LivingTravelTop free attractions in Ireland

Top free attractions in Ireland

To be honest, ‘Free Ireland’ sounds a bit strange, if not impossible – the island has been known to lean a bit on the more expensive side, compared to other European destinations. Getting there can be a bargain, but visitors are often, and not very pleasantly, surprised by Irish prices, especially entrance fees for attractions and sights. But don’t worry, even when so-called budget accommodation may exceed some budgets, traveling on a budget doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. Because there are still things that can be obtained for free, or at least for the moderate cost of getting there by bus or train:

01
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See the main heritage attractions without paying

Direction
Cabragh, Hill of Tara, Co. Meath, Ireland

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Did you know that two of Ireland’s top attractions, the Hill of Tara and Glendalough, are really free to visit? The entrance fee applies only to the local heritage center, not to the attraction itself. This might not be immediately obvious to most visitors. And it ranks among the best-hidden secrets of the Irish tourism industry. The same applies to many other sites, a brief “survey” of the area could save you several euros.

02
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Climb the high cliffs

Direction
Slieve League, Shanbally , Co. Donegal , Irlanda

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Forget the Cliffs of Moher and head further north. The highest sea cliffs in Europe are found at Slieve League (County Donegal, 595 meters). The high hills as part of the spectacular coastal landscape are a trademark of Achill Island (County Mayo). Near Achill Head you will find Croaghaun (665 meters), further northwest of Slievemore (671 meters).

03
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Visit the Belfast murals and the Ulster museum

Direction
Botanic Ct , Belfast BT9 5AB , Reino Unido

Get directions

Telephone

+44 28 9044 0000

Web

Visit the website

You don’t have to pay for a tour to see Belfast’s famous political wall paintings, just walk around, it’s safe! The neighboring West Belfast areas of Shankill (strictly loyal) and Falls (staunchly Republican) provide splendid murals and the experience of communities living next door but totally isolated from each other. Complete your Belfast experience with a look at the splendid Ulster Museum.

04
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Stroll through the heritage cities of Ireland

Ireland has a host of designated ‘Heritage Cities’, all with fascinating insight into times gone by. Cropping, for example, provides a complete medieval cityscape with only the castle actually charging visitors. Monastic remains, a round tower and tall crosses recommend Kells to visitors. And Birr is famous for Georgian architecture.

05
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Enjoy breathtaking views and mysterious tombs

Direction
Unnamed Rd, Grange North, Co. Sligo, Ireland

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It is one of the largest megalithic cemeteries in existence. The Tomb of Queen Maeve in Knocknarea (near Sligo) is unexplored but surrounded by myths and legends. The views from both places are impressive… so is the climb.

06
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Listen to Irish Folk for free

Why waste money on spectacular but ultimately artificial evening entertainment with a “traditional” twist? You can have the same thing for free in literally hundreds of pubs across the island! Many pubs host free sessions that generally showcase the best local talent. For the price of a pint, you can listen – see this list of traditional Irish pub sessions for details, times and locations.

07
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Take endless walks on marked trails

If hiking in Ireland tickles you, why not use one of the many marked ways? These range from easy local walks to the epic Ulster Way. But keep in mind that camping without the explicit consent of the owner is illegal, even on public land.

08
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Visit the national parks of Ireland

Direction
Co. Kerry , Ireland

Get directions

Telephone

+353 1 888 2000

Web

Visit the website

Ireland’s National Parks are free to all, entrance fees only apply to special attractions. Especially parks like Killarney and Connemara are firm favorites with tourists, and with good reason. A great alternative to the north are forest parks like Glenariff in the Glens of Antrim.

09
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Go whale watching

Marine mammals of all types and sizes can be seen off the coast of Ireland: dolphins, whales, killer whales and seals. Regular visitors also include giant basking sharks, smaller sharks can even swim around your ankles when you go out. All you need to bring is time and maybe binoculars. And these natural encounters will leave Fungi the Dingle Dolphin a very poor cousin.

10
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Walk in the footsteps of St. Patrick

Direction
35 English St , Downpatrick BT30 6AB , Reino Unido

Get directions

Telephone

+44 28 4461 4922

Web

Visit the website

The Patron Saint of Ireland has been marketed in many ways, but you can still follow in Patrick’s holy footsteps for free: Armagh’s two cathedrals, Downpatrick Cathedral with its tomb (of fame), the site of his first church in Saul. And don’t forget x sdft, Ireland’s sacred mountain and open 24/7/365 for hardy walkers or pious pilgrims.

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