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20 Bucket List Places in Ireland Off The Beaten Path

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Discover 20 bucket list places in Ireland off the beaten path, that you can add to your itinerary, whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth!
With this easy guide you’ll get to plan many day tours on your own.

Let’s see where you can go and how you should tackle this trip.

Woman in a red dress with a white horse in the hidden Ireland countryside
Ireland is where the fairytales become real

There’s an hidden Ireland, off the beaten path, that most people don’t even know exists. From ancient forts to spectacular rural scenes, some of the best places to visit in Ireland are “secret” and can be found only if you know where to look. Let me show you the 20 best places to visit in Ireland you should add to your bucket list, with inspiring pictures that will fuel your wanderlust and useful info about each one of them!

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What is the best way to visit Ireland off the beaten path?

While there are trains and buses that you can use to get to the touristy places, you will need to rent a car to get to the hidden gems in Ireland.

On our first trip there, over 12 years ago, we rented a small car and decided to just drive. It was one of those spontaneous road trips where you stop wherever you want.
That’s how we discovered the traditional Irish fare, the music and all the lovely towns.

Some of the Irish villages we found, by pure luck, were tiny.
So much “off the beaten path” that people were literally unused to see tourists.

The locals were quite friendly, to the point that they loved to approach us to talk.
At night we rarely sat alone at the pub!

While the best Ireland tourist attractions are usually pretty crowded, the Irish countryside is much more quiet.
The best way to get to know the authentic Ireland is thus by drive a rental car on your own.

Some of the places on this guide to the secret escapes in Ireland are quite remote.
Unless you are planning a longer trip to experience the island full time, using the public transport is a waste of time.

As an extra bonus, there’s only one more thing I can add to convince you.

Road tripping in Ireland is a unique experience, especially if you go off the beaten path.
The road will offer spectacular views and the “getting there” will be part of the fun!

Torc Waterfall in Ireland in autumn
Torc Waterfall is even more impressive in autumn

Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry

As I already mentioned, the best way to visit Ireland off the beaten path is by renting a car.
Once you have one, the first place you should add to your hidden Ireland bucket list is Torc Waterfall.

This gorgeous waterfall in Ireland might be a bit difficult to spot it at first.
You can find it at about 7 km (4.34 miles) from Killarney and 2.5 km (1.55 miles) from the motor entrance to Muckross House.

There is a sign indicating where the trail starts. It’s inside a car parking off the N71.
Don’t worry, the hiking trail is super easy and pretty short!
It will get you super close to the spectacular waterfall: just 200 metres (656 feet).

At this point you can climb the steps to yet another viewpoint, if you want to.

The second viewpoint is higher up.
It’s perfect if you want to take instagrammable pics of your trip to Ireland.
This is where you can take gorgeous pictures of Middle Lake.

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If you have enough time, you can also explore the Kerry Way.
The long distance walking route is marked on a map down at the start of the trail (at the car parking).

Torc Waterfall is a 20 metres (66 feet) high, 110 metres (361 feet) long waterfall, formed by the Owengarriff river.
The best time to visit this waterfall is after heavy rainfall.

While many people drive the Ring of Kerry, not many hike to this place, which, in my opinion, is one of Ireland hidden gems that you should absolutely visit especially in autumn.
The fall foliage here is a photographer’s dream!

Traditional cottage on the Aran Islands in the Irish countryside
Visiting the Aran Islands is an unforgettable experience!

Aran Islands, Co. Galway

The Aran islands are located at Galway Bay, off the west coast of Ireland.
They are very much loved by the locals and different from most Irish islands.

We have a friend who lives in Southern Ireland.
Whenever he has to plan a relaxing getaway with his gang, he just books a few days at the Arans!

Which is why of course we had to go and see for ourselves what was so beautiful about these Irish islands!

The Arans should be added to your Ireland off the beaten path bucket list.

Well, they aren’t easy to get to, And they’re quite small. Lodging can be difficult unless you plan your trip well in advance.
That’s enough to keep mass tourism away.

They are Inishmore (the largest island), Inishmaan and Inisheer, which is the smallest.
Only about 1200 people live on the three islands full time.

Ferries operate to all three islands from Rossaveal in County Galway (every day of the year) and Doolin in County Clare (seasonal).

There are flights operated by Aer Arann Islands from Inverin.
Yet let me remind you that getting there without booking a hotel first is absolutely a bad idea.
Even renting an old town house can be difficult without prior notice!

If you are planning a road trip to Connemara National Park in Ireland, you can add the Arans right before or right after this part of the trip.

Click to find a hotel on the Aran Islands
Make sure to do so well in advance!

Stone arches with forest on the background  in the Irish countryside
Leap Castle is the most haunted castle in the world!

Leap Castle, Roscrea, Co. Offaly

Leap Castle is another one of the must see places in Ireland that you should add to your itinerary.

Getting there is quite easy if you have rented a car.
This fantastic place is located at about 6 km North of Roscrea and 10 km South of Kinnitty, on the R421.

You might remember this hidden gem in Ireland from the tv.
The paranormal investigators from ABC Family Scariest Places on Earth and Most Haunted (Living TV) have been here!

Leap Castle was also investigated from The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) from Syfy’s Ghost Hunters. Even Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures filmed a Halloween special at this Irish castle.

Some report to have seen the ghost of a red lady walking the halls and holding a dagger. Others refer to the ghost living at Leap Castle in Ireland as “It“.

What we know for sure is that Leap Castle has been declared “the world’s most haunted castle“.
Add it to your Ireland bucket list if you’re a fan of scary experiences!

The local legends might have started during the renovation of the castle in the 1900’s.

Many human skeletons were found behing a wall in the chapel. They were all amassed on wooden spikes.
It took three cartloads to remove all the bones!

While the dungeon is now closed, news got out and this castle in Ireland became quite popular among the locals.

One more thing has been attracting ghost tourism to this part of Ireland.
Leap Castle was built on the same site as an ancient ceremonial structure.
That is what is causing all the paranormal activities in the area, according to some!

Rope bridge on the sea  considered to be part of the hidden Ireland: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (Co. Antrim)
Would you walk on a rope bridge without shaking with fear?

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland is definitely not for the faint of heart.
It’s one of the most instagrammable spots in Ireland off the beaten path!

If you’re like me, terrified by heights, send your Insta-husband/boyfriend to take pictures. Your fear might paralyze you in the middle of the bridge.

Because this rope bridge is one way, other people wouldn’t thus be able to enjoy this thrilling experience.

Suspended at almost 30 meters (98,42 feet) above seal level, this Irish rope bridge was erected by salmon fishermen over 200 years ago.
It is now one of the highlights of the North Coast, that you can get to by driving a car.

Getting there with public transport might prove quite difficult, as with many other places in Ireland.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge connects the Irish coast to a tiny castle island, Carrick Island.
Once you cross, you’ll get to take lovely pictures of Rathlin island and even the Scottish coastline!

Admission tickets are 13.50£ (about 17$) per person.
With an extra 3.50£ ($5) you can also join a 45 minute guided tour, in collaboration with the Irish National Trust.

After crossing the rope bridge, stop at the Weighbridge tea-room. This tiny cafè which is the only place where you can drink a hot chocolate and eat a good slice of homemade cake in the area!

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is one of the unique hidden gems in Ireland you should add to your itinerary. Especially if you are an adrenaline junkie!

2023 Update – Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

As of April 16, 2021, the car park reopened, to allow visitors to enjoy this part of the Irish Causeway Coast Way.

The rope bridge is also open: book your ticket online to secure your spot!

From the parking lot you also get fantastic seaside views. And of course you can take great pictures of the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge!

The car park is operating a Pay By Phone System.
Car parking charges are £1 ($1.38) for one hour, £2 ($2.76) for up to two hours and £4 ($5.52) for over 4 hours.

Remember, spaces are limited and you can’t book in advance!

Butter and Irish bread at the Butter museum in Cork
There are free butter-making demonstrations at the Butter Museum!

The Butter Museum, Co. Cork

Another off the beaten path gem in Ireland you should add to your itinerary is The Butter Museum.

We visited this Irish museum while on our tour of the best bars in Cork, and found it super interesting.
It is also a good option for a trip to Ireland with the family. Kids willlove this place!

This unique museum in Ireland celebrates the butter trade, and it’s located in the historic part of Cork city.

The Cork Butter Market building isn’t big but it’s very cute. In the 19th century, Cork was the largest exporter of butter in the whole world.
The building itself is one of the famous Irish sights that many people just can’t place on a map.

The Butter Museum shows the role of dairy culture and butter exchange in Ireland. You will see how it changed Cork, and how it has brought to success the Kerrygold brand.

Throughout the visit, you’ll be able to see a large collection of elements used for butter production. Including a container belonging to the old medieval town. It dates back to about a thousand years ago!

Tickets will cost you 5€/$5.35. Seniors and students will only pay 4€ ($4.28).
Children are offered a discounted ticket at 2€ ($2.14).

They include a free butter making demonstration if you visit on Saturdays. The demonstration usually starts at midday but you should get there a little earlier!

View of the sea from Bray Head Loop, Ireland
The Bray Head Loop early in the morning is absolutely gorgeous

Bray Head Loop, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry

The Bray Head Loop is a must see in Ireland, along the Skellig Coast of the Wild Atlantic Way.
This loop walking route of about 7km (4.34 miles) offers gorgeous views of the Skellig Islands, where  Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed.

It is a steady climb up to the old Bray Head Tower.
The tower was used as a signal station by naval authorities up until 1920s. Now it is abandoned, and makes for one great instagrammable place.

Sometimes you might find sheeps or cows enjoying the morning sun on the grass. They’re absolutely harmless!
In case you’re visiting with young children, please make sure to take care of them at all times.

What scared me the most was the fact that there are exposed cliffs.

The view will leave you breathless, but when it’s windy, you might feel breathless for another reason. I was terrified I’d be blown off the cliffs so I urged Aldo to get back to the car as soon as possible.
Yes, I’m a worrywart!

Parking your car will only cost you 2€ ($2.36) and then you can just walk to Bray Head loop for free. On wind-free days this is also a great picnic spot!

Red flowers on the windowsill at Annascaul, an Irish village
Annascaul is a fairytale village in Ireland

Annascaul village, Co. Kerry

Annascaul is a small village on the Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry, Ireland. You can get there by driving on the N86 Tralee – Dingle National secondary road, 32.9 km (20.44 miles) west of Tralee.

Not many people know about Annascaul but for us wanderlusters it’s a very important landmark.

Annascaul is in fact the birthplace of the Antarctic explorer Tom Crean.

He was part of Robert Scott’s team while he attempted to reach the South Pole. He also took part in Ernest Shackleton’s epic open boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia.
Tom Crean was one of us!

Annascaul is a cute place in Ireland off the beaten path. This tiny village is usually never much taken into consideration by tourists driving the Wild Atlantic Way.
Not sure why!

Annascaul is also one of the adorable small towns in Ireland with view.
It lies in the Southern foothills of the Slieve Mish Mountains. Picture perfect!

Many backpackers who decide to hike the Dingle Way stop at Annascaul.
If you are looking for gorgeous views and unspoiled Irish countryside, this is the perfect place!

Being one of the less touristy spots in Ireland, Annascaul has lovely B&B’s.
The locals are ready to welcome travelers with open arms.

Whenever you stop for a pint somewhere, people will approach you to ask where you’re coming from and how you’re liking Ireland!

View of the lake and stone crosses at Clonmacnoise in the Irish countryside
Clonmacnoise is located not too far away from Shannonbridge

The Monastery of Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly

On one of our trips to explore the hidden spots in Ireland, Aldo was driving through the Irish countryside.
After Shannonbridge, I was like “oh my gosh, look, it looks like some kind of ancient building was swallowed by the hill!“.

I just couldn’t find a better way to describe the ancient ruins I saw in the distance.
The castle that you see while approaching the monastery of Clonmacnoise is half collapsed. From a distance it has a quite weird shape.

The fact is that this religious building is very old.
It dates back to 544, and it was founded by St. Ciaran, on a point where the major East-West land route met the River Shannon.

Its strategic position helped Clonmacnoise to become a major centre of religion, learning, craftsmanship and trade by the 9th century.

Soon this place became the most famous religious community in Ireland.

The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, churches, two round towers (one of which is well preserved), three gorgeous high crosses and a large collection of ancient graves labs.

Tickets will cost you 8€ ($8.56) and before you access the ruins, you’ll go through a very nice visitor centre, where you can see up close a number of cross slabs and the Cross of the Scripture.

There’s an audiovisual presentation in English and leaflets in Irish, English, German, Italian, Spanish and French.

2023 Update – Clonmacnoise Monastery

Clonmacnoise is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm (last admission 5:00 pm).

All visitors are required to have a ticket to enter.
Updated prices are: 

  • Adults – 8€ ($8.56)
  • Group/Senior – 6€ ($6.42)
  • Child/Student – 4€ ($4.28)
  • Family group – 20€ ($21.41)
Sunset on the Ireland coast at Ferriter's Cove
Ferriter’s Cove is a great location for kayaking or windsurfing

Ferriter’s Cove, Co. Kerry

Ferriter’s Cove is a small-but-pretty bay located at the westernmost point of Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry.
Looking with an off the beaten path place with fantastic seaside views? You just found it!

The cove was named after the Ferriter family, which comes from the Norman French Le Fereter. The family name was first recorded in the area in 1252.

At Ferriter’s Cove, you can explore the earliest known archaeological remains on the Dingle Peninsula. Here, after discovering a Neolithic knife, the excavation uncovered an undisturbed Mesolithic land.

Debris, faunal remains, shells and even burnt stone were recovered in this area. They date back to 3670 and 3240 BC, which is something you don’t see every day for sure!

Ferriter’s Cove is one of the great off the beaten path Ireland tourist attractions. The locals visit this area for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking or windsurfing.

If you’re not a fan of cold water (did I ever mention that the Amalfi Coast has spoiled us?), make sure to get there before sunset.
The golden hour here is absolutely magical. Pictures will be insta-perfect!

Small boats on a lake in the Irish countryside off the beaten path
Dolough Pass is way less crowded than the Wild Atlantic Way

Doolough Pass, Co. Mayo

Doo Lough Pass should be in your Ireland bucket list if you’re a fan of road trips off the beaten path!

Doolough Valley is a scenic driving route on the R335 between Delphi and Louisburgh in County Mayo.
While driving you will find Doolough Pass (which means “Black Lake“), between Mweelrea Mountain and the Sheeffry Hills.

Once you’re at the pass, make sure to stop at the Doolough Famine Memorial. It is a stone cross engraved with the words “Doolough Tragedy 1849“.
A reminder of one of the darkest times of Irish history.

This unique road trip in Ireland is way less busy than the popular Wild Atlantic Way (they share the Eastern shores of two lakes).
Keep your camera at hand and slow down for a chance to see the all the hidden spots!

View of Slieve Liegue cliffs in Ireland
The Slieve League Cliffs are three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher!

Slieve League Cliffs, Co. Donegal

Slieve League is a mountain on the Atlantic Coast of County Donegal, which has some of the highest sea cliffs in Ireland (596 metres!).

While most tourists prefer to go to the iconic Cliffs of Moher (County Clare, Ireland), the Slieve League Cliffs are three times higher. And way less crowded!

You can take great pictures of the cliffs from the Bunglass viewpoint, which you can reach from a narrow road from Teelin.

Beware: you must be very careful and avoid going there when it rains or when it’s windy. The last few kilometers are built along a precipice and it can be dangerous.
A picture isn’t worth your life!

To reach the Slieve League cliffs, leave your car at the car parking and walk for the rest of the way.
The scenic trail will allow you to enjoy fantastic seaside views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay.

This has always been a sacred mountain, way before the Christians got here. Remember to be respectful of the place you’re visiting!

You can learn a lot about this area by visiting the Slieve Liag Cliffs Centre, which is all about local culture, great food and crafts.

2023 Update – Slieve League Cliffs Centre

The Slieve League Cliffs Centre and Ti Linn Cafe on the Bunglass Road, Teelin are open daily from 10am – 6pm.

The Centre also features a newly refurbished gift shop which sells lovely souvenirs from Ireland, including locally sourced crafts.

Ruins of Desmond Castle in Ireland in spring
Desmond Castle feels a bit like the castles in the Scottish Highlands

Ruins of Desmond Castle, Adare, Co. Limerick

When faced with the ruins of Desmond Castle, on the edge of the village of Adare, we felt like we were touring the Scottish Highlands!

The view is indeed quite charming: ancient ruins surrounded by the lovely Irish countryside. There was no one else around when we visited. So the “fairytale vibe” was more powerful than ever.

If you’re looking to take some great pictures while road tripping Ireland off the beaten path, by all means, make sure you get here early in the morning.

Desmond Castle was built with an ancient ring-fort in the 13th century.
It used to be a strategic fortress, property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years, then granted to the Earls of Desmond, who gave the castle its present name.

Tours operate daily from June to the end of September.
You’ll have to buy your ticket online (10€/$11.82) and once you’re there, park your car at the Adare Heritage Center on the main street. 

A shuttle bus will drive you to Desmond Castle, and an English-speaking guide will tell you everything about this place.
Multilingual options are available but you need to request them online first.

To get to Desmond Castle, drive on the N21, on the main Limerick to Kerry road, until you get to Adare.

2023 Update – Desmond Castle

The local authorities have decided to close Desmond Castle to visitors for 2023.

It will hopefully reopen in 2024.

The Fanad Head lighthouse  on the Irish coast seen from above
How about sleeping in a lighthouse?

Fanad Head Lighthouse, Co. Donegal

The Fanad Head Lighthouse is another one of the hidden gems in Ireland not many people know about.
It is located on the Wild Atlantic Way, on the tip of the Fanad Peninsula (North Donegal).

Should you see it from above (like on the picture on this blog), you’d realize immediately that it sits on the edge of a mighty cliff. The kind of cliff one would expect to see on a Wild Atlantic Way tour.

The Tower is 22 metres (72 feet) high from foundation to the top (not including the lantern).
To get to the top you’ll have to climb 79 narrow steps. It marks the entrance to Lough Swilly, an Irish glacial fjord.

Have you decided that staying in a castle hotel in Ireland isn’t for you because you’d like something more unique?
You’ll be happy to know that it’s now possible to rent one of the newly refurbished self catering cottages near the lighthouse.
Does it make your trip to Ireland unique enough?

Wooden Church door in Ireland in Dublin
St Michan’s Mummies are one of those secrets “hidden in plain view”

St Michan’s Mummies, Dublin, Co. Dublin

Not many people know that the mummies in the basement of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin seem to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

You’d expect to find places in Ireland off the beaten path, right? Yet this church is basically hiding in plain view. Lots of travellers visit Dublin and yet they never make it to St. Michan’s Church because they have no idea there are mummies!

St. Michan’s Church is an ancient Irish church. It was founded in 1095 and it has been the only church on the Northern side of Dublin for over 600 years.

The highlight of this Church is what lies below.
Five long burial vaults contain mummified remains dating back to 1600. They might be the members of the most powerful families in Dublin back then.

Today they are one of the best Ireland tourist attractions that the locals tend to keep to themselves.
Full guided tours of the vaults are available in English. There are leaflets in different languages, just ask at the front desk!

2023 Update – St Michan’s Church (Dublin, Ireland)

St. Michan’s Church and the Crypts are once again open to visitors!

You can visit for free, but you will need a guided tour if you want to see the mummies.

Sign leading to the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin
Experience the night time experience at the Leprechaun Museum!

The National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin, Co. Dublin

Dublin isn’t just one of the best towns to visit in Ireland if you can’t rent a car.
There are in fact quite a few fantastic places you can add to your Ireland bucket list, that you can visit on a self guided walking tour.

One of them is the National Leprechaun Museum. This is a bit like the Camera Obscura experience in Edinburgh or the teamLab Borderless in Tokyo.

This interactive museum is completely dedicated to the Irish mythology, especially to the leprechaun
The Leprechauns are a type of fairy, usually depicted wearing a green coat and a hat, who partakes in mischief.

The National Leprechaun Museum, one of the old city favorites, can be easily added to a walking tour of Dublin. It is in fact located in the city center.

This unique Museum in Dublin narrates a story in 12 chapters, through rooms full of myth and legend. You will interact with huge chairs and furniture, or creatures from the Irish folklore. A bit like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

There’s also a night time experience, only open to visitors 18 and older.
It is a 60 minutes tour through the darkest side of Irish storytelling.

The adventure is quite scary, almost horror-like in some parts. If you like the chill, you should add this tour to your Ireland bucket list!

2023 Update – Leprechaun Museum in Dublin (Ireland)

The National Leprechaun Museum has been temporarily closed for refurbishments on January 25th, 2023. 

It should reopen in summer 2023.
Yet as of June 2023 there are still no news about a possible reopening.

Lake and mountains in Glendalough valley, Ireland
Glendalough is a glacial valley: make sure you bring your hiking boots!

Glendalough Valley, Co. Wicklow

Glendalough means “Valley of two lakes“: it’s a gorgeous, glacial valley in County Wicklow.
One of the must see places in Ireland also if you’re interested in learning the history of this Country.

Glendalough is in fact renowned for an Early Medieval monastic settlement dating back to the 6th century. But it’s not the only reason why this is one of the best places to go in Ireland.

This fantastic place is in fact the perfect spot for those who want to enjoy the Irish countryside.
Picnics, hikes on well maintained trails of varying difficulty, and – for the adrenaline lovers – rock climbing.
You definitely won’t get bored!

This part of Ireland off the beaten path is particularly peaceful.
That is also why Sts Kevin spent most of his life in prayer at the Glendalough monastery.

Because there is no direct train service to Glendalough, you’d have to hop on a train from Dublin, then halfway there you’d have to hope for a taxi, but that would eat away at your budget.

Once again, the cheapest – and most practical – option is to rent a car. There’s a car parking at the Visitor Center, an Upper Lake car park which will charge you 4€ ($4.28) per car, and two more parkings (in Laragh village and at the Brockagh Resource Centre) one mile away from Glendalough.

The last two are perfect if you are planning to leave your car behind and go for a walk in the Irish countryside!

2023 Update – Glendalough 

On the first Wednesday of each month you can visit Glendalough for free, thanks to the OPV Heritage Sites.

Tickets are generally allocated on a first come, first served basis. 
There is no online booking so absolutely make sure you get to Glendalough early in the morning!

Wooden bridge inside Dunmore Caves in Ireland hidden under the rocks
The Dunmore Cave is full of gorgeous calcite formations

The Dunmore Cave, Co. Kilkenny

Another one of the must see places in Ireland is Dunmore Cave. A spectacular limestone cave in Ballyfoyle, County Kilkenny.

The cave is open to the public and particularly well known in Ireland for its archaeological discoveries. Ballyfoyle was in fact a very important place for Viking activities.

While the Dunmore Cave isn’t the largest cave in Ireland, it still descends to 46 m (about 150 feet). There are lots of passages and some very nice calcite formations.
The most beautiful one is probably Market Cross, a cross-shaped column over 5.8m (19 feet) high.

The cave is close to the N78 Kilkenny-Castlecomer road, 11 km (6.83 miles) North of Kilkenny city.
The entrance is in Mohill, and you’ll easily find it thanks to a visible tourist centre which marks it.

2023 Update – Dunmore Cave, Kilkenny (Ireland)

Dunmore Cave is closed to visitors due to ongoing works.

As of June 2023 we still don’t know when they are going to open the site.
Check out the official website for news.

Rossbeigh Beach in Ireland in autumn
Rossbeigh Beach is picture perfect – especially in Fall!

Rossbeigh Beach and Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry

I’m sure that while planning a trip to Ireland, the possibility of going to the beach never even crossed your mind. But I can tell you that Rossbeigh beach might surprise you!

This lovely stretch of sand is ideal for families. There is a pretty big kids playground!
Those who want to experience nature in Ireland on a deeper level will also love to visit. Rossbeigh beach is popular among the locals for horseback rides along the coast.

Me and Aldo loved to walk on the sand. At the same time we still have no idea how the locals swim there.
The water was freezing according to our standards!
Yet the Rossbeigh Beach is a popular spot in Ireland for those who love the water sports.

After a long walk on the beach, head over to the nearby Glenbeigh. It’s at only 3 km (about 2 miles) from Rossbeigh beach.

This cute Irish village is one of the places you should add to your Ireland bucket list.
It’s a fairytale spot, framed by the Coomasaharn mountains and by the scenic beauty you can only find on Emerald isle.

On bright, sunny days, you can park your car in Glenbeigh and just walk to Rossbeigh beach.
It will be a quite long walk but it’s usually easy and quite pleasant.

When we visited we were possibly the only tourists from abroad. So we can say this area is an authentic Irish getaway for the locals. Just what we were looking for!

Dunbrody Abbey maze in Ireland
Experiencing the Dunbrody maze in summer is so much fun!

Dunbrody Abbey on the Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford

Dunbrody Abbey was founded for the Cistercian Order in the years following the Norman invasion of Ireland (1170). The castle next to it was built over 500 years later, but it was never fully completed.
An amazing venue for perfect Irish weddings.

The castle gardens hide another one of the spots you should add to your Ireland bucketlist. A fantastic maze!

This intricate yew hedge maze is one of the only two full size mazes in Ireland.
Around the maze (on the outside) there’s a 9 holes pitch and putt course – you can rent clubs in the shop if you want to give it a try.

If you are planning to visit Ireland in summer, hitting this spot will be fun!
There’s a picnic area available, and even a local market selling plants and shrubs.

Another one of the unique spots in Ireland here is the Dunbrody Castle Doll’s house, located in a tiny museum. You can find the entrance inside the Craft Shop.

Those looking for nice Irish souvenirs will want to check out also the large range of items produced by local craftsmen on display at the shop. They sell decorative candles, jewellery, painted glass and woodware.

2023 Update – Dunbrody Abbey (Ireland)

Dunbrody Abbey is now open from May 1st to the second weekend of September, from 11:00 am to 05:30 pm.
From July to August the closing time will be extended to 06:00 pm.

You will also be able to sip your tea and munch on lovely muffins at the Dunbrody Abbey Tearooms.

The towers at Dunlough Castle in Ireland
The Three Castles Head is best experienced in summer time!

Dunlough Castle, the “Three Castles Head”, Co. Cork

One of the Ireland hidden gems sits atop the cliffs at the Northern tip of the Mizen Peninsula. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean from the extreme Southwest point of Ireland.
Make sure to bring your camera: there are fantastic seaside views!

Dunlough Castle can be accessed only from the South.
It is known as “Three Castles Head“, because of a series of three fortified towers.

To visit this spot on Ireland’s ancient west, take the R591 from Schull to Goleen.
At the Southern end of the village, follow the signs to Mizen Head. Once you get to a T-junction, the castle will be clearly marked. There is also a small car parking at the Northern corner of Dunlough Bay.

The hiking trail is easy, but there’s rough terrain here and there. Please make sure you’re extra careful, especially after a rainy day. It will be slippery!

The main highlight of the area might be Dunlough Castle, but I highly encourage you to just walk around, taking in the beauty of the Mizen Peninsula.

To take the best pictures of the Three Castles Head you should be a little far away so you can also get the lake and a bit of the surrounding countryside. Keep the camera at hand!

In case you get hungry, stop for a bite at the Dunlough Café and restaurant, a top class eatery only open during the warmer months, on a private farmhouse. The food is delicious because – of course – it’s a farm-to-table kind of café.

Irish countryside church in fall
The Irish countryside hides some lovely places!

Ireland Off the Beaten Path Without a Car

Are you planning your itinerary but you don’t feel comfortable in driving abroad?

You can absolutely add a few off the beaten places in Ireland to your itinerary even if you end up not renting a car.
Here are a few very interesting tours that offer free cancellation and a lot of bonuses you’re going to love!

Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains from Dublin

The tour includes the help of an experienced guide, bus trip and transport from meeting point to the activities.

On this tour you will also see the places made famous by movies like Braveheart and P.S. I Love You.

Click here to check rates and availability.

Game of Thrones Filming Locations Tour from Dublin

This fully immersive Game of Thrones experience, complete with cloaks, swords and banners, is going to be absolutely unforgettable.

You will visit an 800-year old forest, visit the Winterfell location in Ireland (from season 1), and you’ll also take part in a very interesting reenactment. There’s a lot of photo opportunities!

Click here to check rates and availability.

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin

Discover how the Irish have influenced the world by visiting EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum!

This is the perfect tour for those who are researching their family history: you could discover amazing details about your ancestors!

The tour includes a free souvenir passport and a free app with audio guide that you can download to your mobile.

Click here to check rates and availability.

Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher Tour from Galway

This amazing Wild Atlantic Way tour includes a short cruise.
You’ll get to see the Cliffs of Moher from below: be prepared to the breathtaking views!

The tour includes pick up from every hotel in Galway, transportation, the cruise and entry tickets.

Click here to check rates and availability.

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland
You can easily visit the Giant’s Causeway from Dublin with a tour

Jameson Experience Irish Whiskey Tour in Cork

Every drop of Jameson whiskey sold all over the world is produced in Midleton, Co Cork, Ireland.

Explore the original Jameson Distillery Midleton and take part in a whiskey tasting to become a qualified taster!

The micro-distillery still works and you’ll get to also discover all the secrets in the live maturation warehouse.

The tour actually includes the chance of receiving an Irish whiskey taster certificate. As an extra bonus, you’ll get to enjoy a signature Jameson ginger and lime drink.

Click here to check rates and availability.

Mizen Head Tour from Cork

This incredible tour will show you part of the Wild Atlantic Way, toward the most southwesternly point, Mizen Head.

The tour includes the chance to explore Gougane Barra, Ireland’s oldest National park, and to visit two lovely Irish towns, Bantry and Clonakilty.

Click here to check rates and availability.

Brazen Head and Castle City Tour – Dublin

This tour combines the best of Irish history and pub culture in 2.5 hours. It’s perfect if you don’t have much time but you still want to visit some unique places in Ireland.

By booking this tour you will visit Dublin Castle and gardens, as well as one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, dating back to 1198!
The Brazen Head Pub is a piece of Irish history!

Click here to check rates and availability.

Giant’s Causeway Tour and Whiskey Tasting from Dublin

Make sure you also visit one of the highlights of Northern Ireland on your next trip!

This tour will take care of everything, driving you from Dublin to the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery.
The second stop in Northern Ireland is Dunluce Castle, then the iconic Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site.

Click here to check rates and availability.

Dublin Afternoon Tea Tour in a Vintage Bus

We did enjoy a similar tour in London and absolutely loved it! So we’re sure you’ll love this new way of experiencing Dublin!

Hop on a vintage double decker bus and listen to your hosts share their favorite stories of Dublin, while serving you a full afternoon tea, with an endless supply of tea and coffee!

A bonus of this tour? You’ll be offered a thermal cup as a free souvenir!

Click here to check rates and availability.

Irish countryside in Autumn
You can plan a trip to Ireland in any season: it’s always gorgeous!

Discover Ireland and its hidden gems: Our FAQs

Is it even possible to go off the beaten path in Ireland?

Of course it is!

Ireland has many beautiful secret spots waiting to be discovered.

Some of these hidden gems include Achill Island, Doolough Valley, Hore Abbey, Mussenden Temple, and Birr Castle.
These destinations in Ireland offer unique experiences and stunning views, away from the typical tourist trails.

The absolute best way to go, in my opinion, is to just rent a car and explore on your own. 
Pick a direction and just drive.

On our first trip over there, me and Al had no idea about all the things to do in Ireland. 
It was a spontaneous trip.

We got ourselves a map, didn’t book anything and boom!
It was easily one of the most beautiful, reckless trips we’ve ever done!

What can I see and do in Mayo, one of Ireland’s coastal counties?

Mayo has plenty to offer travelers in search of breathtaking coastal views and beautiful beaches.

I’d definitely visit Achill Island for its white sands and stunning views. 
Then explore Keem beach, or take a private tour of Doolough Valley for a truly unique Irish experience.

In case you opt for a tour, make sure the guide is a local!

Clonmacnoise Monastery (Ireland)
Clonmacnoise is one of the unique places to see in Ireland you shouldn’t miss

How do I get to visit the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal?

The Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal can be reached by car or on foot.

Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and the Atlantic Ocean.

There are also several walking trails in the area, making this a great destination to discover Ireland’s rugged beauty.

In addition to the Ring of Kerry, what other destinations in Ireland’s West Cork are worth visiting?

West Cork is home to some lesser-known but equally stunning destinations!

One of our Italian friends moved there about 10 years ago and he hasn’t been able to leave. 
Too much beauty!

Drive along the scenic Sheep’s Head Drive for dramatic coastlines, explore beautiful Kenmare or take a stroll on the idyllic Inchydoney Beach for a truly unforgettable Irish experience.
There’s something for everyone!

Colorful houses in Ireland
Many cute Irish villages aren’t considered “touristy”

I’m planning to visit the County of Waterford: What can I see?

County Waterford is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered, from beautiful coastal views to historic sites.
My compliment for choosing such a gorgeous place in Ireland!

You should definitely explore Hore Abbey, a lesser-known spot tucked away behind Rock of Cashel, or spend a day in the picturesque village of Ardmore.

What are your favorite destinations in Ireland with beautiful views but off the beaten track?

Ireland has numerous destinations with breathtaking views away from the typical tourist trails.

Some of these secret spots include Cuilcagh Mountain, also known as “Stairway to Heaven” the lesser-known Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal, and Eire’s highest cliffs, Slieve League, which offer unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that while Ireland is touristy, it’s also home to gorgeous and super hidden spots “for the locals“.

Are there any castles in Ireland that can be considered off the beaten path?

There are many lesser-known castles in Ireland to explore! 
Just think of Birr Castle in County Offaly and Hore Abbey in County Tipperary.

These hidden gems are often less crowded and provide a unique insight into Ireland’s rich history and heritage.

On a strictly personal note, Blarney Castle is aso absolutely gorgeous and not as crowded as you might think.
Even if it’s “touristy“!

Dany and Al in Ireland
Visiting Ireland on a budget is possible if you avoid the warmer months!

Can you suggest some of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches away from the crowds?

Ireland boasts beautiful beaches tucked away off the beaten path.

Some of these secret spots include Keem Beach on Achill Island, Silver Strand in Mayo, and Downhill Beach in Derry.

These are idyllic spots to relax and enjoy Ireland’s coastal beauty without the busy crowds.

Most tourists, in fact, don’t ever think of going to the beach while visiting Ireland.

You might also like:
Road trip to Connemara National Park – Irish beauty
The best Irish beer in Cork – all the pubs you must try!
Fairytale Castle Hotels in Ireland – where to find them

40 unique souvenirs from Ireland
Easy guide to Europe Visa Requirements + ETIAS Authorization

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Travelling Dany – Danila Caputo

Danila Caputo is a bilingual travel writer living in between Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Italy), graduating from the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa in Foreign Languages and Literature. She travels and works with her husband Aldo, photographer and videographer. Their blog chronicles their adventures around the world, their love for the USA (where they have family), Italian/European culture and tips on how to be responsible travelers. You can find out more about their latest trips and their life on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook.

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