Non-Touristy Things to Do in Ireland
Looking for non-touristy things to do in Ireland? No worries! We compiled our top picks right here for your upcoming trip.
What Locations in Ireland Are Non-Touristy
These are some of the top non-touristy things to do in Ireland:
- Visit the Hore Abbey
- Walk by the Sliabh Liag Cliffs
- Hike the Mourne Mountains
- See the Torc Waterfall
- Bike at The Great Western Greenway
- Stay at the Ashford Castle
- Get your thrills at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
- Hit the beach at Aran Islands
Get ready for an exciting time and check out some underrated activities you can do in Ireland below.
Visit the Hore Abbey
Address: Rock House, St Patricks Rock St. Patricksrock, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
Contact Details: 1800 230 330, [email protected]
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Don’t miss Hore Abbey if you’re going to the Rock of Cashel in Ireland. This site is a stunning, undiscovered gem for many tourists.
You can play around with its name all you want (we also did!), but the term ‘hore’ is actually Gaelic for yew tree. As an old monastery, Hore Abbey dates to the 13th century.
In County Tipperary, Hore Abbey is situated a short distance from the Rock of Cashel. We think some people might accidentally discover this place if they take the wrong way while looking for the parking lot.
Still, we think these mistakes and bad turns might turn out to be among the most memorable times you’ll have.
If possible, we recommend bringing a drone to record videos from up high and far away. This way, you can be your own videographer and capture the most scenic views around.
We believe this can be a lot of fun to visit with kids, too. There are usually few visitors and no dull tours – you simply have the chance to explore historic ruins that resemble castles.
Take a Guided Walk by the Sliabh Liag Cliffs
Address: Slieve League Cliffs Centre, Bunglass Road, Teelin, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Contact Details: 00 (353) 7497 39077, [email protected]
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
You’ll see the Slieve League Cliffs Centre first as you travel to the breathtaking area of County Donegal.
We suggest you leave your car in the parking lot and walk to the cliffs to fully appreciate the beauty of Sliabh Liag (or Slieve League).
You have two options for getting to the main cliff viewing location from the Cliffs Centre: either use the nearby parking lot and walk to the viewpoint or drive straight up to it.
You’ll then be treated to the beauty of nature before you even reach the cliffs. Take advantage of your stroll with picturesque views and capture tons of photos like a photographer!
Just be cautious and never get too close to the edge, as most areas of the Slieve League Cliffs are unfenced.
When driving to the upper parking lot, be careful because there are many turns, blind spots, and people walking around. A trip to the emergency room with a bunch of doctors (doctors Ireland) probably isn’t the kind of trip you’d hope for.
Go Hiking in the Mourne Mountains
Address: Country Down, South East of Northern Ireland
Contact Details: 033 0137 4046, [email protected]
We believe going to the Mourne Mountains is another magnificent choice. Some of the most breathtaking sights can be seen from its various peaks, which look out over valleys, plains, and seas.
Hikers and rock climbers also like to go to this stretch of coastline in County Down. This is especially for those who want to test their skills and get some exercise.
Of course, you don’t have to be an excellent outdoors person to appreciate the Mourne Mountains’ natural splendour. For starters, biking or walking are the two best ways to explore the sites.
We recommend that bikers try the Mourne Mountains Cycle Loop. If you’re not a bike person, the Mournes have a wide range of terrain that would also delight dedicated walkers.
For tourists, Note that Northern Ireland’s weather can be unpredictable. Therefore, it’s best to be ready for both wind and rain.
Even on days with more sunshine, keep in mind that it will be cooler and frequently windier at the summit of a mountain. So, we advise you to bring necessities and dress accordingly.
See the Torc Waterfall
Address: Cloghereen Upper, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Contact Details: +353 85 801 7973
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Torc Waterfall, located at the foot of Torc Mountain, is one of Killarney National Park’s most accessible and beautiful locations.
At the Torc Waterfall parking lot, 3 circular paths and a couple more out-and-back trails begin.
The Yellow Loop Trail, a 2.7-kilometer hike to Torc Waterfall, is well-marked, well-maintained, and popular during the day. Many go this way, so note that it can be difficult to obtain a parking space here during the busiest months (or summer).
Should you continue on the route, turn left at the first T-intersection, then right immediately after to see the Blue Loop Trail next. This is merely a brief addition that lengthens the trail by roughly 600 metres.
Then, the 5-kilometre Red Loop Trail is an option if you’re seeking a somewhat more challenging hike on your Ireland road trip.
It begins at the parking area, has a rocky route, and has a number of lovely Lake Muckross views. This trail, also known as Cardiac Hill, is more difficult, especially when it’s raining.
And if the parking space is full later, don’t worry. There are still several options for where to park the car, about 350 metres away.
To avoid bus tours, which frequently include the waterfall on their Ireland itinerary, we suggest arriving early or late in the day as well.
Go Biking at The Great Western Greenway
Address: Co. Mayo, Ireland
Contact Details: +353 (0)94 9064000, [email protected]
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Co. Mayo has a wealth of outdoor and adventurous pursuits, but one activity you won’t want to miss is biking or walking the Great Western Greenway.
This site is without a doubt the most well-known cycling route in Mayo. For us, the 42-kilometre trip from Westport to Achill is just stunning!
The Greenway is a lovely, off-road path with serene views. It follows part of the route of the Midlands Great Western Railway, which ran in the 1800s.
You may come and discover its enchantment for yourself, whether you like to travel by foot, bike, or rental vehicle.
If 42 kilometres seems a little daunting, you may choose to tackle a more manageable portion of the course instead.
You should pack a helmet (if you’re carrying your own bike), water, and food. In our opinion, it also helps to have a fully charged phone, a rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, and padded shorts if you plan to complete the entire route.
Even though you are travelling off-road, just abide by the traffic laws by cycling on the left, passing on the right, and using your bell to ensure your safety.
Stay at the Ashford Castle
Address: Ashford Castle Dr, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Galway, Ireland
Contact Details: +353 94 954 6003, [email protected]
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
There are many grand hotels in the lovely Irish countryside, but as soon as you step foot inside Ashford Castle, we believe you’ll find something unique.
The picturesque house has belonged to many well-known Irish families over the years. Amazingly, celebrities like Grace Kelly, Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, and Pierce Brosnan have all stayed at the renowned 800-year-old Irish castle.
We advise you to explore the ins and outs of this site with their 3D tour first, so you can visualise your upcoming stay.
For us, this is ideal for those who desire a luxurious experience. With oak panelling, velvet draperies, and comfortable fireplaces with elaborate mantles, the interiors would look lavish yet still welcoming.
However, make sure to plan ahead or talk to a financial advisor because staying here can be costly – the rates at Ashford Castle start at $776 per night!
Once settled in, we recommend trying out their numerous amenities. The estate’s 9-hole golf course, clay shooting range, fly fishing, archery, and horse stables make it easy to spend your whole vacation there.
Also, Ashford Castle is home to Ireland’s oldest falconry school, which has always been open. Here, you may enrol in a private hawk walk and take a guided walk around the property.
You may also visit the recently built movie theatre for a less outdoorsy experience. There are weekly movie screenings there for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
If you’re a bar enthusiast, you may find a few options here. This is in addition to the restaurants employing a team of internationally renowned chefs and sommeliers.
Get Your Thrills at the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
Address: County, 119a Whitepark Rd, Ballintoy, Antrim, Ballycastle BT54 6LS, UK
Contact Details: 02820731855, [email protected]
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
People seeking excitement come from all over the world to walk across the Carrick-a-Rede bridge. The main attraction is the rope bridge, which is set among this pristine oceanfront landscape.
The majority of visitors come to the swinging suspension bridge to test their courage. Of course, we feel it’s best to remain careful throughout the experience.
Note that booking in advance is required for an adult ticket to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which costs £9.
The mainland’s coastal walks, on the other hand, are fully free to visit and don’t require reservations in advance.
Other than the breathtaking views, paths, and cottage, the only other activity on Carrick-a-Rede is wildlife watching – dolphins and porpoises are frequently seen just offshore!
There’s no time limit on how long tourists can stay on Carrick-a-Rede. But you can only cross the bridge with a ticket during a certain one-hour time period, so it’s best to make the most of it.
Yet, we suggest that you give yourself at least 15 minutes to get to the bridge before your ticket expires so that you don’t miss your crossing time. For your reference, the bridge is more than a half-mile from the parking lot.
If you love high tea, we think you might like the tea room nearby as well. They serve sandwiches and hot beverages, which would seem delightful after a long stroll.
Otherwise, you may try some Irish coffee at the Old Bushmills Distillery. It’s in the nearby town of Bushmills, which is known for its brewery, which makes whisky, cocktails, and other drinks.
Hit the Beach at Aran Islands
Address: Aran Islands, Co. Galway, Ireland
Contact Details: [email protected]
There’s no doubt that the Aran Islands are a major tourist destination for people looking to get away from modern life.
Although the islands include pubs, shops, restaurants, and lodging, it’s the absence of businesses that draws people to visit.
During the summer or on hot days, we advise beer enthusiasts to relax in Tí Joe Watty’s beer garden. And on chilly nights, curling up by the fire inside looks ideal, too.
On the island, you can enjoy the distinctive scenery of dry stone walls, pristine sandy beaches, and jagged sea cliffs.
If this is your first vacation to Ireland, we suggest visiting Inishmore (Inis Mór), the largest island, first – this is suitable for walkers of all levels. You can then visit Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) and Inisheer (Inis Orr) on later travels.
For us, cycling is a great way to see the Aran Islands as well. We advise making reservations in advance, especially in July and August, to avoid any hassle.
Love to scuba dive? Because there is so much life underwater, the Aran Islands are also known as one of the best places to dive in Europe.
As you explore life on the seafloor, you may look for colourful coral, spiny dogfish, and vivid sea anemones. You might even see friendly dolphins and seals, depending on when you go.
And there you go! We hope you find the best non-touristy activities in Ireland. Have fun throughout your trip!