5 little known attractions in Ireland

Knocknarea Mountain, photo by Rowan McLaughlin on Flickr

Anyone who has ever considered visiting Ireland (and even those who didn’t) has heard about world famous attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, the Rock of Cashel and the Ring of Kerry. But Ireland can’t be reduced to a list of famous attractions, because there will always be some beautiful or unusual site that is known only to locals, or to few visitors. The appeal of Ireland lies in the fact that there is a seemingly endless possibility to discover new places and try new experiences. So after you’ve seen all there is to see on the beaten track, why not go further and check out these 5 little known attractions in Ireland.

Durrow Abbey, Co Offaly

Ireland has an extremely rich history and many historical sites to see, and some of them are more or less undisturbed to this day. The original monastery was founded in the 6th century by Saint Columba, and was frequently plundered by Vikings, and by the time of the last Norman invasion it has all but fallen into ruin. Two of the best features of the site are quite recent, the Abbey House which dates back to the 1920’s, and an 18th century church, but there are several 9th century high crosses, grave slabs and a 11th century mottle.

Devil’s Glen, Co Wicklow

Devil's Glen, photo by JP on geograph.org.uk

If you are fond of walking, you will find countless walking and hiking paths in Ireland, one more beautiful than the other. Co Wicklow has some truly amazing paths winding through areas of exceptional natural beauty, suffused with history and local legends. Devil’s Glen in Wicklow Mountains, a gorge cut out by meltwater. The glen is a wonderful place for a walk, thanks to its natural beauty and very interesting outdoor sculpture park.

Ferns Castle, Co Wexford

Ferns Castle, built in the 13th century, is not the kind of intricate medieval castle that you can see in other parts of Ireland, but it has a charm of its own that has to do with the fact that it is half ruined and looking very romantic, as well as with its lush natural surroundings. The one tower of the castle that is still almost complete houses a beautiful chapel decorated with sculpted ornaments.

Mitchelstown Caves, Cahir, Co Tipperary

Ferns Castle, photo by Michael Searle on /www.geograph.org.uk

Mitchelstown Caves at the foot of the Galty Mountains was discovered in 1833 by a quarry worker who dropped one of his tools down a crevice – and the rest is history. Guided tours of the caverns and tunnels started soon after, and for over a century Mitchelstown Caves have been one of the most interesting attractions in the area, yet they still remains among the 5 little known attractions in Ireland for mainstream tourism.

Knocknarea Mountain, Co Sligo

Knocknarea mountain is a truly stunning place, both viewed from a distance and up close. You can hike up this monolithic mountain in about half an hour, and see the view of the coast from the top. The grave of the famous Celtic Queen Maedbh is believed to be in the cairn at the top of Knocknarea mountain.

 

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