10 Hidden Gems to Visit in Ireland: Lesser-Known Sights

best hidden gems in ireland

The Emerald Isle is teeming with stunning sights, from breathtaking landscapes to atmospheric monasteries, but many of its hidden gems are, well, less well-known to most travelers.

If you’re less interested in exploring Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, this list is for you.

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10 Hidden Gems You Have to Visit When in Ireland

If you’re looking for somewhere to satisfy your curiosity and your love for unique beauty, you won’t have to search much farther than Ireland. Here are ten of Ireland’s lesser-known sights.

1. Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle Ireland

Dating back almost six centuries, Blarney Castle stands near Cork and is best known for its Blarney Stone, a block of bluestone said to bestow the gift of eloquence upon those who kiss it.

Climb the castle’s narrow spiral staircase to the top, and explore its gargoyles and gardens.

2. Kilmacduagh Monastery

Kilmacduagh Monastery was founded in the 7th century, and while it technically still stands today, it’s in ruins. Legend says that the Abbey was built in this location because Saint Colman’s belt dropped off his robe at the spot. He took it as a sign he should build a new monastery.

3. The Spanish Arch

The Spanish Arch in Ireland is a national monument located in the city of Galway. It is found on the banks of the River Corrib and was originally built back in 1584. It is believed to have been built as an extension of the city’s walls and as a defense against potential enemy attacks.

4. Downpatrick Head

Downpatrick Head Ireland

In County Mayo, north of Ballycastle village, is Downpatrick Head, which is a chunk of rock that’s been cut away from the mainland. You can find the small ruins of a church by Downpatrick Head, as well as a large nest of sea birds, a holy well, and a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.

5. The Giant’s Causeway

At the Giant’s Causeway, the basalt columns created by the forces of wind, water, and time are situated on the shores of the North Atlantic Ocean in Galway, the home of Celtic music. Find the UNESCO-recognized world heritage site near the historic village of Bushmills, Northern Ireland.

6. Franciscan Well Brewery

The Franciscan Well Brewery was built on the site of an old monastery. It’s said that the well inside the monastery can cure the sick. The brewers that operate the well today have used the wonders of modern technology to turn the monastery into Ireland’s #1 Craft Brewery.

7. Poolbeg Lighthouse

Poolbeg Lighthouse Dublin

According to historians, Poolbeg Lighthouse was the first lighthouse in the world that ran on candlepower. It was built in 1768 but changed to oil in 1786. The current structure, built in 1820, still survives today. You can find this lighthouse on the Great South wall of the Port of Dublin.

8. Slieve League Cliffs

If you’re looking for an adventure, check out Slieve League. Located along the southwest coast of Donegal County, it’s one of the highest cliffs in Europe. Not only that, but it has the second highest sea cliffs in Ireland after Croaghaun. Its dizzying views will take your breath away.

9. The Salmon Weir Bridge

Built in 1818, the Salmon Weir Bridge is one of Galway’s most impressive landmarks. It spans the River Corrib and has been renovated several times over the years. Spend some time there walking or cycling through the city or watching the silvery salmon swim from April to July.

10. Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael Ireland

This is a breathtakingly beautiful outcrop off the coast of Kerry. It was once an ancient pilgrimage site, and today the island is home to the remains of a monastic settlement and colonies of nesting seabirds. Hop on a boat and explore the island’s mysteries and the views.

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