· · ·

The ultimate Ireland road trip itinerary: 10-14 days

Heading to Ireland? You’re in for a wonderful time. Follow this 14 day Ireland road trip itinerary, which includes places to stay, things to see and an ideal route to take.

View of the town of Derry, a must visit on your Ireland road trip itinerary.
The town of (London)Derry in Northern Ireland, an ideal stop during an Ireland road trip.

The Emerald Isle is an ideal country to visit in so many ways. And if you’re going, why not jump in a hire car and take an Ireland road trip?

It’s small, so you can see a lot in a short amount of time. There’s certainly a varied list of of things to do in Ireland. Delicious food, stunning nature and a most interesting history.

And if you’re planning a trip to Ireland, you’ll naturally have a lot of questions.

How long should you spend travelling around the country? Where should you stay? What’s worth seeing?

Will you ever get sick of the beautiful rolling green hills of the landscape around you?

I’ll address these queries over the course of this post, except for the last, which I can answer right now in one word – no.

This self driving Ireland road trip follows a route that I have done.

You’ll learn of some of the best cities to visit in Ireland, where to stay and what’s worth pulling off the road for.

Disclosure: This Ireland road trip itinerary may contain affiliate links. If you click through for additional information or make a purchase, it may result in a small commission, at no extra cost to you. See my privacy policy if you require more information. Thank you for supporting a small content creator.

Your 14 day Ireland road trip itinerary

A crumbling castle in Ireland.
You’ll see a lot of this sort of thing.

This Ireland road trip itinerary will cover:

  • How long it takes to drive around Ireland
  • The best time to visit Ireland
  • Self drive Ireland road trip itinerary
  • Safety tips for driving in Ireland
  • General tips for your trip

Need a set of wheels for your Ireland road trip?

How long does it take to drive around Ireland?

This itinerary is designed as a road trip. You can see the highlights of Ireland in around ten days, which includes Dublin, Northern Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle and Galway.

If you can stretch your trip to 14 days, you can enjoy these sites at a more relaxed pace.

I recommend spending at least a couple of nights in a town or city every few days.

Even though the distances between places of interest in Ireland are short, you’ll get tired from the driving (particularly when continually getting stuck behind tractors on one lane roads).

Plus, some places need at least a couple of night’s stay to do them justice.

  • Dublin 2 nights
  • Belfast 2 nights
  • Derry 1 night
  • Donegal 1 night
  • Sligo 1 night
  • Galway 2 nights
  • Killarney 1 night
  • Dingle 1 night
  • Cork 2 nights
  • Dublin 1 night

What is the best month to visit Ireland?

The best time to visit Ireland is in spring (March to May) and early autumn (September to November). It’s not as crowded as it is in summer, or as cold as it gets in winter.

Ireland’s weather isn’t that extreme however, so you can visit all year round.

I visited for the first time for a 7 day road trip in the middle of winter and it cold and a bit damp, but fine.

Begin your Ireland road trip at Dublin Airport

The easiest place to start your trip is at Dublin Airport. It’s a major international airport, with flights to and from many cities in Europe and America.

Alternatively, you can fly into Belfast Airport and kick off this self driving Ireland road trip from there instead. It’s wholly up to you. Take whichever option and plan your Ireland road trip around that.

You can sort your transfer from the airport to Dublin city with the DoDublin Freedom Card, which gives you unlimited access to public transport for 72 hours (including transfer to and from the airport along the 24/7 Dublin Bus route 41).

Sunset over Dublin. The country's capital will be a definite highlight of your Ireland road trip itinerary.
Sunset in Dublin

Ireland road trip stop 1: Dublin

You can’t come to Ireland and not spend at least a couple of days exploring the Irish capital.

I personally think Dublin is one of the most dynamic cities in Europe – at the very least it’s certainly one of my favourites.

Things to do in Dublin

1. Visit the Guinness Factory

This particular tour is cited as a must-do when visiting Dublin for the first time.

During this self-guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse, you’ll learn all about world-famous drink. You’ll even get a complimentary pint at the end.

If you just can’t stomach Guinness (I’m with you on this), consider jumping on the Jameson Whisky Tour instead.

2. Have a tipple in Temple Bar

It’d would be a real shame to travel to Dublin and not have a night out in Temple Bar.

The Irish sure know how to drink and party – you’re pretty much guaranteed a fun night out.

Filled with cafes, restaurants and boutique shops, it’s almost as much fun to poke around Temple Bar during the day as it is at night.

3. Catch a flick at the Irish Film Institute

The IFI is an art-house cinema that makes a point of showcasing Irish films.

If you’re interested in the cultural side of Ireland or fancy yourself to be a bit of a film buff, be sure to check out their listings during your time in Dublin.

4. Visit the Irish Emigration Museum

You can find Irish descendants just about anywhere in the world (I happen to be one, myself!).

As a country, Ireland certainly has an interesting history of voluntary and forced migration.

A visit to EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum will help you learn more about this part of Irish history.

5. Drink a hot chocolate at Butlers

Butlers is a chain that has one of the best hot chocolates in town – I’m partial to the praline milk choc, myself.

(Don’t forget to bring your own reusable cup, if you want to cut down on your plastic usage).

Cruise along the River Liffey

I’ve always thought the best way to see a city is from the water and Dublin is no exception.

You can cruise down the city’s beautiful river and learn quite a lot about its varied and interesting history.

6. Visit the Dublin Writer’s Museum

Many of the world’s most beloved literary figures hail from the Emerald Isle.

This museum features personal effects and portraits of the likes of Beckett, Yeats, Wilde and Joyce.

There are also public readings, exhibitions and the odd theatre show.

7. Check out Dublin Castle

You won’t be wanting of any sort of castle time after you trip through Ireland (you can even stay in some castles, as you’ll see throughout this post!).

Dublin Castle is a major government building and you can do guided or self-guided tours throughout the grounds (be sure to book at least a month in advance to avoid missing out).

Here’s a list of some of the best castles in Ireland – make sure you visit at least one on your road trip!

A woman stands smiling in front of a colour mural in Dublin.
Always happy to be in Dublin. 2016.

8. Have breakfast at Bewleys

Bewleys is my own personal Dublin tradition – I head to the café on Grafton St every time I’m in town to grab a full Irish breakfast. The food is good and the waiters are cute.

What can I say, I’m a red-blooded woman. We all have our weaknesses and mine happens to be Irish accents.

9. Explore Rathmines

Rathmines is a suburb of Dublin that I found to be one of the more gentrified areas. I’d head there for a tipple in a pub, or a bite to eat if I fancied being around more young things.

TIP: Consider grabbing a Dublin pass, which will give you free entry to more than 30 attractions. Depending on what activities you plan on doing, this could save you a heck-tonne of cash.

Where to stay in Dublin on your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: Jacobs Inn Hostel is a good option for budget travellers.
  • Mid-range: BO’Neills Victorian Pub & Townhouse is a five minute walk from O’Connell Street and Grafton Street.
  • Lah-di-dah: The Merrion is located right in the heart of Dublin, a short stroll to the National Gallery and National Museum. It’s a bit like travelling back in time to Georgian Dublin, with modern five star service.
  • Boutique: The Dean is a super hip hotel located in the centre of the city.
  • Eco-friendly: The Hendrick Smithfield is taking many sustainable measures, such as eliminating single-use plastic.
  • Quirky: Why not spend the night in a piece of Irish history? The beautiful Schoolhouse Hotel will provide just that, with each room dedicated to one of Ireland’s most influential historical figures.

People walk across Giants Causeway near Belfast on a beautiful, sunny day. Belfast is the second stop on your self driving Ireland road trip itinerary.
Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Ireland road trip stop 2: Belfast

The next major stop on your Ireland road trip is the capital of Northern Ireland – Belfast.

This city has a fascinating and unsettling history.

It’s also an excellent landing platform for the many areas of natural beauty that can be found in this country.

TIP: Crossing the border between Northern and the Republic of Ireland can get a little confusing, even if there is no official border control. Discover what you need to know before crossing the Irish border.

Things to do in Belfast

1. Explore Newgrange

Newgrange can be visited on the way to Belfast from Dublin on your Ireland road trip. Be sure to keep an eye out for it and not drive straight past, as it’s very easy to do.

A World Heritage Site, it’s a Megalithic Passage Tomb, built around 3200 BC.

In a marvellous feat of ancient engineering, the passage and chamber of Newgrange are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise.

A lottery for places within Newgrange on this date is draw every year, with sixty lucky people (out of about 30,000 entrants) and one guest being able to be present on the Solstice.

Try your luck and enter via email.

2. Marvel at Giant’s Causeway

This is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, a true marvel of nature.

The Causeway is one of the sights among many others in Ireland to appear on the TV show Game of Thrones.

3. Black Taxi Cab Tour

Like much of Northern Ireland, Belfast is a city of divides.

I found the local Black Cub Tours provide a good overall introduction to the story behind the region’s troubles, exploring the history behind the art and murals that pepper the Nth. Irish capital.

If you want to know more about the ‘The Troubles’ from a traveller’s perspective, Everywhereist wrote a wonderful and information-rich overview that’s worth checking out.

The peace walls in Belfast featuring political murals about the Gaza strip in 2014.
One of Belfast’s Peace Walls in 2014.

4. Visit the Peace Walls

The Peace Walls or Lines are barriers which separate the predominantly Republican and Nationalist Catholic neighbourhoods from the Loyalist and Unionist Protestant neighbourhoods in Belfast.

Although what they stand for is indeed troublesome, they’ve become public works of political art.

Many are starting to be torn down around the city, once an agreement has been reached on each side to do.

Considering that the Troubles are such a recent part of Irish history, this is a monumental movement indeed.

It’s worth going on some kind of tour to see the Peace Walls. If you don’t want to take a Black Cab Tour, consider booking a place onto a walking tour instead.

5. Check out the Titanic Belfast Museum

On another note, Belfast is of course the site from which the Titanic began its doomed journey.

Tributes to the ocean liner can be found throughout the city in the form of public art and there is a museum dedicated to the Titanic within the city itself.

6. Stroll down Stricklands Glen

The republic of and Northern Ireland are fantastic destinations for keen walkers.

Strickland Glen will take you through a wooded glen past ponds and waterfalls and onto the the North Down Coastal Path.

More murals of Belfast that can be viewed on a Black Cab Tour.
Belfast’s famous murals.

Where to stay in Belfast on your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: I was on a budget when I travelled through Belfast and stayed at
    Vagabonds. It was clean, had a pool table and I went on a pub crawl with a few of the other people staying there. Can’t ask for much more out of a hostel.
  • Mid-range: If you’re after somewhere that’s still relatively cheap but a little more private, try the Holiday Inn.
  • Lah-di-dah: The Merchant is Belfast’s most luxurious hotel. It’s won a tonne of awards and each room features décor in the style of Art Deco or with detailed Victorian interiors.
  • Eco-friendly: The Art-Deco themed Titanic Hotel is Green Tourism certified.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: Always wanted to spend the night in a lighthouse? Well, you’ll get that opportunity in NI if you play your cards right. Blackhead Lightkeepers’ House is open to the public in the form of accommodation, around 20 miles north of Belfast.
A mural in Derry, rendered in black and white. It features a group of people marching with banners and placards that read 'Civil Rights', Anti secretarian', 'One man, one vote' and 'Jobs not creed'.
One of Derry’s murals.

Ireland Road Trip Stop 3: Derry/Londonderry

Derry (or Londonderry, depending on which side of the political fence you sit on) is eerie and beautiful, with a sad, sad history.

It’s best known for being the site of Bloody Sunday or the Bogside Massacre in 1972, where British soldiers shot 28 unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest march by Northern Catholics, against internment.

If you’re particularly interested in Ireland’s modern history and want to explore it further on your Ireland road trip, then Derry is the place to do it. (I also recommend reading Patrick Radden Keefe’s excellent book Say Nothing before visiting Ireland).

It’s definitely worth spending sometime in Derry to learn about its place in the Irish troubles. Then, move on to the natural wanders that are in abundance throughout this region of Northern Ireland.

Also, for the purpose of this post I’m going to refer to the town as Derry – not because I’m taking sides – rather that this is a massive article and it’s simply shorter to type out.

Things to do in Derry

Visit the Museum of Free Derry

This museum will give you the most solid overview of Bloody Sunday and tell the tales of those who lost their lives that day. I think it’s a must-do for anyone visiting Derry and as it’s only a small space, it won’t eat up much of your time. Admission is £8.00 for adults.

Free Derry Corner, a giant white monument which reads 'You are now entering Free Derry. Graffitied with 'End genocide in Gaza'.
Free Derry Corner in 2014.

Check out the Free Derry Corner

After paying a visit to the museum, you will need to see Free Derry Corner for yourself. It marks the scene of the Battle of Bogside and acts as both a memorial and a declaration for current political issues.

You can either do a self-guided tour, or opt to jump on an organised walking tour. I took the second option and found it to be best, but it’s up to you.

Check out Derry Girls TV show filming locations

Love the popular tv show Derry Girls? Me too. It is class.

Jump on a tour with an expert guide, to be led around the filming locations of the show.

Gaze Upon Mussenden Temple

This very photographic building is perched high above the Atlantic Ocean. As the cliffs surrounding it crumble, it is moving closer and closer to the edge.

The National Trust keep an eye on it and maintain cliff restorations in order to preserve the building.

Walk The Gobbins Cliff path

Ideal for adventurers, these cliff paths are touted as being one of the most dramatic cliff walks in Europe. Tours are available over the summer months.

Ogle at the Marble Arch Caves

These caves are located in a Geopark in Northern Ireland. Tours are available, as well as other nature-based activities such as walks, cycling, fishing and canoeing.

Looking back at the 'Londonderry' section of the town, with identical brown houses, rising up and over a hill.
A town divided.

Where to Stay in Derry on your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: Angel House is five minutes from the town centre. A perfect location for backpackers or those wanting to pinch pennies on this particular trip.
  • Mid-range: For those wishing to spend a few more quid, City Hotel has a pool, a fitness centre and its own on-site restaurant.
  • Lah-di-dah: Bishop’s Gate Hotel was once a gentleman’s club which hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and W.B. Yeats. It’s now the best place to stay in the city.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: Fans of glamping should check out The Jungle’s Glamping Pods – perfect for those who like camping but may not be a fan of NI’s ever-changing weather.
  • Eco-friendly: Holiday Inn Express is a green option which includes a good breakfast.
Looking over the ocean at the Slieve League Cliffs, sea cliffs just outside the town of Donegal in Ireland's north west.
The magnificent Slieve League Cliffs (Sliabh Liag Cliffs)

Ireland road trip stop 4: Donegal

The next stop on your Ireland road trip itinerary will take you back into the Republic of Ireland, to a county that is special for many reasons.

Unlike other parts of the country, it feels largely untouched – it’s Ireland at its wildest and most rugged.

Its history dates back thousands of years, as a landing spot for Vikings and housing communities of Irish monks.

It features beautiful natural wonders, megalithic sites and communities where Gaeltacht (the Irish language) is the tongue of choice.

It’s also the beginning of the Wild Atlantic Way, a route that travels down the west coast of Ireland.

There’s so much to see and do along this track and the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape will have your jaw constantly dropping open.

Exterior of Donegal Castle, a sight to see on any Ireland road trip.
Donegal Town Castle.

Things to do in Donegal

Experience Glenveagh National Park and Castle

This National Park is a conservation area, ideal for walkers and birdwatchers. There’s also a castle you can tour through, as well as the surrounding grounds.

Check out Grianan of Aileach

This is an old stone fort, with a fantastic view.

Visit Donegal Town Castle

Another day, another castle. This 15th century building is worth checking out because unlike many other castles in the country, it’s completely intact.

Inside, you’ll find some detailed history of the town of Donegal and the surrounding region. Admission is €5.00.

Climb the Sliabh Liag Cliffs (Slieve League Cliffs)

These are some of the highest coastal sea cliffs in Ireland and you can trek a path to the top, to gaze out over the ocean.

See Malin Head, the most northernly point on Ireland

Journey out to Malin Head for bragging rights. This was a popular landing point for Vikings, too.

See Donegal Craft Village

A must for art lovers, the craft village features everything from paintings, to felt works and jewellery.

The path that leads to the town of the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal.
The Slieve League Cliff walk.

Where to stay in Donegal on your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: Haywoods B&B serves up a full Irish breakfast.
  • Mid-range: For something a little more upmarket, stay in the Central Hotel Donegal. It has a swimming pool and a bar.
  • Lah-di-dah: If you don’t mind heading out of the town centre, you won’t be disappointed by the Sandhouse Hotel and Marine Spa. Rather you’ll have the dramatic view of the Atlantic Ocean to keep you company.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: I’m telling you now – you need to stay in a castle at some point in your trip. Donegal is as good as place as any and you can have this marvellous experience at Lough Eske Castle. It’s one of the fanciest places you can stay in in the region, but it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget.
  • Eco-friendly: Minimise your footprint by staying in a yurt or shepherd’s hut at Lough Mardal Lodge, or check yourself into boutique B&B Breac.House.
A small child in gumboots walks along the edge of a giant expanse of lake at Lough Gill, framed by green mountains.
The tiny child makes the lake appear ginormous.

Ireland road trip stop 5: Sligo

Sligo is a region of rugged countryside and literary heritage, being the birthplace of the poet W.B. Yeats, who was so inspired by this place that made him.

If you’re a fan of Irish literature, then consider it a must-do on your Ireland road trip.

Explore the town centre, marvel at thousand year old relics, or go surfing on the wild, Atlantic waves, to the backdrop of Benbulbin, a large rock formation which shadows the area.

Things to do in Sligo

Visit the Yeats Society (Memorial Building)

Drop into the Yeats Society (Memorial Building) to learn more about this important literary figure’s life. Entry is €5.00 .

You can grab some morning tea at the adjoining Penny Cafe.

Stone structures at Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, with a cow looking on. These are a must-visit for history buffs on an Ireland road trip.
A megalithic structure, now with added cow.

Check out Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

These structures are older than Stonehenge, give or take a couple of thousand years.

There were originally 80 monuments on this site and I am so amused by the fact that cows were freely moving among them when we visited.

Entry is €5.00 .

Birdwatch at Lough Gill

This is a beautiful freshwater lake, certainly worth checking out on your trip through Sligo.

Immerse yourself in history at Sligo Abbey

This ruined abbey dates back to 1253.

€5.00 will get you in to explore the ruins.

Go surfing!

As it turns out, Sligo is a surfer’s paradise!

There are a bunch of surf schools in the area that will happily get you started in this most noble and gnarly sport.

The Wild Atlantic Way, a must do Ireland attraction.
Along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Where to stay in Sligo during your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: The Railway Hostel is a small, family owned hostel operating in town. For adventure backpackers hoping to get a bit of a surf in, Strandhill Lodge is both attached to a surf school and located right near Strandhill Beach.
  • Mid-range: The Glasshouse Hotel consists of a dynamic building, set on the Garravogue River in Sligo’s city centre.
  • Lah-di-dah: For those after a bit of class, luxury and privacy, head to Coopershill Estate – a family-managed hotel on 500 acres of private property.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: Teapot Lane Glamping is around 20kms from the town centre of Sligo. It’s adult only, making it the perfect accommodation for a romantic couples getaway.
  • Eco-friendly: Temple Houseis located in nearby Ballymote. The Georgian mansion has views of a 13th-century lakeside castle of the Knights Templar.
A woman stands beside a car door taking photos of views with an iPhone, while on an Ireland road trip.
You’ll be stopping constantly to snap pictures of the countryside.

Ireland road trip stop 6: Galway

Galway is the fifth biggest city in Ireland and having visited twice, I can tell you it’s great for a bit of craic.

It should definitely feature in your Ireland road trip itinerary.

Eat, drink, be merry and explore the beautiful surrounding regions during your Ireland road trip.

Things to do in Galway

Visit Connemara National Park

This National Park is rife in mountainous glory, featuring four ranges for your climbing pleasure. Go on nature walks, ogle the ponies, or have a picnic!

Paint the town red

Galway is a university town and is therefore also a party destination.

A great night out can be had here and it’s popular for respective hens and bucks nights as well.

Tour the town by bike

Get your bearings on Galway, along with some exercise after all that time spent in the car!

Check out The Spanish Arch

This arch was added to the town walls in the 16th century, for extra protection from looting.

These days, it’s part of the Galway City Museum, where you can learn more about the town’s history.

Take a ferry out to the Aran Islands

You should definitely take a trip out to the Aran Islands.

Check out the fort of Dun Aonghasa, squeal over the Inis Mor Seal Colony and explore Kilronan village, amongst plenty of other things to do.

Heck, you can even glamp on the islands. Where do I sign up?

ireland road trip
At the Cliffs of Moher in 2014.

Climb the Cliffs of Moher

These are technically in Co. Clare, but they’re not too far away from Galway City.

They also happen to the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland, so expect them to be teeming with people. Adult entry is €6.00.

Pay a visit to the Claddagh Ring Museum

These iconic Irish rings have an epic story behind them, which you can learn all about during a visit to the museum commemorating them in Galway.

As an aside, I bought a gold Claddagh ring on my first trip to Ireland in 2010 (in Dingle, my second favourite town in the country) and it remains my most loved souvenir of anywhere, ever. I’ve worn it almost every day since and you can see it in the photo above, from a return trip in 2014.

I was motivated to buy this partly due to my Irish heritage but also because Angel presented one to Buffy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I was am just a little bit obsessed with that show.

Looking over a river in Galway with houses nearby.
Leafy goodness in Galway.

Where to stay in Galway during your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel is located in the centre of town and is the perfect stumbling distance from your water-hole of choice.
  • Mid-range: Also located in Eyre Square Thirteen On The Green is a traditional pub offering up cosy rooms for the mid-range traveller.
  • Lah-di-dah: If you’re after somewhere truly special, consider heading to the Aran Island of Inis Meáin to stay in the local suites.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: The Hardiman is one of the best hotels in town, where old meets new.
  • Eco-friendly: Rent a tent to pitch by Connemara’s Wild Atlantic Way at Clifden Eco Beach. Or pick from a range of eco-options at Slieve Aughty Centre.
A woman stands in front of a horse and jaunting car.
With a jaunting car in 2010.

Ireland road trip stop 7: Killarney

Killarney’s a stop on a drive known as the ‘Ring of Kerry’, which is definitely worth doing on your Ireland road trip.

The town itself feels like it’s surrounded by nature and is full of beautiful, historic houses and castles.

Things to do in Killarney

Drive the Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a major drawcard of Co. Kerry and is best kicked off in Killarney.

On the drive you’ll head past some glorious mountains, beautiful beaches and Irish countryside at its most ruggedness.

Explore Killarney via horse and carriage!

Certain an old school method of touring a town! Take a one-hour journey around Killarney in an Irish jaunting car (horse and carriage).

I did this on an Ireland road trip years ago – it’s really great fun.

Visit Muckross House

Muckross House and Gardens is located in Ireland’s oldest National Park (see below).

This Victorian mansion is one of the many sites worth visiting on the grounds.

Tour Gap of Dunloe by boat

See some scenic sights along a boat trip of Gap of Dunloe.

You’ll visit Lord Brandon’s Cottage and Ross Castle. There’s even an optional cart and pony ride.

Ross Castle is a 15th-century tower house located in Killarney National Park, sitting on the edge of Killarney’s lower lake.

It’s open to the public in the summer months.

Explore Killarney National Park

Take a jaunting car (horse and carriage) through the park, or just explore the area on foot at your own pace.

Here’s some more information on things to see in Killarney National Park.

Eyeball Derrynane Beach

This beach is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland.

After you’ve walked up and down its length, be sure to check out nearby Derrynane Abbey & Burial Ground.

Check out the Skellig Ring

The lesser known Skellig Ring offers gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside, without nearly as many tourists as the Ring of Kerry.

You can head out to the The Skellig Islands and sight some puffins, if it’s the right time of year for it.

Pub crawl through Killarney Town

Or, just enjoy the revelry which is Killarney town!

Everyone loves a party, right?

Beautiful imagery of ponds and mountains in Ireland.
I actually have no idea where this was taken but I can assure you it was Ireland, somewhere.

Where to stay in Killarney during your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: For a simple, no fuss experience book a stay at Neptune’s Hostel, which comes with free breakfast.
  • Mid-range: The Heights Hotel offers luxurious accommodation with splendid views at an affordable price.
  • Lah-di-dah: And here’s another chance to stay in a castle, a CASTLE PEOPLE, at nearby Tralee’s Ballyseede Castle Hotel.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: The Ross is a quirky, boutique hotel that can be found in the city centre.
  • Eco-friendly: Black Sheep Hostel grow their own vegetables and herbs and are home to roaming chickens.
Two women sit astride the statue of a dolphin. Dingle is a popular stop on any Ireland road trip.
This is sadly the closest I’ve ever been to seeing Fungie. 2014.

Ireland road trip stop 8: Dingle

Dingle is hands down one of my favourite spots on the Emerald Isle.

It should definitely make your Ireland road trip itinerary.

A quiet, sleepy fishing town, with plenty of pastel coloured houses, it’s a hotspot for good food and good views, with a relaxed, seaside vibe.

Things to do in Dingle

Try to spot Fungie the dolphin

Dingle’s most famous resident is Fungie the dolphin, who tends to hang around the harbour.

I’ve never seen him (her?), but you might be able to – try your luck on a tour.

Grab an ice cream at Murphys

Murphys is an artisan ice cream shop, found all over the country but originating in Dingle.

Do yourself a favour and grab a cone, no matter what time of the year it is.

Get into some seafood chowder

Similarly, Dingle’s seafood scene is off the hook.

Order fresh fish from one of the many restaurants and cafes that dot the main street and definitely get some creamy seafood chowder whilst you’re at it.

Brightly coloured houses of Dingle, looking back from the harbour.
Looking back on the town from Dingle Harbour.

Walk the Dingle Way

Ireland has a tonne of walking trails and this particular one is 179 kilometres long.

It takes around 8-9 days to traverse.

Drive the scenic routes around the Dingle Peninsula

This is a day trip in itself. There are two scenic drives on offer – Slea Head Loop and Conor Pass.

Take your time and enjoy the coastal landscape.

Pastel coloured houses in Dingle.
Brightly coloured houses of Dingle.

Where to stay in Dingle during your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: I stayed at the Grapevine Hostel in town my last visit in Dingle, which is cheap and clean.
  • Mid-range: The Dingle Harbour Lodge is a 6-minute walk from the harbour, close to shops and restaurants.
  • Lah-di-dah: Dingle Benners Hotel is located in a traditional manner house, a short stroll out of town.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: For a boutique hotel experience, check out Castlewood House. Dingle is so beautiful that you don’t even need to get out of town to be met with truly excellent sights.
Brightly coloured houses in Cork.
Cork town centre.

Ireland road trip stop 9: Cork

Cork is the second biggest city in Ireland and its harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world.

It’s home to what is probably Ireland’s most famous castle – Blarney Castle. It should definitely be on your Ireland road trip itinerary.

It contains a very well known stone by the same name and if you kiss it, it’s said to give you the ‘Gift of the Gab’.

Things to do in Cork

Visit Blarney Castle and kiss the Stone

It’s rare that a single stone is more famous than an entire castle, but then again Ireland can be a weird place at times (good weird, I assure you).

Climb to the top of the castle, to be lowered down and kiss this particular stone.

Legend has it that those whose lips make contact with its cold, hard surface with be granted the gift of eloquence.

Entry price is €18.00

You can jump on a combined tour that’ll take you to Blarney and Cobh, where colourful houses and a stunning cathedral await you.

This town was also the last departure point for the Titanic!

Visit Fitzgerald Park

This is a place to visit if you’re after a bit of peace and quiet from Ireland’s second biggest city.

There’s museums, ponds, a cafe and a skate park.

Blarney Castle, one of the must-visit stops on an Ireland road trip.
Blarney Castle, home of the eponymous Stone.

Check out Cork City Gaol

I personally find old gaols truly fascinating and Cork’s would be no exception.

Find out more about visiting the goal.

Take a whisky tour of the city

Did you know Jameson whiskey is produced in Cork?

Head to the micro-distillery to see the largest pot still in the world and experience the live maturation warehouse.

The Irish love their whiskey, so when in Rome Ireland and all that…

Take a walking tour of Cork

Let an expert guide you around Cork and admire the maritime architecture.

Do the Ballycotton Cliff Walk

This cliff walk takes you from Ballycotton village to Ballyandreen beach.

It’s about a five mile trek.

Abandon Cork and visit Kinsale…

If you’ve had enough of the bigger Irish cities and want to ogle some more villages, head to the seaside town of Kinsale, to shop, eat and enjoy water-based activities.

…And Cape Clear Island

Cruise out to Cape Clear Island, where you can experience the Gaeltacht culture.

You’ll also get to see the very cool Fastnet Rock Lighthouse. Who doesn’t love lighthouses?!

A vibrant mural of some famous Irish people, including Oscar Wilde.
Famous Irish faces in Cork.

Where to stay in Cork during your Ireland road trip

  • Budget: Sheilas Tourist Hostel is a no fuss hostel, five minutes from the centre of Cork.
  • Mid-range: Jurys Inn overlooks the River Lee and is a five minute walk from Kent Station.
  • Lah-di-dah: The River Lee Hotel boasts a pool and spa and is fantastic value for money.
  • Boutique and/or Quirky: The Park Hotel Kenmare dates back to 1897 and has been voted the Best Hotel in Ireland.
  • Eco-friendly: Imperial Hotel Cork City doesn’t have single use plastics but does have an onsite bar.

How safe is driving in Ireland?

Driving in Ireland is very safe and not difficult. Granted, I come from a country that also drives on the left.

If you’re used to driving on the right and renting a car, I recommend getting an automatic. It’s much easier for your brain to acclimatise to this, than a manual.

The only thing to note is that some rural roads in Ireland are tiny. If you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, caravan or at worst, a tractor, you may be waiting some time until you can overtake.

Apart from that, Ireland is safe and lovely to drive around in. Be prepared for some scenic views!

ireland road trip
Part of Greenan Maze, just outside of Dublin.

Tips For Your Ireland Road Trip

  • Take turns driving – the roads in Ireland are small, narrow and often twisty – you’ll require full concentration when driving along them. And as with the UK, the Irish drive on the left side of the road.
  • Be wary of the changing systems of measurement on the roads – particular as you dip in and out of Northern Ireland. They’ll go from metric to miles and it can be a bit baffling at times.
  • Beware of Northern Irish pounds – I made this mistake once, pulling out 100 quid’s worth of Irish pounds from an ATM. They’re fine to spend in Nth. Ireland, but people in the rest of the UK will look at you as though you’re trying to pay with Monopoly money and even refuse to take them.

Concluding your two week Ireland road trip itinerary

Believe it or not, this 5000-odd word guide barely scratches the surface of what the Emerald Isle has to offer visitors and locals alike.

I for one, can’t think of any other place in the world that has had an impact as far reaching as Ireland.

People across the planet can trace their heritage back to this small, but marvellous little island. I feel honoured to be included among them.

I hope during the course of your Ireland road trip, you end up feeling the same way that I do – that hook or by crook, you will continue to explore this land of merriment and outstanding beauty, until your end of days.

Other posts about Europe

Travelling around Europe? These posts may help with your planning:

Planning a road trip around Ireland? What are you most excited about seeing?

Did you find this Ireland road trip itinerary helpful? Pin this post 📌

For a small place, Ireland packs a lot in - from history, to general craic and outstanding beauty. This two week itinerary will give you a basic overview of what you might encounter on your trip around the Emerald Isle. You'll gain some idea of what there is to see and do outside particular city centres and where to stay, for a range of budgets and interests. / #Ireland / Irish Road Trip / Ireland Itinerary /

Similar Posts


  1. This is such an awesome itinerary for Ireland!! Very thorough, detailed and covers most of the main things to see and do in this underrated country (I’ve had some of the best nights of my life in Ireland!) Love all the different options for where to stay as well. Two thumbs up 😀

    1. Thanks lovely lady! It was really fun to research and write. Problem is… now I can’t stop thinking about the place, haha.

  2. Aw I love Ireland. This is a huge amount to squeeze in, but it all sounds fantastic!

    It’s just a shame that you couldn’t head out to Connemara from Galway…but I guess that would take up the rest of your trip as it’s so pretty you might not want to go to the next place!!

    1. It is, it’s more a range of activities to pick from, but did manage to hit every place on a trip around one time there. Haha have had that feeling in Dingle and Donegal… and Dublin, tbh! It’s such a great place to visit.

  3. I have an Irish colleague who had shown me some amazing shots of Ireland. Your post is awesome and I’m soon planning a trip there
    Your post will post in handy

    1. It’s a phenomenally beautiful country, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t enjoy it! So glad to hear that it’s been helpful.

  4. Wow, this is a great post, I’m keeping this in my favorites. I’ve always wanted to go on a roadtrip through Ireland and Scotland, this is of great help. Thank you 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.