There are so many fun things to do when you visit Ireland on vacation. With stunning scenery and a story everywhere you turn, Ireland is the perfect playground for excitement, discovery and relaxation. We've chosen 20 of our favorite things to do in Ireland based on our own trips and experience. Below you'll find a list of things to do that you won't want to miss out on.
1. Learn the story of the Titanic
"She was fine before she left here" is the famous phrase said with a chuckle throughout Belfast. The history of the Titanic in Ireland is an interesting one - and nowhere is more important to this that Belfast where the ship itself was built. At the other end of the country is Cobh which was the last port of call for the "unsinkable" ship. Both Belfast and Cobh have attractions dedicated to the Titanic.
2. Follow the King's Road
Northern Ireland is home to Westeros and the fantasy world portrayed in the hit tv show Game of Thrones. Above is an image of the Dark Hedges which played part of the King's Road in season one as Arya fled King's Landing. There are dozens of similar areas and locations all over Ireland, not least of which is Castle Ward which doubles up as Winterfell and plays host to a number of other key scenes from the show.
3. Follow in the footsteps of Finn McCool
The Giant's Causeway may have been formed by volcanic activity some 60 million years ago... or it may have been formed by a giant as a pathway to Scotland to fight another giant. We'll never know but it is an amazing place to visit.
4. Take a distillery tour
Ireland is famous for its whiskey and there are a number of distilleries where you can take a tour and sample the product at the end.
5. Stand on Derry's City Walls
The city of Derry has a storied history but this is what makes it so rich in culture. This place has a magnificent story to tell from its Siege museum and mural walls to its lovely Peace Bridge lit up in the evening.
6. Visit a Lighthouse
On the surface, a lighthouse might not seem like the most exciting place to visit but coupled with the amazing scenery along coastlines that have been chiseled out by the angry Atlantic ocean, they become must-see.
7. Drive the famed Hills of Donegal
Anything that has a song written about it is surely worth exploring.
8. Stroll along a famous beach
This is the same beach that the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan was shot on. There are beaches scattered all over Ireland, each with their own story to tell and always great for a stroll even when the weather isn't great.
9. Explore a deserted village
Achill Island is one of the most scenic areas on (or just off) the island of Ireland and it is home to a Deserted Village - a collection of around 100 stone cottages dating back to early medieval times with a fascinating history.
10. Cycle around Inis Mor
Cycling around the Aran Islands is like pedaling back in time. Feel the breeze in your hair as you freewheel down hills and meander around tight bends between lovingly repaired stone walls.
11. Attend a festival in Galway
Galway is the unofficial capital of festivals in Ireland with the Arts Festival and Galway Racing Festival (both July) two of the highlights along with the Oyster Festival, and countless other film, music and food festivals. There is a festival in Galway throughout most of the year.
12. Have your photo taken at the Cliffs
Standing watch proudly over the Atlantic Ocean, the Cliffs of Moher rise 700 ft. Be sure to stand atop them and have your picture taken as it is one for the digital photo album.
13. Stay at a Castle
Ireland is blessed with a wealth of incredible castle hotels and manor homes. It is a truly special experience to stay at one on your last nightin the country.
14. Take a Jaunting Car ride
Explore Killarney and its national park in the best way possible. Conducted by locals, Killarney Jaunting Cars gives you the perfect opportunity to hear the untold stories and legend of this majestic area on the Emerald Isle. These cars go off the beaten path where automobiles can't be found and the real adventure begins.
15. Be part of a seisiun
Depending on where you are and the time of year, you should be able to find a good seisiun (session) in Ireland. Some of your best bets are in Galway and Doolin - two locations found along that Wild Atlantic Way that are famous for their music and Irish culture.
16. Dine out in Ireland's Gourmet Capital
Kinsale boasts the greatest concentration of restaurants in Ireland and has long been known as the Gourmet Capital of Ireland.
17. Walk Kilkenny's Medieval Mile
Stretching from Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny's Medieval Mile is a great afternoon of exploring. Aside from its buildings of historical significance, it is also home to the Smithwicks Experience which is also a building of historic significance - but with a pint at the end.
18. Hike in the Wicklow Mountains
There are nine way-marked walking trails in the valley of Glendalough. The walks vary from a short, half-hour stroll to a long, four-hour hillwalk. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking
19. Pour your own pint at the home of the black stuff
This one is self explanatory and a great way to finish off your first trip to Ireland.
20. Pucker Up
If you don't have a photo of yourself kissing the Blarney Stone on Facebook, can you really say you've been to Ireland? Well, yes, but it doesn't get more Irish than a visit to Blarney Castle.