“The eye of a friend is a good mirror.” - Irish Proverb

Each year, millions of tourists travel to Ireland. The island is full of beautiful towns, colourful ports, and gorgeous green spaces. Lovers of everything from music to sport will find something great about Ireland. What a great destination for a family holiday!

So if you’ve decided that Ireland’s for you, here are the most beautiful towns on the island.

Dublin: The capital of the Republic of Ireland

You can’t go to the Republic of Ireland without seeing its beautiful capital city: Dublin. Voted one of the easiest cities to live in on Tripadvisor, it’s hard not to love the capital of the Republic of Ireland.

What is the capital of Ireland?
Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, is home to some beautiful architecture. (Source: mkozemchak)

Once you’re there, you’ll want to visit Temple Bar. The streets are filled with traditional Irish pubs and Celtic music. It’s not uncommon to hear groups playing in the street, either. You’ll be immersed in Irish culture in a matter of minutes.

Visitors will also love Grafton Street, where you’ll find street artists and plenty of shops for a bit of retail therapy.

Once you’re done shopping, you need to see Trinity College. You can visit the impressive library which looks like it’s from a different time. This is the university where Oscar Wilde studied.

Finally, you can enjoy the open green space of Phoenix Park, which covers over 700 hectares. You can also head to the St. Stephen Green’s Shopping Centre, which is just next to the namesake park. You’re guaranteed to enjoy yourself.

Learn more about Ireland.

Cork: Ireland’s Colourful City

Some would argue that Cork is more beautiful than Dublin. While it isn’t quite as popular as Dublin with tourists, it’s still rather popular. Of course, it depends exactly when you visit Dublin.

The second-largest city in the country is bound to impress you. It’s famous for its coloured houses along the water and could just as easily be a town in Norway or Denmark!

You can enjoy the town on foot and visit pretty little shops and pubs to your heart’s content. If you’re a fan of taking holiday snaps, Cork’s colourful streets won’t disappoint. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Killkenny: A Medieval Town

Killkenny isn’t just the name of a beer! Just 150km from the capital, the small town of Kilkenny is also worth a visit.

What is there to see in Kilkenny?
While the Medieval stuff is the most popular in Kilkenny, there are also more modern things to see. (Source: conolan)

Fans of the Medieval period will love this place. You can find small pedestrian streets, medieval homes, and an old castle that overlooks the town. You won’t be bored in Kilkenny.

If you like sports, you’ve got to check out the town’s favourite one: hurling. If you’re not familiar with hurling, it’s like football mixed with hockey mixed with baseball and that doesn’t even come close to capturing what it is. Don’t hesitate to ask a local to get you started with the sport!

Learn more about Ireland's history.

Kinsale: An Unusual Port Town

It isn’t just the larger towns that are worth visiting. Ireland is full of tiny towns and some are more picturesque than others. This small town and its port are located just 25km to the south of Cork at the mouth of the Bandon River.

Stroll along the port and take in the views of the little boats. It’s often said that Kinsale is the most beautiful port in the country. Whether you visit with your family, your partner, or on your own, you’ll love it.

Don’t get to visit Fishy Fishy, one of, if not the, best restaurants in the town. You can enjoy some excellent seafood there.

Finish your trip with a visit to Desmond Castle and the various art galleries in the town.

Dingle: Home to Fungie the Dingle Dolphin

Just like Kinsale, Dingle is another pretty Irish coastal port town. This isn’t just any coastal town, though. The small town of Dingle is where tourists go to visit the Dingle peninsula. There are wonderful craggy cliffs and great spaces for hikers where you can enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean in calm-yet-rugged surroundings.

Where is Dingle?
The town of Dingle is in the southwest of Ireland. (Source: EMersinger)

In the town, you can visit the distillery or the Gallarus Oratory before heading to the coloured houses and pubs.

If you like animals, you might want to keep an eye out for Dingle’s dolphin. The dolphin, named Fungie by the locals, tends to hang out with humans when they head out on boats from Dingle.

He even has a statue in the town centre!

Learn about Ireland's other famous residents.

Galway: The Gateway to Connemara

Galway is one of Ireland’s most famous destinations and it’s hardly surprising. This town on Ireland’s west coast is a great place to visit Connemara from. It’s not just a good base, though, the town is extremely animated and home to many cultural and artistic festivals.

You can enjoy traditional shows in pubs or streets. Be careful, though. The pubs are often busy! Galway’s Medieval area also plays host to a market on the weekends.

If you want to get out of the town for a bit, you can visit Ashford Castle or take a walk along Salthill on Galway Bay.

This town is recommended for those who love culture and a bit of a party.

You can learn about online English courses here.

Belfast: The Capital of Northern Ireland

Belfast isn’t in the Republic of Ireland but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth visiting.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. The island was split into two following the Irish War of Independence between 1919 and 1921 when the United Kingdom created two countries in the area, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Belfast is on the island of Ireland but in the country of Northern Ireland.

The city is worth a visit. You’ll start to notice differences between it and the other Irish cities on our list. Belfast is a very urban city and home to graffiti and murals portraying the city’s storied and complicated past.

However, you can also visit the Crown Liquor Saloon, one of the oldest pubs in town. You’ll be taken back in time as you enjoy a beer or a coffee.

Don’t forget to visit St. George’s Market, an old covered market, or the Belfast Titanic Museum where you can learn about the famous ocean liner built in the Northern Irish capital.

Learn more about the difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Adare: An English-styled village

Finally, Adare is regularly cited as Ireland’s most beautiful town. Some call it Ireland’s “English Village” on account of the cottages with their thatched roofs and flowery gardens. The architecture is lifted straight out of England.

Where is Adare?
Adare is in County Limerick despite regularly being described as "English". (Source: mwitt1337)

The village was restored in the 19th century. You can enjoy this colourful village on foot or walk around the castle or the two abbeys.

Cong and the Falconry School

Cong is a small quiet village in which the John Ford film “The Quiet Man” featuring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne was filmed. It’s thank to this film that the town got electricity in the 1950s and became a popular tourist destination.

Not far from Galway, Cong is home to a famed Irish falconry school. It’s a wonderful place where you can take a casual stroll. Ashford Castle is also quite near the village.

Kenmare: A Town to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

The small village of Kenmare is in County Kerry and home to some wonderful countryside. Visitors can enjoy the town centre or the wide-open spaces by bike, horse, or kayak!

Highly recommended for sporty types!

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.