To the uninitiated, Ireland might elicit thoughts of pubs, Guinness, the movie Braveheart and endless rolling green plains. If this describes your thoughts, then you’re sorely mistaken: Braveheart was about Scotland, and Ireland holds an abundance of incredible sites beyond the typical tropes. Read on for an introduction to some of the local treasures of the Emerald Isle worth unearthing.
Ireland’s vast rolling green plains end eventually, and that’s often at the edge of the sea. For an enchanting sight over the horizon, head to Slieve League. A historically sacred mountain, Slieve League is dotted with early Christian structures, ancient stone remains and other relics from times past. But, these remnants pale in comparison to the timeless view. Roughly twice the height of the Cliffs of Moher and sporting far fewer crowds, the towering Slieve League cliffs rise nearly 2000 feet over the swells of the Atlantic Ocean far below—more than enough to convince you that you’re on top of the world.
The result of a volcanic eruption some 60 million years ago, you’d be forgiven for thinking Giant’s Causeway is the work of something paranormal or supernatural—legend has it that the site was built by a giant looking to skip over to Scotland to battle another giant. However it was made, the result is a can’t-miss site of Ireland: roughly 40,000 massive, black hexagonal basalt columns rise out of the sea in an interlocking order bordering on otherworldly.
You don’t have to be an academic to appreciate the grandiose of the Trinity College Library. Serving as a legal deposit for the publishers of Ireland, it houses copies of all their publications. As such, it’s a literary palace home to Ireland’s most iconic literature—and a nearly 200-foot-long room filled floor-to-ceiling with books.
Not so much a singular site in Ireland, but still a cultural phenomenon making for a sight you’ll cherish for years to come, any trip to Ireland should entail witnessing the country’s iconic sheepdogs at work. The science behind it is simple: the sheep’s natural instinct is to move away from a threat by pushing towards the center of the herd. The sheepdog understands this and uses it to move the herd where they need to go. Most farms are able to provide a glimpse at this magnetic ballet in action.
Ready to set out on a trip through Ireland to discover all of its hidden gems and local treasures? Talk with one of our specialized travel agents. In addition to helping you plan your trip, they can offer exclusive deals with prominent tour companies, such as CIE Tours International. CIE Tours International helps travelers explore Ireland with the widest variety of travel experiences—from escorted tours, self-drive packages with pre-booked hotels and attractions, custom group tours and private driver experiences. Discovering a new country has never been easier.