Top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ireland

Small path with causeway hexagonal rock formation either side and sun shining bright

UNESCO World Heritage sites are gems inherited from the past, maintained in the present and are gifts for the future. Ireland’s rich history and unique location off the coast of Europe makes it a prime location for these types of destinations. UNESCO World Heritage sites also make up some of the best places to visit in Ireland and many of them are accessible on day trips from Dublin. So next time you find yourself in the Emerald Isles, make sure to get out into the beautiful Irish countryside and explore some of these historic sites for yourself! Here is our selection below.

Giant’s Causeway – Irish Folklore Come to Life

This impressive Natural Heritage Site has become the symbol of Northern Ireland and explore for yourself the massive black basalt columns that rise dramatically out of the sea. See how this site has inspired traditional Irish folklore with tales of giants walking across the sea to Scotland. The Giant’s Causeway has also been important in the advancement of human understanding of the earth sciences. Here, scientists learned how volcanic activities formed in Ireland and the United Kingdom, millions of years ago. Scientists have also used these exposed cliff faces to shape their understanding of the sequencing of Earth’s geology.

Visit the Giant’s Causeway on a day trip departing from historic Dublin! Take this tour to explore the Causeway with a stop in Belfast. Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital and biggest city and plays an important part of the country’s historic and modern politics.

If fictitious politics are more your flavour, visit the Causeway on this day tour from Dublin and stop at a famous Game of Thrones shoot location. Nothing says Iron Islands like a tromp through castles in Northern Ireland!

Brú na Bóinne – Ancient Art Preserved

Brú na Bóinne or ‘palace’ of the Boyne, has been an important site for ritual and ceremony in Ireland for over 5,000 years. This complex is made up of three great burial mounds and located just 40 km north of Dublin. Perhaps the defining feature of these tombs is their megalithic art. This Irish traditional art uses large stones as its medium, both decorating and arranging them in symbolic ways. Brú na Bóinne represents Europe’s largest concentration of prehistoric, megalithic art. Keep your eyes peeled for circular patterns and tunnel motifs, which represent the passage of the dead to their next destination.

Take a day tour from Dublin to visit the world-famous Newgrange Tomb, another important Irish burial site. This is a very unique opportunity to spend a day in awe of the large stones that comprise Ireland’s folkloric past.

Sceilg Mhichíl – Discover One of the World’s Most Remote Locations

Sceilg Mhichíl sits on a small island which represents the westernmost point in Europe. It hangs off the picturesque Irish coast at what feels like the end of the world. This ancient religious site demonstrates an extreme level of early-Medieval Christian devotion. It is also perhaps Europe’s most remote example of religious discipline and isolationism. This monastery symbolized the goal of spreading Christianity, not only across all Europe but also out across the sea. Because of its remote location, this monastery is also an important breeding site for seabirds.

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