To say Ireland is unique is an understatement. There isn’t any other country on Earth like Ireland and this is why so many people visit our humble shores each year. Our countryside is wild and immediately recognisable, our coastline is rugged and packed with sea life, and our cities and towns are brimming with life, warmth, and friendly people. Full to bursting with castles, forts, beaches, pubs, and forests, Ireland has no shortage of unique attractions that are guaranteed to wow. As you’ve clicked through to this guide, we can safely assume you’re looking for the roads left travelled — the hidden gems that make Ireland so special. Well, you’ve come to the right place as Overland Ireland’s small group tours of Ireland are packed with weird and wonderful sights. We’ve collected a small but excellent list of the most unique sights in Ireland!
Staying in the Ringfort in Wexford
If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, you can’t get any more outside the box than the restored medieval ringfort in Wexford dating back 1500 years. It’s not exactly bed and breakfast at the Ritz, but it’s a truly unique experience perfect for adventurous souls who are always looking for something new… or… old, in this case. The best part is that the ringfort in Wexford is within the Irish National Heritage Park — an open-air museum that displays what Ireland was like from the Mesolithic right through to the Norman invasion.
This strange and enchanting island is off the coast of the Inveragh Peninsula, Country Kerry. Its smaller sister island nearby is fittingly named ‘Little Skellig’ but tourists can’t visit her as they can her big brother. Skellig Michael juts up out of the water like a scale on Godzilla’s back and its sheer cliffs and impressive height have captured the attention and imaginations of sailors, fishermen, and tourists alike for centuries. Despite the fact that the seas are very rough and Skellig Michael is hard to get to at the best of times — and impossible in winter — monks settled on Skellig Michael as early as the 6th Century AD. The is an ancient monastic site there, and there are 600+ steps from the bottom up to the monastery. Star Wars fans will be thrilled that Skellig Michael was the set of Luke’s hideaway from the First Order in the most recent trilogy of films, and non-Star Wars fans will enjoy the breathtaking scenery, isolation, and a huge population of porgs/puffins.
This island can be hard to get to, with only a small number of boats permitted to make the journey, this is why Overland’s Ireland to Island Tour is a great option for people who want to see a good portion of Ireland’s hidden gems, including a guaranteed trip to the legendary Skellig Michael.
Dublin’s Hungry Tree…
You’ll find this unique attraction in Kings’ Inn, in Dublin. While not enough to inspire people to visit Ireland on its own, this strange phenomenon is worth checking out when you, inevitably, visit the capital city. The tree’s trunk has grown over the bench, which looks like some strange magic is afoot and the tree is eating the bench.
There is a lot to discover at Newgrange if you take the time to learn about it and look a little closer. You’ll find this ancient burial mound in Meath, just a short drive north of Dublin. Ancient history lovers will be thrilled to find out that Newgrange was built around 3200 BC, making it roughly 700 years older than the Pyramids of Giza and 200 years older than Stonehenge. While Newgrange is rather impressive from the outside, it is positively astounding inside. The only issue is that it’s so dark that you’ll only see inside it once a year, during the Winter Solstice as it was built with an acute astrological understanding so that a gap above the entrance way only allows in sunlight to light up the entire chamber on the Winter Solstice each year. This is some Indiana Jones stuff! There is a waiting list to visit the chamber during the solstice, but you can still enjoy a fascinating tour there at other times of year, with the opportunity to step into the deep darkness of this ancient tomb.
Kytelers Inn in Kilkenny
Ireland has no shortage of great pubs, and it’s a genuine pleasure to try out the different drinks and top food in pubs across the country. However, this is a blog about unique attractions in Ireland, so of course we have to mention Kytelers! This pub dates back to the 13th Century, making it one of the oldest inns in Ireland. And its medieval walls, ceilings and furnishings make it unlike anywhere you’ve ever stopped for a pint of Guinness. We can talk up the strangeness of this pub, but you won’t know exactly what we mean until you go down there yourself!
That’s all we have time for with this guide. We hope you’ll add one or two of these unique places to your big Ireland tour. If you’d like a hand creating the ultimate Ireland vacation, you can book a custom Ireland tour from us — just tell us what you like and a few places you’re interested in and we’ll fill out the rest with the travel, accommodation, tours, and activities — all packed with hidden gems like the attractions found on this blog! For more information about our range of Ireland tours, please feel free to contact us. Start planning your authentic Ireland adventure with Overland!