Ireland is easily one of the most scenic places I’ve ever been. The architecture, the ruins, the sweeping landscapes, it’s all remarkable. Our trip was pretty well balanced between the city and the scenery – but I will save our full itinerary for another post. For now, I’m here to tell you about the five most scenic places we saw in Ireland.
The Rock of Cashel
Hands down my favorite scenic thing I saw in Ireland. I have an obsession with old ruins, and the Rock of Cashel has been popping up on my Pinterest feed for years. I was beyond excited when we added it to our itinerary.
The ruins sit on top of a hill in Cashel, Ireland. So fair warning, the hike up is a little steep. Down the hill is the Hore Abbey, another beautiful set of ruins. Every turn you take is an even more spectacular view.
Killarney National Park and Ross Castle
Cars are not allowed in Killarney National Park, so we decided to take a jaunting car through the park. On the ride we saw fields, and mountains, and woodlands, and gardens, and lakes – all while our handler was telling us about the history and the land. Eventually we made it to Ross Castle, a small castle from the 15th century on the edge of the Lough Leane. The entire ride was gorgeous, and getting to stop at some waterfront castle ruins was just a happy surprise.
The Dingle Peninsula is a 30-mile coastline stretching across the Atlantic Ocean with the most beautiful panoramic views. We were very lucky that the weather was perfect that day. The ocean, the blue skies, the green grass – it was breathtaking, and the perfect backdrop for photos. On a clear day, you can see the Skellig Islands – which Star Wars fans may appreciate. We got the best view from a farmhouse which was advertising “hold a baby lamb for €3” – yes please. There, we also met some sheepdogs, and saw some historic clocháin – or beehive houses. A little history lesson, baby lambs, dogs, AND a great view? I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon.
Ring of Kerry
Now we did not have time to drive the entire Ring of Kerry – which takes about 8 hours. However, Ross Castle is the unofficial “start” of the Ring of Kerry, and we also did part of the drive on the way from Killarney to Dingle. Because of our schedule, we had to decide between Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry. We chose Killarney National Park, but I don’t think there would have been a WRONG choice. What we saw of it was stunning, but maybe not for the faint of heart. A lot of the drive is up mountains and on high cliffside roads.
The Burren Peninsula was an unscheduled stop we took after a slightly disappointing experience at the Cliffs of Moher – where we could not see ANYTHING due to fog. So on the way out of Clare we stopped at The Burren for a replacement photo-op. The glaciokarst limestone landscape is like nothing I’ve never seen before. Slippery, but beautiful. And you can get so close to the ocean you feel the mist on your face.
Ireland is a spectacularly picturesque country, full of beautiful scenery. But these five spots were definitely my favorites. The photos I captured will forever be cherished.