7 Places to To Visit In Ireland This Summer

7 Places to To Visit In Ireland This Summer

Gouganbarra, Co. Cork


7 Places To Visit In Ireland

From the valleys in Glendalough to the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, Star Wars and Harry Potter film locations, we will take you through 7 top-notch places to visit in Ireland.

No doubt we’ve missed a few along the way. Ireland has no shortage of stunning landscapes and hidden gems. Feel free to let us know any places you think should be here.

Let’s get to it!

  1. Skellig Micheal, County Kerry

For the Star Wars fans out there.

Rising 218m out of the Atlantic, this epic Island sits 12 kilometers off the west coast of Kerry. It was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1996.

So epic is this Island that the Star Wars franchise used it to portray the ‘out-of-this-world’ land of Ahch-To. On this lost planet, Luke Skywalker had withdrawn himself and lived for many years as a hermit until his crew found him sporting a rugged monk-like robe in ‘The Force Awakens.’

Ancient Ascetic Monks Of Skellig Michael

Luke Skywalker wouldn’t have been the first to live a hermit lifestyle on Skellig Michael. The small stone huts and 618 steps seen in the short Star Wars scene were built by real ancient monks who first set foot on the Island of Skellig in the 6th century and stayed until around the 12th century.

Like a Jedi in training, the Ancient Monks would have practiced Asceticism, completely withdrawing themselves from any pleasure and confining themselves into a life of self-exile and pure devotion to God. It’s probably no coincidence that Luke Skywalker stated how the fictional Anch-To Island is said to be the birthplace of the ‘Jedi Religion.’

Celtic Roots Tip: Book in advance!

Skellig Michael is one of the more challenging locations to get to and is also in huge demand since the growth of its popularity since its appearance in Star Wars. If you plan ahead, you’ll be one of the few who actually get there and will have visited one of the most epic islands in the world.


2. The Cliffs Of Moher, County Clare

Further up the coast from Skellig Michael, we have the majestic Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

Like Skellig Michael, the cliffs, with their dramatic and powerful views, are used in many films, such as ‘Leap Year’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.’ There certainly is an air of magic to be found here.

Iconic to Ireland, these Cliffs in County Clare — often seen rising out of the mist, towering above the Atlantic Ocean — stand an impressive 700 feet above sea level. On a clear day, you can see for miles, and if you’re cool with heights, peak down upon the rocky beaches below.


The cliffs are by far the most prominent tourist attraction in Ireland, both in popularity and sheer size — boasting over 1 million visitors a year and stretching 14 Kilometres across the Clare coast.

The Atlantic Puffin

If you are lucky enough, you might glimpse the Atlantic Puffin, also known as Sea Parrots, or my favourite, Clowns of the Sea. While they spend most of the time out at sea, they can be seen around the cliffs and Islands of the west coast of Ireland, such as Skellig Michael mentioned above and (Spoiler alert) the Aran Islands, which we will get to in good time.




3. The Ring Of Kerry, County Kerry


Renowned by many as ‘Heaven’s Reflux’ since the 19th century, The Ring of Kerry is one of Kerry’s three peninsulas and is reckoned by many to be among the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

It comprises a 179km circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula in South Western Ireland. It is home to Ireland’s tallest mountain range, the Macgillycuddy Reeks, with the tallest mountain — Carrantouhill, just waiting to be climbed by those who don’t mind getting off the beaten track and are up for a challenging hike!

Valentia Island, The Ring of Kerry

Valentia Island, The Ring of Kerry

Suppose you aren’t ready to summit Ireland’s tallest mountain. In that case, there is no shortage of less demanding trails, hikes, and treks around the Ring of Kerry for all fitness levels. Other popular places to visit here are the Gap of Dunloe, Valentia Island, Molls Gap, Ladies View, and many more.

Really, no matter where you turn, you will be met by stunning and diverse views each step of the way. An added bonus is the vibrant towns with a rich music scene, and pub culture dotted throughout Kerry, which are full of character and life waiting to be explored.

4. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow


Leaving the best of the West for the moment and heading to the East of Ireland, we find Glendalough.

Pronounced ‘Glen — da — lock’ – meaning ‘The Valley of The Two Lakes,’ this geographical gem is located in the heart of Wicklow mountains, less than an hour’s drive from Dublin’s capital.

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From medieval monastic cities to Viking ships and stunning lakes, forests, and mountains teeming with wildlife, Glendalough is truly a magical place you can’t afford to miss.

The Monastic City


The ancient ‘Monastic City’ dates back to the 6th century. The city’s remains make for an incredible chance to glimpse our ancient ancestors’ way of life.

Pictured above are some of the city’s ruins and an impressive round tower standing 30 meters high in the background.

Once used as landmarks for approaching visitors, food storage, and refuge and safety when under attack from invaders, these towers can be spotted throughout Ireland as a reminder of our ancient ancestor’s ways of life. Many of these buildings are close to 1000 years old! 

With such surroundings and history, you won’t be surprised to hear it’s a popular filming spot for many TV series, including the popular series ‘Vikings,’ which often features stunning lakes and distinctive landmarks throughout its valley!

Viking Invasions!

 Not only was a TV show about Vikings filmed there but there were numerous Viking attacks on the old Monastic cities. Around 1042, Vikings used oak timber from Glendalough to build the second-largest Viking ship ever found on record! You can see an exact replica of that ship here.

From the picturesque valleys to the historic Monastic City, the mountainous national park is teeming with rich history and wildlife waiting to be explored.

5.   The Aran Islands

The National Geographic declared the three Aran Islands:

‘One of the World’s Top Island Destinations’

Three rugged and isolated islands off Galway Bay — the Aran Islands have a unique old-worldly feel to them that you can’t get anywhere else on the mainland of Ireland. As time passed, the Aran Islands stood still, largely unaffected by events on the mainland, bar perhaps recent tourism.


At its peak population, the Aran Islands was home to 3500 in 1840 — the time of the famine. However, numbers have since declined to around 1300. All the locals speak Irish. There is a barren and rugged landscape, with over 2000km of old stone walls throughout the islands.

Earlier, we briefly spoke of the colourful Puffins. If you are an avid bird watcher, the Aran Islands is probably already on your list! The Aran Island is home to over 60,000 seabirds, many of which are rare, but there is much more to the Island than the birds.


To reach the islands, you can get ferries from Doolin, in County Clare, or Rossaveel, about an hour’s drive west of Galway City – depending on the time of year.

The islands are home to Ireland’s most famous ancient fort, standing precariously yet dramatically on the edge of a sheer cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

6. Dingle & Slea Head

One of the true highlights of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is that it is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Ireland’s most westerly point is a breathtaking coastline with dramatic jutting cliffs, rolling hills, and nail-bitingly narrow roads.

The town of Dingle is a cultural hub where you can get a real taste of the old traditional pub scene and join the friendly locals for a pint and a bit of Irish traditional music and singing.



On the Dingle Peninsula, you are again spoiled for choice with hiking, trekking, and scenic drives. However, one of Dingle’s most famous attractions is a bottle-nosed dolphin named Fungi living off the coast of Dingle. Fungi — a particularly friendly dolphin — will come right up to the boat to say hello to onlookers and love to put on a show for the onlookers on the ships.

Dingle’s population is small, with around 2000 people. However, Dingle’s immense popularity with tourists and the Irish leads to an exciting spectacle every New Year where the population is known to soar from 2,000 to 10,000 to bring in the New Year together. For anyone who likes a bit of a party, this is the place to be on New Year in Ireland.

Be warned, though, if you are keen to be in Dingle for New Year’s, you need to book well to ensure you get accommodation, as most places are taken long before New Year’s. Try to book at least 7 — 8 months in advance. The sooner, the better.

7. The Rock Of Cashel


Located outside the small town of Cashel in Tipperary lies one of the most significant castles, not only in Ireland but in all of Europe. The Rock of Cashel is known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock.

The oldest and tallest of the buildings is the well-preserved round tower, which stands 28 meters and dates from c.1100.

From the Wiki entry, “The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.”

Let Us Know Your Favourite Irish Spots

And there you have it, 7 great places to put on your list when you visit Ireland. Or perhaps you already have! Did we miss any of your favourite spots? With so many gems to choose from, we’ve no doubt missed a few!

But if we missed something extraordinary somewhere, let us know! We would love to include any places you think deserve a mention!

Until then,


The Celtic Roots Team

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