When it comes to the Emerald Isle, there seems to be so much to do even once you leave the hustle and bustle of the cities. Regarding Ireland travel, it’s tough to pick and choose what items you want to add to your travel itinerary. These are just a few popular choices from my travels you may want to experience them for yourself but you can find plenty of other hidden Irish gems all over the country.
These are fun activities for kids and adults spread throughout the counties of Ireland. It helps show you the Irish culture and we are always looking for new recommendations of what Ireland has to offer for both locals and tourists. Here is our list so far of fun activities to do in Ireland.
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is a great family-friendly heritage experience for anyone’s Ireland itinerary. One of the most popular things to do around County Clare, you get to really deep dive into the history and culture of the area.
An impressively restored Irish castle built in the 15th century sits as the main attraction here. Not only can you tour the castle and explore the different rooms and displays, but you can choose to spend your nights here as well.
After you have taken your tour of the Bunratty Castle, it’s time to take a trip back in time and visit the folk park. Set on acres of fresh emerald isle greenery the folk park shows life in 19th-century Ireland with its authentic buildings making this one of those idyllic villages you wish you could have visited back in the day. Brought from numerous areas around the country, you’ll find all the usual stops along the main street with the post office, hardware store, grocery store, and of course the pub.
Out on the path as you make your way out of the town is the rural and seaside part of Ireland’s lifestyle with several thatched farmhouses. Here you can see the simple accommodations that the Irish farmer and fisherman lived daily from Kerry to Limerick. You will be sure to notice the cramped living conditions and how a single room was used for multiple purposes to ensure the family prospered. Along with simple tools and items used for everyday life displayed you may find yourself more appreciative of the amenities you have now.
Ireland Cruise along the River Shannon
As the most popular destination for any river cruise in Ireland, it’s quite easy to find a boat that will take you up and down the water. Touring the tranquil waters as you glide through will help find yourself eased and relaxed. Some activities you may want to do include fishing, wildlife exploring, bird watching, and maybe even some water skiing or wakeboarding. Once you’re ready to take a break from the water you can take some extra time and can stop at all the little villages and port stops along the way.
Killarney National Park
An incredible stop on the Ring of Kerry in southern Ireland, this national park is filled with crystal lakes, rugged mountains, open fields, historic sites, and horse-drawn carriages taking you through the mesmerizing landscape that makes this a wonder to behold. It covers over 25k acres so you can see yourself spending hours here just trekking through all the meadows and dirt paths throughout the park. Just natural beauty everywhere to admire.
Knappogue is another refurbished castle in County Clare that you can also book to stay in overnight, this one has hosted presidents of Ireland and other important diplomats. Here you can take in an exciting banquet show that portrays medieval Ireland at its finest.
You’ll be greeted at the entrance by the butler who will take you into the hall where the ladies of the castle will entertain you with beautiful traditional Irish music of the harp and fiddle. This is a recurring theme throughout the banquet dinner with the medieval instruments accompanying songs of the Irish homeland as well. There is even visitor participation as part of the storyline as you may be lucky enough to be chosen as the lord of the castle for the evening festivities.
Bike Ride Tour on Aran Island
The Aran Islands are a group of 3 islands off the coast of Galway and Doolin. The largest being Inishmore, followed by Inishmaan and Inisheer. On Inishmore is the main attraction where you can rent your bike or take a guided tour. It’s an easy ferry ride from the mainland to the island and you can do this in half a day or longer if you prefer. This is one of those great bucket list experiences in my opinion.
The Irish countryside on the island is grand with an open blue sky and greenery. But it is rocky and remote here. Even the residents still speak Gaelic as a first language. You will find a few cottages and barns along your route, which is just one dirt road that seems to go around the whole island. And it won’t take you that long to go around the whole island. At most, it will take you several hours, especially with site seeing and photo taking.
Cliffs of Moher
No tour of Ireland is complete without a stop at the Cliffs of Moher, part of the Wild Atlantic Way driving route. It helps show the best of Ireland and there are many different road trips to explore the Wild Atlantic Way. Everyone comes here at some point in their time in Ireland, whether rain or shine. It’s a natural landmark with unparalleled panoramic scenery. You will find very few other places like this in the world. These high points of the rugged cliffs will give you such an adrenaline thrill standing so close to the edge with the ocean just outstretched. Don’t worry though, you won’t fall over with the safety barriers placed everywhere.
The O’Brien Tower is a good stopping point to enjoy the shoreline but with the walking path nearly 5 miles long you won’t feel as crowded with other tour groups and visitors. Once you go a fair distance you will see the separation between the tour area and the farmer’s fields with fenced livestock. The walking trail isn’t as well maintained but it’s still good fun. You can find plenty of days tours online to take you here if it isn’t already part of your visit to Ireland.
Get Your Picture with Charlie Chaplin Vacation Statue
This is just one of those weird random things you will find when traveling across the world. Charlie Chaplin spent several years vacationing in the quiet Irish village of Waterville and became an icon of the community. So, let’s dedicate a statue in his honor and hold a film festival of all his greatest hits. It’s one of those things that you just may have only heard about the village in passing but this helped put it on the map. It has become a quick-stop destination for tourists passing through.
Catch an Irish Cabaret Show
Watching the impressive display of traditional Irish dancing and music at Taylor’s Three Rock should always be at the top of an Ireland bucket list. The traditional Irish music they perform helps make it a memorable night. This is a great night with friends and family during your visit to Dublin. All of the dancers are award-winning professionals and you can participate in sing-along with some of the musical performances. You will get a little bit of Irish history to go along with the music.
The songs are funny, romantic, sad, and whimsical. Truly you will be feeling the love of Ireland. A traditional Irish 3-course dinner will be served before the show and top it off with a nice Irish coffee.
Kiss the Blarney Stone
Kissing the Blarney Stone to get the “gift of gab” magical powers it provides is what most people come here for. One of the most visited sites in Ireland by both international visitors and native citizens. It’s a staple of Irish tourism. The Blarney Castle in Cork County is impressive and one of the most famous castles in Ireland. It’s a little tight space though as you make your way up the spire steps.
Once you reached the top of the castle on the parapet and leaned back to kiss the stone (you’ll be gently held back by one of the staff to keep you from falling), you can spend the rest of your time here just strolling through the rest of this lush parkland area. The poison garden just next to the castle entrance is pretty interesting and you can learn some interesting facts about the usage of each plant. Go through the other extensive gardens as you finish up your day here and head back into town.
It’s truly a wonder that this is only a fraction of the endless fun you can have here in Ireland, as there are so many different lists of people’s preferences and just top popular attractions. Experiencing this will just want to make your stay in Ireland. Any one of these can add to your perfect Ireland itinerary. Make sure to thoroughly plan and research for your time here so you can enjoy the most out of it.
This article originally appeared on The World Overload. Featured Photo Credit: Nicholas Rosen