Ireland has marvelous views both on land and at sea. The rich Irish culture, landscape, food, and drink have attracted a lot of travelers to Ireland. So what is Ireland famous for? We know because not only have we been traveling to Ireland for 25+ years, but we live in Ireland too!
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Why Travel To Ireland
Ireland is famous for its scenic coastlines, towns, and villages along the shoreline. Most of these coastline towns are located in the west of Ireland, mainly in the province of Munster. That’s where we live in Limerick!
The most famous landmark in Ireland is probably the Cliffs of Moher located in County Clare. However, these are not the highest cliffs in Ireland.
The Croaghaun, which are 688 meters tall and over three times the cliffs of Moher, are the highest cliffs in Ireland. These cliffs are located on Achill Island off the Atlantic coast. The Slieve League cliffs, located in County Donegal, are the second-highest cliffs at 601 meters high.
Apart from sheer cliffs and cozy bays, Ireland is known for its hearty home-style cooking. This type of cooking goes hand-in-hand with shots of Irish Whiskey and pints of Guinness.
What Ireland is most famous for, though, is probably the friendliness of the Irish people. Just one of the reasons why we call Ireland home. Oh and the not-so-lovely weather in Ireland. Let’s not forget that.
Traveling to Ireland? Check out our Ireland Packing Guide.
What Is Ireland Known For – 14 Things Associated With Ireland
Ireland has five cities: Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford. Each of these cities has unique attractions, places, and landmarks that make it stand out. There are smaller cities and towns but these are the primary Irish cities people visit.
Dublin is the largest and most important city in Ireland. It is also the closest city to Britain and played a significant role during the Tudor conquest in the 1500s. Dublin is home to famous places in Ireland, including the Dublin Castle, Guinness Brewery, Temple Bar, and Kilmainham Gaol, a historic prison.
Cork is the second-largest city and is located on the southern coast of Ireland. Many of Ireland’s famous buildings are located in Cork. Elizabeth Fort, St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, and Blarney Castle are among the famous landmarks of Ireland located in County Cork. See our recommended Cork hotels.
Limerick is located on the midpoint of the Atlantic Corridor and has been a critical gateway city for over eight centuries. Ireland landmarks in this city include the Hunt Museum and King John’s Castle, also known as Limerick’s Castle. And, it’s where we live in Ireland: right in Limerick City! Get recommendations for our favorite Limerick hotels.
The city of Galway is known for its entertainment scene and lovely atmosphere (see our recommended Galway hotels). Students make up 25 percent of the population in Galway, mainly from the National University of Ireland Galway and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. In addition, Lough Corrib, the biggest lake in Ireland, is located in outside Galway.
Waterford is the smallest city in Ireland. However, it is the oldest. It was founded in 324 AD by the Vikings. Waterford is one of the warmest of Ireland’s cities and is a popular surfing destination.
Traditional Irish Pubs
What is Ireland famous for in terms of traditional pubs? Pubs in Ireland are not only drinking spots but spots where people meet and socialize. One of the things associated with Ireland is meeting in pubs to talk, share stories, and get news. This is one of our favorite things about our local pubs in Limerick.
Irish coffee, Irish brands like Jameson and Guinness, and traditional Irish drinks are some beverages you will find in a traditional Irish pub. This is along with the budding Irish craft beer scene and a growing number of Irish whiskey on offer.
Sean’s Bar is the oldest pub in Ireland and has been in existence since 900 AD. This pub is located in Athlone in Co. Westmeath. The Sean’s Bar is also considered the oldest pub in Europe, and the Guinness Book of World Records issued it with a certificate.
We’ve been to Sean’s Bar and it’s a little touristy for us. Look instead at a lot of the roadside taverns and pubs in small towns and villages. Although it’s possible to find traditional Irish music at some pubs, this is becoming less common. We tend to associate it with more touristy pubs than local hangouts.
The Guinness Storehouse In Dublin
The Guinness Storehouse is located at St James Gate Brewery and is a top tourist attraction in Ireland. St James Gate Brewery was founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. The brewery is now part of Diageo, and its main product is Guinness.
The Guinness Storehouse has seven floors, which surround an atrium made of glass and shaped to mimic a pint of Guinness. The ground floor introduces yeast, water, hops, and barley, which are the four ingredients of the beer.
The other floors showcase the history of Guinness advertising. In addition, they have an exhibit on responsible drinking. The seventh floor has the Gravity Bar, which offers visitors a pint of Guinness with a stunning view of Dublin.
Book your tickets for the Guinness Storehouse before arriving in Ireland to secure your tickets.
The Cliffs of Moher In County Clare
The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland run for about nine miles (14 Kilometers) on the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare. The cliffs are 390 feet (120 meters) above the Atlantic Ocean on the southern end at Hag’s Head. In addition, they reach a high of 702 feet (214 meters) north of O’Brien’s Tower.
The O’Brien’s Tower is a round stone tower built in 1835 near the midpoint of the cliffs. The tower lets visitors have a spectacular view of the Aran Islands, Maumturks, and the Twelve Pin mountain ranges.
You can get to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin by road and get to view one of the famous landmarks in Ireland.
We normally vacation in County Clare, just south of the Cliffs in Kilkee. Kilkee has its own impressive cliff walk. It is a free alternative to the Cliffs of Moher for travelers to Ireland on a budget.
Another alternative is the slightly hidden car park immediately south of the Cliffs of Moher. Look for a parking side on the left side, heading north to the Cliffs. This is not for nervous drivers as it is about a 10 minute drive down a narrow Irish lane. There is a charge for the parking, but it’s less expensive than the parking at the Cliffs.
Check out the best options for a tour of the Cliffs of Moher.
Traditional Irish Food
Many visitors describe Irish food as bland because the food is heavily based on boiling or frying. Or, tourists are looking for traditional Irish stew. But what is Ireland famous for when it comes to food? There’s more to Irish food than fish and chips.
Although described as bland, Irish cuisine is worth trying out. Ireland is known to produce some of the best lamb, beef, pork, and Irish seafood. In addition, the green hills produce a lot of fresh local ingredients.
The Irish food scene has been improving a lot over the last decade, with creative and modern options and a renewed focus on farm-to-table dining.
Almost every hotel and B&B serves a traditional Irish breakfast, which is a must-have. The breakfast might include black and white pudding, which is a meat-based pudding. I
rish rashers also referred to as back bacon, is not the ordinary bacon you know. It is thicker, wider, and tasty, making it excellent for sandwiches. This is a great way to start the day, but there are so many other options for traditional Irish cuisine and dishes.
The Ring Of Kerry
Look at a map of Ireland and one place certainly stands out; the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a 111-mile (179 Kilometers) circular tourist route and a famous landmark in County Kerry. Driving The Ring of Kerry will take you through ages of dramatic history while viewing stunning scenery.
The road takes you through the deep forest and the crashing waters of the Atlantic. The road has rugged and majestic landscapes. You will get to see where tumbling waterfalls meet streams swarming with wild salmon.
The Ring of Kerry is a popular tourist destination with many companies offering bus circuits during the summer. The roads are narrow, and it is difficult for tour buses to pass one another.
As a result, the buses run in an anti-clockwise direction. Driving The Ring of Kerry will show you the true meaning of a holiday in Ireland.
There are loads of great hotel options, including some top Killarney hotels. Killarney is the perfect place to base yourself when exploring the Kingdom of Kerry.
The “Craic” At The Local Pub
Once you are in Ireland, you will definitely hear the work ‘craic’ a lot. You will hear people talking about the ‘craic’ and asking how the ‘craic’ is. But what does the word ‘craic’ mean?
The ‘craic’, pronounced as crack, is a term for enjoyable conversations, gossip, fun, entertainment, and news.
‘What’s the craic’ is a common expression in Ireland, especially in pubs. It can mean “What’s happening” or “How are you?” The craic is a big part of the Irish social culture.
For some, craic means a pint of Irish beer, good music, and lively conversation. For us, it means visiting our local pub and meeting up with friends, or even chatting with strangers.
Charming Small Irish Towns
There are numerous villages and small towns in the Irish countryside. So what is Ireland famous for when it comes to these villages and towns?
The small towns in Ireland define the country’s best features and true character. A perfect mix of peculiarity and charm makes these Irish small villages and towns unique.
If you travel to Ireland, don’t just visit the big cities, since you will miss the true Irish charm that the small towns offer.
Once you veer away from the big cities, you will find the real heart of Irish culture. You will enjoy the magnetizing sceneries, ancient buildings, and friendly conversations with the residents.
You will also be sure to find a pub, a beautifully colored building, and a church in every Irish village.
Lush Green Landscape
Ireland is known for its lush green landscape, which is why it’s known as the Emerald Isle. The name Emerald Isle refers to the emerald green fields as well as the rolling Ireland landscape.
Ireland sits in a location that is expected to be much snowier and chiller. However, the North Atlantic Drift extends warm waters from the Gulf Stream northwards, which influences the climate in Ireland.
There is one area, though, that is unique within Ireland. It’s the Burren, in County Clare. The Burren is known for its rocky, almost moonlike landscape. The photo above is of Corkscrew Hill in Clare, where you can see the rolling green hills, the sea, and the Burren all in one vista.
The Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way is a 1,500-mile-long coastal road located on the west coast of Ireland. The wild Atlantic Way runs from Malin Head in Donegal to Kinsale town in Cork. The route will wow you with stunning sceneries, and epic Ireland landscapes and hypnotize you with quiet moments.
The road is laced with deserted beaches, thatched cottages, dry stone walls, and brooding mountains. The landscape has inspired many painters, poets, and drifters.
Apart from the epic landscape, the Wild Atlantic Way will offer a variety of the best Ireland seafood. Ireland has various types of fish, including salmon, monkfish, and haddock.
In addition, there are various types of shellfish to include in the list of Irish seafood. They include Irish oysters, Irish mussels, Dublin bay prawns, and Irish brown crab.
If you make it all the way up to Donegal, check out our recommended Donegal hotels. Some of our other favorite places to visit along the Wild Atlantic Way include Kilkee and the Loop Head, the Dingle Peninsula, and Sligo.
Ireland’s Ancient East
Ireland’s Ancient East is a relaxing, attractive, and one of the most charming Irish regions. The Irish Sea and River Shannon frame Ireland’s Ancient East.
In addition to its magnificent tourist attractions, the region is rich with Irish culture and history dating back over 5000 years. There are compelling ancient mysteries, characters, millennia-old myths, and hidden stories.
Taking day trips from Dublin to Ireland’s Ancient East is the only way of becoming part of history. You will get to step into 5,000-year-old monuments and enjoy a spectacular view from a 13th-century lighthouse.
Ireland is famous for many things, including its beautiful scenery, friendly people and fascinating history. The country boasts breathtaking views of the Irish countryside that are sure to take your breath away.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Ireland
There are some amazing traditional sites in Ireland and some of these are prime things Ireland is famous for. But, I was surprised to know that despite its beauty, Ireland only has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
These sites include Skellig Michael, which is off the coast of the Kingdom of Kerry. It’s fairly difficult to get to, but has gained popularity in recent years for some Star Wars filming.
The other UNESCO site is Brú na Bóinne or the Boyne valley tombs. The tombs are located in the Boyne Valley, in County Meath, in Eastern Ireland. The tombs are easier to get to, particularly for travelers in Dublin. It’s less than an hour car ride from Dublin City Center and less than that from the airport.
Famous Irish People
There are loads of options when putting together a list of famous Irish people. Because we love our Guinness, the first person we think of us Arthur Guinness, the founder of the famous stout company. He is most famous, though, for signing one heck of a lease for the land that the Guinness Brewery sits on right in the heart of Dublin. Arthur signed a 9,000 year lease for next to nothing!
James Joyce is responsible for writing some of the Irish classics many people associate with Ireland. This includes Dubliners and Ulysses. George Bernard Shaw was a famous Irish playwright from Portobello, Dublin, who was popular in the late 1880s. He was a contemporary of another famous playwright, Oscar Wilde, also of Dublin. When traveling in Sligo, you can learn about William Butler Yeats, a writer and poet who was also a Senator of the Irish free state.
Irish folk music is often thought of as going hand in hand with Irish pub culture, but I tend to think more of Irish dancing and folk music. Irish step dancing took the world stage decades ago when Michael Flatley popularized Irish dancing.
We’ve seen Irish dancing in Ireland mostly during festivals and parades, like the St Patrick’s Day parades that take place around the country. Many young girls still compete. I’ve never dared to try it.
Traveling To Northern Ireland
The Republic of Ireland is, essentially, the Irish free state, which received its independence from the United Kingdom over 100 years ago. Northern Ireland includes the part of the island that still belongs to the United Kingdom.
There are many famous landmarks in Northern Ireland, the most famous of which is the Giant’s Causeway. Recently, a Game of Thrones Studio Tour also opened just outside of Belfast, which is fun. There is also the Titanic museum in Belfast. There’s loads to do.
The food in Northern Ireland is similar, but a bit different than down south. The Irish pubs are also a little more British up there, with a different feel and different beers on tap. You will still find Guinness, though.
Traveling to the North is actually very easy. There are trains and buses that run direct from Dublin to Belfast. You can also simply drive into Northern Ireland. There’s no border and no customs between the two countries. Just be sure your rental car is allowed to travel up to Northern Ireland. You can drive between Belfast and Dublin in about two hours.
FAQs – Facts About Ireland
Ireland is loaded with tons of amazing sites to see. 3 of the most famous landmarks in Ireland include the Cliffs of Moher, Croagh Patrick, and Blarney Castle.
Irish culture is known for literature, folklore, as well as art, and music. Some of the most famous writers in the world include James Joyce and W.B. Yeats.
Dublin is a great city, loaded with things to do, and a must for any trip to Ireland. Dublin is famous for many things including its Temple Bar area, Trinity College, and the Guinness Storehouse.
It’s hard to say. It’s a combination of stunning scenery, a beautiful coastline, and friendly people. Walk into almost any Irish pub with an American accent, and you will make a new friend in minutes!
While most tourist spend their time in Dublin or along the Wild Atlantic Way, there’s plenty to see in nearly every county of Ireland. County Laois is one such county. It’s full of natural beauty including several lakes. If you are heading from one side of Ireland to the other, you’ll pass through County Laois.