Ireland’s Free Attractions
Ireland is crammed with exceptional attractions-many of which are free, offering you the trip of a lifetime but at an affordable cost!!
Galway City Museum
Includes an exhibition which showcases a rare 17th century altar-piece, the newly located statue of Padraig Conaire, and the Galway City Hooker named ‘M¡irtan Oliver’ by the public.
National Museum of Country Life, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
Home to the national folk life collection, the National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland. Experience the story of Irish country life between 1850 and 1950 through the innovative combination of artifacts and displays, archival video footage and interactive screens.
Westport Music Festival 6 – 10th August
Westport Music Festival is a family-orientated festival with free nightly entertainment. Some of the acts taking place are Sharon Shannon, Mundy, Dessie O Halloran, Philomena Begley and many more. Full details on www.westportmusicfestival.com
Climb Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo
Croagh Patrick is one of Mayo’s most famous landmarks. The mountain overlooks Clew Bay and the entire Western coastline. In 441AD, Saint Patrick is said to have spent 40 days and nights praying and fasting on its slopes.
Visit Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park is situated in the heart of the West of Ireland near Letterfrack, and covers some 2,000 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths and grasslands. Some of the Park’s mountains are part of the famous Twelve Bens range. Attractions include exhibitions, nature trails, red deer, Connemara ponies, and an audio visual show.
Derroura Mountain Bike Trail near Oughterard
The Derroura Mountain Bike Trail offers you some incredible mountain biking in some of the most spectacular scenery in Connemara. You will face long climbs and thrilling descents with great views overlooking the entire of Lough Corrib from the half-way point of the trails.
Walking & Cycling Loops
In Achill, Westport & Clifden. Details on the www.discoverireland.ie or from your local tourist office.
Visit Ballintubber Abbey in Co. Mayo
Ballintubber Abbey was founded in 1216 by Cathal Crovdearg O’Conor, King of Connacht, near the site of the church built by St Patrick in 441. Despite the Abbey’s turbulent history, which included repression and burning, the Abbey ‘refused to die’ and now has the unique status of being Ireland’s only royal Abbey which has been incontinuous use for over 780 years.
Mountain Biking along the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails.
The Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails are the largest trail network of its kind in Ireland. Forest road climbs lead you into tight twisty single-tracks with loads of ups and downs, tight turns and technical rocky bits.
Make your own tour of the Shannon region.
Take in the spectacular views and scenery. Ireland’s Shannon Region is dotted with lakes and criss-crossed with rivers, and it has over 400 kms of Atlantic coastline. Well worth a mention:
Walking – one of the best ways to experience the Shannon Region Walking is truly the best way to experience the beauty of the Shannon Region. For serious walkers, there are many well organised routes in the loveliest areas, which are clearly signposted at all junctions with standard way-markers. Eleven national, long-distance walking trails traverse the Region’s most interesting scenery. Explore the world renowned Burren National Park and take in the spectacular views as from the world renowned Cliffs of Moher.
The Milk Market in Limerick City every Saturday morning
Well worth a visit and Sunday market in the City Centre.
Shannon Dolphin Wildlife centre in Kilrush, Co. Clare
Admission is free.
Burren Perfumery in Co. Clare
Admission is free. Irelands first perfumery, founded over 40 years ago.
Holycross Abbey, Holycross, Thurles
Admission is Free. Founded in 1180 by King Donal Mor O’Brien. The Abbey was restored and re-opened in 1975 and is a great example of a restored abbey and now operating as a church, The Abbey is home to a relic of the true cross. Many pilgrimages take place throughout the year. Admission to the Abbey is free, guided tours can be arranged during the season.
Dun an Oir, Dingle Peninsula
Fort del Oro, The Golden Fort – North of Ballyferriter is the broad inlet of Smerwick Harbour. Here on a rock promontory is the old fortress of Dun an Oir (Fort of Gold). The infamous massacre of Smerwick Harbour took place here in 1580, when over 600 Spanish and Irish soldiers, after three days siege, surrendered, only to be butchered by Lord Grey’s troops.
10th to 12th August
Torc Waterfall, Killarney
Torc Waterfall is 4 Miles from Killarney Town and be accessed from the main road of through the Killarney National Park.
Killarney National Park, Killarney
South and west of the town of Killarney in Co. Kerry is an expanse of rugged mountainous country. This includes the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland which rise to a height of over 1000 metres. Here where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, lies the 10,236 hectare (26,000 acres), Killarney National Park . The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies gives the area a special scenic beauty.
City Hall, Cork
Cork Public Museum, Fitzgeralds Park, Cork
Free admission. Cork Public Museum is housed in a two storey Georgian house commanding a central position in Fitzgerald Park, Cork. Flanked by U.C.C. on one side and the riverside gardens of Sunday’s Well on the other, the park bestows a sense of history that complements the ambience of the museum perfectly. The Riverview Café©, recently opened in the museum’s extension, fully exploits the commanding views of the river Lee and provides the visitor with a tranquil haven to enjoy a coffee and a snack.
Cork Vision Centre, Cork
Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork
Red Abbey Tower, the only medieval building left in Cork, is all that remains of a 14th-century Augustinian priory.
Killarney Cathedral/ Knockreer Estate, Killarney National Park Killarney
A few minutes walk from the town centre lies the Knockreer section of the National Park. Access is via Deenagh Lodge gate which is opposite the Cathedral, and this leads to a pleasant pastoral landscape with fine views of the Lakes and mountains especially from the gardens of Knockreer House. The house, which was the home of the Grosvenor family, is now the field study centre for the National Park.
Gallarus Oratory, Dingle Peninsula
Gallarus Oratory was built between the seventh and eight century and is the best preserved early Christian church in Ireland. It represents the apogee of dry-stone corbelling, using techniques first developed by Neolithic tomb-makers. The stones were layed at a slight angle, lower on the outside then the inside to allow water to run off.
Kilmalkeader Church, Dingle Peninsula
This is a fine 12th century Hiberno-Romanesque church with an Alphabet Stone (close to the Chancel door), Ogham stone, Sundial stone, and 7th or 8th century stone cross. Nearby is Saint Brendan’s house dating from the 14th or 15th century.
James Fort, West Cork
James Fort holds a commanding position directly across the harbour mouth from Charles Fort. Together, these forts guarded the narrow harbour entrance. Work began on the construction of James Fort in 1602. It was completed in 1607 and was captured in 1690 by Williamite forces. It has undergone much alteration in the intervening centuries.
Cobh Regatta 15th to 17th August
Every August the harbour becomes a focal point for a regatta where small local sailing and rowing craft gather for races and not to say the least some craic agus ceol. During the 3 day festival you’ll find live music in the island’s many pubs and clubs and maybe spot the odd fire-eater.
Rosscarbery Family Festival 8th to 18th August.
Among the many highlights of our community run festival is the “Rag” on the official opening evening, in which participants good humourdly re-enact recent events or new’s stories, or indeed the ‘local news’!! The Sandcastle Competition at the Warren Strand, with sandcastles as far as the eye can see. There are Donkeys, Ducks and Dog Races which are always highly entertaining and new to the line up this year we have the “Fastest Dog in Ross” Race!! There will be openair music in the square, beats on the street and a traditional Irish evening of music and dancing.
Kilkenny Arts Festival
8th – 17th August 2008
Kilkenny Castle Gardens
The home and headquarters of the powerful Butler Family since 1391 has long established rose garden, together with 50 acres of charming and extensive pleasure grounds. The grounds overlooking the Nore river features mature trees and shrubs with an ornamental lake numbered among the many items of interest. Very well maintained and presented. There is also a children’s playground located on the grounds. All areas of the castle gardens are free of charge.
The 14th Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival
Free 21st – 24th August 2008
Market fever in the South East
Why not visit some of the South East’s markets? There’s plenty to see and do at each and every one.
Cahir farmers Market
Dungarvan Famers Market
Waterford Food and Craft Fair
Wexford Town Farmers Market
o The South Leinster Way
o THE Coach Road Walk
o Ardmore Cliff Walk
o The Blackstairs Walks
THE COSY THATCH PUB
Trad Music (Wed, Sat & SUN)
Trad Music (Wed, Fri & Sat)
Climb Knocknarea, Strandhill, Co Sligo
Knocknarea Mountain (Cnoc na Rá) is situated 4 miles west of Sligo Town, in the area of the Strandhill Peninsula, this breathtaking mountain dominates the skyline of Sligo town. It is 1078 feet high.
Experience the breathtaking views from Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Teelin, Co Donegal
Freedom to explore……The Sliabh Liag (Mountain of the flagstones) cliffs, situated on the West coast of Donegal, are said to be the highest and one of the finest marine cliffs in Europe with a 600m drop straight down into the wild, Atlantic waves below. This creates a breathtaking and unique view. There is much more to see besides the cliffs. Leave the car behind and walk the few miles to the cliffs so as not to miss the exciting scenery of the area. A short walk will take you to the right of the amazing cliff face of Bunglas which rises over 600m above the raging ocean.
Sliabh Beagh Cycle Trails, Knockatallon, Co Monaghan
There are 5 signed cycle routes in the Sliabh Beagh region, varying in length from 18-37 miles. The Sliabh Beagh Tourism Centre, located in Knockatallon, provides information and maps on all the above trails in addition to accommodation, bar and restaurant.
Visit Glencar Waterfall, Glencar, Co Leitrim
Glencar Waterfall is 50ft high and is situated in Glencar Lough. It is very impressive after rain. There are more waterfalls visible from the road although none is quite as romantic as this one. Situated just outside Manorhamilton W.B. Yeats made this enchanting waterfall famous in his poem, “The Stolen Child”.
Swim & stroll a choice of 13 Blue Flag Beaches
Drumcliff Round Tower and High Cross, Drumcliff, Co Sligo
This site is a monastic settlement, and also the burial place of the famous Irish poet W.B.Yeats. Its importance dates from 574 AD when St. Colmcille founded a monastery here. Teahouse and Craft shops on site.
EAST COAST AND MIDLANDS
Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 17th – 24th August 2008
Location: Tullamore, Co. Offaly The 57th Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, the biggest festival of traditional Irish musicians, singers and dancers, will take place from 17th till 24th August 2008 in Tullamore County Offaly. Over 100,000 peole are expected to attend the worlds largest session and it’s all free !
Take the Michael Collins Drive
Location: Co. Wicklow The Michael Collins drive covers 45 miles through lush valleys and picturesque villages. The drive will take you to some of the locations where the film was shot.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
Location: Upper Lake, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
Location: Corlstown. Oldcastle, Co. Meath
Free Guided Tour of Maynooth Castle
Location: Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Discover the Seven Wonders of Fore
Location: Fore, Co. Westmeath
Seven Wonders of Fore : * The monastery in the bog
The village of Fore is in a valley between two hills. Here you will see the ancient ruins of a Christian monastery. Fore is “the town of the springs” and was named after St. Fechin’s spring, which is beside the old church. It was St. Fechin who founded the ancient Fore Abbey around 630 A.D. By 665 A.D. (the time of the yellow plague) there were 300 monks living in the community
Experience Carlingford Medieval Village
Location: Co. Louth
Get a Garden Inspiration at Kilmacurragh
Location: Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
Sculpture in the Lough Boora Parklands
Location: Lough Boora, Ferbane, CO. Offaly Sculpture in the Parklands at Lough Boora, County Offaly. Artists to Celebrate the Industrial Heritage of Ferbane at Sculpture in the Parklands.
Walk in the footsteps of giants – The Capard Loop Walk
Location: Co. Laois Capard Loop
Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre
Location: ‘Newbridge, Co. Kildare
Dublin Tourism’s iWalks
Bring the history of the capital to life with Dublin Tourism’s iWalks series! These FREE podcast audio guides tell the many stories of Dublin as spoken by their author, historian and artist, Pat Liddy
Pick up a copy of What’s On’ – a Free Events Listing for Dublin
Pick up a copy of ‘What’s On’, an events listing for the Dublin region. The majority of the events listed are free and the guide is available free of charge from all of Dublin Tourism’s Tourist Information Offices; Dublin Tourism Visitor Attractions, Temple Bar Information Centre and the Docklands Information Centre.
Dublin by the Sea
Dublin Bay is one of the most scenic in the world. Take a walk out on Poolbeg pier and blow the cobwebs away. When you get to the end, you will see Dublin as you’ve never seen it before, mountains on one side, Howth head on the other and straight ahead: Dublin’s fair city!
Step back in time in Dublin’s only Medieval church
Sited in the heart of the walled city, St. Audoen’s is the only remaining medieval parish church in Dublin. It is dedicated to St. Ouen, the 7th century bishop of Rouen and patron saint of Normandy. The guild chapel of St. Anne houses an exhibition on the importance of St. Audoen’s in the life of the medieval city. Visitors can also view the 17th century memorials to the Sparke and Duff families and the 15th century effigial tomb to Baron Portlester and his wife.
Garden of Remembrance
Dedicated to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom, the Garden of Remembrance is a lace of quiet remembrance and reflection in the heart of the city.
War Memorial Gardens
The War Memorial Gardens cover an area of c8ha on the southern slopes of the Liffey opposite the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park. The War Memorial was designed by famous architect Sir Edward Lutyens as a garden of simple dignity commemorating the 49,000 Irish soliders who died in the First World War.
Uncover Spooky Dublin: The Hell Fire Club
Overlooking Dublin city from the south west, at an altitude of 383m (1264ft), is a foreboding ruined hunting lodge, marked on Ordnance Survey maps as the ‘Hell-Fire Club’. Urban lore insists that this was a site commonly used for the practice of ‘Satanism’ and other occult activities, and that the Devil himself made a brief appearance there at some unspecified time in the past. See for yourself if you dare!
Temple Bar transforms into a colourful market place every Saturday with three great outdoor markets. The Temple Bar Food Market takes place in Meeting House Square; Designer Mart happens on Cow’s Lane and the Book Market is.
Wholesome Farmers’ Markets
Dublin’s farmers markets are well worth a visit – even if you just want to feel the buzz of the crowds and see the wonderfully colourful and fresh produce on offer.