Ireland is called The Emerald Isle, and if you’ve ever wondered why all you need to do is take a glimpse at its beautiful sights. Ireland is rich in history and its culture and traditions stretch centuries back into the past. All that has taken place in the country has been against a background comprised of picturesque views, stunning formations, and majestic scenery. Because the country has a wealth of things to see, it can be difficult to choose a handful as top picks — if you get the chance, aim to see as much of this incredible place as you can. However, if you have to settle on just a few, here are five of the most photogenic locations in Ireland.
1. The Giant’s Causeway
This is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Northern Ireland, and it’s an absolutely stunning geological feature. The Giant’s Causeway contains over 40,000 individual pieces of basalt rock which form columns and areas that look like giant stepping stones along the coastline, hence the site’s name.
It took ancient volcanoes thousands of years to form the area, and today The Giant’s Causeway is one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. Walking along this awe-inspiring path provides a unique experience, as well as a prime chance to capture some amazing photos.
The varying heights of the columns, most of which are hexagonal, provide a visually interesting feature to get on film. There’s also lava solidified in the area’s cliffs as well as a dramatic drop off from the cliff’s foot. The natural landscape around The Giant’s Causeway is definitely peculiar, but that’s what makes it well worth photographing.
2. Cliffs of Moher
Located in County Clare in Western Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher. These gigantic towering cliffs are among the most visited attractions in the entire country, and they’re definitely a sight to see. To give an idea of how large these natural formations are, picture standing next to a cliff that hangs over 702 feet above you — that’s how tall the Cliffs are. They’re not only an iconic sight in Ireland’s landscape, but they’re also near one of the best coastal walking areas.
What’s more, after you’ve taken your fill of pictures of the Cliffs of Moher itself you can then go up to nearby O’Brien to get a spectacular view of other picture-perfect formations. Along with the Galway Bay, you’ll be able to see the Maum Turk Mountains and Twelve Pins Mountains.
The tower, which was built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien, is in a prime location to get great snaps all around. No one would blame you for taking pics of O’Brien Tower itself, which not only sports distinctive architecture but is at the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher.
3. Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is hands-down the most well-known and visited attraction in County Donegal, and you’d do well to set aside several days not just for photos but to experience its abundance of natural wonders. It’s perfect for hiking tours, has great fishing, and there’s also a gorgeous 19th century castle there, Glenveagh Castle, where you can enjoy afternoon tea after you make your rounds with the camera.
This national park is ideal if you’re looking to capture rare and exquisite wildlife, as Ireland’s native red deer and the Golden Eagle both reside there. To understand how rare it is to even view a Golden Eagle, it’s important to know that they used to be extinct and were only reintroduced to Glenveagh National Park in 2000 — imagine how awesome it would be to get one on film.
As Ireland’s second largest national park, there’s tons of terrain to explore in Glenveagh. Along with gardens that feature native pines and pretty flowers, there’s also a few gardens that host exotic species of flora from around the world and as far away as Spain and Australia.
Capturing pictures that are display worthy will be a breeze, as Glenveagh National Park is a gem. There’s mountains in the distance that provide the perfect backdrop, as well as the lush greens Ireland is known for and blue lakes that show up beautifully on camera.
4. Kylemore Abbey
If you like to photograph historic and interesting architecture, Kylemore Abbey is worth a trip to County Galway in Ireland. It’s the site of a Benedictine monastery that was set aside in 1920 to house Nuns who needed to seek refuge from Belgium during the first World War. On the grounds is Kylemore Castle, which was first established as a home for a wealthy family from London.
Though the breathtaking castle spans over 40,000 square feet in size, incredibly it only took a crew of 100 workers four years to finish. Its two feet thick walls, more than 30 bedrooms, and slew of ballrooms and entertainment areas make the inside beyond impressive, but the exterior facade of the building is even more intriguing.
Other nice points to get photos of while you’re visiting Kylemore Abbey are the grounds’ lovely Victorian Gardens. These are open to the public for touring, so you can get an excellent close up view of the blooms and ornamental decor.
5. Cooley Peninsula
The Cooley Peninsula simply looks like something from a postcard — no matter which angle you take, you’ll end up with a beautiful snap of an amazing landscape. Within the area are the picturesque Cooley Mountains which contain the famous Slieve Foy and a number of lush rolling hills.
Carlingford Lough can be captured right along Northern Ireland’s border, and Dundalk Bay is also a great point of interest to photograph. There’s an incredible amount of geological diversity within the Cooley Peninsula, including volcanic rocks and ancient limestone formations.
While you’re there, consider taking a trek to the nearby towns of Carlingford, Greenore, and Omeath to catch a view of the unique local architecture and buildings. There’s a lot of interesting folklore surrounding the area’s history, as well as monuments such as a gallery grave from the Bronze Age and Proleek Dolmen, an enormous capstone.