Don’t tell the rest of Ireland, but we think our favorite part of Ireland is the south. We’re in love with it because there are so many gorgeous driving roads, castles upon castles, and beach communities.
The following are the top ten things to do in southern Ireland, from touring the Ring of Kerry to dining at the English Market to discovering Irish whiskey at the Jameson Distillery.
Work with an Irish local to organize your trip, whether you’re going to Ireland or just thinking about a staycation. With current information you might not discover online, our locals in Ireland will organize a safe journey away from the throng for you.
Best Places to Visit in Southern Ireland
Ireland is politically split between the Republic of Ireland and Southern Ireland, which is a component of the United Kingdom. The entire island of Ireland is included in our list of the top tourist destinations in the south.
1. Visit Killarney, Ireland’s favorite national park
Exploring the magnificently green Killarney National Park is one of Ireland’s must-dos since the country’s various shades of green are so gorgeous that Johnny Cash even composed a song about them! Killarney is home to 26,000 wonderful acres of everything: lakes, mountains, paths, wildlife, caverns, waterfalls, and a castle. Woof. That is a lot to investigate.
The Irish concur with our assessment of Killarney as one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations. You’ll discover a ton of amazing things to do, whether you want to kayak its lakes, trek its hills, or tour the 15th-century Ross Castle.
2. In Dingle, meet Fungie the dolphin
One of the nicest things to do in Dingle (or even all of Ireland—hey, this is a friendly dolphin) is to meet Fungie the Dolphin, the town’s most famous inhabitant.
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Fungie doesn’t communicate much, but he likes people and has been spotted next to boats in Dingle Bay for years. A boat tour can be added to your agenda if you ask an Irish travel agent how to meet Fungie.
3. Keep an eye out for animals in the deserted Blasket Islands
Explore the remote Blasket Islands near the Dingle coast to get off the beaten path in Ireland (literally). The islands, which have been uninhabited since 1953, are now a haven for wildlife, including humpback whales, puffins, and seals. You can take a ferry from Dunquin to the Blasket Islands with ease.
One of the most unusual places to stay in Ireland is on the Blasket Islands, where you may rent a cabin or set up a campsite. But if all you want to do is visit, book a boat excursion. You’re sure to see some amazing wildlife whether your excursion makes landfall or cruises the coast.
4. Munch on some food at the English Market
Food is one of the best activities in Ireland (hello, full Irish breakfast, my old buddy), and the English Market in Cork is the perfect spot to grab a snack. You’ll quickly discover why Corkonians have enjoyed the market for more than 200 years (talk about a recommendation!).
Aside from the fantastic food options, the market is stunning—the arched oak ceilings give it the appearance of a huge chapel. So take in the ambiance, mingle with the people while they shop, and buy some locally produced delights like fresh bread or cheese.
5. Visit Blarney Castle or kiss the Blarney Stone
Yes, we are aware that the Blarney Stone is the primary tourist destination in Ireland. Perhaps kitsch. But it’s enjoyable! And according to mythology, for just a simple slap, you could receive the talent for eloquence. Who wouldn’t desire that?
We still advise visiting Blarney Castle if hanging onto an iron bar and leaning back to kiss the wall doesn’t appeal to you. The castle, which dates to the fifteenth century, has numerous narrow spiral staircases, ramparts, and hidden passageways to discover.
6: Take a trip around the Ring of Kerry
What makes the Ring of Kerry so incredible? Many of Ireland’s top tourist destinations are visited along this breathtaking drive, including the cities of Killarney and Kenmare as well as amazing natural attractions like the Torc Waterfall and the Skellig Islands.
However, the miles and miles of ocean views, stunning cliffs, and vivid green fields are the greatest part of the journey in my opinion. You can take a guided tour from Cork (or other large towns) or rent a car to easily experience this gorgeous route.
7. The Jameson Experience invites you to raise a glass
Enter the world of whiskey by passing through the James Experience’s cheerful red doors in Cork. Yes, visiting the Jameson Distillery in Dublin is among the top things to do, however, the Cork location actually makes whiskey, while Dublin’s is more of a museum. (Both locations provide whiskey tasting, but Cork’s is fresher.)
Step behind the scenes and see how that amazing Irish whiskey is produced since taking in the bar scene is one of the nicest things to do in Ireland. Here, you can compare Jameson to competing brands while you tour the distillery, learn about whiskey, and (of course) sample it.
8. Experience Cobh’s (or Kinsale’s) small-town charm! Like Waterford!)
We adore traveling to tiny Irish communities. Fortunately, some of Ireland’s cutest residents reside in the south. Since Ireland is rich with undiscovered jewels that rarely appear on internet lists, a local Irish person will undoubtedly know the best places to visit in this regard, although we do have a few favorites.
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Cobh and Kinsale, both in County Cork, are vibrant and charming. And Waterford, which is near Cork and has a ton of amazing historical sites, is a great destination. These really are some of Ireland’s top tourist destinations.
9: The Kilkenny Castle
You must see at least a few castles when visiting Ireland, and fortunately, Kilkenny Castle, one of the nicest, is located in the south. In Ireland, seeing this massive, gorgeous, and well-preserved fortification from the 12th century is a must.
Get in touch with an Irish person who enjoys history; they can tell you about the castle’s turbulent past, beginning with Strongbow, one of the first Norman invaders of Ireland.
10. Mizen Head
Go all the way, you’re in the South, so do it. Since Mizen Head is the southwesterly point of Ireland, it offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The seascape is so stunning that it even matches other Ireland tourist attractions like the popular Cliffs of Moher (perhaps without the crowds).
Ireland is a holiday destination that lives up to its almost legendary reputation because to its vibrant Celtic culture and breathtakingly beautiful and diverse landscapes. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, the people are genuinely kind, and the Emerald Isle is truly that green.
Ireland still has stretches of roads and trails where travelers might feel as though they have the island to themselves, despite its tiny size, busy cities, and spreading suburbs.