After going back and forth from Ireland a few times now, it’s no secret I’ve grown exceptionally fond of the Emerald Isle. Admittedly though, Ireland was never a top travel priority until one of my best friends hopped the pond to get her masters abroad. But thank the travel gods she did. Because of this, I’ve been privy to some incredible scenery. Those lush green blankets of Ireland are very, very real folks.
As someone whose constantly cradling some form of camera, Ireland presented a landscape I wasn’t accustomed to. Besides jaunts of travel, my entire life has been spent in Florida. We have two seasons here: hot and hotter, with a 76% chance of glaring sunlight. Traveling to Ireland during the shoulder seasons where skies are constantly umbrella’ed by cloud coverage opened the opportunity for a more softer scene. The subdued grey weather with pockets of sunlight made for some seriously stellar shots.
Carry on below for my top 10 favorite views of Ireland!
1. GIANT’S CAUSEWAY | Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland
As the most popular natural attraction in Northern Ireland, Giant’s Causeway along the Antrim Coast is amazeballs. We took a day trek from Belfast with Paddywagon Tours who pride themselves on having 100% Irish guides… because apparently a half Irish bloke would just not do. Not only will you get a chance to hopscotch across a Giant’s rock collection but the tour also swings by the Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and Dunluce Castle.
2. MOURNE MOUNTAINS | Northern Ireland
The Mourne Moutnains are nothing like I’d ever seen in Ireland before. While the mud claimed my treasured white Adidas sweatshirt and turquoise Vans (R.I.P. guys, you will be missed), the hike was worth the painstaking loss that incurred.
The hike was not an easy walk in the park. We were straight up rock climbing at points and me being the agile giraffe that I am, butt walked down
some most of the steeper declines.
Butt Walk [verb] 1. The combination of using your feet and butt to make your way down the side of a mountain. 2. Typically performed by those prone to a clumsy lifestyle. 3. Yes, clumsy is a lifestyle.
During one such butt walk session, here came this fit AF runner beep-bopping his way down the boulders while I was over here mid-slip into a mud puddle. However, it was worth every splatter of mountain musk. Once I set my eyes on the small clusters of snow ahead, I couldn’t contain myself. For a Florida gal, seeing snow is a big deal and of course, a snow ball fight ensued shortly after. The views of the surrounding mountains and seaside with Scotland in the wee distance weren’t too shabby either.
3. KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK | Killarney, Ireland
Thanks to Ireland, I’ve discovered an affinity for moss and fungus. I can’t get enough of the way it wraps around trees like a cozy ‘lil green scarf. Killarney National Park, just minutes from town, is one of the most enchanting places I’ve ever been. Pictured below is the walking path to Torc Falls covered in fall foliage. Kinda felt like I was in some fairytale tbh.
4. CELTIC CRYPT | Killarney, Ireland
Look up Celtic crypt near Killarney on Google and virtually nothing appears, much like how we stumbled upon it. On our way to Killarney National Park, with a recommendation from a hotel employee, we parked next to a small craft shop where we were told the crypts lay above resting on a hill.
The hotel employee had told us earlier, “It’ll seem like your trespassing but don’t worry, you’re not.” Comforting. We made our way to the back of the store, up a hill, past a cow pasture, through a closed gate and what lay before was everything I’d imagined an ancient crypt to look like. Would 10/10 recommend. But not solo, that shit was still spooky.
5. CLIFFS OF MOHER | County Clare, Ireland
Outside of Temple Bar and the Guinness Factory in Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher are by far the most tourist saturated spot in the Republic of Ireland. Even though some sort of over-protective spell overcame the parental unit *cough*looking at you Dad*cough* (probably because at the time he was walking around with 5 broken ribs) who wouldn’t let me get too close to the edge where the real adventure was, it was still a gorgeous view of the sprawling cliffs from the top.
6. CRAWFORDSBURN COUNTRY PARK | Bangor, Northern Ireland
Bangor in bangin’! Sorry, but I just had to. If you find yourself in Belfast and in need of some nature head over to Crawfordsburn Country Park less than 30 minutes from the city centre. The park is bordered by Helen’s Bay and offers spectacularly serene seaside views as well as sweet forest finds like the stone bridge below.
7. RING OF KERRY | County Kerry, Ireland
Starting from our base in Killarney, we embarked on a Ring of Kerry bus tour that offered some of the best views so far and further solidified my love of all things Ireland. From sights of the Gap of Dunloe pictured below, sheep crossing the road, quaint seaside towns, cliffs, castles and more, this drive was one to remember.
8. MUCKROSS GARDENS | Killarney, Ireland
Even though we were presented with grey autumn skies, our time spent frolicking amidst the Muckross House and Gardens was bliss. From open patches of emerald lawns to perfectly manicured shrubs countered by forest clusters kept untouched save for stone laden trails, the Muckross Gardens were a beaut.
9. CORK HABOUR | Cobh, Ireland
Sometimes the best tips come from the most unlikely places. Which is how I came to hear of Cobh, from an Irish lad in an Amsterdam hostel. I later Googled it and after seeing the picturesque backsplash of colorful row houses behind the marina I made it my mission to see this place for myself.
Heading from Cork to Killarney on our Ireland road trip, we stopped here for lunch (and an Irish coffee of course) at a little restaurant attached to the Titanic Experience. I could have spent hours capturing everything but as the rain soaked us to our core we decided to part ways and head on to our next stop.
10. CAVE HILL | Belfast, Ireland
Do not attempt to hike this hungover. Seriously, I’m warning you. Granted I found out later we took the hard way up this steeper-than-you-would-think “hill.” Hangover aside, the views from the top of Belfast sprawling down below made the trek 100% worth it.
Keep a look out for the below posts coming soon!
Ultimate Belfast City Guide
Dublin in 24 Hours
Ireland Road Trip: 1 Week Itinerary