Landmarks are recognizable features of the landscape, some carved out by nature, some man made.
These Landmarks are often popular tourist attractions. They are great travel destinations and deserve a spot on our “must see” travel wish lists. So, if you’re looking for some of the best places to visit on your next trip to Ireland then look no further!
Ireland landmarks: 43 Famous landmarks in Ireland
These are the Best of the Famous Landmarks in Ireland, 43 popular landmarks that you need to see right away!
The island that we call “Ireland” is split into two parts, the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), an independent state covering the lower five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. We’ll cover them both in this article!
Map of the most famous landmarks in Ireland
- Skellig Michael
- Giant’s Causeway
- Gap of Dunloe
- Temple Bar Pub
- Blarney Castle
- Guinness Storehouse
these are just a few of the famous landmarks in Ireland! Use this map of famous Ireland landmarks and attractions to plan a bucket list worthy trip to see some of Ireland’s most famous landmarks on the Emerald Isle!
(FOLLOW THIS LINK for an interactive Google Map of Famous Ireland Landmarks!)
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.
Landmarks for Nature Lovers
These next landmarks are man-made structures set in nature, so you get the best of both worlds.
(1) Skellig Michael
The small island of Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a bucket list worthy travel destination. Skellig Michael, the larger of the two islands, along with Little Skellig, make up what are called the Skellig Islands.
A 6th century Gaelic monastery/monk colony was here on the island, but Skellig has been inhabited for over 1,200 years. Make your way to the top of Skellig Michael to walk among the beehive huts built by the monks. There you’ll find stunning panoramic views and the filming location for one of the Star Wars movies. Find out everything you need to know to visit UNESCO World Heritage Skellig here!
(2) Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. The bridge hovers 20-meters over the stunning blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Carrick-a-Rede bridge connects the mainland of Northern Ireland to the small island of Carrick-a-Rede.
The bridge was originally made entirely out of rope, but later replaced with a sturdier structure made from wood and steel. Cross the bridge for an exhilarating experience and breathtaking views.
(3) Beyond The Trees Treetop Walk Avondale
The Treetop Walk is a 1.3km walk above the treetops in Avondale Forest Park, County Wicklow. Make your way to the top for 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Natural Landmarks in Ireland
I’m a nature lover so natural landmarks are normally high on my travel wish list! Fortunately, Ireland is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world!
(4) Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland. These breathtaking cliffs tower 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean below and stretch for over five miles of Irish coastline. The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations. Walk along the several miles of pathways for stunning views from several viewing platforms.
(5) Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry, on the Wild Atlantic Way, is another of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. On this scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry you’ll find breathtaking views of the rugged coastline, serene countryside, and majestic mountains. Other sights on the Ring of Kerry include stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as ancient stone forts and ruins.
I’ve added the Ring of Kerry to the natural landmarks list due to the outstanding natural beauty found on this peninsula. However, the Ring of Kerry with its many historical sites could have easily been listed under “historical landmarks” as well.
(6) Giant’s Causeway
Located in Northern Ireland, the Giants Causeway is an area of unique geological formations that are made up of over 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns. To date, the Giant’s Causeway is the only listed UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.
Why is it called the Giant’s Causeway?
The legend behind Giant’s Causeway dates back to Irish mythology. The columns are said to resemble a giant staircase leading into the sea. This “staircase” was built as a bridge between Ireland and Scotland by the giant Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill).
Legend has it that McCool is told that the Scottish giant Benandonner is coming to fight him. Knowing he cannot withstand the colossal Benandonner, Fionn and his wife Oona cook up a plan to trick Benadonner into thinking that Fionn is virtually unconquerable. It works and Benandonner runs back towards Scotland across the Causeway smashing the causeway so Fionn can’t follow him.
(7) Croagh Patrick
Croagh Patrick, also known as the “Holy Mountain” or “Reek,” is a majestic mountain located in County Mayo, Ireland. This pyramid shaped mountain has been a sacred pilgrimage site since pre-Christian times. Croagh Patrick is best known for its association with Saint Patrick, who is said to have fasted on the summit for forty days in the 5th century. The pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick to honor St. Patrick takes place annually on Reek Sunday, which falls on the last Sunday in July.
(8) Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is a scenic valley and mountain pass located in County Kerry, Ireland. It is one of the most picturesque areas in the country, with stunning views of rugged mountains, sparkling lakes, and lush greenery. This narrow mountain pass winds its way through the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks Mountain range.
In my opinion, the best way to explore the Gap of Dunloe is by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride in a jaunting car through the valley. Along the way, you’ll pass by pristine lakes and ancient ruins. Killarney Jaunting Cars combines a jaunting car ride with a boat ride over the Killarney Lakes. Book it here on Get Your Guide! (be sure to select the tour that includes the boat ride!)
(9) Dark Hedges
The Dark Hedges is a magically twisted avenue of gnarled beech trees located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This enchanting archway of trees was originally planted in the 18th century as an entrance to a Georgian mansion. Over time, these beech trees have grown into a mesmerizing otherworldly landscape that has become a favorite spot for tourists.
The hedges are said to be haunted by a ghost who’s referred to as The Grey Lady. “Game of Thrones” fans will recognize this magical location as Kingsroad, where Arya Stark made her escape from King’s Landing.
At 1,038.6 metres, Carrauntoohil or Carrauntoohill, is the highest mountain in Ireland. The towering mountain is located in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks Mountain range on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, and has several scenic trails for hikers to enjoy. The Black Valley, one of the prettiest spots in all of Ireland, just happens to sit in the shadow of Carrauntoohil. Find out how to see it in my Black Valley article.
(11) Slieve League Cliffs
The Slieve League Cliffs, also known as Sliabh Liag in Irish, are located in County Donegal on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. These stunning cliffs stand over 600 meters above sea level, making them the second-highest sea cliffs in Ireland as well as some of the highest in Europe. The Slieve League Cliffs offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged coastline.
The surrounding area is home to a variety of wildlife such as dolphins, and seals. Take a leisurely stroll along the cliff tops, hike down to see them from below, or experience these magnificent cliffs by taking a boat tour, which offers unique views from below.
Ireland’s rich history is ancient, and palpable! The earliest evidence of human activity in Ireland is dated to 33,000 years ago.
In Ireland you’ll find evidence of Neolithic and Bronze Age civilizations as well as Celtic, Viking and Medieval history, Druids and ancient mythical people like the fair folk and the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Here are some of the popular historical sites from Irish history:
Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre (Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth)
The Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site is the location of three ancient historic sites located in County Meath, Ireland. These sites date from around 3,000-5,000 years ago. The following three sites are located at Brú na Bóinne:
Newgrange, the first of our ancient sites, is a prehistoric monument built more than 5,000 years ago (3,200 B.C.!) during the Neolithic period. It is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza. Newgrange is one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland. The monument consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside. Sunlight enters the chamber on only one day each year – December 21st, the winter solstice.
Knowth, another prehistoric site, consists of a large mound surrounded by over 20 smaller satellite mounds. The main mound at Knowth contains passageways that lead to a central chamber. These passages are aligned with the winter solstice sunrise and sunset making them important astronomical markers. One of the most impressive features of Knowth is its collection of megalithic art. There are over 200 decorated stones at the site, many featuring intricate designs carved into their surfaces.
Dowth Passage Tomb, also known as Dowth Megalithic Tomb, is one of the largest and most impressive passage tombs in Ireland. Dowth was built during the Neolithic period by prehistoric peoples who had an advanced knowledge of engineering and astronomy. This historical monument also has several standing stones that are believed to have been placed there by Druids. (No access to Dowth from the Visitor Center)
(15) The Dingle Peninsula (various sites)
While the Dingle Peninsula is flush with natural beauty, I’m adding it to the historical section because there are so many important historical landmarks to be found on the Dingle Peninsula. Along the famous Slea Head Drive (Dingle Peninsula drive) discover castle ruins, bronze age tombs, fairy forts, and beehive huts, MILLIONS of year-old fossils and bones, and ancient Christian ruins.
Get full details on the Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula here!
(16) Tetrapod Trackways
Ireland is the location of prehistoric fossils like the 320 million years old Jarrow fossils and the 385-million-year-old Tetrapod Trackways. Valentia Island, County Kerry, consists of more than 400 footprints made by Tetrapods. Tetrapods are land vertebrates evolved from fish. Visitors to Valentia Island can see these ancient fossilized footprints for themselves!
(17) Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara, located in County Meath is a sacred prehistoric site of great significance in Ireland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hill is associated with the Tuatha Dé Danann, a mythical race who were said to have lived there before humans arrived. In ancient Irish mythology, it was regarded by early Irish Pagans as the dwelling place of the gods and goddesses.
In medieval times, the sacred site at Tara was the ancient seat of the High Kings who were crowned on top of the hill at a stone called Lia Fáil, also known as the Stone of Destiny or Speaking Stone. The stone still sits atop the hill today.
If you’re a fan of Gone With the Wind you’ll recognize it as the name of the O’Hara family plantation, likely homage to the historic landmark from their homeland.
(18) Dún Aonghasa
Dún Aonghasa (also known as Dun Aengus) is a prehistoric fort located on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, off the western coast of Ireland. The fort was built during the Iron Age and is believed to have been constructed around 1100 BC.
What makes Dún Aonghasa so special is not only its size but also its location. The fort sits on top of a cliff that rises nearly 100 meters above sea level, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding islands.
Ireland has approximately 30,000 castles. Irish castles most often had a practical purpose. They were built to protect the inhabitants from invaders, so they were sturdy fortifications often without frills. Irish castles are rugged, dark rustic, have thick stone walls and doors to keep intruders at bay. They are RIDICULOUSLY CHARMING and ATMOSPHERIC.
Here are a few of Ireland’s most recognized castle landmarks:
(19) Blarney Castle
The medieval fortress known as Blarney Castle is a major tourist attraction. Everyone wants to kiss the famous Blarney Stone! The Blarney Castle in County Cork was built in the 15th century by the King of Munster, and it is one of the most famous castles in Ireland (possibly the most famous landmark in Ireland.) The main attraction at Blarney Castle is kissing the Blarney Stone, which is said to give visitors the gift of eloquence and persuasion (the gift of gab!)
The stone is situated at the top of the castle tower and kissing it requires some bravery and a little bit of dexterity, as must lean backwards over a sheer drop to reach it.
This video shows you exactly how to kiss the stone! (starts at about 3:28 minutes)
(20) Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings and St Patrick’s Rock, is a medieval castle located in County Tipperary. This iconic landmark, on the tentative UNESCO list, has been a symbol of Irish heritage for over a thousand years.
Throughout history this ancient fortress that sits atop a limestone hill, has been a royal residence, as well as an important religious site. The famed Brian Boru, High King of Ireland once lived on the hill, and it is said that in the 5th century St. Patrick converted the King of Munster to Christianity here.
Sadly, the ancient buildings on the Rock of Cashel are long gone. The oldest (and tallest) of the remaining structures is the well-preserved round tower dating from c. 1100.
Visitors are given the opportunity to explore several buildings on the site including a cathedral, chapel, round tower, and castle. The cathedral is particularly impressive with its intricate stone carvings and beautiful stained-glass windows dating back to the 13th century. On site is Cormac’s Chapel, which is considered one of Ireland’s finest examples of Romanesque architecture. Be sure to visit Hore Abbey ruins at the bottom of the hill.
(21) Kilkenny Castle
Magnificent Kilkenny Castle is one of my personal favorites! This 12th century castle, situated in the heart of Kilkenny City, has a distinctly noble feel to it! Kilkenny was built by Richard de Clare, also known as Strongbow.
The castle exterior features a mix of Gothic and Renaissance, with influences from the Middle Ages and Victorian era. Be sure to go inside! The castle’s interior boasts exquisite decor with elegant furniture pieces, paintings, tapestries, and frescoes that depict life during different eras. Take a guided tour or explore on your own.
Kilkenny is a fantastic little medieval Irish town! Check out my article to hear all about the fantastic things you can do in Kilkenny!
(22) King John’s Castle
King John’s Castle is a historic landmark located in the heart of Limerick city, Ireland. The fortress was built in the early 13th century by King John Lackland Ruler of England and parts of Ireland.
This impressive stronghold with medieval origins was strategically placed on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Shannon to protect against invasion from the sea. Climb up to the top of the tower for stunning views of Limerick City and beyond.
(23) Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle, another of King John’s Castles, dates to the 13th century. You’ll find this castle, a mixture of medieval and Georgian styles, located in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. Over the Centuries Dublin Castle has served as a military fortress, a royal residence, and is currently being used as a government building. Visitors can explore the opulent rooms on guided tours.
(24) Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Bunratty Castle is a stunning medieval fortress, located in County Clare, Ireland. This Norman tower-house dates to the 15th century and has breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the dungeon, grand halls, opulent bedrooms, and an impressive medieval banquet hall.
One of the highlights of Bunratty Castle is its medieval banquet experience. Guests can enjoy a traditional feast with live music, dancing, and entertainment inspired by ancient Irish folklore.
The 26-acre Bunratty Folk Park is a must-visit destination that offers an immersive experience of Irish culture and history. The park is a recreated 19th century village that showcases life in rural Ireland during that time. The entire village has been reconstructed with over 30 authentic buildings and exhibits from different eras of Irish life.
There are traditional cottages, farmhouses, a schoolhouse, a church, and even a pub where you can enjoy some local music and dance. Additionally, visitors experience authentic period costumes, and traditional crafts.
Churches and Cathedrals
Ireland has many old and ancient churches, cathedrals, and abbeys. Some well preserved, some in ruin.
Here are a few of the most recognizable:
(25) Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey is a beautiful Gothic Revival Castle and Benedictine monastery set against a backdrop of stunning mountains and lakes in County Galway. The abbey started out life as a magnificent castle. It was later sold to an order of Benedictine nuns who transformed it into a girls’ boarding school.
Kylemore Abbey possesses breathtaking architecture and features intricate stonework and carvings, pointed arches, spires, and ornate detailing. The interior of Kylemore Abbey is equally impressive, with grand halls and rooms adorned with elegant furnishings and decor.
(26) Jerpoint Abbey Ruins
Jerpoint Abbey is an impressive Cistercian monastery with Gothic and Romanesque architecture located in County Kilkenny, Ireland. This medieval abbey was founded in 1160. Explore the ruins of the church, cloisters, chapter house, and other buildings that once formed part of this magnificent complex.
Note the examples of medieval carvings on the tombstones and archways that are scattered throughout the grounds. The tower house dates to Elizabethan times.
(27) St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, a popular attraction located in Dublin, is the largest church in Ireland. This Gothic cathedral was built in 1191 in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick himself baptized converts to Christianity over 1500 years ago in the same spot. The high ceilings depict scenes from biblical stories as well as Irish history and mythology! The stained-glass windows are also an impressive feature.
Clonmacnoise Clonmacnoise monastery ruins, County Offaly, were founded in 544 by Saint Ciarán.
The ancient ruins include a Cathedral, two round Towers, three high crosses, nine Churches and over 700 Early Christian graveslabs. If you love ancient structures Clonmacnoise is worth a visit.
Famous Buildings and Ireland Monuments
(29) Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is one of the most popular of the Dublin Landmarks. The storehouse consists of seven floors over looking a glass atrium that is designed to look like a pint glass, with each of the seven floors representing a different part of the brewing process. Tour the world-famous Guinness brewery to learn the history of Guinness, how one of the most recognizable beer brands in the world is made, and test your skills at pouring the perfect pint.
Sip a complimentary pint of Guinness in the rooftop Gravity Bar, which offers stunning panoramic views of Dublin. The storehouse is such a popular attraction that Queen Elizabeth made time to stop by on her tour of the Republic of Ireland in 2011.
(30) Titanic Belfast Museum
The Titanic Belfast Museum is an architecturally interesting building that sits on the River Lagan in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The RMS Titanic was designed, built, and launched from here in 1912. The Titanic Belfast Museum tells the story of the ill-fated ship that sank on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The museum has interactive exhibits and original artifacts recovered from the wreckage.
(31) The Spire
The Spire Dublin, also known as the Monument of Light, is a towering landmark located in Dublin City Centre, just to the north of the O’Connell Street Bridge that spans the river Liffey. The tower reaches an impressive 1320 meters (394 feet) in height. The sleek yet simple modern design of the monument is that of a tapered cone that forms a needle-like point. The Spire is covered in a polished stainless steel that reflects light during the day and is illuminated at night.
(32) The Temple Bar Pub
The Temple Bar pub is located in the Temple Bar quarter of Dublin. It’s touristy and crowded but I’ll bet you’ve seen a photos of this recognizable Irish Landmark at some point in your life. Established in 1840 the pub offers live traditional Irish music, and a large selection of pub grub. They claim to have the largest selection of whisky in Ireland.
(33) Trinity College
Trinity College, founded in 1592, is the oldest university in Ireland, and is home to the Book of Kells. The famous 9th century manuscript can be found in the Old Library on Campus. In the Old Library you’ll is where you’ll find the Long Room, the longest single-chamber library in the world. Famous alumni of Trinity College include Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker (author of Dracula).
(34) Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison in Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland. This prison was first built in 1796. No segregation was made, and men, women, and children were confined 5 to a cell. Conditions were difficult for those incarcerated at Kilmainham Gaol. Today the facility is a popular landmark and tourist attraction.
(35) The Famine Memorial Dublin
The Famine Memorial Dublin is a haunting tribute to the millions of Irish people who suffered and died during the Great Famine, also known as the Potato Famine or An Gorta Mór. When the famine gripped Ireland from 1845-1852, approximately one million people died of starvation and illness, another million left Ireland in search of a better life.
The famine memorial consists of 7 haunting bronze statues depicting emaciated victims, women, children, and the elderly. The location of the memorial is significant because of its close proximity to the location where many Irish departed for North America, and sadly toward Glasnevin Cemetery, where many victims of the famine are buried.
(36) Molly Malone Statue Dublin
The Molly Malone statue is located on Grafton Street in Dublin. Molly Malone was a fictional character from an old Irish folk song called “Cockles and Mussels”. The song tells the story of a young woman who sells fish in the streets of Dublin but dies tragically at a young age from fever. The bronze statue depicts young Molly pushing her cart through the streets of Dublin. No trip to Dublin would be complete without taking a photo with the famous Molly Malone!
(37) Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall is located in Belfast City centre, Northern Ireland. The massive copper domed Baroque Revival/Edwardian building was completed in 1906 and covers an area of over one acre.
The exterior walls are adorned with sculptures, and carvings while the opulent interior boasts marble staircases, polished brass fittings, stained glass windows, and ornate chandeliers. The 6 acres of gardens are home to numerous statues including one of Queen Victoria.
National Park Landmarks
The 6 national parks in Ireland include some of the country’s well-known Landmarks.
(38) Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park in County Wicklow is the largest National Park in Ireland. This 23,000 hectare park encompasses the Wicklow Mountains. In the park you’ll experience trails, waterfalls, vistas, and lakes.
(39) Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is the second largest national park in Ireland. Glenveagh is located in County Donegal and encompasses the Derryveagh Mountains. In the park you’ll experience trails, the Victorian castle Glenveagh Castle and grounds, Lough Veagh, and much of the Derryveagh Mountains.
(40) Burren National Park
The Burren National Park encompasses part of The Buren, a lunar-like landscape located in County Clare that has been added to the tentative UNESCO World Heritage list. The Buren is defined as a karst landscape, a limestone that through erosion has produced ridges, towers, fissures, sinkholes and other interesting geological formations.
In the park you’ll experience the otherworldly landscape of the Burren, prehistoric monuments, and wildflower meadows.
(41) Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park, located in County Galway, is in large part located in the Twelve Bens Mountain Range. Benbaun, the highest point in Co. Galway, is located in the park. In the park you’ll also find scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands, woodlands, trails, and Connemara ponies (an Irish Heritage breed).
(42) Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park, County Kerry, encompasses the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland. Killarney NP was the first national park in Ireland. In the park you’ll find trails, lakes, woodland, waterfalls, an indigenous red deer herd, Muckross House and Abbey, Ross Castle, and the Gap of Dunloe.
(43) Wild Nephin National Park
Wild Nephin is a national park in northwest County Mayo, Ireland. The park sits in the shadow of the Nephin Beg Mountains and is one of the largest expanses of peatland in Europe. Walk the boardwalks through peat bogs for outstanding views of the landscape.
My the Ireland part of this epic 2 week Ireland/England/Scotland Itinerary includes many of these famous landmarks.
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