Ireland is one of the world’s most scenic and beautiful countries. There are plenty of free destinations for you to enjoy breathtaking views with your date. Here are 30 ideas for you to experience some of the natural beauty Ireland has to offer.
1. Drive along the Slea Head Drive in the Dingle Peninsula
From Dingle, the circular Slea Head Drive forms part of the scenic Wild Atlantic Way and offers stunning views of the Dingle Peninsula. At Slea Head, you and your date will be treated to dramatic vistas of the coast and the Blasket Islands. There are also fishing villages, picturesque countryside, and spectacular mountain views along the way.
2. Walk in the footsteps of pagans and pilgrims at Mount Brandon
If your other half enjoys hiking, travel to the Dingle Peninsula and hike to the summit of Mount Brandon. The mountain once formed part of an ancient Pagan trail for the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasadh, although now it is a Christian pilgrimage route. The four-hour hike starts just west of Dingle and is signposted to the summit.
3. Visit Ireland’s only fjord at Killary Harbour
Killary Harbour stretches 16 kilometres from the Atlantic. With mountains to the north and south, the sheltered fjord has strings of ropes used for growing mussels. Boats also catch shellfish in its waters for restaurants near and far. With walking and diving opportunities, Killary Harbour is a great option if your date loves being active.
4. Drive to Bunglass for a view of Slieve League
Slieve League is a striking mountain overlooking the Atlantic coast in County Donegal. It is home to glorious sea cliffs that soar above the crashing waves of the ocean. A popular spot to view Slieve League is from Bunglass, which you can reach along a narrow road from Teelin.
5. Catch a glimpse of dolphins at Croaghaun
The northern slope of Croaghaun is home to the highest sea cliffs in Ireland and some of the highest in Europe. The best way to see the dramatic cliffs is by hiking around or to the summit of the mountain. Croaghaun is also a perfect destination to see wildlife, include peregrine falcons, bottle-nosed dolphins, porpoises, killer whales and humpback whales.
6. Catch a sunset at Horn Head
To experience the beauty of the Donegal peninsulas, drive to Horn Head from Dunfanaghy. You and your date will be treated to impressive views of the sea and the Muchkish and Derryveagh mountains, views that are particularly breathtaking as the sun sets.
7. Visit the northernmost tip of Ireland
Malin Head is among Ireland’s most exciting viewpoints. Its surrounds are dominated by a rugged coastline and turbulent seas. Situated on the northernmost tip of the island, there are several interesting spots to explore. North of Trawbreaga Bay are large sand dunes at Five Finger Strand, while puffins and other birds can be seen at the Inch Wildfowl Reserve at Inch Lake.
8. See one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ireland
Cascading down the Torc Mountains, Torc Waterfall is one of Ireland’s prettiest waterfalls. The waterfall is about seven kilometres from Killarney in Killarney National Park. You and your date might also catch a glimpse of red deer in the park, one of the last places in Ireland to see these native animals.
9. Admire the view at Ladies View
Ladies View is a scenic stop along the N71 between Killarney and Kenmare. The spot’s name goes back to 1861 when Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting admired the view. Situated in the Lakes of Killarney, you and your date will be surrounded by stunning valleys, mountains and lakes.
10. Enjoy a scenic drive to Wicklow Gap
The drive to Wicklow Gap links Hollywood and Laragh while weaving through the mountains of Glendalough, one of Ireland’s most scenic destinations. One of only two east-west routes across the Wicklow Mountains, Wicklow Gap Road is embraced by gorgeous views.
11. Follow in the footsteps of Saint Kevin in County Wicklow
Saint Kevin’s Way is a 30-kilometre medieval pilgrim trail from Hollywood that meanders across the enchanting valley of Glendalough. It was here that Saint Kevin spent his later years alone, praying and contemplating. At the end of the trail you will be able to see the remains of eleventh and twelfth century monastic buildings and the tomb of Saint Kevin.
12. Take a scenic walk in Wicklow
County Wicklow is known for its natural beauty and as a popular walking destination with rugged mountains, ancient peat bogs, lush forests and rolling countryside. One of the best walks is Deputy’s Pass, a short loop trail through woodland.
13. Feel the sand under your feet at Brittas Bay
One of the east coast of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, Brittas Bay is an idyllic setting for walk with your date. The Blue Flag beach is known for its clean and calm waters. There are over three miles of white sand dunes that are visited by rabbits, badgers, and red foxes. Bright pink Pyramidal Orchids also grow on the dunes, creating a truly romantic setting by the ocean.
14. Hike to the summit of Diamond Hill
You may not be ready to give a diamond or receive one from your date, but Diamond Hill is one of western Ireland’s best hikes. Its slopes are home to forgotten nineteenth century farm buildings and a 5,000-year-old tomb built by the area’s first farmers. The 500-metre hill overlooks the village of Letterfrack in Connemara National Park. You can also see the historic Kylemore Abbey and the Twelve Bens mountain range from the summit.
15. Drive along the Renvyle Peninsula for panoramic sea views
You and your date can drive along the N59 through unspoilt countryside and alongside rugged mountain ranges of the Renvyle Peninsula. Along the way you will see magnificent views of Ballynakill Bay. On clear days, you can also see the fabled mountain of Croagh Patrick. The route also takes you to the sandy beach of Glassilaun.
16. Cycle on the Bog Road
If your date loves to cycle, then the Bog Road in Connemara is a peaceful escape from city life. With the Twelve Bens within view, this route takes you through the Upland Blanket Bog that were shaped by Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers.
17. Look at the ‘coral’ in Carraroe
Carraroe’s Coral Beach in Galway (also known as Trá an Dóilín) is famous for its natural beauty, including coral-like lime formations and pristine sand. At dusk, the silhouettes of traditional Irish fishing boats contrast with the sky’s red and orange hues as the sun sets.
18. Walk in the footsteps of Ireland’s patron saint
Pilgrims have climbed up the holly mountain of Croagh Patrick for over 5,000 years. Pagans regarded this mountain as sacred and Christians now celebrate it in honour of Saint Patrick, who spent forty days on the mountain in the fifth century. Non-pilgrims can appreciate the historical significance of the mountain as well as the panoramic views of Clew Bay and the Mayo countryside.
19. Explore the Sky Road on two wheels
The Sky Road runs along the hills around Clifden Bay and overlooks the islands of Inishturk and Turbot. A great way to experience this scenic route during your date is on bikes from Clifden Beach or the town’s Market Square. A picture-perfect spot to see the charming town is from the summit of Monument Hill.
20. Walk in the shadow of Croagh Patrick at Bertra Beach
One of Ireland’s best walking beaches, Bertra Beach is close to the foot of Croagh Patrick. The sandy beach overlooks Clew Bay and its hundreds of islands. The Blue Flag beach is also popular for angling, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
21. Experience rural landscapes along the Copper Coast
Passing through six charming villages between Tramore and Dungarvan, the Copper Coast Drive offers you and your date unforgettable views of the beautiful southern coast of Ireland. There are astonishing views of sandy coves, coastal caves, imposing seaside cliffs, and more. The route also takes you to inviting beaches at Bunmahon and Clonea.
22. Experience jaw-dropping views on Valentia Island
Off the shores of Iveragh Peninsula is Valentia Island in County Kerry. The west side of the island offers views of Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and filming location for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Bray Head and Geokaun Mountain also offers monumental sea views.
23. Experience Ireland’s culture and history in Inis Mor
There are more than fifty monuments linked to pagan, Celtic and Christian heritage in Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay. This is the place to go if your date is interested in Irish culture and history. At the same time, the coastal landscape is breathtaking.
24. Explore Ireland’s most attractive town
Ardmore in County Waterford is one of the country’s most attractive towns. Originally founded by Saint Declan in the fourth century, the fishing town was also the setting of Nora Roberts’ romantic series ‘Gallaghers of Ardmore’.
25. Go for a peaceful drive along County Mayo’s west coast
The Atlantic Drive offers amazing views of the ocean as it runs along remote areas of Achill Island and the Currane Peninsula. On Achill Island, a 19-kilometres stretch of the route allows you and your date to venture to secluded cliffs shaped by thunderous waves.
26. Enjoy a romantic picnic at Stroove Breach
Close to Greencastle is Stroove Beach, a welcoming spot for a cosy picnic for two. The small sandy beach is also close to Inishowen Head and the historic Shroove Lighthouse.
27. Get inspired in Tolkien’s Middle Earth
JRR Tolkien visited The Burren while writing his classic ‘The Lord of The Rings’ and the unique landscape helped shape his vision for Middle Earth. The haunting hills of The Burren are made of craggy karst limestone that are lined with cracks. If your date is a Tolkien fan, they will appreciate Pol na Gollum. The cave, also known as the Hole of Gollum, may have also inspired the writer.
28. Walk the Cavan Way is the northern midlands of Ireland
The Cavan Way is a gentle route from the village of Dowra. The 26-kilometre trail follows secluded country paths and quiet roads towards Shannon Pot, where it ascents the limestone landscape into the Cuilcagh Mountains. There are wonderful views of Lough Macnean and the surrounding countryside.
29. Visit the picturesque fishing village of Kinsdale
The view of Kinsale in County Cork and its harbour filled with boats has inspired visitors from around the world. The historic fishing town with its colourful buildings and narrow streets is a peaceful escape from the bustle of nearby Cork.
30. Discover the beautiful wilderness of Glenveagh
You can still hear Gaelic Irish in Gweedore, a beautiful town in Donegal and a hub for Irish culture. The town is set amidst breathtaking scenery with long sandy beaches and towering mountains. The town is a gateway into Glenveagh National Park, a remote mountain wilderness with pristine lakes and a captivating oak woodland.
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