The south of Ireland has undoubtedly some of the best attractions in the country, from the viking settlement cities, to Norman Castles, lively festivals and excellent food options. There is something new to discover in this corner of Ireland with every visit!
(Just to clarify, by writing about the south of Ireland, we mean the counties of southern Ireland, not the Republic of Ireland.)
Starting in the south west, County Clare, is not only known for the Cliffs of Moher and the highly unusual lunar-like landscape of the Burren UNESCO Global Geopark. It is also world famous for its fantastic live Irish music sessions (think of Doolin for example) and festivals (including Fleadh Nua, the Burren Slow Food Festival and Doolin Writers’ Weekend).
County Kerry is another highly recommendable addition to any itinerary. Many visitors are spellbound by the breathtaking coastal drives of Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. More incredibly scenic landscapes can be found in Killarney National Park, where you will discover Muckross House and Gardens, as well as the idyllic Lakes of Killarney and Gap of Dunloe.
The “Rebel County “ as County Cork is also known, certainly has enough attractions and sights to keep all kinds of tourists happy. Whether you come to visit the Blarney Castle for the gift of eloquence, or fancy some top class cuisine (definitely visit the English Market in Cork City, Kinsale aka the Gourmet Capital, or Clonakilty for its famous black pudding sausages), you will be literally spoilt for choice.
The fabulous festivals and music (Guinness Cork Jazz Festival to name just one) and impressive historical buildings such as Charles Fort in Kinsale (from the 17th century) or the former prison and convict depot on Spike Island (18th century) are just some of the other interesting attractions that this county has to offer.
The viking city of Waterford is very obviously steeped in history from Reginald’s Tower in the city centre (the current tower structure was built by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century) to the Medieval Museum depicting city life and treasures of the city during the dark ages. Fine craftsmanship can still be seen in the city today if you take part in one of the tours of House of Waterford Crystal, where you will see the glassblowing and carving in action.
Get a breath of fresh air on the Waterford Cycling Greenway, an 80 km (50 mile) route which includes the UNESCO Geopark site of the Copper Coast, romantic ruins and ancient castles.
The best connections to fly directly to the south of Ireland are through Cork Airport or Shannon Airport. Kerry Airport also serves a few destinations in Europe including England, Germany, Portugal and Spain. As there is good road infrastructure and frequent bus as well as rail connections, travel from Dublin Airport to the south of Ireland is also easily possible.
Ireland Destination Guides
Find our guides for each destination in Ireland by clicking on the images below.