Ireland is unlike any other country we’ve visited before. One day you can sit on the edge of a breathtaking cliff watching the waves crash, and the next you can be sitting in the middle of a field surrounded by rolling, green hills and fluffy, white sheep. From history to natural attractions to adventure, there are many unique Ireland experiences to discover!
Unique Ireland Experiences:
1.) Plassey Shipwreck
There aren’t very many above-water shipwrecks, especially as intact as the Plassey shipwreck. The Plassey is located on Inis Oírr (pronounced Inish Sheer), the smallest of the Aran Islands which are off the west coast of Ireland.
The wreck took place in March 1960 during a storm, but fortunately all of the crew members were rescued. Today visitors can walk right up to the shipwreck for photos and a look inside.
2.) Poulnabrone Dolmen
This was one of the more difficult spots to find during our roadtrip across Ireland, but was worth the extra effort! It is located in County Clare in an area known as “The Burren.” We noted on our trip plan that it is located 8 miles south of Ballyvaughan, but did not really have a good address. There really is only one main road that goes south from Ballyvaughan, so if you follow it, you will eventually find this unique Ireland spot!
Poulnabrone Dolmen is the oldest megalithic tomb in Ireland. According to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, radiocarbon dating of bones inside the tomb indicate that it was in use for approximately 600 years between 5,200 and 5,800 years ago!
3.) Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Afraid of heights? Do this anyway!
The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is located near Ballintoy in Northern Ireland. It was first built by fishermen hundreds of years ago.
The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge crosses the Atlantic Ocean to Carrick-a-Rede Island. The bridge is approximately 100 feet above sea level.
The views from the Bridge and the Island are spectacular!
4.) Cliffs of Moher
They may be one of the most popular attractions in Ireland, but that doesn’t make the Cliffs of Moher any less unique. The Cliffs are located on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare.
Harry Potter fan? You may recognize the cliffs from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince!
The view at the Cliffs of Moher is breathtaking no matter what angle you see them from! You’ll want at least a couple hours to hike the path along the edge of the cliffs. There is also a castle to explore at the highest point of the Cliffs.
5.) Giant’s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is by far my favorite natural attraction in Ireland (WC’s favorite spot is the Cliffs of Moher)! This unique Ireland attraction is a World Heritage site that was formed by volcanic activity.
The Giant’s Causeway is in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. We took a bus trip to get to this spot because we didn’t want to drive our rental car across the border into Northern Ireland. The downside to taking a bus tour is that you have limited time! I could have literally spent hours just hanging out on the basalt columns and watching the waves.
6.) The Matchmaker Bar
If you’re looking for love, you’ve come to the right place! The Matchmaker Bar is in the town of Lisdoonvarna and it was one of those places we just stumbled upon while driving through Ireland. We didn’t have time to stop, but I wish we had!
It turns out that visitors flock to this town every year for the world famous Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival! The festival takes place throughout most of September and the beginning of October. We JUST missed it, as we were there at the very end of August!
7.) Ballycarbery Castle
There are a lot of castles in Ireland, but Ballycarbery was our favorite! We stumbled upon this beauty while on a roadtrip around the Ring of Kerry. This 16th Century castle is located in Cahersiveen in County Kerry, Ireland.
We’ve read that there is a gate that is now shut at times cutting off access to the public. However, when we visited the castle was not off limits. You could walk inside and up the castle stairs. (Below are our friends Heather & Kevin who made the trip with us!)
Ballycarbery Castle was destroyed in 1652 when it was attacked by cannon fire during the War of the Three Kingdoms.
8.) Stone forts
Stone forts are found throughout west Ireland and likely served as homesteads around 500-800 AD.
Many of Ireland’s stone forts are free to explore including those we visited along the Ring of Kerry. Visitors can walk up the stone stairways inside the forts and even along the top of the structures.
We promise you will love these unique Ireland experiences!
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