Ireland = 50 Shades of Green. If there’s one thing travelers quickly learn when visiting Ireland, it’s that this country is nicknamed “The Emerald Isle” for a reason. Artists from all over the world are understandably drawn to the many dramatic landscapes sweeping throughout the nation. The following 12 instagrammers shared their favorite scenic spots with Travel Lushes, showing us just how diverse Ireland’s lush scenery is.
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1. The Giant’s Causeway
This is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site. The Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder consisting of 40,000 polygonal basalt rock columns that stretch along the coastline like a chain of gigantic stepping stones.
2. Connemara National Park
Located in the West of Ireland in County Galway, there is plenty to absorb in Connemara National Park. Visitors can enjoy a range of sights, including its herd of native Connemara Ponies and the park’s wild countryside, which sprawls around the famous Twelve Bens mountain range.
3. Aran Islands
Looking to experience some truly authentic Irish culture? Aran Islands should be on your list. Situated just off Galway in the Atlantic, this car-free zone is one of the few places left where you can see a traditional Irish village, untainted by the modern developments of the mainland. Here, many locals still speak Gaelic as their first language, while also speaking fluent English.
4. Cliffs of Moher
Easily reigning as Ireland’s most visited natural attraction, the Cliffs of Moher is the best place to visit for jaw-dropping views. It stands 214 meters (702 feet) at its highest point, offering visitors a chance to see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, Loop Head to the south and the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry.
Glendalough, or the ‘Valley of Two Lakes’, is one of Ireland’s most prominent monastic sites, situated in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. This 6th century Christian settlement boasts a series of impressive remains set against a backdrop of picturesque Irish countryside.
6. Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula) is the Kerry tourist trail that runs 120 miles through some of southwestern Ireland’s most awesome landscapes. According to instagrammer @t4nvi, this trail is “known as ‘ladies view’ – the name stems from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit.”
7. Mourne Mountains
The forested granite Mourne Mountains are another one of Ireland’s popular tourist destinations and a haven for cyclists and rock climbers. Located in County Down in the southeast part of Northern Ireland, this mountain range consists of 6 peaks over 700 meters tall with Donard as the highest at 849 meters.
8. Skellig Islands
The Skellig Islands are yet another one of Ireland’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. The two islands, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig, are home to an interesting 6th-century monastic complex nestled on the 230-meter high cliff top. They are also known for their array of fascinating sea birds, which you are sure to experience when visiting.
9. Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is County Donegal’s number 1 attraction, drawing hikers, cyclists and fishermen from all over Ireland. At 14,000 acres, this is the country’s second largest national park. While you’re enjoying the mountaintop views, keep a lookout for the park’s rare wildlife. The formerly extinct Golden Eagle was reintroduced to the park in 2000 and they share their habitat with Ireland’s largest herd of red deer.
10. Inisheer Island
Inisheer Island is the smallest of the Aran Islands, but I singled this one out because of its particularly distinctive charm.The island has the true feel of an isolated fishing village. From the pier you are greeted with a pristine carpeted white sandy beach facing clear crystal turquoise water and fisherman returning at the end of the day with their catch. Knock two sights off your list in the same day by visiting this island as well as the nearby Burren National Park.