The Travel Hack

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

By: Author Monica Stott

Categories Ireland , UK

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’re looking for a guide to Ireland you’ll already know there’s endless amounts of information out there!  There are so many Ireland guides, road trip itineraries and lists of things to do in Ireland it can be overwhelming so I’ve pulled together some of my favourite blogger’s guides to Ireland into one giant, handy guide.

I love reading travel blogs to hear about real experiences from genuine and authentic people. Blogs are a great place to discover things to do and what to avoid and bloggers often create the best travel guides because they are based on their own personal experiences.

After visiting Ireland recently, I wrote about my 1 week road trip itinerary for Ireland  and 50 of my favourite things to do in Dublin but I wanted to pull together a travel blogger’s guide to Ireland to give you a comprehensive guide to Ireland to help you plan your perfect Ireland itinerary.

Rather than you having to search for the best travel blogs while you’re researching your Ireland trip, I’ve rounded up the ones that I think are the most useful, interesting and inspiring!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

Tips for visiting Ireland

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’re planning your first trip to Ireland, this useful first-timer’s guide to Ireland will help you to decide when to go, what to pack, where to stay, how to get around, and what activities you can’t miss off your Ireland itinerary when you get there.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

From currency to street signs (and plenty of helpful tips in between), the couple behind Pages of Travel really do offer the ultimate resource for planning a trip to Ireland. They even share packing tips and ideas for getting online on the road.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

To make sure that you don’t miss any of the best things to do in Ireland, Dave and Deb at ThePlanetD are sharing their 21 favourite things to do in Ireland, in a guide that covers the whole country!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Another brilliant and comprehensive guide to Ireland for first-timers, this post offers a sample Ireland itinerary, as well as some delicious food tips so you can eat your way around the country. There’s also a helpful section on whether a road trip is right for you.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Another gem from the guys at Hand Luggage Only, a blog you can always rely on for great travel guides. This is not your average Ireland guide, this one offers tips for exploring Dublin and the ancient east coast of Ireland, while getting to know more about the Vikings that used to inhabit the area. Visit museums, take virtual reality tours and enjoy an immersive night of Viking-themed entertainment that you’ll never forget!

Ireland Itineraries

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

With just seven days to explore, you might not feel like you’ll be able to see a lot, but Helene proves just how much you can do in Ireland in a week. She includes a handy map in this post, and also shows you how you can cuddle a sheepdog along the way – sounds like the perfect Irish trip, right?

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Got a little bit longer than just a week in Ireland? This Ireland itinerary takes 10 days, covering Dublin, the Rock of Cashel, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, and Northern Ireland. They also offer some extra stop suggestions in case you have time to spare.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Follow in the footsteps of the incredible Amber Fillerup (A.K.A. Barefoot Blonde) as she travels with her gorgeous family for a week in Ireland. This is great inspiration for anyone travelling with small kids, as Amber shares what her two little ones enjoyed, and what they’d do differently next time. A great example of an honest blogger (and so much mum inspo here!)

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’re not sure how long to travel in Ireland for, this post gives a great idea of how much you can see and do with different amounts of time.

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An 18-day road trip for Ireland – The Irish Road Trip

This epic guide is amazingly detailed with day-by-day information for a full road trip around the entire coast of Ireland. This is road trip goals right here!

Food and Drink in Ireland

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

There’s nothing better than a great cup of coffee before a day of exploring, and Sophie’s guide to the best coffee shops in Dublin will get your day off to the best start. Check out these local caffeine hotspots, which all offer just a bit more character than your average Starbucks!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you love to eat your way around a destination as much as I do, this food guide to Western Ireland will help you to explore while making sure that food is at the centre of your trip. Caution: don’t read this post while you’re hungry!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, there are certain dishes or items you just can’t leave Ireland without tasting. From soda bread to boxty, and plenty in between, use this guide as an Irish food bucket list.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

There’s more to Dublin’s culinary scene than just the Guinness Storehouse, and in this post, the guys over at Hand Luggage Only explore some food experiences that will make your trip to Dublin even more delicious!

Ireland Road Trip Tips

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

Written by a blogger who’s visited Ireland seven times, this really is an expert guide to an Ireland road trip, and offers tips on where to stop, where to stay, where to eat and what to do in each of the locations in the itinerary.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Loads of guides to Ireland try to cover both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in one massive post, but That Backpacker focuses only on Northern Ireland in a road trip guide that’ll make you want to pack your bags immediately.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Can’t decide which Irish road trip to do? Vicky shares the three road trips she thinks are the most unmissable. The trouble is, after seeing these photos, you’re probably going to want to do all three!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

This popular Ireland road trip route is part of the Wild Atlantic Way, and it offers those doing the trail loads to see, do and experience. Christobel Travel lists the must-stop places along the Dingle Peninsula Drive to help you plan your trip.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Having been named one of the best road trip routes in the world, the Causeway Coast is quickly gaining popularity among road trip lovers across the globe. This comprehensive guide to Ireland’s Causeway Coastal route shares tips and hidden gems to discover along the way.

Things to do in Dublin

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

In this helpful post, Hayley shares her top 20 favourite things to do in Dublin, including where to eat and drink, where to shop, which museums to visit and where to go on day trips from Dublin, if you fancy exploring a bit further afield.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you don’t have time to see everything in Dublin, Helene has listed the top ten things that she thinks no traveller should leave without doing. Think of it like a bucket list for those who are short on time when visiting Dublin!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’ve read a couple of Dublin guides by now, you’ll know about The Temple Bar, the Book of Kells and the Guinness Storehouse. But Sophie shares a few lesser-known attractions in this post, such as the Molly Malone statue and the medieval Malahide Castle.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Once you’ve ticked off your Dublin bucket list, it’s time to see a bit more of the surrounding area. This post shares five amazing day trip ideas that are just a hop, skip and a jump away from Dublin. I never knew some of these famous sights were so easy to reach, so next time I’m in Dublin I’ll be sure to do at least a couple of these!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Want to do something totally unique in Dublin? Visit during the Bram Stoker Festival, which takes place the weekend before Halloween, and which celebrates the Dublin-born author of Dracula. Expect plenty of thrills and a totally different experience of Dublin!

Things to do in Galway

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

If you’re looking for somewhere to base yourself for your Ireland road trip, this post argues that Galway City is the place to be. With tips on where to fly into, what to do in Galway, and what to see in the area, Karisa shares just how breathtaking this slice of Ireland really is.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Still not convinced that Galway is the destination for you? This post may just change your mind, with 7 great reasons why you’ll love Galway. My favourite? Ed Sheeran used to busk here!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Now that you’ve been convinced to visit Galway, it’s time to start planning what you’ll be doing there. This post shares 15 fantastic things to do in Galway, and the best part is that they’re all free!

Things to do in Belfast

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

Belfast can sometimes be overlooked, or used just as a gateway to the Causeway Coast, and other attractions in Northern Ireland. But anyone who’s been will attest to the fact that it’s a brilliant and vibrant city, worth getting to know before moving on. This 24 hour guide shares the best things to see and do (and drink!) while you’re there.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Looking for something different to do in Belfast? Lucy’s got you covered with these fun suggestions, from watching an ice hockey game to taking a cooking class. They might not be the best-known things to do, but they certainly are memorable!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Belfast really is beautiful, and in this guide, Jess shares the best that there is to see in this city, from its history to its food, drink, culture and even politics.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’ve got a little bit more time to explore, this 48 hour itinerary shares how to spend a weekend in Belfast, seeing the sights, testing the flavours, and exploring the history of this fascinating city. Don’t miss the most Instagrammable restaurant in town!

Ireland Packing Lists

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Do you ever get frustrated that most packing lists are geared just towards women? Well, this one’s got the guys covered, too. Get tips on footwear, layering, the best jacket to pack for a trip to Ireland, as well as what kind of weather you can expect. Oh, and don’t forget your umbrella!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’re not lucky enough to be visiting Ireland in the middle of summer, packing for your trip might be a little tricky. This packing guide helps you to know what to pack for the off-season, when you will definitely need a few extra layers to stay warm and dry.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Alex from TravelFashionGirl is basically the queen of packing lists, so this post all about what to wear in Dublin is about as comprehensive as they get. This particular post was written with the help of a Dublin local, and it offers tips on what to pack for every season, so it’s an essential resource for your trip to Ireland.

Castles in Ireland

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

Did you know that there are something like 30,000 castles in Ireland? That’s a lot to choose from, but this post by Wanderlust and Lipstick highlights five of the most amazing castles to visit in Ireland so you don’t have to try to check all 30,000 off your list!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’re travelling to Ireland with kids, it can be difficult to know which sights and attractions are going to be family-friendly. This post by BattleMum shares the best castles in Ireland that are kid-friendly (as well as being spectacular) so everyone will have a good time.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

If you’re brave enough to visit a haunted castle (which I’m definitely not), this blog post shares 15 castles in Ireland where you might encounter a ghost. Some are hotels (so you can be haunted while you sleep, if you dare), while others are sites you can wander around in – keep your eyes peeled for strange occurrences, though!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

One of the most famous among Ireland’s incredible array of castles, Blarney Castle is located in County Cork, and it’s got a lot more to it than just the Blarney Stone, as Julie discovers in this charming post. Even if this is the only castle you see, you’ll get to know it in depth thanks to these 8 secrets.

Film Locations in Ireland

The travel blogger's guide to Ireland

It’s almost impossible to mention a trip to Northern Ireland without also mentioning Game of Thrones, as many of the show’s epic scenes were filmed along the Causeway Coast. Take a look at the best bits of Westeros in Northern Ireland, including the beautiful Dark Hedges and some furry stars!

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

Anyone who’s watched the romantic comedy P.S. I Love You will know that the real star of the film was the stunning Irish scenery featured throughout. Use this guide to see some of the incredible locations that were used for filming this tear-jerker of a movie.

The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Ireland

It’s not only Game of Thrones that brings mega-fans to Ireland from all over the world – Star Wars fans flock here in droves thanks to one short scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The location is Skellig Michael, and although it can be difficult to reach (especially without a booking), this blogger was determined…and found a way!

There you have it, the ultimate travel blogger’s guide to Ireland!

Do you have any more tips to add to this guide to Ireland?

Thursday 19th of August 2021

very beautifull place, keep sharing and thanks

Anna Makridi

Thursday 28th of June 2018

Ireland is amazing! Helpful tips! Thanks for sharing!

The Perfect Ireland Itinerary & Road Trip

The Best One Week Ireland Itinerary to plan a perfect Ireland vacation (16)

Visiting Ireland

I just got back from an amazing trip to Ireland. While the country wasn’t necessarily at the top of my list, a work opportunity in Killarney popped up and I jumped at the chance to stick around after to explore the country.

I’m SO glad I did!

The natural scenery, food and hospitality of Ireland really stuck with me. While the entire country is beautiful and scenic, with lots of rolling green hills, each county and region of Ireland offers a slightly different look and feel.

We spent about 3 weeks in the Republic of Ireland, exploring the coastal Wild Atlantic Way and the cultural Ancient East on a self drive route. I thought I’d share some advice and helpful tips about planning a trip to Ireland in today’s post.

Keep reading below for advice on how to plan the perfect trip to Ireland!

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Travel Guide to Planning an Ireland Vacation | Table of Contents

  • Ireland Itinerary
  • Galway and Connemara
  • The Cliffs of Moher
  • Dingle Peninsula
  • Killarney and Kenmare
  • Before You Go: Ireland Travel Checklist
  • When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?
  • What to Pack for Ireland
  • Getting around: Self-drive Road Trip vs. Public Transportation

Where to Stay in Ireland

Or save this article to read later by pinning it ⇟

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See more photos on my Instagram account, @shershegoes

Where Should You Go in Ireland?

The island of Ireland is politically divided in two.

The southern portion constitutes The Republic of Ireland while a section of the north, called Northern Ireland , belongs to the United Kingdom. Unless you have significant vacation time, I would recommend choosing one or the other for a first time visit.

The Republic of Ireland has 2 main regions that are popular for first time visitors:

On the western coast from north to south is the famous Wild Atlantic Way , a coastal driving route which offers dramatic views of the Atlantic ocean juxtaposed against cute hamlets and fishing villages.

Must-see attractions along this route include Kylemoore Abbey, the Cliffs of Moher and the Dingle Peninsula, to name a few!

On the eastern coast is Ireland’s Ancient East , a region rich in 5,000 years of storytelling and legends as a result of the Viking invasion and subsequent Norman conquerors.

If you like museums, history and culture you’ll love journeying back in time to visit places like Waterford, Wexford and Cork – sites which inspired epic battles and strange tales.

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Must See Cities and Destinations in Ireland

If you have:

  • A short trip , base yourself in Dublin, explore the city and do some nearby day trips.
  • If you have 1 week , I recommend checking out Western Ireland, where the lush countryside meets the Atlantic – small towns like Dingle, Adare and Killarney National Park in County Kerry offer dramatic, beautiful views!
  • With 2 weeks or more , you can make a circular loop and see Dublin, Western Ireland and explore Ireland’s Ancient East to learn more about the country’s Viking past. Explore harbor front cities like Wexford and Waterford , picturesque Cobh and kiss the Blarney Stone in Cork! The eastern section was my favorite part of visiting Ireland.

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3 Week Ireland Itinerary

What’s Not in the Itinerary Below: Northern Ireland.

I didn’t have time to see  everything  and made the decision to skip Northern Ireland on this trip so it’s not included in this article. Northern Ireland itineraries frequently include a tour of Giant’s Causeway, the dark hedges and lots of the Game of Throne locations.

County Donegal, on the northwest, was recently voted by National Geographic as ‘the coolest place on earth’ and has gotten great recognition for outdoor adventure sports so that’s high on our list of places in Ireland to visit.

Northern Ireland is geographically close to Scotland, with ferry options from Belfast and since we’re hoping to road trip Scotland next year, we decided to save Northern Ireland for a later date!

Below is a suggested itinerary for visiting Ireland, which takes into account my personal favorite Irish cities and attractions. You can use it as a starting route planner!

Update : I visited Northern Ireland!

My Belfast travel guide is up here, and I’m working on more posts about Game of Thrones, the Giant’s Causeway and other great experiences to have in Northern Ireland.

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The Best Ireland Itinerary

After spending 3 weeks in Ireland, I had an amazing time and felt like I covered a lot!

We slowed down in some areas and sped up in others so I wanted to offer some tips on Ireland itineraries of various lengths, since I know not everyone has the luxury of three weeks.

Below, I’ve featured 7 of the best Irish cities to visit, including notes on the places I loved most, to give you an idea of what there is to experience in Ireland.

I find that it helps to see a visual summary when mapping out my trip so modify your Ireland travel itinerary depending on your preferences!

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County Dublin

Most international airlines offer nonstop flights to Dublin. You can set a flight alert here for airfare deals.

2 full days is a must to explore the Irish capital but if you have more time, you can add in a couple noteworthy nearby day trips!

Dublin reminded me a lot of London, with gorgeous stone architecture, local pubs on every other corner and green spaces.

Best Things to Do in Dublin

  • Visit the Guinness Factory!

This is the #1 attraction in all of Ireland and for good reason, it’s an entire  experience.  Learn about how Guinness is made, try new flavors and eat at their cafe for some hearty Guinness-made cuisine.

Even if you’ve been before, come again – they add new experiences constantly to keep things fresh. On our last trip, they added the option to 3D print your face into the beer foam!

2. See The Book of Kells , an illustrated Latin manuscript of the four Gospels.

Dating back the early 9th century, you can see a whole host of beautiful ornate manuscripts in Trinity College’s Old Library.

3. Have a drink at Temple Bar , the colorful Dublin pub which inspired a whole area of pubs.

4. Relax in St Stephen’s Green, a large park with a Victorian layout

5. Also visit the Jameson Whiskey factory to learn about whiskey production

Where to Stay in Dublin

There’s just no way around it, accommodation in Dublin is  expensive. 

Even in “low season” in mid to late October, all the Dublin hotels I searched for my trip were about $350-$500+ per night on a weekday – I’m talking even the airport hotels. Crazy, right?!

It turns out Dublin has a hotel bed shortage so the limited number of hotels can charge sky high prices. Enter a great affordable pick like Generator Hostel, part of the new wave of chic, “not so hostel” hostels.

Overnight:   Generator Hostel Dublin

Located right in the city center, Generator Hostel Dublin   is set in the hip neighborhood of Smithfield – conveniently next to the Jameson Distillery and a quick walk to Temple Bar.

The space is brilliantly designed in a industrial chic vibe, with exposed brick beams and original stonework. The best part is, you can book a private bedroom and still make new friends in Generator's many social lounges & spaces.

Check rates: Hotels.com ,   Booking.com |  Read reviews: TripAdvisor

More Recommended Hotels in Dublin:

1 | Shelbourne Hotel  –  If you want historic, iconic and luxurious you’d best stay at Shelbourne. Lots of US presidents and anyone of importance has stayed here! Or just admire the splendor during afternoon tea in their gorgeous parlor overlooking St. Stephen’s Green.

Book: Hotels.com ,  Booking.com | Check prices: TripAdvisor

2 | O’Callahan  –  This well priced chain of hotels offers a good location and breakfast. Trinity College often puts up its guests and visiting professors here so it’s a solid, mid-range hotel!

Book:   Hotels.com ,  Booking.com | Check prices :  TripAdvisor

3 | Airbnb  –  Lots of locals are opening up rooms or entire apartments.

While these aren’t cheap by any means (you’re paying what you would for a hotel in another city!) it can be much more affordable than a Dublin hotel, so check out Dublin airbnb listings as well.

Browse Airbnb listings here .

2. Galway & Connemara

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County Galway

On Ireland’s western coast is the city of Galway, a harbor town where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. Galway has great shopping, colorful buildings and a large student population.

We enjoyed a quick day trip into town and then continued westward to the district of Connemara, a gorgeous rugged landscape home to Atlantic coastline, bogs, heathlands, mountains and lakes.

Best Things to Do in County Galway

  • Explore Galway's shops and traditional pubs at Eyre Square . Pop in for some traditional Irish music!
  • Visit Kylemoore Abbey , a stunning castle now owned by Benedictine Nuns with magnificent Victorian Gardens.
  • Drive the exhilarating 11km circular loop known as the Sky Drive , a breathtakingly beautiful coastal route from Clifden
  • Hike through Connemara National Park and spot the herd of wild Connemara ponies
  • Explore the outdoors in Clifden – hiking, beaches and wild Atlantic seascapes are all nearby

Where to Stay in Connemara

Overnight:   Rosleague Manor

Pulling up to the ivy-decked pink exterior of Rosleague Manor, we knew we were in for a treat. This cozy country manor occupies 30 acres of private woodland and overlooks Ballinakill Bay.

The highlight of our stay was playing fetch with local resident, Tyson, who had the most human-esque understanding of any dog I've ever met! All the rooms are spacious and if the weather gets too rainy.. just cozy up to the parlor and have afternoon tea by the fireplace !

Check rates:   Booking.com | Read reviews: TripAdvisor

3. Cliffs of Moher & The Burren

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County Clare

You can’t visit Ireland and not see the dramatic Cliffs of Moher! Even on a cloudy rainy day, these natural rock formations are quite dramatic.

We also explored the Burren, a stunning landscape characterized by rock karst formations all over the ground. It’s a barren region that reminds me of the moon and was J R Tolkien’s inspiration for The Lord of the Rings.

He actually was a guest of Gregans Castle Hotel , the manor house that I stayed at, which I discovered while I was exploring the grounds!

You can read my hotel review here .

Fun Things to Do in County Clare

  • Cliffs of Moher : Ireland's most visited natural attraction. Just don't go too close to the edge, it's a vertical drop!
  • Poulnabrone dolmen:  a dramatic portal tomb dating back to Ireland's Neolithic period
  • Check out Bunratty Castle , a large 15th century tower house in the center of Ballyvaughan
  • Visit Aillwee Cave , underground karst caves full of stalactites and stalagmites.

Where to Stay in County Clare

Overnight:   Gregans Castle

A stunning luxury hotel in the heart of beautiful Ballyvaughan village.

This historic Irish hotel was once an 18th century manor house, but has been beautiful restored and I really loved the Irish country interiors! We also had dinner here,which I highly highly recommend.

Check room rates: Hotels.com or Read reviews on: TripAdvisor

4. The Dingle Peninsula

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County Kerry

Dingle is a charming seaside town perched on the Atlantic. 

As the only town on the Dingle Peninsula, the joke is that the next town over is Boston. From its dolphin resident to waterfront pubs, Dingle is a family friendly favorite to both Irish and international visitors.

The town is mainly supported through fishing and tourism and has a great street full of shops, pubs and restaurants. 

Dingle is one of Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht towns, where Irish is the official language and the town is technically called  An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis.  You’ll see this listed alongside Dingle on all the road signs!

Fun Things to Do in Dingle:

  • Grab a scoop of Murphy's Ice Cream – try their Dingle gin and salted caramel flavors!
  • Stop by an authentic Irish Pub for dinner and enjoy the traditional Irish music
  • Take a boat tour around the harbor and spot Fungie , the local dolphin resident
  • Circle the Dingle peninsula by driving dramatic Slea Head Drive .
  • See the remains of Minard Castle , now just ruins along the Atlantic

Overnight:   Dingle Skellig Hotel

Dingle Skellig is a family run hotel and one of the best hotels in Kerry. With friendly staff, a heavenly spa and epic views of the Atlantic Ocean, staying here is a treat!

Check room rates: Hotels.com  | Booking.com or Read reviews on: TripAdvisor

5. Killarney and Kenmare

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Killarney remains one of my favorite areas to explore in Ireland.

It’s quaint, colorful and a little touristy – but in my opinion, it has a great mix of the outdoors and the comforts of luxury.

You can hike or ride a horse & buggy through Killarney National Park during the day and then come back into town for some shopping, afternoon tea or a massage.

Best Things to Do in Killarney

There’s no shortage of things to do, excellent pubs and Irish food, and overall the charm of Killarney really won us over!

Kenmare is a similar twin to Killarney so if you have time, check out both towns. If not, pick whichever is more convenient to access on your road trip!

  • Ride a horse and buggy through Killarney National Park – or hike!
  • Explore magnificent Muckross Castle , Ross Tower and row across the lakes
  • Relax with a blissful spa at The Brehon's Angsana Spa
  • Take a day trip to Derrynane beach
  • See the fairy huts and sculpture garden in Sneem

Where to Stay in Killarney  

The Killarney Royal occupies a great location right in the center of town.

It's a short walk from the Killarney train station and its luxurious, comfortable beds are just what you need after all the adventure and outdoor pursuits in Killarney!

There's also a wonderful on site restaurant with a very reasonably priced set menu, if you're looking for a great place to eat in town.

Book:   Hotels.com , Booking.com | Check prices: TripAdvisor

More Recommended Hotels in Killarney:

1 | Old Weir Lodge  –  A cozy, family run hotel in between Killarney town and the Convention Center.

This is a great pick for families or business travelers! We also like their breakfast options, which include oatmeal with Baileys :)

Book: Hotels.com  | Booking.com | Check prices : TripAdvisor

2 | The Brehon  –  If you want 5 star luxury, there’s no place better in Killarney than the Brehon hotel. Just step into the lobby for a drink and you’ll experience the glam firsthand!

We also had deep tissue massages at the Angsana Spa – such a treat! Their Thai masseuses really  know how to work out any tension.

Book: Hotels.com  | Booking.com | Check prices: TripAdvisor

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County Wexford

Wexford is a coastal haven in southeast Ireland.

There’s miles of spectacular coastline, quaint villages and an abundance of historic sights. We’ve heard the county is quite popular with local Irish, and that many buy vacation homes near the sea.

Best Things to Do in Wexford

  • Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world, with a classic black and white exterior and incredible views of Hook Peninsula.
  • Enniscorthy is a picturesque town dating back 1500 years. We checked out the castle, met locals for a step back into Irish / British history and visited some local pubs!
  • To explore Ireland's cultural evolution, visit the Irish National Heritage Park , an open air museum with lots to do. We had a fun Viking meal here and also got to meet the park's falcons!
  • Local Wexford weavers have created Ross Tapestry , a series of colorful, elaborate tapestries illustrating the Norman invasion and history of Ireland. It's a completely volunteer led community project and was a nice way to learn more about the city and Irish history.
  • Genealogy trips to Ireland are a common reason for overseas Irish to visit the country. If you're interested in learning about the Irish famine period and Irish history, visit the Dunbrody Famine ship  for an interactive experience.

Where to Stay in Wexford

Overnight:   Brandon House Hotel

A 4 star country manor house, Brandon House is a comfortable hotel midway between Waterford and Wexford. It's conveniently located on the N25 road (on route to Dublin) and is close by to many of Ireland's best beaches.

We ate dinner here and it was an excellent meal – in particular, they have a huge dessert menu and a group of us ordered everything off it and literally everything was amazing. Try the cheesecake!

Book: Hotels.com , Booking.com | Check prices: TripAdvisor

More Recommended Hotels in Wexford:

1 | The Clayton –  Clayton Whites is located right in Wexford’s city center and a great choice for sight seeing and shopping. It’s within walking distance of the train and bus station and rooms are large and comfortable.

Book: Hotels.com , Booking.com |  Check prices: TripAdvisor

2 | The Talbot Hotel –  The Talbot Hotel is located in downtown Wexford, right on the harbor. With huge, apartment style rooms this is an ideal hotel for families visiting Wexford. Free parking and a pool on site!

Book: Hotels.com , Booking.com |  Check prices:   TripAdvisor

7. Waterford

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County Waterford

Waterford is Ireland’s maritime getaway and has a vivid past.

First invaded by Viking raiders, then Norman conquerors and medieval merchants, it was notably also the last port of call for many Irish seeking their fortunes overseas.

Best Things to do in County Waterford

  • Waterford Crystal is headquartered in duh, Waterford! They offer a really fun guided tour that I highly recommend. You can read more about the crystal and tour in this post here .
  • For medieval history fans, check out Waterford Treasures  and the Bishop's Palace .
  • Into adventure? Head to Dunmore East and jump in the ocean for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding or try the adventure obstacle course!
  • Make sure to try Dungarvan Brewing Company beer while you're in the area. Try the Copper Coast Irish Red Ale!
  • Understand Ireland's Viking past through virtual reality at The Viking Museum
  • Cycle along the Waterford Greenway , the longest off-roading and cycling experience in Ireland!
  • Explore Mount Congreve mansion and gardens, a must if you like dahlias!
  • Make sure to eat at the Irish pub, The Reg . The food here is incredible. Again, don't skip dessert!

Where to Stay in Waterford

Overnight:   Dooley's Hotel

Located right on The Quay harbor front, this family run hotel has cozy rooms and a full Irish breakfast. It's near the city center, shopping and sights and is a great affordable hotel pick in Waterford.

Book: Hotels.com ,   Booking.com | Check prices: TripAdvisor

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How to Plan a Trip to Ireland

I planned my Ireland vacation itinerary quite quickly and relied heavily on Rick Steves Ireland and Lonely Planet .

The reason I used both guidebooks is that Rick Steves’ tends to cover his favorite Irish cities and he omitted Killarney entirely. Lonely Planet covers more places but lacks Rick Steves’ warm commentary and insightful suggestions.

P.S. Get a 30 day trial free   of  kindle unlimited here !

If you’re like me, you enjoy a healthy dose of travel inspiration through popular culture. I’ve always loved reading about the Celts and Irish folklore and in high school, Irish authors like James Joyce were part of our curriculum.

And of course, most people wanting to visit Ireland nowadays are hoping to see locations made famous from Game of Thrones! Below are some popular books and movies written about Ireland should you want some inspiration before your trip.

Recommended Books, Shows & Films About Ireland:

  • Guidebooks : Rick Steves Ireland & Lonely Planet Ireland
  • Films :  P.S. I Love You (filmed in County Wicklow), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (filmed at Skellig),  Laws of Attraction (Humewood Castle)
  • Books :  Angela's Ashes  by Frank McCourt, Ulysses   and  Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man   by James Joyce
  • HBO: Game of Thrones (scenes shot mostly in Northern Ireland)

travel ireland blog

Should You Plan a Self Drive Ireland Itinerary?

In my opinion, the best way to tour Ireland is by self driving.

Ideally, plan an Ireland itinerary for enough days to cover a full circularly loop around the island, so that you get to experience a bit of scenery from the Wild Atlantic Way and the rich culture of Ireland’s Ancient East.

It’s best to rent a car and self drive so you have the freedom to stop and go as you wish. If you’re hesitant to drive on the left, I wrote about our experience driving in Ireland here .

Driving in Ireland

While Ireland is a small country, the roads are  really  curvy and narrow compared to driving in America.

Add the uncertainty and hesitation that comes with driving on the left, we found that it took a bit longer to get from place to place than Google Maps suggested. So if you want to self drive a Dublin to Dublin loop, I would budget at least 10 days and ideally 2 weeks .

We rented a small, 4-door sedan and extra collision insurance.

Most cars are manual, so specify if you need an automatic. You can also pick up and drop off in different cities. 

I have an in-depth post here covering everything you need to know  about renting a car  in Ireland, with helpful information about costs, extra fees and advice so you can check out that post for more info!

travel ireland blog

Ireland in 1 Week

If you have less time of course, you can speed through and/or cut out towns.

We added the Dingle Peninsula and Connemara to our driving itinerary in Ireland, but both are geographically a bit west, so you can cut these out if you have just 7 days and keep to a tighter route.

Or, you can fly into Dublin and out of Shannon or Cork to save additional time.

Public Transportation in Ireland

Regarding public transportation, there isn’t a wide spread bus or train network that covers the entire Irish countryside. Instead, you can take buses from city to city and book individual tours to day trip to popular sites.

For example, you can take the bus from Cork to Killarney and then book tours for the Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park, Muckross House etc. It’s a little more piece meal this way and requires a bit of planning but Irish bus route schedules are available online.

A third option is to book a package tour if you’re not comfortable with driving and don’t want the hassle of booking public transportation.

I saw loads of tour buses all over the entire journey, everything from Trafalgar to Globus. I’m always curious how self-planning trips compares to tour packaged itineraries so I looked online afterwards – they do hit all the popular cities and sights in their “best of Ireland” tours and so if you wanted to avoid driving on the left yourself, I think they would be a good option.

Or you can book individual day tours to popular places. I’ve included some of the most popular day tours below:

travel ireland blog

Ireland of course offers 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, just like you would find anywhere else. Some glamorous, some bare bones – there’s lots to choose from. You can browse current hotel deals for Ireland here .

If you want standout and unique accommodation in Ireland, look for one of the typically Irish bed & breakfasts and castles!

Country Houses & Historic Hotels

Ireland’s Blue Book has a stunning portfolio of Irish country houses, historic hotels and manor houses.

All of them remain family run, with charming exteriors and brilliantly decorated interiors and for a romantic Ireland vacation, you will definitely want to stay in one of these!

Historic Ireland hotels also tend to have incredible chefs running their on site restaurants. I’m not typically one to eat at a hotel but in Ireland we ate dinner at so many hotel restaurants because they’re excellent!

Then after, we would head over to the bar / pub area inside and there would be so many people, both locals and tourists, listening to live Irish music and having a great time.

Here are some of the charming hotels we experienced on our trip to Ireland:

Where to Stay in County Waterford: The Cliff House Hotel Review

Where to Stay in County Galway: Rosleague Manor Hotel Review

Where to Stay in County Clare: Gregans Castle Hotel Review

Where to Stay in County Kerry : The Killarney Royal and The Brehon

travel ireland blog

Staying in an Irish Castle

Most of Ireland’s castles lay in ruins and there aren’t many castle attractions remaining in Ireland. Instead, the most dramatic castles are privately owned and have been restored into luxury 5 star hotels.

Most all the castle options are luxury hotels, given the cost of maintenance but even if you just splurge on 1, it’s such a treat.

Staying in a castle in Ireland gives you an insider look at some really gorgeous architectural details and the grounds typically have masterpiece gardens to explore.

For kids, there’s archery, falconry, horse back riding and other medieval pursuits to enjoy while parents can relax at the spa or play a round of golf.

And that’s it! Hope this Ireland itinerary guide was helpful. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

Essential Tips for Visiting Ireland

Getting In | Aer Lingus, the national Irish airline, offers non-stop flights from select US cities. Two reasons to recommend Aer Lingus: low nonstop fares from many US cities and their pre-clearance facilities. We found cheap flights to Ireland in October – you can check for flight deals and routes here .

When returning to the U.S., take advantage of the U.S. pre-clearance facilities at Dublin and Shannon airports, where you complete U.S. immigration, customs and agriculture controls before departure so that when you land in the U.S., you can just collect your bags.

Getting Around | If there's one thing I can recommend, it's to rent a car and drive around Ireland. Not only is the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route one of the world's most scenic drives, transportation in Ireland is a bit difficult without your own vehicle. We were nervous about driving on the left but ultimately renting a car was the best decision! Check car rental prices for your dates here .

Where to Stay | I highly recommend staying at an Irish country house during your trip. Irish hospitality is truly something else. For unique luxury accommodation check out out Ireland's Blue Book. Or, take advantage of Airbnb for a local experience!

Protect | Lastly, be sure to visit Ireland with travel insurance . Whether you get injured and need to be hospitalized, your phone gets stolen, or a flight delay leaves you with nothing but the clothes on your back, travel insurance will help when you need it most. Hurricane Ophelia hit the country smack in the middle of our road trip! Get a quote for your trip here .

  You Might Also Enjoy:  

Ireland Vacation Planning Articles

Ireland Travel Tips : Know Before You Go

The Most Beautiful Places in Ireland

How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Itinerary

Where to Stay: 10 Enchanting Irish Castle Hotels  

Packing Checklist:  What to Wear in Ireland

For Foodies: All the Best Food We Ate in Ireland

Ireland Road Trips

The Best Stops on the Wild Atlantic Way (with map!)

7 Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland

How to Master Driving in Ireland (as a tourist!)

Irish Sights, Activities & Tours We Especially Enjoyed:

Co Galway: Visiting Kylemore Abbey , Ireland's Most Beautiful Castle?

Co Kerry: Can't Miss Sights in  Killarney  & Dingle

Co Waterford: Waterford , Ireland's Oldest City, the  House of Waterford Crystal  &  Mount Congreve Gardens

Co Wexford: Don't Skip Wexford - Here's Why!

Co Kilkenny:  Exploring Kilkenny Castle, in photos

Restaurant & Hotels We Loved:

County Clare: Gregans Castle Hotel

County Galway: Rosleague Manor Hotel , Where to Stay in Galway

County Wexford: The Strand Inn

County Waterford: The Cliff House Hotel , The Reg Pub

Northern Ireland

Travel Guide: Belfast

Where to Stay in Belfast as a First Time Visitor

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Mikimoto dessert lounge, a michelin star dinner in copenhagen: marchal …, guyana is south america’s best kept …, 3 mouthwatering tapas bars in seville, spain, 55 comments.

Hey Sher, great write-up…very comprehensive. I agree, Ireland was never really tops on my list either, but I’m so glad I had a chance to go. I love it when a place exceeds my expectations. How did you do with the driving? Did you fall in love with Tyson at Roseleauge?

Ha I wrote about our experiencing with the driving in this post .

It ended up being fine so now I want to road trip Scotland! The main thing I found strange was how you had to pay inside at the gas station, there would also be like empty parked cars while everyone waited to pay ha!

I read your Tyson story – loved the interview with Mark! Funny enough I wrote my post about Rosleague last night.. will be publishing it in a couple weeks :) Which was your favorite of the blue book properties?

Hello Mike. Yes it’s true. Ireland is a nice place to visit. Even I never thought of going to Ireland but somehow we made a plan with friends and my experience to travel Ireland was one of my best trip ever.

Love this post! I’ve always wanted to do a trip to Ireland so this is so much food for thought and really comprehensive! I’m based in Dubai at the moment but definitely one for the bucket list when I’m based in the UK again. Thanks for sharing all your tips! : )

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Hi Sher: Love all your articles! We are budget travelers, but would like to splurge 1 night to stay in a castle or another luxury type accommodation. Do you have a suggestion for one that will accommodate 4 per room? We’re open to any location at this point as we are still working on our itinerary for 8-9 days. I looked at Gregan’s Castle and it appears we would have to get 2 rooms there which would be out of our budget even for a splurge! Thanks for all the great info!

Hi Donna! Thanks for the kind words. Yes – I would definitely recommend splurging a night in one of Ireland’s cool castle hotels. Have you seen my post on the list here ?

Hm, I’m not sure if they have room for 4 at Gregans , perhaps you could email them to ask if one of their suites could accommodate? Gregans is a more cozy house. If you can’t get rooms there, I would still recommend making a dinner reservation. It was very good!

At Rosleague , in Connemara, the rooms are HUGE and they might be able to fit 4.

In Killarney there’s lots of options for bigger parties. We had 4 of us in a loft style room at Old Weir Lodge for incredibly affordable rates.. I think we each paid around $30/night but this was also off season. I wouldn’t say it’s luxury but definitely very comfortable.

We also stayed at the Killarney Royal in one of their corner rooms which had 2 queen size beds and I’m sure 4 would be comfortable there.

If I went back to Ireland I would love to stay at Adare Manor or Ashford . Both are pricey (depending on the season) but they seem like once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Falconry, boating, archery, golf etc. Adare opened right after my trip ended but we saw the outside renderings and it looks FAB. Ashford books out months in advance, even in the off season. They also have a cottage on the grounds which are converted into rooms, I believe those are cheaper and you still get to experience the castle + grounds.

I will say in general the Irish are very hospitable and friendly. We made a mistake one night and booked a last minute room in Dingle which only came with a twin (there were 2 of us). It was meant for a single. They were very nice at the front desk and didn’t force us to upgrade rooms. Instead, they added in an extra cot / rollaway bed.

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Hi!! This was an amazing guide! I was wondering what your opinion on staying at one hotel in Dublin for the duration of the trip and taking multiple day trips to certain sights?! It seems to be less expensive and less stressful than trying to find a bunch of different hotels, but I also don’t want to miss anything since this is a once in a lifetime thing! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

Hi Savannah – glad the guide was helpful! Hm, so do you mean you don’t plan to rent a car? If that’s the case then yes, a great way to see Ireland is to base yourself in Dublin and do day trips. Dublin is on the northeast of the Republic of Ireland and a lot of the famous sights are on the western coast, so it will be a bit of a longer drive. It’ll also probably be much more expensive than if you rented a car to drive around Ireland on your own and Dublin hotels tend to be much more expensive than in other cities. But, a guided tour will take care of all your transportation! so, there’s pros and cons :)

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This is the best itinerary of an Ireland trip I have read yet! Thank you so much. I traveling with children (3.5 years and 8 months) is there any of the stops that you would recommend NOT going to? Or ones that you would recommend on adding? I often wear the baby in a carrier, so needing to use a stroller is not necessary.

Thanks in advance.

Thanks so much for the kind words!! I am actually planning to head back to Ireland this year!

Hm… So let me preface this by saying I don’t have kids so I may not aware of all the do’s & don’ts for young children. I would suggest spending less time in Dublin, which is most popular for its bars, and seeing the countryside. I think kids would like Dingle, with the dolphin, boat tours and the Slea Head drive is very beautiful. Skip Minard Castle, it is a long drive and they are ruins, not a still standing & furnished castle like Kilkenny. The town of Kilkenny is nice too.

Kerry is probably very kid friendly. The town center is very cute, lots of shopping, great food + ice cream, Killarney park is beautiful and kids probably like the horse buggy rides. If you have time, pop over to Wexford and the Irish National Heritage Park – the park itself is a open air museum, and then they have some excellent activities you can book like falconry, archery, dressing up like Vikings, etc. I wrote some more about it here , and you can check out their Youtube channel to get a feel for it.

Hope that helps!

Thank you so much for this! Just a quick 1uestion re Itinerary…Does the number of days include the previous days’ plans? I.e. for the 5 day itinerary, is the idea that you’d do the itinerary for days 3 and 4 as well? (i.e. Dublin, Newgrange, Howth, Galway, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara Galway)? Thank you!

Hi! It’s flexible depending on how many days you have and whether or not you’ll be renting a car! If you have 3-4 days, I would recommend staying in Dublin and taking a day trip or two :)

Thank you so much for this post. We will be first time overseas travelers with a “once in a lifetime” trip next year. It’s a 2 week trip and we are hoping to see as much as we can. You gave me some feedback initially when we were thinking of taking a Viking Cruise. We’ve changed our minds and are now looking at Ireland, England, and Germany. Do you think we could see enough of Ireland in 4 days? Dublin looks great but we aren’t as interested in the bigger ‘cities’ so we are thinking only 1 day there. After I mapped out your recommendations, it looks like we would be most interested in the Galway/Clare areas. Thinking maybe we fly into that side of the island and out of Dublin to England. Interested in how many days you think we would need to see Kylemore/Clifden/Connemara Park/Aran Island/Mohr/Bunratty Castle?

Hi! You can see a lot of Ireland in 4 days, but you’d probably need to rent a car (and be comfortable driving on the left). I don’t think Galway has its own airport, so you have to check for the closest airport + factor in driving time.

Aran Island would be a full day trip. Connemara you could drive through or you could spend all day hiking and exploring. Kylemore Abbey might still be under construction, in which case, just a couple hours (it’s mainly the garden as the castle was under renovation when I visited) The Clifden drive is beautiful – it would take maybe a couple hours. Galway would be nice to spend a day in, we just drove through and had lunch. Galway is a smaller city and known for its pubs so if you like nightlife you could spend the night.

It depends on how long you want to linger in each place, and the driving. Typically what do is I add all the destinations I want to see in Google Maps and use their driving distance as a benchmark. The roads in Ireland are very narrow, and we were unused to driving on the left, so I’d add 30-45 minutes longer to the Google Maps driving estimates.

At a quick glance, I’d estimate 5 days at minimum for the places you listed, and 6-7 if you wanted to take it leisurely? Hope that helps!

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Hi! I live your Ireland pages, but I wish your pictures were labeled. They are all so nice! :)

I am going to visit Ireland month of June 19, and these tips are very helpful for me before landing there. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips <3

You failed to mention The Quiet Man in your list of films! The best movie ever made. Cong was the filming location. If you haven’t seen this movie yet it is a must see!! John Wayne at this best.

Can you recommend which areas to begin and end on a 4 night country trip. Leave from Dublin on Tues AM. Spend Tue/Wed/Thur/Friday night in country. Picked these areas:

Doolin – Doolin Inn or Limestone Lodge? Cliff Walk/Caves Clifden – Cong – Ashord Lodge What is best base for Connemara National Park area – want beautiful scenery

Don’t know where to go first. Dublin to Doolin, night in Doolin. Doolin to Clifden night in Clifden. Clifden to Cong 2 nights Cong then home to Dublin. Can you recommend a better itinerary. 2 Teenage boys in tow. First time in Ireland. Thanks.

Help please. Hope for somewhat relaxing trip.

For the best route, plug in all the stops you want to make in Google Maps and then order your itinerary by the most efficient driving route. That’s what we did, and I recommend trying to keep driving to no more than 2.5 hours a day if you can.

Haven’t been to Doolin!

Ashford Lodge is gorgeous, you will love it. They have lots of add on activities like salmon fishing, golfing, archery, falconry etc which kids would enjoy.

We stayed in Clifden and Delphi Mountain in Connemara. Both were great, but slightly different experiences. Clifden is closer to Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey. We stayed at Rosleague – fabulous hotel, great service but slightly older clientele. Our review post is here if you want more photos.

Delphi Mountain Lodge was our second overnight. The hotel is more of a casual hunting lodge style and they sit on 1,000 acres so pretty scenery and also add-on activities. We tried ziplining and archery, very fun. Some more photos of that on our Facebook, here .

I am loving your information! I am planning a trip with my 23 year old daughter. Could you share your google map?

Hi Shannon, Sorry I don’t have a saved Google Map for Ireland. I just plugged in the destinations I was interested in when I was planning my trip. That gives me an idea though – I’ll start creating maps with saved locations for the future!

Great itinerary! We definitely need to go back to visit more of the places on your list, and ours. We were excited to see you mention Minard Castle on the Dingle Peninsula. Judging by how remote it seemed, and the complete lack of people visiting, we felt like we stumbled onto our very own stunning secret spot! Looks like the secret is out! ;)

The link for the best time to visit Ireland wasn’t working and my apologies if I missed it in the comments section but when is the best time to visit?

Oh, thanks for letting me know! I will fix the link.

Generally the shoulder season (May, September) is best. Summer can get pretty crowded. We’ve visited in both April and October and had a great time! There’s always on and off rain so be sure to pack a good rain jacket and some rain boots if you have.

When is the best time to visit Ireland?

Excellent introduction to Ireland

Thank you for such a thorough post with so much information for planning my trip to Ireland. I really appreciate it. There is so much information here I will need to study it to take it all in. Many thanks.

Wow! Incredible blog, thank you so much for taking the time to put this together. Very helpful for planning my Ireland 2021 trip!

Thanks for the help, we want to go if the virus allows us in the fall, and your post has helped us learn more about what it takes to go. We hope to enjoy Irish culture and cuisine.

I was lucky to know Ireland because I went for a study trip and I had the opportunity to know almost the whole country, very modern and quiet to stay for good.

My family and I are going in June. I was wondering if the places to stay book up in early June? I was wondering if we need to book ahead or can we wing it?

Hi James – definitely recommend booking ahead for summer travel!

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2024 ireland travel guide: how to plan the perfect trip.

Bradley Williams

We were fortunate enough to spend 16 days travelling around all of Ireland in June and July 2019.

We designed a route, rented a campervan and set off on what proved to be a pretty epic journey!

Our route took us around the entire country, starting and ending just outside Dublin.

As Cazzy is from Ireland herself, we have already visited a number of Northern Ireland’s best sites over the years.

However, neither of us were prepared for just how breathtakingly beautiful the rest of Ireland is; and it’s safe to say that our Ireland vacation is one of the best adventures we have been on to date.

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland this year (which you 100% should be) then hopefully this full-on Ireland travel guide will help you with everything you need to know.

Including the best places to visit right through to some of our favourite Ireland travel tips .

Whether you are travelling to Ireland alone, or backpacking with a group of friends, this should be a one stop Ireland guide to help you on your way.

So, without further ado, let’s get started ...

Travellerspoint

Quick Things To Know About Ireland

The island of Ireland is made up of 2 countries. Northern Ireland uses Pound Sterling (£) and Ireland uses the Euro (€).

They speak English all across Ireland. There are also a number of Gaeltacht areas where they predominantly speak Irish.

Power sockets

They use the standard Type G plug socket, the same as you will find all across the UK.

Travel vaccines

Standard travel vaccines are advised for trips to Ireland . If you are from the UK, then you may have received almost all of these during school education. For other countries, this will vary. Here's a list of recommended vaccines for visiting Ireland.

Malaria risk

Non-existent.

You will find ATMs all across Ireland, with numerous different banks. They are all fine to use and generally highly reliable. To get the best exchange rates and avoid hefty charges from your bank at home, you should get a travel card before you visit. We always use Revolut , Monzo or Starling regardless of where in the world we go, as they offer the best exchange rates. If you can’t access these, then perhaps a TransferWise debit card would work well. I use them for getting paid in foreign currencies, however their card charges you fees to use it, whereas Revolut, Monzo and Starling do not.

The best places to go partying in Ireland are the big cities; notably Belfast , Dublin , Galway , Cork and Kilkenny. In these towns and cities you will find live music every night of the week and even some bars open till the early hours. As well as this, you will find traditional Irish bars literally EVERYWHERE in Ireland. However, if you want big nights of drinking and live music, the villages and towns tend not to liven up until the weekend.

If you’re from inside the EU, then your regular sim should work for free in Ireland. Cazzy and I are on O2 sims and we had great data connection almost everywhere we went. If you’re visiting from outside the EU, then I’d recommend picking up a local sim as they are pretty cheap and you could even then use it if you plan on going to other EU countries. Both in Northern Ireland and Ireland, you can get these sims from local shops in all towns.

You don’t have to tip in Ireland, however 10% is the customary rate if you do wish to. Some bars and restaurants will add it onto the bill as an option.

Christianity is the dominant religion all over the island of Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, Catholicism is more widely spread, but in Northern Ireland there is an almost 50/50 split between Protestant and Catholics.

Where do we begin!? Ireland has a very rich history, stretching back hundreds of years when invaders first came to the shores from Britain. The British have had a tumultuous relationship with the Irish for a long time, particularly throughout the late 20th century. This period, often called The Troubles, saw a number of atrocities committed on both sides as the IRA fought for a united Ireland and the British fought to maintain control. In 1998, the Good Friday Peace Agreement was signed which formally recognised Northern Ireland as a part of the UK and the rest becoming the Republic of Ireland. Even today, however, Northern Ireland is highly divided, with many wanting to join Ireland and the rest wanting to remain a part of the UK. It would take too long to divulge the full history here, but it’s worth familiarising yourself. I recommend reading more here , here and here .

Ireland is, generally speaking, a very safe country to visit. That being said, you should exercise common sense to avoid getting yourself in trouble. This includes not flashing money out and about in busy cities and not being out drunk late at night on your own. Also, if you are planning on driving in Ireland (more on this below) then take it careful on narrow country roads when it is dark or wet. Also, avoid upsetting any drunk locals by calling them Brits or referring to Derry as Londonderry.

Best Places To Visit In Ireland

With so many incredible spots, the only problem you’ll have with planning your trip is deciding where to travel in Ireland!

Ireland is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world; filled with rolling hills of green and breathtaking castles.

Personally, my favourite part of the country is the western coast where all along it you are greeted with dramatic cliffs and crashing waves. To make full use of this area though, you'll need at least 7 days in Ireland (ideally more though!)

But to help you with planning a rough route, here’s a quick look at my 10 favourite places to visit in Ireland .

dublin city

Dublin is by far Ireland’s most popular city for tourists (according to official tourism statistics ), with millions flocking here every year, regardless of whether they are on a calm family holiday or an outrageous stag do.

Attractions such as the Guinness factory and Temple Bar are among Ireland’s most visited attractions, and this city definitely lives up to the hype!

It can be a little pricier than other parts of Ireland, but if you only have a few days to spend in Ireland, then it’s a good choice.

There are tour companies offering day trips to many great sites outside of the city, so it’s a good place to base yourself for a few nights.

Real Also: The Best Things To Do In Dublin, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

2. Killarney

kilarney

This is perhaps my favourite town in all of Ireland.

Because the nightlife is so much fun!

Every night of the week, the dozen or so bars in town are pumping out traditional Irish music; and the atmosphere was better than anywhere else we visited.

It’s hard not to love live music and the packed-out bars and pubs are so alive with craic.

Also, in the day time you have many of Ireland’s best things to do located right on your doorstep, such as the Gap of Dunloe and the Killarney National Park.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Killarney, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

belfast city

I’ve been to Belfast a number of times now, and each time have found new fun things to see and do.

I’m particularly fond of this city around Christmas time, when they open the Belfast Christmas markets.

The whole city is lit up with decorations and lights and it’s such a cosy place to stroll around with a nice hot cup of coffee in hand.

In the summer it’s another great place to be, with an array of bars and clubs located all across the city; as well as attractions such as the Titanic Quarter and Cathedral Quarter.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Belfast, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

blarney co cork

The number one reason people head to the small town of Blarney is to visit Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone.

Well, yes this certainly is a great experience, as it's one of the Ireland’s most mythical sites, shrouded in myths and legends dating back hundreds of years.

As well as this, the town itself is quaint and lovely, complete with local bars and restaurants and narrow streets to explore.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Cork, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

5. Dingle Peninsula

inch beach

The Dingle Peninsula, as a whole, is really lovely and I would recommend it as a place to spend a relaxing few days away from the stresses of everyday life.

The Main town of Dingle is filled with shops and restaurants, as well as some of the best fish & chips joints you’ll find in Ireland.

It has the feel fairly typical seaside town and you could really unwind and take it easy here.

Aside from the main town, the peninsula offers some of the best views you'll find in Ireland, particularly out on the western tip near Coumeenoole Beach.

Inch Beach is another really unique spot on this peninsula and well worth a brisk, windy walk.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Dingle, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

doolin castle

Once again, if you are looking to escape and unwind for a few days, then Doolin is a perfect choice.

It’s a small village, which can’t have more than a few hundred people living there.

But what they do have is a small strip in town with 4 or 5 real traditional pubs; we visited Gus O'Connors and found it to be lively and packed full of tourists all enjoying the great food and live music.

From the village, it’s possible to walk all the way to the Cliffs of Moher, following a path that go the whole way along the coast.

On the way, you also pass by one of my top 5 best castles in Ireland : Doonagore Castle.

Finally, it’s from Doolin pier that you can take day trips across to the Aran Islands.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Clare, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

galway pubs

If you’re looking for buzzing nightlife and typical Irsh charm, then Galway is another top choice, aside from Dublin and Killarney .

When we visited, the weather was amazing and we enjoyed a number of pubs and beer gardens all throughout the town.

When the sun's out, the Latin Quarter is literally packed full of people either drinking or listening to live street performers.

Further on up, you’ll also find Eyre Square another great spot for Irish bars.

Aside from drinking, Galways has a lot more to offer, and we really enjoyed the hour or so walk along the seafront taking us all the way from Galway to Salthill.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Galway, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

8. Kilkenny

kilkenny

Kilkenny is a great place to visit, especially if you want to head out of Dublin, but don’t have enough time to visit the western coast.

It’s a Norman town, with the castle and many of the buildings dating back more than 800 years.

The Kilkenny Castle and the grounds around it are the best attraction, and I recommend stopping off here and having your lunch on the big lawn next to the castle.

There are other great things to do in Kilkenny as well, including visiting the cathedrals, the abbey and a whole array of small shops and pubs that line the cobbled high street.

9. The Causeway Coast

causeway coast

The Causeway Coast is easily one of the top 5 places to visit in Ireland, and from here you can explore Northern Ireland's best attractions. Including Dunluce Castle, Bushmills Distillery, The Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and, of course, the Giant's Causeway.

If the weather is clear and calm, then there are few better places to be in Ireland than the Causeway Coast.

From there, you can also head across to Derry, or down to the Dark Hedges.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Northern Ireland

10. County Donegal

cliffs in donegal

As a whole, county Donegal is one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland. 

The landscape up there is very different to other parts of Ireland, and the barren rugged countryside makes for awesome hiking and road tripping.

Some of my favorite spots in Donegal are the Slieve League Cliffs, Lough Derg and Malin Head.

There are also some great wild camping spots here, notably Lough Derg and Mullaghderg Beach.

As well as some of Ireland’s best castles, such as Doe Castle and Lough Eske Castle.

Next time we visit, I fully intend on spending more time around Glenveagh National Park, one of my favourite national parks from across Ireland.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Donegal, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

Our 10 Favourite Things To Do In Ireland

There are incredible experiences to be had all across Ireland.

There are famous sites to visit all across the country, many of which are located well outside of the popular tourist towns and cities.

Well, by having our own campervan, we visited the entire country from south to north and east to west, and along the way kept track of all of the best things to see and do in Ireland .

Here’s my top 10 (in no particular order) ...

1. Walk along the cliffs of Moher

cliffs of moher

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s biggest tourist attraction outside of Dublin.

Why do you think that is?

Well, it’s because they are awesome!

They rise up 700 feet above the water and are such an impressive site on a clear day.

Best of all, you can walk all the way along them to the town of Doolin if you wish; just be careful as the path gets very busy during peak times.

That’s why we got there early, as by 10am the cliffs are packed with people and you don’t get the same experience.

2. Visit Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway, Ireland

Arguably Northern Ireland’s best attraction, Giant's Causeway is a geographical phenomenon that has amazed people for generations.

It has also brought about a number of myths and legends, notably those about Finn the Giant who once lived there, and who’s chimney stack you can still see smoking some days.

When you visit for the first time, I recommend paying to get the audio headset so you can learn more about the causeway on the walk down.

After you’ve walked over them and caught some really cool photos, head further round and then right up the mountain to the top of the cliffs.

The views from up there are awesome and well worth the climb.

3. Rent a campervan and drive Ireland yourself

driving a campervan in ireland

I would say that the number one thing to do in Ireland is to hire a vehicle and drive yourself around Ireland .

Most of the best things to see and do aren’t in the towns and cities, but are instead located by the coast in hard to reach places.

Well, having a car or campervan gives you complete control over where you go and what you do and will allow you to experience Ireland to the max.

We rented a campervan with Spaceship Rentals and had the most amazing time ever!

You can read more about our epic 16 day Ireland road trip here .

4. Walk the Gap of Dunloe

walking the gap of dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is perhaps Ireland’s most magical spot; a 6 km long valley that takes you through some truly awe inspiring scenery.

What I loved most was that the farther you travel through it, the more the landscape seems to keep on changing.

It looks almost entirely different from one end to the other, making it a pleasure to walk in both directions (which you’re going to need to do!).

If you head there nice and early, you can get there and back in a couple hours and then head into Kate Kearney’s Cottage for a spot of well-earned brunch.

5. Spend a night listening to Irish traditional music

Irish Music, Ireland

Some of my favorite memories from Ireland is our time spent in old-fashioned Irish pubs listening to Irish music late into the night.

I’ve always been a big fan of Irish music, but nothing beats listening to it in person.

Typically, pubs are more likely to have live music on Friday and Saturday night; unless you are visiting a big city like Dublin or Galway when you should find it most nights.

6. Wild camp by a lough

Lough Derg, Donegal, Ireland

If you choose to rent a vehicle and drive yourself around, you’ll soon discover that Ireland is filled with beautiful loughs.

For years now, Cazzy has been campaign with her family to Lough Derg in Donegal , arguably one of Ireland's most scenic spots.

However, if you just drive around the country you will find large, secluded loughs everywhere, many with possible wild camping spots.

To find out more, you can read this guide Cazzy wrote on wild camping in Ireland.

7. Kiss the Blarney Stone

kissing the blarney stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone is perhaps one of the most famous things you must do in Ireland.

Located not far outside of Cork , Blarney Castle is a 570 year old castle shrouded in myths and legends, most notably those about the Blarney Stone.

There are numerous tales on how the Blarney Stone came to be at Blarney Castle, and you can learn all about these on your way up through the castle to kiss the stone.

Regardless of which tale you believe, you cannot deny the magical gift of eloquence that it bestows upon all that kiss it.

8. Check out the Rock of Cashel

rock of cashel

From a distance, the Rock of Cashel is possibly the most breathtaking castle in Ireland.

For hundreds of years it served as the seat of the kings of Ireland, and it is certainly worthy of such a role.

Over the years, the Rock of Cashel grew in size, but the oldest remaining parts of the site date back as far as the year 1100, making it more than 900 years old!

From the inside, a lot of it has fallen into disrepair, but is still well worth a walk around.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Tipperary, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

9. Go hiking in the national parks

wicklow national park

Ireland has a number of national parks and we were lucky enough to pass through a number of them on our road trip.

My favourites being Wicklow, Killarney, Connemara and Glenveagh.

What’s nice is that each of them is unique in it’s own way and it’s great taking time to go for a walk through them wherever possible.

10. Learn about Irish history

Irish History, Ireland

I first started learning about Irish history in 2015 when Cazzy first took me to Ireland to meet her family.

I quickly learned that the Irish have a VERY lengthy and tumultuous history with the English. After years of conflict and violence the country was split in two ( Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), but the drama didn’t stop there. 

Northern Ireland has a rich history with regards to the Troubles that followed. 

It’s an intense and recent history that’s very important and you can see real life examples of what it was like in cities like Belfast , Derry and Dublin .

When Is The Best Time To Visit Ireland?

wild atlatnic way

Really, Ireland is a great country to visit at all times of the year.

As the seasons change, the landscape changes with it and you can expect to find a whole another country.

However, if you're looking for warm weather and clear skies, then the best time to travel to Ireland is in the Summer months of June to August.

We visited in June/July and the weather was absolutely amazing almost the entire time; we had clear blue skies and excellent views wherever we went.

The shoulder months of April/May (Spring) and September/October (Autumn) might also be nice as well, however, you're more likely to have a lot of wind and rain during your visit.

If you are happy to put up with much colder weather, then Ireland can be nice and snowy in December and January.

This is also when it’s the cheapest time to visit Ireland as most tourists won’t be there.

That being said, a lot of Ireland’s best attractions won’t be open either.

The only thing I will say is this … Ireland is famously unpredictable when it comes to its weather.

Though we had excellent weather in June and July on our visit, it is just as likely that you visit in this time and its wet and windy the whole time.

Similarly, weather can change from one hour to the next with mist descending out of nowhere and then clearing as if it was never there.

It’s all a part of the mystery that makes Ireland what it is.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Kerry, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

Travelling In Ireland: Sorting Your Ireland Visa

Seeing as both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are in the EU, you can visit either country without hassle if you also hold an EU passport.

If you are from outside of the EU, then your visa requirements will differ.

Here is a list of all countries that need a visa to enter Ireland and here’s a useful page on applying for a visa if you do need one.

How Do You Get To Ireland?

You have two main options for getting into Ireland, these are:

1. Flying to Ireland

The 2 main airports that you will likely be flying into are Dublin and Belfast.

Typically speaking, these have the most available flights and are cheapest.

Especially if you are entering from another European country and book your flights with Ryanair .

If you are flying in long haul, such as from America, then chances are it will be Dublin or Belfast that have the cheapest flights.

That being said there are a number of other airports in Ireland to fly into.

Though they may be a little pricier, you can then save money on getting buses across the country if that’s where you plan on spending a weekend; for example in Galway or Cork.

To find the cheapest flights into Ireland, I recommend using Skyscanner .

In the “To” box, you can select “Ireland (IE)” and it will tell you which airports offer the cheapest deals.

Be aware, however, that this will not include Northern Ireland . For that you will need to search for “Northern Ireland (UK)” separately.

2. Taking a ferry to Ireland

It is possible to drive over to Ireland by ferry, and there are a number of ports up the coast.

Personally, I’ve taken the ferry from Liverpool to Dublin before, as well as the ferry from Rosslare to Pembroke.

Each of them takes no more than a few hours and the weather is typically pretty cold.

I always book my ferry crossings to Ireland using Direct Ferries.

Getting Around Ireland

When it comes to getting around Ireland, you’ve got a few main options, these include:

1. Hiring a campervan or car

campervan rental ireland

By far your best option for getting around Ireland is to hire a campervan and drive yourself around.

Not only does this give you complete flexibility over your schedule, it also means you get to wild camp in some pretty cool places!

There are a variety of campervan companies you can choose from, but we recommend Spaceships Rentals and you can check out our review of them here .

If you would rather, just can rent a car you’ll be happy to hear there are lots of great car rental companies in Ireland .

A good place to start your search is with Rentalcars.com .

Read Also: The 35 Best Castles In Ireland That You Need To Visit

2. Using buses

Buses travel between major cities all across Ireland and there are a variety of different companies to choose from. 

You can find links to all major cities from the airports, but also connections from city to city. These buses will be comfortable, air conditioned and generally have WiFi. 

Local buses for day trips within cities and getting around are also common and easy to use. 

The bus network in Ireland is quite well established and to find your way from A to B, I suggest you head to a local tourism office for advice. 

There is a tourism office in almost every little town in Ireland, so you’ll always find someone who can help you with Ireland bus routes. 

3. Private tours

Tours in Ireland are the most common way to get around for lots of visitors. 

Whilst I’ve never done a tour myself, I know there are a wide range of tour companies and the tours in Ireland are generally quite high quality and great value for money. 

You can opt for group tours or pay a little extra for private tours. I suggest using GetYourGuide for all your tour needs! 

The train network is quite established, but it’s more expensive, and I wouldn’t rely on it to get everywhere.

I’ve never actually used the train, but you can get all the information and prices you need on the Irish Rail Network website . It is a good way to get around towns. 

For more information, check out Cazzy’s blog post on getting around Ireland .

Real Also: The Best Things To Do In Mayo, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

Finding The Best Accommodation In Ireland

Regardless of how you plan on getting around the country, you’re probably wondering where to stay in Ireland. Well, here you go!

Accommodation for camping and caravanning

If you’re planning on hiring a campervan in Ireland , then you have two main options when it comes to accommodation.

1. Use campsites

There are campsites located all across Ireland, and even in peak summer months you should be able to call up on the day and book somewhere to stay that same night.

To find campsites when we were travelling across Ireland we mostly used a guidebook from Camping Ireland .

Alternatively, if you don’t have a guide book, you can use websites such as:

  • Camping Ireland
  • EuroCampings

You can expect a pitch in a typical caravan site to set you back between €20 and €30 per night.

2. Wild camp

wild camping in ireland

One of the best things about having your own campervan or motorhome in Ireland is the opportunity to wild camp.

There are awesome wild camping spots located all across Ireland; any of which are online, but most of which you can discover yourself!

For more info, check out this guide Cazzy wrote on wild camping spots in Ireland .

Other Accommodation in Ireland

If you’re planning on getting around Ireland by bus, train or car, then you will find tonnes of great hotels, hostels and B&Bs all across the Emerald Isle.

Great sites for finding the best places to stay in Ireland include:

  • Booking.com (Top choice for hotels in Ireland)
  • Airbnb (Top choice for homestays and B&Bs in Ireland)
  • Hostelworld (Top choice for hostels in Ireland)
  • CozyCozy (easy-to-use price comparison tool for options given above)

A mid-range double hotel room or Airbnb stay will set you back anywhere between €50 and €80 per night.

A single bed in a hostel dorm room ranges from €15 to €25.

To make a quick booking, here's a roundup of the best places to stay for each major part of Ireland:

Ireland Travel Guide: What to wear in Ireland

Generally speaking … wear warm clothes!

Even if you plan on visiting in the summer months, you can never guarantee clear weather, so take warm clothes, like jeans and a jumper, as well as a waterproof coat.

If you are visiting in colder winter months, then make sure you take plenty of warm comfy clothes, especially if you plan to be out walking in the national parks.

That being said, in the summer months the weather can also be very nice, so take some shorts and t-shirts or dresses with you to make the most of it.

If you’re by the coast when the weathers nice, then you’ll see lots of pale Irish people walking down the beach with their t-shirts off; this is because everyone makes full use of the hot weather when it does arrive!

Read More: What To Pack For Ireland

Eating and Drinking in Ireland

eating in ireland

If you want to experience good old fashioned Irish cooking, then the best place to go is a traditional Irish pub.

Here, you will find a number of homemade classics, with my favourite being Irish stew.

If you can, the best way to enjoy Irish stew is with a few pieces of wheaten bread, which is a type of bread only really made and sold in Ireland and is much stodgier than regular bread.

On that note, Ireland sells a few different types of bread that you don’t really get elsewhere; including potato bread and soda bread.

Aside from these few classics, a lot of the food you’ll find in Ireland can be found elsewhere in Europe, particularly the UK.

This includes typical pub grub like bangers & mash, fish & chips and lasagne.

If you’re heading out for a busy day of sightseeing, then a good way to start your day is with an Irish/Ulster fry.

This consists of a variety of things including bacon, sausage, beans, potato bread, soda bread, mushrooms and tomatoes.

As you’d imagine, its with alcohol that Ireland really comes into its own!

Their two big specialities being Guiness and whiskey (not spelt “whisky”, that’s Scottish).

If you ask me, then Guinness really isn’t all that, and I would much rather have a nice cold pint of cider, which is also becoming extremely popular now across Ireland.

If you’re a fan of whiskey then you will love Ireland as most bars tend to have at least half a dozen to a dozen different varieties on sale.

You will also find large distilleries located all across Ireland, including the Bushmills Distillery next to the Giant's Causeway .

There are a number of smaller homegrown distilleries cropping up, such as the Slane Distillery at Slane castle .

Useful Online Tools For Your Ireland Trip

When you're planning a vacation in Ireland, then there’s all kinds of online tools out there that will help make your trip ten times better.

Here’s the online websites and applications that we used when travelling Ireland:

  • Skyscanner - For booking flights
  • Spaceships Rentals - For organising a campervan
  • Google Maps - For saving places to visit, as well as day-to-day navigation
  • Booking.com - For finding the best deals on all kinds of hotels
  • Airbnb - For finding the most affordable homestays
  • Revolut / Starling - For avoiding any fees when converting our money to Euros

The cost of Travelling Ireland

Ireland certainly isn’t the cheapest country to visit, but nor is it the most expensive.

Here a rough overview of how much things typically cost in Ireland.

  • Groceries - €5-10 per day each (Lidl and Aldi are the cheapest supermarkets to use)
  • Eating out - €15-20 for a decent meal with a drink
  • Alcohol - €4.50 for a pint in a pub / €1.50 for a can of beer/cider in supermarkets / €7 for a single spirit with mixer in a pub (35ml) / €13 for a 70cl bottle of vodka in a supermarket
  • Tours & activities - Entrance fees to most castles are around €10, day trips to other islands are €30 or more. Here’s a list of popular tours in Ireland
  • Transport - Buses and trains can cost €15 and upwards, depending on the length of journey
  • Fuel - We spent €7.50/day each and were driving 4 to 5 hours every day (here’s a list of current fuel prices in Ireland )

So, how much did we spend on our visit to Ireland?

It’s worth pointing out that our Ireland road trip was in collaboration with Spaceships Rentals , who covered much of the cost of the campervan rental.

If we include the full cost of the rental into our overall expenditure, then here’s how much we spent overall for 16 days around Ireland:

€1400 (or €87.50 each/per day)

As a rough breakdown, per day this included:

  • €50 for the van and insurance
  • €5-10 on groceries
  • €10 on entrance fees
  • €7.50 on fuel
  • €10 on drinks/food in a pub
  • €5 on campsite fees (we only stayed in a campsite 6 nights)

Obviously, on some days we spent more on eating out, but on the other days we cooked for ourselves so only spent money on groceries.

Drone Laws In Ireland

First up, yes, it is legal to fly a travel drone in Ireland.

That being said, there are a number of rules and regulations in place that you need to follow; as set by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

The biggest thing that you need to know is that you must register your drone before legally being allowed to fly it there.

Registering it is relatively straightforward, and you can find the simple 2-step process for doing so on this page here .

DO NOTE: It took 5 weeks after registering for the paperwork to get shipped to me.

In this paperwork is a small sticker that you are meant to attach to your drone, to show that it has been registered properly.

I’m not sure how long it’s meant to take, especially if you live further afield than England, like me; so I advise registering as far in advance as possible before you are due to arrive.

When in Ireland, you will need to follow a number of regulations involving how far you can fly it, how high you can fly and where you can legally fly it.

You can read all about up-to-date Ireland drone laws here .

My favourite drone spots in Ireland

What’s nice is that Ireland is filled with incredible drone spots. Here were 5 of my favourite spots for filming with a drone in Ireland:

  • Anywhere up the Wild Atlantic Way (Ireland’s rugged western coast)
  • Doonagore Castle
  • Gap of Dunloe
  • Achill Island
  • Glenveagh National Park

Final Thoughts And Advice

If I could advise you of just one thing when planning a trip around Ireland, it would be to find a way to drive your own vehicle.

I can honestly say that the best part about seeing Irealand are the in-between moments.

Sure, many of the towns and cities are lovely, but if this is all you see then you are truly missing out on the best sites Ireland has to offer.

We had such a great time driving the Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Beara and the Ring of Kerry , as well as through Ireland’s many breathtaking national parks.

It is so liberating having complete control over your schedule and your day-to-day itinerary, and you will find hidden villages and pubs that you’d otherwise be unable to explore unless you have control over where you travel to.

I’d highly recommend renting a campervan from Spaceships Rentals , but if you don’t like the idea of camping or want a smaller vehicle, then I’m sure renting a car would be equally as amazing.

A good place to start your search for that would be something like Rentalcars.com .

Other than that, if you have any other questions and think I’ve missed anything from this ridiculously in-depth Ireland travel guide, then just drop a comment below!

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The Ultimate Itinerary for 7 Days in Ireland

The Ultimate Itinerary for 7 Days in Ireland

Ireland is one of the most beloved countries in Europe, if not the world, because of its 50 shades of green, medieval castles, iconic movie/TV filming locations, scenic drives, delicious cuisine, world-renowned whiskey, and more. Though Ireland is a small country, it has so much to see and explore. Truth be told, 7 days in Ireland was not enough for us because of the number of cities and castles we wanted to explore. 

So I highly recommend spending at least 7 days in Ireland, especially if it is your first trip to the Emerald Isle. And if you are the type of traveler wanting to see it all during your first trip to a new destination, you will definitely want to read through my ultimate itinerary for 7 days in Ireland.

This itinerary is not for the faint of heart, it is for those daring to experience it all. I packed this itinerary to be as perfect as possible, including a day in Northern Ireland. From castles to Star Wars  and  Game of Thrones  filming locations , beautiful landscapes, driving on the Ring of Kerry, touring the famous Jameson Distillery, watching a traditional Irish dance show and more.

So whether you copy this itinerary day by day, or take little bits and pieces to create your own itinerary – this post of 7 days in Ireland has it all!

My itinerary for driving 7 days in Ireland is almost a complete circle of the country that starts and finishes in Dublin. It is all based on my first-hand experience and includes where to stay, places you must visit, tidbits of what you can do with additional time, and more.

At the end of this post, I hope you will walk away with a wealth of information to help plan your own trip to Ireland.

Full disclaimer –  Our post may contain affiliate links. When you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but we would receive a small commission. We want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures.” 

The Best Time to Visit Ireland

In my opinion, I think the best time to visit Ireland is in early May. The trees and flowers should be at full bloom, the weather is fantastic (give or take some rainy days per usual), and there are fewer crowds which mean lower costs as well.

Other great times to visit Ireland are during St. Patricks Day, April, early June, September, and October. After experiencing Oktoberfest in Munich , we can only imagine how much fun St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland must be. However, there are some sights that are not open yet. Some of the “touristy” destinations to visit and tours to enjoy only open after Easter weekend.

If you plan to visit Ireland between late June through August, be prepared for long waiting times to kiss the Blarney Stone or crowds of people along the Cliffs of Moher.

Best Way to Get Around Ireland

The best way to get around Ireland and truly enjoy everything the Emerald Isle has to offer is by renting a car. If you are not used to driving on the left side of the road, do not be discouraged – it is a lot easier than you would think! Furthermore, you can also find automatic cars at a reasonable price.

Here are a few helpful driving tips for an Ireland road trip :

  • BUY trip insurance and make sure it covers third-party vehicles. Whether you purchase it through the rental company or through another party, you must have insurance to rent vehicles in Ireland.
  • Get comfortable sharing tiny roads. Take your time and allow other cars to pass before you continue.
  • Avoid tolls – it not only saves money, but you also get to enjoy Ireland’s beautiful landscape.
  • The speedometer and speed signs in Ireland are in KPH, but if you drive to Northern Ireland it changes to MPH.

7 Days in Ireland Itinerary

It took us a long time to come up with the perfect 7 days in Ireland itinerary due to the fact that we wanted to see as much of the Emerald Isle, including Northern Ireland, as possible. The website that helped us plan our Ireland trip is Furkot . It allows you to place each destination you want to visit with the desired time you want to stay. Then it calculates your entire trip with the exact times of when you need to arrive and leave at each destination – it is amazing. To give you an idea of what our 7 days in Ireland itinerary looks like, here is a map.

Day 1: Dublin to Donegal

Day 2: Donegal to Galway

Day 3: Galway to Dromoland Castle – 1 hour

Day 4:  Dromoland Castle to Killarney – 3 hours 15 minutes

Day 5: Killarney to Cork – 1 hour

Day 6: Cork to Dublin – 3 hours 15 minutes

Day 7: Dublin to Flying Home

Day 1: Begin your 7 Days in Ireland Itinerary from Dublin to the Causeway Coast and Donegal

If you love Game of Thrones and beautiful landscapes, then you will LOVE this first day. Once you arrive in Dublin (in the morning), pick up your rental car and hit the left side of the road! This will be a very long, but rewarding day. You start in Dublin, then make your way to Northern Ireland and finish in Donegal.

There is so much beauty to explore and see that you will feel like your next 7 days in Ireland cannot top this first day. I know it seems daunting to drive this far on your first day in Ireland, but trust me, you do not want to miss Northern Ireland and the Causeway Coast.

Visit Your First Irish Castle at Malahide Castle

What better way to start your 7 days in Ireland than with a medieval castle? The first stop is to Malahide Castle. A very picturesque castle you cannot miss in Ireland that dates back to the 12th century. There is plenty to enjoy at Malahide Castle. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the castle, step into the beautiful butterfly house and take a stroll through the botanical garden and fairy trail.

Stroll through the Dark Hedges

Whether you are taking an epic Game of Thrones tour or just love beautiful landscapes, you cannot miss walking through the “Kings Road”. To put it simply, the Dark Hedges are absolutely stunning in person. As a  Game of Thrones fan, I truly felt like I was in Westeros. Just be sure you time this destination well because if you go between 10am to 1pm, you will most likely be fighting the crowds like you are fighting to sit on the Iron Throne.

Walk Across Carrick-a-Rede Bridge

Walking across the famous Carrick-a-Rede Bridge is one of the most popular and sought out experiences to enjoy in Northern Ireland. The 60-foot long rope bridge is about 100 feet above the water and links the mainland of Northern Ireland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. You must visit the ticket booth in-person to pay for a specific time slot to walk across the bridge. So it is recommended to get your ticket in case the next time slot is all taken and you have to wait.

Find Yourself Mesmerized at Giants Causeway

This is by the far the most beautiful landscape in Northern Ireland and should not be missed during your trip! Giants Causeway is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the most visited site in Northern Ireland. Visitors can easily spend at least an hour exploring and walking along the amazing hexagonal stepping stones. They also have a state of the art visitor center where you can learn more about the history and formation of Giants Causeway.

Explore the Ruins of Dunluce Castle

This is one of the most dramatic landscapes and castles on the entire Emerald Isle. It is also the castle featured in Game of Thrones to create the Greyjoy Castle (or House of Greyjoy) on Pyke Island. When you visit Dunluce Castle, you can find archaeological digs that show Dunluce Town’s street grid system. Furthermore, after exploring the castles’ ruins, head down to the sea cove beneath the castle known as the Mermaid Cave – it is a true hidden gem.

Stay at a Castle Hotel Fit for Royalty

There is nothing more fitting than staying at a castle hotel on your first day in Ireland. So finish your day at Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa , a five-star hotel in Donegal, Ireland. In addition to feeling like royalty in a castle hotel, one of the best features of Lough Eske Castle is its award-winning spa. So relax and unwind at their Thermal Suite before you continue your 7 days in Ireland itinerary.

Total driving time:  5 hours and 35 minutes

Where to stay: Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa in Donegal or enjoy glamping in Ireland at Portsalon Luxury Camping.

If you have more time: Spend a day in Belfast, tour Bushmills Distillery

Places you cannot miss: Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, Giants Causeway

Day 2: Continue your 7 Days in Ireland Itinerary from Donegal to Galway

A trip to Ireland is not complete without a visit to Galway. So of course, I have included it in my 7 days in Ireland itinerary. There are so many beautiful places to visit just outside of the city including several different castles and a beautiful National Park. These remarkable places help break apart the long drive from Donegal to Galway.

Gaze Upon the Marvelous Benbulben

The first stop from Donegal to Galway is Sligo’s marvelous tabletop mountain called Benbulben. Whether you are hiking the trail to the top of Benbulben or gazing upon it from a grass field, it is a breathtaking sight not to be missed during your road trip in Ireland.

Try Handmade Chocolates by the Benedictine Nuns at Kylemore Abbey

Do you love chocolate and castles? If yes, you are going to be in heaven at Kylemore Abbey. The Kylemore Castle and Estate is one of the most iconic destinations in Ireland and the perfect place for a pit stop. The estate is 13,000 acres, so you will be able to stretch your legs and explore some beautiful places. Kylemore Abbey includes a Victorian Wall Garden, a neo-Gothic church, an Old Mausoleum and of course the castle itself. Furthermore, there is a chocolate kitchen where you can take a sneak peek inside the process of the Benedictine Nuns making Irish chocolate truffles and bars. Then head to the Craft & Design Gift Shop to take home some of the most delicious chocolates.

Enjoy a Luxurious Afternoon Tea at Ashford Castle

Check off the most luxurious item on your bucket list , afternoon tea at an Irish castle. More specifically at Ashford Castle, a five-star castle known to be one of the best hotels in the entire world. We have never experienced such luxury than at Ashford Castle and highly recommend this experience for your 7 days in Ireland itinerary. For only $50, you can enjoy unlimited tea from around the world, delicious pastries, scrumptious finger sandwiches, and fresh scones. Yes, I will say it again – everything in the afternoon tea experience is unlimited! Moreover, only guests of Ashford Castle can visit the estate. Whether they are staying at the hotel, dining for dinner, booked an activity, or having afternoon tea, only guests are able to pass through the gates. Trust me, you will want to be a guest to explore the castle grounds.

Sing and Drink the Night Away at Traditional Pubs in Galway

People visit Ireland for many reasons and a few include singing, dancing, and drinking in traditional pubs. One of the cities well known for all of those activities is the one and only, Galway, Ireland. So grab a pint of Guinness and enjoy the Irish culture and lifestyle.

Just note, that you will want to find your pub before 7pm because each one gets packed very quickly. Our friends and I had a very hard time finding our perfect pub at 9pm. A few of the best pubs in Galway are Taaffes Bar, Tig Coili, The Quays, Murphy’s, O’Connell’s, and Naughtons.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to do in Galway , so if you have more time, I recommend booking a Galway tour or exploring the city on your own.

Total driving time: 5 hours and 15 minutes

Where to stay: Eyre Square Hotel in Galway

If you have more time:  Visit Clifden Castle, spend an extra day in Galway

Places you cannot miss: Kylemore Abbey, Ashford Castle

Day 3: Dance Away from Galway to Sleep like Royalty at Dromoland Castle

This is one of the shortest drives during the 7 days in Ireland itinerary, so take your time and enjoy each destination. Furthermore, a few of these can be great day trips from Galway if you have extra time during your trip.

Visit Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle is one of the most visually stunning castles in Ireland . In addition to marveling at the castle towering over the bay, visitors can also experience a medieval banquet dinner. Though we did not have the time to enjoy the medieval banquet dinner, we have heard nothing but great reviews. So if you have more time than 7 days in Ireland, you should definitely take a step back in time and enjoy this Irish experience.

Eat Chocolate at Hazel Mountain

Leave it to Our Sweet Adventures to find the best chocolate in Ireland. As a former pastry chef, I was more than impressed with the quality, creativity, and flavor of the chocolates by Hazel Mountain. It is perfectly located between Galway and the Cliffs of Moher to get your healthy dosage of chocolate.  Which is why I made sure to include Hazel Mountain in my 7 days in Ireland itinerary. Hazel Mountain is a boutique bean to bar chocolate factory and shop producing handmade chocolate truffles and bars. They only use the finest ingredients in Ireland including milk from local grass-fed cows, seaweed, honey, lavender and of course, whiskey. Be sure to make your own little truffle box featuring their special flavors of the week to enjoy at home.

Explore Ruins at Corcomroe Abbey

Corcomroe Abbey is a great little pitstop to explore more of Ireland’s beautiful ruined abbeys. It was built during the 13 th century and a lot of the structure remains intact. So you can get a real sense of the magnitude the abbey had during its time. It is truly a stunning and picturesque building inside and out. Inside Corcomoroe Abbey are high archways and some incredible carvings throughout the abbey. Just outside the building is a small graveyard with several different tombstones that have also been well preserved.   

Marvel the Cliffs of Moher

Of course, an Ireland itinerary is not complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher is without a doubt, Ireland’s most popular attraction and beloved sight amongst locals and tourists. It is best to visit as early in the morning as possible to beat the crowds and to capture incredible photos with the morning light. However, with this itinerary, it is unlikely you will be able to visit before 9am. So as long as you visit on a weekday and outside of the months of July and August, you will be okay to visit in the afternoon. Another important tip to acknowledge is the weather and walking trail. We have never experienced such high and dangerous winds than at the Cliffs of Moher, so make sure you read the weather hazard signs. Furthermore, the trail along the Cliffs of Moher is outside the managed service area, so read their safety guidelines and walk with caution. There are NO RAILINGS between you and the ocean. Respect the beauty of mother nature and stay safe.

Learn Falconry and Go Clay Shooting at Dromoland Castle

One of the most exciting and fun activities you can enjoy in Ireland is falconry and clay shooting. Both activities are widely popular throughout the country, so a lot of hotels in the countryside offer them to their guests. One hotel that offers great falconry and clay shooting lessons is at Dromoland Castle. We had the BEST time going for a walk with our falcon. Our guide would place food on our glove and the falcon would come soaring down to grab it – truly a surreal experience. As for clay shooting, that was another thrilling adventure. We each got 30 bullets (3 rounds of 10) to practice our shot and hit the clay flying in the air. Furthermore, we also had the amazing opportunity to stay at Dromoland Castle and live like a King and Queen. I highly recommend everyone booking at least one night at Dromoland Castle to enjoy luxurious accommodations, fun activities, and delicious cuisine.

Total driving time:  2 hours and 40 minutes

Where to stay: Dromoland Castle

If you have more time:  Visit Burren National Park

Places you cannot miss:  Cliffs of Moher, Hazel Mountain Chocolate

Day 4: Drive Along the Dingle Peninsula to Killarney

On this day you will continue to drive along the Wild Atlantic Way and begin your scenic route on the Dingle Peninsula. Though this day might be a semi-long drive, it will be one of the most beautiful drives of your life. Moreover, a 7 day in Ireland itinerary is not complete without some Star Wars fandom. In addition to an amazing scenic route, this is also a great day for any Star Wars lovers because a lot of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi scenes were filmed along the Dingle Peninsula. So let the force be with you during your trip to Killarney.

Visit King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle is one of the more visitor-friendly castles in Ireland and is located in Limerick. The castle is not only fun to explore, but it also includes an engaging exhibit for all ages. The exhibit features touchscreen technology, 3D models, animated projections and an activity room for children. One of our favorite places in King John’s Castle was the top of a battlement which had an amazing 360° panorama view of the city.

Enjoy the Scenic Drive Along the Dingle Peninsula

We saw so many beautiful landscapes throughout Ireland, but none took our breath away like the Dingle Peninsula. We have even driven along the Amalfi Coast and the Dingle Peninsula is almost unmatched. For most of the route, you are driving along dramatic cliffs towering over on one side, while the other side has the endless ocean crashing into the shore. Be prepared to make frequent stops along the Dingle Peninsula for some short hikes up grassy hills to find spectacular views. Words will never be able to describe how stunning this drive is, so it is best you see it for yourself!

Take the Epic Picture at Dunquin Harbour

The best and most popular stop along the Dingle Peninsula is Dunquin Harbour. Why? It is one of the most “Instagrammable” destinations in Ireland. So get your camera ready to take one epic photo. Of course, travel is not about Instagram, so take in the precious moment enjoying one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland.

Visit the Most Western Point of Ireland

Dunmore Head is the most western point in Ireland and features two great places to visit, a beach and an awesome view at the top of the hill. We had the best time at Slea Head Beach, as did many other tourists, surfers, and dogs. Slea Head Beach is known as one of the best beaches in Ireland and we could see why. It is a very lively and safe beach to find hidden coves and watch the waves crash into the towering cliffs. At the top of Dunmore Head, you can see the Great Blasket Islands. More importantly, Dunmore Head is used as part of Ahch-To, a.k.a. the planet in Star Wars  known as the birthplace of the Jedi Order. If you look hard enough along Dunmore Head’s coastline, you might be able to find Luke Skywalker’s X-wing hidden just beneath the water.

Visit the Famous Star Wars Beehives Huts

You do not have to travel to Skellig Michael to find the famous Star Wars beehive huts. The beehive huts can be found driving along Ireland’s scenic Slea Head Drive . You do have to pay 3 euros to visit the beehive huts, but for 3 euros they are definitely worth it. The beehive huts, more formerly known as Ceann Sibéal, existed long before Star Wars . They date back to the prehistoric times, around 2,000 B.C., which is quite incredible. So either take out your lightsaber and feel the force or enjoy some remarkable architecture from the prehistoric times.

Have a Scoop of Ice Cream at Murphy’s

You cannot visit Ireland without enjoying a scoop of ice cream or sorbet from Murphy’s. Murphy’s ice cream has become a little empire in Ireland that started it Dingle and has grown to 5 more locations throughout the country. What makes Murphy’s special is its quality of ingredients. They receive their milk from the Kerry cows, (some of the best cows in the world), use free-range eggs, organic sugar, sea salt from the Dingle sea water and distill Dingle rain to make their sorbets. Murphy’s ice cream is the true definition of sourcing from local resources and farmers. Their dedication truly shows in every lick and bite of ice cream and/or sorbet you enjoy. Furthermore, everyone welcomes you with warm hospitality and their flavor combinations are genius!

Total driving time:  4 hours and 57 minutes

Where to stay:  Cahernane House Hotel

If you have more time:  Visit Inch beach, Skellig Michael and spend an extra day in Dingle

Places you cannot miss:  Dunquin Harbour, driving along the Dingle Peninsula, ice cream at Murphy’s

Day 5: Drive Along the Ring of Kerry to Cork

As you continue your 7 days in Ireland itinerary, you will be driving along another amazing and scenic route, the Ring of Kerry . This drive is more about the beautiful Irish countryside than the Dingle Peninsula. You will also explore several different destinations within Killarney National Park and finish your day with a glass of Jameson.

Visit Ross Castle

Ross Castle is known as one of the strongest and more fortified castles in Ireland because of its defensive wall on the edge of Lake Lough Leane. It was built during the 15th century and still stands tall today. Visitors can explore the castle grounds within the fortified wall on their own or take a guided tour inside the castle.

Hike in Killarney National Park to Torc Waterfall

One of the best places to go hiking in Ireland is in Killarney National Park. Moreover, whether you are an avid hiker or do not hike at all, “hiking” to Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park is a must. I recommend you do this first thing in the morning as it is the most popular destination in Killarney National Park and can get very crowded. In addition, parking is very limited – we had to drive in circles for 30 minutes to find a parking spot just to “hike” five minutes to Torc Waterfall. With that said, everything is worth it when you walk through the beautiful green, mossy forest and come across the water cascading down some of Ireland’s most beautiful landscape.

Visit Muckross House and Gardens

Another fantastic place to visit within Killarney National Park is Muckross House and Gardens. Even if you do not take the guided tour inside Muckross House, just walking around the grounds of the estate to see architectural beauty is enough to make this a destination on your 7 days in Ireland itinerary. Furthermore, walking along Muckross Lake has some breathtaking views and is a great way to spend a nice day in Ireland.

Getting Lost at Muckross Abbey

Visiting Muckross Abbey was one of our favorite experiences in Ireland because it was exactly what we imagined Ireland to be – exploring ruins on our own and getting lost along the way. Muckross Abbey looks just like all of the other ruins in Ireland from the outside, but in the inside, it escapes you into another world. I remember following Adam into a corridor of Muckross Abbey and one minute later not being able to find him for another twenty minutes.

There are several grand opening areas that connect with little nooks that you can travel through until you find another huge room to explore. Then you come across the most beautiful tree in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by stone walls. Needless to say, Muckross Abbey will surprise you with its hidden beauty and you will feel like you have been transported back in time.

Scenic Drive on the Ring of Kerry

Every road trip in Ireland needs to include the Ring of Kerry. This driving route is famous for a very good reason – it is truly breathtaking and one of the most beautiful roads in the world that you will ever encounter in your life.

Two of the most photographic landscapes along the Ring of Kerry are Moll’s Gap and Gap of Dunloe. Both are very close to Killarney National Park which makes day-5 the perfect time to visit for your 7 days in Ireland itinerary. Just make sure you drive slow to not only take in every moment but to also find little parking spots to jump out and take photos.

Kiss the famous Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle

If you plan to visit any castle in Ireland, you must include Blarney Castle during your 7 days in Ireland. It is one of the most famous castles in the world due to the legendary Blarney Stone. Visitors travel near and far to wait in line just to place their lips upon the cold, wet Blarney Stone and receive the gift of eloquence.

Is it worth it? Absolutely! In addition to the Blarney Stone, this was our favorite castle because it was so much fun to explore. Like Muckross Abbey, there are so many levels with little nooks and crannies that you can easily get lost and feel transported back in time.

Drink Liquid Gold at the Jameson Distillery

Regardless if you drink whiskey, visiting the Jameson Distillery is a must for any trip to Ireland. I do not like any whiskey and even I had a great time. Of course, Jameson is Adam’s favorite whiskey, so he had the BEST time! The guided tour takes visitors throughout the distillery to learn about Jameson’s history, the entire process of making Irish whiskey and what makes Jameson special. The tour lasts around 75 minutes and finishes with a complimentary glass of Jameson.

Total driving time:  3 hours

Where to stay:  Hotel Isaacs Cork in Cork or if you prefer a country house outside of the city, try Ballymaloe Country House Hotel

If you have more time: Visit a cheese factory in West Cork , the English Market, Blackrock Castle Observatory, and the city of Cobh.

Places you cannot miss:  Torc Waterfall, Muckross Abbey, driving the Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, and Jameson Distillery

Day 6: Finish your 7 days in Ireland Itinerary in Dublin

After 6 days of driving, it is time to relax, drink, eat and explore in the capital of Ireland – Dublin. I cannot think of a better city to finish an epic trip throughout the country than Dublin. The city is vibrant in culture, tradition, and charm.

Explore Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel is the most stunning fortress you will ever see. It sits on top of a hill towering over the city of Cashel. The fortress has several different elements to it that were all built during different periods of time. It has a complete 11th century round tower, a 12th-century Romanesque chapel, a 13th-century Gothic cathedral, a 15th century Hall of the Vicars Chora and a dramatic Gothic graveyard with beautiful Celtic high crosses.

You will find yourself mesmerized by the sheer magnitude of the fortress when you are exploring within the ruins. Furthermore, you can also drive down to Hore Abbey to wander through more ruins that are similar to the ones found at Rock of Cashel.

Visit Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is one of the very few castles in Ireland that truly let visitors see countless rooms. One of the more well-known rooms is the picture gallery wing with several beautiful portraits hanging on a vibrant red wall.

Another great feature of Kilkenny Castle is the ability to take a guided tour of the castle or a self-guided tour using an informational pamphlet. Overall, it is an amazing castle inside and out that should not be missed.

Explore the Heart of Ireland in Dublin

Exploring the streets of Dublin is the perfect way to finish your 7 days in Ireland itinerary. Simply because it is extremely difficult to drive within the city. Better yet, enjoy one of the best walking tours in Dublin . This is a great way to explore the city.

If you venture out on your own – a few Dublin attractions you should not miss are the Guinness Storehouse, The Brazen Head and The Temple Bar. Some other  things to do in Dublin  that do not involve alcohol are Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ha’penny Bridge, St. Stephen’s Green, Kilmainham Goal, and Trinity College Library, the  most Instagrammable place in Dublin .

Traditional Irish Dance and Craic

There is no better way to spend your last night in Ireland than with traditional Irish food , dancing, music, and craic. So, visit Johnnie Fox’s Pub to experience one of the best nights of your life. Johnnie Fox’s Pub is not only the highest pub in Dublin but also one of the best pubs in Ireland .  

With that said, it is not easy to get to, so I highly recommend booking their shuttle bus. Furthermore, the pub has a wide variety of traditional Irish cuisine and nightly live music, but the real treat is their Hooley Show. Our night at Johnnie Fox’s Pub was one of our favorite experiences of our entire 7 days in Ireland.

The entire show was outstanding! The band played Irish music we had never heard before and then some favorites like Galway Girl and Whiskey in a Jar. In between songs they would tell stories and crack jokes (craic) and then towards the end of the show the Irish dancers came on stage. I honestly cannot put words onto paper (online) to give this show justice so you will have to trust me when I say, go to Johnnie Fox’s Pub Hooley Night!

Total driving time:  3 hours and 33 minutes

Where to stay:  Cliff Townhouse

If you have more time:  Spend an extra day in Dublin and take a day trip to Bray and the Wicklow Mountains

Places you cannot miss:  Rock of Cashel, Trinity College Library, Temple Bar and the Hooley Show at Johnnie Fox’s Pub

Day 7: Fly Home

Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end. On your last day in Ireland, enjoy more of Dublin. Visit any destinations you might have missed the day before or just take a leisurely walk with a cup of coffee and reminisce all the great memories you created over the last 6 days.

Before you know it, you will be back on a plane going home wishing you had one more pint of Guinness or glass of Jameson at a local pub in the land of the Irish.

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Nicci Strickland

Saturday 30th of March 2024

This post has been so helpful planning our trip! We’re doing a 31 day trip to London, Scotland, and Ireland. With 8/9 days in Ireland!

I love all the things you have set to do but am curious if you felt like it was slightly too rushed? Did you get time to still enjoy everything?

Trying to finalize our trip for September.

oursweetadventures

Monday 1st of April 2024

Hi Nicci, I’m so happy to hear that! Sounds like an epic trip! It was definitely slightly rushed but with 8/9 days you should be fine. I think if we don’t have one night at Dromoland Castle, then we could have spent one extra day in Galway or Dublin. That said, if we had an extra day and bigger budget, we would have actually done two nights at Dromoland Castle to relax and enjoy the activities on site. Hope that helps :)

Thursday 29th of February 2024

WOW!! what a list - we have it all plotted on our google maps. Heading to Ireland March 4th 2024

Monday 4th of March 2024

That's awesome! I hope y'all have a wonderful trip!

Monday 5th of February 2024

Hi! we are planning our trip from your itinerary! We will have one extra day- where would you recommend adding this day?

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Hi Hailey, I love hearing that! I would definitely spend an extra day around the Dingle Peninsula. Or if you are staying at a castle hotel, I would spend time relaxing and enjoying activities. I hope you have a great trip! Let me know if you have any further questions.

Julie Gilbert

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

I am interested in this exact 7 days in Ireland. Do you tours for small groups?

Tony Terrell

Sunday 31st of December 2023

@oursweetadventures,

Great itinerary. We are using it as a template to create our own. A couple of questions I had was…we are going at the beginning of Oct 2024 do you know of anything in your itinerary that is closed during this time? Also how far in advance did you get tickets for the different things you visited? Again thank you for a very well thought out vacation.

On a side note have you visited France? We are looking to either move to Ireland or France.

Monday 25th of December 2023

Hi, thats awesome to hear! Unfortunately, I do not organize tours. We did this by renting a car.

Sunday 18th of June 2023

Very helpful information, certainly we will use it for our 7 days trip. One questions, have you visit Slieve League? Is that too far for 2nd day schedule? thank you.

Saturday 24th of June 2023

Hi, I’m so happy to hear my guide has been helpful for your trip. I do think it’s too far away. We wanted to explore more of Northwest Ireland but didn’t have time for it.

The Irish Road Trip

The Best Ireland Itinerary (Irishman’s 2024 Guide)

By Author Keith O'Hara

Posted on Last updated: December 29, 2023

The Best Ireland Itinerary (Irishman’s 2024 Guide)

We spent 8 months and €15,728 building what is, in my opinion, the best Ireland itinerary library available anywhere.

It became clear long ago that there is no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ Ireland travel itinerary.

For example, some of you will have a car while others will be relying on public transport.

So, we created a library of Ireland itineraries that let you pick a starting point, trip length, method of transport and much  more.

Table of Contents

Some quick need-to-knows about our Ireland itinerary library

best ireland trip itinerary

Click to enlarge

WAIT – please take 10 seconds to read the points below before you scroll. It’ll make finding your perfect Ireland trip itinerary easier:

1. You can pick your trip length and starting point

Two of the key elements in any Ireland itinerary are the length and the start point. Our road trip itineraries range from 3 days right the way up to 4 weeks. There are also multiple start points including the main ferry terminals and airports in Ireland .

2. You can pick a mode of transport

You can pick an Ireland trip itinerary based on how you plan on getting around Ireland . We have Ireland itineraries that  only  use public transport for those of you doing Ireland without a car . We also have itineraries for those of you that plan on renting a car in Ireland .

3. You can decide how fast you want to travel

Love to squeeze as much as possible into each day? Our ‘Fast Trips’ are just for you! Prefer to take it easy and avoid moving accommodation too often? You’ll love our ‘Slow Trips’.

4. You can choose a travel itinerary for Ireland to suit your fitness

Travelling with someone that has poor mobility? No problem – we have low fitness Ireland itineraries. Want to tackle some of the different hikes in Ireland? We’ve medium-high fitness itineraries just for you!

5. You’ll find our different itineraries starting from 3 days below

Now it’s time for you to find the best Ireland itinerary for  you . We’re gong to start at the 3 day Ireland itineraries and then work our way up to 21 days. Dive on in!

3 days in Ireland

3 days in Ireland

3 days in Ireland is a fairly small amount of time, so you need to be careful – you can easily fall into the trap of trying to do much.

The result is that your itinerary will be over-packed and you’ll spend most of your time in the car/on public transport.

The best Ireland itinerary for 3 days is one that finds a central base and that sees you explore around you on day trips.

Some people with a small amount of time like this can feel disheartened, but don’t – you can see many of the best things to do in Ireland in 3 days. You just need a logical itinerary.

4 days in Ireland

ireland itinerary 4 days

4 days in Ireland is a decent chunk of time. However, if you have the flexibility to chose when to visit Ireland (many don’t), try and arrive during summer or spring.

These two seasons boast plenty of daylight hours so, although you only have 4 days, you’ll still have plenty of time to explore.

These shorter road trips can be tricky to map out at times so, when it comes to planning a trip to Ireland with only 4 days to work with, take your time.

The best Ireland itinerary for 4 days is one that uses 1 – 2 ‘bases’ max and that explores a specific corner of Ireland, e.g. Kerry and West Cork.

5 days in Ireland

ireland itinerary 5 days

Click to enlarge map

5 days in Ireland is arguably the perfect amount of time to explore a section of Ireland.

These are our most popular Ireland itineraries and it’s a trip length that many people visiting Ireland choose.

If it was me, I’d try and fly into either Shannon or Dublin. Landing in Shannon places you right on the Wild Atlantic Way with everywhere from the Aran Islands to the Cliffs of Moher close by.

We’ve had our Ireland vacation itinerary guides live on our site for over a year and they’ve racked up some great reviews. Enjoy!

6 days in Ireland

6 day Ireland itinerary

6 days in Ireland is a lovely amount of time to play with and you can easily cover a decent bit of land during this time.

The beauty of 6 days, also, is that if you’re flying a good distance to get to Ireland, you can take some time out to banish the jet lag.

The best Ireland itinerary for 6 days, in my opinion, is one that doesn’t stretch itself too thin.

If you’re starting in Belfast, for example, tackle the Causeway Coastal Route and then explore the many places to visit in Donegal .

7 days in Ireland

ireland itinerary 7 days

Our itineraries for spending 7 days in Ireland mark the start of our longer Irish road trips.

Trips of this length are great as they give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to what you can do (even if it’ll see the cost of a trip to Ireland increase steadily).

If you’re visiting for 7 days, try and visit during summer or spring as the weather in Ireland tends to be better then and you’ll get more bang-for-your-buck.

8 days in Ireland

8 days in Ireland

8 days in Ireland provides you with options. You aren’t too hard pressed for time and 8 days ensures you don’t have to rush at any point (unless you want to!).

With 8 days, you can explore several counties in depth or you can go full-steam-ahead and try and squeeze in as much as possible.

The best Ireland trip itinerary for 8 days, for me, would be starting in Dublin and then working down through Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford and then around through Cork and Kerry.

9 days in Ireland

9 days in Ireland

So, you’re spending 9 days in Ireland . Wonderful! However, you want to see all of the ‘main’ attractions during this time and you’re worried it’s too much.

It’s likely (and I’m basing this on getting emails from endless visitors) that you’re trying to pack in too much to the point that you’ll spend all your time moving accommodation and travelling.

9 days is a lovely chunk of time. But don’t get carried away. You can see and do  a lot  during this time frame. You just need to decide how much travelling about is ‘too much’.

10 days in Ireland

10 days in Ireland

The second most popular of our Ireland vacation itinerary guides are the ones focused on spending 10 days in Ireland .

This is a mighty amount of time for an Irish road trip and it gives you a huge amount of flexibility.

For this trip length, you could easily pick 3-4 bases and fit a huge amount in while still taking it nice and handy. Or, you could go full whack and try and see as much of the island as possible!

11 days in Ireland

11 day Ireland itinerary

Our itineraries for spending 11 days in Ireland have gone down well since we published them last year.

In particular, the ones that use public transport have received good feedback, especially as planning buses and trains for this number of days was a nightmare .

The best Ireland itinerary for 11 days is up for debate. Personally, I think if you have this amount of time to play with the island is your oyster – you just need to pick a well-thought-out route, which is our Ireland trip itinerary library comes in.

12 days in Ireland

12 day Ireland itinerary

If you’re spending 12 days in Ireland , you’re in for a treat. You can see a whole lot in 12 days, from the  many  castles in Ireland to islands, cliffs and lots more.

You don’t have to worry too much when it comes to picking a start point for a trip of this length, as you’ve a bit of room for error.

If I had the option, I’d start in Cork and drive the Wild Atlantic Way, taking in the likes of Kinsale , the Beara Peninsula , Doolin and Achill Island .

13 days in Ireland

13 day Ireland itinerary

If you have 13 days in Ireland you’ll be the envy of many, and for good reason – you can cover a lot of ground in a 13 day Ireland trip itinerary.

We’ve created 56 different Ireland itineraries for a 13-day trip (yes, 56) and they’ve been used by over 100,000 people in only a few short months.

The different routes take in everywhere from County Mayo and County Clare to some of the most charming small towns in Ireland . Check ’em out below!

14 days in Ireland

2 week Ireland itinerary

Our 14 days in Ireland itineraries were some of the most enjoyable to research, plan and write as we had a fair idea that this trip length would be popular.

Thankfully, it was! Those of you planning a 2-week Ireland trip itinerary are on the cusp of a bucket list road trip that you’ll remember for a life time.

Although I’d argue that there’s no best Ireland itinerary for a trip this length, we’ve created 56 different options for you to choose from at the link below.

15 days in Ireland

15 days in Ireland

15 days in Ireland poses a great number of adventure opportunities. If you’re doing Ireland on a budget , you’ll need to be careful about where you pick as your bases.

I’d avoid the various cities in Ireland along with key tourist towns and, if you can, stay slightly off-the-beaten-path.

We spent a huge amount of time mapping out our 17-day Ireland itineraries and, based on initial feedback, they’re going down very well already!

16 days in Ireland

16 day ireland itinerary

16 days in Ireland is the stuff of road-trip-envy. You’ll have the chance to see a massive amount of Ireland during this time.

As was the case with all of our Ireland vacation itinerary guides, we spent a lot of time planning our 16-day routes.

At the link below, you’ll be able to pick a trip based on start point, fitness level, mode of transport and how fast you like to travel.

17 days in Ireland

17 days in Ireland

17 days in Ireland is, yep, a good chunk of time. We found these Ireland itineraries tricky to plan out at times, especially the ones that use public transport.

However, we got there in the end and these routes have been read over 70,000 times in recent months.

The best Ireland itinerary for this length of time is one that doesn’t go overboard when it comes to moving hotels and that takes the time to experience each of the areas it uses as a base.

18 days in Ireland

18 day ireland itinerary

18 days in Ireland is a massive amount of time to work with. However, it’s worth getting a sense of the lay of the land with a trip of this length.

Although you can see plenty on an 18-day Ireland travel itinerary, the aul trap of spreading yourself too thin is an easy one to fall into.

Our 18-day Ireland itineraries took a fair bit of time to map out and I’m confident you’ll find them  very  useful.

19 days in Ireland

19 day Ireland itinerary

19 days in Ireland is another considerable amount of time. However, and I’ll sound like a broken record, it comes with advantages and disadvantages.

It’s easy to fall into a trap when planning an Ireland itinerary of this length and think,  ‘Ah, sure we’ve loads of time – we’ll just head over and play it by ear!” .

19 days requires a lot of planning as there are  many  moving parts with a trip of this length. Luckily, you’ll find the best Ireland itinerary for 19 days at the link below.

20 days in Ireland

20 day ireland itinerary

Few people, aside from those of us that live here, get to spend 20 days in Ireland .

This is a massive amount of time and it gives you the opportunity to either explore one corner of Ireland in depth or squeeze in as much as possible.

For example, you could explore Kerry (the Ring of Kerry , Dingle Peninsula , etc) and then work your way through West Cork, Waterford, Wexford and more.

The best Ireland itinerary for 20 days is one picks an adequate number of bases near key areas of interest and that avoids falling into the trap of trying to ‘fit everything in’.

21 days in Ireland

21 days in Ireland

21 days in Ireland is a huge amount of time, and this comes with both pros and cons.

You could arguably map out the best Ireland itinerary imaginable with 3 weeks, but you’ll also need to spend a lot of time planning.

This was the hardest of our Ireland vacation itinerary guides to create and the research phase took over 12 days. We did the hard work for you – cheers!

FAQs about the best Ireland trip itinerary 

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from Ireland vacation ideas to detailed train itineraries.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What is the best Ireland itinerary?

I’d argue that there is no best Ireland travel itinerary – no ‘one size fits all’. We’ve created hundreds of Ireland itineraries for you to choose from, in an attempt to help you find the best Ireland itinerary based on your situation.

How many days in Ireland is enough?

It depends. If you’re looking to see specific things and they’re close together, 5 days could be plenty. If you’re looking to see the West of Ireland, you’ll want at least 7. There is one one clear answer.

Is Rick Steves Ireland itinerary good?

By all accounts, Rick Steves Ireland itinerary guides are pretty good. I’ve spoken to many Americans, in particular, visiting Ireland for the first time who swear by Rick’s itineraries.

travel ireland blog

Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 35 years and has spent most of the last 10 creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries . Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.

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Nicola Doyle

Thursday 7th of April 2022

Do you have a guide to travelling around Ireland with a dog?

Keith O'Hara

Friday 8th of April 2022

Hey Nicola - I don't, but this is weird timing. Myself and my dad have been chatting about doing a trip with our dog who's an absolute nightmare in the car. So, while we've nothing on planning a trip in Ireland for those with a dog yet, but hopefully it's on the horizon!

Friday 6th of August 2021

Hello. Thanks for all your posts. They are very informative and helpful.

One questions, when planning can we assume the driving times we see on Google Maps are more or less accurate? I know there are a lot of country roads and I didn't know if this was taken into account by Google.

Thanks again!

Heather Cripe

Sunday 18th of April 2021

Hello Keith,

I’m just writing to thank you for doing this. I do not have a set date for when I can come to Ireland but reading the info you provided and the extensive comments you’ve answered, I almost feel like I’ve been to Ireland already! I know that’s when I can finally plan my trip, this website will be my go to for planning my trip! God bless you Keith!

Monday 19th of April 2021

A fine message to wake up to! Thanks a million Heather - I'm glad you found it useful. Hopefully your visit is just over the horizon.

Cheers from a cold and sunny Dublin!

Sunday 17th of May 2020

Hi Keith, I am planning to take my grandparents to Ireland next spring. My grandmother has always wanted to go and never got the chance to travel. However, they are not in the best of health and I don't think they could handle walking an hour+ (which seems to be the best/only way to see some of the main spots you mention in your recommended itineraries).

Do you have any recommendations for best places to go that don't require much of a hike? My Grandparents would love: beautiful landscapes, local places that don't feel touristy (they always manage to make friends with locals while out eating, etc), places of historical significance.

Hey! A lot of people planning a visit to Ireland have this problem, but it can definitely be worked around.

Say, for example, they're very limited mobility wise, if you took them to Donegal, there's plenty of places where you can literally drive right up to for an incredible view.

Here's a couple of examples:

- The Slieve League Cliffs: you can drive right up to the 'main' view - Ballymastocker Bay: you can pull in on the road above and grab an incredible view - The Inishowen 100 drive: there's an endless number of great views on this (the one at Tra Na Rossan is unreal!

If you're looking for lovely little towns, you can't bate Ardara (Nancy's pub, in particular, is lovely!).

I hope this helps!

Lynda rendell

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Hi Keith Just found your page. It’s brilliant My husband retires 2021 and we are planning on visiting his great great grandfathers Museum in Mayo His mother’s birthplace in Connemara and auntie in Newlawn we then want to end up in Galway and Dublin Have you any advice of B&B pubs en route to these places We are hoping to go for 15 days so any advice or help would be greatly appreciated we will be travelling from Heathrow Airport UK We’ve never been to Ireland before so we are really really looking forward to it thank you

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The Ultimate Ireland Road Trip Itinerary and Travel Guide

Alesha and Jarryd

  • Last Updated: February 5, 2024

The ultimate guide to planning an epic Ireland road trip itinerary!

We’ve been lucky enough to explore countless countries, and it’s fair to say that it takes a lot to impress us.

But when we visited the Emerald Isle and explored the country on a two-week Ireland road trip, it honestly took our breath away.

Ireland boasts a rugged coastline, rolling pastures, picturesque lakes, quaint villages and some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met.

It also has more pubs per capita than any country we’ve ever travelled to, and we knew that was going to help cement Ireland in our list of favourite countries ever.

When we found out we were heading to Ireland in October to speak at the TBEX Europe conference we decided to rent a campervan and do an epic road trip around the country.

Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

Ireland had been at the top of Alesha’s list of must-visit destinations since she was a kid, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally explore the European nation.

Having travelled in a campervan around Canada, Australia and Chile we knew that it was definitely the best way to see a country, and with the stories we had heard from travellers about the landscapes in Ireland we were sold on the van life.

After some research we found out the best campervan company in Ireland is Bunk Campers , and we decided to get something a bit more luxurious for our journey.

All the campervans we had owned or rented over the years were just basic vans, with a small bed and tiny kitchens.

This time we rented a fully kitted out campervan, and it was nice to have luxuries like running water, hot showers, a toilet (only number ones!!!) , a heater (so good on those cold mornings) and a dining table to sit at.

Once we picked up our campervan in Dublin we had two weeks for road tripping Ireland the best we could.

Of course two weeks is nowhere near enough time to see everything on a road trip in Ireland, but we were lucky that we had about eight days beforehand as well to see more of Kerry County, Dublin and Ireland’s Ancient East.

What we did see though made us fall in love with Ireland even more, and we’re already making plans on returning in the near future for a longer trip.

Here’s our guide, including tips, highlights and our full Ireland road trip itinerary.

Achill Island Sunise

Table of Contents

The Ring of Kerry

Ireland’s ancient east, donegal’s wild atlantic way, loop head peninsula, the giant’s causeway, achill island, the ring of beara, day 1 – dublin to wexford (150km), day 2 – wexford to cork (190km), day 3 – cork to kenmare via the ring of beara (200km), day 4 – kenmare to killarney via the ring of kerry (140km), day 5 – killarney, day 6 – killarney to tralee via dingle (160km), day 7 – tralee to lahinch via loop head (160km), day 8 – lahinch to galway via doolin (100km), day 9 – galway to achill island via kylemore abbey (200km), day 10 – achill island to donegal via ballina (220km), day 11 – donegal to londonderry via slieve league and malin head (250km), day 12 – londonderry to belfast via the giant’s causeway (190km), day 13 – belfast, day 14 – belfast to howth (or dublin) via newgrange (180km), want to save this for later pin it, 8 highlights of our ireland road trip.

Our Ireland road trip was an incredible experience, and we really fell in love with the country after our 2 weeks driving around.

We even took a quick trip into Northern Ireland (which is actually a part of the United Kingdom) , and we’re glad we did, as it added some other great stops into our itinerary.

From the famous Giant’s Causeway to the Kerry Cliffs, exploring the history of Ireland’s Ancient East to walking through the Dark Hedges, these are the highlights of our Ireland Road Trip.

Want to know where to go on a road trip in Ireland? Read on…

Dark Hedges Game Of Thrones Northern Ireland Road Trip Campervan

Arguably the best driving loop in the entire country, the Ring of Kerry starts off near Killarney in the southwest of the country and takes in the beautiful coastal scenery of the Iveragh Peninsula.

If you leave from Killarney the Ring of Kerry is about 214km long, not including all the detours, but every single kilometre of that is an absolute joy.

Check out these epic day tours and activities you can do in Killarney !

Head in a clockwise direction from Killarney, straight to Kenmare and then onwards to Sneem. This is to avoid the tour buses, which are forced to drive in an anti-clockwise direction.

Every time you see a photo opportunity make sure you grab it! The landscape is out of this world, and ranges from sprawling farmland to lush forest, with jagged mountain peaks and a dramatic coastline topping it off.

The highlight is the Kerry Cliffs near Portmagee, with towering rocks dropping spectacularly into the sea, and you can even see the famous Skellig Islands in the distance on a clear day.

If you have the time, and the weather is nice, make sure you take a trip to the Skelligs, home to puffins and landscapes that can be seen in the latest Star Wars movie.

The Ring of Kerry roads are extremely narrow, so make sure you drive with care.

Ring Of Kerry Cliffs

While the rest of the country boasts a world class coastline and jaw-dropping landscapes, for those with a love of culture and history then Ireland’s Ancient East is a destination where one day can easily turn into seven.

You can begin your journey in this fascinating area with a night (or more) at Waterford, delving into the Viking history that has been around for over 1000 years. Don’t miss out on the King of the Vikings virtual reality exhibition!

Head to Wexford and take a tour of the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience. This authentic, interactive exhibition of what it was like to travel in an immigrant ship (complete with the actual Dunbrody ship!) back in the 1700s is absolutely remarkable, and while we are usually dubious of recreations, this was world class!

Enniscorthy is a gorgeous heritage village that was also home to centuries of sometimes tragic history.

The castle is well worth visiting, but don’t miss out on the views from Vinegar Hill, which was actually the location of a fierce battle between British and Irish soldiers in 1798.

Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world, and if you’re looking for an iconic photo you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place than here.

By far the best attraction in Ireland’s Ancient East is the Irish National Heritage Park .

This sprawling venue has been built to showcase more than 9000 years of Irish history. Kids and adults alike will be completely entranced by walking around the traditional dwellings that have been recreated on the grounds.

Passionate actors share stories of what it was like to live in the times when humans first settled in the Emerald Isle, and the hardships endured over the years.

To complete the experience don’t miss out on a traditional Viking dinner in the restaurant. Expect ribs cooked underground on coals, hearty soups and fresh bread, all washed down with craft beer!

You’ll be required to dress up in old-fashion clothes as well, but don’t worry about the quality of food – it’s absolutely impeccable, and much healthier and tastier than would have been found back in the day.

Vinegar Hill Sunset

The entire west coast of Ireland has become known as the Wild Atlantic Way , and the slick marketing campaign by the tourism board isn’t without just cause – It’s absolutely phenomenal, and should be the main objective of any Ireland road trip.

One of the more incredible, yet often skipped, areas of the country is Donegal County up in the far north of the Republic of Ireland.

The town of Donegal itself is enjoyable, with some great pubs, cafes and restaurants to keep you entertained, but it’s only when you hit the coast that you start to see the county’s true potential.

Slieve League is the main attraction, with its marvellous hiking trails that offer stellar views over the Atlantic Ocean and cliffs that almost rival the ones found in Kerry.

The drive out to Meencarrick is superb, and it is one of the nicest coastal routes in the country. Don’t miss driving out to the headland for some hiking next to the cliffs.

The entire length of ocean roads in Donegal is great, but make a special detour to Malin Head, the northernmost point in the Republic of Ireland (even further north than Northern Ireland).

It will be super windy, but the views are great and the bucolic roads to get there are alone worth the trip.

Slieve League Donegal

In the list of big attractions in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are right near the top. These soaring, vertical rock faces tumble into the sea, and stretch for kilometres like an impenetrable barrier against the Atlantic.

They are also supremely crowded with tourists.

Instead head a bit further south to the Loop Head Peninsula, where you can find similar landscapes and scenery with no entrance fee charged, and almost nobody else to get in the way.

You won’t find fences here either. If you want to walk right up to the edge of the cliffs, you can (just be careful).

If you have time, do both. But if you just want to choose one, skip the Cliffs of Moher and instead hit up Loop Head Peninsula.

Loop Head Peninsula

Although the Giant’s Causeway is actually in Northern Ireland, it is still one of the best places on the Emerald Isle and should not be missed during your road trip itinerary.

Thousands of basalt, hexagonal columns rise out of the sea creating one of the most magnificent geological environments in the United Kingdom.

Legend has it that a giant built the Causeway as a path to connect Ireland with Scotland so he could take part in a fight, and if you use your imagination you can almost picture the columns forming a bridge between the two nations.

Walking around the Giant’s Causeway can easily take a few hours, with plenty of great photo opportunities and even some hiking trails around to occupy your time.

The audio tour that can be purchased from the wonderful visitors centre tells the legend, geology and history of the Giant’s Causeway, and is worth the price.

If you’re trying to keep your costs down though you can actually visit the Giant’s Causeway for free. Park in the closest town and hitch or take a bus to the site, then walk around the visitors centre.

Giant's Causeway

When we were driving around Ireland we met one or two people that had mentioned a place called Achill Island, but it never came up as a ‘must do’ in our conversations.

Still, when we realised it would only be a short detour to check it out, we decided we had nothing to lose by making the visit.

It was one of the best decisions we made.

Achill Island is an absolute delight, and boasts ridiculously beautiful beaches, wonderful headlands, quaint fishing villages and fun adventure activities to enjoy.

After crossing over on the bridge we drove to the end of the road, and couldn’t believe the kind of views that surrounded us.

Sheep wandered on the steep farmland with an impossible ocean vista rolling out in every direction. Hills climbed all around us, offering great hiking for those feeling active.

We ended up watching sunset from a water reservoir that looked out over the whole town of Keel, and finding a place to camp next to an inland lake close by.

With more time you could rent some surfboards or kites and hit the ocean, or head up into the mountains for some trekking.

When we return to Ireland we’ll definitely be giving Achill Island a bigger portion of our schedule.

Achill Island Sunset

The Ring of Kerry is the go-to for road trips in Ireland, but the nearby Ring of Beara is just as beautiful, without the people.

Just like its neighbour, the Ring of Beara is a coastal loop that takes in the absolute best vistas of the Beara Peninsula.

You’ll find sheep grazing on pastures that butt up against the ocean. The roads twist and wind like a snake weaving through a field, and requires a lot of concentration to navigate.

Unfortunately the weather was quite bad on the day we did the Ring of Beara, but even then whenever we did get a glimpse of the landscape we were absolutely blown away.

Ring Of Beara

Stonehenge might be the most famous Neolithic site in the United Kingdom and Ireland, but it definitely isn’t the oldest.

Only a few hours north of Dublin is the spectacular Newgrange archaeological site; a huge, circular stone structure that was built over 5200 years ago as a passage tomb and temple.

Approaching Newgrange is not what you would expect. It is surrounded by farmland, and you can see cows and sheep walking around just on the other side of the fence. But the site itself is wonderful.

The main tomb takes up over an acre of land, and stands 15m tall with an 85m diameter. It’s part of a larger complex as well, surrounded by other tombs named Knowth and Dowth.

One of the most remarkable things about Newgrange is that the entrance passage is aligned to let in a beam of light during sunrise during the winter solstice.

Guides can show you this phenomenon at any time of year though using flashlights.

You must head to the Visitors Centre to purchase your tickets first, which is actually a bit far away from the Newgrange site.

They offer free bus transport with your ticket from the Visitors Centre to Newgrange, but we recommend taking your own car to the site.

We didn’t know you could do this and spent almost 2 hours total waiting – not because of crowds, but because that was just the way the bus schedule worked. Save yourself the headache and drive your own car to the site.

Newgrange

Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

We ended up renting our campervan to try and find the best Ireland road trips for two weeks and managed to see a lot of the country.

However it did end up being a bit rushed, and you could easily extend this to a month if you wanted to do all the amazing side trips and hiking excursions around.

This is the exact itinerary that we followed, although where possible we’ve given alternatives that might be worth spending the night in.

Our trip was plagued with storms and a hurricane (yes, a hurricane), so we had to skip a few things.

We don’t mention many places to stay, because most of the time we slept in our campervan, and you can find your own spots along the way, or stay in any one of the dozens of epic B&Bs in the country .

We’ll definitely be adding to our list once we do our next Ireland road trip.

Road Trip Of Ireland Itinerary

Once you’ve picked up your campervan in Dublin (and of course visited the Guinness Storehouse, which is a must see) head out of the city aiming for the town of Wexford in Ireland’s Ancient East.

The drive itself won’t be overly beautiful, but chances are you’ve picked up the rental in the afternoon and the goal is to just get out of the city.

In Wexford and the surrounding area there are plenty of things to do that could take up a few days of your itinerary. Some of the best things to do around Wexford are:

  • Visit the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience in Wexford.
  • Do the King of the Vikings Experience in Waterford.
  • Go to Hook Lighthouse.
  • Spend a few hours at Dunmore Adventure Centre , which has a tonne of activities to enjoy, like kayaking, sailing, climbing, windsurfing, and our absolute favourite, the Wibit Waterpark. Ever seen the show Wipeout? Well Dunmore East has one of these giant inflatable parks set up out in the harbour! One of the funnest things we have ever done.
  • Hang out at Ireland’s National Heritage Park.
  • Go cycling along the Waterford Greenway.
  • Hang out in Enniscorthy and climb Vinegar Hill.

Hook Lighthouse

You can take your time driving to Cork and visit some of the great attractions in the area, or just enjoy the beautiful country scenery.

Get out and enjoy the beautiful coastal walks around Ardmore, and have lunch at the phenomenal Cliff House Hotel.

The roads are quite good and Cork itself is a fun city. Plenty of great pubs and restaurants to enjoy, and some great attractions nearby:

  • Visit Blarney Castle and kiss the famous Blarney Stone. Also don’t forget to spend some time walking around the stunning grounds.
  • Eat at Cliff House Hotel…Trust us on this one.
  • See the colourful houses in Cobh.

Blarney Castle

Leave early on this day because the plan is to tackle the beautiful Ring of Beara driving loop on the way to Killarney.

From Cork take the backroads to Ballylickey, then head onto the Beara Peninsula. You’ll be thankful you left early because this loop will take you all day with all the photo stops.

Once you finish the loop spend the night in Kenmare, which is a beautiful little village.

Some of the main attractions along the way are:

  • Drive the spectacular Ring of Beara.
  • Walking around Kenmare.

After a delicious breakfast in Kenmare head west onto the Ring of Kerry, and make sure those camera batteries are charged!

This loop is the most famous, and arguably the most beautiful, drive in all of Ireland, and if you get a sunny day it might end up being one of the best road trips of your life!

If you’re into hiking, or want to do some of the day excursions around the Ring of Kerry you might need to break up your trip into two or three days.

  • Visit the Skelligs – Two rocky islands off the coast of Ireland home to an old monastery, puffins, and was used as a film scene in the latest Star Wars movie.
  • Hike around the Kerry Cliffs.
  • Hang out at Derrynane Beach.

Be careful of the roads along the Ring of Kerry – they are twisting, narrow and often busy with tour buses!

Ring Of Kerry

After a few days of driving you deserve a well-earned rest. Except you’re now in Killarney, and there are so many things to do in Killarney that you could easily fill a week with activities!

We spent 4 days in Killarney before we started our road trip, and loved it so much we came back! You’ll be spoilt for choice here, whether you’re into history, gardens, adventure activities or simply drinking beer.

  • Rent a bicycle and explore Killarney National Park.
  • Go on a river cruise .
  • Visit Ross Castle and the Abbey.
  • Check out Muckross House and the gardens.
  • Get into nature at Torc Waterfall.
  • Head out to the Gap of Dunloe and admire the world-class scenery.
  • Drink delicious beer at Killarney Brewing Company.
  • Climb Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain.

If you want to splash out and enjoy a night outside of your campervan, then head to the best luxury hotel in Killarney, Muckross Park Hotel .

Torc Waterfall Killarney

Once you’ve managed to pry yourself away from Killarney (it might take a while), you have another epic drive to check out on your Ireland road trip.

Drive out to Dingle, a wonderful town that would make a nice base for a day or two, and move out to the end of the Dingle Peninsula.

This captivating area is home to the Slea Head Drive, another magnificent loop that features rolling hills jutting up against steep ocean cliffs.

As you’re now on the Wild Atlantic Way you can expect to see more than your fair share of coastal scenes, but this one around Slea Head is pretty special.

It’s not just cool scenery – there’s also a bunch of history, with stone beehive huts peppered along the coast and the impeccable Gallarus Oratory adding to the awesomeness of Slea Head Loop.

Spend the night in Tralee after doing some of the best attractions around Dingle:

  • Head out on the Slea Head Drive.
  • Visit the Gallarus Oratory, and all the beehive huts along the way.
  • Drink some Dingle Gin.
  • Do a boat trip to see Fungie the Dolphin.

Slea Head Drive

Today isn’t a long day driving, and you really have two options on how you want to head to Lahinch – you could take the ferry, creating an excellent short cut, or drive out to the city of Limerick.

We personally decided to skip Limerick, even though we had heard good things, as we much prefer to be in the countryside. Plus there’s a massive highlight to see along the way!

While it’s only a short drive today your timing will be dependent on the ferry schedule that gets you across the small harbour from Tarbert to Killimer. Make sure you get there early in case you have to wait.

Once you get on the other side drive out to Loop Head Peninsula, home to some of the most wonderful cliffs in the entire country, and they’re completely free!

If you have time, or really love cliffs, you could also do the Cliffs of Moher, although these are very touristy. Spend the night in Lahinch, a wonderful beach town with a colourful main street.

  • Take the ferry from Tarbert to Killimer.
  • Drive out to Loop Head Peninsula and see the cliffs.
  • Visit the Cliffs of Moher.
  • Rent a surfboard and hit the waves in Lahinch.

Colourful Farmhouses

On this day we unfortunately had to wipe all the attractions from our schedule as a hurricane hit the country, and we ended up bunkering down in the small town of Ennis to wait out the storm.

However if we had our time again, we would drive from Lahinch to Doolin, which is meant to be an amazing little beach village that gets a lot of rave reviews from our friends.

Then keep following the coast, eventually finishing up in Galway.

This stretch also could be turned into a two-day journey, with all the things to do.

  • Take a boat out to the Aran Islands, a World Heritage Site where the locals speak Irish as well as English and ancient, ruined churches are just waiting to be explored.
  • Grab a pint in one of Doolin’s colourful pubs.
  • Follow the sea and enjoy the Wild Atlantic Way views.
  • Go out to Spanish Point.
  • Party the night away in Galway.

Lake Views

If you’ve ended up partying a little too hard in Galway you might need to break this journey up into two days, as you’ll be leaving late. But if you’re feeling fresh get a move on early!

The first stop is going to be Kylemore Abbey, a sensational old castle with some of the most beautiful gardens in all of Ireland.

Keep following the road around and make a beeline for Achill Island, where if you’re not careful you may get stuck for a day or two.

  • Wander around Kylemore Abbey and the gardens.
  • Reach the end of the road on Achill Island and be blown away with the views.
  • Take a swim at the beach in Keel.
  • If you have more time enjoy all the hiking and surfing opportunities around Achill Island.

Kylemore Abbey

The beautiful drive takes in the countryside around Ballycroy, which is surprisingly delightful and has lots of great hiking opportunities.

The area around Ballina has some cool, old friaries, and once you get to Sligo you’ll find tonnes of outdoor adventures to enjoy.

If you have time before settling in Donegal do the drive out to Slieve League, otherwise you can do it in the morning.

Finishing up in Donegal hit up one of the excellent restaurants and down it all with a pint of Guinness.

  • Go for a hike in the Ballycroy National Park.
  • Visit the 600-year-old friaries near Ballina.
  • Head up one of the mountains or lakes in Sligo.

Beach Achill Island

It’s another long drive today, which could also be broken up if you had the time, because the Donegal area has a lot of epic scenery and activities to enjoy.

The first thing you should do is enjoy the coastal drive out towards Slieve League, taking the side roads that turn down into the tiny fishing villages along the way.

Slieve League is hugely impressive, and with more time you could do the hike to the cliffs, or if you’re trying to fit it all in a day you can simply drive to the top and check out the views.

Get back in the car and head straight up to Malin Head, the northernmost point in Ireland. Afterwards head back south towards Londonderry.

We personally headed to Quigley’s Point and stayed at the Foyleside Caravan Park as we needed power to charge our laptops, and we enjoyed the spot.

  • Don’t miss out on Slieve League – epic cliffs and gorgeous ocean views.
  • The road to Meencarrick has some beautiful, old village and surf beaches to check out.
  • Fall in love with the scenery around Glenveagh National Park.
  • Stand at the northernmost point of the Republic of Ireland in Malin Head.

Malin Head

You’ll be spending the next few days in Northern Ireland, which means you’ll get to visit one of the United Kingdom’s most popular tourist attractions, the Giant’s Causeway.

Stick as close to the coast as possible on the drive to the Giant’s Causeway, stopping along the way to take some pictures.

Spend a few hours wandering around the famous basalt hexagonal columns, then get back in the car and make the drive into the countryside.

Swing by The Dark Hedges in Ballymoney – an avenue of enormous, twisting beech trees that is one of the most photographed places in the whole country.

It was already a popular spot, but when the HBO series Game Of Thrones filmed a scene there it was propelled into another level of busyness. Still, it’s worth seeing, even if you don’t know anything about the series.

Afterwards head into Belfast for the night, or pick a caravan park outside of town.

  • Enjoy the coastal road in Northern Ireland.
  • Walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy.
  • Walk (don’t drive) down the Dark Hedges.
  • Check out the Giant’s Causeway. Remember you don’t have to pay to enter if you don’t want to visit the information centre or use the carpark.

Giant's Causeway Walk

The Northern Ireland capital is filled with intense history, fascinating murals, a world-class museum and more than its fair share of awesome pubs.

Belfast is a city that oozes with grungy atmosphere, and whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it has an overwhelming character that should be experienced.

We were really looking forward to visiting Belfast, and it did not disappoint. To really appreciate the city though you should be willing to embrace the tragedies of the last few decades, and admire how it has bounced back.

  • Spend a few hours in the marvellous Titanic Belfast, known for being one of the world’s leading tourist attractions. Get your ticket here .
  • Join a free walking tour of Belfast to learn about the city’s political history.
  • Check out the Crumlin Road Gaol.

Titanic Belfast

For the last full day jump on the highway and head south of Belfast. You can easily be in Dublin in 2 hours, but it’s worth stopping off at the Neolithic site of Newgrange.

As mentioned above, Newgrange is one of the real highlights of any Ireland road trip, and learning all about the massive passage tomb is splendid, especially when you consider it’s older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids!

If you need to be in Dublin tonight then you can be in the city quite easily, but personally we recommend heading to the fishing village of Howth , only 30 minutes from the city.

Howth is genuinely wonderful, and the perfect place to finish up your Irish road trip. You can park your van by the dock and head out to get fish and chips, or if you want a perfect place to stay head into the only hotel in town (yes, the only hotel in town), King Sitric .

  • Visit the ancient Neolithic site of Newgrange.
  • Go for a hike around Howth, or enjoy the best seafood in the country at King Sitric Restaurant.

Sunset Howth Ireland Road Trip Campervan

Tips For a Road Trip of Ireland

Driving a campervan around Ireland is definitely the best way to see the country.

Having your own wheels is one thing, but having your own home is the icing on the cake!

Still there are some things you need to keep in mind before you start this fun adventure. For another good reference, check out this article on renting a motorhome in Europe.

Here are some tips for renting a campervan in Ireland.

  • Bigger isn’t always better:  The roads in Ireland can be notoriously narrow, and having a giant RV isn’t ideal in the Republic of Ireland. We went with the Aero model from Bunk Campers and it was a good balance of size and comfort, without being too big for the roads.
  • Try to free camp where possible:  This is the whole bonus of having a campervan – You get to save on accommodation! In the Republic of Ireland we never had a problem finding a carpark or patch of grass to pull up for the night. We stayed next to a lake in Achill Island, behind a bus station in Ennis, on top of Vinegar Hill and plenty of other spots. It’s not always glamorous, but at least it’s free!
  • Sometimes you’ll have to stay in a caravan park: In Northern Ireland wild camping is illegal, so you have to stay in a caravan park. They’re not too expensive (sometimes 20 Euros or less), but they come with the added bonus of amenities like laundry, proper bathrooms, electricity hook ups and wifi.
  • Buy a prepaid SIM card from 3: Having data on the road is important, and we picked up a prepaid SIM from the telephone company 3. For 20 Euro we got unlimited 4G data and unlimited texts and calls for a month. We could also hotspot our laptops off of our phone with it. Get one from any 3 store.
  • Don’t underestimate driving distances: You might look at one leg and think, “Oh it’s only 150km, we’ll be there in 2 hours,” but that’s not always the case. Road conditions can slow you down, as will the hundreds of photo stops along the way. Don’t be too ambitious when planning your schedule.
  • Head south and drive clockwise: The weather in Ireland moves from the Atlantic Ocean and moves across the country heading northeast. A tip we got from the manager at Bunk Campers is to head south to Kerry County and drive clockwise. That way if you get nice weather you can basically follow it north.

[box] Our Ireland road trip adventure was made possible thanks to our partnership with Bunk Campers and support from Failte Ireland . All thoughts, opinions and pints of Guinness drunk at Irish pubs are, as always, our own.[/box]

Campervan View Ireland Road Trip Campervan

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Loved reading this post! Really appreciate how comprehensive this all is. helps a lot as we try to figure out a two week itinerary for us taking a car over from France on the ferry!

Best Itinerary and photos.. Thanks for sharing the content.

This itinerary sounds great. It would be helpful to have a map. We are hoping to book vrbo’s along the way. We will rent a car and drive the coastline. Would love any tips.

Hello, I know you shouldn’t drink and drive anywhere but I rather ask the question and be safe. It seems that it would be difficult not to have a beer or two at a pub while in Ireland, so… what is the law regarding alcohol level allowed while driving? also… is there any law against having a bottle of wine or any other spirit in the motorhome to enjoy while parked?

Hi Marcelo, you definitely should not drink drive anywhere as you are putting yourself and other people in danger. You could harm yourself or others. Or worst, you could even kill someone or yourself. Definitely no go in any country.

As for the alcohol limit and the alcohol in the motorhome, we are not too sure. Sorry

Kylemore Abbey is not actually a castle. It is a monastery built on the grounds of the Castle. There are nuns who live there now and it also has a beautiful walled garden.

I am Irish and while you did see a lot on your trip, there is a lot more for you to discover when you next arrive here.

I would love a map of your route! I would also love to know where you parked each night. Did you stay at campsites or just parked in random spots. Thanks

Hi did you have a map. so I can download..it looks amazing.. we are going in April for 2 weeks .just me the wife and ted the dog ..happy holidays steve

Hi Steve, we had downloaded maps.me and the areas we need offline. You can pick up a sim card with data for cheap and we used this. There is great apps to help you plan your trip in Ireland also.

Hi Ashley, we had downloaded maps.me and the areas we need offline. You can pick up a sim card with data for cheap and we used this. We used Safe Nights Ireland to find cheap camping spots and there are many websites on the internet recommending free spots. All the best. Happy planning

Wow, Amazing pictures and fantastic guidelines. Thanks for the share!

Thank you so much. 🙂

Just reading your blog on the ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast with our camper van down below. So thanks for sharing your route with us. We are travelling around the world for a year and have 2 weeks in Ireland on our itinerary.

It would be great if you could also add a screen shot of a google map with your route. That would be helpful for readers to get a picture of your route.

Thanks for the pics and tips.

Hi Carolyn, what a trip. Sounds like you are going to have a great time. We followed the island anti – clockwise but you can definitely make up your route as everyone want to see something different. All the names above are in google and easy to find. There is also an app called Wild Atlantic Way. This is great to route out a road trip also. Have a great

Hola me gusto mucho la ruta en autocaravana por Irlanda, queremos ir en Agosto pero solo tenemos dos semanas incluyendo dia de llegada y salida desde Estados Unidos. Somos 6 y no quisieramos dormir todos los dias en el autocaravana. Cree usted que podamos ir rentando hoteles en el recorrido los dias que nesecitemos o seria complicado ya que es temporada alta?

” Hello, I really liked the motorhome route through Ireland, we want to go in August but we only have two weeks including day of arrival and departure from the United States. We are 6 and we would not like to sleep every day in the motorhome. Do you think we can rent hotels on the tour on the days we need or it would be complicated since it is high season?” comment above

Thank you for your message Yannet. I just translated it above as it may help others too. What a great trip you have planned. In the quieter towns you can easily book a hotel. But in the bigger cities such as Belfast, Killarney, Dublin, Dingle and other popular tourist places you may struggle. Definitely book ahead as your party is large and you know all 6 of you will have accommodation. There are great websites for freedom camping or low cost camping. Have a wonderful trip

Amazing trip – you’ve inspired us to do a week travelling in a campervan with our family in July, but yes only a week. We have family in Dingle to look up so will definitely be heading south and going clockwise. It looks cheaper to hire a campervan from London area (where we live) and ferry over instead of hiring in Ireland. Bit nervous to wild camp but hopefully it will workout! Would we need to pre book any campsites?

Hi Katherine, that is amazing. What a trip it is going to be. Dingle and the surrounding area is stunning. When you rent the camper from London make sure insurance covers you to go over to Ireland and Northern Ireland (if you are planning on going up there also). Personally with one week I would stick to the south and do a loop. There are some stunning drives down there. With wild camping in Ireland, it is illegal but tolerated. Just obey the leave no trace policy (even toilet paper). There is a a website called Safe Nights Ireland where you can park in peoples properties for a small fee if that feels better for you. If you are in a city and need to find a campground check out Camping Ireland website. Here is a great article below about camping in Ireland. If you do plan to stay in a campground definitely pre book as July may be busy. Have a great family trip and take lots of photos. 🙂

https://www.bunkcampers.com/en/holiday-advice/camping-guide/wild-camping/

Ireland road trip is very attractive to enjoy with awesome memories.

It definitely is. It is a stunning country. 🙂

We will be cruising with stops in Belfast, Dublin and Cork…Any suggestions of where to start a road trip as I don’t think we will need to go back to these places.

Hi Christine, Starting in Dublin and do a little loop of the south heading back past Dublin and then a loop in the north. When you do rent, make sure you can take the rental car/camper into Northern Ireland. Sometimes there are issues. Hope I answered your question. Let me know if I didn’t. Have a great trip.

Awesome recall of your trip! I am heading there next week and getting a campervan as well. Considering I have never traveled this way, reading stories like yours makes me even more excited!

So awesome. You will have a blast. We love Ireland. It was a lot of fun with the campervan. Have a great time and watch those tight Irish roads. It can get a little crazy sometimes.

This sounds amazing! I’m planning a trip (in July) to Ireland- but will only have 4 days 🙁 eek. Going to be a challenge to decide on which places to visit! (will most likely hire a car though to get around)

Hi Mel, so awesome you are heading to Ireland. Your trip is short but doesn’t mean you can’t see some awesome places. There is a lot to do and see. There are tour companies that will do trips up or down to place. Just be prepared for full on days with incredible views. If you don’t want it to be so hectic there is a lot to do around Dublin. Have an amazing trip and you can head back there in the future. 🙂

Your photos are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing! I love traveling by campervan, so it’s great to know that is an option in Ireland.

Thanks so much Veronica. Ireland is a perfect place to campervan.

Stunning photographs! I love this post and so much detail. I am from the UK and still haven’t made it over to Ireland! Hopefully in the near future though! Thanks for sharing and the huge inspiration!

Thank you so much Mike. Ireland is amazing. Such a beautiful country. You will be amazed. Hope you get there soon. Happy travels.

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Jessie on a Journey | Solo Female Travel Blog

Ireland Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth Ireland travel guide ?

Then you’re in the right place!

If you think Ireland is all leprechauns, rainbows and pints of Guinness, it’s definitely time to book a trip to the Emerald Isle.

This beautiful island made up of two countries (the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland ) is full of lush landscapes, friendly faces, and rich history.

Whether you’re visiting Ireland for the first time or the fiftieth, we’ve got you covered with plenty of travel tips.

Located just west of Great Britain, Ireland has something to offer every type of traveler. Of course, there are plenty of sites you simply can’t miss during your trip.

In County Clare, you’ll find the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, a series of sea cliffs that run nine miles along the Atlantic Coast. Regardless if you see the cliffs by foot on one of the area’s many trails or by boat, you’re sure to marvel at one of the most stunning natural sights on Earth.

Up for some more cliffs?

Visit the Ring of Kerry, a scenic seaside road trip with incredible views of the ocean.

You probably won’t want to leave Ireland without kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle. Located just outside Cork, this famed tradition is said to bring those who partake the gift of eloquence. No more awkward conversations for you!

If you’re really looking to get off the beaten path, head to the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, a top destination for its astounding cliffs and ancient Celtic sights.

And for a seaside escape on the mainland, Dingle in County Kerry is the place to be.

While in Ireland, you’ll also probably want to spend some time in the nation’s capital of Dublin. While here, explore Trinity College, home to one of the oldest manuscripts in the world, the Book of Kells.

You can also take a stroll through St. Stephen’s Green a gorgeous, tree-lined park that is also home to the Museum of Literature of Ireland (or MoLI). After your walk, head down Grafton Street to check out some of the local buskers and have a pint in one of the city’s many pubs.

Dublin also makes a great starting point for those looking to explore Ireland by car or train.

Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to Ireland in Europe.

Note: This ultimate guide to Ireland travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

ireland travel guide

Ireland Map

Use this Ireland travel map to begin planning your trip to this incredible country!

Ireland map

Click here for an interactive Google Map version of the above graphic.

Places To Travel In Ireland

The following Ireland travel information can help you decide where to visit!

Dingle is one of the best places to travel in Ireland

Dingle, Ireland: The Outdoor Adventure Destination You Shouldn’t Skip

woman traveling solo in Dublin

The Ultimate Guide To Solo Travel In Dublin

exterior of Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland

How To Spend 4 Perfect Days In Dublin, Ireland

Ireland Travel Tips

Looking for Ireland travel advice ? Check out the following Ireland travel guides full of suggestions!

Hot tub hotels in an Ireland travel guide

26 Amazing Hotels In The UK With Private Hot Tubs

woman visiting the Cliffs of Moher while traveling alone in Ireland

The Ultimate Guide To Solo Travel In Ireland

Ireland Walking Tours & Experiences

Explore local culture with an Ireland tour guide through these unique excursions:

  • Cork Food & History Tour
  • Fast-track Easy Access Book of Kells Tour with Dublin Castle
  • Cliffs of Moher Tour Including Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City from Dublin
  • Northern Ireland Highlights Day Trip Including Giant’s Causeway from Dublin
  • Celtic Boyne Valley Day Trip from Dublin
  • Guinness Storehouse Entrance Ticket in Dublin
  • Wicklow Day Trip with Guided Walk Including Glendalough Tour from Dublin
  • Game of Thrones™ Filming Locations and Giant’s Causeway from Dublin
  • The Ring of Kerry Day Trip including Killarney Lakes and National Park

Renting A Car In Ireland

Need a rental car for your Ireland trip?

Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.

travel ireland blog

Ireland Train Travel

Getting around Ireland by train, bus, or ferry?

Omio is a must! I use this tool for all of my public transportation needs when traveling in Europe .

The site is straightforward and user-friendly — and you can pre-book your tickets in advance at a discount.

They even offer flight and car deals!

Ireland Hotels

Click here to browse the best Ireland travel hotels!

Prefer self-contained stays?

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays:

Ireland Travel Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on an Ireland tour. When visiting Ireland — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Ireland travel itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks .

Ireland Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling in Ireland .

Q: What is the best month to travel in Ireland?

May is probably the best month to visit Ireland as it offers many of the perks of peak season (June through September) with smaller crowds.

While the weather won’t be quite as warm (expect temperatures near 60°F), it’s pleasant enough to comfortably explore everything the country has to offer.

On the other side of the peak season, late September through early October is also a great time to visit Ireland.

Q: How should I prepare for a trip to Ireland?

There are a few important things to know when preparing for a trip to Ireland.

First off, you should know that there are two countries on the island of Ireland: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

It’s a good idea to read up on the history of the two Irelands a bit before your trip. You can travel freely between the two countries but be prepared to use two different currencies if you do: the Republic of Ireland uses the Euro while Northern Ireland uses the British Pound.

Ireland is also well-known for its rainy climate and you will almost certainly encounter some showers while you’re there. Pack accordingly; a good raincoat or jacket, a travel umbrella, and good shoes are highly recommended.

When you’re out exploring, dress in layers, as the weather can change at any time. And if you’re visiting in the fall or winter, be sure to pack some warm clothes.

If you want to venture a bit off the beaten path in Ireland, rent a car . This will allow you to explore the country without the constraints of a train or bus schedule and check out small towns and sites that might not be on the main route. Just be aware that drivers use the left-hand side of the road in Ireland as opposed to the right side used in the U.S.

Trains are also a good option for exploring Ireland but can be pricey. If you want to see the country by rail, be sure to book your tickets early online. You’ll find some good discounts when you book in advance.

Q: How many days do you need to see Ireland?

Most experts recommend planning about 7 to 8 days for a trip to Ireland. This will allow you to spend a few days in Dublin and enough time to venture out to destinations like Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, and Kylemore Abbey.

A longer trip will allow you to spend more time in each destination. If you want to make a full loop around the island, plan for 10 days or more.

Q: Is Ireland expensive to visit?

Ireland can be a bit pricier than other European destinations, particularly if you’re traveling during peak season. Goods imported into the island can be more expensive than in other countries and taxes on certain products can be high. The average traveler spends about $132 USD per day in Ireland on accommodations, food, transportation, activities, and more.

Of course, there are ways to stretch your budget while visiting the Emerald Isle.

For example, spending less time in Dublin — the most expensive city in the country — will save you some money, as will avoiding touristy areas and pubs with cover charges.

You’ll also spend less on accommodations by booking multiple nights in a hotel or bed and breakfast over one-night stays in different places.

And of course, there are plenty of hostels available in cities like Dublin, Galway, and Cork.

Q: How safe is Ireland?

Ireland is generally quite safe for travelers. Violent crime rates are low throughout the country. Petty crime and theft are more common in tourist-heavy areas so be sure to stay vigilant and keep any valuables close and out of sight by using pickpocket-proof clothing .

If you’re renting a car, make sure to keep it locked whenever it’s unattended and keep any personal belongings out of view. Secure parking lots and structures are your best bet for parking when available.

Q: How long can a tourist stay in Ireland?

Most tourist visas will allow you to stay in Ireland for up to 90 days without engaging in any professional activity during your stay.

Q: Do I need an Ireland travel visa?

Travelers from the United States, Australia, Canada, and numerous other countries do not need a visa to visit Ireland for a period of fewer than 90 days.

It’s recommended to view your country’s Ireland International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements. You can also contact the Consulate General of Ireland.

Q: Where is Ireland?

Ireland is an island in northwestern Europe.

Q: Are credit cards accepted in Ireland?

Credit cards are widely accepted around Ireland, though it is always wise to carry some cash for smaller establishments and in case of emergency.

Q: Can you drink the tap water in Ireland?

In major cities, you can usually drink tap water, though in rural areas you may want to stick with filtered water.

Q: What is the local currency in Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro while Northern Ireland uses the British Pound.

What would you add to this Ireland travel guide?

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Helene in Between

Helene in Between

Lifestyle and Travel blog helping Bloggers Succeed Online.

One Week Ireland Travel Guide

By Helene Sula

Driving on the other side of the road on narrow, windy streets with three foot high stone fences on one side and sheer cliffs on the other, will make you count your blessings and also blurt out truths in a panic. But truthfully it's the absolute best way to see Ireland. We landed in Dublin, Ireland with the idea of staying near the big city and taking day trips by bus. But when we met up with friends and they told us of epic adventures driving around the countryside and getting to tour towns not on the main drag and pet baby sheep along the way, I knew we needed to take the leap and rent a car. I'm going to break down our one week Ireland itinerary and hope this will help you plan your trip.

travel ireland blog

After a few days in lovely Dublin we hit the road to explore Ireland's castles, countryside, and see some of the greenest scenery I've ever seen. A road trip is the best way to experience the rolling green hills of Ireland!

Now, I know you might be thinking that you're terrified to drive on the wrong, err, left side of the road. And believe me it IS scary. But once you realize that it's just like you normally would drive, just switched, you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. I would highly recommend having: 1. a copilot to watch out for passing cattle, cars, and when you need to make a turn, and 2. a navigation system. We used our phones and I navigated while my husband, Michael drove. I reminded him about every 5 minutes to stay on the left and how turning left means staying on the left while turning right means you need to swing wide. Oh and 3. snacks. You need snacks of course. We lived on lunches in the car of Irish soda bread (a hearty cake like bread) with cheese, sandwich meat, and plenty of nuts and chips. Or as the Irish would say, “crisps.” Since chips are fries.

Okay, enough about driving, let's get into a week long travel guide in Ireland. I think this is the perfect length of time to really get to see most of southern Ireland. We concentrated our efforts in the south and didn't spend too much time in the middle. If you do have extra time I recommend heading to Northern Ireland, particularly Giant's Causeway and Belfast. But since we had one week, here's what we did:

A week is a really wonderful amount of time to see Ireland. Even thought it's a small country, there's really so much to see and do. Most visitors spend a few days in Dublin and then focus on just the north or south of Ireland. The south is the most popular with spots like the Ring of Kerry, the famed Blarney Stone, and Cork. But there's lots that you'd miss if you just saw the most popular spots!

So let's get into it, the perfect week in Ireland. 

Day 1: Land in Dublin

We landed late in Dublin and stayed in a lovely AirBnb. Shockingly, hotels and AirBnbs were more expensive here than I was expecting (we couldn't find a place for less than $120 a night.) This was the choice for stays throughout the trip. Oh, and if you haven't yet, here's my code for $35 off your next stay !

Day 2: Dublin

We started the day off right by exploring around Dublin: walked St. Stephen's Green, took the Trinity College Tour, and did the Guinness brewery tour. To see my full post on Dublin check out 10 Things You Must Do in Dublin .

travel ireland blog

Day 3: Dublin

We hiked to a nearby town, hung out in the pubs, and even saw some Celtic music and dancing. We also argued over how to pronounce Celtic. Is it “kel-tic” or “sell-tic”? Here's the thing, Boston celtics- right (sell wins) but traditional Celtic dancing is Kel-tic. The jury is still out.

Don't forget to check my full guide to Dublin here.

Day 4: Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, Blarney, and Kinsale

We threw caution to the wind and decided to rent a car. Yes it was terrifying. Yes, I thought for sure we'd hit something. Yes, I thought we'd get run off the road. But truly, it's the best way to see the countryside. Michael and I had plans of just staying around Dublin, but after our friends drove around we knew we had to see what Ireland had in store. It was some of the prettiest countryside I've ever seen, with so much to see and do. Michael and I really packed it in because we didn't want to miss a thing. So know that this itinerary is jam packed.

travel ireland blog

Kilkenny Castle

Dress found here.

We drove south and headed to Kilkenny , a small historic town famous for its castle and the “medieval mile”. This long stretch of road is full of history including ancient churches, historic buildings, and of course the stunning castle. When I think of Irish castles, I think of the dark, gray stone, sitting on lush greens. Kilkenny Castle embodies that. You can take a tour of the castle, then walk to see the ancient buildings from the days of yore. I don't say days of yore in everyday life but it felt Irish to me, so I went with it.

travel ireland blog

Make sure to check out St. Canice Cathedral – but you'll need to enter through the side. The front is only for the 3 B's: brides, bishops, and burials. You can climb the 140 steps up to get a good view of Kilkenny.

Since we were limited on time, we made moves and headed next to Rock of Cashel . We didn't have much time, so we parked and headed straight for the striking castle.

travel ireland blog

As the seat of many kings, this 12 century tower sits atop a limestone rock. You can take a free tour once inside and also see a great view of the countryside.

Next, we hit the tiny, cobblestone road and went to Blarney to see the castle, kiss the stone and see the beautiful gardens. We arrived an hour and 20 minutes before closing and were told that, “you only have time to run up and kiss the stone and come down” but since there was NO LINE we were able to walk around the gardens as well. (You might like: How to Avoid lines and people while traveling )

travel ireland blog

This is the spot where you'll kiss the Blarney Stone.

While the stone was cool and a must, the gardens around were so impressive. The lush ferns, bright pink flowers, caves, and grazing sheep made me feel like I was in the movie Fern Gully.

travel ireland blog

Dress // Rain Coat // Tights // Shoes

travel ireland blog

It's hard to stick to the plan when you're driving and everything looks so lovely. We stopped after a quick rain shower to see a double rainbow stretching across the sky. This was one of my favorite aspects of the drive. We had the ability to just stop and explore.

travel ireland blog

For dinner, we ventured down to Kinsale since they are known for good seafood. I had one of the best seafood dished in my life at a lovely place called Jim Edwards . Highly recommend!

We spent the night just outside of Killarney, so we could wake up and explore.

Day 5: Killarney, Kissane Sheep Dogs, Dingle, Tralee

I told you: we pack it in. Now, you could spread this out over a couple days or more, but we were limited on time and really want to see it all. So, we did. We woke up bright and early and headed to the famous Ross Castle in Killarney . This is a tower house on the edge of the lake with horses and carts that can take you around the grounds. You can even hop in a boat to see more around the lake.

travel ireland blog

We ventured over for a tour of the mansion, the Muckross House .This fully furnished Victorian home was so interesting. I learned things that really shocked me: like how women used to put beeswax, lead, and arsenic on their face to keep them pale. Luckily, I have no problem with that. But the reason why we have the expression “save face” is because they put up screens to protect their face from the fire so their face wouldn't melt. If I was told I needed to put arsenic on my face to look good I might just keep a tan.

travel ireland blog

Next we drove through the lovely Killarney National park to go to the Kissane Sheep Dog farm . This drive was Michael's favorite and it was so scenic.

travel ireland blog

We stopped so I could take pictures of sheep on the sides of the road. And scream “baby sheep!” I know it's a lamb. But I like saying baby sheep because I'm a child.

travel ireland blog

My favorite part of the trip was the Kissane sheep dog farm . A real, working farm where they use dogs to herd the sheep on the rough mountain terrain. It was incredible to watch the dogs work.

travel ireland blog

I'm a dog lover and seeing dogs getting to do what they love makes my heart melt. These are some of the happiest dogs in the world because they are truly serving a purpose. I HIGHLY recommend visiting a sheep dog farm if you come to Ireland.

travel ireland blog

Plus I got to hold a puppy. So my day was made.

After playing with the dogs we took a drive and headed to Inch Beach . This small stretch of land juts right out to the ocean and has a very wide, hard, sandy beach. People were surfing but we stayed bundled up because the chilly wind was pretty frigid.

travel ireland blog

Rain Coat // Hat // Sweater // Leggings // Shoes

After the beach it was time for some ice cream. We headed to the adorable town of Dingle . Here we got a great view of the Atlantic Ocean lined with brightly colored homes and shops. We ate ice cream at Kool Scoops . I highly recommend this shop. Murphy's Ice Cream shops are everywhere, and while delicious, it's a bit over priced.

travel ireland blog

Top found here // hat

Dingle is a small town of only 1300 residents, yet they managed to fit in 52 pubs. It's safe to say it's a good place to find a drink.

After we had some fuel we drove more of the Dingle Peninsula , a beautiful, scenic drive. Then stopped for a hike and a better view of the scenery.

travel ireland blog

After our hike we ventured to the town of Tralee where wee feasted on delicious and quick Asian food at a trendy restaurant called Lana .

Day 6: Ennis, Cliffs of Moher, and Burren National Park

On our last full day in Ireland we knew we had to venture to the famed Cliffs of Moher. We stayed at a quaint AirBnb in Ennis, which was close to the cliffs and an easy drive. One of the other guests at the AirBnb gave us a fantastic tip for the very popular and busy Cliffs of Moher. He told us to NOT go to the visitor center, but instead take the turn about a kilometer (half mile) before, just south of the visitor center. We did as directed and saw a tiny sign that read “parking here for the Cliffs.” We turned down the winding road as instructed. A road so small you had to honk around corners to warn those approaching the other way that you were coming up.

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But we did as directed and found a quiet house where we paid just 2 euro for parking and a lot with only a few other cars. We made the trek over to the cliffs and found that the rain stopped and we had a clear day for the cliffs with barely any tourists around. They were so majestic and grand. You can easily see why Harry Potter was filmed here. (In case you're wondering it's number 6: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince ).

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We walked around the cliffs for a few hours, mesmerized by the birds who weren't getting blown over by the incredible wind. I will admit, if it had been rainy AND windy I think I would have been a bit scared. The wind really does make you feel like you could easily be pushed right off the cliffs.

travel ireland blog

On the way, we passed the Cliffs of Moher Visitor center and it was jam packed with tourists and busy with cars and buses. I'm so glad we avoided it and found the small sanctuary away from the crowds. After the cliffs we headed to the nearby Burren National Park . This desolate rocky area is unlike any other in Ireland or around the world. It feels a sparse landscape compared to the lush green typical of Ireland. The Burren is made up of of glacial-era limestone and rock formations and you can find ancient relics from the past here.

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We did a short hike here and went to the tourist office nearby to learn a bit more about the park and what it teaches us about the past.

Day 7: Galway and Back Home

On our last day we headed to Galway as everyone told me to go here. I have to tell you: I wasn't that impressed. I'm convinced that Galway is the perfect stop from the Cliffs of Moher on the way back to Dublin. You see, the buses take you from Dublin to the Cliffs and Galway all in one day. While I was told there were some fun pubs and restaurants, I felt there were so many other lovely towns with a more vibrant history than Galway.

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I know, I know this isn't a popular opinion. But to me, you can find more quaint European towns than Galway.

And then it was back to Dublin! We stayed at an Airbnb (this seemed to be the theme for this trip) and had one last traditional meal of fish and chips.

After my travels through Ireland I'm convinced the best way to get around is to drive. If you do have a few more days or extra time I'd suggest heading up to Northern Ireland to see Giant's Causeway and Belfast.

BONUS: If you're a Game of Thrones fan, then you're in for a treat in Ireland. Many iconic scenes from the show were filmed in various locations throughout the country, including the Dark Hedges in County Antrim, which was used as the King's Road, and the Castle Ward estate in County Down, which was transformed into Winterfell. You can even take a guided tour of some of these filming locations and relive some of the show's most memorable moments. Ireland's stunning landscapes and medieval castles made it the perfect backdrop for the epic fantasy series, and visiting these locations in person is a must for any fan.

Ireland is an incredible country full of culture, beauty, and fun. We met so many tourists traveling from America learning about their heritage and finding that the country is not only spread with history of the past, but monuments from prehistoric times. I assumed that Ireland would be rich with green grass and epic cliffs, but it's so much more than that. The dramatic differences between the bustling cities and dreamy countryside makes for an epic experience. Whether you're into drinking and singing in a thatched-roof pub or want to walk for miles alongside sheep, you'll find something to enjoy.

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I believe that one trip can change your life. It did for me. I'm a self proclaimed home body that quit her job, moved abroad, and more often than not, lives out of a carry-on bag. If I'm not traveling, I'm most likely re-reading Harry Potter or watching "Midnight in Paris" while snuggling my dogs. I'm a digital marketing expert who turned my love of travel into a full-time career. And I help others do it too.

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Ireland Travel Guide

Last Updated: April 1, 2024

a castle in the countryside of Connemara, Ireland

I love backpacking around Ireland for the rolling green hills, historic castles, beautiful seaside landscapes, and all the Guinness and Jameson you can drink. The Emerald Isle is an enchanting postcard-perfect destination with tons to see and do whether you’re in the Dublin for a long weekend or plan to spend several weeks backpacking across the country.

While millions of people visit Ireland each year, most of them stick to Dublin , see the main sights, drink a few pints, and head on their way.

But there is so much more to traveling here — especially if you have time to rent a car and get off the beaten path. Ireland is the perfect road trip country. Seriously. Drive around! And make plenty of stops along the way. You’ll find cool little towns and tons of ruins and castles, some of which are rumored to be haunted.

Anyone who has spent time in Ireland will agree that it’s a magical land full of wonder, history, nature and plenty of post-travel tales. No one ever leaves Ireland unhappy.

This Ireland travel guide can help you make the most out of your time on the Emerald Isle and ensure you have fun without breaking the bank.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Ireland

Click Here for City Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in ireland.

The beautiful Cliffs of Moher along the rugged coast of Ireland

1. Have fun in Dublin

Dublin is synonymous with fun. The capital of the Republic of Ireland and its largest city, Dublin offers so much to explore . The city’s 18th century Georgian architecture is some of the best in Europe. Take a walk through history with a visit to Dublin Castle, be awe-struck by St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s medieval architecture, which was completed in 1260, tour Trinity College for a look inside one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious educational institutions and while you’re there check out the iconic Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript) from 800 CE. Literature lovers can stroll around the city on a self-guided literary tour. Fans of Ireland’s most famous export (Guinness) will find no shortage of pubs that claim to pour the city’s best pint but go directly to the source with a tour of the Guinness Storehouse (admission starts at 24 EUR). At night there’s bountiful live music in small pubs or larger clubs, one of the many ways to experience Irish“craic,” the nation’s word for that fun feeling you have with friends.

2. Admire the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher stretch for 8 kilometers (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast in County Clare. They offer some of the most incredible views in all of Ireland. On a clear day you can see as far as Aran Islands in one direction, and Galway Bay in the other. The cliff’s name comes from the Gaelic word Mothar which means “ruins of a fort” and O’Brien’s tower, which now sits atop the cliffs, was constructed using the original fort’s stone in 1835. The cliffs reach a height of 214 meters (702 feet) and are home to a wide variety of birds. If you visit in late spring, you’ll probably see a colony of colorful puffins. Save this activity for a sunny day because there isn’t much to see when the cliffs are shrouded in Ireland’s famous mist. Admission is 10 EUR. If you’re short on time, take a day tour (they usually have a few stops, including Galway). Coming from Galway, it’s about a 90-minute drive. From Dublin, it’s more than three hours by car or bus.

3. See the Giant’s Causeway

Cross the border into Northern Ireland to visit the famous Giant’s Causeway , a natural geological phenomenon composed of over 40,000 basalt pillars that look like a staircase for giants. They formed between 50 and 60 million years ago during the Paleocene Epoch due to intense volcanic activity in the area. The tallest of the columns are around 12 meters (39 feet) high and 28 meters (92 feet) thick. The name is also said to have come from an Irish legend where a giant named Finn McCool created a path across the Irish Sea face down his arch enemy, the Scottish giant Benandonner. The pillars are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and named one of the top four natural wonders in The United Kingdom. It’s a protected nature reserve, however you can walk across the rocks using one of the four marked trails. Maps are available at the visitor center. Admission is free, but if you arrive by car you need to pay for parking, though it includes a guided tour.

4. Drive along the Ring of Kerry

This is one of the most well-trodden tourist trails in Ireland for a reason. Stretching almost 200 kilometers (125 miles), the Ring of Kerry is a scenic route that loops around the Iveragh Peninsula on the west coast of Ireland. It’s the ultimate Irish road trip along winding coastal roads, lush green pastures, and rolling hills. You’ll pass by lakes, small mountains, historical forts, and an ancient druid stone circle. Stop for a few of the highlights along the route. Ross Castle, built in the 15th century is open to guided tours. Lough Leane consists of a series of small lakes surrounded by dense forest and ancient castle ruins scattered in the area. You could spend the whole day in Killarney National Park with its lakes, walking trails and waterfalls. Staigue stone fort is a circular stone ruin likely built in the Iron Age. Driving the entire route takes 3.5 to 4 hours nonstop, but plan for an all-day adventure with stops. If you don’t have a vehicle you can take a day tour from Killarney . And if you want to challenge yourself, trek the 215-kilometer (135-mile) Kerry Way on foot!

5. Wander Galway

Other things to see and do in ireland, 1. spend time in cork.

Cork is a buzzing city nestled on Ireland’s southern coast. Originally a maritime hub, Cork is now a cosmopolitan university city filled with cheap eats and a lively nightlife. Head to the English Market in the morning for baked goods or fresh produce – it’s one of the oldest covered markets in Europe. Joind the hundreds of thousands of people that come here each year to kiss the Blarney Stone for good luck. There’s plenty of opportunity to hike around Gougane Barra, and to enjoy the coastal landscape around Mizen Head where you’ll find a suspension bridge with views of towering cliffs and the Atlantic. Surfing and whale watching are also popular here as minke whales, fin whales, and humpback whales are commonly seen along the coast (expect to pay around 55 EUR for a whale watching tour).

2. Party on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick is Ireland’s patron saint. As the legend goes, he drove all the snakes out of the country. Whether you believe the legend or not, this is the biggest party of the year in which everyone is Irish. The biggest parade takes place in Dublin. It’s one of the biggest parties in the world so be sure to book your stay in advance as everything sells out quickly!

3. Kiss the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle sits just outside Cork. Built in the 15th century, visitors flock here to see the Stone, which is made of Carboniferous limestone and is built into the castle itself. The stone was set in 1446 and it is said to bestow eloquence on all those who kiss it (“blarney” has come to mean “flattering speech”). Expect a long line during summer months or other peak travel times. Admission is 18 EUR (16 EUR if you buy your ticket online).

4. See historic castles

Ireland is steeped in history and the entire country is covered in castles (there are some 30,000 castles and castle ruins here). For fans of ruins, don’t miss the crumbling charm of Dunluce Castle or the majestic half-standing Rock of Cashel with soaring archways. The impeccably preserved Cahir Castle in Tipperary is also one of the largest. If it’s within your budget, attend a medieval banquet at the Bunratty Castle in Clare or book a room at the beautifully restored Ashford Castle in County Mayo. If you’re just on a quick trip to Dublin, take the 30-minute train outside the city to Malahide Castle. If you plan on visiting a lot of castles, get the Heritage Card. It’s 40 EUR and provides free entry into tons of Ireland’s castles and will save you a ton.

5. Hike in Connemara

This national park in County Galway covers more than 30 square kilometers (12 square miles), offering scenic views and great hiking. Most people come here for hiking and forest bike riding, though there are a few castles within the park as well as an old mining area and a heritage and history center. There are also tons of wildlife to spot, such as rabbits, foxes, stoats, hawks, falcons, and herds of Connemara ponies. There are several trails that range from short loops on flat land, to more strenuous mixed-terrain paths that offer elevated views. Admission is free and day tours are available . There are no campsites, but wild camping is allowed – just come prepared with all the necessary gear.

6. Wander the John F. Kennedy Arboretum

Located in County Wexford 30 minutes west of Waterford, this garden is home to over 4,500 species of trees and shrubs. There are several tea rooms, a visitors’ center, and a picnic area here too. The arboretum gets its name from the fact that JFK’s great-grandfather was born nearby, and the President visited in 1963. The arboretum opened five years later in his honor, paid for by donations from Irish Americans. Admission is free.

7. Explore the Aran Islands

Located in Galway Bay, only 1,200 people call these islands home. Here, Irish is the primary language (though many also speak English). You can get around by bus, bike, or carriage as you see the various heritage sights, ruins, castles, and scenic landscapes. Tobar Einne and O’Brien’s Castle are two of the most popular attractions. On Inis More (Inishmore) you can visit Dun Aengus, a Bronze Age and Iron Age fort hugging the coast, and the Seven Churches ruins featuring a large complex of partially-preserved structures and graveyards with traditional Irish Cross stones. Inis Mor is the largest of the islands and the most accessible. You can take a bus from Galway and hop on the ferry from Rossaveal (30 EUR).

8. Go back in time at Ulster Museum

Head into Northern Ireland for a day trip and visit the Ulster Museum. It has a vast and diverse collection of all kinds of artifacts and artwork, ranging from rare paintings, archeology and local history to wildlife and dinosaurs to relics from the Spanish Armada and Egyptian mummies. The museum is located within a large botanical garden. It’s the biggest museum in Northern Ireland. Admission is free. You can reach Belfast from Dublin in less than two hours by car.

9. See Newgrange

Located 45 minutes north of Dublin by car, Newgrange is a prehistoric burial mound that dates back over 5,200 years (which makes it older than both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids). Human remains, as well as other artifacts, were found in the massive tomb, which is composed of a ring of stone topped by earth. Inside are several burial chambers and passageways. Every year on the Winter Solstice, a beam of light streams down the perfectly aligned entrance passage to illuminate the interior chamber. Admission is 10 EUR.

10. Visit Killarney

Killarney is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations thanks to its undeniable medieval charm. Located in the southwest of the country, you can visit Muckross Abbey (a 15th-century Franciscan friary on rolling green hills inside Killarney National Park), Ross Castle (which also dates to the 15th century), or wander around the town itself, which looks like a quaint village with small shops and colorful buildings. Some of the other best things to do in Killarney include renting a bike to cycle around Killarney National Park or relaxing at one of the nearby lakes. This is also the traditional starting point for exploring the Ring of Kerry.

11. Learn about (and sample some) whiskey

If you’re a whiskey fan, take a tour of the Jameson Distillery in Cork and see how Irish whiskey is made. Jameson is one of the oldest whiskey companies in Ireland and is the best-selling Irish whiskey in the world. On a tour, you’ll visit the main buildings and learn how their whiskey is made, what sets Irish whiskey apart from other types, and how the company got started as a small family distillery. There are several different tours, but the Jameson Distillery Experience tour is the best value at 23 EUR. It’s 75-minutes and includes a whiskey sample

For more information on specific cities in Ireland, check out these guides:

  • Cork Travel Guide
  • Dublin Travel Guide
  • Galway Travel Guide

Ireland Travel Costs

a castle countryside of Ireland surrounded by rolling, green fields

Accommodation – There’s no shortage of choices on where to stay in Ireland. Hostels are common across the country, especially in cities, and you’ll find privately run cozy hostels and larger chains. For those biking or backpacking across the country, you’re in luck. There are a number of hostels and budget hotels in rural areas that see a lot of active travelers on foot or bike. There’s also a wide variety of mid-price chains across Ireland if you’d like to upgrade for a few nights. Summer is peak season, so book ahead.

Prices average 28-40 EUR per night for a hostel dorm room with 4-8 beds. You can find private rooms that sleep two ranging from 60-100 EUR. Free Wi-Fi is standard and most hostels also include self-catering facilities.

For those traveling with a tent, a basic plot for two people without electricity can be found for around 12-15 EUR per night.

Budget hotels average 90-130 EUR. Free Wi-Fi is standard and some also include an Irish breakfast (toast, eggs, sausage, and beans).

Airbnb is available all around the country with private rooms starting at 40 EUR per night. Full apartments with a kitchen average of 100 EUR per night. Expect to pay double (or more) if you don’t book in advance.

Food – Ireland is very much a “meat and potatoes” country. Potatoes have been a common staple since the 18th century, along with seafood (it’s an island after all!). Cod, salmon, and oysters are some of the most popular seafood options, with other staple dishes being shepherd’s pie, black pudding, bacon and cabbage, fish and chips, and meat stews. You’ll find plenty of budget eats and street food, especially in larger urban areas, including takeaway fish and chips and a wide range of food trucks in Dublin. Vegan meals are bit harder to find. There are a few choices for budget to moderately-priced restaurants that offer vegan and vegetarian fare in Dublin, Cork, and Galway. There are also more modern Irish restaurants popping up, especially in Dublin, but expect to pay up.

A traditional meal costs around 15 EUR. For a multi-course meal with a drink, expect to pay at least 30 EUR. Fast food (think McDonald’s) starts at 9 EUR for a combo meal.

Pizza costs 7-10 EUR for a medium while Chinese food costs around 9-12 EUR for a main dish. Fish and chips can be found for as little as 6 EUR.

Beer is around 5 EUR while a latte/cappuccino is 3.50 EUR. Bottled water is 1.50 EUR.

If you want to cook your meals, expect to pay 40-60 EUR per week for groceries that include basic staples like pasta, rice, produce, and some meat.

Backpacking Ireland Suggested Budgets

On a backpacking budget of 65 EUR per day, you can stay in a hostel dorm, cook all your meals, limit your drinking, take public transportation, and do free and cheap activities like free walking tours or visiting castles. If you plan on drinking, add 5-15 EUR per day to your budget.

On a mid-range budget of 140 EUR per day, you can stay in a private hostel room or Airbnb, eat out for most meals at cheap fast food places, enjoy a couple of drinks, take the occasional taxi, and do more paid activities like visiting the Cliffs of Moher.

On a “luxury” budget of at least 240 EUR per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink more, rent a car for day trips, and do as many tours and excursions as you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.

Ireland Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

It’s easy to break the bank in Ireland as all those pub visits can add up fast. To help you save without sacrificing your trip, here are some money-saving tips for Ireland:

  • Ask for student discounts – A valid student ID can get you discounts of up to 50% on many attractions, museums, and buses throughout the country. If you have a valid student ID, always ask for discounts. Take note, these discounts most often apply to anyone under 26 with a student ID.
  • Drink less – Ireland’s strong pub culture can hit your wallet hard. Temper the cost by visiting happy hours, drinking at home, or skipping drinks altogether.
  • Eat the pub food – Eat at the pubs for hearty local Irish food that won’t destroy your wallet. It’s not healthy, but it’s affordable.
  • Get an OPW Heritage Card – If you love to tour heritage sites, pick up this card. It provides free access to most of the castles throughout the country. The card is 40 EUR.
  • Stay with a local – Couchsurfing connects you with locals who can give you a free place and show you around their city. You not only get to save money but you make a new friend in the process!
  • Eat early – Many restaurants have budget dinner options if you eat early (usually before 6pm). You won’t have as much variety since it’s a set menu, but it will be much cheaper!
  • Cook your meals – Staying in a hostel will help you make new travel buddies, and they’ll likely have a kitchen. The biggest grocery chain is Tesco, which has large super stores and smaller city shops for basics. Don’t snooze on Aldi or Lidl. These discount grocers carry everything you’d need for a meal, and have aisles with deeply-discounted merch.
  • Take free walking tour – Some of the bigger cities in Ireland (like Dublin and Galway) have free walking tours available. They’re the best way to see the main highlights on a budget. Just remember to tip your guide at the end!
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Ireland

Ireland has plenty of fun, social hostels. Here are my suggested places to stay if you’re on a budget:

  • Generator Hostel (Dublin)
  • Jacobs Inn (Dublin)
  • Galway City Hostel (Galway)
  • The Nest Boutique Hostel (Galway)
  • Sheilas Cork Hostel (Cork)
  • An Oige Youth Hostel (Killarney)
  • The Hideout Hostel (Dingle)

How to Get Around Ireland

The colorful houses along the coast of Galway, Ireland

Public transportation – Public transportation in Ireland is clean, safe, and reliable. Bus trips around Dublin cost about 3 EUR while Galway tickets are 2.20 EUR and tickets in Belfast are 1.60 GBP if you head into Northern Ireland.

With a LEAP card (a card you can top up to use on the country’s public transportation), you can use all public transportation options for reduced prices (up to 31% off compared to cash tickets). You can even use it for DublinBikes self-service bicycle rentals.

A day pass on public transportation costs 8-10 EUR.

Bus – Ireland is a small island so you won’t find too many routes that are longer than a few hours. That means that prices are pretty reasonable. The 2.5-hour trip from Dublin to Belfast in Northern Ireland costs around 20 EUR. A bus from Dublin to Galway takes about 2.5 hours and costs between 12-25 EUR.

Bus Éireann is the main coach service, while Translink serves the North (and includes Ulsterbus and Goldline). You can search their website for the best deals and for route schedules. If you book early, you’ll get the lowest ticket prices.

There’s a really handy journey planning website that can help you plan your route (but you can’t buy tickets there).

Train – Irish Rail is the main train service provider in Ireland. While the train is more expensive than the bus, it’s still quite affordable. Cork to Dublin takes around 2.5 hours and costs 20-30 EUR while Galway to Dublin costs 17-25 EUR and takes about the same amount of time.

Bus & train passes – Ireland has several rail and bus passes that might make sense for you depending on your itinerary and budget:

  • Irish Explorer – Five days of unlimited Irish Rail travel within 15 consecutive days for 128 EUR.
  • Sunday Day Tracker – This deal is for one day of unlimited travel (Sundays only) on Translink buses and trains in the North. It costs 3.50 EUR
  • Trekker Four Day – Unlimited travel on Irish Rail within a four-day period for 88 EUR.

Car Rental – Renting a car in Ireland is affordable, with prices starting around 25 EUR per day for a multi-day rental. Renting a car is the best way to get around the country too. Renters need to be at least 21 years old. Just keep in mind that most rentals are manuals and that they drive on the left.

When to Go to Ireland

Ireland’s temperate climate makes it a good destination to visit year-round, keeping in mind that you’re guaranteed to encounter rain no matter when you visit.

The summer months (June-August) are the warmest and the sunniest so this is when the country is at its liveliest. Keep in mind that this is peak season so you’ll compete for accommodation in the larger cities. And lines will be longer for attractions like museums or castles. Prices are a little inflated too. Average temperatures hover between 13-20°C (56-68°F) but can climb to 25°C (77°F) or more. Be warned, if you go for a swim at one of the beaches, the water will be cold. Ocean temperatures won’t be over 18°C (65°F) on a warm day! They’ll likely be a little cooler.

Winters can be drizzly with short daylight hours, but temperatures rarely fall below freezing. Dress warmly and be prepared for lots of indoor activities if you visit during this time. If you visit around Christmas, the festive lights and Christmas markets make for a warmer atmosphere. The pubs will be more celebratory, too.

Saint Patrick’s Day in March is huge all around the country. During this time, hostels and hotels fill up quickly, and prices spike. Temperatures are still mild and Ireland is just as beautiful as ever but you’ll need to book your accommodation in advance.

Overall, the shoulder seasons (March-May and September-October) are my favorite times to visit. Aside from St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll find prices to be a little lower and the country to be less busy. The weather is decent enough for exploring too. Just bring an umbrella! September is an especially fun time to see Ireland. The weather is still warm-ish but the larger crowds, especially those traveling with children, have cleared out. You might feel like you’re the only tourist at a castle or on a hike.

How to Stay Safe in Ireland

Ireland is very safe and the risk of experiencing violent crime here is low. That said, scams and pick-pocketing can occur in high-traffic areas, especially around tourist attractions like Temple Bar in Dublin. Always keep your valuables secure and out of reach just to be safe.

If you rent a car, don’t leave valuables inside the vehicle overnight. Break-ins are rare but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Be alert when driving, especially on twisty country roads or roundabouts (traffic circles). Most roads are paved and in good condition, but if you are used to driving on the other side (they drive on the left in Ireland) a steep curve may surprise you.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe here, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, don’t walk home alone intoxicated, or venture into unknown areas after dark, etc.). For tips, use one of the many solo female travel blogs on the web as they’ll be able to provide better advice than I can.

When camping, understand designated sites from wild spots. Wild camping is generally accepted, but keep in mind that much of the remote land you see is probably private property. Camp sites are well kept, but when opting for parks or remote areas, you may not have cell service.

Scams here are rare, but if you’re worried about getting ripped off you can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

If you do experience an emergency, dial 112 or 999 for assistance.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Ireland Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Ireland Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Ireland and continue planning your trip:

The 7 Best Hotels in Dublin

The 7 Best Hotels in Dublin

The Best Walking Tours in Dublin

The Best Walking Tours in Dublin

The 5 Best Hostels in Dublin

The 5 Best Hostels in Dublin

Where to Stay in Dublin: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Dublin: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

The Best Tour Companies in Ireland

The Best Tour Companies in Ireland

My Love Note to the Irish

My Love Note to the Irish

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Ireland travel blog — the fullest ireland travel guide for first-timers.

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It is no coincidence that Ireland is named one of the most livable countries in the world, as well as an ideal European tourist destination. The green hills, the charming coastline, the ancient castles, and the famous whiskey and Guinness beer… have attracted millions of visitors to Ireland every year. The Ireland travel guide below compiled by Living Nomads will help you have a wonderful trip to this enchanting “Emerald Island” of Europe!

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So, is Ireland worth visiting, how to visit Ireland, what to do in Ireland and how to plan a budget trip to Ireland for the first-time perfectly? Let’s check out our Ireland travel blog (Ireland blog) with the fullest Ireland travel guide (Ireland tourist guide, Ireland guide) from how to get to Ireland, best places to visit, best time to come, what to eat as well as top things to do in Ireland to help you maximize your trip as follows!

Overview of Ireland (#ireland travel blog)

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The island of Ireland is divided into two separate parts: the Republic of Ireland (Ireland) and Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is an independent country occupying a quarter of the island of Ireland, famous for its beautiful capital city of Dublin. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom, located in the northeast of the island of Ireland and consisting of six counties.

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Ireland is a beautiful country located in the Northwest region of Europe. Ireland is bordered to the north by Northern Ireland, to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the east by the Irish Sea. Ireland has an area of about 84,421 km² and a population of over 5 million people. Ireland is not only a tourist destination but also one of the top study abroad destinations in the world. Ireland also ranks 5th in the world in the Human Development Index.

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Ireland, although small in size and located in Western Europe, has a diverse landscape and topography, as well as a rich cultural heritage. The Atlantic Ocean has created dramatic coastlines, leaving behind endless unspoiled beaches and rocky peninsulas. Meanwhile, the hinterland offers lush green pastures, peat bogs and tranquil lakes. Across the country, you’ll find fortresses, megalithic tombs, castles, and stone villages. All of this proves Ireland’s long history, diverse culture and rich traditions. Traditional pubs and music add to the Irish travel experience, and many visitors say it’s the friendliness of the Irish people that makes them want to return.

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Ireland is ranked 5th in the world in terms of human development index. Although it is a European country, but Ireland is not in the 128 Schengen countries, so you must apply for a separate visa with the same fee as a visa to the US.

What is the best time to travel to Ireland? (#ireland blog)

Ireland’s climate is cool all year round, so you can come here at any time, ideally in the summer. July and August is the peak tourist season in Ireland, so prices are often higher and the number of visitors is also larger. The May-June and September-October months are usually quieter but are also getting busier due to tourism growth. Winter in Ireland is certainly the most peaceful, the weather is not too cold but will be wet, dreary, and some establishments in the countryside may close from November to early March.

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The rains have become a part of Irish life, especially in the west. The average number of “wet days” ranges from about 150 to 225 days a year, with a 30 to 40% chance of rain per day. The best time to get some warm sunshine in Ireland is during the summer months of June and July. So no matter what time of day you visit Ireland, don’t forget to bring an umbrella and raincoat, wear layers of light clothing and waterproof shoes!

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Fairly another good times to visit Ireland in terms of weather are between March and May, and September to November. These months are not as crowded as summer and not as cold as winter. Having said that, Ireland has a mild, temperate climate, and you can visit any time of the year, although it can sometimes rain.

Getting to Ireland (#ireland travel guide)

Dublin is Ireland’s main destination, Belfast is Northern Ireland’s main destination, and Shannon, near Limerick in County Clare, is the main airport providing direct access to the West Coast. No matter where you are in the UK, Europe, Asia or the rest of the world, there is a way to get to Ireland.

Ireland is located in the middle of a vast ocean. So to move here you must take a plane or a boat. Airplanes are the most popular and convenient means of traveling to Ireland from Vietnam.

From Vietnam currently does not operate direct flights to Ireland. If you want, you will have to transit via a country in Europe.

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Flights departing from Vietnam will transit in a European city and then land at Dublin airport. You can choose some of the following airlines to go to Ireland: China Southern, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Pacific Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, etc. Fares for each trip are in the range of 400USD – 900USD/one-way.

From Dublin airport, there is a bus directly to the city center with the price of 6 EURO / way and round trip about 10 euros. You should buy a return ticket and store it away to avoid losing it. This is a highly appreciated, low-cost public transport that can travel to many tourist attractions in the city, so it is very popular.

To hunt cheap airfares as well as best flight routes you can go to Google Flights, SkyScanner or Kayak .

Getting around Ireland (#ireland travel blog)

You can visit most tourist attractions in Ireland by public transport, such as buses and trains. But if you have an international driver’s license, you can consider renting a self-drive car to take the initiative in time and explore more interesting corners, especially when traveling in the countryside. A note for you, Ireland is a country driving on the left side of the lane, the roads are also quite narrow, so it will take you time to get used to it. If you rent a self-driving car, you should rent the smallest car possible, buy car insurance and prepare a map, cash for parking and re-fueling… to have a safe trip.

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If you want to go to tourist destinations that are geographically distant from each other, saving travel time, you can choose domestic flights.

A good train system runs between major cities like Cork and Dublin, where you should book train tickets in advance online if possible but can also buy same day at the stations. The problem with public transport arises when you move beyond the big cities and towns, where some villages may have one or two buses to visit per day and other rural areas may completely inaccessible by public transport. To see the best areas and explore the unspoiled coastline, rent a car or a private driving guide with local knowledge is a smart choice.

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Where to stay? (#ireland guide)

Irish hotels are mainly concentrated in Dublin and Galway. In general, the room price is relatively high, but there are many different prices for tourists to choose from. Here are some of the country’s best hotels.

The Shelbourne (Dublin): The Shelbourne Dublin Hotel considers itself a “national treasure”, and that title is well-deserved. This 5-star hotel with more than 200 years of history has hosted famous musicals such as the Rolling Stones and Chieftains. Shelbourne is also a historical witness to owning the room where the Constitution of the Free State of Ireland was written. ( Agoda , Booking )

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The Westbury Hotel (Dublin): Once a former convent, the rooms at the Westbury Hotel are decorated with Irish art, with regal chandeliers and opulent furnishings, some with Lissadell linens and marble floors. Guests at the Westbury Hotel often visit Sidecar, a 1930s-inspired venue with a beautiful bar scene and craft cocktails. ( Agoda , Booking )

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Dromoland Castle (Clare)

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The regal Dromoland Castle has been open to welcome its guests since the 16th century. Located on verdant meadows surrounded by hills, Dromoland owns a golf course, spa and many unique outdoor activities such as: archery, falconry… You will never be bored during your Ireland trip here. ( Agoda , Booking )

Powerscourt Hotel (Enniskerry) (#ireland travel blog)

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Few places can match the splendor of the Powerscourt hotel in Wicklow, about a 30-minute drive from central Dublin. With not one but two golf courses, Powerscourt Hotel also owns a spa and a beautiful indoor swimming pool. Rooms are classic, elegant, and overlook the hotel’s beautiful gardens and Enniskerry Hills and Great Sugar Loaf. ( Agoda , Booking )

Glenlo Abbey (Galway)

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Glenlo Abbey, dating back to 1740, sits on the quiet and spacious shores of Lough Corrib. The charm of this quaint hotel is its elegant rooms and inviting Italian marble bathrooms. During your time at Glenco Abbey, plan to dine on old train cars – once part of the Orient Express – at the exclusive Pullman restaurant for the most memorable experience. ( Agoda , Booking )

Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels in Dublin with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

  • Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin ( Agoda , Booking )
  • Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane ( Agoda , Booking )
  • Clontarf Castle Hotel ( Agoda , Booking )
  • Mespil Hotel ( Agoda , Booking )
  • The Gibson Hotel ( Agoda , Booking )
  • Jurys Inn Dublin Parnell Street ( Agoda , Booking )
  • Marlin Hotel Stephens Green ( Agoda , Booking )

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Check out more top and best hotels in Dublin on Agoda.com or Booking.com

Where to go and what to do?

Ireland is more than just historic sights, quaint castles, and lots of greenery (though there’s so much to go around). Right now, this small country is embracing all things local in the form of trendy cafes, designer hotels, craft cocktails and world-class cuisine. Whether you’re going to Dublin to party, Kilkenny to see the sights or Galway for good food, Ireland’s top destinations are better than you know.

Ireland owns some of Europe’s most spectacular landscapes and a wealth of tourist attractions. Free museums, unique natural and cultural heritage, ancient castles, unspoiled islands, etc. are what you should not miss when traveling to Ireland. Here are some suggestions worth experiencing for your vacation.

Dublin – The Capital City of Ireland is a modern place that preserves the traditional way of life. Dublin is by far Ireland’s most popular city for tourists (according to official tourism statistics), with millions flocking here each year. Attractions such as the Guinness brewery and the Temple Bar are among the most visited attractions in Ireland.

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You can’t visit Dublin without exploring the campus of Trinity College, with its monumental buildings and statues of highly regarded graduates, or making time for a tour of the Guinness Archives, very good display of Dublin’s cobbled streets and old factory buildings not to mention a liter of what they say is the Guinness record for best taste in the world.

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Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Ireland’s largest church, is also one of the biggest tourist attractions in Dublin. In a well near the church, St. Patrick is said to have baptized pagan converts to Christianity. In memory of his visit, a small wooden church was built on the premises. Then, in 1191, the present building was built and St Patrick’s Cathedral was upgraded to a cathedral.

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More than just a great place to shop in Dublin, the Grafton neighborhood allows visitors to immerse themselves in a lively atmosphere full of sound and color. You can find countless stops or simply watch the bustling cycle of life. Enjoy a coffee, an Irish breakfast, and free yourself to explore the street culture of Dublin’s busiest place.

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The Cliffs of Moher (County Clare) (#ireland blog)

The most famous and spectacular part of Ireland’s craggy west coast is the Cliffs of Moher, which offers some of the most breathtaking views of the entire island. This is a great place to enjoy the scenery and enjoy the fresh air of Ireland.

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Many fine words have been used to describe the majesty of the Cliffs of Moher, but it is still difficult to find the most appropriate one. About an hour and a half by car from Galway, this popular spot attracts nearly a million people from all over the world each year. The cliffs stretch 8km along the Atlantic Ocean coastline, treating tourists with enchanting wild beauty.

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The cliff extends nearly 5 miles and rises to 702 feet above the water of the Atlantic Ocean. Great views from the cliffs include the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, The Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk Mountains. The landscape and seascape of the Cliffs of Moher has, for centuries, welcomed countless visitors; almost 1 million people a year now travel to this iconic place.

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Rock of Cashel – Ireland’s historic site

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The Rock of Cashel is a Celtic construction. Today, this place has become a special stop that cannot be missed when traveling to Ireland. Rock of Cashel is a castle located right on Devil’s Bit mountain. Archaeologists have confirmed that this work dates back to the 12th century.

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Glendalough Valley (Wicklow)

The Glendalough Valley is a peaceful, quiet place as it is located quite far from the center of Ireland. However, this land is considered as a priceless treasure that nature has bestowed on Ireland. Coming here, you will be immersed in nature, watching the beautiful stone architecture.

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No trip to Ireland would be complete without a visit to Glendalough in the list of destinations. Why? During the Middle Ages, when Ireland was known as “the island of saints and scholars”, Glendalough became a monastic city serving thousands of students and teachers. Rich history, charming scenery, ancient buildings are the reasons why Irish tourists love Glendalough.

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St. Stephen’s Green

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St. Stephen’s Green is a beautiful park located in Dublin. It owns brilliant flower gardens, stretching lawns, statues, stone bridge, swan lake and very large playing space. In 1664, St. Stephen’s Green is a closed grazing place of the upper class. Two centuries later, thanks to the help of Arthur Guinness, this place was opened to visitors.

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History buffs will find everything they’re looking for in Kilkenny. Located between Dublin and Cork, this medieval town may be best known as Kilkenny Castle, an impressive 12th-century fortress with a beautifully restored and open interior  open to the public to visit. On sunny days, the verdant parks and landscaped gardens are perfect for a stroll.

Kilmainham Gaol Museum

Address: Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland Hours: 9:30 AM–5:30 PM

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Kilmainham once was a prison and now a museum is about 4km from Dublin city. Here, you will learn about the past of this famous prison. Before 1924, Kilmainham was a prison that held many important Irish figures from rebels, politicians to writers, poets, etc.

Trinity College (Dublin)

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Trinity College in Dublin is Ireland’s oldest university, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. When you step through the gate, it seems that the modern, prosperous city outside has disappeared to leave give way to old-fashioned romance. The campus walk is a journey through the ages to discover the world of academia. The school is also famous for its priceless treasures: The Book of Kells, a masterpiece of Western calligraphy, and the Long Room, the inspiration for the library in the Harry Potter movies.

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Ireland’s third largest city has an eye-catching charm — especially in its unique waterways. You can head to the stalls of the 18th-century Old English Market to sample hearty Irish cheeses, locally caught fish, pies, and more.

Two landmarks mark the city’s history: City Gaol, a stunning former prison turned museum with quirky 19th-century artifacts and Blackrock Castle Observatory, a center science and technology is housed in a 16th-century mansion that provides entertainment for visitors of all ages.

The Ring of Kerry (County Kerry)

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For many people around the world, The Ring of Kerry route encapsulates their image of Ireland: ancient ruins, romantic castles, breathtaking gardens, colorful towns and villages. Stunning landscapes, dramatic coastlines, captivating locales and ancient archaeological treasures have been incorporated into postcards, films, poems and songs.

The Ring of Kerry is one of the most loved scenic routes on the tour of Ireland. As you ride the 110-mile route that surrounds the stunning Iveragh Peninsula, you’ll feel as if you’ve fallen into a legendary arena of nature. The road winds around majestic mountains, marshlands, rivers, lakes, pristine beaches, tiny passes and graceful valleys along the shores of Dingle Bay and Kenmare.

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Every bend and turn around the Ring of Kerry reveals new attractions – windswept cliffs, breathtaking scenery, breathtaking lakes, rich flora and fauna, green hills and yellow and unspoiled beaches.

There is evidence of the region’s unique heritage and culture everywhere, in landmarks, standing stone slabs and numerous archaeological sites. The 6th-century beehive huts and ruined monastery on Skellig Michael are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Aran Islands

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The Aran Islands, the common name of the small islands, Inishmór, Inishmaan and Inisheer. The mystical, time-frozen islands are famous for preserving the existence of a countryside that has remained largely unchanged, at least culturally, over the centuries.

If you want to explore Inishmór on your own, rent a bike and take a tour around the entire island. On your one-day cycling tour, you’ll come across ancient ruins, lots of livestock, and even miniature elves’ houses.

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Coming here, you will admire the Iron Age fortresses and many interesting destinations such as: Dún Aengus, Dún Dúchathair and Teampall an Cheathrair, ..

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Burren, formed by limestone formations is one of the most famous natural attractions of Ireland. The limestone topography is of particular interest to geologists and botanists for its Mediterranean and alpine plants.

Described as a botanist’s paradise, Burren has one of the most diverse and beautiful flowers in Ireland: 635 different plant species (including 22 of Ireland’s 27 native orchid species) have been recorded. noted here. The area also has some rarer and more elusive species such as the carnivorous pine, the snake-like slow worm, and the rarer horseshoe bat, as well as more than 100 species of breeding birds and nearly all of the butterflies native to the country of Ireland.

Maumturks Mountain

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If you are a lover of exploration, then this is the ideal place for your trip. With a unique ecosystem, you will see pristine lakes and beautiful swamps.

Boyne Valley

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Brú na Bóinne (Boyne Palace) in County Meath has some of the most important historic sites and monuments in Ireland, and is a designated World Heritage Site. It contains massive ancient megalithic tombs – tombs dating back to antiquity in Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. These tombs are older than Stonehenge in England and the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange, built some 5,000 years ago, is Ireland’s most famous prehistoric site.

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It is especially famous for a spectacular event on December 21, also known as the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The tomb was built in such a way that on this day it is illuminated by a narrow beam of sunlight that shines through a specially designed roof box. No one knows why the tomb was built in such a way, or how the stones were even transported to the site.

Giant’s Causeway

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Folklore says that an Irish giant named Finn MacCool once lived in this area, and from across the sea he could see a Scottish giant, Benandonner, his rival. Finn challenged Benandonner to Ireland to fight. Since there were no boats large enough to carry the giant, Finn built an underwater stone causeway for Benandonner to cross.

In fact, the Giant’s Causeway was created by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago – an interesting fact, but the legendary Finn MacCool is more interesting.

The city of Belfast during Christmas time, when they open the Christmas markets in Belfast is the most beautiful. The whole city glows with decorations and lights and it’s a cozy place to stroll around with a delicious hot cup of coffee in hand.

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In the summer it’s another great place, with a variety of bars and clubs located throughout the city as well as attractions such as the Titanic Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter.

Twice named Europe’s most visited tourist attraction, Titanic Belfast has quickly become a must-see for any visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland since it opened in 2012. Belfast Centre, completed to mark the centenary of the Titanic, sits on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the massive ship was built.

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An exhibit dedicated to the Titanic takes visitors through the infamous ship’s entire lifecycle – from its construction in Belfast and launch to its maiden voyage and tragic sinking, to its legacy disaster, the myths and legends surrounding it, and the shipwreck itself at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ireland’s top golf courses

Owning more than 400 golf courses, including nearly a third of the world’s link golf courses, Ireland is definitely a place that every golfer wishes to conquer. With world-class golf courses home to many of the top golfers such as Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley… Ireland’s reputation is sky-high when it comes to European golf tourism. It is difficult to choose the best golf course in Ireland, so please refer to the top 5 golf courses in Ireland worth experiencing such as Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Portmarnock Golf Club, Lahinch Golf Club, Waterville Golf Links.

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Other names in the top 10 Irish golf courses that you can refer to are Tralee Golf Club, Ballybunion, The European Club, County Sligo Golf Club, County Louth Golf Club.

What to eat?

Ireland is not known for its culinary culture, but there are some classic dishes that are worth trying. Ireland is one of the major food producing countries in the world. Thanks to the abundance of agricultural areas and its climate, it is known for producing some of the best natural ingredients in the world. It is also an incredible source of seafood such as salmon, cod and oysters, and produces delicious beef, bacon and lamb.

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The abundance of food here means that  traditional Irish dishes are delicious and enjoyable today as well, and many restaurants and pubs serve modern versions of the dish that is a staple of the country. Ireland from its earliest days.

Boxty Potato Pancake

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Boxty is a combination of potato pancakes and American pancakes, made with finely mashed and fried potatoes. Cafes and restaurants often serve it with bacon, eggs or smoked salmon and creme fraiche.

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Irish stew is the “national dish” of Ireland, derived from the dish of the poor working class, then upgraded and popularized with the whole society. The main ingredients are lamb, beef, potatoes, onions, parsley, carrots, radishes, which are stewed over low heat for many hours until tender and full of flavor.

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Perhaps the most traditional and authentic meal you can enjoy in Ireland is a stew. It is best enjoyed in winter. An alternative to stew is Coddle, usually cooked with bacon or sausage and lots of potatoes.

Apple pie – Ireland’s oldest cake

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In Ireland apple pie is a dish associated with childhood memories of many locals. When the apple pie comes out of the oven, the aroma from the dough and apples is very fragrant. This pie is very fluffy, soft and beautiful. It is the taste and style of the cake that has left an indelible impression on visitors.

Boiled pork belly and cabbage

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The combination of boiled bacon, potatoes and boiled cabbage sounds simple, but it is in fact a favorite and very popular dish in Ireland. Traditionally, salted pork will be soaked overnight then boiled, cabbage is added to the pot for the last 10 minutes. This special dish is served with a smooth parsley sauce.

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Barmbrack is a very popular Irish cake. Usually people will eat cake and enjoy tea every afternoon. When baking, the cook will stuff different gifts inside. According to legend, if it is a ring, the person who eats it will soon get married. If it is a suture base, then there is a high chance that the eater will still be single.

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Soda bread is a dish that sounds quite strange but has actually been present in Ireland since the 80s of the nineteenth century. During a famine, the Irish invented a bread that cost less than ordinary bread. They will use ingredients such as: soda powder, flour, buttermilk and salt. Over a long period of time, people have added some other ingredients such as dried fruit, honey, and honey wine.

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Coddle is a very special dish originating from Ireland. This dish has no fixed ingredients. The cook can use whatever ingredients are left over after the main dish is cooked for stewing. Usually, Coddle will be made from bacon, sausages, onions, potatoes, etc. However, you can use any ingredients.

Black and white pudding

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Part of a delicious Irish breakfast usually includes black and white pudding. Pudding is a dish made of meat, usually pork, oatmeal, and other grains and spices. Pig blood is added to the mixture to make black pudding. Do not forget to add this unique dish to your breakfast menu during your Ireland tour.

Ireland’s close associated with the sea means that the seafood is of exceptional quality. Oysters are harvested and served in the west of Ireland, and smoked salmon is a specialty, served with salad or potato pie. You can try the perfect chowder with fresh salmon and blackened cod, accompanied by locally baked soda bread.

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Locals love to eat seafood dishes. Especially seafood such as mussels, mussels, crabs, oysters, crabs, etc. In coastal cities like Dublin and Galway, this habit is even more common. The ingredients, after being preliminarily processed and washed, will be steamed with Irish branded cider. With these dishes, the chef will carry out the processing process at the dining table and then present them on a plate for guests to enjoy. Usually the dish will be served with fruit juice and bread.

Guinness Beer

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Complete the Irish dining experience with a mug of beer of the country’s signature Guinness. Dark beer stands out with the sweetness of the malt and the bitterness of the dried fruit with a hint of coffee and light chocolate.

How long should you spend in Ireland?

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The enough time to explore Ireland is 5-10 days. A popular itinerary you can refer to is to spend the first time in Dublin, then continue to travel to popular tourist destinations in the south and west. If you have more time, you can add in a visit to Northern Ireland with iconic sites like the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle.

Tips before you go

  • Safety: Millions of tourists visit Ireland each year with very few crime complaints. Overall, Ireland is a very safe country to travel to, the people of Ireland are also friendly and hospitable. However, you should still be careful with pickpockets when visiting crowded places in big cities.
  • Language: Most of Ireland’s population speaks English, although it can sometimes be a bit difficult to hear due to the slang and heavy dialect.
  • Currency: The national currency of Ireland is the Euro. But if you visit Northern Ireland, you’ll find they use the British pound. It is not difficult to find ATMs in big cities, but in rural areas, there are very few. Most shops, restaurants, and hotels accept most credit cards. Prices for drinks and meals out can vary considerably from place to place.
  • Plug & socket types: In Ireland, power plugs and sockets are type G, standard voltage is 230V and standard frequency is 50 Hz. It is recommended that you purchase a universal adapter with surge protection and use it for hair dryers and other electrical appliances.

travel ireland blog

Ireland has many beautiful and scenic landscapes waiting for visitors to explore. It is the peaceful beauty and friendliness of the Irish people that will always be a beautiful memory in the souls of adventure travelers. Hopefully the above Ireland travel guide will help you prepare a complete and interesting Ireland experience itinerary.

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Dublin you can refer to

  • Dublin Express Airport Transfer
  • Go City: The Dublin Pass with Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
  • 4G WiFi for Europe from Uroaming (HK Airport Pick Up)
  • Cliffs of Moher Tour from Dublin

Find out more Ireland things to do here .

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Nova on the Road

A Mind-Blowing 5-day Itinerary for an Exciting Road Trip through Ireland

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5-day itinerary for visiting Ireland and everything you should know.

Ireland is a beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean. While not as big as its neighbor, the U.K., Ireland has so much to offer. A road trip through Ireland is one of the best ways to explore the breathtaking country. Here’s my complete Ireland 5-day itinerary.

From stunning nature to friendly residents with the nicest English accents in the world, great hiking trails, ancient castles, and pretty towns.

This Ireland itinerary will help you plan an action-packed 5-day trip, though you could easily spend much more time in Ireland and not get bored!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through one of the product links, we’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you. We only promote products and services we 100% believe in. Thank you so much for supporting us! Read more about it in our  disclosure policy .

ireland 5 day itinerary

The perfect Ireland 5-day itinerary

This post was written by Lotte from the travel blog Phenomenal Globe . She’s a lovely person who writes great content. Through a great collaboration, I now edited and published this post. Check out her awesome travel blog.

Table of Contents

Campervan Ireland 5-day itinerary

  • Day 1: Dublin
  • Day 2: the West Coast (County Clare)
  • Day 3: the Ring of Kerry part I
  • Day 4: the Ring of Kerry part II and the Rock of Cashel
  • Day 5: the Wicklow Mountains 

Important things to know when planning a 5-day Ireland itinerary road trip

What is the best time to visit ireland.

While the weather generally is the best during the summer months, these are also the busiest months to visit (especially July and August). Both the Irish themselves as well as international tourists flock to the seaside spots and accommodation can be scarce (and expensive!). A better choice is to visit Ireland in April-May or in September-October . We visited Ireland at the end of October and prepared ourselves for wind, rain, and cold. However, we were very lucky and had sunny weather almost every day of our trip. When it comes to the Irish weather, there are never any guarantees. It can be cold in summer and warm on a day in March. Therefore, it’s important to pack layers (and a good rain poncho). More about what to pack for your Ireland trip can be found further down in this post.

Ireland is a country filled with unique fun activities , make sure you’re staying long enough to do them all!

Ireland 5 days

Which currency is used in Ireland?

In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro . You can pay almost everywhere with your card, and there are many ATMs, especially in the cities.

Do I need a visa for Ireland?

Possibly but it depends on your nationality. While residents from countries in the European Union as well as those living in the USA don’t need a visa, it’s best to check the official Ireland visa website which rules apply to you.

Bonus: Use these helpful Ireland travel tips for first-time visitors !

Ireland 5-day itinerary

Before arriving in Ireland, I had prepared an ambitious list of places I wanted to see. If only we had had two weeks in Ireland, that would have been great.

Unfortunately, we only had five days and we didn’t want to rush. So I threw out the list and we decided to go wherever the weather forecast was best.

The sun led us to the West Coast where we drove part of the Wild Atlantic Way , The Dingle Peninsula, and the famous Ring of Kerry .

We made a road trip around Ireland by campervan and loved it! Having our own house on wheels allowed us to travel wherever we wanted to without planning our Ireland trip beforehand.

During our 5 days in Ireland, we drove 1400 kilometers in total, which comes down to an average of 280 km a day . I admit our itinerary was a little fast-paced, especially for those less fond of driving.

You could easily turn this into a 7-day driving tour of Ireland and spend a bit more time exploring the lovely villages mentioned in this post.

travel ireland blog

Make sure to read through to the end of this post for essential information and a full packing list!

Day 1 : Dublin and driving to the West Coast

Itinerary: Trinity College – St. Stephen’s Green – West Coast (near Galway)

Trinity College and the Old Library

The campus of Trinity College is absolutely gorgeous, with old mansions, a park with huge trees, and impressive college halls.

Of course, the main attractions are the Long Room in the Old Library and the beautifully illustrated Book of Kells. Over 200.000 other very old books are carefully arranged, row after row after row…

It’s a shame nothing has been invented yet to capture the scent, I would have loved to share with you the wonderful aroma of old books and wood.

Trinity college visit

St. Stephen’s Green

Autumn was in full swing and the beautiful colors made the park even prettier! It’s a lovely place for a stroll or a picnic if the weather allows it.

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To the West

A little before noon we took the bus to the office of Bunk Campers to pick up our camper van. We headed west to see the famous Cliffs of Moher and to drive part of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Where to park for the night

We spent the first night in our van at the parking lot of Galway Bay Golf Resort. The food at The Clubhouse Bar of Galway Golf Resort was great as was the takeaway coffee we got the following day.

Combined with the genuine welcome, I thoroughly recommend spending the night.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit Galway, but it’s definitely worth a trip!

Where to stay in Dublin: Motel One Dublin

If you decide to spend more time in Dublin and spend the night, I recommend staying at Motel One Dublin .

Why stay here: Amazing breakfast, beautifully furnished clean rooms, free wifi, great location and a bar.

The hotel is a stone’s throw from the busy Upper O’Connell Street and you can easily walk to the main sites in Dublin.

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Where to eat in Dublin:

We ate at Fujiyama, a Japanese restaurant in the city center. Having spent a month in Japan we developed a severe addiction to Japanese food. 

When we spotted this Japanese restaurant in O’Connell Street Upper we didn’t think twice about it and quickly found ourselves a table.

The volcanic ramen and udon hotpot were delicious and almost as good as in Japan.

For more activities in Dublin, check out this awesome beginner’s guide to Dublin !

Or book one of these super affordable tours , to get a truly unique experience!

Day 2: The West Coast (County Clare)

Itinerary: Dunguaire Castle – The Burren – Cliffs of Moher – Hike to Hag’s Head – Inch Beach

Dunguaire Castle

The first stop on the itinerary is Dunguaire Castle, built in the 16th century and beautifully located on a small hill.

road trip west coast ireland

Keep in mind the Castle is generally open to visitors between April and September, so if you are traveling in the shoulder season (like we were), you can’t enter the caste but only admire the view from afar.

We drove through the Burren on our way to the Cliffs of Moher. The Burren is a desolate landscape with impressive rocks and gorgeous views.

I would have loved to go for a hike in this area, unfortunately, we didn’t have time but it’s definitely an area I want to revisit.

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The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction and I completely understand why. These amazing cliffs make a sheer 214-meter drop straight into the pounding Atlantic Ocean…

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher had been on my bucket list for years and not only did I get to visit the Cliffs, but I also visited the Cliffs of Moher in sunny weather, lucky me!

Hike to Hag’s Head

During our walk to Hag’s Head (and back), there was plenty of time to admire the astonishing sight of the soaring Cliffs. In the picture below you can see Moher Tower, a former watchtower found at Hag’s Head.

Ireland itinerary 5 days

Drive to Inch Beach

Due to the limited time we had available in Ireland, we chose to drive to Inch Beach so we could explore the Dingle Peninsula the next morning.

However, please note it’s quite a long drive to Inch Beach from the Cliffs of Moher (200km, ~3 hours of driving).

Where to stay

We spent the night at Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula, we parked in front of Sammy’s Restaurant (after asking checking with the restaurant manager if we were allowed to stay overnight).

PS. You have to check out these unique places to stay in Ireland !

Where not to eat

We had a not-so-good dinner at the Golf Club in Adare so I don’t recommend eating there. The food at Sammy’s Restaurant smelled and looked good when I walked in to ask if we could overnight with our van, though I don’t know how it tasted…

Day 3: The West Coast (County Kerry)

Itinerary: Dingle – Ring of Kerry Part I: Killorglin, Bentee Loop Walk at Caherciveen and Waterville.

Road trip of Ireland

Waking up at Inch Beach

When we opened the curtains of our cozy house on wheels the sky was blue once again! Inch Beach was a great place to wake up, especially on the day of our seven-year wedding anniversary.

The road to the little village of Dingle was spectacular and reminded us of the beautiful roads we’ve driven in New Zealand.

Ireland itinerary 5 days

Dingle is a very colorful town and great for an early morning stroll. The fishing port has several cute shops, a couple of pubs, and restaurants to get a drink or a snack.

Killorglin was our first stop on the famous Ring of Kerry. It’s a pretty town with a beautiful old stone bridge and colorful houses. While exploring the village, we picked up a tasty sandwich from Jack’s Bakery.

If you’ve got a bit more time, you should definitely visit Killarney! Here are the 9 best things to do in Killarney .

Bentee Loop Walk at Caherciveen

Bentee Loop is a 10-kilometer hike that requires a good level of fitness. The trail is clearly signposted and leads to the top of a 376-meter high hill.

Along the way and especially from the top you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area.

Road trip in Ireland

Where to eat

We celebrated our anniversary with a fancy dinner at the Smugglers Inn, which was delicious and a great way to end our day (and celebrate our happy years together).

We didn’t have to wander far after dinner as we are allowed to overnight at the parking lot of the Smugglers Inn.

Day 4: The West Coast (County Kerry) and the Rock of Cashel

Itinerary: Ring of Kerry Part II: Loher Stone Fort, Sneem, and Kenmare – Rock of Cashel – Johnstown

Ring of Kerry Part II

What an amazing drive is the Ring of Kerry, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful roads I have driven in my life (and I have driven some beautiful roads).

Loher Stone Fort

We took a brief detour from the Ring of Kerry to visit the Stone Fort of Loher, which has recently been reconstructed and is an interesting place to visit.

Ireland 5 day itinerary

In the village of Sneem, we stopped for a coffee and to take a picture with a scary Halloween figure. A unique opportunity, as we barely celebrate Halloween in the Netherlands.

And of course, there were more pretty buildings in Kenmare, the last village on the Ring of Kerry we visited.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit Killarney National Park, but it’s definitely on the list for the next trip.

Rock of Cashel

Another Ireland highlight I was very excited about visiting was the Rock of Cashel, an impressive castle/cathedral. The very Irish-looking and knowledgeable tour guide told us a lot of interesting facts about this amazing building.

For example, did you know that the Rock of Cashel is considered a very unlucky cathedral because the longest part of the cross-shaped building is facing West instead of East?

Or that the bishop didn’t have enough money to fill the huge windows with stained glass and made them smaller to better suit his budget?

We learned these interesting facts from our knowledgeable guide and I definitely followed one of the free guided tours.

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We overnighted behind the Londis Supermarket in Johnstown after checking with the manager if that was okay. It was right next to the M7 so not the quietest place to spend the night.

Though I admit we had gotten a bit spoiled after sleeping three nights next to the beach with the rushing of the ocean as the only sound (instead of the rushing traffic;-).

We ate a yummy hamburger, the perfect example of pub food at The Johnstown Inn.

Day 5: the Wicklow Mountains and back to Dublin

Itinerary: Wicklow Mountains – Lough Tay (Guinness Lake) – Great Sugar Loaf – Dublin

The Wicklow Mountains and Lough Tay

The Ring of Kerry is truly spectacular, but perhaps the road from Kilteel to Lough Tay is even more beautiful. I guess it’s a tie because I really can’t choose.

This was another fine example of why Ireland is a great country for road tripping and what was even more amazing, we didn’t come across a single soul during this drive.

Road trip in Ireland

The road snakes through the colorful steppe and the landscapes and views are breathtaking. Below you can see Lough Tay, also called The Guinness Lake, is one of the most photographed locations in the Wicklow Mountains. I can imagine that when the sun is shining it makes for an even more beautiful sight.

Great Sugar Loaf

To wave a proper goodbye to Ireland we wanted to do a last short hike before getting on the plane back home. And thus we scaled Sugar Loaf ‘Mountain’, a 200-meter high hill.

visit the great sugar loaf

It was a fun 1-hour hike with good views from the top. After completing the hike we drove back to Dublin where we reluctantly handed in our camper van. I would have loved to stay longer as there were many more spots I wanted to see.

Rent a campervan in Ireland for your 5-day itinerary

Where to rent your van.

We rented our van from Bunk Campers and had a great experience with them.

Great customer service

Their customer service is kick-ass, I always received a reply to my email within an hour.

Modern fleet in outstanding condition

The camper vans from Bunk are modern and in excellent condition. Our van featured a USB port and rear-view camera, very helpful when reversing your van on yet another narrow country road…

Our Vista camper van was very comfortable to drive. It was my first camper van with cruise control, great for long stretches on the highway.

The built-in GPS system came in quite handy too, though I always make sure to have a map as well.

Rent a campervan in Ireland

Convenient pickup location

Bunk’s Dublin office is really close to the airport (5 minutes by bus) and the bus stop is a 200-meter walk from the office.

Competitive rental prices

Finally, Bunk offers very competitive prices on their vans, you can rent the smallest one (the Roadie) for only €40 a night!

How much does it cost to rent a campervan in Ireland?

I’ve made an infographic (including the rental fee) to show you the total costs of renting a campervan in Ireland for 5 days.

As you can see in the infographic, expenses are split into 5 categories:

  • Rental fee ⇒ a Vista campervan costs ~ €73 per day, for 5 days the total amount is €365.
  • Additional insurance ⇒ optional, but I had a parking accident in New Zealand and was so happy this was covered by our collision waiver damage. Having extra insurance just gives me peace of mind.
  • Petrol ⇒ between €1,17 and €1,22 per liter. We drove 1400 kilometers in total and paid €138 in total for diesel.
  • Toll ⇒ on the M roads (highways) of Ireland you have to pay a toll. It costs €1,90 for a car (also for the Vista van) every time you pass a toll booth. For our 5-day road trip around Ireland, the total costs were €15,50.
  • Parking ⇒ a minor expense, we paid a couple of euros for parking in Dingle town and at the Rock of Cashel.

The total cost of renting a campervan for 5 days is €719 , which comes down to €144 per day . Considering this is the combined costs for accommodation and transport which I think is very reasonable for a country in West-Europe.

Read more about the total costs of our Ireland trip and see the infographic about the costs of renting a campervan below.

budget travel ireland

What to pack for your Ireland trip

One of the advantages of traveling by campervan is you don’t have to continuously lug around your luggage which is great. However, that didn’t mean I took a lot of stuff with me on my road trip to Ireland.

The perfect Ireland packing list for autumn

I carried both my Deuter backpack and my beloved Nomad daypack. Here’s what I packed for our Ireland trip.

Clothes and shoes

• Down jacket (Ireland can be cold, windy, and rainy, though on our trip it certainly wasn’t) • 1 zipper hoodie • 1 thermal long sleeve (I slept in my thermal outfit) • 2 fleece sweaters • 1 short-sleeved t-shirt • 2 Merino hiking shirts • 1 strap top •1 Rain Poncho (I expected to use this full-time in rainy Ireland but we were extremely lucky with the weather. So I didn’t even take my poncho out of the pack. Nevertheless, I would still take this with me on my next trip to Ireland…)

• 1 pair of hiking pants • 1 pair of skinny jeans • 1 pair of thermal leggings (I slept in my thermal outfit) • 5 pairs of merino hiking socks • Enough underwear

• Proper hiking boots such as the Lowa Renegade GTW Women or Lowa Renegade GTW Men

Ireland 5 day itinerary

• Hairbrush and hair ties • Deodorant (I’m loving this Wild Deo ) • Contacts and glasses • Mascara • Make-up remover • Toothbrush and toothpaste • Lush solid shampoo bar • Band-Aids

• Passport • Debit card • Credit card • A bit of cash, though we could pretty much pay with our Maestro card everywhere.

Electronics

• Travel adapter • Charging cable • Kobo E-reader

Miscellaneous

• Earplugs and eye mask (not necessary, it was quiet and dark in our campervan) • Scarf • Sunglasses • Lonely Planet Ireland

Camping gear

• Dishtowel • Travel towel (not necessary, this was provided by Bunk Campers) • Sleeping bag (not necessary, this was provided by Bunk Campers) • Travel pillow (not necessary, this was provided by Bunk Campers)

Find the best travel packing hacks here.

Things to know about driving in Ireland

Drive on the left.

First and foremost: drive on the left! I’ve gotten pretty used to driving on the left side of the road, having explored Australia, New Zealand and Japan by car as well, however, this was my first time driving a manual car on the left side…

Luckily practice makes perfect and after driving the camper van for a couple of hours it almost felt natural.

Ireland itinerary 5 days

Drive slowly

In Japan, I was frequently frustrated by the excruciatingly slow speed limits on the perfect and empty roads that begged me to drive faster.

In Ireland on the other hand, the speed limit was 100 km an hour on most roads. However, I think our van would have toppled over had we driven at this speed.

There are just too many curves, bends, and twists on the roads. And don’t get me started on those little stone walls or high hedges that line them… So be careful, drive slowly and enjoy the ride!

I wasn’t comfortable driving at the maximum speed simply, because I didn’t feel it would have been safe to do so. Consequently, we often created a bit of a traffic jam behind our van.

It was very much appreciated by our fellow road users if we pulled over, when safely possible, to let them pass.

Asking nicely goes a long way

The Irish people we met were so kind and welcoming! We spent the first night in our campervan at the parking lot of Galway Bay Golf Resort.

Resort managers Barry and Peter went out of their way to make us feel welcome. We were shown around the premises and invited to use the bathroom facilities of the golf club if we wanted to, so very kind!

Ireland 5 day itinerary

During our trip, we were never refused when we asked if we could overnight at the parking lot of a golf resort/restaurant/supermarket, and all these nights were free of charge.

Now, I obviously can’t guarantee this will happen every time and everywhere in Ireland, but I do think asking nicely goes a long way.

Final thoughts on this Ireland 5-day itinerary

I hope you’ve enjoyed this day-to-day road trip of Ireland! Where do you want to go in Ireland? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.

Happy travels!

Related posts

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  • The 13 Absolute Best Travel Packing Hacks for You!
  • The 21 Ultimate Road Trip Essentials for Couples
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Ireland 5 day itinerary

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Keep In Touch

11 Ireland travel blogs to follow

Posted by Janet on 1st May 2018 (3rd November 2020)

If you have always been interested in Irish culture and travelling to the country of Ireland then there are some fantastic travel blogs about Ireland that you should check out before you go!

The great thing about blogs is that they can be about very specific interests and are often written by people who are passionate about what they write. This adds a lot to the content as you know it’s written with love and with a lot of care.

You can find out about secret places that the locals love to visit or historical features that the big tour buses don’t go. You can even find out exactly what Irish people are eating and drinking!

Most Irish travel bloggers like to write about their trips around the world but on their websites, you will also find a huge amount of articles about travelling and staying in Ireland.

Here’s our list of Top Ireland travel blogs to follow in 2018:

Where is Tara

https://www.whereistara.com/category/destinations/ireland/

Tara Povey is an Irish pharmacist turned blogger who now travels the world to write for her blog.

Her blog has articles from all over the world but the section on Ireland is huge and full of useful information.

She has information on things to do in Dublin, musical landmarks in Ireland, rail-tours around Ireland and much, much more.

If you’re thinking of visiting Ireland then this blog is an absolute must!

Your Irish Adventure

Youririshadventure.com

Your Irish Adventure is a travel blog set up that focuses entirely on the island of Ireland.

The website is run by three locals who want to share their intimate knowledge of the country to the wider world.

There are articles regarding safety tips in Ireland, packing lists as well as a break down of festivals and events happening in the country each month. Their Instagram page alone is enough to inspire a boatload of wanderlust!

The Whole World is a Playground

https://www.thewholeworldisaplayground.com/category/ireland/

David and Elaine McArdle travel the world and love to show off the beautiful hotels and locations that they visit.

Their Irish section has a number of articles that are very useful for anyone interested in Luxury Boutique hotels and afternoon tea!

Steven Sheehy

http://stevensheehy.com/blog/

Steven Sheehy is a blogger who is also an amazing photographer and videographer.

Ireland recently had a record snowfall and he made a really interesting video showcasing what Dublin looks like ‘the day it closed.’

His blog also has some extremely useful articles regarding road trips around Ireland which are certainly not to be missed. His drone footage of Ireland is out of this world as well.

Areaphotography

https://www.facebook.com/aereaphotography/

Area Photography is very minimalistic in style… There isn’t even a website! It is a Facebook page belonging to a Leitrim man who posts some beautiful videos of him walking around some of the most beautiful parts of Ireland.

Each video has a short explanation in the text box and then just plays music while a drone follows a man walking around some of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. He has a fantastic video showcasing the beauty of the Cliffs of Moher.

If you prefer videos instead of reading articles, then this is the page for you!

A French Foodie in Dublin

http://www.frenchfoodieindublin.com/

Ketty Quigley was born in France but moved to Dublin in 2004.

If you are a food fan and want to find out what is currently popular in Dublin then French Foodie is the perfect blog to check out.

It is updated very frequently and always features unique and interesting locations around Dublin. This is the perfect blog to check out if you want to eat like Irish people do!

Daily Adventures Web

https://dailyadventuresweb.wordpress.com/

Cristina Florescu of the Daily Adventures Web has a very interesting blog about living in Ireland, taking day-trips around the country and all things feminist related.

She also has a number of great ‘list’ articles and is a big fan of vintage clothing. Check out her blog, it’s fascinating!

http://pikalily.com/

Nial Toner is a food and travel blogger whose award-winning blog deals with food, travel, and lifestyle in Ireland and the rest of the world.

They recently welcomed a child into the world so now also blog about travelling as a family and the blog is absolutely full of useful recipes, review and travel tips.

The Mouthy Mum

http://themouthymum.com/

Amanda Cassidy is the woman behind the website The Mouthy Mum which is a very personal blog which deals with parenting, travel, and lifestyle.

Her blog is brash and sometimes stark but offers a realistic insight into Irish family life and parenting issues. Not to be missed!

https://www.ontheqt.ie/ 

Introducing Stephanie Lynch, a Cork-based blogger who has a fantastic travel blog. Her speciality is based around Cork and the south coast of Ireland.

She also travels the world and posts about her travels but her website has a massive amount of information regarding travel in Ireland. It is essential reading!

Where’s Claire?

Claire has been obsessed with travel since an early age and has decided to take a different route when it comes to blogging. She wants to prove that everyone can write a blog and you don’t have to drop everything, quit your life and go.

Her blog has articles all things Ireland related as well as a number of other articles as she travelled around the world.

These blogs are absolutely filled with information and tips about travelling in Ireland. And who knows, maybe the next time you pay a visit to the Emerald Isle you’ll start your own one!

If you are planning a trip to Ireland, why not book a  Day Tour from Dublin?

Cliffs of Moher

Travel Around Ireland

Céad míle fáilte!

Welcome to Travel Around Ireland!

I’m Cath, a Dublin girl, avid traveller, and lover of all things Ireland.

I want to help you plan a trip to Ireland that will be unforgettable and help you fall hopelessly in love with the Emerald Isle.

With my local expert knowledge, you can experience the best that Ireland has to offer and create a trip of a lifetime.

The Emerald Isle will always be home to me, despite now being an Irish expat and living abroad.

I return to Ireland every year to see my family, and to explore the far corners of the Emerald Isle so I can share my experiences with YOU.

Come explore this beautiful corner of Europe with me! Let’s discover Ireland together!

READ MORE .

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The castle has rounded turrets, and a train is snaking past it, having crossed the bridge over the bay.

How I learned to love the slow route home to Ireland

Journeys are about so much more than getting from A to B, as our writer found when he ditched flying for the train and ferry between Dublin and London

T here’s always a moment in the journey from Dublin to London – which I make every month or two, taking the land-and-sea route via Holyhead instead of flying – when I stop what I’m doing – reading or writing or chatting to the person next to me – and think: you don’t get to enjoy this from 40,000ft.

Sometimes it’s at the Britannia Bridge in north Wales. As the train crosses the Menai Strait from Anglesey I can see, off to my right, a concrete statue of Lord Nelson keeping a lonely watch from the shore, and further upriver the grounds of Plas Newydd country house sweeping down to the water. To the left, on a tiny island with a curved jetty, stand two handsome whitewashed houses that will one day disappear beneath the rising sea levels but for now are holding out against the elements.

I’ll pause again as the train trundles past Conwy, with its hulking medieval castle and absurdly pretty waterfront, home to the smallest house in Britain, and later still as we move along the coast beyond Colwyn Bay, and legions of offshore wind turbines can be glimpsed through the haze.

On the return journey, as the ferry heads into Dublin Bay, I’ll cast an eye at Howth Head as it rises up to greet us, followed by the crimson lighthouse at the end of the Great South Wall and the looming red and white chimneys beyond – the unmistakable sign that we’re about to dock in the Irish capital.

The ferry is silhouetted against a golden sunrise.

People often ask me why I choose to travel between Dublin and London by ferry and rail instead of flying, which is considerably less time-consuming. I’ll respond by talking about the price, or the breezy check-in process with minimal luggage restrictions, or the direct connection into central London, or the carbon emissions, which by one estimate are about 95% lower than going by plane . But the little details – the things you see, the people you meet and the reveries you enter as the journey’s lulling rhythms take hold – matter to me almost more.

When I moved to London in 2002, the idea of taking the slow route home to Dublin didn’t occur to me. Going by air was quick: you can fly city to city in under 90 minutes, though of course you have to factor in the time it takes to get to the airport, clear security, wander through duty-free, wait to board, wait to take off, and go through the associated rigmarole on the other side. And it’s cheap.

The writer in Holyhead, ready to board the ferry to Dublin.

Then, about 15 years ago, a friend tipped me off about SailRail, a package that bundled train and Irish Sea ferry tickets into a single fare – connecting not only to London but to any town across Britain with a station. I was dubious about the duration but the price was keen – these days it’s £102.20 return, but back then it was about half that – so I decided to give it a try.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t love SailRailing straight away. Train travel is one of life’s great pleasures but in Britain it can curdle to frustration in the face of delays, cancellations and broken-up routes. It took me a while to work out how to time my journey so I didn’t have to change trains in Crewe and again, 20 minutes later, in Chester. And Holyhead, for all the surrounding beauty of Anglesey, is not a town that makes the heart leap – not, at least, the stretch between the terminal and the ferry dock, which on even the sunniest afternoon feels oppressively grey.

The ships – Irish Ferries and Stena are the two options on the Holyhead-to-Dublin route – can feel dated and a bit tacky, and if you strike out from Dublin on a match day, you have the choice of watching football supporters getting stuck into cooked breakfasts and pints at 8am or joining them. The crossing can be rough, though it would take a serious gale to unsettle one of the bigger boats when its stabilisers are out. (In that kind of weather, I’d rather take my chances on a 50,000-tonne ferry than a dinky commuter plane.)

A tiny red house stands next between the walls of Conwy Castle and a little black and white cottage.

If you travel with Irish Ferries, which I tend to do, this unfolds within a literary theme park of unparalleled incongruity. The flagship Ulysses is riddled with allusions to James Joyce’s masterwork: you can eat reheated pizza slices (but not pork kidneys) at Boylan’s Brasserie, drink tequila slammers at the Leopold Bloom bar or engage in soft play at the Cyclops family entertainment centre. (The faster ferry, often cancelled if the wind picks up, is ingeniously named the Jonathan Swift.)

Despite – or perhaps because of – these idiosyncrasies, I kept returning for more. For years, I’d SailRail to Dublin and fly back; the journey out of London Euston tends to be smoother, especially if you catch the direct train to Holyhead departing about 9am. But since moving back to Dublin in 2020, I’ve ditched the air option and now actively look forward to my day meandering across the Irish Sea and down through Wales and England. The journey takes eight or nine hours, but without internet to distract me I usually get a solid day’s work done, or at least have time to read and think.

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Passengers sit onboard the ship’s deck, looking out to sea.

Some distractions are welcome. When the Icelandic volcano eruption grounded European air travel in 2010, I got chatting to two fellow SailRailers on the train out of London. One, delightfully, was the actor who played Gestapo agent Herr Flick in the sitcom ’Allo ’Allo!. The other became a really good friend – and I often thank the ash clouds of Eyjafjallajökull for introducing us.

More recently I’ve fallen into conversation with touring graffiti artists, septuagenarian world travellers and a woman who found God after getting lost in the middle of the Sahara (she prayed for help and a crow appeared to guide her back to safety). Last autumn, when my partner and I took our whippet-saluki over on a morning sailing (pet-friendly cabins are available on Stena) he was lavished with attention by an elderly Traveller couple who told us about similar dogs they’d loved over the years.

The Traveller community uses the ferries a lot, following a route that Irish people with UK connections have taken for centuries. You’ll also encounter plenty of truckers, as well as students, backpackers and people who are averse to flying. What you don’t get a huge number of, among the SailRail contingent, are British tourists. When I mention the package to friends and colleagues in London, few of them have heard of it. And when I tell them the fare, which doesn’t shoot up for last-minute bookings, they’re astonished: £51.10 from London to Holyhead and then on to Dublin by boat? You’re joking, right?

A striking view of a red lighthouse at the very end of a narrow outcrop, contrasted with the blue-green sea.

Still, I rarely recommend SailRail without a string of caveats. It isn’t to everyone’s taste. And it could be so much better than it currently is – the rail connections are unreliable and foot passengers on ferries are often treated as afterthoughts. But despite its foibles I’ve come to enjoy the easy pace of the journey and offbeat crowd it throws together. I’ve even developed a fondness for those Joyce allusions.

And I love that long, slow train ride along the north Wales coast, past castles and wind turbines and island houses doomed to vanish beneath the waves. A journey is so much richer and stranger when you travel close to the ground.

SailRail tickets from London Euston to Dublin Ferryport from £ 102.20 return (+ booking fee) via trainline.com

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Fjords, Pharaohs or Koalas? Time to Plan for Your Next Eclipse.

If you can’t get enough of totality, or missed out this time, you’ll have three more chances in the next four years in destinations like Iceland, Spain, Egypt and Australia.

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A small, black disk surrounded by a bright, white halo suspended in a mostly dark sky over the still waters of a lake in which dim, golden light from the horizon is reflecting. There are dark hills and mountains beyond the lake.

By Danielle Dowling

Are you still a little giddy from the magical moments of totality during Monday’s solar eclipse? Or did clouds swoop in to block your view? Maybe you just couldn’t make it to the path of totality this time. No matter what, the question now is “ Where and when will it happen again?”

“People who have never seen it before, the first words out of their mouth after the totality ends is ‘I’ve got to see another one, this is incredible, this is unbelievable.’ That is when you become addicted to these things and end up traveling no matter where the next one is,” said Joseph Rao, an eclipse chaser and guest lecturer at the Hayden Planetarium.

So, if like Mr. Rao, you’ve developed a raging case of umbraphilia — the love of eclipses — you’ll have three chances over the next four years to see the moon blot out the sun. The first, on Aug. 12, 2026, will start above Greenland, then strafe the west coast of Iceland and move along the Atlantic Ocean and over Spain. Almost a year later, on Aug. 2, 2027, another will skirt the Mediterranean coast of North Africa then cross Egypt and part of the Arabian Peninsula. The third, on July 22, 2028, will cut across Australia and the southern tip of New Zealand.

Future Eclipses

Eclipse chasers will have several more chances this decade to view a total solar eclipse .

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Last week, as Victoria Sahami , the owner of Sirius Travel , was preparing to guide a group of tourists in Mazatlán, Mexico, for Monday’s big event, she was also planning for these other upcoming eclipses. Ms. Sahami joined the ranks of the eclipse-obsessed when she witnessed one in Venezuela in the 1990s. “Like many people, I was hooked. There was no going back,” she said.

Total solar eclipses happen fairly regularly — about every one to two years — in locations scattered around the world. “That’s the great thing about them: You wind up in places that you don’t normally go,” Ms. Sahami said.

A major spoiler is weather, which will be a big variable in the 2026 eclipse — one Greenland, Iceland and Spain will see.

“Iceland normally has a lot of cloud during that time of year,” said Paul Maley , who runs Ring of Fire Expeditions . “The data shows Spain to have the higher good-weather prospects of all three. However, the sun is low in the sky and the eclipse ends as the sun hits the horizon at sunset.”

Because of Iceland’s mercurial meteorology, Ring of Fire Expeditions is going all in on Spain, with a 10-day excursion on the mainland. Sirius Travel is offering not only a five-day trip to Majorca but also an eight-day tour around Iceland. It will be based in Reykjavik, and the itinerary will remain flexible on the day of the eclipse so the tour can easily pivot toward the location with the least cloud cover. Ms. Sahami recommends the trip for those who already have a few eclipses under their belt and would be happy just to take in the sights of Iceland if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

The 2027 eclipse, on the other hand, promises to be truly stellar: Luxor, Egypt — the site of numerous ancient temples as well as the Valleys of the Kings and Queens — sits right in the middle of the path of totality and will be bathed in darkness for a full 6 minutes 23 seconds. Weather-wise, it is what Ms. Sahami called “a slam dunk.” “You know you’re going to see it. You know that you’re not going to get any clouds,” she said.

But for all its potential, those considering Egypt should be aware that the State Department has a Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” warning for the country because of the risk of terrorism.

The 2028 eclipse will darken the skies over Sydney, Australia, for 3 minutes 49 seconds. It will be the first time the city has experienced a total solar eclipse since 1857. Ms. Sahami has her eyes on a trip based out of there, while Mr. Maley has chartered a cruise ship off the northwest coast of Australia. It will be winter there, he said, but that isn’t likely to mean bad eclipse-viewing weather.

If you want to see any (or all) of these eclipses, you should get started on planning and booking now, particularly if you want to sign up for a trip organized by a tour company. One of Sirius Travel’s excursions to Luxor is already full.

Scrutinize refund policies and look into insuring your trip. Several companies will fully refund your deposit if you cancel a year in advance. A lot can happen, Ms. Sahami said, “but if you think you’re going to go, why not?”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

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COMMENTS

  1. The Travel Blogger's Guide to Ireland

    Ireland Road Trip: A Two Week Itinerary for Exploring the Emerald Isle - Birdgehls. Written by a blogger who's visited Ireland seven times, this really is an expert guide to an Ireland road trip, and offers tips on where to stop, where to stay, where to eat and what to do in each of the locations in the itinerary.

  2. The Ultimate Ireland Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

    When you think of Ireland, you probably think of rain, green rolling hills, and pubs on every street. And while all of these things do exist, Ireland surprised me with so much more on my recent 2-week Ireland road trip!. Along with Guinness and pubs playing traditional Irish music, you can find beautiful parks, castles, high-end shopping, impressive lakes and valleys, cliffs that drop down ...

  3. The Perfect Ireland Itinerary & Road Trip

    Must See Cities and Destinations in Ireland. If you have: A short trip, base yourself in Dublin, explore the city and do some nearby day trips.; If you have 1 week, I recommend checking out Western Ireland, where the lush countryside meets the Atlantic - small towns like Dingle, Adare and Killarney National Park in County Kerry offer dramatic, beautiful views!

  4. 2024 Ireland Travel Guide: How To Plan The Perfect Trip!

    7. Kiss the Blarney Stone. Kissing the Blarney Stone is perhaps one of the most famous things you must do in Ireland. Located not far outside of Cork, Blarney Castle is a 570 year old castle shrouded in myths and legends, most notably those about the Blarney Stone.

  5. The Ultimate Itinerary for 7 Days in Ireland

    Then it calculates your entire trip with the exact times of when you need to arrive and leave at each destination - it is amazing. To give you an idea of what our 7 days in Ireland itinerary looks like, here is a map. Day 1: Dublin to Donegal. Day 2: Donegal to Galway. Day 3: Galway to Dromoland Castle - 1 hour.

  6. The Best Ireland Itinerary (Irishman's 2024 Guide)

    The Best Ireland Itinerary (Irishman's 2024 Guide) By Keith O'Hara. Last updated: December 29, 2023. We spent 8 months and €15,728 building what is, in my opinion, the best Ireland itinerary library available anywhere. It became clear long ago that there is no such thing as a 'one-size-fits-all' Ireland travel itinerary.

  7. Ireland travel blog guide, tips & advice

    Ireland's most popular travel and culture website. We offer Ireland travel blog guide, tips & advice for anyone visiting the Emerald Isle. Ireland travel blog guide, tips & advice - Ireland Before You Die

  8. The Ultimate Ireland Road Trip Itinerary and Travel Guide

    The Ring of Beara. Newgrange. Ireland Road Trip Itinerary. Day 1 - Dublin to Wexford (150km) Day 2 - Wexford to Cork (190km) Day 3 - Cork to Kenmare via the Ring of Beara (200km) Day 4 - Kenmare to Killarney via the Ring of Kerry (140km) Day 5 - Killarney. Day 6 - Killarney to Tralee via Dingle (160km)

  9. Ireland Travel Guide

    Northern Ireland Highlights Day Trip Including Giant's Causeway from Dublin. Celtic Boyne Valley Day Trip from Dublin. Guinness Storehouse Entrance Ticket in Dublin. Wicklow Day Trip with Guided Walk Including Glendalough Tour from Dublin. Game of Thrones™ Filming Locations and Giant's Causeway from Dublin.

  10. The Ultimate Two-Week Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

    From there, cycle down the minor roads toward Killarney and back to St. Mary's Cathedral. You will get back into Killarney around 3:30 pm. It's a 23 km (14 mi) cycle trip in total so you'll want to come prepared with food and sunscreen. Once you are back into town, take the short trip out to Aghadoe.

  11. One Week Ireland Travel Guide

    The south is the most popular with spots like the Ring of Kerry, the famed Blarney Stone, and Cork. But there's lots that you'd miss if you just saw the most popular spots! So let's get into it, the perfect week in Ireland. Day 1: Land in Dublin. We landed late in Dublin and stayed in a lovely AirBnb.

  12. Ireland Budget Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    It costs 3.50 EUR. Trekker Four Day - Unlimited travel on Irish Rail within a four-day period for 88 EUR. Car Rental - Renting a car in Ireland is affordable, with prices starting around 25 EUR per day for a multi-day rental. Renting a car is the best way to get around the country too.

  13. Ireland travel blog

    Spectacular scenery of Ireland | ireland travel blog Ireland is rated as one of the countries with the best living conditions in the world. Traveling to this beautiful country, you will admire many historical sites, rich cuisine and majestic landscapes. | ireland travel blog Ireland, the country located on the misty edge of the Atlantic Ocean is known as a destination full of mystery and ...

  14. Ireland Travel Guide by Rick Steves

    Ireland. Flung onto the foggy fringe of the Atlantic pond like a mossy millstone, Ireland drips with mystery, drawing you in for a closer look. The Irish culture — with its intricate art and mesmerizing music — is as intoxicating as a pint or two of Guinness. And today's Ireland is vibrant and cosmopolitan, yet warm and down to earth.

  15. 10 Things You Must Do in Dublin • The Blonde Abroad

    Explore the Dublin Castle. If only the walls of the over 800-year-old Dublin Castle could talk! Spanning over 11 acres in the middle of Dublin city center, the castle is home to the Chapel Royal, the Chester Beatty Library, the Garda Museum, and the Revenue Museum. Plan ample time for the Chester Beatty Library, which is home to world-class ...

  16. Solo Travel to Ireland: My Experience & Complete Guide

    Best Time to Travel to Ireland Solo. The best time to visit Ireland is in the summer which is from June to September. The weather is usually warm and mild and you'll get much longer days that last until 10pm in the evening. However this is also peak season, so places are more crowded and hotels are usually more expensive.

  17. A Mind-Blowing 5-day Itinerary for an Exciting Road Trip through Ireland

    It costs €1,90 for a car (also for the Vista van) every time you pass a toll booth. For our 5-day road trip around Ireland, the total costs were €15,50. Parking ⇒ a minor expense, we paid a couple of euros for parking in Dingle town and at the Rock of Cashel. The total cost of renting a campervan for 5 days is €719, which comes down to ...

  18. Home

    THE ONLINE GUIDE TO IRELAND TRAVEL. ... AS SEEN IN. LATEST BLOG POSTS. A Weekend in Dublin, Ireland: The Perfect 2 Day Itinerary With a weekend in Dublin, you'll be able to listen to trad music, explore historical sites, dine on tasty food, and meet friendly people. ... Ireland is truly the most quintessential Irish town that you could ...

  19. 11 Ireland travel blogs to follow

    Nial Toner is a food and travel blogger whose award-winning blog deals with food, travel, and lifestyle in Ireland and the rest of the world. They recently welcomed a child into the world so now also blog about travelling as a family and the blog is absolutely full of useful recipes, review and travel tips.

  20. Your Amazing Ireland Travel Blog Guide: Tips For Exploring The Emerald

    In this blog we will share with you all the best places to visit in the beautiful country of Ireland, as told by an Irish travel blog. If you are interested in Irish culture, tourism, history and attractions then you'll find it all here to help you plan your trip to the emerald isle.

  21. The Ultimate Dublin Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

    Dublin is beautiful, exciting, and bursting with a rich culture and a long and fascinating history! It's the capital of the Republic of Ireland, which is south of Northern Ireland, and has a major international airport, making it a popular destination for tourists from all over the globe. This guide will help you plan a trip to the iconic ...

  22. Home

    Céad míle fáilte! Welcome to Travel Around Ireland! I'm Cath, a Dublin girl, avid traveller, and lover of all things Ireland.. I want to help you plan a trip to Ireland that will be unforgettable and help you fall hopelessly in love with the Emerald Isle.. With my local expert knowledge, you can experience the best that Ireland has to offer and create a trip of a lifetime.

  23. How I learned to love the slow route home to Ireland

    A journey is so much richer and stranger when you travel close to the ground. SailRail tickets from London Euston to Dublin Ferryport from £ 102.20 return (+ booking fee) via trainline.com

  24. Where You Can See the Next Total Solar Eclipse, in 2026

    A major spoiler is weather, which will be a big variable in the 2026 eclipse — one Greenland, Iceland and Spain will see. "Iceland normally has a lot of cloud during that time of year," said ...

  25. Money blog: Spain to scrap 'golden visa' scheme in blow to British

    Spain is planning to scrap a "golden visa" scheme that grants residency rights to foreigners who make large investments in real estate. Ending the scheme would help make access to affordable ...