Ireland’s best natural attractions. Take a budget trip around the best natural sights in Ireland and Northern Ireland with cheap hotels and transport. Your guide to Ireland Nature.
With a name like the Emerald Isle, it’s not all that surprising that Ireland has some truly incredible natural scenery. Ranging from the greenery it takes its nickname from to beautiful oceanic views and some more unexpected sights, Ireland has some truly paradise-like natural sights. Whether you’re taking a trip through Dublin, heading on down to Galway or spending some time in Northern Ireland, there’s a whole lot to see if you’re interested by nature.
Over the years I’ve been around Ireland a whole lot of times. I’ve put together a few suggestions for anyone who fancies seeing the best of Ireland with a few budget trips around the most impressive natural sights in the country. I’ve personally visited most of these places, but a couple are still on my to do list (let me know if you’ve actually been!).
It can be hard to get around Ireland cheaply, especially if you’re headed through one of the big cities and don’t fancy staying in a hostel. I’ve always tended to go for Travelodge budget hotels – they’re all pretty much the same so you know what you’re getting, and don’t cost enough to break the bank as long as you’re booking in advance. There’s a fair few around, but there’s always other choices if you look around to get the best deals. Without any further ado, my favourite 10 natural destinations around Ireland:
1: Cliffs of Moher: Fancy a look at crashing waves, huge cliffs and historic regions? The Cliffs of Moher should be the first stop on your list. From a few hundred metres up, you’ll get some incomparable views, but if you really want a full on look at the cliffs, take a boat trip around them before heading to the top for sunset. Unforgettable.
2: Lough Gur: A bit less known than the other early entries here, Lough Gur definitely deserves to be far more famous. Found a bit of a drive from Limerick, Lough Gur is a huge lake surrounded by history, natural paths and some gorgeous sights. Perfect for anyone wanting to sail away for a couple of hours.
3: Giant’s Causeway: Stop me if you’ve heard of this one. Definitely one of the most known parts of Northern Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway really deserves its reputation as a must see for anyone interested in Irish nature. Stretching out from the north into the sea, the Causeway is nothing if not impressive.
4: Galway Bay: Probably better known as the subject of songs than it is as an actual place, Galway Bay is a gorgeous attraction that starts off in the famous Galway city before heading out into the sea. It’s absolutely amazing to take a boat around the bay before stopping off back in the city for a pint in one of the famous Tig pubs round the area.
5: Downhill Derry: A little outside the historic Northern Irish city of Derry/ Londonderry you’ll find one of the country’s biggest beaches. A few miles of sand make for a nice way to relax – and then you look up. The beach is found right at the base of a huge cliff, on which you’ll find a fair few historic destinations and some of the best views to be had in Northern Ireland.
6: Zoos: Ireland’s got a fair few different zoos for anyone fancying a look at some of the world’s most impressive wildlife. You’ll probably have heard of Belfast Zoo and Dublin Zoo, but for my money there’s nowhere better than the Fota Wildlife Park, just a bit outside of Cork. Fota’s very dedicated to giving its inhabitants a natural time, so there’s a lot of tranquil environments with rare and interesting animals.
7: Kinsale: An impressively retro area, Kinsale’s a small village right on the southern coast of Ireland. With cliff walks looking over the sea, impressive scenery around the docks and some great chances to set sail around the area, Kinsale’s probably the perfect small village for a weekend break.
8: Ring of Kerry: You might have heard of this iconic area without having a clue what’s inside – I was definitely that way until I took a visit, and kind of still am now. The ring is over a hundred miles long, so it’s impossible to explore the whole thing. Even so, there’s plenty to see with historic locations, beautiful views and far more all around. Just be sure to pack a map.
9: Mountain Ranges: Ireland’s a fairly mountainous country, so there’s a fair few things for climbers to explore. If you’re looking for the highest peaks around, you’ll want to take a trip to Carrauntoohil, sticking up over a kilometre from the ground. If you’re more of a Romantic, taking a trip over to the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland is probably your best bet – the huge range has inspired countless writers across the centuries.
10: The Burren: Only so low down because I’ve yet to visit the area, the Burren is famously the most diverse environment in all of Ireland. With craggy landscapes and caves, ancient tombs and mythological attractions to boot, I’ll definitely need to pay a visit to the Burren sooner or later. I’ll keep you updated whenever I actually visit.