From Yorkshire to the Emerald Isle: Unveiling Ireland’s Enchanting Natural Wonders
Yorkshire—a historic county in Northern England—is known for its captivating natural sceneries and landscapes. From vast rolling hills, moorlands with all sorts of wildflowers, and lush green valleys, to rivers with clear blue waters slithering through the landscape, Yorkshire is the perfect place to be if you want to be somewhere tranquil. Spending every day in this beautiful county is already a dream come true for most people, but it is also an excellent idea to explore other horizons.
If you travel to the West of Yorkshire, you’ll come across the fascinating country of Ireland. Although it is relatively small, Ireland scores high when it comes to the sheer number of enchanting natural landscapes you’ll find here. And because it is surrounded by water on its west, south, and east sides, Ireland has plenty of stunning coastlines and beaches. Ready to explore the wonders of the Emerald Isle? Plan your Ireland trips today and embark on an adventure of a lifetime by visiting the following top tourist attractions:
Cliffs of Mother
If you are looking for a destination where you can have a serene epiphany while admiring a panoramic view of the coastline, the Cliffs of Moher is the perfect place to go. When you’re standing on top of these enormous sandstone cliffs rising more than 700ft above the Atlantic Ocean, you will get the perspective of how we are nothing but insignificant specks of dust in the grand scheme of things. Apart from mulling over the essence of life, you can also admire the tranquillity up here, with nothing but the sound of the winds and the waves endlessly crashing on the rocks. It is also one of the best spots for watching the sunset.
Ring of Kerry
Those who fancy a road trip will surely love the scenic drive around Ireland’s famous Ring of Kerry. This scenic route starts and ends in Killarney and circles around the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwestern corner of County Kerry. Along the way, you will be fascinated by the sight of lush forested mountains, stunning views of the Atlantic coast, and the golden sands of Rossbeigh Beach. Don’t miss stopping by the UNESCO World Heritage site called Skellig Michael, where you can see a historic monastic settlement and watch birds like puffins and razorbills.
Off the northwest of Galway city, you’ll find Ireland’s most alluring wilderness that stretches across Galway. Connemara fascinates adventurous tourists with its serene lakes, marshes, lushly forested mountains, rocky coastlines, bays hidden in plain sight, and quaint little towns. Here, you will also find Ireland’s only fjord—Killary Harbour, along with Kylemore Abbey. You can also visit the historic Alcock and Brown monument near Clifden, the first non-stop transatlantic flight landing site. Lastly, you can hike the stunning trails of the 40,000-acre Connemara National Park.
Ireland’s southwest Atlantic coast is home to the famed Dingle Peninsula, a faraway region lined with gorgeous sandy beaches and craggy cliffs, which also abound with rolling hills and lush mountains. If you like taking road trips, head over to the Slea Head Drive, which is one of the most scenic drives in Ireland. Along the way, you will get to enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Blasket Islands, along with historical and cultural sites like the Gallarus Oratory, Fahan Beehive Huts, Dunquin Harbour, and Coumeenoole Beach.
You will also pass by the small yet charming town of Dingle at the heart of the peninsula, which is dotted with cozy pubs, quirky shops, and quaint restaurants serving delicious local dishes. This is also where you will find the famous dolphin named Fungie. Tourists take boat tours all the time just to see Fungie in the bay.
Back in the day, Ireland was crisscrossed with stretches of regional railways that are no longer used today. The ever-creative Irish people then repurposed some of these railways into off-road walking and cycling routes. One fine example is the Waterford Greenway, a 28-mile trail that follows an old railway line from Waterford City to the seaside town of Dungarvan. Hiking or biking through this route will allow you to appreciate the countryside’s serene, beautiful landscapes and awesome sea views while passing over the viaducts and moss-strewn railway tunnels.
The Giant’s Causeway is a geological marvel in the County Antrim listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This peculiar and interesting natural geological formation was created about 50 to 60 million years ago when molten lava spewed from a volcanic eruption flowed to the ocean, causing it to cool, harden, and form layers of basalt that contracted and fractured into polygonal columns. Most of these columns vary in shape and size, ranging from five to seven sides, and are up to 25 meters high. Indeed, the Giant’s Causeway is a fitting name because these look like giant steps that lead from the cliffs to the sea and are best described as a honeycomb of rocks.
These 40,000 large, polygonal basalt columns stacked on top of each other are not only cultural and historical treasures, but they are also shrouded in rich folklore. Legend has it that the Giant’s Causeway was built by an Irish giant so that he could cross over to Scotland to fight a Scottish giant.
Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary
No better word can describe the famous Rock of Cashel other than “atmospheric.” A two-hour drive from Galway or Dublin will transport you to one of Ireland’s most visited tourist spots—the Rock of Cashel. The towers and turrets of this medieval cathedral lure tourists from all over the world with their enigmatic and mysterious gothic fairytale-like charm.
The oldest parts of the palace were estimated to date back a millennium ago, serving as a fort and castle for the kings of Munster. Legend also has it that this is where Saint Patrick converted King Aenghus’ faith to Christianity.