South West Ireland
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Things to do in South West Ireland

Things to do in  South West Ireland

Welcome to South West Ireland

The Blarney Stone, Ring of Kerry, and Jameson Distillery are the main draws for travelers visiting this oft-overlooked part of Ireland. But those who stay longer than a day in the rugged southwest discover national parks replete with peaks, lakes, and woodland; towns with famously friendly locals; and clifftops featuring meandering walkways where you’re more likely to cross paths with sheep than people.

Top 15 attractions in South West Ireland

Killarney National Park

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Killarney National Park, with idyllic lakes and ancient woodlands backed by the serrated MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, is an area of stunning natural beauty. The park is also historically significant, with two heritage buildings on-site: Ross Castle, a 15th-century fortress-turned-hotel, and Muckross House, a stately Victorian estate.More

Gallarus Oratory

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Go inside Ireland’s best-preserved early Christian church during a visit to the Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. Many travelers stop at Gallarus Oratory as part of the scenic Slea Head Drive, and a nearby visitor center shows a short presentation about the history and architecture of the landmark.More

Blarney Castle & Gardens

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The famous Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle & Gardens is officially called the Stone of Eloquence, with a legend that states if you kiss the stone, you will never be at a loss for words. People travel from all over the world to kiss this mystical stone, which can only be done by hanging upside down over a sheer drop from the castle's tower. In addition to the draw of the stone, the 600-year-old fortress also boasts an array of handsome gardens and several interesting rock formations known collectively as Rock Close and given whimsical names such as Wishing Steps and Witch's Cave. Take your turn to kiss the stone, but don't leave the castle without exploring the grounds a bit too.More

Treaty Stone

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It was upon this chunk of limestone—set on a pedestal by the banks of the River Shannon—that a peace treaty was signed in 1691, putting an end to the Williamite War and supposedly securing freedom for Ireland’s Catholics. The terms of the treaty were, however, ultimately ignored, earning Limerick the name “the City of the Broken Treaty.”More

Cobh Heritage Centre (The Queenstown Story)

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The port town of Cobh, formerly known as Queenstown, was the departure point for millions of Irish emigrants who left the country between 1848 and 1960. Housed in the town’s Victorian train station, the Cobh Heritage Centre chronicles the often-heartbreaking journeys of Irish emigrants during the Great Famine and beyond.More

Blasket Islands

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Off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, a group of abandoned sandstone islands rise out of the Atlantic Ocean. For hundreds of years, the Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodai) were home to an Irish-speaking population; however, in 1953 the Irish government decided that, due to their isolation, the islands were too dangerous for habitation and ordered a mandatory evacuation.More
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Bishop's Palace

Bishop's Palace

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Set inside an elegant Georgian mansion, Bishop’s Palace covers the history of Waterford from 1700-1970. Its collections include many rare and precious objects, including the only surviving mourning cross of the 12 commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte’s mother, and the Penrose Decanter, the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal.More

Ross Castle

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A vision on the shores of Lough Leane, the 15th-century Ross Castle was built as a medieval fortress for an Irish chieftain named O’Donoghue, and was said to be one of the last strongholds to fall to the brutal English Cromwellian forces in the mid-16th century. The ruin has been restored, and features lovely 16th- and 17th-century furniture.More

Jameson Distillery Midleton

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At the Jameson Distillery Midleton, travelers can enjoy the Jameson Experience Tour, which includes a look into the distillery in East Cork, where the well-known whiskey was produced until the 1970s. In the company of a guide, visitors explore the preserved distillery interior, and view old kilns, mills, and distilling equipment, as well as a restored 19th-century warehouse.More

Cork English Market

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Dating from 1788, Cork English Market is among Ireland’s finest foodie destinations. Set inside a Victorian heritage building with a vaulted ceiling, the market is filled with vendors selling the finest and freshest of local produce, from grass-fed beef and smoked salmon to homemade jam, duck eggs, and fresh fruit and vegetables.More

Gap of Dunloe (Bearna an Choimín)

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The lake-studded glacial valley known as the Gap of Dunloe (Bearna an Choimín) is wedged between County Kerry’s Purple Mountain and MacGillycuddy's Reeks mountain range. The rugged natural scenery along the 7-mile (11-kilometer) paved mountain pass made it a magnet for sublime-seeking, 19th-century, Romantic writers such as William Thackeray and Alfred Lord Tennyson, who waxed lyrical about its beauty. Despite its popularity, the landscape remains as unspoiled as ever.More

Torc Waterfall

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Experience the natural beauty of County Kerry with a visit to the Torc Waterfall. Located a short walk from the Killarney–Kenmare road, in Killarney National Park, Torc Waterfall is part of the River Owengariff and flows into Muckross (Middle) Lake. The site is a popular spot on the area’s scenic drives and hiking routes.More

St. Colman's Cathedral (Cobh Cathedral)

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With its 328-foot (100-meter) spire and imposing facade, this large neo-Gothic cathedral—also known as the Cobh Cathedral—dominates the skyline of the harbor town of Cobh. The cathedral is famous for its 49-bell carillon, the only such instrument in Ireland and one of the largest of its kind in Europe.More

Blarney Stone (Stone of Eloquence)

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Visitors flock to the ruined 15th-century Blarney Castle to bend over backwards from the battlements and lay their lips on the famous Blarney Stone (Stone of Eloquence). According to local legend, the stone, which is embedded high in the castle walls, imparts those who kiss it with the “gift of the gab,” making them more eloquent, articulate, and convincing.More

Ladies View

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This scenic lookout takes its name from Queen Victoria and her ladies-in-waiting, who were bowled over by the views when they visited here in 1861. These days, the vista remains as spectacular as back then, with visitors lingering at the lookout to soak up the magnificent lake and peak landscapes of Killarney National Park.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Killarney

How to Spend 3 Days in Killarney

How to Spend 1 Day in Killarney

How to Spend 1 Day in Killarney

Gap of Dunloe Tours from Killarney

Gap of Dunloe Tours from Killarney

Top activities in South West Ireland

Killarney National Park Horseback Ride. Co Kerry. Guided. 1 hour.
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Cliffs of Moher Private Tour from Cork

Cliffs of Moher Private Tour from Cork

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9
From
USD514.13
per group
Private Tour Dingle Ring & Slea Head Drive

Private Tour Dingle Ring & Slea Head Drive

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3
From
USD551.29
per group
Private Wild Atlantic Day Tour from Cork

Private Wild Atlantic Day Tour from Cork

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From
USD580.43
per group
Killarney National Park Tour

Special Offer

Killarney National Park Tour

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102
From
USD30.49
USD35.87  USD5.38 savings
Ring of Kerry Private Tour from Cork

Ring of Kerry Private Tour from Cork

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From
USD507.37
per group
Cliffs of Moher Private Tour from Limerick

Cliffs of Moher Private Tour from Limerick

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6
From
USD514.13
per group
Ring of Kerry & Skellig Ring Private Day Tour

Ring of Kerry & Skellig Ring Private Day Tour

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13
From
USD633.20
per group
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All about South West Ireland

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
GMT (UTC +1)
Country Code
+353
Language(s)
English
Frequently Asked Questions
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