Strewn across the landscape are endless sights to see on the Emerald Isle. While they may be known for their beauty or photo-worthy backdrops, stories of the past are often left untold. This is secret Ireland: ten things you probably didn’t know about Ireland’s most popular attractions. 

Ireland is known around the world as a place of natural beauty and wild mysticism. Its natural and heritage attractions are some of the most awe-inspiring, and each year, crowds of tourists come from far and wide to taste a slice of Irish life.

While there are a heap of well-known and truly memorable attractions to see, many of these boast merits that often go unmentioned – their dramatic pasts and spellbinding myths – to name but a couple. 

In this article, we round up ten of Ireland’s majestic must-sees and uncover some of the untold stories surrounding these famous sites. These are ten things you probably didn’t know about Ireland’s most popular attractions.

1. Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim 

Giant’s Causeway | Ireland’s Content Pool

Many are drawn to the Giant’s Causeway due to its unique natural beauty. The 40,000 or so interlocking basalt columns which jut from the land and slowly fade into the sea are a sight, no doubt.

But one of the facts about this Irish attraction you probably didn’t know is that as per Celtic folklore, Finn McCool tore up chunks of the land and flung them into the sea to bridge the gap between Ireland and Scotland – where his nemesis Benandonner resided. 

2. Ross Castle, County Meath

For many, Ross Castle is yet another scenic stop along the tourist trail through County Meath. But did you know that this site boasts a dark and disturbing past? 

It is known to be one of the most haunted places in all of Ireland. Those keen to experience things that go bump in the night can stay at the castle itself, which doubles up as a B&B.

3. Croagh Patrick, County Mayo

Croagh Patrick | Ireland’s Content Pool

For many, Croagh Patrick is seen as one of Ireland’s most sacred sites, but here is something you probably didn’t know about one of Ireland’s most popular attractions: St Patrick himself is not from Ireland! 

He was, in fact, born in Britain to a Romanized family and was captured and taken as a slave to Ireland at just 16. 

4. Trinity College Dublin, County Dublin 

Another one of the things you probably didn’t know about Ireland’s most popular attractions is that the Trinity College Dublin main entrance bell tower is cursed! 

It is said that every student who walks under it is destined to fail their exams. The bell is also said to mysteriously ring each time a virgin stands beneath it. 

5. Newgrange, County Meath 

Newgrange | Ireland’s Content Pool

For those seeking absolute awe when exploring the mystic Boyne Valley in Meath, make sure to check out Newgrange. This ancient burial site is older than the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. 

Perfect for history buffs and easygoing adventurers alike, Newgrange is certainly bucket list-worthy when exploring Ireland. 

6. Whitefriar Street Church, County Dublin

Many natives and tourists will come across Whitefriar Street Church in County Dublin when exploring the capital city.

However, one of the things you probably didn’t know about this Irish attraction is that it is the resting place of Saint Valentine himself. For an alternative romantic date in Ireland, we suggest you pay your respects to the Saint of love!

7. Wild Atlantic Way, West Coast of Ireland

Connemara | Ireland’s Content Pool

Located on the west coast of Ireland is the longest defined coastal route in the world. Coveted by seasoned road trippers and locals alike, this is one of the essential to-dos on any bucket list of Irish attractions.

Whether you have a few days or a month, sections or the entire route is on offer to explore. The more time, the better, we say!

8. Hook Lighthouse, County Wexford

A tour of Hook Lighthouse is a given on any adventure in Wexford, but did you know that this is the oldest operational lighthouse in the entire world?

Established in the 6th-century, this beacon of light has safeguarded the coast and sailors for generations. There is also an on-site heritage centre and cafe that make a visit here well worth the time. 

9. St James’s Gate Brewery, County Dublin 

St. James’s Gate | Ireland’s Content Pool

Guinness is one of Ireland’s most iconic products, loved and consumed around the world. Its popularity today is unrivalled, and clearly, this was expected from the get-go. 

St James’s Gate Brewery – the home of Guinness in Dublin – was established with a 9,000-year lease!

10. Titanic Belfast, County Antrim

Another one of the things you probably didn’t know about Ireland’s most popular attractions is that Titanic Belfast is more than just an interactive exhibit. 

Belfast is the birthplace of the ill-fated ocean liner, and the great ship was actually built in the same shipyard between 1909-1911.


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