Kickstart the ultimate Irish adventure with these 90 unmissable attractions and activities

Kickstart the ultimate Irish adventure with these 90 unmissable attractions and activities

1 month ago

Brought to you by Discover Ireland

When was the last time you went exploring?

If you're looking to plan some travels on Irish soil over the coming months, the good news is there's LOADS of thrilling activities, fascinating attractions and new experiences for you to explore.

That's why we've teamed up with Discover Ireland to put together 90 unmissable experiences around Ireland that you need to try this Autumn.

From kayaking trips in Dublin to quad bike adventures in Ireland's Ancient East, we're spoilt for choice with things to see and do.

So, with all of that in mind, here's are some incredible things to see and do around Ireland this Autumn...

Wild Atlantic Way...

1. Burren Smokehouse

Based in Lisdoonvarna, the Burren Smokehouse offer smoked salmon and beer tastings, a demonstration of their smoking process and an interactive journey through the story of the Salmon of Knowledge. After all that learning, you can pop in to the Roadside Tavern next door to relax with some tasty craft beers and live music.

2. Aillwee Burren Experience

No trip to the Burren is complete without exploring Aillwee Cave. During a 45 minute tour, the Aillwee Burren Experience brings you through the unique caverns and chasms beneath the Burren and teaches you more about this incredible natural wonder, in what's sure to be an unforgettable experience.

3. Burren Mountain Tours

Offering both driving and walking tours, Burren Mountain Tours takes you off the beaten track as you learn more about life on the farms in this area. The walking tour can be a bit strenuous but it's worth it for the breath-taking views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay from the top of the mountain.

4. Rossnowlagh Surf School

Looking to make the most of Donegal's coastline? At Rossnowlagh Surf School, you can take part in beginners lessons and courses, and rent all of the equipment you'll need for a day out on the waves.

5. Donegal Equestrian Centre

Donegal Equestrian Centre offer horse riding along the Wild Atlantic Way for all experience levels, with the option of trotting along the Tullan Strand or going for leisurely stroll on the Sand Dune trail.

6. Fanad Lighthouse

For your fix of history and heritage and some unrivalled views of the Donegal coastline, a trip to Fanad Lighthouse is a must. Along with an expert tour guide, you can learn more about the lighthouse keepers and their families while exploring this iconic structure and the Fanad Peninsula.

7. Sea Safari with Bantry Bay Boat Hire

Take in the Cork coastline from a new perspectice aboard Bantry Bay Boat Hire's Sea Safari. Exploring 21 miles of stunning coastline, you'll get to see sea caves and sea stacks, and might even meet some dolphins or seals along the way.

8. Kinsale Food Tours

With loads of delicious restaurants and eateries in Kinsale, it's only right to try as many of them as possible during your stay. Kinsale Food Tours includes local tastings and coastal foraging, to discover the edible shellfish and plants that can be found in the local area.

9. Clonakilty Black Pudding Visitor Centre

For fans of the Full Irish, a visit to the Clonakilty Black Pudding Visitor Centre is the perfect opportunity to learn a bit more about one of the key components of a good fry-up. Through a self-guided and interactive tour, you'll learn more about Clonakilty Black Pudding's history and how it's produced, followed by a delicious tasting experience.

10. Wildlands

Whatever the weather, a trip to Wildlands in Galway is sure to provide hours of entertainment. Rain or shine, they've loads of exciting indoor and outdoor activities to try out, including kayaking, paddle boarding and archery to name but a few.

11. Blackrock Diving Tower

If you're stopping for a swim at Salthill, be sure to keep an eye out for the Blackrock Diving Tower. At a comfortable height above the sea, it's perfect for quick dip in the Atlantic all year round.

12. Croagh Patrick, Mayo

No trip to Mayo is complete without braving Croagh Patrick. Standing at over 700 metres in height, the climb up and back down takes approximately 3-4 hours. Due to steep inclines and uneven surfaces, it can be a tough walk at times, but it's well worth it for the stunning views of Clew Bay and the Wild Atlantic Way from the summit.

13. Westport House, Mayo

Surrounded by 400 acres of stunning scenery, learn more about Westport House's incredible history with a guided tour, before exploring everything the grounds have to offer. For families, there are also loads of exciting activities for kids including the road train and the Pirate Adventure Park.

14. Wild Nephin Dark Sky Park, Mayo

Looking to do some star gazing? Ireland's first Dark Sky Park can be found in Wild Nephin National Park in Mayo, offering unspoiled views of the Atlantic ocean and the night sky. On a very clear night here, you can spot thousands of stars, planets, The Milky Way and, if you're lucky, some meteor showers.

15. Limerick Street Art Trail

If you're spending some time in Limerick this summer, take a stroll along Limerick's Street Art Trail and discover 17 new and exciting pieces of urban art, created by a number of national and international artists.

16. Hunt Museum, Limerick City

Looking for your fix of art and culture in Limerick? Take a journey back in time at the Hunt Museum, through a fascinating collection of art and artefacts. You can also explore the museum gardens during your visit, and be sure to keep an eye out for any upcoming events or exhibitions too.

17. King John's Castle Abseil, Limerick City

If you're planning a trip to the historic King John's Castle, take the experience to new heights with a thrilling abseiling adventure. Nev Sail Watersports run an exciting abseil experience at the medieval castle, in what's sure to be a thrilling highlight of your stay in Limerick.

18. Surfing in Strandhill, Sligo

Looking to take up surfing? Sligo Surf Experience offer lessons in Strandhill for beginners looking to learn the basics. With an expert instructor and lifeguards on hand, it's the perfect way to ease yourself into the sport.

19. Streedagh Beach, Sligo

With 3km of sandy beachfront to explore, Streedagh Beach is perfect for a seaside stroll or swim on your next trip to Sligo.

20. The Great Blasket Centre, Kerry

Fancy a trip back through time? With immersive exhibitions, displays and artefacts, the Great Blasket Centre celebrates the lives of those who lived on the Blasket Islands until they were evacuated in 1953.

21. Sligo Oyster Experience, Sligo

Have you ever tried oysters? Try the divisive seafood for yourself at the Sligo Oyster Experience. Here, you'll learn about their working oyster farm, the craft and skill that goes into growing oysters and, of course, sample some natural and baked Sligo oyseters.

22. Dingle Film Walks

Every Star Wars fan needs to do this incredible tour. Along a guided Dingle Film Walks tour, you'll get to explore some of the iconic filming locations from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and other films such as Ryan's Daughter and Far and Away, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

23. Kayak around Fenit Lighthouse with Wild Water Adventures

On this guided sunset tour, Wild Water Adventures will introduce you to the stunning coastal scenery of Tralee Bay, learning about Fenit Lighthouse's interesting history along the way. During the two hour tour, you'll also get an opportunity to park up your kayak for a break and explore the lighthouse up close.

Ireland's Ancient East...

24. SUPing with Pure Adventure

Looking to give paddle boarding a go? Pure Adventure offer paddle boarding trips in both Mayo and Dublin, ideal for anyone hoping to try out the sport before the summer ends.

25. Castlecomer Discovery Park

From land activities like archery, ziplining and axe throwing to water adventures aboard a canoe or raft, you'll find hours of entertainment at Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co. Kilkenny.

26. Kilkenny Whiskey Guild

For whiskey fans, no trip to Kilkenny is complete without exploring the whiskey guild. The Kilkenny Whiskey Guild is made of 10 different establishments, each stocking a minimum of 60 different Irish whiskeys. Expert staff will guide you through tastings, food pairings and some whiskey mixology secrets.

27. Hydro Biking in Kilkenny

Have you ever tried hydro biking? Kilkenny Cycling Tours now offer hydro bike rental, giving you the chance to explore the River Nore via a 100% pedal powered, easy-to-use water bike.

28. Beyond the Trees

Looking for some panoramic views of Wicklow? Beyond the Trees at Avondale Forest Park is home to the longest treetop walk in Ireland. Following the 1.3km walkway, you can ascend to the top of the viewing tower before whizzing back down via the spiral slide. 

29. Wicklow Beaches

During any staycation in Wicklow, you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to stunning beaches to explore. Brittas, Greystones and Bray are three stunning choices for anyone looking to relax and unwind by the seaside this summer.

30. Carlingford Lough Cruise

Aboard a two hour evening cruise with Carlingford Lough Cruises, you can explore the sights and scenery surrounding the lough, enjoy some food and refreshments along the way and relax with live music and dancing courtesy of musician Henry Mac.

31. Sky Park

As Ireland's largest adventure park, Sky Park in Co. Louth is jam-packed with exciting activities, including aerial adventure courses, laser tag and frisbee golf, to name but a few.

32. Quadventure

Located in Wexford, Quadventure offer exciting quad bike sessions for all experience levels. With over 80 acres of adventure course to explore, this exhilarating outdoor activity is open everyday for the month of August.

33. Johnstown Castle

On a visit to one of Wexford's top tourist attractions, you can enjoy a guided tour of the 19th century Johnstown Castle and its tunnels, before exploring over 4km of stunning gardens, walks and woodlands.

34. Dunmore Adventure

Dunmore Adventure in Waterford offers loads of exciting watersports, including kayaking and SUPing, but one of the highlights here is the Wibit Wipeout Aquapark. This floating adventure course is packed with exciting swings, slides and obstacles, ideal for those looking for an active day out in the sea, with an added twist.

35. Waterford Walls

Every year, the Waterford Walls Festival invites national and international artists to decorate the streets of the city with some new and exciting large-scale art murals. While the festival takes place every August, you can still spend a day strolling around Ireland's oldest city and admiring all the new street murals that have appeared.

36. Irish National Stud

At the Irish National Stud in Kildare, learn all about horse racing through their interactive exhibitions before crossing the finish line on a race simulator - an immersive and exhilarating experience for any horse racing fans or anyone looking to learn more about Ireland's successes in the equine world.

37. Redhills Adventure

If you're looking for some child-friendly adventure trips, you need to check out Redhills Adventure in Kildare. Here, an old working farm has been transformed into an incredible adventure centre, offering activities such as paint-balling, archery tag and assault courses.

38. Newgrange and Knowth

Begin your experience by exploring the interactive exhibitions at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, where you'll learn more about these famous Irish heritage sights. Then, a shuttle bus will bring you out to the monuments, where you can explore Newgrange and Knowth up close and take in these unique structures for yourself.

39. Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails

Slieve Bloom is home to 35km of exciting mountain bike trails, with routes starting in Kinnitty and Baunreagh among other Offaly and Laois locations. The routes vary in difficulty, ranging from blue trails (moderate difficult, with some single-track sections) to red trails (difficult and advanced, with challenging climbs and tricky descents).

40. Paddle or cycle the Blueway

Get on your bike and pedal the 21km cycle from Carrick-on-Suir to Clonmel. Or, if you'd prefer to take a different route, this exciting trail also gives you the option of paddling along the Suir Blueway by kayak, ideal for a summer day out.

41. Tipperary Museum of Hidden History

Boasting one of Ireland's largest museum collections, the Tipperary Museum of Hidden History tells the stories of those who lived in Tipperary during the 19th century, from rural life to the county's wealthier residents. Aside from browsing their insightful permanent collection, be sure to keep an eye out for regular history and photography exhibitions that take place here too.

42. Castleblaney Outdoor Adventure

At Castleblaney Outdoor Adventure, you can explore Lough Muckno Park via stand up paddleboards, canoes or kayaks, or learn the basics of rock climbing and archery. With expert instructors on hand, it's also a perfect day out for families and kids.

43. Fota Wildlife Park

Located in Cobh, Co. Cork, Fota Wildlife Park is the go-to spot in Ireland to meet free-roaming animals such as giraffes, kangaroos, penguins. Bring your experience to the next level with a Wild Experience Tour, where you'll get to go behind the scenes of the park with a ranger and learn more about our furry and feathered friends.

44. Spike Island

Just a short 25 minute ferry ride from Cobh, Spike Island has a layered and fascinating history. At different points in time, the island has acted as an island monastery, a defensive fortress and, perhaps most notably, was once the world's largest prison, so there's loads of insightful exhibitions to be explored here.

45. National Reptile Zoo

If you want to get up-close and personal with lizards, crocodiles and snakes, make a break for the National Reptile Zoo in Kilkenny. If you can, stop by one of their animal encounter sessions, where the zoo's wranglers will introduce to their scaly residents and share some info about these creature's habitats.

46. Marina Market

The Marina Market is Cork's largest indoor market, with more than 30 fresh food vendors selling coffee, confectionary, burgers, pizzas and more tasty snacks, seven days a week. It's the perfect stop-off spot in Cork to people watch and take the world in.

Ireland's Hidden Heartlands...

47. Old Rail Trail

Get on your bike and explore the 42km Old Rail Trail Greenway, which runs alongside the Royal Canal. Linking Athlone and Mullingar, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a safe and relaxing bike ride without having to worry about traffic. 

48. Kilbeggan Distillery Experience

If you want to enjoy some new and delicious Irish whiskies on your travels, you need to book a Kilbeggan Distillery Experience. You'll be brought on a journey through the history, heritage and production that goes into creating a delicious whiskey and given an opportunity to taste test some tasty pours along the way.

49. Viking Mike

Aboard a River Shannon boat tour, you and your guide, Viking Mike, will set sail from Athlone Castle on a scenic Hidden Heartlands tour. Along the way, Viking Mike will share gripping stories about the history and victories of the Vikings who once lived in this area, in what's sure to be a unique and unforgettable tour. 

50. Belvedere House

Twenty minutes from Kilbeggan, you’ll find the magnificent 18th-century Belvedere House, Gardens and Park. On a self-guided tour, you can explore the impressive stately home before visiting the beautiful gardens and exploring the various woodland tracks and trails.

51. The Hot Tub Boat

Experience the sunset and stars from a new perspective aboard a The Hot Tub Boat. Offering pick-up and drop-off in Athlone Town,  you and your friends can sail along the River Shannon in a warm and comfortable hot tub boat tour, and you can even bring your own beer!

52. Leitrim SUP

Leitrim Surf Company offer guided stand-up paddle boarding safaris on local rivers, lakes, canals and on the sea, that can be tailored to your ability. It really is the perfect way to explore the Shannon Blueway, the Leitrim coastline and the Wild Atlantic Way on your next trip to the Heartlands.

53. Shed Distillery

Home to Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin, Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and more delicious creations, the Shed Distillery in Leitrim is a must-visit for anyone looking to learn more about their unique distilling process and sample some tasty concoctions along the way.

54. Clonmacnoise

Believed to have been founded by Saint Ciarán in 544, today the site of Clonmacnoise is a preserved ruin featuring seven churches, three high crosses, two round towers and a cathedral.

55. Birr Castle

Just 30 minutes from Clonmacnoise is Birr Castle, where you can explore a real castle, admire some amazing feats of engineering and learn more about what once was the world’s largest telescope. After your tour, you can relax and unwind in the castle's award-winning gardens.

56. Lough Boora Discovery Park

If you're looking for a low-cost way to spend an afternoon in Offaly, Lough Boora is the perfect option. For grown-ups, there's loads of cycling tracks and walking trails to explore during your visit, while kids will love the fairy trail and sculpture park.

57. Pallas Karting

For an action-packed day out, grab your pals and book a session in Europe's largest karting centre, located in Galway. Pallas Karting has a 500m beginners track, a 1500m advanced track and a 2200m rally track, meaning any experience level is catered for here. 

58. Dick's Bike Hire

If you're looking to explore Portumna Forest Park's many woodland trails, or go for a cycle around Portumna town, Dick's Bike Hire is the perfect spot to rent your bike and any other safety equipment you'll need. 

59. Portumna Castle & Gardens

On the shore of Lough Derg, this 17th-century castle is a must-visit on any trip to Galway. Portumna Castle has a self-guided exhibition that brings you through its fascinating history and heritage, while the stunning gardens are well worth exploring afterwards. 

60. Derg Isle Adventure Centre

Looking for an active day out filled with thrilling outdoor experiences? Derg Isle Adventure Centre is your perfect one-stop-shop for adventure experiences this summer, providing watersports like kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding, as well as land activities such as archery and rock climbing.

61. Wilde Irish Chocolates

Have you ever wanted to see the inner workings of a chocolate factory? Wilde Irish Chocolates, located in Co. Clare, have been creating delicious homemade Irish chocolates since 1997 and they've since opened up their factory to the public. Offering tours of the factory and an mouth-watering Make & Taste experience, it's the ultimate attraction for any chocolate lovers.

62. Brookfield Farm

Situated along the Lough Derg coastline, Brookfield Farm has farm animals, native trees, bees and birdlife for you to discover. The farm also produces raw honey, and you can even pick up some beeswax gifts in their store. 

63. Lough Derg Watersports

This small kayaking business, based in Tipperary, was built on a passion for introducing kayaking and outdoor adventures to as many people as possible. Providing kayak and equipment rental, as well as stunning tours of the local area for anyone aged 6+, Lough Derg Watersports is the perfect place for beginners to try out kayaking for the first time.

64. Lough Derg Boat Tours

Lough Derg Boat Tours offers private and scheduled boat tours from Dromineer, giving visitors the opportunity to take in their scenic surrounds and learn more about the 30 islands that float upon Lough Derg. 

65. Lough Ree Boat Trips

Lough Ree Boat Trips offer fully accessible boat tours in Roscommon, providing an exciting water-based experience for people with disabilities. Their boat allows access for up to three wheelchair users at a time, and carers or assistants are transported for free.

66. Arigna Mining

Located in Co. Roscommon, the Arigna Mining Experience tells the story of the region's 400-year mining industry, as you explore a real-life mine with a tour guide who also happens to be an ex-miner. During the tour, you'll learn about the workers day-to-day lives in the mines and the challenging working conditions they faced.

67. Zip It Lough Key

If you're planning a trip to Lough Key Park in Roscommon, don't miss your opportunity to book an exhilarating Zipit experience. Aside from the treetop ziplining experience, families visiting here can also enjoy a treetop canopy walk, indoor activity maze and a playground.

68. Hydro Bikes at Carafin Lodge

Explore the sights and scenery of Cavan and Lake Carafin aboard your very own hydro bike! If you're not fimiliar with Hydro Bikes at Carafin Lodge, they're 100% pedal powered, making it so easy to control the vehicle while you're out on the water. As well as that, they're lightweight, safe and suitable for all fitness levels, making it the perfect activity to enjoy with families.

Visit Dublin...

69. National Museums of Ireland

No trip to Dublin is complete without exploring some of our National Museums. The Museum of Archaeology, the Museum of Decorative Art and History and the National Gallery of Ireland are fascinating places to learn more about Ireland's culture and heritage, while the National History Museum has officially reopened its doors this month. 

70. IMMA

Located in Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is home to loads of exciting exhibitions and artwork. After strolling through their extensive collections, you can explore the museum's gardens and join any talks or events taking place.

71. Chester Beatty Museum

The Chester Beatty Museum centres around helping visitors understand and appreciate different world cultures, showcasing incredible manuscripts and artefacts from countries all over the world. The collections here are really impressive, ranging from Egyptian Books of the Dead to contemporary Chinese woodblock prints.

72. Hop on the DART and explore Dublin's coastal villages

Escape the hustle and bustle of Dublin's city centre and hop on the DART to spend a weekend exploring the county's charming coastal villages and seaside scenery. Running along Skerries, Killiney, Dùn Laoghaire and Howth, Dublin's coastline has so much to offer for anyone craving a break from the city. 

73. Guinness Storehouse

Every Guinness fan needs to visit the Guinness Storehouse at least once. If you've never been, the experience brings you on a tour of the building, taking a journey back through Guinness' unique history, before enjoying a unique tasting experience. Afterwards, you can enjoy a delicious pint of the black stuff in the storehouse's rooftop Gravity Bar.

74. Phoenix Park Bikes

If you're in Dublin for a limited time only and looking to see as much of Pheonix Park as possible, head over to Phoenix Park Bikes. You can rent a bike and all the safety equipment you'll need, before heading off and exploring everything the park has to offer. 

75. Stoneybatter Farmers Market

If you're looking to support local, Stoneybatter Farmers Market is an ideal one-stop-shop in the city centre for food, drink, art, crafts and entertainment. If you're thinking of stopping by, the full market takes place every Saturday, while various food and coffee stalls also operate on a Friday.

76. Howth Food Market

Taking place in Howth village every weekend, Howth Market is perfect for picking up tasty organic fruit and veg, delicious baked goods and some adorable crafts such as jewellery and clothing.

77. Marsh's Library

Located just behind St Patrick's Cathedral, Marsh's Library is the oldest public library in Ireland. Stepped in history and culture, enjoy wandering around and admiring the impressive architecture and the old books that are stored here.

78. 14 Henrietta Street

Nestled inside 14 Henrietta Street is hundreds of years of Irish history, as this museum brings you through the lives and experiences of those who called the Georgian townhouse home at some point over the last 300 years.

79. OPW's FREE First Wednesdays admissions

If you want to save some cash on an upcoming trip to Dublin, plan it to coincide with the first Wednesday of the month, as this is when there is free admission to four participating OPW Heritage Sites - Custom House Visitor Centre, Casino Marino, Rathfarnham Castle and Farmleigh House and Estate.

80. Experience Glasnevin

Many famous faces are buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, including Daniel O'Connell, Michael Collins, Charles Stewart Parnell, Maud Gonne and Eamon DeValera. If you'd prefer, you can even book a guided tour of the cemetery, where you'll discover tributes to some remarkable people that shaped Irish history and culture.

81. The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

Located in Glasnevin, the National Botanical Gardens is filled with a huge collection of plant species, creating a stunning and tranquil garden space to stroll around in for a day. The gardens are free to enter and you can combine your visit with a trip to Glasnevin Cemetery, as they're only a 15-minute walk apart.

82. The Gap

For any mountain bikers looking for a new challenge in Dublin, The Gap could be the answer you've been looking for. The Gap is a gravity bike park located in Glencullen Adventure Park, jam-packed with loads of challenging mountain bike trails for experienced riders looking to test their skills. If you're thinking about giving it a go, just keep in mind that The Gap's trails aren't suitable for beginners.

83. Kellogg's Skyline Tour at Croke Park

On this 17-storey high tour in Croke Park, you'll walk along Dublin’s highest open-viewing platform and take in panoramic views of the city and its most iconic landmarks. During the winter time, the Kellogg's Skyline Tour can be done at dusk, giving visitors the chance to see the entire city light up ahead of nightfall.

84. Custom House Visitor Centre

If you're looking for a budget-friendly activity in Dublin, the Custom House Visitor Centre is an ideal day out for anyone looking to brush up on their Irish history knowledge, with exhibitions taking you on an exciting journey from the 1700s right up to the 21st-century.

85. City Kayaking

If you want to try your hand at some watersports without travelling out to the coast, you're in luck! City Kayaking offer guided kayaking tours along the Liffey, running straight through the city centre. You can also rent all your kayaking essentials here, if you've a kayaking trip of your own planned.

86. SUPing Grand Canal Dock

Looking to do some paddle boarding in the city centre? At Surfdock at Grand Canal Dock, you can rent all the equipment you'll need for a day of SUPing, from high-quality boards to all the necessary safety gear.

87. Little Museum of Dublin

In the Little Museum of Dublin, you'll be brought along on one of their famous guided tours, where you'll get the opportunity to learn more about the museum's extensive collection. For families, the Big Little Treasure Hunt is an exciting way for kids to enjoy the exhibition, while you also have the option of joining the museum's regular walking tours of St. Stephen's Green.

88. Hen's Teeth, Black Pitt's Dublin 8

Hen’s Teeth is a store, gallery and café, combing tasty food, immersive artwork and cute crafts all in the one city centre location. Stop in to browse their prints, homeware and accessories, or book yourself a table for a delicious lunch or dinner.

89. EPIC Museum

EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, explores the millions of Irish emigrants that have left Ireland over the last number of centuries. Taking an in-depth look at why they left, where they went and the impact they've made on the world around us, it's a unique glimpse into a specific aspect of Ireland's history and culture.

90. Teelings Distillery

After opening its doors in 2015, Teelings Distillery became the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years. Now, they've opened their premises up the public, running a number of unique and exciting tours here. All of their experiences include a full guided tour of the Teelings Distillery and the opportunity to taste some of their delicious products.

So, what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to Discover Ireland. Plan your next break at discoverireland.ie 

Brought to you by Discover Ireland