Ireland has a vibrant cultural landscape that reflects its young, dynamic and changing population, merging modern trends with its own rich history, music, language and traditions, which combined with landscapes of stunning natural beauty, makes for a heady mix for visitors, students and inhabitants alike.

 

Equinox Education Services recognise the importance of weaving both culture and tourism into an immersive learning experience and offer many tailor-made weekend excursions as part of its student programmes. In this section we list a selection of some of the more popular destinations to give a flavor of the breadth and depth of the cultural and tourism destinations that our beautiful country has to offer.

 

Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre interprets the Neolithic monuments of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. The extensive exhibition includes a full scale replica of the chamber at Newgrange as well as a full model of one of the smaller tombs at Knowth. All admission to Newgrange and Knowth is through the Visitor Centre, there is no direct access to these monuments. Visitors are brought from the Visitor Centre to the monuments by shuttle bus.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Open daily year round
Feb-Apr=9:30am-5:30pm
May=9am-6:30pm
June-Sept=9am-7pm
Oct=9:30am-6:30pm
Nov-Jan=9am-5pm

 

A popular day trip from Dublin, Glendalough, or the ‘Valley of Two Lakes’, is one of Ireland’s most prominent monastic sites, nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The 6th century Christian settlement was founded by St. Kevin and boasts a series of impressive remains set against a backdrop of picturesque Irish countryside. Nicknamed ‘the garden of Ireland’, Wicklow is a nature lover’s paradise of rolling meadows, vast lakes and hillsides carpeted in purple heather.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Open all year. Mid-October-MidMarch:
Daily, 9:30am-5:00pm
Mid-March-Mid-October: Daily,
9:30am-6.00pm.
The Visitor Centre will be closed
from December 23-28 inclusive | Last
admission: 45 minutes before closing.

 

Croke Park has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over a hundred years. Boasting a capacity for 82,300 people, the stadium is the home of Gaelic games and the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and has three major attractions in one venue. Attracting visitors from all over Ireland and around the globe, the Croke Park Stadium Tour offers an in-depth behind the scenes look at one of the most historic and modern sporting arenas in the world.

The Etihad Skyline Croke Park guided roof top tour offers insights into key landmarks and top visitor attractions from five viewing platforms. Be brave and take in a spectacular view of Croke Park from a suspended walkway over the pitch. The GAA Museum was established to commemorate, recognise and celebrate the GAA’s enormous contribution to Irish sporting, cultural and social life since its foundation in 1884. The museum traces the birth and growth of the GAA at home and abroad and its unique role in the national movement and cultural revival in Ireland. It houses a vast collection, including hurleys, jerseys, trophies, medals, programmes, publications and banners that illustrate the development of Gaelic games from ancient times to the present day.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-5pm & Sun/
Bank Hols 11.30am-5pm. Stadium
Tours throughout the day, check
website for details on times

 

A visit to the magical home of Guinness is a must on any tour of Dublin. Guinness Storehouse is Ireland’s top visitor attraction located in the heart of the Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate. Housed in an old fermentation plant, now the sevenstorey visitor experience tells the story of this world famous drink. It is a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in Gravity Bar, where visitors will receive a complimentary pint of Guinness while relaxing and enjoying spectacular views over Dublin.

The Guinness Storehouse has a restaurant, where visitors can enjoy some good old Irish dishes along with their pint and has a huge range of Guinness souvenirs that you can buy to mark your trip.

 

OPENING TIMES:
January- June & September-December
Daily 9:30am-5:00pm (last admission at 5:00)
July and August: Daily 9:00am6:00pm (last admission at 6:00pm)

 

The historic Blarney Castle near Cork City is perhaps most famous for the Blarney Stone but it’s also a great destination for the whole family. According to legend, the stone has the power to give anyone who kisses it the ‘gift of the gab’ (or the ability to be a smooth talker), so for those who dare, a climb to the battlements to reach the famous stone could be well worth it.

For a more relaxing experience, take a stroll through the Blarney Castle Gardens and Rock Close—an attractive destination in their own right. There are a range of themed gardens built into the estate, like Fern Garden, located deep in the woods and designed to feel like a tropical jungle. Poison Garden, beside the battlements, is home to a fascinating collection of deadly and dangerous plants from around the world, like the caged specimens of deadly nightshade, wolfsbane and poison ivy.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Jan – Feb 9.00am to 5.00pm
Mar – Apr 9.00am- 6.00pm
May 9.00am to 6.30pm
June – Aug 9.00am to 7.00pm
Sept 9.00am to 6.30pm
Oct 9.00am to 6.00pm
Nov – Dec 9.00am to 5.00pm

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland

The Cliffs are home to Ireland’s largest mainland seabird colony with up to 30,000breeding pairs and the popular Puffins, which can be seen from April to July. There are 750m of safe pathways and raised viewing platforms along the cliff edge which allow you to enjoy a spectacular view and healthy cliff walk. The Cliffs Exhibition must be seen and brings to life the story of the Cliffs of Moher, presenting the geology, wildlife and human aspects of the Cliffs in an entertaining and educational way.

O’Brien’s Tower, built by local landlord Cornelius O’Brien as a viewing point for visitors in 1835, stands at the highest point of the Cliffs and offers the best photo opportunity from the top viewing platform. Amazingly, one can view 5 surrounding counties and the Aran Islands on a clear day!

 

OPENING TIMES:
November – February
Daily 9:00am – 5:00pm
March & October
Weekdays 9:00am – 6:00pm
Weekends 9:00am – 6:30pm
April
Weekdays 9:00am – 6:30pm
Weekends 09:00 – 7:00pm
May & September
Weekdays 9:00 – 7:00pm
Weekends 9:00 – 7:30pm
June
Weekdays 9:00 – 7:30pm
Weekends 9:00 – 8:00pm
July – August
Daily 09:00 – 9:00pm

Titanic Belfast visitor attraction and monument in Titanic quarter of Belfast, Northern Ireland

Titanic Belfast extends over nine interactive galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features. Explore the shipyard, travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover the true legend of Titanic, in the city where it all began.

Delve into the fascinating history of the Titanic at Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic exhibition, on a self-guided tour of the magnificent museum. Explore the institution at your own pace in order to discover insightful exhibits detailing the construction, voyage and legacy of the infamous ship. Enjoy interactive displays; watch audiovisual presentations; and feel your adrenaline levels surge during an exhilarating Shipyard Ride.

 

OPENING TIMES:
January – March 10am – 5pm
April – May 9am – 6pm
June, July, August 9am – 7pm
September 9am – 6pm
October – December 10am – 5pm

 

Waterford Crystal has moved to a magnificent new home in the heart of Waterford City. A unique highlight of a visit is the factory tour which gives an up close insight into the centuries old tradition of Waterford Crystal making. Feel the heat of the furnace and marvel at the skills of our craftsmen. The factory tour includes the following traditional production areas; wooden mould making, crystal blowing and furnace, crystal cutting and quality inspection and finishing. Yet more stages to creating this beautiful product include crystal sculpting, engraving and design inspiration. After the tour indulge your passion for the world’s most famous crystal in a lavish retail store, which houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal found anywhere in the world.An exhibition of sporting trophies and statement pieces is an absolute must see attraction.

The complimentary visitor retail experience includes the largest display of Waterford Crystal in the world, retail store, exhibition and crystal installation areas, coffee shop and worldwide shipping facility. Adjacent car parking is also available.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Factory Tour Times:
Jan – Feb: Weekdays 9.30am to 3.15pm
March Weekdays 9.00am to 3.15pm; Sunday 9:30am – 3:15pm
April – Oct: Weekdays 9.00am to 4.15pm; Sun: 9:30am – 4:15pm
Oct 31st : No factory tours on Monday October 31st
November & December: Factory Tour Mon – Fri: 9.30am to 3.15pmm to 3.15pm

 

Visitors to New Ross, County Wexford will immediately be drawn to the magnificent sight of the masts and rigging of the
historic emigrant ship Dunbrody towering over the quayside. It’s a full scale replica of the original ship which was built in 1845 for the Graves family of New Ross and which carried thousands of emigrants from Ireland to North America over a period of thirty years, trading extensively all over the world. Follow in the footsteps of a group of Famine emigrants as you board the Dunbrody. A ticket is issued as if it were 1849, and this ticket allocates your space and food rations for the voyage ahead. You will explore the ship, fitted out exactly as it would be for a voyage. You will encounter actors, playing the role of emigrants, in their cramped quarters with their meagre possessions, fleeing as they are a worse catastrophe. They will tell you their harrowing stories of being forced to emigrate.

A member of the crew will tell you the story of other voyages and all about life on board a sailing ship.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Open daily 9am to 6pm. Last tour 5pm

 

Tayto Park is a crisp/chip themed amusement park in Ireland. It is located in the townland of Kilbrew, near the hamlet of Curragha, very near Ashbourne in County Meath. The park was opened in November 2010. Located 30 minutes from Dublin, Tayto Park hosts a variety of activities suitable for all ages. It is the sixth most popular paid for attraction within the Republic of Ireland, with 750,000 visitors in 2015. Tayto Parks biggest attraction is Cú Chulainn Coaster Ireland’s only wooden roller coaster, and the only large roller coaster of any kind in the country (as of 2016), opened on 5 June 2015.[3] Ground was broken on the project on 10 August 2014 and construction commenced on 1 September 2014. With a strong focus on mythological Irish history, the rollercoaster has been named after one of the great eternal heroes of Irish history, Cú Chulainn. The figure of the great Irish warrior is emblazoned across the front of the rollercoaster trains.

 

OPENING TIMES:
December 2017 Fridays 12pm – 5pm
Weekends 10am – 5pm
Mon 18th – Sat 23rd 12pm – 5pm
March 2018
Sun 18th & Mon 19th 10am – 6pm
Fri 23rd – Sun 8th April 10am – 6pm
April 2018
Weekends 10am – 6pm
May & June 2018
Open Sat 5th May – Sat 30th June 10am – 6pm
July & Aug 2018
Sun 1st July – Fri 31st Aug 9:30am – 7pm
Sep 2018
Weekends 10am – 6pm
Oct 2018
Weekends 10am – 5pm
Mon 29th – Fri 2nd Nov 10am – 5pm
Nov 2018
Weekends 10am – 5pm
Weekends 10am – 4pm
Dec 2018
Fri 12pm – 5pm
Weekends 10am – 5pm
Mon 17th – Sun 23rd 12pm – 5pm

 

The National Museum of Ireland has a strong emphasis on Irish art, culture, and natural history. It has three branches in
Dublin and one in County Mayo. The National Museum of Ireland was founded under the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act of 1877. Previously, the Museum’s collections had been divided between Leinster House, originally the headquarters of the Royal Dublin Society, and the Natural History Museum in Merrion Street, built as an extension to Leinster House in 1856-1857.

Under the Act, the government purchased the museum buildings and collections. To provide storage and display space for the Leinster House collections, the government quickly implemented plans to construct a new, custom-built museum on Kildare Street and on 29 August 1890, the new museum opened its doors to the public. The collections, archives and displays of the Irish Antiquities Division are housed mainly in the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. This Division has a staff of eight, including a Keeper, five Assistant Keepers, Senior Technical Assistant and Clerical Officer.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 2pm- 5pm
Closed Mondays (including Bank Holidays), Christmas Day and Good Friday

 

The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre displays information and historical interpretations of the Phoenix Park from 3500BC to the present day. Temporary exhibitions are also regularly on display in the centre. Adjoining the Visitor Centre is the fully restored Ashtown Castle,
a medieval tower house that probably dates before the 17th century. The castle had been incorporated into an 18th century mansion and was ‘rediscovered’ when this building was demolished due to dry rot.

There is coffee shop across the court yard and you can visit the Victorian walled kitchen gardens. These beautifully maintained gardens are well worth a look and on the second Saturday of each month at 10.30 am the gardeners give a talk to the public. Facilities available include, Audio-visual presentation, exhibitions, toilets, disabled toilets, car/coach park and restaurant/picnic tables.

 

OPENING TIMES:
November – April:
Wednesday to Sunday 9.30am – 5.30pm
May – October:
Open daily 10am – 5.45pm

 

The Science Gallery in the heart of Dublin is a unique venue in that it does not have a permanent collection of exhibits. The Gallery thus does not always have an exhibition for viewing so visitors are advised to check the Gallery website to ensure that an exhibition is actually running. Gaps between exhibitions can be two or three weeks. Exhibitions include events, talks, debates and workshops, giving visitors the chance to get involved. The range of science topics covered is very broad with exhibitions covering such diverse subjects as learning how to transform old electronics into new musical instruments to a study of Oscillators from an economist’s point of view.

The Gallery is located a short walk towards the back of Trinity College on Pearse Street and has a fine café onsite. The Science Gallery is in stark contrast to many of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland and is a modern and bright facility. It offers a welcome and engaging change to the many otherwise fine Museums and usual tourist attractions in Dublin and is a must for anyone interested in science.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Opening times vary depending on if we are running an exhibition.

 

Dublin Zoo , in Phoenix Park, Dublin, is the largest zoo in Ireland, and one of Dublin’s most popular attractions. Opened in 1831,the zoo describes its role as conservation, study, and education. Its stated mission is to “work in partnership with zoos worldwide to make a significant contribution to the conservation of the endangered species on Earth”. Covering over 28 hectares (69 acres) of Phoenix Park, it is divided into areas named Asian Forests, Orangutan Forest, The Kaziranga Forest Trail, Fringes of the Arctic, Sea Lion Cove, African Plains, Roberts House, House of Reptiles, City Farm and South American House.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Monday to Sunday
9:30-5:00pm

 

The Book of Kells is held in Dublin, Trinity College Library,and ) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in Ireland or may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created c. 800 AD. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5pm,
Sunday (May-September) 9.30am4.30pm,
Sunday (October-April) 12-4.30pm

 

Since its restoration, Kilmainham Gaol has been understood as one of the most important Irish monuments of the modern period, in relation to the narrative of the struggle for Irish independence. In the period of time extending from its opening in 1796 until its decommissioning in 1924 it has been, barring the notable exceptions of Daniel O’Connell and Michael Collins, a site of incarceration of every significant Irish nationalist leader of both the constitutional and physical force traditions. Thus, its history as an institution is intimately linked with the story of Irish nationalism. The majority of the Irish leaders in the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were imprisoned there. It also housed prisoners during the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) and many of the anti-treaty forces during the civil war period. Charles Stewart Parnell was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, along with most of his parliamentary colleagues, in 1881-82 when he signed the Kilmainham Treaty with William Gladstone.[17] Edmund Wellisha, the head guard at the prison, was convicted of undernourishing prisoners in support of the rebellion.

 

OPENING TIMES:
January – December – 9.30am – 5.30pm

 

Originally brought to world attention in 1934 by the fictionalised documentary Man of Aran, these islands have been entrancing visitors ever since. This is a taste of Ireland as it once was. Gaelic is the first language, there are a mere 12,000 inhabitants, and once ashore, you’ll feel as if you’re in a time warp. There are three islands, the largest being Inishmore, then Inishmaan, and the smallest is Inisheer. Wild, windswept, rugged, and utterly unique, the islands offer a visitor experience quite like no other. Once experienced, the great stone fort of Dun Aonghasa and the towering cliffs of Aran will never be forgotten. The local culture is quite different from that of the mainland, the archaeological heritage cannot be found elsewhere and the rich scenery is simply breathtaking.

 

So much more than a shopping street, Grafton Street is alive with buskers, flower-sellers, and performance artists. You will also find countless places to stop off and simply watch the world meander by. Café culture has taken off in the capital, and on a sunny day, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Barcelona or Lisbon. True, this is Dublin’s shopping heartland, but there’s no need to spend a fortune if visiting. You’ll find friendly, chatty service no matter where you go and be entertained from the bottom of the street to St. Stephen’s Green at the top. Grab a coffee or, in the mornings, a legendary Irish breakfast at Bewley’s Oriental Café. Take time as well to duck down the numerous alleyways and streets to see what you can discover.

 

If in Kerry, take the time to explore what is arguably Ireland’s most scenic route, the Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula). Of course you can start anywhere along the way, however most set out from either Kenmare or Killarney ending, naturally enough, back in the same
spot. The entire journey non-stop could take under three hours, but that’s unlikely to happen. En-route there’s a feast of jaw-dropping Atlantic Ocean views, stunning islands to visit, wild sweeping mountains, and many picturesque villages. This area of astounding natural beauty boasts a range of outdoor pursuits including golf, water sports on pristine beaches, cycling, walking, horse-riding, and terrific freshwater fishing and deep-sea angling. For history enthusiasts, there are Ogham Stones, Iron Age forts, and ancient monasteries, all set against a canvas of striking landscapes.

 

Beloved by Dubliners and with a colorful history, tranquil St. Stephen’s Green is a great place to wind down, enjoy a picnic, or feed the ducks. Incidentally, during the 1916 Uprising, special dispensation was given on both sides to the park keepers. Hostilities ceased daily so that the ducks could be properly fed. It could only happen in Dublin. Nowadays ‘The Green’, as it’s known locally, boasts beautifully maintained gardens, the ubiquitous Duck Pond, a picturesque bridge, recreation grounds, mature trees to rest beneath, and a playground. Around the perimeter are many of Dublin’s premier Georgian buildings as well as the iconic Shelbourne Hotel, founded in 1824, where
afternoon tea in the Lord Mayor’s Lounge is considered by many to be a real treat

 

Kilkenny Castle is a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands which was the principal seat of the Butler family, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde. Kilkenny Castle was built to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways and was a symbol of Norman occupation. In its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defences of the town with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today on the Parade.

Following major restoration works the central block now includes a library, drawing room, and bedrooms decorated in 1830’s splendour, as well as the beautiful Long Gallery. A suite of former servant’s rooms is the Butler Art Gallery, which mounts frequently changing exhibitions of contemporary art.

The gardens and parkland adjoining the castle are open to the public and the Parade Tower is the Castle’s conference venue.

 

OPENING TIMES:
Year round (closed Good Friday)
October-February
9.30am-4.30pm;
March
9.30am-5pm;
April-May
9.30am-5.30pm;
June-August
9am-5.30pm;
September
9.30am-5.30pm

 

Castlecomer Discovery Park offers an exciting range of activities around the estate including tree top walks, climbing
walls, boating, adventure playgrounds, orienteering and most recently Ireland’s longest zip wire and high ropes challenge. At the hub of the site, there is the Irish Mining Museum, a purposebuilt cafe, craft village, and spaces for educational activities.

Castlecomer Discovery Park comprises 80 acres of natural woodland and lakes. It opened to the public in 2007 to commemorate the coal-mining heritage following the closure of the local mines in 1969. It aims to develop rural tourism, generate local employment and regenerate the town.

Book today to enjoy their activities:

  • Tree Top Adventure & Climbing Wall course
  • Boating activities – Canoes & Paddle Boats
  • New Junior Adventure Course for 3 – 8-year-olds
  • 305-meter-long zip line over our stunning lake. Ireland’s longest zip line
  • Octagon High Ropes course
  • Elf and Fairly Village
  • Coal mining exhibition
  • woodland Café – Canopy Café
  • woodland orienteering trails, installed by Irish Orienteering Association
  • Timber tumbles Playground
  • 4 walking trails (FREE) Approved for listing on National Trails website

 

Visitor Centre opens 7 days per week
(Weekdays: 9.30am-5pm; Weekends: 10am-5pm (May-August) and 10.30am-4pm (September-April)).
Woodland Trails open daily from 8.30am until dusk.
Outdoor activities have seasonal opening hours (daily during peak summer season and school midterm breaks). See website and social media pages for latest updates.