From star-studded nightscapes to authentic Irish villages, Ireland’s attractions certainly don’t begin and end with a fresh pint of Guinness! Ireland is in fact home to never ending discoveries; each of which are more than worthy of experiencing.
Read on for the top 10 off the beaten track places to visit in Ireland and prepare yourself to truly discover hidden Ireland.
Lough Hyne, Skibbereen, County Cork
Lough Hyne is nestled within a fold of hills just several kilometres from the town of Skibbereen in County Cork.
As one of Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserves, Lough Hyne is known as a place of complete serenity. The area boasts a unique history of local folklore and is home to a fascinating marine habitat.
Once you’ve taken in the breathtaking sights, you can try out the diving and water sport opportunities available.
Inis Meáin loop, Aran Islands
Located just off the west coast of County Galway is Inishmaan Island. This stunning island is the second largest of the Aran Islands and is home to authentic Irish people, attractions and culture.
The Inis Meáin loop is an easy to moderate walk which will take you past numerous intriguing spots.
Catch a glimpse of the extraordinary viewpoint from Synge’s Chair, pass the church ruins of Teampaill na Seacht Mac Rí and take a well-deserved rest along the lovely sheltered beach – Trá Leitreach.
If you want to experience pure Irish produce during your time on the island, be sure to reserve a table at the Inis Meáin restaurant.
Slieve Bloom Mountains, County Offaly
Picturesque and peaceful – the Slieve Bloom mountains are one of the least explored mountain ranges in Ireland.
Located between the counties of Laois and Offaly, the mountains are among the oldest mountain ranges in Europe. Rich in flora and fauna, the area boasts spectacular views and an abundance of bird species.
Small villages can be found dotted around the mountains and each are known for being unapologetically Irish. With that said, once you’re finished exploring the mountains, be sure to drop into one of the cosy pubs in Kinnitty, Cadamstown or Clonaslee.
Ahakista, Beara Penninsula
Situated just off the Ring of Kerry is the Beara Peninsula – home to the small village of Ahakista.
Known for its serene atmosphere, this rural village boasts authentic Irish pubs, beautiful gardens and the lovely Dunmanus Bay.
Experience a sailing trip and spot the seals around the small islands, take a swim in the charming beaches dotted around the area and ultimately, encounter complete peace and tranquillity in this stunning area of Ireland.
Erris Head, County Mayo
Erris Head is located in County Mayo, at the top of the Mullet Peninsula.
A short walk will take you to the top of Erris Head where splendid views of Broadhaven Bay and the Wild Atlantic await you. Each step of the way you will find yourself surrounded by the rich and varied wildlife.
The area of Erris is unspoilt and untouched; it is renowned for being a beautiful heritage destination and is well worth the visit once you have finished exploring!
Rathlin Island, County Antrim
Rathlin Island is located off the coast of County Antrim and is one of Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore islands.
A ferry will take you to this tranquil area where you will find yourself surrounded by exciting history and intriguing artefacts.
Walk along the shore to Mill Bay where you can spot seals at play or hire a bicycle and spot some puffins and a plethora of other sea birds.
Poolbeg Lighthouse, County Dublin
A 30 minute drive outside of Dublin City will bring you to the eye-catching Poolbeg Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is located along one of the longest seawalls in Europe – the Great South Wall at Dublin Bay.
The easy-going walk to Poolbeg Lighthouse is a delightful experience – rain, hail or shine. And, once you reach the lighthouse, you will encounter stunning views of Dublin Bay, Howth and Killiney Head – you can even spot the Dublin Mountains if it’s a clear day!
Benbulbin Mountain, County Sligo
Benbulbin Mountain is said to be one of the most unique natural landmarks in Ireland.
Situated in County Sligo, Benbulbin is an incredible vision – whether you opt to view it from the comfort of a nearby beach or you decide to venture to the top.
The mountain stands at 526 metres tall, which makes it a challenging, but not impossible, feat.
The Hellfire Club, County Dublin
The Hellfire Club is located on Montpelier Hill, overlooking Dublin city; this is a popular site for locals and visitors alike.
The Montpelier Hill building was once a hunting lodge but is now most commonly known as The Hellfire Club. Once you reach the building, you will experience stunning views of Dublin Bay.
Legend has it that the house itself was once occupied by a club of young aristocratic men who took part in some wild antics; the area is now said to be cursed – hence the name ‘The Hellfire Club’.
Kerry International Sky Reserve, County Kerry
The Kerry International Sky Reserve is nestled between the Kerry Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean and easily earns its place on this list of off the beaten track places to visit in Ireland.
As Ireland’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, the reserve offers special views of a star-studded night sky – free of city lights.
If you fancy staying under an unrivalled night time sky, there are plenty of accommodation options available around the area – from camping to hotels and caravans to hostels.
So, there you have it – the top 10 off the beaten track places to visit in Ireland!
Are you interested in discovering hidden Ireland? Speak with one of our team members who would be more than happy to help you plan the trip of a lifetime!