11 Irish towns you need to visit that aren't Dublin or Belfast

towns, Irish, Tourists, Dublin, British

Views over Galway City (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When visiting Ireland, on the hunt for history, scenery and, of course, “the craic”, people usually head for the two capitals: Belfast and Dublin. Both fine cities, without a doubt, but push your boundaries a little farther and there’s a host of fantastic villages, towns and cities that will provide just as much joy with additional “have you ever been to..?” travel kudos.

Now that Ireland has reopened to British visitors, here are 11 cities beyond the capitals.

Kinsale, Co Cork

Ireland has a centuries-old link with countries like Spain, Italy and France and boy does it show in this southern coastal town at the mouth of the River Bandon. Colourful buildings, fancy boats, tight winding streets and alleyways, a highly acclaimed food scene and even a slightly warmer microclimate give it a Med-ish feel, but the welcome is very much Irish. Take a walk to Summercove and watch the sun set over the main town. Drink in hand, obviously.

Westport, Co Mayo

A must-visit town for lovers of music, scenery, pubs and slightly more badass pilgrimages. Looming over it is Croagh Patrick: the mountain on which, according to legend, Saint Patrick prayed and fasted for 40 days. On the last Sunday of July, thousands take a pilgrimage to the summit (some even go barefoot), but hike it any time, even if you just worship the good views. The town itself is very charming, with trad music galore in the many, many pubs, and kids can be entertained at the Pirate Adventure theme park in Westport House.

Galway, Co Galway

towns, Irish, Tourists, Dublin, British

Galway city centre

(Tourism Ireland)

No-one who’s been to Galway will be surprised that it’s received the mighty accolade of the world’s fourth best city to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020 awards. You couldn’t design a better “something for everyone” city. Contained in a very walkable area, there’s history, food, beaches, pubs, and more live music than Glastonbury. Make sure you saunter to the seaside resort of Salthill and, if you really want to stretch those legs, take a day trip to the glorious Connemara National Park.

Newcastle, Co Down

A real hidden gem about 45 minutes’ drive south of Belfast, Newcastle is a traditional seaside town with some important added bonuses. First, the ice cream. Several family-run makers battle for visitors’ favour and the loyalty of locals (opinions are never united). Then you have the Royal County Down golf club, lovely links regularly voted in the world’s top five courses and not owned by Donald Trump. But best of all are the jaw-dropping Mountains of Mourne, including Northern Ireland’s highest peak Slieve Donard, which are a walker’s paradise.

Kenmare, Co Kerry

towns, Irish, Tourists, Dublin, British

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The town of Killarney is a honey pot to the bears that are (mainly American) tourists looking for a very “Irish” town and others wanting doorstep access to Killarney National Park. But head a few miles south of the park, on the Ring of Kerry, and you’ll find Kenmare. It’s only small, but it has two streets brimming with great pubs, restaurants and shops, and is surrounded by dreamy, tranquil countryside. Opt for some very eco-friendly local transport and sign up for a horse or pony trek.

Dingle, Co Kerry

Apart from having the best name on this list, Dingle can also make claim to having some of the best scenery in Ireland. This historic fishing town – home to the famous Murphy’s ice-cream, including a very convincing gin and tonic flavour – has mountains to one side, the Atlantic to the other and the beautiful Inch beach (actually three miles long). Irish is the town’s first language, so Go n-éiri an bóthár leat (have a good journey).

Clifden, Co Galway

towns, Irish, Tourists, Dublin, British

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Another coastal town and why not? Situated roughly halfway between Galway and Westport (if you take scenic route via Connemara) and close to the stunning Kylemore Abbey, this pretty little town is most noted for two things related to its proximity to the USA: the first trans-Atlantic flight ended here when John Alcock and Arthur Brown planted their Vickers Vimy into a nearby bog, which just happened to be near the station from where Guglielmo Marconi was transmitting the first transatlantic commercial wireless communications.

Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

The name of Enniskillen is tragically linked with the 1987 Remembrance Day bombing, but that association masks a vibrant town with much to offer. Perhaps its greatest asset is its position at the heart of Northern Ireland’s lake district in Fermanagh. You can take an underground boat ride through the Marble Arch caves, hop between the lakes’ 150 islands in a kayak, or stay by Lough Erne, just like Barack Obama and David Cameron did at the 2013 G8 summit.

Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny

towns, Irish, Tourists, Dublin, British

(Getty Images)

Kilkenny is the one-stop shop for culture vultures visiting Ireland. If you’re after arts and crafts, the Kilkenny Design Centre is the place for you. Into foodie scenes? Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s food capitals, boasting superb gastro-pubs, a clutch of independent breweries and a Michelin-starred restaurant in Campagne. And if live entertainment is your bag, then turn up for Kilkenny Arts Week in August or the Cat Laughs comedy festival in June.

Wexford, Co Wexford

Nearby Curracloe beach was the location for Stephen Spielberg’s recreation of the D-Day landings in Saving Private Ryan, but Wexford, on Ireland’s south-east coast, is better known for more sedate pursuits. You can take strolls through its idyllic streets or absorb centuries of Irish history at nearby places like the Irish national Heritage Park and the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience. But Wexford’s big pull is its opera house, which holds a near-70-year-old festival every October.

Carlingford, Co Louth

towns, Irish, Tourists, Dublin, British

Views around Carlingford Lough

(Sinead McCarthy)

Carlingford is a nice enough little place on the banks of Carlingford Lough, an inlet of the Irish Sea and a watery extension of the Irish border that you can cross between via a car ferry. The town’s real appeal, though, is on its outskirts. Lovers of the great outdoors can head to Carlingford Adventure Centre for anything from kayaking to frisbee golf to the vertiginous sky park (or just go for a walk); while more whimsical visitors can explore the Folklore Park or underground Leprechaun caves.

To find out more about visiting the island of Ireland visit ireland.com

News Related


'I have lived my life well': At 100 years old, Betty Reid Soskin is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service

This story was originally published on July 31, 2020, and has been updated to reflect Soskin’s 100th birthday. Betty Reid Soskin has lived an extraordinary life. At 100 years old, ... Read more »

Bukan Wisatawan, Kini Stelephorus yang Berkerumun di Pantai Selatan Yogyakarta

© Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Yogyakarta – Pemerintah DI Yogyakarta masih menutup kawasan pantai selatan dari wisatawan di masa PPKM Level 3. Hanya petugas pantai dan nelayan yang ... Read more »

Frida Kahlo estimated $30m self-portrait set to smash records

A sorrowful Frida Kahlo self-portrait which shows her cheating husband, Diego Rivera, in the centre of her forehead, is expected to smash auction records as it becomes the most valuable ... Read more »

The ambitious new European sleeper train network to connect London to Barcelona

europe sleeper train network – Getty Rail anoraks were aquiver last week as the German Greens announced plans for a network of night trains in Europe. Under the proposals, some ... Read more »

Jagran Explainer: Planning a trip abroad? Check out the restrictions on Indian flyers as countries lift COVID-19 travel curbs

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With India and various other countries rapidly vaccinating their citizens, the tourism industry is gradually seeing an increase in people ... Read more »

Walked from a hotel? Here's how much compensation you're owed

© Provided by The Points Guy MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from ... Read more »

Norman Bailey obituary

The generation of British opera lovers who got to know Wagner’s works in the late 1960s and 70s was fortunate indeed that Sadler’s Wells (from 1974 English National) Opera was ... Read more »

‘Almost ended in tears': Herd of elephants charge at ‘bad' tourists [watch]

© Provided by The South African A viral video shows tourists running for their lives after being chased by a herd of elephants at Kruger National Park, posted to Twitter ... Read more »

The best of the Hebrides can be found on a ship once chartered by the Queen

hebridean princess Peering over the Taittinger bubbles I scan the glass-calm sea loch for seals. An otter rudely interrupts. Then the languorous curling loop of a basking shark. I would ... Read more »

UK revises COVID-19 travel advisory, approves Covishield as authorised vaccine after India's protest

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The UK government on Wednesday revised its COVID-19 travel advisory approving the Covishield vaccine in the ‘authorised vaccines list’ which ... Read more »

Fewer trips, longer distances: how walking habits changed in 2020

(Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Archive) People in England walked an average of 220 miles last year, the furthest since current records began, although the number of journeys made on foot fell ... Read more »

Egypt is off the red list, yet the Government still advises against travel for 'Covid risks'

People relax on beach chairs in Sharm El Sheikh – Ed Giles/Getty Images Europe It should be a morning to rejoice. As of 4am today, eight countries have been removed ... Read more »

Strictly celeb's ‘fury' they weren't ‘protected' as BBC reassures contestants over Covid safety

(PA) A Strictly Come Dancing celebrity hopeful is said to be “furious” they have been partnered with a dancer who has reportedly refused to have the Covid vaccine. Anger has ... Read more »

5 Destinasi Menarik di Gdansk-Polandia, Kota Milik Klub Witan Sulaeman

© Disediakan oleh IDN Times Bicara soal Gdansk, tentunya kamu semua pasti mengarah ke klub yang sekarang dibela pemain muda timnas Indonesia, Witan Sulaeman. Ya, Lechia Gdansk merupakan sebuah klub ... Read more »

9 Potret Rumah dan Vila Mewah di KDrama Monthly Magazine Home

© Disediakan oleh IDN Times KDrama Monthly Magazine Home telah mengakhiri masa tayang sejak 5 Agustus 2021 lalu. Dibintangi oleh Jung So Min dan Kim Ji Suk, drama ini menceritakan ... Read more »

Mal di Kota Yogyakarta Boleh Terima Anak Usia di Bawah 12 Tahun

© Disediakan oleh Kompas.com Tugu Yogyakarta, ikon Kota Jogja. YOGYAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Pusat perbelanjaan atau mal di Kota Yogyakarta boleh menerima pengunjung berusia di bawah 12 tahun. Hal itu merupakan ... Read more »

The 7 best places to see the salmon run in Canada

© Wanderlust 1. Adams River, British Columbia © Provided by Wanderlust Sockeye Salmon on Adams River (Shutterstock) Originating high in the Monashee Mountains and emptying into Adams Lake, Adams River ... Read more »

UK revises COVID-19 travel advisory, approves Covishield as authorised vaccine

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The UK government on Wednesday revised its COVID-19 travel advisory approving the Covishield vaccine in the ‘authorised vaccines list’ which ... Read more »

Backpacker hostel bookings surge ahead of Durga Puja, Diwali! How to find affordable accommodation this festive season

© Provided by The Financial Express Staying at a backpacker hostel in Europe became the turning point for Pankaj Parwanda, Co-founder of goSTOPS, as he sensed the opportunity to solve ... Read more »

Want to travel abroad? Link your passport with COVID-19 vaccination certificate immediately - Know how

© Provided by DNA People are going back to their normal routine after the outbreak of the Corona Pandemic in the country. The latest data of the Ministry of Health ... Read more »

5 Tempat Wisata Hits di Tanah Bumbu, Kalsel yang Seru buat Dijelajahi!

© Disediakan oleh IDN Times Namanya mungkin masih terdengar asing jika dibandingkan dengan daerah lain di Indonesia. Namun siapa sangka, Tanah Bumbu yang terletak di Provinsi Kalimantan Selatan ini ternyata ... Read more »

Seperti Jakarta, Los Angeles Wajibkan Turis Bawa Bukti Vaksin Covid-19

© Disediakan oleh Kompas.com Universal Studios Hollywood. KOMPAS.com – Beberapa destinasi wisata di Indonesia mulai mewajibkan wisatawan untuk divaksin Covid-19 minimal dosis pertama sebelum berkunjung ke tempat wisata, misalnya Jakarta. ... Read more »

Jemaah Umrah Indonesia Wajib Vaksinasi Penguat, Menteri Retno: Ingat EUL WHO

© Disediakan oleh Tempo.co foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Menteri Luar Negeri RI Retno Marsudi mengingatkan pemerintah Arab Saudi agar memperhatikan rekomendasi Organisasi Kesehatan Dunia atau WHO dalam menentukan vaksin mana ... Read more »

Biola Raksasa Mengambang di Venesia, Simbol Harapan di Tengah Pandemi

  © Disediakan oleh Kompas.com Biola raksasa di Grand Canal Venesia, Italia. KOMPAS.com – Sebuah biola berukuran 11 meter atau 39 kaki terlihat mengambang di Grand Canal Venesia, Italia. Melansir ... Read more »

Berandai-andai, seperti Apa Gaya Traveling Pascapandemi?

© Disediakan oleh Kompas.com Ilustrasi traveling pascapandemi. KOMPAS.com – Selama masa pandemi Covid-19, masyarakat tidak bisa bepergian atau melakukan aktivitas traveling #DiIndonesiaAja seperti sedia kala. Bahkan, jika pandemi berakhir pada ... Read more »

Soak In That Vitamin D At These Gorgeous Places Across The World Where The Sun Doesn't Set

© Provided by iDiva Vacations become extra special when there is ample sunlight to guide you through green pastures and beautiful landscapes. Natural sunlight is also the perfect setting for ... Read more »

Get spirited away on a gin-making adventure in North Yorkshire

‘It’s about to happen, I promise!” says Rob Crossley, the “Professor”, as he uses asbestos fingers to gingerly tip-tap his way along a copper pipe to where the magic is ... Read more »

International border to reopen by Christmas at the latest, Tourism Minister says

Australians itching to head on an overseas holiday have been assured by the government that international borders will reopen by Christmas at the latest. Tourism Minister Dan Tehan, who is ... Read more »

Human Rights Commissioner blasts Qld's hotel quarantine system and celebrity exemptions

There are no shortage of critics when it comes to Queensland’s strict stance on borders and hotel quarantine and now the state’s human rights commissioner has weighed in. In a ... Read more »

Jesus Christ Superstar at 50: how ‘the worst idea in history' became a musical phenomenon

Ted Neeley as Jesus in the 1973 film version – AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice first approached theatre producers with their concept ... Read more »

Persiapan Hotel dan Desa Wisata Labuan Bajo untuk KTT G20 2022

© Disediakan oleh Kompas.com Gili Lawa di Taman Nasional Komodo. LABUAN BAJO, KOMPAS.com – Hotel dan desa wisata di Labuan Bajo, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), tengah disiapkan ... Read more »

Pendaki Gunung Guntur Garut Hilang Setelah Menolak ke Puncak dan Tetap di Kemah

© Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Petugas masih mencari seorang pendaki yang hilang di Gunung Guntur, Kecamatan Tarogong Kaler, Kabupaten Garut, Jawa Barat, yang hilang pada Minggu, ... Read more »

9 Potret Indahnya Taman Hana Byori di Jepang, Ada Starbucks Garden Lho

© Disediakan oleh IDN Times Saat musim semi, beberapa orang memilih untuk mengunjungi Jepang untuk melihat bunga sakura dan taman bunga lainnya. Tak heran, karena Jepang memang menawarkan beragam tempat ... Read more »

Muslim Friendly, 8 Tempat Wisata 2D1N di Jeju ala Kimbab Family

© Disediakan oleh IDN Times Kimbab Family merupakan YouTuber yang populer lewat konten keharmonisan keluarga mereka. Tengah berlibur selama sebulan di Pulau Jeju, keluarga yang terdiri dari ayah, ibu, dan 3 ... Read more »

‘We don't want to increase risk unnecessarily': SA Premier says border rules may be in place past Christmas

South Australia may not completely open its borders once it reaches 80 per cent of full vaccination, the Premier has warned. Steven Marshall on Wednesday said he hoped the state ... Read more »

20 Oleh-oleh Populer Khas Bali, dari Kacang Disco hingga Kristal

© Disediakan oleh Kompas.com ILUSTRASI – Topeng Bali, suvenir khas Desa Tenganan, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali. KOMPAS.com – Membeli oleh-oleh untuk keluarga dan teman menjadi satu hal yang tak boleh ketinggalan ... Read more »

Anak di Bawah Usia 12 Tahun Boleh Masuk Mal Yogya, Sultan HB X: Harus Hati-hati

© Disediakan oleh Tempo.co foto TEMPO.CO, Yogyakarta – Kalangan masyarakat, wisatawan hingga pengelola destinasi di Yogyakarta kompak mengeluhkan kebijakan larangan anak di bawah usia 12 tahun masuk kawasan destinasi di ... Read more »

JetBlue, American Airlines blast DOJ over lawsuit challenging Northeast partnership

JetBlue and American Airlines pledged to forge ahead with their planned partnership at northeastern U.S. airports after the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal. Executives fired ... Read more »