Ireland has long been one of the most popular European destinations for Americans. It is well-connected and relatively close. Flights from the East Coast of the U.S. are just over 6 hours.
Recently, Ireland was voted the best European destination for the 9th year in a row. The Irish culture is welcoming, the landscapes are breathtaking, and there is plenty to do and see throughout the country.
Each year, one of Ireland’s leading newspapers, the Independent.ie, asks readers to weigh in on their favorites across a range of domestic and international categories. Readers choose their favorite Irish beaches, hotels, and overseas destinations.
This year they also asked Irish readers to determine the top visitor attractions for 2023. Here are the top 6 visitor attractions in Ireland, according to Irish readers:
6. Birr Castle, County Offaly
The gorgeous Birr Castle is about a 2-hour drive west of Dublin. While the castle is still a private family home and closed to visitors except during seasonal guided tours, its extensive, well-maintained 120-acre grounds are enough to keep visitors busy for hours. Birr Castle has been owned and occupied by the same family for over 400 years.
During the 19th century, the castle grew as a center of science and was home to the largest telescope in the world for over 70 years. The telescope is still on display at the castle, and the grounds continue to be a site for scientific learning and exploration.
5. Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin
Kilmainham Gaol is Dublin’s most notorious jail and is one of the city’s most well-known landmarks. Built in 1796, it functioned as a jail for over 100 years. The site was witness to some of the most historic events in Irish history, including the execution of 14 leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising and the fight for Irish independence.
The Gaol was closed in 1924 but was opened as a museum in 1966 by then President Éamon de Valera, who had been imprisoned in the Gaol decades earlier.
4. Kilkenny Castle
Located a little over an hour from Dublin, the vibrant town of Kilkenny is worth a visit. The Kilkenny Castle is located in the city center, was built in 1195, and was in use for over 800 years. The castle and grounds have been beautifully restored to reflect its aesthetic during Victorian times. Visitors can explore the extensive 50-acre grounds, including the formal garden, through a trail network.
3. Waterford Greenway
The Waterford Greenway is one of Ireland’s newest attractions. Opened in 2017, the 28-mile car-free path connects Waterford City with the town of Dungarvan. Visitors can rent bikes and cycle the entire route or visit sections of the path.
The scenic route takes visitors along former railroad tracks, along River Suir, over bridges, and through tunnels before ending at Waterford’s beautiful beaches. The path is chock full of Irish history and passes medieval ruins, Viking sites, and Norman castles.
2. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
Guinness is the most iconic beverage in Ireland, and the Guinness Storehouse is Ireland’s most visited attraction. In 2019 they welcomed 1.7 million visitors to the site of the original brewery that was opened in 1759.
While it is sold all over the world, it tastes better in its native land, and there is nowhere better to enjoy a pint and learn the storied history of the beer than at the Guinness Storehouse. The Storehouse is part museum, part interactive experience, and ends with a refreshing drink on the top floor, complete with views of Dublin.
1. Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
The rugged seaside cliffs seen on every Irish postcard are truly a sight to be seen. The stunning Cliffs of Moher are worth the hype. Located on Ireland’s West Coast along the Wild Atlantic Way in County Clare, The Cliffs of Moher welcome over 1.6 million guests each year.
Visitors can walk along the cliffside path while taking in the sights before checking out the informative visitors center that is built into the nearby hillside. Tourists looking for a different perspective can take a boat tour of the cliffs from the nearby town of Doolin.
What Other Attractions Made The List?
Other top attractions that were included in the Independent’s Readers Travel Awards include:
- Titanic, Belfast
- Tayto Park, County Meath
- Newgrange, County Meath
- Bunratty Castle, County Clare
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com