Getting to Ireland is a dream for many, but when that’s not possible, there are plenty of ways to see virtual tours of Ireland’s attractions from the comfort of your home, especially important these days when airline travel is restricted.
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So, get your computer or your smartphone out right now and check out these 13 virtual tours of Ireland's attractions that will have you wishing you were there to enjoy them in person.
Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin
This is the official residence of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife, Sabina.
The house (pronounced “Awrus an Oochtharawn”) is located in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
The house was built in 1751 but there have been many changes and additions made to it since then.
During the 18th century, it was known as the Viceregal Lodge and was the home of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, also known as the Viceroy.
In 1911, there was a major renovation made to the house for King George V and Queen Mary’s state visit.
When the Irish Free State was established in 1922, the office of the viceroy in Ireland was abolished.
The first president of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, was the first president to live there.
A virtual tour will take you through the main rooms of this grand house, including the entrance hall, the state drawing-room, the state reception room, and much more.
When you do get to visit Dublin, be sure to take a tour.
Áras an Uachtaráin is open every Saturday for free guided tours. Check the website for times.
Blarney Castle, Co. Cork
Virtual tours of Ireland's attractions include the lovely Blarney Castle, which is on every first-time visitor's list of places to see.
Most people are eager to visit the castle to kiss the Blarney stone. Legend says it will give those who do with the “gift of the gab.”
Many visitors are unaware of the history behind Blarney Castle.
A timber house was the first structure built on the property in the 10th century, but there is little evidence of its existence today.
In 1210, a stone structure was built but was destroyed in 1446.
What you see today is the third castle to be built, this time by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster.
The Blarney Castle virtual tour will take you to the castle’s extensive gardens, including the Poison Garden, which contains a number of poisonous plants from around the world.
The tour also takes you to the Rock Close, where magical creatures and fairies are said to exist. You’ll also see the Fern Garden, as well as the castle’s interior.
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
This popular Dublin attraction is what the Lonely Planet Guide describes as “not just Ireland’s best small museum, but one of the best you’ll find anywhere in Europe.”
The museum’s extraordinary collection was gathered by the New York mining magnate and philanthropist Alfred Chester Beatty, who was an avid collector of European and Persian manuscripts, in addition to Chinese snuff bottles and Japanese netsuke.
There is so much more to see from Beatty’s rare finds when you visit the museum, but you can get a good idea of what’s there if you take the virtual tour.
You can explore the “Arts of the Book” exhibition on the first floor, the “Sacred Traditions” exhibition on the second floor, and more.
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The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
The Cliffs of Moher attract approximately 1.5 million tourists a year, which is no surprise given the area's natural beauty.
During the height of the season, it can get a little crowded, so if you’re looking for a quieter time to visit, spring and fall are always good options.
The cliffs are located in the Burren, which is part of a UNESCO Global Geopark.
At their highest point, the cliffs rise to about 390 feet (120 meters) from the Atlantic Ocean.
From there, you can see the Aran Islands in Co. Galway, as well as the Mamturks and Twelve Bins mountain ranges, also in Galway.
A prominent marker in the area is O’Brien’s Tower, which was built in 1835 by local man Sir Cornelius O’Brien.
Check out the virtual tour here.
Cork City and County
If you think there’s more to Ireland than Dublin, you’re right.
Cork is Ireland’s second-largest city and while it is a great place to visit any time of year, you can get a snippet of what’s in store when you take the Pure Cork virtual tour below.
You’ll see snippets of the city, the fabulous Cork countryside, with the wild Atlantic Ocean hugging its coastline, as well as its award-winning food, not to mention the fun you can expect when you visit.
If you're interested in the stained-glass works of Irish artists in addition to Greek and Roman sculptures, be sure to take a virtual tour of the Crawford Art Museum in Cork City (beside the Opera House).
You can view a number of the museum's current exhibitions, including NEW THREADS: Acquisitions 2021, Menagerie: Animals by Artists, Harry CLARK: Early Stained Glass, and more, all on the museum's website.
Other works can be viewed here.
Admission to the museum is always free.
Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim
Dunluce Castle located is located in an absolutely stunning place.
Like other parts of the Coastal Causeway in Northern Ireland, the views from the castle never get old.
For Game of Thrones fans, there’s the added excitement of knowing that Dunluce was the location for the fictional Castle Greyjoy in the show.
Explore the inner sections of this ruined castle, including the Mansion House and what is left of the kitchen, part of which fell into the sea during a rather violent stormy night in 1639.
The castle was built around 1500 by the MacQuillen family but was seized by the powerful MacDonnell clan in the 1550s under the leadership of Sorley Boy MacDonnell.
During the 17th century, a small town grew around the castle, but that is no longer evident.
When you visit Dunluce Castle, be sure to check out the findings of past archaeological digs, which revealed cobbled streets and the housing of local merchants.
The Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim
The iconic Giant’s Causeway, about 4.5 miles from Dunluce Castle, is on most people’s itinerary when they visit Northern Ireland.
Not surprising, given the beauty of the region and the unusual basalt columns that you’ll find there, the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago.
The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the foot of the cliffs right to the water’s edge.
Most of them are six-sided, although there are some with 4, 5,6, and 8 sides. The tallest is about 39 feet (12 meters) high.
Be sure to turn on the sound when taking the virtual tour of the Giant’s Causeway.
Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway
Who doesn’t love Kylemore Abbey in County Galway?
Set in the most serene of places and right in the heart of Connemara, this place has to be one of the most romantic in the world.
A Benedictine monastery stood on the property before the castle was built in 1868 by Mitchell Henry.
It was constructed for his wife, Margaret, as a token of his love for her and for Ireland.
The couple had honeymooned in the area during the mid-1840s, and while it was ravaged by the Great Famine, Mitchell saw the potential to bring about change and economic growth in the area.
On a virtual tour, you’ll see some of the castle’s interior, including the Drawing Room and the Dining Room, as well as Kylemore’s famous Gothic Church.
Kylemore’s Victorian Walled Garden is also included in the virtual tour.
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
The National Gallery of Ireland, located in Dublin, houses both Irish and European art collections.
The museum was founded in 1854 and opened its doors 10 years later.
A virtual tour will take you through the Grand Gallery, which is dedicated to the work of British, Irish, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Swiss artists from the 18th-century Enlightenment period; The Shaw Room; The Irish Art Show Room, and much more.
There are several areas of the museum to explore, so be sure to take your time viewing all of the different works on display.
The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History
Constructed in 1856 to house the Royal Dublin Society’s growing collections, the layout of the Natural History Museum in Dublin has changed very little since Victorian times.
Sometimes described as a “museum of a museum,” it has an enormous number of exhibits within its space – 10,000 in fact.
The virtual tour will give you access to all four floors of the museum.
Viking Ireland Virtual Tour – National Museum of Ireland Archaeology
Learn about the Viking Age in Ireland through this virtual tour.
The exhibition is one of the museum’s permanent displays.
At the center of the exhibition are artifacts found at the museum’s excavations in Dublin, Ireland’s most important Viking site.
Other parts of this virtual exhibition include displays of church metalwork and other ecclesiastical material of the 11th and 12th centuries, which shows how Scandinavian features were absorbed into Irish culture, including art styles, in the later Viking Age.
It is best to view the virtual exhibition on full screen.
Surfing, Easkey, Co. Sligo
Are you curious about surfing on the Wild Atlantic Way?
Easkey, a small village in County Sligo, has, in recent years, attracted a growing number of international surfers who flock to the area for its powerful waves.
Even if you’re not a surfer, the beauty of the surrounding area is well worth checking out.
And while it may not be as well known as the other places mentioned in this blog post, I'm sure that you'll agree it should definitely be on the list of popular virtual tours of Ireland's attractions.
Here’s a clip that will whet your appetite for the thrilling sport.
Trinity College, Long Room of Old Library, Dublin
Ireland’s most famous ancient script, The Book of Kells, is housed in the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College, and, like the Cliffs of Moher, it also attracts millions of visitors per year.
There's no doubt it is also proving to be one of the popular virtual tours of Ireland's attractions on the Internet right now.
The 65-meter-long room was built between 1712 and 1732. It houses 200,000 of the library’s oldest books.
Initially, the Long Room had a flat ceiling, but because the library was running out of room to store books, its ceiling was expanded.
The Long Room holds one of the last remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
You can also see the Brian Boru harp in the Long Room. It is the oldest of its kind in Ireland and is made from oak and willow.
Discover more on this virtual tour of the Long Library.
Do you know of any other virtual tours of Ireland's attractions? If so, let me know in the comments below.
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