10 most exquisite hidden gems in Ireland

From secret waterfalls and unique buildings to impressive natural attractions and ancient ruins, these are some of the most exquisite hidden gems in Ireland.

As we sink into the warm embrace of summer, it seems like anything is possible. Ireland is our oyster, and the opportunity for adventure is almost too much to handle. Luckily, we’re on hand to give you the inside scoop on the most unmissable hidden gems in Ireland.

Returning from prolonged hibernation, our eyes may be too big for our belly when considering how best to #ExploreIrelandAgain. From stunning sights to extraordinary experiences, Ireland is a treasure trove of things to do.

These ten are simply must-sees, so pack your bags and book your trip – you’re in for a summer of an unforgettable adventure on the Emerald Isle. 

10. Gougane Barra, Co. Cork

Gougane Barra is a settlement on a little island in a lake in County Cork. The name is said to have come from Saint Finbarr, who built a monastery on the landmass in the 6th-century.

Today, Gougane Barra is a stunning little piece of the past that exists under the radar in west Cork.

9. Swiss Cottage, Co. Tipperary

 Swiss Cottage, Cahir, Co. Tipperary | Ireland’s Content Pool

The Swiss Cottage in Tipperary certainly breaks the mould from an architectural perspective and is one of Ireland’s more unusual sights to see.

It was built by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall, and designed by Regency architect John Nash. Today, visitors can pay to enter this unique building in Ireland’s heartlands.

8. Iveagh Gardens, Co. Dublin

Located but a stone’s throw from St Stephen’s Green Park in Dublin City is another one of the top hidden gems in Ireland, the Iveagh Gardens.

Sleeping in plain sight, this park is a sanctuary from the hustle of the city, and is unbeknownst to many, making it an oasis in the heart of a thriving metropolis.

7. The Dark Sky Reserve, Co. Kerry

 Dark Sky Reserve, Co. Kerry | Ireland’s Content Pool

Stargazers and night walkers, this one is for you! The Dark Sky Reserve in County Kerry is one of the most exquisite hidden gems in Ireland, without a doubt.

The reserve spans 700 square kilometres (270 square miles) and aims to promote astro-tourism in Ireland.

6. Poolbeg Lighthouse, Co. Dublin

For those who like to live like a local when visiting new places, we’ve got you covered. When in Dublin, make sure to make time for the Poolbeg Lighthouse. 

Located at the end of the Great South Wall, the Poolbeg Lighthouse juts out into Dublin harbour and offers views over Dublin City and surrounding suburbs. Perfect for a Sunday stroll! 

5. Guinness Lake, Co. Wicklow

Lough Tay, Wicklow | Ireland’s Content Pool

Guinness Lake (aka Lough Tay) is a charming lake in County Wicklow which bears a striking resemblance to a lovely pint of Guinness with its dark waters and a sandy beach at its tip.

It’s important to note that the lake is located on private land. Still, it can be viewed from Military Road at the junction with the Wicklow Way.

4. Bull Rock, Co. Cork

A secret to many, Bull Rock is one of the most cinematic hidden gems in Ireland. Located on the Beara Peninsula in County Cork, Bull Rock Island must be viewed from the water.

The small island consists of a narrow tunnel that cuts straight through the island (and can be passed through on some boat tours) and an abandoned lighthouse. 

3. Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim

Dunluce Castle, Antrim | Ireland’s Content Pool

It is said that Ireland is a land of magnificent beauty. If in doubt, simply look to Dunluce Castle for proof.

Situated on the Antrim Causeway Coast, on the edge of impressive cliffs which tower above the wild ocean, this medieval ruined castle is a sight like no other and well-deserving of a top spot on our list of exquisite hidden gems in Ireland.

2. The Secret Waterfall, Co. Donegal

For those who care to veer off the beaten track, look to the Secret Waterfall in County Donegal. This is one of those hidden gems that even locals don’t know about.

Accessed only at low tide (careful now!), this is one of the most spellbinding natural sights away from the tourist trail. 

1. Aran Islands, Co. Galway

Inishmore, Aran Islands | Ireland’s Content Pool

Those looking to escape the humdrum of everyday life and live like an islander for the day look no further than a tour of the majestic Aran Islands off the coast of Galway.

Step into a past, to places where clocks tick slower, locals speak as Gaeilge, and native culture, music, and craft take precedence; the Aran Islands are one of the only remaining pieces of authentic old Ireland.

If you are interested in creating a bespoke tour of Ireland this summer, get in touch today at info@irishexperiencetours.com.

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