Stunning Views

6 of Ireland’s Most Stunning Views

We might not get the best weather in this country of ours, but there’s no denying the fact that we live on an island with an abundance of natural beauty. Everyone has their favourite Irish viewpoints, and it’s impossible to pick the definitive best, but here we present our own personal favourites.

6 Stunning Views of Ireland

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, County Galway

Anyone who has ever driven through Connemara and caught a glimpse of Kylemore in their rear-view mirror will tell you that the property is well worth turning the car around for. The structure, which is still home to an order of Benedictine Nuns, has been restored and preserved to a very fine detail. Kylemore Abbey is also home to the Victorian Walled Garden, and a number of woodland and lake shore walks. The abbey itself is situated on the edge of Pollacapall Lough, in front of a forest backdrop making it a dream landscape for painters and photographers alike.

Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey

How to get there:

Those driving from the well-known village of Leenaun, can follow the N59 west for 15 km.

If you are coming from the nearby town of Letterfrack, it’s simply a 4.3 km drive heading east, also on the N59. Both these towns are well signposted and easy to find on maps and GPS systems.

Kylemore Abbey

Co-ordinates: 53.561891, -9.889399

Skellig Michael Monastery

The Skellig Islands consist of Skellig Michael and Small Skellig. The pair are located 12 km southwest of Valentia Island near County Kerry. Skellig Michael, has become the more famous island of the two after it featured as Luke Skywalker’s refuge in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Leaving the ways of the Jedi aside, Skellig Michael has long enjoyed fame as a UNESCO world heritage site. This status was partly earned because it has remained a well-preserved monastic outpost from the Early Christian period. The monastery that’s located on the island is believed to have been setup between the 6th and 8th centuries. For those lucky enough to get on the island there is a long stone staircase that bring visitors on a climb to the monastery. As the Star Wars production team could tell you, there’s nowhere else like it.

Skellig Michael

How to get there:

Boat tours of the island typically leave from Portmagee, Co. Kerry.  Most landing tours take place during summer and autumn. Be sure to check with your tour operator about suitable times to sail.

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael – Credit: @storytravelers

Co-ordinates: 51.771018, -10.540476

The Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork

After lunch in the busy harbour town of Kinsale, there’s no better place to get a stroll in than at The Old Head of Kinsale. The complete loop walk is a 6 km trip and takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The headland was an important landmark in history, no doubt offering an incredible view for onlookers during The Siege of Kinsale back in 1601.

The loop walk takes visitors beyond the golf course and takes in ruins from an ancient Celtic fort and a 17th century lighthouse.

The Old Head of Kinsale reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean, and stands hundreds of feet above the water on top of jagged cliffs.

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Old Head of Kinsale

How to get there:

Take the R604 south from Ballinspittle for 9.2 km. To reach the start of the loop walk, head for the Speckled Door Bar and Restaurant, Kinsale Co. Cork.

Old Head of Kinsale

Co-ordinates: 51.639128, -8.555500

The Clew Bay Peninsula

Located off the coast of Westport, Co. Mayo, the Clew Bay is made up of a number of islands or drumlins. It is said that there are 365 islands in the Clew Bay, one for every day of the year. In reality there aren’t that many, but famous islands of the bunch include Clare Island, Inishturk and Stony Island. The Clew Bay was believed to be controlled by the pirate queen Grace O’ Malley, of the Ó Máille clan in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Boat trips from Newport, Westport and Roonagh all give very different views of the bay.

The best view of the Clew Bay and its islands can be seen from the summit of Croagh Patrick. The mountain takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to climb and is best attempted on a clear day for the best views at the summit.

Discover Sheet 30 Discover Sheet 31
Clew Bay 1 Clew Bay 2

How to get there:

To get to Croagh Patrick take the R335 west from Westport to Murrisk. Stop at Campbell’s Pub and the public car park to find the start of the climb and to reach the best view of the Clew Bay at the summit.

Croagh Patrick

Co-ordinates: 53.759801, -9.659791

Lough Tay, Wicklow Mountains

The Wicklow Way is one of the most popular hill walking networks on the east coast of Ireland that lets walkers have their pick of easy, medium and difficult walks. If you find yourself in the area, don’t pass up the chance to see the beauty of Lough Tay.

The Cloghoge River feeds into Lough Tay before the lake goes on to drain into Lough Dan, located to the south.

The lake has a sandy beach on its north bank and its white sands are one of the reasons the lake is one of the most photographed features in Wicklow.  Some refer to it as the Guinness lake because of its dark waters topped off with a white sandy head.

Discovery Sheet 56
Lough Tay

How to get there:

On the R759, just east of the lake, there is a gravel-surfaced layby where cars can pull in. From here you can gaze upon Lough Tay from the comfort of your car and also suss out suitable walking areas around the lake.

Lough Tay

Co-ordinates: 53.106537, -6.266799

Slieve League Cliffs, Co. Donegal

It’s said that one of the most beautiful sunsets in Ireland can be seen at the Slieve League Cliffs of Co. Donegal.

Slieve League gets less press than the Cliffs of Moher, despite the fact that it reaches an altitude of 601 metres, and contains some of the highest sea cliffs in Ireland. Slieve League is considered one of the gems of the Wild Atlantic Way and when the sun rises and sets against the rocky terrain of the mountain, it creates a stunning visual display. Although the walks around Slieve League are manageable, care is needed on blustery days, especially near the cliff’s edge.

Discovery Sheet 10
Slieve League Cliffs

How to get there:

From Clogher, exit the R263 south and drive through Aughera and then Teelin. Continue southwest through Coshclady and then Coteen Upper. Follow the road west until you reach the viewpoint.

Sliabh League

Co-ordinates: 54.640042, -8.682199

Road Atlas of Ireland
Road Atlas of Ireland

Stay Safe

Whatever your level of experience, make sure that you know how to stay safe. Read our Essential Guide To Walking Safety before you head off on your next walk.

Visit our Online Shop and find our full range of Tourism and Leisure paper maps and continue your outdoor adventures.

Disclaimer: Walkers use these tips entirely at their own risk. No responsibility can be accepted by landowners or by Ordnance Survey Ireland, for any loss, damage or injury caused or sustained during walks.

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