We’ve all heard of the Irish folktale of the gold at the end of the rainbow, and while you may never actually find the gold, if you’re in Ireland, you can still discover many more of its hidden gems.
Ireland has plenty of amazing places to discover, with a tonne of extraordinary landscapes located all over the country. Here are a few top spots you should crack on to!
1. Cliffs of Moher
On the edge of the world lay the Cliffs of Moher. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, these cliffs allow you to see Ireland’s natural beauty. The Cliffs of Moher are both an historical and geographical landmark that stands within Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The historical element is derived through the use of the cliffs being used as a fort during the Napoleonic wars, which was demolished in the early 1800’s, creating the name ‘Mothar’ or ‘the ruin of a fort’. The cliffs stretch around 5km long and reach up to 214 high. This landmark also allows visitors to take a gander at other well-known landmarks, including the Aran Island, Galway Bay, the Maum Turk mountains, the Twelve Pins, Blasket Islands and Dingle Peninsula.
A 179km track, wrapping around the Iveragh Peninsula, is the Ring of Kerry. This attraction allows visitors to get the best of both worlds as they travel through a range of landscapes including forests, mountains, beaches and loughs. This attraction also allows visitors to experience the history of Ireland, as they travel down a road full of donkey’s years of history, including ancient ruins and landscapes. The trail also allows visitors to venture off the beaten track, through smaller tracks off the main road of the Ring of Kerry, which provides an even more authentic Kerry, as visitors will trail through small villages and pass some less known attractions such as the Skellig Monastery, Waterville, Portmagee, and Valentina Island. You may even get the chance to meet a culchie or two.
3. The Giants Causeway
The world famous basalt columns are Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO world heritage site. Comprised of 40,000 symmetrical poles, which have stood for over 60 million years as a result to a volcanic activity, this is a natural attraction that you should be sure not to miss. However there is more to this attraction than just the magnificent views and fascinating columns. There is many more features to look out for, including the Giants Boot, located in Port Noffer; the Wishing Chair, The Camel, the cliff-top path, and the award winning visitors centre.
A Scottish style Castle, surrounded by one of Irelands most enticing gardens, is what makes Glenveagh National Park one of Ireland’s top attractions. Gleneveagh is also Ireland’s second largest national park, filled with awe-inspiring lakes, picturesque mountains, enchanting forests and manky blanket bog lands. The park is also surrounded with plenty of wildlife, including the red deer and the golden eagle. While the park may cover a large area, there are plenty of short walks for tourists to do, that can be self-guided or done with a tour guide.
5. Blarney Castle
A world landmark and one of Ireland’s deadliest treasures is the Blarney Castle. Built nearly 600 years ago, the Blarney Castle has plenty to experience, including a number of different gardens, such as The Fern Garden and Icehouse, Blarney lake, the Rock Close and the chance to kiss the Blarney stone- to bestow the gift of eloquence. There is however also a Poison Garden for those who dare- filled with a number of toxic and dangerous plants that may make you want to leg it.
Evidently there is a lot on offer in the great emerald isle! So why not work and travel there? IEP can assist with your Irish Working Authority so you can spend 12 months ticking off each of these wonderful places. Sign up online!