Killarney National Park
Mountains and forests surrounding the lakes and the Three Lakes make up the vast area that is Killarney National Park. The lakes of Killarney are known worldwide. They consist of three lakes – Lough Leane, Muckross Lake (also called Middle Lake) and Upper Lake and are all close to the town of Killarney.
Located on the N22, 25 kilometers south of the provincial town of Tralee, they offer beautiful visitor views of lakes, forests, and mountains that converge as if it were a painting.
Killarney National Park encompasses the peaks of Mangerton, Torc, Shehy and the Purple Mountains and just west of the park rises the majestic Macgillycuddy Serie, Ireland’s highest mountain range.
Nestled amid the spectacular scenery of Killarney National Park, Muckross House is a beautiful Victorian mansion, which revives a life of majestic splendor and is the centerpiece of many aspects of Muckross. Muckross Friary was a 15th-century Franciscan foundation with a southern transept added around 1500.
The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a spectacular County Kerry tourist trail that starts in the town of Killarney and spans the 170-kilometer circular road around the Iveragh Peninsula and passes through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahirciveen, and Killorglin.
Popular stops include Muckross House (near Killarney) and Derrynane House, the ancestral home of Irish statesman Daniel OConnell.
Just south of Killarney, Ross Castle, Lough Leane and Ladies View (a panoramic viewpoint), all located within Killarney National Park, are major attractions along the Ring. The town of Kenmare, halfway through the trip, is a picture postcard place with many restaurants and designer shops and notable hotels such as the 5 star Park Hotel. Allow a full day to comfortably explore all attractions on the Ring
Cliffs of Moher
In the list of places to see when visiting Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher should definitely be very close to the top and I only put them at number 3 for the merit of the first two.
The Cliffs are 214 meters high at the highest point and stretch for a distance of eight kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of County Clare.
They are located in the parish of Liscannor on the southwestern outskirts of the Burren, near the town of Doolin, which is famous for the music sessions that take place there all summer. O’Brien’s Tower prides itself on the northern headland of the majestic cliffs.
From the cliffs, you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the south.
Connemara National Park
Spanning some 2000 acres of scenic mountains, vast swamps, moors and grassland, and beautiful wildlife, Connemara National Park includes the beautiful towns of Clifden and Leenane on the west coast of County Galway.
The development of the Connemara landscape over 10,000 years is exhibited in the visitor center with excellent 3D models and large-scale displays.
There is just so much to see in Connemara that it takes at least a week to absorb it all.
Stunning beauty conquers you as you explore the diverse vistas it has to offer.
Some of the highlights include the Ballynahinch Castle which is steeped in a wealth of tradition and has been woven into the history of Connemara and its people for centuries.
The Twelve Pins is a beautiful mountain range in the south of Connemara, accessible via Barna and Spiddal from Galway City. /
One of Connemara’s top attractions, Kylemore Abbey is now a private school in a heavenly and serene environment with an inspiring design.
Glendalough in the south of Wicklow is a stunningly beautiful place; it is the site of an old monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in the sixth century, along with two clear water lakes beneath the steep cliffs of a deep valley. Glendalough is just about an hour south of Dublin city center. What the visitor most notices about the place is the utter tranquility that it seems to radiate.
After a while, you get the sense of walking around the tower and other buildings that it might seem like a good idea to stay here indefinitely and get away from all the distractions and illogical bustle of life. The place imposes on you that sense of attachment and serenity as if it conveys the feelings of St. Kevin through the ages from the time he lived and prayed there.
The Glens of Antrim
County Antrim in the northeast corner of Ireland is dotted with a contrasting landscape from coastal to pastoral views. The Glens of Antrim are the most spectacular and most beautiful sight in the province. Located northeast of Belfast City, the nine Glens of Antrim that make up the compilation are beautiful lush green, wooded and swamp valleys. They sweep into the Irish Sea between rugged headlands along the Antrim Coast Road. Considered the capital of the Glens, Cushendall Village is at the head of the Glenballyeamon, Glenaan and Glencorp valleys. Glenariff is the best glen to visit for the casual walker as it is made in a woodland park complete with a wooden boardwalk around the falls.
The Burren is a unique moon-type landscape area in northwest County Clare and is one of Ireland’s most visited attractions. The unique Burren is a barony, most of which is a 100-square-mile plateau of moon-like limestone. Although it supports a sparse population in modern times, the Burren is home to an abundance of flowers and plants found nowhere else in Europe. There are also hundreds of destroyed fortresses, megalithic tombs, caves and underground streams.
The landscape is actually called a Karst region and the Burren is one of the largest in Europe.
The region is roughly enclosed within the circle consisting of the villages of Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora, and Lisdoonvarna.
The Dingle Peninsula
For rugged beauty and amazing natural phenomena, there is little to compare with the Dingle Peninsula in southwest County Kerry in the deep south of Ireland.
This is a spectacular landmass that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and gives the first time visitor the impression that they are entering another country, such as the diversity and hardness of its natural beauty. The peninsula is also known for the ancient monuments and prehistoric sites scattered around the landscape.
There are two main roads to the peninsula: the N86 running from Tralee, along the south coast of Tralee Bay, through Camp Village and then over the mountains to Annascaul, Lispole, and Dingle.
Located in County Sligo, in the northwest of the country, Ben Bulben is Ireland’s most distinctive mountain and is known in some parts as the Irish version of Table Mountain in South Africa.
It is the result of the various reactions to an erosion of the limestone and shale from which the mountain is formed.
A hard and resistant limestone forms the top cliffs and chasms. Ben Bulben was created during the Ice Age when large parts of the earth were covered by glaciers. The poet, William Butler Yeats, had such a love affair with the area that he wrote many poems and prose about Ben Bulben and the Sligo area, hence the county’s nickname as The Yeats County. The poet is buried in Drumcliff Cemetery, at the foot of this unique mountain, a short drive from Sligo Town.
Mountains of Morne
The beautiful Morne Mountains are located in the North East of Ireland in County Down, Northern Ireland. The Morne Mountains are still relatively untouched by humans, with a number of towns and villages around the range, but very few residents populating the granite slopes that make it up. Several of the peaks are accessible to climbers, the most popular being Slieve Donard, which at 848 meters is the highest in the range and the highest peak in Ulster. At the foot of this beautiful mountain is the pretty coastal town of Newcastle, known as the home of the Royal County Down Golf Club, one of the finest golf courses in the world.