After almost two whole summers of staycationing, it can feel like we’ve hit every landmark in the country worth seeing sometimes. We’ve done the stunning Dunquin Pier in Dingle, the iconic Latin Quarter in Galway, the beautiful sandy beaches of Wexford…but there’s so much more to Ireland than just the well-known spots!
If there was ever a country to wander off the beaten track in, it’s this one. We’re a creative bunch and that means that we can create an amazing experience for tourists around the smallest of attractions. Have a browse below of some of the coolest and most unusual tourist attractions in the country – not one’s you would typically come across, but well worth the visit anyway!
Irelands only commercial Lavender Farm is set in the heart of the beautiful North Wexford countryside and they have a ‘passion for purple’. It’s beautiful, but it’s just a field of flowers, right?
Wrong! The four acres of lavender fields isn’t the only thing on the farm’s stunning grounds. You can also visit their stunning café (in a converted stables), a gift shop, a children’s playground, barrel train ride, woodland walks, woodland warriors, plant sales and plenty more.
Their Woodland Warriors and Enchanted Wood, a one kilometre looped walk with rustic playground equipment, is perfect for younger children as it can easily be completed in well under and hour. There’s lots to see along the way and there’s also an outdoor Snakes and Ladders game in the lower lavender field for the whole family to enjoy.
Their Artist’s Attic is also a must-see, with the craft room featuring homemade crafts direct from local makers, so you can take home something special as the perfect gift or treat yourself !
Pre-booking is advised during summer as it’s their busiest time.
If you’re into history – and maybe a creepier experience than a lavender farm! – then St. Michan’s Church and Crypt could be a great option for you! The Anglican Church was founded in 1095, making it one of the oldest standing parishes in Dublin. Restored in 1998, the church itself is small and pretty and chocked full of history.
However, we’re highlighting it on this list thanks to the creepy underground vaults tat have become popular over the years with horror-seeking tourists! The vaults contain several caskets that contain the remains of some of Dublin’s most prominent citizens of the past. It’s important to book a tour to see the crypt that contains the mummified bodies of brothers Henry and John Seares, executed by the English for leading the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The coffins are open (fair warning!) and the bodies are very well-preserved. Perhaps not one to do with kids, but a really interesting spot anyway!
It should be noted that you need to book a tour to see the crypts and that during the summer months, or at least from the 17th of March – 31st of October, their opening hours are Monday to Friday: 10am – 12:45pm / 2pm – 4:30pm and Saturday (all year round): 10am – 12:45pm.
Cork city gaol is a spot that often missed by even the locals themselves as they associate it with their childhood school tours, or just aren’t aware that it’s there as it’s well away from the city’s centre. But trust us, this place is well worth seeing for the incredible stories, tour guides and history that you’ll find there.
Cork City Gaol is a magnificent castle-like building which once housed 19th century prisoners. Take a trip back in time and wander through the wings of the Gaol, accompanied by the shuffling feet of inmates and the jingle of the warders’ keys.
The cells are furnished with amazingly life-like wax figures and Graffiti on the cell walls reveals the innermost feelings of some inmates. The audio-visual show will help you learn about the social history and contrasting lifestyles of 19th century Cork.
The Radio Museum, an ode to the Broadcasting Station which was once located in the Gaol, houses a small collection of radios, exhibits on communication, Marconi and a reconstruction of the original Cork 6CK Studio.
This exhibition fascinates visitors of all ages and nationalities and the tour is available in up to 13 languages. Their opening hours for the summer months see them open from 10am til 4.30pm everyday except Tuesday, when they are closed. It should be noted that, although there is a self-guided tour, the tour guides are well-worth waiting for, as they have a huge wealth of knowledge and trust us, you’ll have questions!
This gothic Irish castle is the home of the world’s first museum of the history of exploration. Colonel Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury, an amateur botanist, led the 1920 Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition and as the last inhabitant of Charleville castle, it felt appropriate to dedicate the castle’s new purpose to remembering great explorers.
The exhibition focus on major contributions of exploration, ranging from the underrated to the iconic explorers of our world. The castle itself is a great place to explore with vine-covered wings and winding woodland paths, believed to have been the hunting grounds of druids. Located on the River Shannon, the stunning surroundings add to the adventure, with a 900-year-old oak tree dominating the grounds.
In January 2009, a whale washed up on the beach of this tiny Cork village, Killbrittain. Over 65 feet long, the locals sprang into action to save the sea giant, attempt to get it back into water with the help of the Courtmascherry lifeboat, but the whale unfortunately died on the beach.
After a specialist had examined the specimen and performed a necropsy, there was nothing left to do but decide what to do with the body. Locals gathered together and decided immortalise the whale, stripping its blubber to reveal the skeleton to reassemble and put on display in the local park.
Definitely a super random one to go see, but it also sounds pretty cool! There’s also plenty of other things to do around the area, like checking out Kilbrittain woods and waterfall and heading further afield to nearby Garretstown beach and the stunning Old Head cliff walks. Day trip sorted!
And on last farm just to round off the list! This Alpaca farm is the fluffiest and cutest experience on our list, again with tonnes to do! The alpaca’s individual personalities make the experience unique and hilarious. They offer a variety of packages for meeting and interacting with the alpacas – age dependent, just a heads up if you’re visiting with family – ranging from Alpaca Meet and Greets to Alpaca Walks to Alpaca Yoga!
The picturesque landscape has been made the most of too, with beautiful hills overlooking the River Corrib and the Connemara Mountains. Their glamping site is also an option if you want a night to enjoy your surroundings. They stress that it’s very important to pre-book in order to avoid disappointment and to arrange the appropriate alpaca interaction for you and your group to enjoy.