No visit to the emerald isle of Ireland is complete without having visited at least one or two famous Irish landmarks.
If you can peel yourself away from the pubs, Ireland has many famous landmarks that will blow your mind and wow your vision. Many of these landmarks are steeped in Irish history, reminiscent of times gone by and may still be in use today.
From Dublin Castle, the Guinness Storehouse, and even Killarney National park, many man-made and natural landmarks will steal your heart.
The best thing about visiting Ireland is that it is a small Island. Only taking 4 hours to get from one side to the other, you’ll be able to squeeze in plenty of sightseeing. Traveling around Ireland is also very easy.
Their public transport system is decent, as long as you can be patient with a delayed bus. There is even a train system that covers nearly all of the country. However, be aware that some famous landmarks will require a boat trip to reach, but many of these have dedicated boat services set up to make your visit much easier.
If you have planned a trip to visit Ireland, here are fourteen famous landmarks in Ireland that are an absolute must-see if you want a truly unforgettable experience.
Slieve League, County Donegal
Nestled in the northernmost county of Ireland are the Slieve League mountains. For a long time, these cliffs were forgotten as famous landmarks like the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway were more popular. However, over the last couple of years, people have begun to recognize the beauty of these staggering cliffs.
These cliffs rise 600 meters out of the fresh Atlantic Ocean on the west coast, making them three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, and there are two routes for you can enjoy their magnificence.
For those looking for an easier trip, you can take the well-trodden 20-minute walk, or even park in the new tourist parking center if you are short on time. However, If you are feeling a little more adventurous you can hike the Pilgrim’s Path from Teelin to Slieve League.
Powerscourt Waterfall, County Wicklow
Towering at a magnificent 121m high, Powerscourt Waterfall is the tallest waterfall in Ireland. It sits at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains, in Ireland’s largest national park, and is only 5km away from Powerscourt Estate and Gardens – if you want to squeeze an extra famous Irish landmark.
This pretty impressive waterfall is a very popular tourist attraction, so you can expect to be one of many that visit here but don’t let it put you off.
There’s a reason this place of beauty has featured in over fifty different films and TV programs. There’s nowhere else quite like the Powerscourt Waterfall in Ireland.
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
This UNESCO World Heritage site is Ireland’s most famous landmark and for a good reason. These natural hexagonal-shaped stepping stones date back over 60 million years and hold an ancient story at their heart.
It is said that the Irish giant, Fionn Mac Cumhaill, picked a fight with the Scottish giant, Benandonner, and built a path of stepping stones from one country to the other. Only for Benandonner to tear the path up out of fear.
This little bit of Irish mythology makes visiting the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim even more special. You are standing where millions have stood before you.
From stone age farmers to modern holidaymakers who visit Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway is a historical landmark that shouldn’t be missed.
Newgrange, County Meath
Ireland’s ancient east is jam-packed with historical landmarks from the Celtic and medieval eras. One of the most famous landmarks here is the historical and religious site of Newgrange. Built around 3200BC, this Neolithic site is older than Stonehenge and even the Egyptian pyramids.
This unassuming mound, crafted out of white quartz cobblestones, holds great astrological, spiritual, and religious importance. You can only access Newgrange by guided tour, which means the number of people there at one time is always limited.
If you are around the area for the Winter Solstice, you may get to experience the illumination of the passage chamber by the sun.
As you can imagine, the demand to see this in person is high. To combat this there is a ticket lottery and the lucky few who win get to enter the chamber and watch it fill up with the winter sun’s light.
Blarney Castle, County Cork
Blarney Castle is a medieval castle situated just 8km from Cork city in County Cork. Although ancient fortifications were built upon this famous landmark as early as 1200 AD, the current Blarney Castle dates back to 1446.
However, Blarney Castle is home to much more than just its large stone keep. The castle is nestled within beautiful gardens, including the famous poison garden.
If you are ready to manifest the Irish gift of the gab, you will want to take the time to visit the Blarney Stone. Get ready to pucker up because a kiss from the Blarney stone is said to bestow upon the kisser skills of flattery.
Skellig Islands, County Kerry
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is more well known today thanks to Skellig Michael becoming the backdrop to Star Wars: A Force Awakens. Inhabited by a small group of monks in the 6th century, the Skellig Islands are one of the most famous Irish landmarks.
As impossible as they are wild, you can enjoy this famous landmark by taking a boat tour around the islands or enjoy the Skellig Island experience.
If the height of the 600 steep steps have you quaking in your boots you can take the Skellig Ring Drive to see the magnificent Skellig Islands from the calmer shores.
Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal
If you are cruising along the Wild Atlantic Way, you don’t want to miss the beauty of Glenveagh National Park. Bigger than its more famous cousin, Killarney National Park, Glenveagh National Park is a treasure trove of mountains, ecosystems, lakes, and even the glorious Glenveagh Castle.
You can enjoy the abundance of walking trails and the diverse gardens or take in the views from the Glenveagh castle tower.
With a visitor centre and a quaint little cafe for when you need to take a well-earned break, this is one of Ireland’s famous landmarks that demands a full day to see everything.
Cliffs Of Moher, County Clare
One of the most famous natural landmarks in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher welcomes many visitors every single year. Formed over 320 million years ago, the cliffs are nestled between the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the rugged expanse of the Burren on the other.
Running along the Clare coast for almost 14km, the Cliffs of Moher are also home to another of Ireland’s famous landmarks, O’Brien’s Tower.
O’Brien’s Tower was built in 1835 by the local landlord of the time and MP Sir Cornelius O’Brien. On a clear day, you can see the Aran Islands and the Twelves Bens of Connemara right across Galway Bay from the tower.
Aran Islands, County Galway
Located just off Galway Bay, the Aran Islands are where you will find the true, local Irish experience. Many locals of the serene Aran Islands speak both English and Gaeilge (Irish).
One of the famous landmarks you will find here is the World Heritage site, Dun Aonghasa. Here you’ll find some of the many prehistoric forts that precariously survive on the edge of the Inis Mor cliffs.
The Aran Islands have an unusually high number of Christian ruins and Celtic sacred sites and are the perfect place for travelers who love to visit these kinds of ancient landmarks.
If you stop close to Kilmurvey Beach you may be lucky enough to catch sight of the Inis Mor seal colony.
Benbulben, County Sligo
In Irish history and legend this flat-topped mountain is the setting for many of Ireland’s folk tales. One of Ireland’s most distinctive natural landmarks, Benbulben can be seen for miles thanks to its large size and the relatively flat land that it is surrounded by.
Benbulbin is the living place of many wild Irish animals, such as the Wild hare and Wild foxes. You can even find many natural organisms here that can’t be found anywhere else in Ireland.
A hiker’s dream, Benbulben is surrounded by many beautiful walking trails that lead to the top of the mountain, through dense forests, and to majestic waterfalls.
Hill Of Tara, County Meath
Only 23km away from Newgrange, in Boyne Valley, you’ll find another of Ireland’s most famous landmarks, the Hill of Tara. Recognised as the legendary site where many ancient High Kings of Ireland took up their roles as King.
The Hill of Tara, although having been around since 3,000 BC, became more significant within Irish culture from 600 BC to 400 AD. In 433 Saint Patrick (yes, that St. Patrick) lit a Paschal fire in defiance of the Pagan King of Tara.
Later, between 1899 and 1902, a group called the ‘British Israelites’ nearly destroyed this heritage landmark because they believed the Ark of the Covenant was buried here. These historical moments make it one of Ireland’s historic landmarks to add to your to-do list.
Dun Bristé Sea Stack, Mayo
If you’re hoping to take some insta-worthy snaps while visiting some of the famous landmarks in Ireland, add the Dun Briste Sea Stack to your list. Formed over 350 million years ago, these sky-scraping rock formations are one of the best natural Irish landmarks.
Be careful about getting too close to the edge on a windy day, or you could be taking an unexpected dip in the foamy waves below. This sea stack was separated from the mainland in 1393. Many locals at the time found themselves stranded on the isolated land until rescued at a later date.
Rock Of Cashel, County Tipperary
This dramatic landmark contains a round medieval tower, Cormac’s chapel, an abbey, a gothic cathedral, and a fifteenth-century tower house – to name a few.
The tale of Saint Patrick banishing the devil only for him to spit out a chunk of rock which became the hill that Cashel lies upon is a story that makes this mythical place even more intriguing.
Wander the halls of the grand chapel, glance at the 12th-century sarcophagus, and marvel at the well-preserved walls of the gothic buildings that were once the Capital of High King Brian Boru’s land of reign.
Trinity College, County Dublin
Ireland’s oldest university, you may think it strange that a college has made it onto a ‘famous Ireland landmarks’ list, but there’s a good reason. Its stunning architecture aside, it’s the old library building that makes Trinity college a special place to visit.
Home to the famous Book of Kells, a medieval manuscript hand crafted over 1000 years ago, the old library building is the place to visit for book lovers. There’s something ridiculously majestic and comforting about this grand library with its shadowy corners and high-reaching arches.
What Is Ireland Famous For?
The emerald isle is well known for many things. Ireland is home to many famous historical figures such as the poets W.B Yeats and Oscar Wilde. However, it’s Ireland’s unique and beautiful landscape that captures the hearts and imaginations of people.
From its rolling hills, sharp cliffs, an abundance of lakes to many of its most famous landmarks. Killarney National Park in County Kerry is one landmark many long to visit, or the Blarney Stone that bestows the gift of the gab on those who kiss it.
What Is The Famous Rock In Ireland?
Ireland’s rock formations really are something else. Wild, craggy, and weathered by nature, many of these rock formations make up some of Ireland’s most famous landmarks.
Here are a few of Ireland’s famous rocks.
- St. Patrick’s Rock, County Tipperary
- Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
- Poulnabrone, County Clare
- Cathedral Rocks, County Kerry
- Great Pollet Sea Arch, County Donegal
I am a British-born copywriter who moved to Ireland over a decade ago and have been captivated by Irish culture, landscape and folklore. I enjoy sharing my passion for Ireland through my writing as a freelancer.