The landscapes of Ireland – a mix of the most beautiful, unique and varied scenery you will see anywhere, and all in a relatively small island.
The beautiful landscapes of Ireland are consistently cited as the primary reason visitors come to, and fall in love with, the Emerald Isle. Ireland possesses a huge variety of natural landforms, from soaring cliffs and vast beaches, to isolated valleys and rolling, green hills.
In order to truly fall in love with the splendour of Ireland, nothing beats being there in person. But for now, this post will attempt to showcase some of the most stunning landscapes Ireland has to offer.
These landscapes will be divided up into different categories ranging from cliffs to mountains, beaches to rivers and much more…
The Cliff Landscapes of Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher
Located in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. Standing at 217 metres high and dropping vertically into the pounding waters of the Atlantic, they are a sight to behold.
Croaghaun Sea Cliffs
Located on Achill Island off the coast of County Mayo, these are the highest cliffs in Ireland and the third highest in Europe at an incredible height of 688 metres. One of Ireland’s true landscape highlights and a real hidden gem. We have a full guide to Croaghaun here.
Slieve League Sea Cliffs
Located in County Donegal, these magnificent cliffs reach a height of 601 metres. One of Donegal’s many magnificent landscapes.
Almost resembling a shield, proudly protecting the county of Kerry from the might of the Atlantic Ocean, these cliffs reach an impressive height of 300 metres.
The Beach Landscapes of Ireland
Dog’s Bay/Gurteen Beach
You would be forgiven for believing these beaches are in the Caribbean. Located in one of the most beautiful regions of Ireland, Connemara, these beaches are just epic.
Another incredible sight on Achill Island. Voted as one of the great beaches of the world, Keem Beach is a must-see for anyone who visits Ireland. The whole area of Achill has some of the most spectacular landscapes of Ireland. We have a comprehensive guide to Keem here.
Barley Cove Beach
This wonderful strand is located in west Cork on the way to Ireland’s most southerly point – Mizen Head. Surrounded by beautiful greenery, Barley Cove is magnificent.
Murder Hole Beach
Contrary to its terrifying name, this County Donegal beach is the definition of Ireland’s wild west and another hidden gem.
This impressive sand-spit, located in the county of Kerry is a beautiful stretch of coastline.
Iconic, and known the world over from a certain movie, this ridiculously impressive rock is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Ireland.
Ireland’s largest island and arguably the most geographically varied region in the country, Achill Island is a mecca for those seeking adventure. We have a list of the best things to do in Achill here.
The Aran Islands
A step back in time to how Ireland used to be, this group of islands located off the coast of Galway are wild ,rugged and beautiful.
Compared to the wild western islands of Ireland, this ‘tamer’ island is a horticulturist’s dream. It’s wide variety of plant species is testament to the effects of the mild Gulf Stream.
This bay with its hundreds of drumlin (glacial) islands and backed by the imposing peak of Croagh Patrick is a truly unique place.
Located in County Cork, this beautiful inlet is surrounded by lush, rolling green hills.
This iconic bay is home to the Aran Islands and its coastline possesses some wonderful coral beaches, quaint fishing towns and wonderful vistas. Immortalized by the song of its namesake.
The Mountain Landscapes of Ireland
Ireland’s highest peak and located in County Kerry. This mountain may be only 1,038 metres in height, but is not to be underestimated.
Ireland’s holy mountain and located near Westport, County Mayo, Croagh Patrick offers one of Ireland’s most amazing panoramic coastal views. We have a full guide to Croagh Patrick here.
Located in County Sligo (an often overlooked hidden gem) this is Ireland’s answer to Cape Town’s ‘Table Mountain’. Breathtakingly unique and a fantastic photo location.
One of Ireland’s great hikes and named after Ireland’s renowned navigator: St. Brendan.
This conical peak, located in the wonderful county of Donegal, must be one of the most photographed mountains in Ireland.
The River Shannon
Ireland’s longest river, at a length of 360 km, this famous body of water is almost completely navigable. One of the landscapes of Ireland which is in stark contrast to the wild coastal scenery of the west.
The River Boyne
Located primarily in County Meath, the Boyne is one of Ireland’s most important channels, and the Boyne Valley contains passage graves dating back to before the pyramids.
The River Liffey
Rising in the Wicklow Mountains and meandering its way towards Dublin Bay, the Liffey is perhaps one of Ireland’s best known rivers.
The River Barrow
Perhaps one of Ireland’s most scenic rivers, the Barrow flows for a distance of almost 200 kms before reaching the Celtic Sea.
Ireland’s second largest lake (after Lough Neagh), Lough Corrib is located in County Galway. It is drained by one of Ireland’s shortest rivers, the River Corrib, which flows through Galway City. This is a great day trip from Galway.
This County Mayo lake is truly picturesque, with the background of Nephin mountain providing a stunning landscape. There is a beautiful beach here also, details of which are here.
Are you going to see a more spectacular lake anywhere in Ireland? This jaw-dropping corrie lake dates back to the ice age and almost defies logic.
A truly unique and wonderful lake located in County Fermanagh, this lake is popular for fishing and also for those wishing to stay on ‘houseboats’. One of the more calm and tranquil landscapes of Ireland, which is well worth a visit.
Upper Lake-Killarney National Park
One of the most photographed lakes in Ireland and for good reason. Ireland’s inland natural beauty at its best.
Ireland’s Low Central Plains
The Curragh-County Kildare
Known in Ireland for its horse racing, this glacial plain also has some of the most fertile soils in all of Ireland.
The Bog of Allen
Ireland’s largest bog, this vast area of peatland is located in the province of Leinster. Once a largescale producer of peat, it has in recent years been recognised as an area of conservation.
Lush, Green Meadows of Ireland
The Midlands are home to some wide open tracts of greenery as far as the eye can see.
Finally, some unique and starkly beautiful landscapes of Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway
This incredibly unique landscape appears almost other-worldly. Legend says that Finn McCool was responsible for these basalt rock formations and geologists state they were born from volcanic activity. Whatever you may believe, this place is is truly unique.
The Drumlins of Ireland
These unusual, yet wonderfully green rolling hills are part of a ‘basket of eggs’ type typography, which forms a belt starting in Clew Bay in Mayo and following a north-easterly trend towards the county of Cavan. Clew Bay’s islands were cut off from the mainland during the end of the last ice age, approximately 10,000 years ago.
This almost lunar landscape in the county of Clare, quite close to the Cliffs of Moher is certainly one of the more unusual landscapes of Ireland, but an incredibly important eco-system and national park.
It is one of the few places on earth where livestock is moved upslope during the winter months. This landscape can also be found on the Aran Islands, giving the islands’ landscape a stark, raw appearance.
The Dry Stone Walls of the West of Ireland
One could argue that a man-made structure should not be included among the natural landscapes of Ireland, but as these incredibly intricate pieces of engineering have been part and parcel of the Irish landscape for thousands of years, it seems fit to include them here.
The Dark Hedges
A mysterious way to end the list. This moody, atmospheric laneway is known the world over after its exhibition on The Game of Thrones. One of the most photographed landscapes of Ireland in recent times, these 350 year old beech trees must have lived through some fascinating periods of Irish history. During late autumn, early winter, this natural tree-tunnel is hauntingly atmospheric.
I genuinely hope you enjoyed this journey through the wonderfully varied landscapes of Ireland. It goes without saying that in order to truly fall in love with Ireland, one has to witness these places up close and personal.
So, considering visiting the Emerald Isle? Why not scan around for some reasonable flights down below. We believe that the best time to visit is May and September, when the prices are lower than the main season you may have beaches all to yourself. You won’t find a better flight search tool than Skyscanner, it’ll compare every single flight permutation, finding your best deal:
By the way, there are numerous other regions of Ireland which provide a feast for the eyes, and I could go on and on, but then again all good things must come to an end…
Check back with us again over the next while for some more posts. If you feel you’d like to add any more iconic locations, please mention them below. We’d be delighted to hear from ye! Slán Go Fóill!