If you're wondering which spots the Irish think are worth visiting- wonder no more! The Independent, an Irish publication, polled its readers to find the top 7 Wonders of Ireland.
If you've listened to the podcast in the past you know that I love to get tips from my Irish friends on places they think visitors should add to their Ireland itinerary- so this is like getting the ultimate insight!
In today's episode I'll be sharing these 7 Wonders of Ireland, as well as tips for visiting and possible alternate attractions. As always, you'll find plenty of links to more information in the show notes!
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Ireland's 7 Wonders
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(2:37) #7 – Scattery Island
This 6th century monastic settlement is located in the Shannon Estuary, a half-hour ferry ride from Kilrush, County Clare.
Scattery Island is an OPW site, and guided tours are available during the high tourism season. Your OPW card does not cover the ferry ride to the island.
It is very near the Shannon Ferry crossing, and makes a terrific addition to your trip between the Cliffs of Moher/ Burren area and County Kerry.
Book at Scattery Island Tours.
(4:34) #6 – Newgrange
It's older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids and it's engineering which aligns a small window with the winter solstice continues to intrigue.
Newgrange is accessible only via guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.
Tickets can be booked in advance online.
One of Ireland's 3 UNESCO World heritage sites (the other 2 are also on this list!).
To visit a passage tomb without the crowds consider Loughcrew Cairns, also in County Meath.
(6:58) #5 – The Skelligs
These craggy rocks just of the Ring of Kerry may have become world famous thanks to Star Wars, but the monastic settlement of beehive huts and steep stone stairs have been around since the 6th-8th century.
One of Ireland's 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Before you consider a trip to Skellig Michael:
- The boats are seasonal- usually running May thru late September/ early October and are completely weather dependent
- Plan to stay a few days in the area- just in case your trip is cancelled. You'll find plenty to do along the Ring of Kerry and Killarney.
- Even on a calm day the waters can be quite choppy and seasickness can and will occur
- There are no facilities on the island. None. So come prepared with food and water. And be prepared to take everything back with you.
- This is not a trip for small children, people with a fear of heights, or people with limited abilities.
For an alternate experience explore the Skellig Ring. This small loop off the popular Ring of Kerry offers incredible views of the Skelligs as well as replica beehive huts.
Added bonus: large tour buses can't fit down this road. That said, it is very narrow here, with many blind spots. I recommend a professional driver guide.
(11:25) #4 – The Giant's Causeway
Whether you believe the basalt columns were laid by the giant Finn McCool or are the result of volcanic activity, there is no denying the feeling of awe that comes with standing on these hexagonal stones.
One of Ireland's 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Huge visitor numbers mean loads of people on the stones – and all of them are trying to get an iconic photo.
Go beyond the Grand Causeway and even above! Get all my tips for visiting the Giant's Causeway!
The Giant's Causeway is included in the Ulster Overview itinerary.
(13:51) #3 – Slieve League Cliffs
They are higher than the Cliffs of Moher- and receive about 1/10th of the visitors.
Located in County Donegal the cliffs soar to 1,972 feet at their highest point, and are free to visit.
A road leads to the top, but I think the best way to approach is to walk, not drive. You can feel the ground rise beneath you and the views as you climb become more spectacular with each step.
If you are an experienced hiker plan the time to hike the Pilgrim's Path and One Man's Pass loops (3-4 hours).
(16: 15) #2 – Fastnet Rock
‘Ireland's Teardrop' was often the last sight emigrants saw of their country as the left for America.
Ireland's tallest lighthouse sits atop this tiny island off the coast of West Cork.
Fastnet Tours include a stop on Cape Clear Island to explore the Fastnet Exhibition and the Fastnet Rock Heritage Centre, a circumnavigation of the island and it's incredibly photogenic lighthouse, and, if you are lucky, whale and dolphin sightings.
(17:53) #1 – The Cliffs of Moher
They are the most popular natural attraction in Ireland – ‘the calling card for Ireland's west coast'.
I've visited the cliffs multiple times, and the view never fails to take my breath away.
It will always be busy here, but to escape the heaviest crowds walk the Cliffs Trail on either side of the main park. For a completely different view hop aboard a boat and gaze up the Cliffs from below.
Which of these 7 Wonders of Ireland are on your bucket list?
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