A World Heritage Site is a property listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its outstanding universal value. World Heritage sites are places that are important to and belong to everyone no matter where they live. The Republic of Ireland currently has various sites which are included on the World Heritage List. This article will take you on a journey through the drumlin countryside, varied shores, islands, exceptional wildlife, distinctive tower houses, pretty villages and the estates of the Heritage sites that are found in Ireland. Scroll down and check out our selection of the most popular UNESCO Sites in Ireland.
Grab your camera and get ready to discover some of Ireland’s natural wonders. You will get the opportunity to snap photos of Dunguaire Castle, explore the otherworldly landscapes of The Burren and try out Irish lunch in Doolin. When you are done with all these, you will then hike along the along the 702 foot (214 meters) mighty Cliffs of Moher and as you marvel at the views over the rugged Atlantic coast, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. After spending the whole day at the west coast, you will also have some spare time to explore the nearby fishing village and try out some of the local food including the famous seafood chowder.
Cliffs of Moher Day Tour from Dublin: Including The Wild Atlantic Way
Duration: 13 hours
A tour to Giant’s Causeway will give you the chance to discover the dramatic landscapes of Northern Ireland. You will get the opportunity to enjoy up to one and a half hours at the UNESCO World Heritage Site and enjoy a close view of the hexagonal columns which are often referred to as “the eighth wonder of the world”. You will then head to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge where you will enjoy spectacular views of Rathlin Island and Scotland. Afterwards, you can end your day by walking along the romantic avenue of intertwined beech trees known as “Dark Hedges.” which were planted by planted the Stuart family in the 18th century.
Dublin: Giants Causeway, Dark Hedges, Dunluce & Belfast Tour
Duration: 12 hour
3. Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne
Located about 40km (24 miles) north of Dublin between the rivers Boyne and Mattock, during your visit to the prehistoric site of Brú na Bóinne, you will discover the three great burial mounds which are Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth. Surrounded by over forty satellite passage graves, these burial mounds constitute a funerary landscape famous for its ritual significance. At the Knowth group, you will find the earliest features which date from the Neolithic period to the Anglo-Norman period, these include passage graves adorned with enclosures, petroglyphs, field systems and occupation sites. The Newgrange group is purely prehistoric with cursus, a ringfort, a henge and passage graves. Finally, you have the Dowth group which is similar to Newgrange but there is some medieval evidence which includes a castle and a church.
Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne
Address: Glebe, Co. Meath, Ireland
Website: Brú na Bóinne
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Grab this chance to explore some of the areas that were used during the filming of Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’. During this nine-hour activity, you will take a boat around the two islands, Skelling Micheal and Little Skelling where you will get to experience the unique magical setting and the incredible wildlife. While you are here, you will also learn about the Monks that lived on the Skellig Islands from the 6th-12th centuries and hear stories of how some of Hollywood’s celebrities showed up in this beautiful coastal setting. You will then head to Portmagee where you will have lunch at your own expense then head Killarney where you will stop at spectacular viewing points to learn about how each location has shaped the history of Ireland.
Ireland: 5-Day Escape to the Southwest Tour
Duration: 5 day
5. Ring of Gullion
The Ring of Gullion is an area of outstanding natural beauty thanks to its unique geological landform. The area has a number of passways ranging in length and difficulty whereby Walkers and cyclists will have the chance of exploring the archaeology, geology, wildlife and legend of the area. While exploring, walkers and cyclists will come across a way-marked stretch which leads to the scenic drive, then to Slieve Gullion, past Cailleach Beara’s Lough and finally, it will take you down the north side of the mountain. You will also get to enjoy the spectacular views of the Ring of Gullion, Cooley Peninsula, Mourne Mountains and Armagh Drumlins from the top of the mountain.
Ring of Gullion
Address: 44 The Square, Crossmaglen, Crossmaglen, Newry BT35 9AA
Website: Ring of Gullion
6. Strangford Lough & Lecale Coast
The Heritage of Strangford Lough and Lecale has an abundance of major attraction sites including country parks at Scrabo and Delamont, Northern Ireland’s Exploris aquarium, the Wetlands Centre at Castle Espie and three exceptional monastic sites at Inch, Nendrum and Greyabbey. The heritage touches a number of the growth pillars identified by the NITB including Living Legends, Coasts and Lakes, Unique Outdoor and Naturally NI. While it’s not advisable for long walks, the site has many short off-road walks with heritage features along the way which add interest and variety. Wildlife watching and nature pursuits in the area have been identified as underdeveloped activities in the area, given its international environmental importance.
Strangford Lough & Lecale Coast
Address: Downshire Civic Centre, Ardglass Road, Downpatrick BT30 6GQ
Website: Strangford Lough & Lecale Coast
Newgrange is a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site which is dated back to 3200 BC. Newgrange is famous for being one of the oldest and largest Neolithic burial chambers in Europe, older than the Egyptians pyramids. It is believed that for 5,000 years, an ancient megalithic tomb in Newgrange has housed the remains of people with the highest class within certain societies of Stone Age, sheltering their spirits from the outside world. As part of your experience, you will get the chance to explore inside the tomb of Newgrange. As you end your day, you will dive through Howth Summit where you can appreciate spectacular views looking out over Dublin Bay.
From Dublin: Newgrange Tomb & Hill of Tara Tour
Duration: 9 hour
The Copper Coast Global Geopark is a UNESCO protected Geopark which is famous for its coves, beaches, small villages, harbours and the dramatic coastline scenery. You will have so much to discover including the impressive roadside thatch cottages, the views of the Comeragh Mountains and the old Copper Mines at Tankardstown outside Bonmahon. There are also plenty of places where you can stop for photoshoots and picnic. While still exploring this beautiful place, you will also get to hear stories about the Temperence Movement which was formed when the mines were still operating in the 18th and 19th century.
Copper Coast Tour
Come to Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark and experience extreme hiking at The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail. The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail is a 33km (20 miles) walking route through the Cuilcagh Mountain and its surrounding. The route is isolated and it is favourable to walkers with some experience of walking in steep hills and are eager for the scenic wilderness of Cuilcagh Mountain. The hike will take you along a quiet farmland track before diverting you to a wooden boardwalk that climbs up the mountain. As you continue your trail, you will come across a steep terrain and fields of boulders, before reaching the wild summit plateau. Along the way, you will enjoy the magnificent views of the Cuilcagh mountains and Lough Atona.
Full-Day Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail and Stairway to Heaven Hike and Marble Arch Caves tour
Apart from being one of Northern Ireland’s most rugged and unspoiled landscapes, the Sperrin Mountains are also famous for the outstanding natural beauty. The Sperrins Mountains is filled with history and culture and has an abundance of things to see and do starting from the Neolithic monuments to the National Trust properties. During your day here, you will get the chance to discover the market town of Magherafelt, explore the Megalithic Beaghmore Stone Circles and admire the old stately home and the mountain wilderness. Due to the fact that The Sperrins cover a vast area, it is highly advisable that you should spare the whole day to visit most of its attractions.
Ireland's Sperrin Mountains Tour from Belfast
Top UNESCO sites in Ireland
To completely enjoy your time in Ireland, you should try out one of the UNESCO sites listed above. You are guaranteed to discover something new during your visit. Enjoy.
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