A guide to the 4 main cities of Ireland

No matter where you go in Ireland, you’ll experience rich culture and be welcomed in with open arms. Ireland’s 4 main cities are especially well known for their history, culture, and warmth. Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry-Londonderry are the 4 main cities of Ireland. They are the largest, most popular and, without a doubt, amongst the most exciting cities in the world. Check out our short guide below of the 4 main cities of Ireland.


Not only is Dublin the most popular city in the Republic of Ireland, it’s ranked as one of the most popular cities in the world. Dublin is Ireland’s capital and largest city that welcomes in around 1 million visitors every year. As a lively and friendly city, Dublin is a popular destination for group holidays, like hen and stag parties.  Some of the city’s main attractions include; the Guinness Storehouse, where the country’s most loved beer is produced; St Patrick’s Cathedral; Dublin Castle; and the Temple Bar area. The city is located right on the east coast meaning day trips and excursions to the stunning mountains or cliff sides are just a short car or bus ride away.


Much like Dublin, Belfast is also a vibrant city and is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. Belfast has a rich history and at one point was classed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to sectarian conflict, known as The Troubles which took place during the 1970s and 1980s. The Black Taxi Tour is an excellent way to learn about the city’s past as it takes you around Belfast to both sides of the famous Peace Wall. Belfast is also of course the city where the ill-fated Titanic was built. Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience and can be found near the city centre. One of the greatest things about Belfast City is that it can easily be reached by ferry from Cairnryan in Scotland or from Liverpool in England. 


The liberal and cosmopolitan city of Cork is built upon the River Lee to the south of Ireland. Although Cork was badly hit by economic recession at one point, the city is quickly reinventing itself, becoming a part of the Republic of Ireland that is well worth a weekend visit. Cork has always been an important seaport with maritime history spanning over thousands of years. As the second largest natural harbour in the world, Cork Harbour has helped to shape world history and is a thriving port with an emerging tourism hub today. Some of the city’s main visitor attractions include: Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone, Cork City Gaol and the English Market.


Derry-Londonderry has stepped into the limelight over the past few years because of the show Derry Girls which takes place here and appeared on TV and Netflix. Similar to Belfast, Derry-Londonderry is also steeped in political turmoil and the city was also seriously affected by The Troubles at one point. But there’s certainly more to the city than its past. Derry is one of the world’s best preserved walled-cities is the only completely walled city in Ireland. Visitors can walk the 17th century walls that are almost 20 feet high and complete with gates, watchtowers, battlements, bastions and cannons. Those who take part in the Causeway Coastal Route usually either begin or end their journey in Derry-Londonderry.

You can visit Ireland’s 4 main cities through Best of Scotland Holidays’ bespoke packages. You can choose to travel around Ireland in the one trip or travel and stick to one specific region, whether it be Northern Ireland, the North West of Ireland or the East of Ireland. We customise packages to suit our customers exact requirements. 

Check out some of our sample Ireland packages here or get in contact with us for further information. 

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