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Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Polls | 31 comments

Poll: What are Ireland’s Biggest Tourist Traps?

Here’s a list of five destinations that often get slapped with the label “Tourist Trap.” Which do you think are worthy of the title? Take our poll below.

Disagree? Have a more likely candidate? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

What are Ireland's Biggest Tourist Traps? (select all you think apply)

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  1. Blarney totally LOL…

  2. Glad to see Temple Bar in a close second. I’d extend that to all of Dublin almost. Kilmainham Gaol was worth it, but I really didn’t see a need for the rest of my 2 days in Dublin. Then again, I live in a metropolis… I can get that at home. :)

  3. Blarney is a hard one. It’s definitely touristy, but for a first visit it’s hard to pass up “kissing the stone.” We did it, and don’t regret it. And the grounds around the castle are beautiful! It helped that we went in April and had low crowds and no waiting in line. That said, I’d never go back and do it a second time!

    Medieval Banquets? Now there’s a waste of time!

  4. Blarney Castle was well worth the time to go, beautiful grounds and extremely interesting history. Seems everyone asks the question, “did you kiss the Blarney Stone?” when they find out we were in Ireland. That alone would probably qualify it for the most ‘touristy’. We really enjoyed Kilemore Abbey, Rock of Cashel and the Cliffs of Moher. Then there is (or at least there was) the Waterford Crystal Factory in Waterford. It would be tuff to pick a favorite. I’ll just have to go back and conduct a study :)

  5. King John’s Castle in Limerick is a ridiculous expense and a touristy experience. I’ve been to many castles in the country, but that one was one of the worst. In fact, Limerick seems to me to be a place to avoid if possible. As the song goes, “It’s a dirty old town…”

  6. If you want to totally avoid tourist traps … the only place to come to is north west County Meath, where the Royal plains of Meath meet the drumlin country of Cavan and the waterways of Westmeath. As one visitor said ‘It’s like living in a Constable painting!’. Our castles are for real, our stones are 5,000 years old and our lakes are home to the spirits of our ancestors. See it for yourself on

  7. I agree that kissing the Blarney Stone is a touristy thing, but I wouldn’t call it a tourist trap. It has absolutely gorgeous grounds and the building is fun to walk around in. I have actually been there twice (once in April with my daughter and once in February with my son). At neither time was it crowded, and flowers were blooming both times, too.

  8. I just got back from Ireland and I fell in love with Connemara all over again. Past Clifden it’s totally remote + absolutely beautiful + about as far away from “tourist traps” as you can possibly get!

  9. I completely agree with Dan’s comment. Although I could not go to Ireland and NOT kiss the stone, when (and if) I were to ever be lucky enough to return to the Emerald Isle, I probably wouldn’t do it again. We, too, did the off-season stop (November) so there were no crowds. I couldn’t imagine it packed! Ugh…no fun.

  10. Definetely Bunratty, with Temple bar a close 2nd. Sometimes, you want to do a few of the ‘touristy’ things, but not be robbed blind for the privilidge of being condescended to…

  11. I been to Co. Cork Ireland a dozen times and never been to Blarney. When asked if I kissed the stone I just say I have enough blarney on my own I don’t need to kiss any stones. A lot of Dublin has touristy stuff and I think Temple Bar was the only place that was really over rated unless, as has been mentioned, you are a young American, not yet of drinking age in the States, or are with a stag or hen party. Bunratty is kind of Disney without the amusement rides, but I still enjoyed it on my first visit many moons ago. I’d take a any Irish ‘tourist trap’ if it was part of longer visit and a break from the day to day rat race here!

  12. In the “Other” category: County Genealogy Centres–specifically Yola in Wexford.

  13. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in Dublin, Temple Bar and some of the other attractions in Dublin. There are some great spots, but it is much like any other city. Blarney Castle I loved and the grounds around the castle are beautiful. There are nice trails to walk and the castle is very pretty too, and the park across from the castle was great for watching local families picnic and play. Kissing the stone I could take or leave but glad I did it for all the reasons mentioned.

    The out of the way places that we found like walking the trails in Ardmore at dawn and the beach were lovely. Glendolough, Kylemore Abby, and Clocmanois were great places. Killarney was touristy in town, but walking around the lake and roaming around the abby, cemeterey and the walking path was the most fun my young adult kids had on the whole trip.

    Anywhere we went “off the beaten path” was great!! I agree get out and walk and you see so much more!!

  14. I have to go with Temple Bar. Unless you’re 21 and go there at 11pm, there’s just no draw.

  15. Aren’t we all silly tourists? I’m going this summer and I have every intention of REvisiting the Blarney stone just for the kitsch factor, and showing my little kids. I mean, you just gotta go there.

  16. Blarney Castle.. stand in line for a long time to climb steeps winding stairs to be dangled over a small crevice to kiss a rock…I think I prefer the real Ireland to the Disney version

  17. I’m sure I’m a bit older then most replying (actally a lot older) but tourist traps or not there is’nt much about Ireland I don’t like. Went in 2007 returning again .Oct. 2010 can’t wait.

  18. I do not think Ireland has tourist traps. Everything there is full of culture and history and experiences. Did not kiss the stone but loved the castle, Temple bar has a great story and a lot of history, just stay out of it at night. Guinness storehouse very educational and fun,wonmderful history. Dublin has MANY worthwhile sites. St Stephens Green, Trinity College, Kilmainim Gaol, Christchurch Cathedral, HaPenny Bridge, Grafton Street. Like I said full of culture and history and memorable experiences. This ain’t Disneyland it’s IRELAND!!

  19. I have to admit that I’ve been to all of the above many times — and while each is a place that many tourists flock to, and which caters to that clientele, each also has its own charm. If you take each for what it is, you can have a lot of fun and see parts of Ireland that are as legitimate as any other. Remember, a good deal of the Irish economy has been driven by the tourist industry for many years, so the folks you meet along the way are as authentic as you get. Is the Bunratty Banquet Kitchy? Yes. But if you can slip into Durty Nelly’s afterwards and have a pint — you stand a good chance of bumping into one of the performers and getting an interesting view into what their life is like. Think of the Guinness Storehouse as a museum to an Irish Icon. In Killarney, stop into O’Connor’s Pub — it’s been in the O’Connor family for generations — you may run into Rory or Tadhg there on any given night — they’ll be happy to share stories of their father’s days a a footballer for Kerry. As for Temple Bar … heck, it’s basically a pub district for young people. Are there pubs I would rather go to? Yes, in fact right at the end of Fleet Street is the Palace Bar — one of my favorite pubs in Dublin for an afternoon pint. It all depends upon what you make of each of the places — and remember, chances are you ARE a tourist. Be sure to get to the out of the way places, but don’t feel like you need to shun any of these as a “tourist trap.” And here’s a little piece of advice … if you’re in Cork City and want some of the best Chinese food you’ve ever had … try The Ambassador (right off Patrick Street. I don’t think any tourist goes to Ireland looking for good Chines, so you won’t run the risk of feeling like a tourist.

  20. I think the Blarney Stone has got a bad rap. it’s loads of fun, don’t take it seriously. I’d nominate Trinity College and the Book of Kells for the greatest rip-off. The day I saw it we waited in line for 4 minutes, then were shepherded thru without having time to take a good look at the Book. It was hot and sweaty and overcrowded–a classic tourist trap. We had paid an entry fee (8 euros, I think) yet Trinity College has the cheek to ask for donations as you leave. Rip-Off University, I say. My worst experience in Ireland. In fact I wonder how Trinity College has what seems scores of acres of prime downtown Dublin, and no one seems to mind. There are some real poor neighborhoods behind Trinity, but the College lives in its own privileged world.

  21. I mistyped–we waited for 40 minutes!

  22. For me, definitely Blarney – but worse than that was a “stage” Irish show I went to at Jury’s Inn in Dublin several years ago – it totally made you feel like a tourist and while some of the players were talented singers and dancers, the whole experience made you feel totally patronized as a visitor to Ireland.

  23. Temple Bar with the honourable exception of The Palace Bar…!

  24. My Lowlight is Blarney Castle

    My Highlight is Kilmainham Jail

  25. The Blarney Stone and all of Dublin. Who goes to Ireland to visit a city that is basically Cleveland with a brogue?

    Flee Dublin and see the coast of Kerry and Cork and the Cork and Kerry mountains. And don’t miss Slea Head and the Dead Man on the Dingle Peninsula…

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