6 Best Cities to Visit in Ireland
Updated On: January 08, 2023
When most people think of Ireland they think of its friendly people, great sense of humour, incredible history, culture and more. Ireland may be a small country in comparison to others, but it isn’t short of great things for you to discover.
Each city in Ireland offers something unique from the next one. No matter where you are North or South of Ireland, you’ll fall in love with its undeniable beauty and welcoming nature. So, keep reading to find out about the best cities to visit in Ireland.
Firstly, we must mention the beautiful wonder that is Galway City located on the stunning west coast of Ireland. Galway has often been suggested as one of the most engaging cities in Ireland. You’ll find some of the best unspoilt natural landscapes right here, along with a rich history that’s very interesting.
The city has always had close links to the Irish language and culture, with heavy music and dance traditions. It’s also the biggest city in Ireland with the largest population of native Irish speakers. The city is also known for its artsy side as many of the streets are covered in amazing artwork that is nice to walk around and check out.
You’ll find a variety of brilliant Irish pubs here that are known for their great atmosphere and live music. It’s an unmissable experience to enjoy a drink and immerse yourself into Galway’s culture.
Best Attractions in Galway
A must-see while in Galway is to visit this lovely public park located right in the heart of the city. In 2006, the park underwent a huge redevelopment and is a place where you’d find many people just chilling out. Taking a walk around Eyre Square you’ll find some unique features as well as a shopping centre close by.
If you really want to get a taste of Galway, then head to the Galway Market which has been trading in the city for many centuries. You can browse through a variety of 100 stalls from local food, to arts and crafts. It’s a great place to meet locals, shop and experience the culture of Galway.
Looking to explore some of Galway’s interesting history then you need to check out this impressive 16THcentury castle. Throughout the year there is a variety of medieval banquets that take place at the castle. These banquets include theatrical performances and visitors can enjoy delicious foods and drink. The castle itself is located in a very picturesque location with views out to Galway Bar. It’s not to be missed.
Next on our list of the best cities to visit in Ireland, we couldn’t forget to mention the city of Dublin. Dublin is the largest city in Ireland and the most popular among tourists. Who flocks here on any given trip to Ireland? It’s probably the most multicultural city in Ireland and there is an endless list of great things to check out in Dublin.
The city is full of character and Irish charm that makes people want to come back for more. From its cobbled streets to classic pubs, popular attractions and architecture, Dublin is a city that won’t let you down.
Best Attractions in Dublin
The Guinness Storehouse
If you ask anyone what Ireland is famous for, I bet a lot of people will immediately think of Guinness. So, a trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without taking a visit to the iconic Guinness Storehouse.
At the storehouse, you can learn more about the famous drink, its interesting history and how it is made. As well as learning how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness and checking out the Gravity Bar. One of the best experiences if you’re a fan of one of the world’s most recognisable Irish drinks.
Book of Kells
Dublin is full of interesting history you shouldn’t miss out on, such as checking out the world’s oldest book located at Trinity College. This is one of those must-sees while in Dublin, the book is considered one of Ireland’s best cultural treasures.
The Trinity Library where the book is kept is also worth exploring, it is something unique and quite incredible. Beautifully designed with memorable architecture. It was an inspiration behind the Hogwarts library in the popular film series Harry Potter. So if you can’t visit the Library watch the film to see the similarities. The library has an impressive six million different printed volumes, including journals and manuscripts. Book lovers, this will be heaven for you!
Also, a top attraction in Dublin is the largest unoccupied prison found in Europe. The historic Gaol has a fascinating history and holds many interesting stories. This is all told through the guided tours of the prison. Gives you a real insight into what happened here all those years ago.
You will also get to explore all the different parts of the prison as not much has changed since it closed its doors as a working prison. The Gaol is very interesting and if history is something you like then you will enjoy this experience.
We think that Limerick is also one of the best cities to visit in Ireland, it’s a beautiful old city. Limerick is unique and quirky and known as Ireland’s first-ever city of culture. You’ll not be short of finding art and culture in Limerick with a variety of events held throughout the whole year.
The city is also renowned for literature and many famous authors have come from here including Frank McCourt a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Others include novelists Kate O’Brien and Michael Curtin.
There is something about Limerick that is inviting from its appealing landscape and its fascinating history. Also, not forgetting its food scene that includes award-winning restaurants and more. Limerick is a city that is starting to create a name for itself and a visit is worthwhile.
Best Attractions in Limerick
King John’s Castle
Limerick is full of incredible architecture and that’s why a visit to King John’s Castle is not to be missed. The castle is probably limerick’s most photographed site and we totally understand why. It’s undeniably beautiful.
It has recently undergone a huge redevelopment which is probably one of the reasons why more people are choosing to come to visit the attraction. The castle was first built in the 13th century and this revamp has helped to make it more attractive and visitor friendly. Ireland is known for its brilliant castles and this is one of the best that you have to see up close.
Limerick City Gallery of Art
As we have mentioned above Limerick is an artsy place, full of culture, so we can’t forget to mention one of its best art galleries. Taking a trip to this gallery is a great way to see some amazing contemporary art.
Here you will find one of the most impressive collections of Irish art dating back from the 18th century to the current 21st century. One of the popular collections found here is the National Collection of Contemporary Drawings. This place is a real treat for art lovers who are interested in exploring Irish Art.
Frank McCourt Museums
Limerick has always been renowned for telling stories and for creating great museums. This museum is dedicated to the successful Irish-American author who wrote the likes of Angela’s Ashes. He won a Pulitzer Award for his work on the book. Frank McCourt was born in New York, but his family returned to Limerick when he was five years old.
At this museum, you’ll get the opportunity to learn about Frank’s interesting life and the inspiration behind his writing. The museum also shows Limerick during the 1930s and a replica of Frank’s childhood home. Along with so much more from memorabilia and life stories that make this place a worthy visit.
Located in the north of Ireland, you’ll find the second biggest city in Ireland after Dublin. Belfast is one of the best cities to visit in Ireland, where you will be sure to always have a great time. Many people will know Belfast for its unforgettable history, but the city is thriving and vibrant. The streets are full of history, and incredible architecture and has become a popular destination with tourists over the years.
The city offers a great mix of old and new, a place where you can explore its fascinating history and iconic landmarks. To an exciting place known for its nightlife, culture and its success in the TV and Film industry. Belfast has really created a name for itself over the years, a place that people want to visit because it has so much to offer.
Best Attractions In Belfast
This is one of the most popular areas in Belfast that is bustling with culture in the heart of the city. You’ll find all the best bars and restaurants in the Cathedral Quarter, also with a great art scene. This is where you want to head for a night out and get to know all the great bars surrounding the area.
It’s a great place to walk around and appreciate all the amazing artwork on display. Located in this area is the Mac Theatre which is one of Europe’s best art centres. At the theatre, you can check out three different galleries or check out a theatre performance. Cathedral Quarter is one of the best parts of Belfast that offers something for everyone. It’s a must-see while on a visit to the North of Ireland.
One of the many things that people would associate with Belfast is the famous Titanic Ship which was built here. Although the story of the Titanic has a sad ending, the museum is dedicated to telling its incredible story from its concept to its tragedy.
Belfast was once known as the shipbuilding capital of the world, and here the museum explores its fascinating history. In 2016 the attraction was voted the ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’. It’s a unique experience where you get to explore stories of those who were on the ship at the time and more.
St. George’s Market
To really get a feel for Belfast, you must visit St. George’s Market which is the largest outdoor market in Northern Ireland. At the market, you can sample some of Belfast’s best delicacies and get to know local people.
There is a huge variety of stalls to check out from fresh fruit and vegs, arts and crafts, gifts, vintage artefacts and more. The market offers a great atmosphere, the perfect place to wander around and have a coffee.
Next on our list of the best cities to visit in Ireland is the gorgeous city of Westport located in County Mayo. The city is colourful, lively, and romantic and stands out on its own when compared to the bigger cities.
Westport has plenty to offer visitors from its picturesque views and friendly welcome and charm. There are lots for you to experience in Westport with many outstanding features and attractions that make a visit here an unforgettable experience.
Best Attractions in Westport
Westport House and Garden
This place is one of Ireland’s much-loved Heritage attractions that has been around since the 16th century. In Westport House, you can explore over 30 rooms and immerse yourself in the history that surrounds the House.
The History of the house began when Grace O’ Malley (The Pirate Queen of Connacht) ruled the land. The house was built on the foundations of one of her many castles. You can still explore parts of the castle today, in the dungeons. The house is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. When you step inside, you’ll be impressed with the different rooms, décor and architecture.
The Adventure Island
This is one of those fun attractions found in Westport, where young and old will have a fun-filled time. At adventure island, you can try out a variety of exciting water activities including sea safari boat rides, surfing and kayaking.
On land, activities include horse riding, bike hire, mountain trekking and archery tag. At adventure island, it’s all about trying something new and stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s something different to do instead of visiting the usual tourist attractions in Westport.
This is one of Ireland’s most holy mountains that is known for its link to Saint Patrick. Legends say that Saint Patrick climbed the top of the mountain and fasted there for 40 days.
The top of the mountain stands at 764 metres high and the route is about 7km long. Along the route, there are many great viewing points that help break up your time. It’s lovely to just stop and appreciate the beauty, you’ll see views out to Clew Bay and more.
Located between Dublin and Cork, on our list of the best cities in Ireland is the beautiful medieval city of Kilkenny. Its also referred to as Ireland’s Ancient East, a place that is filled with legends and stories. Kilkenny is brimming with culture, attractions and fun everywhere you turn.
Kilkenny is up there in our minds as one of the best cities in Ireland ever! You’ll find the best storytellers located here. The place treasures its past and keeps a strong connection, especially with its medieval history.
Best Attractions in Kilkenny
One of Kilkenny’s best attractions is the alluring 12th-century Kilkenny Castle that dramatically dominates the city. The castle offers a stunning blend of architectural styles and its long-established rose garden with 20 hectares of beautiful grounds to walk through.
Visitors can explore Kilkenny Castle at their own leisure, but the summer month is when it’s busiest. Two wings located at the castle have been restored to their 19th-century style including a library, drawing room and the Long Gallery.
It’s one of the few castles in Ireland that has been restored, fully furnished with tours available for visitors.
Medieval Mile Museum
The Medieval Mile Museum brings to life the fascinating medieval history of Kilkenny that is located in a 13th-century church. The museum is home to Kilkenny’s Civic treasures that showcase the Ossory High Crosses and amazing stone-carved tombs. Incredible 800 years of history are on offer within the museum.
A variety of modern technologies are incorporated within the museum such as interactive screens and projectors that offer visitors a great experience to learn about the city’s past.
There are also displays showing the sculptural traditions of Ireland dating back from the Neolithic period to modern times.
The Salt Yard
Although not an attraction as such but Kilkenny is home to two Michelin Stars, one being The Salt Yard. The place is a sign of Kilkenny’s evolving food scene, where great food and hospitality go hand in hand. It’s a local contemporary tapas restaurant offering Spanish cooking styles with a mix of Spanish and Irish ingredients.
The Salt Yard offers a buzzing atmosphere paired with delicious food and drinks cooked by professional chefs. The main chef here is Spanish and the owner lived in Spain for a few years, bringing back those amazing Spanish cooking styles to Ireland.
That is the end of our best cities to visit in Ireland list, these are a few cities but no matter where you go in Ireland you will always be greeted with a friendly welcome. Some other strong places worth a visit in Ireland are Derry, Cork, Waterford and Killarney.
Make sure to let out know about all your travels and experiences around Ireland.
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