My name is Luke McGill, I am a 15 year old transition year student at St. Mary’s College in Rathmines, Dublin and I’m working with Irish Rugby Tours on work experience.  This is my first ever blog and I would like to talk to you about my top 10 tourist attractions in Ireland.

1. St. James’s Gate Brewery – Dublin

This is Ireland’s most visited fee charging tourist attraction. It is a museum and also an experience to Ireland’s most well-known beverage. You can do numerous activities here such as stout tasting, learn how to pull a pint and have a complimentary pint in the Gravity Bar where you will see the whole of Dublin City from the bar’s panoramic view point.

2. Cliffs of Moher – Co. Clare

The Cliffs of Moher stand at a whopping 702 feet above the Atlantic Ocean in County Clare. The Cliffs have featured in many movies including Harry Potter and is a haven for sea birds with over 20 species represented. From the cliffs you can see the famous Aran Islands which is just a 20 minute sailing from Doolin Bay. This is a must have journey when visiting Ireland as the views are breath-taking.

3. Giants Causeway – Co. Antrim

The Giants Causeway, so beautiful it is no wonder why it’s a World Heritage site. There are no activities you can do here other than jump around on the rocks or sit down and take in this natural beauty. There’s a legend about the Giants Causeway where a giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill built some  steppingstones to reach Scotland to fight a Scottish giant.

4. Dublin Zoo – Dublin

Located in Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin City is Dublin Zoo. It is Ireland’s most popular family attraction and it had over one million visitors in 2019. It is one of the world’s oldest and also, most popular zoos. It’s home to over 400 animals and opens all year round from 09:30am daily.

5. Blarney Castle & Stone – Co. Cork

Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney in Co. Cork. Originally dating from before AD1200 it was destroyed in 1446 and is now a partial ruin with some rooms still accessible. The Blarney Stone is a block of Bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle. According to the legend, kissing the stone gives the kisser the gift of Gab. Overall the castle is an attractive tourist site in Ireland attracting visitors from all over the world to come and kiss the Blarney Stone.

6. The Book of Kells & Trinity Library – Dublin

The Book of Kells and Trinity College are located in the heart of Dublin City. It is Ireland’s oldest university, one of the country’s ancient treasures. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1, the Book of Kells is a precious 9th century manuscript and is noted as the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. You can also get access to the long room which is one of the world’s most beautiful libraries and home to 250,000 of Trinity College’s most ancient books. J.K Rowling took inspiration from the long room for the library in her first Harry Potter movie.

7. Kilmainham Gaol – Dublin

This site is perfect for tourists with interest in Ireland’s troubled history. Here the leaders of the 1916 rising were brought and executed in the prison yard. It was built in 1796 and was a disgusting institution that was home to guilty criminals who were unable to pay their train fares during the famine. There were many public executions at the front of the jail and is a symbol of oppression and persecution.

8. The Ring of Kerry – Co. Kerry

The ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most popular drives and is 120 miles long. There are many sights along the way, every turn you take brings a new beautiful treat to the eye. Skellig Ring just off the main route was given a big role in Star Wars, The Force Awakens. It is breath-taking at night when you look up at the sky the stars are shining brightly as there are no buildings blocking the view. It’s best to travel early to avoid traffic and go in the summer months to avoid the rain.

9. Bunratty Castle & Folk Park – Co. Clare

Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 and fully restored back to full glory in 1954 now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries and works of art. Across the 26 acres of Folk Park you will find 30 buildings and a “living village”.  Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time. This is a must see as it gives you a beautiful insight of what life was like back then.

10. Westport – Co. Mayo

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Westport is a great little town to visit and is a favourite of mine as my parents used to take my siblings and I here on holiday during the school breaks.  The fun we had on the beaches running free among the dunes playing hide & seek. The town has a lot to offer from an adventure park to coasteering to the Great Western Greenway. In the Georgian town centre, stone bridges link the tree-lined promenade on the banks of the Carrowbeg River. Rockfleet Castle and Burrishoole Abbey, both to the northwest, have ties to the 16th-century pirate queen, Grace O’ Malley.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading about My Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Ireland and you too will get as much fun visiting them as I did.

Luke McGill.