There are heaps of gorgeous little villages and towns in Ireland.
From places like Adare, in Limerick, that have graced a thousand postcards, to the less-visited (but none the less mighty) Eyeries in West Cork.
But if you HAD to pick, which towns in Ireland top the bunch as the most beautiful?
I popped this question out to the 250,000+ strong Irish Road Trip community on Instagram a while back. Over the course of 2-3 days, 500+ people commented, DM’d and emailed.
The result? A guide to 17 charm-the-pants-off-you villages and towns in Ireland to visit in 2020!
The best towns in Ireland
- Dingle, Kerry
- Doolin, Clare
- Kinsale, Cork
- Leenaun, Galway
- Westport, Mayo
- Adare, Limerick
- Cobh, Cork
- Dunmore East, Waterford
- Roundstone, Galway
- Kenmare, Kerry
- Rosses Point, Sligo
- Clifden, Galway
- Howth, Dublin
- Eyeries, Cork
- Baltimore, Cork
- Dunfanaghy, Donegal
- Carlingford, Louth
1. Dingle, Kerry
Pulling in the most votes was the buzzy little town of Dingle in Kerry. Dingle, in my opinions, is one of the best towns in Ireland.
Maybe it’s down to how close it is to some of Ireland’s most soul-hugging scenery, or the fact that the town is buckling with a tonne of great restaurants and bars that tip away merrily long into the night.
All I know is that I’ll keep heading back to Dingle time and time again.
2. Doolin, Clare
In second place came a little village that packs a mighty punch – Doolin.
Finely positioned for exploring many of the West Coasts most sought-after tourist attractions, Doolin offers the perfect cocktail of convenience mixed with traditional-Irish-country-lifestyle in one glorious mouthful.
Come for the scenery, stay for the trad music and the craic.
Here’s a full guide on the best things to do in Doolin (including where to stay and drink).
3. Kinsale, Cork
Next up is Kinsale. One of the best small towns in Ireland (and arguably the most colourful!).
I’ve been here a handful of times before, but I keep coming back as it’s always a lovely little town to have a ramble around and grab a bite to eat.
This gorgeous little fishing town is packed with colourful cafes and pubs that make walking along its narrow pokey streets a delight.
4. Leenaun, Galway
Leenaun is hands-down one of my favourite little (and I mean ‘little’) villages in Ireland.
It’s small, has a lively atmosphere from all of the tourists and locals milling about the place and the views out over the Killary Fjord are nothing short of sensational.
It’s also the starting point for the best drive in Ireland (according to my aul lad!)
5. Westport, Mayo
I’d probably move to Westport tomorrow if I had the chance. Westport is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland if you’re looking for a few days of adventure, food, live music, and pints.
It’s is one of those places that’s perfect for a weekend away with friends, and ever better for a couple of days of exploring.
Make Westport your base while you climb Croagh Patrick.
6. Adare, Limerick
You’ll find the village of Adare nestled on the River Maigue, a stone’s throw from Limerick City.
While you’ll find many colourful houses and buildings scattered across the village, it’s the little thatch cottages that give Adare its X-factor.
The old abbeys and fortress that can be found across the village only add to Adare’s charm and character.
7. Cobh, Cork
Although you wouldn’t know it from many of the photos posted on Instagram, there’s a lot more to Cobh than the colourful Deck of Cards pictured above.
Known as the Titanic’s last port of call in 1912, Cobh is a beautiful town to spend some time.
For those of you visiting, make sure to take the ferry to Spike Island, the isolated prison that was once known as ‘Ireland’s hell’.
8. Dunmore East, Waterford (one of the best small towns in Ireland for a weekend away during the summer)
Waterford’s Dunmore East is hands-down one of the best Irish towns for a weekend away during the summer.
Boasting Golden beaches, a lively fishing harbour and a town that’s full of great seafood restaurants, Dunmore East is the perfect place to set up shop for a couple of days.
If you try our 2-day Waterford itinerary and you have some time to spare, add in Dunmore East.
9. Roundstone, Galway
On Connemara’s magnificent west coast lies the gorgeous little harbour village of Roundstone.
Smack bang in the middle of oodles of immense natural beauty, Roundstone is a place you need to drop by if you’re exploring Galway.
This tiny little gem boasts Mount Errisbeg as its rugged backdrop, which ensures that you’ll have a peach of a view for the duration of your time here.
For a pint with a view, visit O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar.
10. Kenmare, Kerry
You’ll find the lovely little town of Kenmare at the head of Kenmare Bay.
Nestled at the foothills of the Kerry Mountains, this lively little village is known the country over for its food, pubs and proximity to some of the islands best scenery.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll know Kenmare as the hometown of the Quidditch Team ‘the Kenmare Kestrels’.
11. Rosses Point, Sligo
The quaint little village of Rosses Point in Sligo was once the place that W.B. Yeats spent his summers.
The village is a popular seaside resort and once you visit, it’s not hard to see why.
Rosses Point offers visitors beautiful views of Knocknarea to the south and Benbulben to the north. Slap it onto your ‘to-visit’ list for 2019!
I found it impossible to find a good picture of Rosses Point online, so the image above is of the beach near the town.
12. Clifden, Galway
Often referred to as “the Capital of Connemara”, Clifden is easily one of the best small towns in Ireland.
This gorgeous little coastal town is located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay.
For those of you that follow our Galway road trip guide, you’ll spend your second night in Clifden.
13. Howth, Dublin
As a Dubliner, Howth is one of my favourite towns in the country.
It’s easy for me to get to, there’s a gorgeous harbour, a cliff with plenty of breezy walks and an almost endless number of places to eat and drink.
If you’re planning a visit, drive or get the dart.
Once you’ve arrived, grab a coffee and make your way to the summit for the cliff walk (to the left of the car park) or the lighthouse walk (to the right). Top the day off with a stroll along the harbour.
14. Eyeries, Cork
I’d never even heard of this village until I stumbled upon it during a trip to West Cork.
Eyeries (pronounced air-ees) is a little village and townland on the northern coast of the magnificent Beara Peninsula.
If there’s a town more colourful that Eyeries, I’m yet to see it. If you visit, expect bright pastel paintwork and stunning views of the surrounding hillsides.
15. Baltimore, Cork
This is easily one of my favourite stops on our West Cork guide (if you follow the guide you’ll be spending some time here while you go whale watching).
The historic village of Baltimore lies near the southern tip of Ireland, at the heart of some of the areas finest scenery.
For those of you fond of the water, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied here.
16. Dunfanaghy, Donegal
You’ll find the village of Dunfanaghy overlooking the sandy shores of Sheephaven Bay on the edge of the Atlantic.
Surrounded by several Blue Flag beaches, overlooked by the Derryveagh Mountains, and home to a staggering number of adventure opportunities, Dunfanaghy is the perfect place to plonk yourself for a few nights.
For those of you planning a visit to the area, here’s a detailed 3-day Donegal itinerary to keep you busy.
17. Carlingford, Louth (one of the best small towns in Ireland for a weekend away)
Rocking in at number 17 is the lovely little town of Carlingford in County Louth.
Know for its Lough, the glorious mountain of Slieve Foye, its rich oyster farms and medieval buildings, Carlingford is the perfect place for a weekend of adventure.
The town is also home to many a lively pub.
Is there anywhere you think we’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!