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What is Ireland Famous for?

May 14, 2024

Get ready to embark on an exciting journey through the wonders of Ireland! Known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is a place of stunning beauty, fascinating history, and lively culture that will leave you enchanted at every turn. If you’re dreaming of exploring ancient castles, sipping creamy pints of Guinness in cosy pubs, or dancing to traditional music in quaint villages, Ireland has something special for everyone. 

Join us as we dive into the heart of this magical land, uncovering its famous sights, cherished traditions, and delightful surprises along the way. Get ready to fall in love with the charm and spirit of Ireland!

25 Things Ireland is famous for

From its lush landscapes and rich history to its renowned literature and lively music scene, Ireland is celebrated for an array of iconic elements that capture the hearts of travellers around the globe. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover the 25 things that make Ireland truly special and unforgettable.

1. Green landscapes

Imagine rolling hills covered in lush, emerald-green grass stretching as far as the eye can see. You’ll find picturesque scenes around every corner, from the iconic Cliffs of Moher with their dramatic coastal views to the serene beauty of the Wicklow Mountains.

Take a stroll through the Irish countryside, and you’ll encounter charming villages nestled among verdant valleys, where sheep graze peacefully in the meadows. Even the cities, like Dublin and Belfast, are dotted with parks and gardens bursting with vibrant greenery. No wonder Ireland is often called the Emerald Isle!

Green landscape on the coast of Ireland

Read: The 13 Best Day Trips from Dublin

2. St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a day when the streets come alive with parades, music, and laughter. From Dublin to Belfast, everyone joins in the celebration, wearing their finest green attire and sporting shamrock decorations. You can feel the excitement in the air as people gather to watch the colourful processions wind their way through the cities, showcasing Irish culture and heritage. 

But it’s not just about the festivities: St. Patrick’s Day is a time for family and friends to come together, share stories, and create memories. If you’re enjoying a traditional Irish meal, raising a pint of Guinness, or simply soaking in the lively atmosphere, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is an experience you’ll never forget!

People attending St Patrick's Day parade

Read: St Patrick’s Day in Dublin

3. Guinness

Guinness is more than just a beer, it’s a symbol of Irish pride and craftsmanship. Picture yourself in an Irish pub, surrounded by friendly faces and the comforting aroma of roasted barley. With its smooth, creamy texture and rich, malty flavour, Guinness is a taste of tradition in every sip. And it’s not just about the taste, Guinness brings people together, sparking conversations and creating unforgettable moments. So raise your glass and toast to the magic of Guinness!

Pint of Guinness
Image courtesy:

Read: The Best Guinness in Dublin

4. Irish music

Picture yourself in a cosy pub, surrounded by the infectious rhythms of traditional jigs and reels. The fiddle weaves its melody, while the tin whistle dances alongside, and the bodhrán sets the beat like a heartbeat of the music. From the haunting strains of a sean nós ballad to the foot-stomping tunes of a céilí band, Irish music speaks to the soul and brings people together in celebration.

Artists like The Chieftains, The Dubliners, and Clannad have brought Irish music to the world stage, captivating audiences with their talent and passion. Additionally, more modern musicians like U2, Hozier, Snow Patrol, Glen Hansard, and Damien Rice continue to carry the torch, appealing to audiences both at home and abroad.

Traditional music at the Cobblestone in Dublin

5. Welcoming people

Known for their friendly demeanour and quick wit, the Irish have a way of making you feel right at home, no matter where you’re from. Whether you’re chatting with locals in a pub or sharing stories over a cup of tea, you’ll be struck by their warmth and hospitality. 

Irish people take pride in their culture and heritage, sharing it with a sense of joy and camaraderie. And it’s not just about the craic, Irish people are resilient and resourceful, with a spirit that’s as strong as the cliffs along the coast.

Group - St Patrick's Day in Dublin

6. Literature

It begins with the lyrical poetry of W.B. Yeats, whose verses transport readers to the mystical landscapes of Ireland’s past. Then there’s the groundbreaking works of James Joyce, whose masterpiece “Ulysses” is a journey through the streets of Dublin unlike any other. 

As time marches on, modern writers like Oscar Wilde inject their own wit and wisdom into the literary canon, with works like “The Importance of Being Earnest” standing as timeless classics of humour and satire. Seamus Heaney, who won a Nobel Prize, is known for his poems that beautifully capture the culture and history of Ireland.

Fast forward to the present day, and we find contemporary voices like Sally Rooney, Colm Tóibín, and Anne Enright pushing the boundaries of Irish literature with their exploration of love, identity, and belonging. Each writer adds a unique chapter to the story of Irish literature, weaving together a tapestry of tales that resonate across generations and continents.

Oscar Wilde

7. Irish dance

Picture yourself at a céilí (from the Gaelic word for ‘gathering’), where dancers come together to share the joy of traditional Irish dance. With their fast-paced steps and lively movements, they captivate audiences around the world. 

From the graceful movements of soft shoe dances like the reel and jig to the thunderous beats of hard shoe dances like the treble jig and hornpipe, Irish dance is a celebration of skill, precision, and passion. And who could forget the global sensation of Riverdance, which brought Irish dance to the forefront of international stages, dazzling audiences with its electrifying performances and innovative choreography?

8. Irish actors

From the unforgettable performances of actors like Maureen O’Hara and Richard Harris to the stars of today like Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell, Irish talent shines bright in the world of film and television. 

Imagine yourself drawn into the captivating presence of actors like Ronan, known for her acclaimed performances, such as “Brooklyn” and “Lady Bird.” Colin Farrell’s magnetic charm and versatility across a range of roles add to Ireland’s Hollywood legacy, seen in films like “In Bruges” and “The Lobster.” And who could forget the iconic Liam Neeson, whose powerful performances have made him a beloved figure on the big screen in movies like “Schindler’s List” and “Taken”?

9. The Irish accent

From the soft consonants and broad vowels of the Cork accent to the distinctive lilt of the Donegal dialect, each region of Ireland has its own unique flavour and flair. The Northern Irish accent stands out with its sharp, rhythmic intonation, adding yet another layer to the rich tapestry of sounds across the island. And let’s not forget the colourful Irish slang that adds a touch of wit and charm to everyday conversation!

10. Irish movies

From beloved classics like “The Quiet Man,” with its sweeping romance set against the backdrop of the Irish countryside, to modern masterpieces like “The Commitments,” which pulse with the rhythm and soul of Dublin’s music scene, Irish movies offer a rich array of storytelling that resonates with audiences around the world. Noteworthy among these is the Northern Irish film “Hunger,” directed by Steve McQueen, which powerfully portrays the historical 1981 hunger strike. 

And let’s not forget the indelible mark left by filmmakers like Neil Jordan, Kenneth Branagh, and Jim Sheridan, whose work has earned acclaim and accolades on the international stage.

11. Rugby

From the bone-crunching tackles to the electrifying tries, rugby in Ireland is a showcase of skill, strength, and determination. Whether it’s the fierce rivalry of the Six Nations, where Ireland battles it out with the best teams in Europe, or the excitement of the Rugby World Cup, where nations from around the globe come together in competition, rugby unites supporters in excitement and national pride.

And let’s not forget the legendary players who have donned the green jersey over the years, from icons like Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Rory Best to modern-day stars like Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong, whose talent and dedication inspire a new generation of players.

Irish rugby ball on a pitch

12. Gaelic games

From the thrill of a perfectly struck sliotar sailing over the bar to the exhilaration of a well-timed goal, Gaelic games are a showcase of skill, passion, and camaraderie. Legends like Henry Shefflin and Joe Canning have left their mark on hurling, while football icons like Colm Cooper and Michael Murphy inspire fans nationwide. 

Whether it’s the excitement of the All-Ireland Championships, where counties battle it out for glory on the national stage, or the grassroots matches played in towns and villages across the country, Gaelic games hold a special place in the hearts of Irish sports enthusiasts.

Sliotar and hurley

13. Horse racing

Horse racing in Ireland is a thunderous symphony of hooves pounding the turf, drawing crowds from far and wide to witness the excitement and drama of the track. Picture yourself at the iconic Curragh Racecourse or the historic Leopardstown Racecourse, surrounded by the buzzing atmosphere of race day. And in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Derby at Down Royal Racecourse stands as a highlight, showcasing some of the finest flat racing in the region.

Whether you’re a seasoned punter or a casual spectator, horse racing in Ireland promises an unforgettable experience filled with adrenaline and excitement.

Horse jumping over a fence at a horse show

14. Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey embodies centuries-old tradition and craftsmanship, inviting you to explore Ireland’s distilling heritage. Whether you’re in a cosy Irish pub or a historic distillery, the aromas of malted barley and oak barrels envelop you. Each sip offers a symphony of flavour, from smooth, velvety textures to robust, spicy notes.

With options like single malt or blended whiskey, there’s something for every taste. Jameson, Bushmills, and Midleton are among the renowned distilleries known for their commitment to quality. So toast to Ireland’s spirit, where every drop tells a story of tradition, passion, and whiskey-making artistry!

Bottle of Jameson in a bucket with ice and Schweppes

15. Irish pubs

Irish pubs are like cosy havens where time slows down and stories flow as freely as the stout. Picture yourself stepping through the door of a traditional pub with its warm, welcoming atmosphere and friendly faces. From the polished wooden bar to the crackling fire in the hearth, every detail is designed to make you feel right at home. 

Whether you’re enjoying a pint of Guinness poured with care or sampling a fine whiskey from the extensive selection behind the bar, Irish pubs offer a taste of hospitality that’s second to none. And it’s not just about the drinks, it’s the lively conversations, the toe-tapping music sessions, and the sense of camaraderie that make every visit an experience to remember.

the Temple Bar pub in Dublin

Read: The Best Pubs in Dublin

16. Sheep

Sheep are a familiar sight, grazing peacefully and adding to the timeless charm of the Irish countryside. Whether they’re grazing on lush grass or seeking shelter from the elements in the shade of a stone wall, sheep are an integral part of rural life in Ireland, providing wool, meat, and milk to sustain both farmers and communities. 

And let’s not forget the iconic Irish sheepdog, whose skill and agility are legendary in the world of herding. So next time you find yourself in the Irish countryside, take a moment to appreciate the gentle beauty and quiet strength of these woolly wonders!

a flock of sheep

17. Leprechauns and folklore

From mischievous leprechauns guarding their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow to benevolent banshees warning of impending doom, Irish folklore is a rich tapestry of myths and legends that captivates the imagination and stirs the soul. 

Whether you’re listening to stories passed down through generations or exploring ancient ruins said to be haunted by spirits of the past, there’s a sense of wonder and enchantment that pervades the Irish landscape.

Leprechaun walking with a cauldron

18. Shamrocks

Shamrocks in Ireland symbolise luck and heritage, their delicate leaves representing the spirit of the Emerald Isle. Imagine strolling through a sunlit meadow, where vibrant green shamrocks cover the ground like nature’s confetti. Shamrocks evoke Irish pride, linked to St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity. Whether on St. Patrick’s Day lapels or in bouquets, they signify luck, hope, and connection to the land.


19. Castles and ruins

Ireland’s castles and ruins tell tales of its rich history. From Blarney Castle, where kissing the stone is said to grant eloquence, to Dunluce Castle perched on a cliff’s edge, these sites offer a glimpse into the past. Exploring medieval strongholds and ancient monastic sites evokes a sense of awe. Legends and stories add to their mystique. Whether you’re a history buff, romantic, or curious traveller, Ireland’s castles and ruins beckon, offering a window into the past.

Irish castle

20. The Celtic cross

The Celtic cross in Ireland is a symbol of faith, culture, and history. It’s commonly seen in churchyards and ancient sites, evoking spiritual connection. With its unique design and symbolism, including the ring at its centre, it represents eternity and unity. Whether at a sacred site or on jewellery, the Celtic cross reflects Ireland’s cultural heritage.

Celtic cross

21. Rain

Rain in Ireland is a common occurrence, painting the landscape in shades of green and nourishing the earth. Whether it’s a misty morning or an afternoon shower, rain adds to the Irish experience. Whether you’re in the countryside or the city, the rhythm of the rain offers a moment of quiet reflection. And who can forget the beauty of a rainbow after a gentle rain? So next time you feel a drop, embrace the moment and let the rain wash away your worries.

Rain on the street

22. Irish language (Gaeilge)

The Irish language, Gaeilge, is deeply ingrained in Irish culture, connecting people to their heritage. Whether spoken by native speakers or learned by enthusiasts, Gaeilge is a celebration of tradition and storytelling. From ancient manuscripts to modern conversations, it breathes life into the landscape. Whether you’re a fluent speaker or just starting out, embracing Gaeilge means embracing Ireland’s spirit. And with a vibrant revival movement, the language continues to thrive for future generations to enjoy.

23. Irish food

Irish food is known for its comforting flavours and rustic charm, inviting you to enjoy the taste of tradition. Whether it’s a bowl of creamy colcannon or a plate of hearty Irish stew, each bite warms the soul. From freshly baked soda bread to a pint of Guinness, Irish cuisine celebrates simple, honest cooking. 

Whether you’re craving smoked salmon or black pudding, there’s something for every palate. And in traditional Irish pubs, friends gather to share stories over fish and chips or beef and Guinness stew. Whether you prefer traditional fare or modern twists, every meal in Ireland is a celebration of community and culture.

Irish stew

24. Irish coffee

Irish coffee, a comforting treat on a chilly day, is made with a rich blend of freshly brewed coffee, Irish whiskey, and cream. Each sip offers a symphony of flavours that warm you up from the inside out. Whether enjoyed as a morning pick-me-up or a relaxing nightcap, its delicious taste and artful pour of cream on top create a delightful experience. Whether you’re sipping it in a café or making it at home, Irish coffee embodies Ireland’s warm hospitality and convivial spirit.

Irish coffee

25. Irish Cities

Ireland’s cities are welcoming and full of life. Dublin is famous for its friendly pubs and rich history, including the old Trinity College and the famous Guinness Storehouse. In the north, Belfast, known for its Titanic museum, showcases its shipbuilding history and has beautiful street art that tells stories of the city’s past. Both Dublin and Belfast are perfect places to explore, offering a mix of old-world charm and modern excitement.

River Liffey in Dublin

Read: Dublin in a Day: 24 Hours of Fun

FAQs about Ireland: What Makes It Special

What is Ireland famous for?

Ireland is famous for its stunning landscapes, rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. It’s known for its lush green countryside, iconic landmarks such as the Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, traditional music and dance, literature, whiskey, and much, much more.

What are the political divisions that make up the island of Ireland?

The island of Ireland consists of two political entities: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland occupies most of the island, comprising 26 counties, while Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, includes 6 counties. Together, these two regions form the 32 counties of the island of Ireland, each with its own unique cultural and historical significance.

What are some must-visit places in Ireland?

Some must-visit places in Ireland include the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Dublin’s Trinity College, and the Guinness Storehouse. In Northern Ireland, don’t miss the Giant’s Causeway and the nearby Bushmills Distillery. These spots, along with the scenic Wild Atlantic Way, highlight Ireland’s beautiful landscapes and rich history.

What is the significance of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland?

St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick, and Irish culture and heritage. It’s marked with parades, festivals, music, dance, and wearing green attire to honour the saint and Irish identity.

What are some famous Irish musicians and bands?

Famous Irish musicians and bands include U2, The Cranberries, Van Morrison, Enya, Hozier, Snow Patrol, Glen Hansard, and The Dubliners.

What makes Irish literature unique?

Irish literature is known for its rich storytelling, poetic language, and exploration of themes such as identity, history, and folklore. Famous Irish writers include James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Maeve Binchy, and Seamus Heaney.

What distinguishes Irish whiskey from other types of whiskey?

Irish whiskey is known for its smoothness, triple distillation process, and use of both malted and unmalted barley. It has a lighter flavour profile compared to Scotch whisky and is typically enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails like the Irish Coffee.

What are Gaelic games, and why are they significant in Ireland?

Gaelic games include Gaelic football, hurling, camogie, and handball. They’re significant in Ireland as traditional sports deeply ingrained in Irish culture, played at both local and national levels, and are a source of community pride and identity.

What role do Irish pubs play in Irish culture?

Irish pubs are central to Irish social life, serving as gathering places for locals and visitors to enjoy music, conversation, and traditional food and drink. They’re known for their warm atmosphere, live music sessions, and sense of community.

What are some iconic symbols of Ireland?

Iconic symbols of Ireland include the shamrock (a symbol of luck and St. Patrick), the Celtic cross (representing faith and heritage), and the Claddagh ring (a traditional Irish ring symbolising love, loyalty, and friendship).

What is the significance of the Celtic cross in Ireland?

The Celtic cross is a symbol of Irish heritage and Christianity, with its distinctive design incorporating a ring around the intersection of the cross arms. It’s associated with Irish monastic art and is often seen in Irish cemeteries and religious sites.

To Sum Up

As we wrap up our adventure through the wonders of Ireland, we’re thrilled to extend a special invitation to you: join us at Clink I Lár Hostel in Dublin for an unforgettable stay! Tucked right in the heart of the city, our cosy hostel is the perfect home base for your Irish escapades. 

Whether you’re itching to explore Dublin’s iconic landmarks, soak in the lively vibes of Temple Bar, or set off on countryside adventures, Clink i Lár is here to make your trip unforgettable. With comfy accommodations and a friendly atmosphere, we’re all about making your stay as fantastic as possible. So, what are you waiting for? Come be a part of the magic: book your stay with us today and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the Emerald Isle!