Tourism Culture

Top Things To Do in Southern Ireland: Must See Places & Top Attractions

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 10 min read

Top things to do in Southern Ireland include exploring the historic Blarney Castle near Cork, where you can kiss the famous Blarney Stone; enjoying the vibrant city life in Cork City with its numerous shops, pubs, and restaurants; visiting the dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery of the Ring of Kerry; and taking in the serene beauty and monastic ruins of Glendalough in County Wicklow.

Additionally, you could take a trip to Kinsale, known for its gourmet food and picturesque marina, or venture into the lush landscapes of the Beara Peninsula for hiking and photography. These activities offer a blend of cultural, historical, and natural experiences that are quintessentially Irish. We made sure to visit the Beara Peninsula as a day trip, that made this trip memorable and unforgettable. 


Top Things to Do in Southern Ireland

The top 10 things to do in Southern Ireland include exploring the Ring of Kerry, visiting Killarney National Park, strolling through Cobh, discovering the Rock of Cashel, experiencing Cork City, touring the Jameson Distillery in Midleton, visiting Kinsale, exploring Waterford and its Viking Triangle, hiking in Killarney National Park, and cycling the Ring of Kerry.

In Southern Ireland, your adventure begins with exploring the picturesque Ring of Kerry, where rugged coastlines and charming fishing villages await your discovery. Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Killarney National Park, where lush forests and historic sites beckon you to explore, and don't miss the opportunity to take a boat ride on the scenic Lakes of Killarney.

Wander through the colorful streets of Cobh, steeped in maritime history, and discover the ancient ruins atop the iconic Rock of Cashel. Experience the vibrant culture and nightlife of Cork City, and indulge your senses at the Jameson Distillery in Midleton. Sample gourmet delights in the picturesque town of Kinsale and explore Waterford's rich history in its Viking Triangle. Lace up your boots for hiking adventures in Killarney National Park or opt for a cycling journey through the stunning landscapes of the Ring of Kerry. Your Southern Ireland getaway promises unforgettable experiences at every turn.

Top Things to Do in Southern Ireland Short Description
Visit the Cliffs of Moher Experience breathtaking views at one of Ireland's most famous natural attractions.
Explore Killarney National Park Enjoy hiking, cycling, and the stunning scenery of mountains, lakes, and woodlands.
Walk through Cobh Visit this charming port town known for its maritime history and colorful houses.
Discover Cork City Explore the local culture, cuisine, and the vibrant atmosphere of Ireland's second-largest city.
Drive the Ring of Kerry Take a scenic drive around this famous route with picturesque villages and coastal views.
See the Rock of Cashel Visit the historic site known for its medieval architecture and rich history.
Experience the Dingle Peninsula Drive through this area known for its stunning landscapes and ancient archaeological sites.

1. Explore the Ring of Kerry

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes of Southern Ireland as you explore the Ring of Kerry. This iconic scenic drive winds its way through some of the most breathtaking scenery Ireland has to offer. Marvel at the rugged coastline, with its dramatic cliffs and sweeping vistas, and pause to admire the pristine beaches that dot the landscape.

As we travelled through charming villages nestled among the hills, we took the time to soak in the unique atmosphere and discover the rich culture of the region. We made sure to stop at viewpoints like Ladies View and Moll's Gap, where we captured panoramic views of the rolling countryside stretching out before us.

Visiting Cork? Here are Best Things to do in Cork Ireland: Awesome Places To Visit, Outdoor Activities to Do


2. Kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle

Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle is not just a whimsical Irish tradition; it's an experience steeped in history and charm. Situated just outside Cork City, Blarney Castle is a striking medieval fortress, known worldwide for the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that kissing the stone bestows the kisser with the gift of eloquence. Visitors often participate in the tradition of leaning backwards from the castle's parapet to kiss the stone, assisted by a guide for safety. The castle also offers lush gardens and intriguing historical structures that are perfect for exploring after your kiss. From my personal experience, while the act may seem a bit daunting at first, it's definitely worth it for the fun and unique memories you'll create.

3. Visit Killarney National Park

Immerse yourself in the natural splendor of Killarney National Park, nestled at the base of the majestic MacGillycuddy's Reeks mountain range. This sprawling expanse of pristine wilderness is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of activities to explore. Wander through lush forests alive with the sounds of native wildlife, from red deer to rare birds, and discover the tranquil beauty of its shimmering lakes, including the iconic Lakes of Killarney.

Engross yourself into the park's rich history as you visit historic sites such as Muckross House, a stunning Victorian mansion surrounded by manicured gardens, and Ross Castle, a medieval fortress steeped in centuries of Irish lore. Don't miss the opportunity to get yourself in the park's enchanting atmosphere by taking a leisurely boat ride across the picturesque Lakes of Killarney, where you can soak in panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

As I was hiking along scenic trails, enjoying a peaceful picnic by the water's edge, or simply basking in the serenity of nature, my visit to Killarney National Park provided an unforgettable experience that left me refreshed and rejuvenated.

Visiting Limerick? Here are Best Things to do in Limerick Ireland

4. Walk Through Cobh

As you walk through Cobh, a vibrant town nestled on the shores of Cork Harbour, you'll be enveloped in its rich maritime history. Stroll along its charming streets, adorned with quaint pastel-colored houses that exude an old-world charm. Take in the sights and sounds of this picturesque town, where every corner holds a tale waiting to be discovered. Don't miss the opportunity to visit attractions like the Cobh Heritage Centre, where you can delve into the captivating story of Irish emigration and its profound impact on both Cobh and the wider world.

As I explored Cobh, I learned about the struggles and triumphs of generations past while immersing myself in interactive exhibits and immersive displays that brought history to life. From the bustling waterfront to the quiet lanes lined with historic buildings, every step I took was a journey through time, offering glimpses into the town's storied past and vibrant present. I soaked in the atmosphere, immersed myself in the culture, and let Cobh's unique charm leave an indelible mark on my heart.

Visiting Dublin? Here are Best Things To Do In Dublin Ireland: In Depth Guide for 2024


5. Discover the Rock of Cashel

As you ascend the limestone hill in County Tipperary, you're greeted by the majestic sight of the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland's most iconic landmarks. Its medieval ruins, comprising a round tower, cathedral, and high crosses, stand as a testament to centuries of history and heritage. As you explore the site, you're transported back in time, wandering through corridors of ancient stone and marveling at the intricate craftsmanship of centuries past.

From the vantage point atop the rock, you're treated to sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, a panorama of rolling green hills and lush valleys stretching as far as the eye can see. It's a moment of quiet reflection, a chance to soak in the beauty of Ireland's landscape and contemplate the passage of time.

As I descended from the Rock of Cashel, its towering silhouette etched against the sky, I carried with me a sense of awe and wonder. The experience of discovering this ancient site left an indelible impression, a memory that will linger long after I've returned home.

6. Experience Cork City

As you step into Cork City, Ireland's second-largest city, you're greeted by a vibrant hub of culture, food, and nightlife. Wander through its bustling streets, where historic buildings stand as silent witnesses to centuries of history, and lively pubs echo with the sounds of laughter and music. The city's energy is infectious, drawing you deeper into its lively atmosphere.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, take the time to visit attractions like St. Fin Barre's Cathedral, a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture, where intricate details and soaring spires inspire a sense of awe. Lose yourself in the sensory delight of the English Market, a popular spot where the sights, sounds, and smells of fresh produce and local delicacies tantalize the senses.

As I explored Cork City, each corner revealed a new discovery, whether it was stumbling upon hidden laneways adorned with vibrant street art or finding a cozy café serving up artisanal delights. It was a city that invited me to get myself fully in its rich tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavors, leaving me with memories to cherish long after I bid farewell to its lively streets.

7. Tour the Jameson Distillery in Midleton

No visit to Ireland will be complete without sampling some whiskey, and the Jameson Distillery in Midleton will offer the perfect opportunity to do just that. Taking a guided tour of the distillery will allow you to delve into the fascinating whiskey-making process, from grain to glass, as knowledgeable guides share insights into Jameson's rich history and tradition. As you explore the distillery's historic buildings and state-of-the-art facilities, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into every bottle of Jameson whiskey.

The highlight of the tour was undoubtedly the tasting session, where I had the chance to sample a selection of Jameson's finest offerings. From smooth and mellow blends to rich and complex single malts, each sip offered a glimpse into the diverse world of Irish whiskey. As a seasoned whiskey connoisseur or a curious novice, your tasting experience will be a memorable journey of discovery, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for Ireland's most famous spirit.


8. Visit Kinsale

Known as the "Gourmet Capital of Ireland," Kinsale awaits you as a picturesque town boasting a rich culinary scene that promises to delight your senses. Indulge in the freshest seafood at one of its acclaimed restaurants, where expert chefs skillfully prepare dishes that showcase the flavors of the sea in exquisite ways. As you savor each bite, you'll find yourself immersed in a culinary journey that celebrates the finest ingredients, local produce and culinary traditions of the region.

Take leisurely strolls along the waterfront, where the tranquil waters of the harbor reflect the charm of the colorful buildings lining the shore. The salty breeze carries the scent of the ocean, creating a serene atmosphere that invites you to unwind and soak in the beauty of your surroundings.

Don't miss the opportunity to explore attractions like Charles Fort and Desmond Castle, which offer fascinating insights into Kinsale's rich history and heritage. Wander through the ancient walls of Charles Fort, where centuries-old stories come to life amidst the impressive stone architecture. Explore the halls and chambers of Desmond Castle, where tales of knights and nobles unfold in a setting of timeless elegance.

As we immersed ourselves in the vibrant culture and culinary delights of Kinsale, we discovered why it has earned its reputation as the "Gourmet Capital of Ireland," leaving many travelers us with cherished memories of an unforgettable experience.

9. Explore Waterford and its Viking Triangle

Waterford, Ireland's oldest city, invites you to immerse yourself in its rich history and undeniable charm. As you explore its winding streets, medieval castles, and historic landmarks, you'll discover a city steeped in centuries of captivating stories and fascinating heritage.

Begin your journey in Waterford's Viking Triangle, a cultural hub that serves as the heart of the city's historic district. Here, you'll encounter iconic attractions such as Reginald's Tower, an ancient fortification that has stood watch over the city for over a thousand years. Delve deeper into the past at the Medieval Museum, where interactive exhibits and artifacts offer insights into Waterford's medieval legacy.

No visit to Waterford would be complete without learning about the city's maritime heritage at the Waterford Museum of Treasures. Trace the city's seafaring history through captivating displays and exhibits that showcase its importance as a bustling port town throughout the ages.

As I wandered through Waterford's streets, I was captivated by its timeless charm and vibrant energy. From its historic buildings to its bustling waterfront, every corner revealed a new chapter in the city's storied past.

10. Hiking in Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park will offer you an extensive network of hiking trails, catering to all levels of experience, from leisurely strolls to challenging mountain hikes. As you lace up your boots and embark on your adventure, you'll have the opportunity to explore the park's diverse landscapes, each more breathtaking than the last.

Meander through wooded valleys adorned with ancient trees, their branches whispering tales of centuries past. Ascend rugged mountains that reach towards the sky, offering panoramic and stunning views out of the surrounding countryside. Pause to catch your breath and take in the awe-inspiring beauty that surrounds you.

Discover hidden waterfalls cascading down moss-covered rocks, their crystal-clear waters glistening in the sunlight. Traverse winding paths that lead to sparkling lakes, where the tranquil waters reflect the majesty of the mountains that embrace them.

When you're seeking solitude amidst nature's embrace or craving the thrill of conquering a challenging trail, Killarney National Park promises an unforgettable adventure. So, as I prepared to explore its wonders, I let the call of the wild guide me on a journey of discovery through Ireland's stunning landscapes.

11. Cycling the Ring of Kerry

For a more active way to experience the beauty of the Ring of Kerry, consider cycling the route. Rent a bike in Killarney or a used rental car from in one of the nearby towns and set off on an unforgettable journey through rolling hills, quaint villages, and stunning coastal scenery.

As you pedal along the winding country roads, you'll feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, immersing yourself fully in the breathtaking landscapes that unfold before you. Glide past emerald-green pastures dotted with sheep, their gentle bleats echoing in the distance.

Pause in quaint villages along the way, where friendly locals offer warm greetings and inviting smiles. Take a moment to explore charming shops and cozy cafes, indulging in homemade treats and freshly brewed coffee.

As you continue your journey, the rugged coastline comes into view, its dramatic cliffs and crashing waves creating a mesmerizing backdrop for your adventure. Stop at scenic viewpoints to capture the beauty of the landscape in photographs, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

With each turn of the pedal, I discovered new wonders and hidden gems, experiencing the Ring of Kerry in a way that few others have. So, saddle up and embark on this exhilarating journey through one of Ireland's most iconic destinations.

What is the Best Time to Visit Southern Ireland?

The best time to visit Southern Ireland is during the summer months, from June to August, when you can enjoy mild temperatures, long daylight hours, and a variety of festivals and events. Summer (June to August) is the most popular time to visit, with long daylight hours, mild temperatures, and plenty of festivals and events taking place. However, it's also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds and higher prices.

If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) or autumn (September to October). During these months, you'll still enjoy mild weather and blooming landscapes, but with fewer tourists.

Winter (November to February) is the quietest time to visit Southern Ireland, with shorter days and cooler temperatures. However, it's also a magical time to experience Ireland's cozy pubs, festive holiday markets, and dramatic coastal storms.


What Outdoor Activities Can You Do in Southern Ireland?

Outdoor activities you can do in Southern Ireland are hiking, cycling, golfing, surfing, sailing, fishing, horse riding, walking, kayaking, and bird watching. In Southern Ireland, you'll discover a plethora of outdoor activities that cater to every adventurer's taste. Start your journey by exploring the diverse trails of Killarney National Park, where you can wander through ancient woodlands, alongside tranquil lakes, and up majestic mountains.

If you prefer a more leisurely pace, cycling the iconic Ring of Kerry offers a scenic adventure, winding through picturesque villages and along the stunning coastline. For golf enthusiasts, Southern Ireland boasts world-renowned courses like the Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale, providing a backdrop of sweeping ocean views and lush green fairways.

Seeking excitement on the waves? Head to Inch or Banna Strand for exhilarating surfing experiences amidst rugged coastlines and consistent waves. Alternatively, set sail in Cork Harbour, one of the world's largest natural harbors, for a serene sailing journey along the stunning coastal scenery. If fishing is your passion, cast your line into the Blackwater River, known for its abundant salmon and trout.

Venture inland to the Dingle Peninsula for horseback riding adventures, or embark on the Beara Way, a long-distance walking trail that offers panoramic views and glimpses into Ireland's rich history. Explore the tranquil Lakes of Killarney by kayak, or marvel at the seabirds soaring above the Cliffs of Moher on the rugged south west of coast. With a diverse range of activities awaiting you, Southern Ireland promises unforgettable outdoor adventures at every turn.

Hiking in Killarney National Park

With its network of trails ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes, Killarney National Park is a paradise for hikers of all skill levels. Explore ancient woodlands, tranquil lakes, and majestic mountains as you immerse yourself in nature.

Cycling the Ring of Kerry

Cycling the Ring of Kerry is a popular way to experience the region's stunning scenery at a leisurely pace. Rent a bike in Killarney or one of the nearby towns and pedal your way along winding coastal roads, past picturesque villages, and through rolling green hills.



Southern Ireland is home to some of the world's most renowned golf courses, including the Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale and the Ballybunion Golf Club in County Kerry. Tee off against a backdrop of sweeping ocean views and lush green fairways as you enjoy a round of golf in this stunning setting.

Surfing in Inch or Banna Strand

With its rugged coastline and consistent waves, Southern Ireland is a paradise for surfers of all levels. Head south to Inch or Banna Strand in County Kerry to catch some waves and experience the thrill of riding the Atlantic swell.

Sailing in Cork Harbour

Cork Harbour, one of the largest natural harbors in the world, offers excellent sailing opportunities for beginners and experienced sailors alike. Take a sailing lesson, charter a boat, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery from the water.

Fishing in the Blackwater River

The Blackwater River, which flows through County Cork and County Waterford, is famous for its salmon and trout fishing. Cast your line into its pristine waters and try your luck at landing a prized catch amidst the peaceful surroundings.

Horse Riding on the Dingle Peninsula

Explore the rugged beauty of the Dingle Peninsula on horseback with a guided riding tour. Trot along sandy beaches, traverse rocky cliffs, and soak in panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean as you experience the magic of Ireland's western coastline.

Walking the Beara Way

The Beara Way is a long-distance walking trail that loops around the Beara Peninsula in County Cork and County Kerry. Meandering through remote villages, past ancient ruins, and along dramatic cliff paths, it offers a true taste of Ireland's wild beauty.

Kayaking on the Lakes of Killarney

Explore the tranquil waters of the Lakes of Killarney by kayak and boat tours discover hidden coves, secluded beaches, and lush islands. Paddle at your own pace or join a guided tour to learn about the area's history, wildlife, and folklore.

Bird Watching at the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher, located on the rugged south west coast of Ireland, are not only a breathtaking natural wonder but also a haven for birdwatchers. Spot puffins, guillemots, and other seabirds as they soar above the crashing waves and sheer cliffs.

Surfing in Inch or Banna Strand

With its consistent waves and wide sandy beaches, Inch and Banna Strand are popular surfing spots in County Kerry. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, you'll find ideal conditions for catching waves and enjoying the thrill of riding the surf.

FAQs on Top Things to Do in Kinsale

1. What are the best restaurants in Kinsale?

Kinsale is renowned for its excellent dining scene, with a wide range of restaurants serving everything from fresh seafood to international cuisine. Some popular options include Fishy Fishy, Bastion, and The Supper Club.

2. What are the must-see attractions in Kinsale?

In addition to its culinary delights, Kinsale is home to several noteworthy attractions, including Charles Fort, Desmond Castle, and the Kinsale Regional Museum.

3. Are there any outdoor activities to enjoy in Kinsale?

Yes, Kinsale offers plenty of outdoor activities, including sailing, kayaking, and hiking along the nearby coastline and countryside.