Top Travel Sites to Visit in Ireland

Top Travel Sites to Visit in Ireland
Because of its sparse population in the countryside and relatively remote location from the rest of western Europe, Ireland has retained many natural wonders in pristine condition. For the adventure traveler interested in visiting the top sites for outdoor exploration and beauty, Ireland is a true mecca. Many of the natural attractions in Ireland are also deeply steeped in folklore, myth and legend, and allow one to travel back in time to the days of heroes and gods while hiking, biking or touring in a nature lover's paradise.

The Cliffs of Moher

For the most spectacular sunset in Ireland, head out west to the Cliffs of Moher, a dramatic line of sheer coastal magnificence that stand over 200 m above the tumultuous Atlantic ocean and stretch for 8 km down the coast of County Clare. The Cliffs are an important nesting area for cliff-dwelling seabirds, like puffins and razorbills, that can be observed throughout the day. An interpretive center that houses exhibits on the area's natural as well as cultural history, called The Edge, is open daily. You can hike up and down the coast on top of the cliffs and even visit a cliff called Aill na Shearragh, which was a sacred spot to ancient Celtic Druids. The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare, about an hour south of Galway.

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park is one of Ireland's most visited National Parks, due to its unspoiled terrain and a variety of recreational opportunities. Within its nearly 5,000 acres, Connemara National Park offers ideal cycling trails, horseback riding and some of Ireland's best fishing. During the summer months, the Atlantic beaches of Connemara National Park are some of the warmest and safest in all of Ireland. The extensive boglands, central to Irish identity, can be explored via miles of walking trails and several guided tours. Connemara National Park is located in County Galway, west of the city of Galway.

The Lakes Of Killarney

The Lakes of Killarney are a group of three spectacular lakes that lie in a mountain-ringed valley within the Killarney National Park. One of the most popular destinations is Inisfallen Island, located in the middle of Lough (Lake) Leane, which can only be reached by boat and houses many pre-Christian archaeological sites as well as the ruins of a seventh century monastery. Other attractions include the largest remaining stand of ancient oaks in all of Ireland, known as the Oakwoods, which are home to red deer, fox and pine martin. The Lakes of Killarney are located in County Kerry, just south of the town of Killarney, and is part of the Ring of Kerry tourist trail.

The Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway, also known as the eighth wonder of the world, is a natural formation of basalt columns that stretches out into the sea on the northern tip of Ireland. Forming almost 40,000 near-perfect hexagons that rise into heads that tower over the coastline, the Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hike along the massive stepping stones and follow in the path of Ireland's most famous hero, Finn Macool, who built the causeway to lure a giant from Scotland across the channel for a fight, according to legend. The Giant's Causeway is located in North Anterim in Northern Ireland.

Dingle Pennisula

Ireland's Dingle Peninsula is a step back in time to a misty world of traditional living, natural splendor and stone age ruins. Eco tours to the uninhabited Blasket Islands, the most westerly islands in Europe, provide ample opportunity for viewing seals, whales, puffins and dolphins. Dunbeag Promontory Fort is a archeological treasure from 800 B.C. that was continuously inhabited by ancient Celts for over a thousand years. Hikers and bikers can go off the beaten path along the ancient Dingle Path, a long-distance trail that follows old trade routes throughout the peninsula. The Dingle Peninsula is located in County Kerry just north of the Ring of Kerry.

Article Written By Ocean Malandra

Based in San Francisco, Ocean Malandra is a travel writer, author and documentary filmmaker. He runs a major San Francisco travel website, is widely published in both online and print publications and has contributed to several travel guidebooks to South America.

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