If you had told me virtual tours of Ireland would have been so popular a couple of years ago, I’d never have believed you.
And then 2020 arrived and brought with it, well, it brought what it did. Thankfully, it looks like an end is finally in sight.
However, it may still be a while before international tourists start visiting our mighty little island again.
In an attempt to bring those of you that want to be here a little closer to Ireland, we’ve created a guide that’s packed with some brilliant virtual tours of Ireland.
Section 1: The most popular virtual tours of Ireland
Section 1 is packed with the most popular virtual tours of Ireland. These will take you to places to visit in Ireland that have been tourist favourites for many a year.
Below, you’ll find everything from the Giants Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher to mighty museums, historical sites and much more.
1. The Giants Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim is an area of immense natural beauty (it also has a nice bit of Irish mythology attached to it!), thanks to an ancient volcanic fissure eruption that took place many years ago.
It’s here that you’ll find 40,000 interlocking basalt columns along with a clatter of magnificent coastal scenery, a stone’s throw from the town of Bushmills.
2. Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle was built nearly 600 years ago by one of the greatest chieftains to ever roam Ireland – Cormac MacCarthy.
For the first time in its history, the kissing of the Blarney Stone has been postponed until further notice.
If having a ramble here and planting your lips on the ‘magical’ stone was on your to-do list, you can still do so… virtually!
3. The Cliffs of Moher virtual tour
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare is arguably one of Ireland’s most iconic visitor attractions. It’s definitely one of the most visited, anyway!
And, by all accounts, the Cliffs of Moher virtual tour is one of the most popular virtual tours of Ireland. You’ll find the cliffs at the southwestern edge of the stunning Burren region where they stretch for around 14 kilometres.
4. The National History Museum
The National History Museum of Ireland, often referred to as ‘the Dead Zoo’, is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland.
The virtual tour here offers access to two balconies that are currently closed to the public following a safety review.
On their website, you have the opportunity to browse the ground floor (full of Irish Fauna), the first floor (mammals of the world), the second floor (fishes, birds and reptiles) and the third floor (insects, shells corals and more).
5. The Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse is another attraction that tends to make it onto many itineraries of those visiting Dublin.
You’ll find it at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin where, since it opened in 2000, it has welcomed over twenty million visitors.
6. Dunluce Castle
You’ll find the iconic ruins of Dunluce Castle perched on jagged cliffs along County Antrim’s magnificent coastline.
A source of wanderlust for travellers the world over, the unique appearance of Dunluce Castle and the quirky history behind it has seen it receive its fair share of attention online in recent years.
Section 2: Unique virtual tours of Ireland
Section 2 is packed with unique and unusual virtual tours of Ireland. These will take you to places to see in Ireland that you’ll hopefully have never heard of.
1. The Ailwee Caves
You’ll find the Ailwee Caves in the heart of the Burren in County Clare. Those who visit the cave will be taken on a 20-minute expert-led tour through the cave’s spectacular caverns.
Expect bridged chasms, weird formations, a thunderous waterfall and plenty more. You can take a virtual tour of the caves here.
2. Carrickfergus Castle
We’re off to the 800-year-old Carrickfergus Castle in Northern Ireland, next. You’ll find it in the town of Carrickfergus in Antrim, on the shores of Belfast Lough.
The castle has witnessed its fair share of action. Over the years it was besieged by the Scots, the Irish, the English and the French.
3. The Gobbins Cliff Path
The Gobbins Cliff Walk was originally aimed at Edwardian thrill-seekers that wanted to experience a chunk of Ireland’s most dramatic coastline up close.
It was the vision of Berkeley Deane Wise and the tour here is out of this world. You can learn more about its history and the very unique cliff-side tour in this guide.
4. The Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
You’ll find Northern Ireland’s much loved rope bridge on the North Antrim Coast road, nestled between Balintoy and Ballycastle.
For those afraid of heights – and for those seeking an adrenaline boost – the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge hangs over 25 foot above the chilly waters below and is a cosy one meter wide.
You can learn more about the history of the bridge, how it was constructed and what it was originally used for in our guide.
5. The Marble Arch Caves
The Marble Arch Caves are a series of natural limestone caves found near the village of Florencecourt in Fermanagh.
It wasn’t until 1895 when two explorers disturbed the silence of the caves and the first beam of light pierced the darkness. Learn more about the discovery in our guide.
7. House of Waterford Crystal
The now-iconic Waterford Crystal Tour is a tourist favourite and offers an insight into skills that have taken two hundred years to perfect.
Those that choose to take the factory tour can observe the meticulous transformation of glowing balls of molten crystal into elegant shapes.
Section 3: Virtual tours Ireland: Historical sites
Section 3 is packed with virtual tours of Ireland that’ll take you to historical sites, museums and places packed with history and, in some cases, Irish folklore.
Below, you’ll find everything from the President’s house in Dublin’s Phoenix Park to one of the oldest lighthouses in the world and much more.
1. Áras an Uachtaráin (where the president of Ireland lives)
Next up is the residence of the president of Ireland. Originally a Palladian lodge built in 1751, the building is officially known as Aras an Uachtaráin.
You’ll find it just off Chesterfield Avenue in the brilliant Phoenix Park in Dublin. The building was designed by Nathaniel Clements and officially completed in 1751.
2. The Medieval Museum in Waterford
At Waterford’s Medieval Museum, visitors can soak up the story of what life was like in the historic city of Waterford thousands of years ago.
The city was excavated between 1986 and 1992 and many of the unique discoveries made during this time are housed here.
The Medieval Museum exists to tell the story of life in Waterford city during the Medieval era and is home to several preserved medieval structures.
3. Kylemore Abbey
The story of Kylemore Abbey is a tragic one that spans over 150 years since the foundation stone was laid by a woman of the name of Margaret Vaughan Henry.
Over the course of 150 years, the Abbey has seen it’s fair share of tragedy, romance, innovation, education and spirituality, which you can learn more about in our guide to the Abbey.
4. Hook Lighthouse
The historic Hook Lighthouse is the OLDEST operational lighthouse in the world, which is pretty damn impressive!
The story of the Hook Head Lighthouse begins way back during the 5th century when a Welsh monk by the name of Dubhán founded a monastery around 1.6 km north of Hook Head.
5. Down County Museum
Often, when I recommend museums, people tend to react negatively, saying that they’d rather spend their trip to Ireland outdoors.
Which is fair enough. However, Ireland is home to some excellent museums, and Down County Museum is one of them.
It’s here that the rich heritage of County Down is brought to life via fascinating exhibitions, lively events, hands-on activities, and award-winning education programmes. Take a virtual tour here.
6. Crumlin Road Gaol
The Crumlin Road Gaol, which dates back to 1845, closed it’s doors as a working prison in 1996 and is now a popular tourist attraction.
The physical tours of the gaol are led by qualified tour guides that’ll take you through the history of the gaol in riveting fashion.
The story begins at a time when women and children were held within its walls through to the political segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners and ultimately to its closure.
7. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The spectacular Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin was founded back in 1191 and is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland.
Boasting a 43-metre spire, the cathedral is the tallest church in Ireland (it’s also the biggest).
The cathedral was built between 1220 and 1260 in honour of Ireland’s patron saint and it’s one of the most impressive buildings in the city, as you’ll see here.
8. The GPO Dublin
If you live in Dublin, or if you’ve visited in the past, it’s highly likely that you’ve spent a bit of time on O’Connell Street.
It is easy to saunter along this street and see nothing but the Spire or the GPO. The former is an enormous spike jutting up in the middle of the street, after all.
9. Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery opened on the 21st of February, 1832. I can’t recommend the physical tour here enough – definitely pop it onto your to-visit-when-things-get-back-to-normal list.
The General History runs every day and there’s a re-enactment at 14:30 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Glasnevin contains the graves of a number of Ireland’s national figures, such as Daniel O’Connell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera and Constance Markievicz.
10. Titanic Experience Cobh
On the 11th April 1912, the Titanic called to the port of Queenstown (now known as Cobh) on her maiden voyage. What happened next has been the subject of countless films and books.
The Titanic Experience Cobh is a visitor centre situated in the original White Star Line Ticket Office in the centre of Cobh town in what was the departure point for the last passengers who boarded the ship.
11. The Hunt Museum
Limerick’s Hunt Museum preserves and exhibits the countless original artefacts that were gathered by John and Gertrude Hunt, along with some of the museum’s own collections.
Expect to find everything from Irish Pre-historic archaeological material to art from Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Roderic O’Conor, Jack B. Yeats, Robert Fagan and Henry Moore.
12. The Irish Museum of Modern Art
You’ll find the Irish Museum of Modern Art (AKA IMMA) nestled in 48 acres of land in the heart of Dublin 8.
If you’re visiting Dublin when normal order resumes, join one of the museums guided tours and get to known IMMA and the exhibitions in more detail.
Tours are free and are delivered by experienced guides 6 days a week. You can take a virtual tour right here.
FAQs about virtual tours of Ireland
Since publishing this guide to virtual tours of Ireland last St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve had 50+ emails asking about everything from unique attractions to virtual museum tours.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the most unique and unusual virtual tours of Ireland?
- The Gobbins
- Crumlin Road Gaol
- The Ailwee Caves
- The Carrick-A-Rede tour
What are the best video tours of Ireland for kids?
- Cliffs of Moher
- The National History Museum
- The Giant’s Causeway
- Hook Lighthouse
What virtual tours of Ireland showcase the best scenery?
- Gobbins Cliff Path
- The Cliffs of Moher virtual tour
- The Giants Causeway
- Dunluce Castle