The Best Things to do in Ireland

The 25 Best Things to do in Ireland

From road tripping the Wild Atlantic Way to drinking pints of cold Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland is a destination that not only caters to all types of travelers but it’s a destination that’s guaranteed to exceed all of your expectations!

If you’re craving an adventure, then Ireland’s wild national parks are calling out. From the otherworldly landscapes of The Burren to the picturesque lakes and castles of Killarney National Park, nature, wildlife, and history await you across Ireland. 

Culture vultures should head to Dublin, where you can marvel at national treasures or take part in the epic Saint Patrick’s Day parade. If that’s too mainstream, though, then head out west, where the colorful streets, lively Irish pubs, and gourmet cuisine of Galway all have to be experienced. 

We’ve barely touched the surface of Ireland’s fantastic attractions, and you’ll find hospitality and history in every village, town, and city from Cork to Malin Head. 

With so many great things to see and do, you might not know where to begin. So we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Ireland for you. Stick to these fun and unique Ireland bucket list recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’re going to have an incredible time exploring this gorgeous European country!

25 Fun and Unique Things to do in Ireland

1. Learn all about the ‘Black Stuff’ at the Guinness Storehouse

Best Things to do in Ireland: Guinness Storehouse

Affectionately known as the “Black Stuff,” Ireland’s most famous export is, without a doubt, Guinness. This dark beer with its creamy head of foam is known the world over, and you can learn more with a trip to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

A tour of the Guinness Storehouse is one of the best things to do in Ireland. Even if you’re not big on the beer, you’ll love learning about the history of this iconic beverage, not to mention the spectacular panoramas you’ll enjoy from the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor. 

You’ll start on the ground floor, though, where you’ll be taken on a journey through the brewing process. The recipe has changed little since Guinness was first brewed in 1759, right here in Dublin, and you’ll discover how Arthur Guinness founded the brewery in St James’ Gate and how his ancestors took the business global. 

You then move ever upwards through different exhibitions exploring the history of Guinness before you get the chance to pour your own pint of the Black Stuff at the Perfect Pint Bar. If you’re feeling peckish after your Guinness, you can snag a table at the Brewery Bar, where Guinness very much features on the traditional Irish pub-style food menu!

Book a Guinness Storehouse Ticket

2. See Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures at Trinity College Dublin

Fun Things to do in Ireland: Trinity College Dublin

Visit Trinity College Dublin, and you can see Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures in all their historic glory. 

Trinity College Dublin is the nation’s premier institution of higher education, with a history dating back to the 16th century when it was established thanks to a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I. 

The university is home to the Long Room, a 65-meter-long library that was built in the 1700s, and that now holds around 200,000 books and manuscripts. The library is a beautiful place to visit, and you might recognize the stacked shelves from famous films like the Harry Potter franchise!

The Long Room is where you can find the Book of Kells, an 8th-century tome that’s considered to be one of the oldest texts in Europe. The Book of Kells contains four gospels written in Latin and lavishly decorated, bound, and illustrated by Irish monks. 

In the Long Room, you’ll also find the medieval Trinity College Harp, which is a national symbol of Ireland, as well as many more tomes and ancient books, which can all be seen on a guided tour. 

Book a Trinity College Dublin Tour

3. Learn about Irish history at the National Museum of Ireland

Ireland Things to do: National Museum of Ireland

Ireland has a complex and often conflicted history, so before you start venturing off across the nation, we suggest visiting the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin to learn more. 

This free museum is one of the best things to do in Ireland, and there are several branches spread across the capital. You’ll find entrances to the Archeology and Natural History sections of the museum on Kildare Street and Merrion Square, where you can find the iconic Bog Men of Ireland as well as exhibitions on prehistoric, Viking, and medieval history. 

There’s another section of the National Museum to visit in Collins Barracks, too, where you’ll find exhibitions on decorative arts and history. A visit to the National Museum of Ireland is an excellent introduction to Irish history and a great way to spend a day in Dublin!

Book an Ireland Museums Tour

4. Eat and drink the night away at Temple Bar

Unique Things to do in Ireland: Temple Bar

Dublin’s most famous district is Temple Bar, a historically infamous area of the capital that’s found on the south side of the River Liffey. Temple Bar is best known for its bars and pubs, and have no doubt, this is the best place in Dublin for a night out!

Temple Bar is home to some of Dublin’s most famous nightlife spots and traditional Irish pubs, including the Temple Bar Pub and The Quays Bar. You’ll find the area is packed with tourists and pub crawls, but if you’re looking to party, there’s no better destination for you. You can even join a Temple Bar pub tour to meet new people and discover the best spots for a Guinness or a whiskey. 

But despite being a favorite among party-goers, it’s important to remember that Temple Bar is touristy for a reason. With a history dating back to the 14th century, this is one of the most historic areas in Dublin. Temple Bar is also incredibly cultural, and among the cobblestone streets and historic alleys and archways, you’ll find art galleries and exhibitions, boutique shops, and quirky cafes. 

Join a walking tour of Temple Bar to immerse yourself in the history, and don’t forget to come back on the weekend when Temple Bar hosts food and book markets. 

Book a Dublin Pubs Exploration Game

5. Walk the 81-mile Wicklow Way from Dublin

Fun Things to do in Ireland: Wicklow Way

One of the great things about Dublin is just how close the Irish capital is to nature. In no time at all, you can be out of the city, strolling through parkland as you make your way into the Dublin hills. 

You can even join the 81-mile-long Wicklow Way and turn a day hike into a multi-day adventure. The Wicklow Way starts in Marley Park, in the southern suburbs of Dublin. From here, it winds its way south to its endpoint in the village of Clonegal, passing through the Wicklow Mountains National Park and iconic spots like Glendalough on the route.

The Wicklow Way takes hikers anywhere between five and 10 days to complete, depending on how fast you like to walk and how much time you spend sightseeing along the way. 

Book a Wicklow Mountains Day Trip

6. Road trip the Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland Things to do: Wild Atlantic Way

One of the best things to do in Ireland is the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,600-mile route along Ireland’s western coastline that’s packed full of adventure. The Wild Atlantic Way is one of the world’s great road trips, providing tourists with an easy-to-navigate route that takes in the entirety of the Atlantic coastline. 

Your road trip starts (or ends!) in the far north, where you’ll begin the journey on the Inishowen Peninsula. This is Ireland’s most northerly point, and if you complete the entire road trip, you’ll travel all the way south to end the journey at Kinsale, in County Cork. 

The Wild Atlantic Way is conveniently divided into 14 distinct sections that you can tackle in one go or in stages. It’s an opportunity to embrace a slower pace of travel, and with your own vehicle, you can stop off in villages, towns, and cities along the way, taking in the nature and wild places in between.

The opportunities to customize your road trip are almost endless, but highlights include Malin Head, the Slieve League Cliffs, Galway, Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, and so, so much more!

Book a Wild Atlantic Way Tour

7. See birds and monasteries on the Skellig Islands

Best Things to do in Ireland: Skellig Islands

If you’re looking to escape the rest of the world, there’s no better place than the Skellig Islands. Located far out in the Atlantic Ocean, these two rocky outcrops are one of the most remote places to visit in Ireland.

You might recognize the islands from the most recent Star Wars movies. Skellig Michael was once inhabited by Christian monks who built unusual beehive-shaped dwellings high up on the rocks. The beehives feature in the Star Wars franchise, where they stand in for an old Jedi hideout. 

Both islands are home to tens of thousands of birds and are one of Ireland’s most important seabird breeding colonies. Unique species include the Manx Shearwater, peregrine falcons, and razorbills, as well as thousands upon thousands of Atlantic puffins!

You’ll need to take a boat from Portmagee in County Kerry – and be prepared for a bumpy ride out across the water. There are two islands to see on the tour, Little Skellig and Skellig Michael, both of which can be seen from one another. 

Boat tours only run between late April and early October, and the nature of the environment here means that any trip is weather dependent. Only certain tours actually land on the islands, so make sure to double-check when booking with an operator. 

If you do want to land on the islands, be aware that the landings are rocky and unpredictable and involve lots of steep and slippery steps up from the landing areas. If you land on Skellig Michael, for example, there are over 600 steps up to the monastery. 

8. Stand on top of the dramatic Cliffs of Moher

Ireland Bucket List: Cliffs of Moher

Ireland’s western shores are guaranteed to awe, but nowhere more so than the staggering Cliffs of Moher. Located in County Clare, these tall sea cliffs offer dramatic views over the ocean, but you’re going to be as windswept as you are breathless when you stand on the edge and look over.

The Cliffs of Moher rise to a height of 214 meters above the crashing sea below and run for some 9 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, you’ll see the Aran Islands in the distance, and on a gloomy day, you’ll be surrounded by mist and eerie drizzle at the top. If the weather is particularly bad though, then the cliffs may be best avoided for safety reasons! 

You can start your experience at the Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre, where you can learn about the region’s unique geology and natural history. A short walk from the center, you’ll find O’Brien’s Tower overlooking the cliffs, where you’ll have the chance to take in the views before hiking along the cliffside trails. 

Book a Cliffs of Moher Tour

9. Explore the otherworldly landscapes of The Burren

Ireland Things to do: The Burren

Exploring The Burren is one of the most unique things to do in Ireland. This vast area in western Ireland is known for its otherworldly landscapes, much of which is composed of karst formations and natural limestone pavements spread over 200 square miles of land in County Clare.

The Burren includes the Cliffs of Moher, but to really experience the “otherworldliness” of the area, we recommend visiting Burren National Park. Despite the size of The Burren itself, the protected national park area is just 1,500 hectares, making it the smallest national park in Ireland. 

The name “Burren” is derived from an old Irish word for rocks, which gives a good indication of what you can expect to discover within the national park. During the last Ice Age, the region was covered in glaciers, and when these melted, the landscapes left behind were quite unlike anywhere else in Ireland. 

There is a network of hiking trails in the Burren National Park, taking you to hilltops, unique rock formations, and megalithic structures created by Ireland’s earliest inhabitants. For cavers, there are also plenty of opportunities to go underground and explore the unusual subterranean world awaiting you below The Burren. 

Book Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour

10. Experience Galway’s food, culture, and history

Unique Things to do in Ireland: Galway’s food, culture, and history

Located on the gorgeous banks of the River Corrib and overlooking the wild western shores of the Atlantic coast, Galway is one of the most exciting cities to visit in Ireland. 

Galway was the European Capital of Culture in 2020, and as you stroll through the colorful and historic streets of the city, you’ll soon start to understand why. Buskers play next to medieval buildings, traditional Irish pubs host live music nights almost every day of the week, and the local foodie scene is simply incredible. 

We love the food so much we recommend taking a local foodie tour to find out more. You’ll discover hidden craft breweries, the best fish and chips in Galway, and you’ll be pointed in the direction of the up-market Michelin-starred restaurants that have made a home in the city. 

You’ll need to fuel up, too, with all the sightseeing to be had in Galway. There’s the famous Spanish Arch, where you can see the last remnants of the medieval town walls before learning more inside the adjacent Galway City Museum

There’s the vibrant Latin Quarter, where you’ll fall in love with the cultural delights of Quay Streets. Then there’s Galway’s soaring cathedral, Lynch’s Castle, and plenty of wonderful opportunities to cruise along the river.

Galway is a fantastic destination in its own right, but it’s also the perfect base from which to explore many of west coast Ireland’s best sightseeing attractions. Within a one- to two-hour drive (or boat ride) from Galway, you can reach the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, the Aran Islands, and Connemara National Park, among many more!

Book a Galway Food Tour

11. Take the ferry to the Aran Islands

Ireland Bucket List: Ferry to the Aran Islands

Sitting out in Galway Bay, you’ll find one of the most remote Ireland sightseeing attractions. The Aran Islands are a ferry ride away from the mainland, and when you arrive on the shores of this small archipelago, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped backward through a portal in time.

The Aran Islands are made up of three isolated islands, and they are often considered to be the last holdout of truly Gaelic culture in Ireland. The largest island in the chain is Inishmore, which is home to around 800 permanent residents, the majority of whom still speak the Irish language as their first language. 

On Inishmore, you’ll find quaint bed and breakfasts overlooking rocky cliffs and beautiful beaches, as well as ancient stone forts and crumbling Irish monasteries.

The two smaller islands are Inishmaan and Inisheer and are both home to just a few hundred people in total. The islands are known for their unique stone architecture and stone walls, as well as the abundance of birds and sea life that you’ll find living here when you start exploring on foot or by bicycle. 

You can reach the islands on a ferry ride from Galway, Rossaveal, or Doolin. Travel time varies from 40 minutes to 90 minutes, and you can enjoy spectacular coastal views as you sail out into Galway Bay. 

Book an Aran Islands Tour

12. Hike through the wilderness of Connemara National Park

Best Things to do in Ireland: Connemara National Park

With over 2,000 hectares of unusual yet beautiful landscapes to explore, Connemara National Park is one of the best outdoor destinations in Ireland. You’ll find this vast area of blanket bog and hilltops in the west of Ireland, with the visitor’s center located next to the village of Letterfrack. 

Much of the national park was once part of the even vaster estate of Kylemore Abbey, a former castle that is now a Benedectine Monastery. You can visit the beautiful abbey on the outskirts of the national park, where you’ll love how the turrets and spires reflect off the shimmering surface of Kylemore Lough. 

Inside the national park itself, you’ll love hiking through the ever-changing scenery. There are ancient megaliths to discover, old farmsteads, and of course, lots of wildlife. One of the highlights of a trip to Connemara National Park is the hike to Diamond Hill. At 442 meters high, Diamond Hill is the tallest peak in the national park, offering sweeping views over the nature preserve.

Book a Connemara National Park Tour

13. Uncover the ‘real capital’ in Cork

Best Things to do in Ireland: Cork

Cork is Ireland’s second-largest city, but despite taking second place to Dublin, many of the locals will tell you that this is the country’s “real capital.” 

We’ll let you decide, but Cork has a long history dating back to the early years of Christianity in Ireland when monks founded a monastery on the River Lee. For much of its history, Cork has been a center of Irish culture and rebellion, and the city was caught up (and often burned to the ground) in the many conflicts that afflicted Ireland over the centuries.

You can find out more by visiting the Elizabeth Fort, which was built to control southern Ireland during the Tudor era, or with a tour of Cork City Gaol, where many Irish freedom fighters were imprisoned during the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s. You can see the iconic Shandon Bells, visit The Butter Museum, and cruise along the river and out into Cork Harbour. 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the English Market, where you can gorge on delicacies and follow in the footsteps of locals who’ve been eating, drinking, and selling products here since the 18th century. 

B0ok a Cork Walking Tour

14. Gain the ‘gift of the gab’ at Blarney Castle

Fun Things to do in Ireland: Blarney Castle

A visit to Blarney Castle is one of the most fun things to do in Ireland because this famous landmark is where you’ll find the Blarney Stone!

The Blarney Stone is an unassuming slab of rock that’s said to provide anyone who kisses it with the “gift of the gab,” or the gift of eloquent speech. While we might not recommend kissing said stone in the wake of a global pandemic, we still think it’s one of the coolest sights to see in Ireland.

The famous stone is found built into the walls of Blarney Castle, where it was laid in 1446. Blarney Castle is itself an excellent example of medieval architecture, and you can wander around the castle’s grounds, stroll across its battlements, and visit the nearby Blarney House to experience one of the top Ireland sightseeing attractions.

Blarney Castle is located just a short drive outside of Cork, and it’s easy to visit on a quick day trip from the city or if you’re road-tripping southern Ireland!

Book a Blarney Castle Tour

15. Delve into Irish history on Spike Island

Ireland Bucket List: Spike Island

Spike Island is located in Cork Harbour, just a short boat ride away from Cobh’s colorful waterfront in southern Ireland. This is one of Ireland’s most popular historical attractions, and you can delve into centuries of Irish history as you tour the island.

Spike Island was originally used as a monastery, with the earliest records dating back to at least the 7th century when monks sought refuge here from the outside world. But the island’s strategic position guarding the entrance to Cork Harbour ensured that it would become an important place of defense for the successive rulers that tried to conquer the Irish, including the Normans and the English.

At the height of Britain’s world power, the island became the largest prison in the British Empire, becoming known as “Ireland’s Alcatraz.” Today, you can tour through the old cells and along the historic battlements, learning about the long history of Spike Island from the local tour guides. If you enjoy being spooked, you can even join an after-dark ghost tour of this seemingly haunted destination. 

16. Marvel at the Northern Lights at Malin Head

You don’t need to travel into the icy depths of the Arctic to spot the Northern Lights because, in the winter, this spectacular natural phenomenon makes an appearance at Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland.

You’ll find Malin Head in County Donegal. It’s so far north that on clear nights in the winter, you can see the shimmering, dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis in the sky. Malin Head is also the start or endpoint of the Wild Atlantic Way, and we guarantee that this rugged and windswept headland will leave you awed any time of the year. 

Malin Head is a place of sheer natural beauty, and given its dramatic and remote location, you’ll find that the area is home to a unique array of wildlife species. Take a walk along the cliffs, and you’ll spot birds above and seals on the rocks below. 

Take a boat ride into the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, and you might even spot dolphins and whales out on the water! 

17. Be awed by the height of the Slieve League Cliffs

Must do things in Ireland: Slieve League Cliffs

The Cliffs of Moher might take all the glory, but did you know they aren’t the tallest sea cliffs in Ireland? There are several higher sections of coastline on Ireland’s western shores, including the mighty Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal. 

The Slieve League Cliffs aren’t nearly as well known as the Cliffs of Moher, but that just means they’re a great place to get off the well-trodden path on the Atlantic coast. The Cliffs of Moher top in at 214 meters, but Slieve League Cliffs rise up to a grand height of 596 meters, making them almost three times the size!

The cliffs are best viewed from a dedicated viewing area to the south, from where you’ll have a spectacular vista along the length of the Donegal coastline. There’s some epic hiking here, but you’ll need to follow the footpaths and watch out for rock falls. Alternatively, you can join a boat tour into the crashing waves below the cliffs for a unique view from the Atlantic Ocean. 

18. Venture into the wilds of Glenveagh National Park

Cool Things to do in Ireland: Glenveagh National Park

If you’re searching for Ireland’s wilderness, then you’ll find it in the wilds of Glenveagh National Park. Located in County Donegal, Glenveagh National Park is the second-largest national park in Ireland, and with over 65 square miles for you to explore, we know you’re going to love it here.

Glenveagh National Park is centered around Glenveagh Castle, an elaborate Victorian estate that was built overlooking the shores of Lough Veagh. You can visit the castle and its magnificent gardens to learn more about the local history before venturing into the wilds of the national park. 

There are lakeside walks, mountain hikes, and rambles through nature. With Ireland’s largest population of red deer, as well as reintroduced eagles here, you’ll likely spot some of the local wildlife on your hikes. If not, then simply embrace the solitude and silence of this remote corner of Ireland. 

19. Hike to the summit of Ireland’s highest peak

Fun Things to do in Ireland: Highest peak

Mountaineers should make their way to the Iveragh Peninsula, where you can find Ireland’s highest peak overlooking the Atlantic coast. 

Standing at 1,038.6 meters tall, Carrauntoohil takes the crown as the tallest mountain in the country, and it’s no easy feat to make it to the summit. Carrauntoohil is part of the expansive MacGillycuddy’s Reeks range, which is itself the highest mountain range in the country and is well known for its arduous and challenging mountaineering routes. 

There are several routes to the top of Carrauntoohil, but first-time hikers will want to take the Devil’s Ladder. This is the most well-known (and busiest) route, and it takes anywhere from four to six hours to complete, depending on your fitness and depending on weather conditions. 

Devil’s Ladder is 7.5 miles there and back. You’ll hike between two mountain lakes before the trail rises sharply up toward the summit. Even in the summer months, you’ll want to pack a raincoat and warm clothes because conditions can change quickly as you make your way upwards. 

20. Follow in Saint Patrick’s footsteps at the top of Croagh Patrick

What to do in Ireland: Croagh Patrick

One of the top things to do in Ireland is the hike to the summit of Croagh Patrick. At 764 meters in height, Croagh Patrick isn’t the highest mountain in Ireland, but it is one of the most legendary. 

Croagh Patrick has a particularly special place in the hearts of the Irish because the mountain is an important place of pilgrimage for Catholics. The mountain is said to be holy, and legend has it that Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, spent 40 days at the summit replicating the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert. 

Pilgrims and hikers make the journey to the top all through the year, but tradition dictates that on Reek Sunday (which is the last Sunday in July), thousands of pilgrims make the journey, many barefoot. Make it to the summit yourself, and you’ll find there’s a church waiting for you at the top where pilgrims can pray and hikers can shelter. 

Croagh Patrick is located in County Mayo, and you’ll be able to see the Atlantic Ocean on your way up and down. Most people make the hike from Murrisk, a small village at the base of the mountain. From Murrisk, it’s around 4 miles each way. 

21. Explore castles and lakes in Killarney National Park

Best Things to do in Ireland: Killarney National Park

In the heart of County Kerry, you’ll find Killarney National Park, a spectacular area of natural and manmade beauty that has the honor of being Ireland’s first and original national park.

Killarney National Park was first declared in 1932 when the land was donated to the newly formed Irish state in the wake of independence. Decades later, in 1981, the area was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. 

The national park is set around the Muckross House, a grand country manor that was built in 1843. It was the Muckross Estate that granted their land to Ireland to create the national park, and so the house makes for a great place to start your visit.

From the Muckross House, you can then explore the three lakes that are found within the national park. There’s lots to see, including the 15th-century Ross Castle, which stands guard over Lough Leane, the ruins of Muckross Abbey, and Torc Waterfall, a 20-meter-tall cascade that makes for a great hike. 

Book a Horse Riding Tour in Killarney National Park

22. Hike the Kerry Way

Best Things to do in Ireland: Kerry Way

Are you looking for an outdoor adventure? Then why not tackle the Kerry Way, a 135-mile-long, way-marked trail that takes you around the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry.

The Kerry Way is one of the longest multi-day walking trails in Ireland, and it loosely follows the same route as the famous “Ring of Kerry” road trip that also takes in the Iveragh Peninsula. The difference is that the hiking route allows you to completely slow down and take in the surroundings at a walking pace, and you’ll miss out on all the crowds at the same time.

The Kerry Way takes at least 10 days to complete, and you can camp out along the route or stay in bed and breakfasts in the villages. The route starts and ends in Killarney. From Killarney, you head first to the Black Valley, then north and west along the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula toward Cahersiveen and Waterville, then along the southern coast, and east toward Sneem, Kenmare, then back to Killarney.

The scenery ranges from countryside valleys and rural hilltops to rocky coastal paths and beautiful sandy beaches. It’s a tough hike, of course, but it’s one of the best ways to see this popular part of Ireland in your own time.

23. Go surfing at Inch Beach

Best Things to do in Ireland: Inch Beach

Ireland might not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a surfing holiday, but the Emerald Isle is slowly but surely gaining a reputation among surfing enthusiasts as one of the best surf spots in Europe!

Even in summer, you’ll need to dress up warm in wetsuits when you hit the waves here, but all year round, you’re almost always guaranteed waves. That’s thanks to the blustery winds of the Atlantic. Along the west coast of Ireland, you’ll find impressive waves that some days even the pros struggle to tame.

But you don’t need to be a professional to surf everywhere, and Ireland’s best surfing beaches can be a great place to learn the ropes and gain experience. One of the best surfing beaches is Inch Beach, which is located on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. Here you can rent surf equipment (including much-needed wetsuits!), take surfing lessons, and sign up for extended surf camps.

24. Join the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations

Must do things in Ireland: Saint Patrick’s Day

In Ireland, March 17 is one of the most important days of the year. It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, when the entire country celebrates Ireland’s patron saint with parades, parties, and plenty of Guinness. 

Saint Patrick’s Day needs very little introduction. This is a festivity that’s made its way across the world, and the Irish diaspora everywhere takes the opportunity to wear green and drink the “Black Stuff.” 

But Saint Patrick’s Day is about much more than wearing shamrocks and drinking beer. It’s a celebration of Irish history and culture that can trace its origins back to the earliest years of Catholicism in Ireland. 

Ireland’s patron saint is said to have driven the snakes out of the country in the 5th century AD, before introducing people to Christianity. Many Irish traditions and icons have been influenced by these events, and it’s said, for example, that Saint Patrick used the “Three-Leaved Shamrock” to explain the Holy Trinity. 

Today, the largest festivities are found in Dublin. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade is legendary, and you’ll love seeing the traditional dress, the marching bands, and the colorful floats passing through the streets. 

Outside of the capital, you’ll find that smaller events and parades are held across the country. If you’re looking for more traditional celebrations, head over to the west coast of Ireland, where Gaelic traditions are still going strong!

25. Have a drink at the oldest pub in Ireland 

What to do in Ireland: Oldest pub in Ireland

Sean’s Bar might take the title of the world’s most unassuming pub because this ancient yet nonchalant establishment is the oldest pub in Ireland and possibly the oldest pub in the world!

Sean’s Bar has been serving drinkers in Athlone, a small town in central Ireland, since 900 AD. It’s a fact that’s been researched and verified by the Guinness Book of Records. 

Inside you’ll even find the preserved remnants of an original wattle and daub wall that’s thought to be 1,100 years old. The pub is possibly the oldest in the world, although there’s fierce contention and competition from many other contenders for this title. 

Visit Athlone, and you’ll be welcomed into Sean’s Bar like a local. This is the place to enjoy freshly poured pints of beer, a vast selection of whiskeys, and live music in a seriously historic setting.

Book an Ireland Whiskey Trail

There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Ireland. What’s your favorite thing to do in The Emerald Isle?

Planning a trip to Ireland? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


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