Discover Ireland's Hidden Gems: 7 Destinations off the Beaten Path

Discover Ireland's Hidden Gems: 7 Destinations off the Beaten Path

When planning a trip to Ireland, there are many famous and worthwhile destinations to choose from: The Cliffs of Moher, Connemara National Park or the Ring of Kerry are certainly among them and a stop on the itinerary of many travelers. While these are undeniably part of the Emerald Isle's charm, there's much more to explore beyond the tourist hotspots. In this post, we'll shine a light on some of Ireland's more hidden gems, or lesser-known destinations that offer unique experiences.


Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal

Located in County Donegal, Glenveagh National Park is a wilderness haven waiting to be discovered. Glistering lakes, deep forests, and mountains offer endless opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and peaceful contemplation. The centerpiece of the park is Glenveagh Castle, a stunning 19th-century mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens with an Italian terrace. Visitors can explore the castle's elegant interiors and learn about its history.

Image source: K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash


The Burren, County Clare

Just half an hour from the Cliffs of Moher you’ll find the next gem on our list. Step into another world as you venture into the landscape of the Burren in County Clare. This unique karst region is characterized by its vast expanses of limestone pavement and rare flora. Despite its seemingly barren appearance, the Burren is teeming with life, with hidden caves and underground rivers waiting to be explored. With good weather conditions, you can even see the Aran Island from the coast. If you want to visit the Burren, as well as Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, our bus trip from Dublin might be a good fit for you.

Image source: Rachel Lillis on Unsplash


Loop Head Peninsula, County Clare

For a taste of Ireland's wild Atlantic coastline without the crowds, head to Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare. Jutting out into the ocean, this rugged headland boasts dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and sweeping panoramas that will take your breath away. Explore charming seaside villages, such as Kilkee and Carrigaholt, where you can sample fresh seafood and immerse yourself in local culture. Starting from Carrigaholt, you can also book tours for dolphin watching. And don't miss the chance to visit Loop Head Lighthouse, perched on the edge of the cliffs!

Image source: David Knox on Unsplash


Skellig Michael, County Kerry

Skellig Michael is an island off the coast of County Kerry that feels like a world unto itself. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a remarkably well-preserved monastic settlement dating back to the 6th century. Perched atop sheer cliffs, the stone beehive huts of the monks offer a glimpse into the lives of early Christian hermits who sought solitude in this remote outpost. Accessible only by boat and subject to weather conditions, a visit to Skellig Michael is a truly unforgettable experience for those willing to make the pilgrimage - you might even spot some puffins here. Additionally, Skellig Michael is a filming location for “Star Wars: The last Jedi”.

Image source: Michael on Unsplash


Gougane Barra, County Cork

Discover the tranquility of Gougane Barra, a peaceful valley nestled in the Shehy Mountains of County Cork. This picturesque spot is home to a lake, surrounded by forested hills and crowned by the ruins of a 6th-century monastery. Visitors can explore the scenic trails that wind through the valley, enjoy a picnic by the water's edge, or simply take in the serene beauty of this Irish hidden gem. Legend has it that the valley was once the retreat of St. Finbarr, the patron saint of Cork, who sought solace in its peaceful surroundings.

Image source: Mark de Jong on Unsplash


Benbulbin, County Sligo

This gem is certainly not hidden, as it towers over County Sligo, but Benbulbin belongs to the lesser-known sights in Ireland. The mountain is an iconic landmark in County Sligo known for its distinctive flat-topped profile. Benbulbin not only offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, but also plenty of trails for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore. With its dramatic cliffs, hidden caves, and sweeping panoramas, Benbulbin is a must-visit destination for those seeking adventure and natural beauty in Ireland's northwest.

Image source: Sibeesh Venu on Unsplash


Ireland's hidden gems offer a wealth of experiences for those willing to venture off the beaten path. Whether you're drawn to the untamed beauty of the countryside, rich history and culture, or simply the chance to escape the crowds and connect with nature, these lesser-known destinations have something special to offer. So, pack your bags, set out on an adventure, and discover the magic of Ireland's hidden treasures for yourself.

Header image by mana5280 on Unsplash

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