The Emerald Isle is famous the world over for its friendly locals and warm welcome. All across the country, there are quirky places to visit that are bursting with unique charm and plenty of craic. These Irish towns also have a lot to offer visitors, for instance, great local food, traditional pubs, historic sites and picturesque settings. Here are some of the most charming small towns in Ireland, where you can expect a big welcome.
7 of the Most Charming Small Towns in Ireland
1. Adare, County Limerick
Pretty Adare in County Limerick looks and feels very traditional, especially with its thatched cottages. Adare’s thatched cottages date back to the 1830s. Adare is designated as a heritage town by the Irish government and the town is the perfect place to stop and enjoy some local food and drink in its many wonderful cafes and restaurants.
2. Athlone, County Westmeath
Athlone is a town on the border of County Roscommon and County Westmeath. It has a very pretty location on the River Shannon. As a result of this, it is a hub for sailors, cruisers and those that love watersports. However, one of the most charming things about this town is its medieval history. A visit to Athlone Castle is a great way to learn about the town’s important past and there are terrific views from the battlements.
3. Carlingford, County Louth
Carlingford Lough is a glacial fjord that links Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The town of Carlingford, located on the lough shore at the foot of Slieve Foy, is a charming medieval town. Its picturesque location is enhanced by the surrounding Mourne mountains. This is an area of outstanding beauty and one of the best ways to uncover its charms is to walk or cycle along the Carlingford to Omeath Greenway.
4. Clifden, County Galway
Clifden is a charming town with a great vibe. There is plenty to do in this town which is a gateway for exploring the Connemara National Park. On a visit to Clifden, you’ll find art galleries, a cinema, a museum and some great hotels, restaurants and traditional pubs. Many of these places will have live music playing too. The Sky Road starts and ends in Clifden and this stunning drive shows off some of the best scenery of the region.
5. Dingle, County Kerry
Dingle is known for its rugged scenery, charming pubs and fun, summertime vibe. It is also home to scrumptious Murphy’s Ice Cream. Join the queue and order one of the unique local flavours! The town is a great place to try the local seafood too. From Dingle, you can catch a ferry over to the Blasket Islands or you could just spend the day browsing in the quirky shops and enjoying the views from the harbour. Head to the pubs in the evening for some music, dancing and a good time.
6. Donegal, County Donegal
With the Blue Stack Mountains providing an impressive backdrop, the town of Donegal is very pretty indeed. History buffs will love walking around uncovering the town’s past. For instance, there is the 15th-century Donegal Castle, the ruins of Donegal Abbey, built in 1474 and the Famine Graveyard. There are some lovely beaches in the area and there are some great pubs in the town where you can try some traditional food and Irish hospitality.
7. Kinsale, County Cork
With its colourful buildings and location at the mouth of the River Bradon, it is easy to see why many people consider Kinsale to be the prettiest town in Ireland. It is simply a joy walking around the charming streets and popping into the lovely shops and cafes that fill the town. There are some historic sites in Kinsale too, for instance, the ruins of the 17th-century James Fort and Desmond Castle, which dates back to the 1500s.