for a day trip. Still, if you naturally get too enchanted, there are plenty of convenient accommodations and a handful of activities. However, you will probably just want to take long walks between the narrow streets. In reality, this is the best way to get to know the little town – let yourself get lost in your searches, and make sure to take some pictures!
However, if you are too restless to explore blindly, stop by the Heritage Center to learn more about Adare’s fascinating history and get some pointers to see. For example, see the 13th-century Desmond Castle, Adare’s main signature mark, or the stunning Trinitarian Abbey.
The Nine Glens of Antrim
More commonly known as simply the Glens among the locals, these valleys add to the fun while you are on your way to explore the Giant’s Causeway!
Stretching from the Antrim Plateau down to the coast between Larne and Ballycastle, the Glens are praised for their unique beauty and distinct character. While often overlooked, the valleys are the perfect representation of Northern Ireland’s outstanding natural vision and should be visited way more often!
Mainly, tourists choose to take long hikes and simply enjoy the quietness and wilderness, and that might be the best way to explore them. Walk through forests, water bodies, and expansive meadows – the sights are so beautiful you could simply paint a picture!
The Nine Glens of Antrim were seemingly inhabited since the Neolithic period, at least according to archeological research. However, apart from their rich historical background and natural beauty, another thing that is extremely fun about the Glens is their names! In some ways reminding of the Seven Dwarfs, the nine valleys are called Glentaisie, Glenshesk, Glendun, Glencorp, Glenaan, Glenballyeamon, Glenariff, Glencloy, and Glenarm!
Finally, let’s circle back to the most-visited sites in Ireland. Giant’s Causeway is definitely top three, and its unique landscape is the main reason!
Right near the valleys in the northern part of County Antrim, Giant’s Causeway is a land of scenic beauty, legends, and exciting history. The whole thing is covered in neatly piled-up hexagonal columns, most likely created approximately 6 million years ago. The most interesting thing is the perfect geometrical shapes, unspoiled and untouched for so many years! Of course, this is the doing of Mother Nature, though the locals like to tell enticing stories and legends explaining its origins. The most common one is saying that these are simply the footprints of giants roaming the Earth million years ago – hence the name!
Now you have multiple choices for your exciting trip to Ireland! Make sure not to rush through these sites, and be patient. Thorough exploration takes time and patience! So, grab a camera and a map, and get ready to see the most breathtaking landscapes in Ireland!
Published by HOLR Magazine.