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19 Days In Ireland From Rosslare (‘Slow-Trip’ For Those Using Public Transport + Low Fitness)

19 Days In Ireland From Rosslare (‘Slow-Trip’ For Those Using Public Transport + Low Fitness)

Planning a 19-day Ireland itinerary can be a pain in the backside… So, we’ve done all of the hard work for you!

We’ve spent 25+ years travelling around Ireland and the itinerary below leans on that experience and the many mistakes we made along the way!

In a nutshell, this 19-day itinerary:

  • Starts and ends in Rosslare
  • Has been meticulously planned
  • Has an hour-by-hour itinerary for each day to save you time/hassle
  • Follows logical routes that take you to hidden gems, tourist favourites and great pubs and restaurants

Table of Contents

Who this itinerary will suit

Who this itinerary will suit

Now, before you scroll down, take 10 seconds to look at the graphic above – each of our road trip itineraries have been tailored to specific needs.

This road trip is specifically for those of you:

  • Starting in/near Rosslare
  • Using public transport and organised tours
  • Looking to explore at a slow pace
  • With a low level of fitness (i.e. it avoids long walks and hikes)
  • Remember, we have hundreds of different itineraries here if this one doesn’t suit you

An overview of this 19-day Ireland itinerary

map holder image 

The map above gives you a very high-level overview of where this route will take you.

It uses several bases (e.g. Cork for 3 nights) and provides you with day-long road trips you can head off on, so you avoid having to change accommodation constantly.

Now, I’ll stop rambling on – here’s a day-by-day insight into each of the days below!

Day 1: Arrive in Rosslare and head to Wexford Town

Wexford Town

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s day one and welcome to Ireland! Today, you’ve arrived into Rosslare via the ferry and will be making your way to Wexford Town, where you will be spending two nights!

We’re going to assume you’ve arrived in the country just a little before lunch, so we’ve planned an afternoon’s worth of activities for you.

Recommended accommodation in Wexford Town

Stop 1: Rosslare Europort Train Station

Rosslare

Photo left: Google Maps. Others: Shutterstock

The train station is just a five-minute walk from the harbour. There are four trains a day leaving this station.

We are assuming that you are going to make the 12:55 train. But, If you don’t make this, don’t worry, there are also buses that leave from Kelly’s Hotel and that take you into the town.

Stop 2: Arrive in Wexford and head for lunch

Simon Lambert and Sons

Photos via Simon Lambert and Sons on FB

Assuming you made the train, you should arrive in Wexford at 13:18. It’s a quick train trip, so pay extra attention so you don’t miss your stop!

We normally call into Simon Lambert and Sons whenever we’re in town. Their lunch menu has some cracking burgers (we’re partial to the bacon and cheese or the vegan burger), as well as some salads and wraps.

Stop 3: Grab a coffee and explore the town’s Viking roots

Wexford Arts Centre

Photos via D’lush Cafe on FB

When you finish lunch, it’s time for a bit of a ramble. If you fancy a coffee (or a baked treat!), head for D’lush Cafe over in Wexford Arts Centre.

Wexford Town was, in fact, founded by the Vikings way back in 800 AD. It wasn’t until 1169 that the Normans took hold of the town. 

The Vikings established Wexford Town as it was the perfect location for them to raid from, as it sits right at the mouth of the River Slaney.

As today is your first day in Ireland after travelling, it’s going to be a handy one – tomorrow, you’ll take a guided tour of the town where you’ll be treated to a full insight into the town’s interesting past.

Stop 4: Westgate Heritage Tower and Selskar Abbey

Selskar Abbey

Photos via Shutterstock

The Westgate Heritage Tower is the last of six towers that used to stand in the defensive Medieval walls that surrounded Wexford Town.

Confusingly, the Westgate Heritage Tower is not the original Westgate Tower and it was actually part of the Selskar Abbey grounds (its original name being the Selskar Gate). So, contrary to popular belief, the gate did not give street access to the town but to the abbey itself (this is probably the reason it’s still standing today, unlike the other towers, which were demolished to allow for increasing traffic).

Right next to the tower, you’ll find the Westgate Heritage Centre, where you’ll get a glimpse into what the rooms inside a Norman fortification would have looked like.

From Westgate Tower, it’s less than a 200-metre walk to Selskar Abbey. The abbey (which is now in ruin) dates back to the 1100s, although there is evidence the site was home to a Christian site that may have pre-dated the arrival of the Vikings.

Although the abbey is relatively far from the river today, when it was built, it would have overlooked the River Slaney, as the land past Redmond Square had not yet been reclaimed! Some historians even suggest that the abbey’s name ‘Selskar’ is derived from the old Norse phrase “seal skar” which means seal rock – named after an outcrop in the (then) nearby river.

Stop 5: Dinner, drinks and live music 

The Sky and The Ground

Photos via The Sky and The Ground on FB

Head back to Wexford Town for the evening. You can take the same bus back, as it’s a looped route, but it will take 20 minutes to get back instead of 10.

If you didn’t stop by your hotel already, we recommend stopping by to check in and freshen up before dinner. That way you don’t have to lug all your stuff around!

Our Wexford Town food recommendations

For dinner, we recommend checking out Cistin Eile, La Cote, or Simon Lambert and Sons (they have a different menu for dinner).

Cistin Eile serves beautifully plated modern Irish dishes, with choices like beetroot and mushroom toast with local goat’s cheese and slow-cooked beef (this is a customer favourite).

La Cote is our top choice when it comes to seafood. They have a mouth-watering tasting menu as well as an a la carte menu, featuring fishes such as Citrus Cured Sea Trout.

Simon Lambert and Sons’ dinner menu is still laden with comfort food. We recommend the Smoke BBQ Plates if you’re feeling hungry, otherwise, the fish tacos are great!

Our Wexford Town pub recommendations

For your first night, we suggest popping into The Sky and The Ground (a quirky historic pub with a great selection of craft beers and a large beer garden) or Mary’s Bar (a traditional pub) for post-dinner drinks.

If you’re in the mood for music tonight, stick around The Sky and Ground or pop into T Morris. Wexford Town is also home to the National Opera House, which would make for an interesting night!

Day 2: Wexford Town and its surrounds

Wexford tour

Photos via Shutterstock

Today you’re going to have the whole day to explore Wexford Town and its surrounds.

Get something to eat where you’re staying, or we suggest grabbing breakfast at Cappuchinos if you’d prefer to enjoy breakfast out.

Stop 1: Irish National Heritage Park

Irish National Heritage Park

Photos via Failte Ireland

Take the 887 Bus from Redmond Square out to the Irish National Heritage Park. It should be around a 10-minute journey.

It’s a really interesting spot, and most people spend between one and three hours here.

This wonderful outdoor museum showcases 9,000 years of Irish history through recreated buildings, homesteads, places of ritual, and more. It’s an engaging insight into ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ where you’ll be lucky enough to compare everything from Viking settlements to Stone Age settlements.

Choose from three guided tours running throughout the day: Pre-historic Ireland, Early Christian Ireland, or the Age of Invasion. The tours are a lot of fun, and your guides will even be donning Medieval costumes! 

Stop 2: Back to Wexford Town Centre for lunch

Wexford Town

Photos via Shutterstock

Once you’re finished looking around the heritage park, hop back on the same bus you arrived on (the 877) to get back into Wexford Town Centre.

It’s time for food, and today, we suggest checking out The Red Elephant or Trimmers Lane Cafe, which are both great choices for lunch.

We absolutely love The Red Elephant, which serves a variety of Asian dishes. They have everything from Nuea Kem Tod Jim Jaew (crispy salted beef salad) to pineapple fried rice.

Trimmers Lane Cafe is also a fantastic spot, with customers raving over their Korean chicken burgers. But, if you’re in the mood for something healthier, they also serve some delicious salads.

Stop 3: The WexWalks guided tour

Wexford tour

Photos via Shutterstock

Now, this tour requires booking in advance, as it only takes place on specific days at certain times.

However, if your do get booked on, you’ll be taken on a 75 journey through the town’s historical streets and winding lanes.

The tours are run by Paul Walsh, a local actor and history buff who will give you a wonderfully delivered insight into the town’s history.

Stop 4: Dinner, drinks, and live music

The Sky and The Ground

Photos via The Sky and The Ground on FB

Hopefully, all that exploring of Wexford has left you with an appetite as we’ve got some lovely suggestions for where to eat tonight!

Our Wexford Town food recommendations

For dinner, we recommend checking out Cistin Eile, La Cote, or Simon Lambert and Sons (they have a different menu for dinner).

Cistin Eile serves beautifully plated modern Irish dishes, with choices like beetroot and mushroom toast with local goat’s cheese and slow-cooked beef (this is a customer favourite).

La Cote is our top choice when it comes to seafood. They have a mouth-watering tasting menu as well as an a la carte menu, featuring fishes such as Citrus Cured Sea Trout.

Simon Lambert and Sons’ dinner menu is still laden with comfort food. We recommend the Smoke BBQ Plates if you’re feeling hungry, otherwise, the fish tacos are great!

Our Wexford Town pub recommendations

For your first night, we suggest popping into The Sky and The Ground (a quirky historic pub with a great selection of craft beers and a large beer garden) or Mary’s Bar (a traditional pub) for post-dinner drinks.

If you’re in the mood for music tonight, stick around The Sky and Ground or pop into T Morris. Wexford Town is also home to the National Opera House, which would make for an interesting night!

Day 3: The trip to Dublin

Dublin City

Photos via Shutterstock

On day 3 of your 19 days in Ireland, you’re waving goodbye to Wexford and hopping on a train to get to lively Dublin, where you’ll be spending five fun-filled nights!

Before you set off, get yourself some breakfast from your accommodation before you check out, or if you’d prefer to find somewhere in Wexford Town, we suggest stopping by Cream Cafe for a hearty-cooked breakfast.

Recommended accommodation in Dublin

Getting around Dublin + money savers

  • Time savers: If you want to avoid walking where possible, it’s worth getting a ticket for the Hop On Hop Off Bus around Dublin. It goes to or near all of the main sites on this itinerary plus plenty more.
  • Money saver: If you’re visiting the ‘main’ Dublin attractions, the Dublin Pass can save you €€€ (here’s how)

Stop 1: Wexford (O Hannaran) Train Station

Wexford Train Station

Photos via Google Maps and Irish Rail

After you’ve eaten, walk over to the train station and hop on the train from Wexford (O Hanrahan) to Dublin Connolly.

We’d recommend that you book your train tickets online in advance.

Stop 2: Dublin Connolly

Dublin Connolly

Photo left and bottom right: Google Maps. Other: Shutterstock

The journey takes around 2.5 hours, and you’ll find yourself getting off in the heart of Dublin, close to all of the city’s major attractions.

There’s taxis outside or, if you’re staying close by, you can always stroll. Just a note – the area around Connolly tends to have some dodgy characters hanging around it, so be vigilant of your belongings.

Stop 3: Trinity College

Trinity College

Photos via Shutterstock

Your first official stop of the day in Dublin is Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, arguably the most famous cultural attraction in Dublin.

If you can, we highly recommend pre-booking your tickets online, as the queues can get really long (bordering on ridiculous!). This fast-track ticket allows you to dodge the queue and gets you into Dublin Castle, too! 

Spend around one hour seeing the Book of Kells, walking around the exhibit, and taking in the beauty of the Old Library. After that, give yourself another 20 minutes or so to walk around the university campus.

Stop 4: Lunch

Neary's Pub

Photos © Tourism Ireland

There’s plenty of great restaurants in Dublin that serve up a delicious lunch, but if you fancy a tasty bite in a lovely old-world-style pub, Neary’s just off of Grafton Street is hard to bate!

From the Trinity Gates, it’s only a six-minute walk up Grafton Street.

They serve simple dishes (like soups and sandwiches) that are packed with flavour and great value for money. Alternatively, Sprout and Co. on Dawson St. is also a great choice.

They have a range of hearty salad bowls with good options for vegetarians and vegans.

Stop 5: The Ha’penny Bridge (via Temple Bar)

Ha’penny Bridge

Photos via Shutterstock

The Ha’penny Bridge (officially named the Liffey Bridge) dates back to 1816 and was the first pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey!

It’s a seven-minute walk from the Trinity Gates, but feel free to take your time as you make your way through the lively streets of Temple Bar

Now, Temple Bar can be a bit of a tourist trap. If you fancy a pint, here are several pubs in Temple Bar worth trying (the Palace is our go-to).

If you feel like an afternoon coffee, there are some great cafes in the Temple Bar area or on the other side of the river. Joe’s Coffee and Vice Coffee are two of our favourites across the water.

They’re both just a short stroll from the north side of the Ha’penny Bridge. 

when to visit Ireland

Stop 6: Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Next on the itinerary is Dublin Castle. Nestled in the city centre, the castle dates back to the 13th century and was the seat of the English for over 700 years.

Today, it’s an important government complex and the site of Presidential Inaugurations and key State events. The castle is around 10 minutes from the Ha’penny Bridge on foot.

There’s no admission fee to explore the grounds, but if you want to have a look inside, you’ll need to purchase tickets for either a self-guided tour or a guided tour.

Guided tours include access to the State Apartments, Exhibitions, Chapel Royal, and the Mediaeval Undercroft. Self-guided tours include access to the State Apartments and Exhibitions only. 

Tickets for guided tours can be purchased on the day of your visit at the ticket booth.

Stop 7: Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

Christ Church Cathedral dates back to the early 11th century when it was founded under Sigtrygg Silkbeard, a Norse King of Dublin. It was rebuilt later in stone, largely thanks to the first Anglo-Norman archbishop, John Cumin, in the late 12th century. 

The cathedral is only a 4-minute walk from Dublin Castle and a really interesting place to visit. Some highlights are the restored crypt houses, Strongbow’s tomb, and the Treasures of Christ Church exhibition. 

You can grab a ticket online here –  these include an audio guide that comes in several languages, with three themes to choose from – ‘Power and Politics’, ‘Music and Spirituality’, and ‘Christ Church and the City’.

Self-guided tours with an audio guide usually last around one hour. 

Stop 8: Dinner, drinks and live music

Pubs in Dublin

Different trad bars in Dublin. © Tourism Ireland

By now, you must be getting hungry. Dublin has heaps of options for dinner, but we’ve got a couple of suggestions for you!

Our dinner recommendations

If you’re looking for something close by, Spitalfields is a short walk from the cathedral. It’s a little bit pricey, but the atmosphere is great and the food is top-notch!

However, Spitalfields is 16+ only, so it’s not suitable for young families. Otherwise, check out The Bull and Castle across the street from Christ Church Cathedral.

Their menu has F.X. Buckley Steaks (renowned in Dublin), plus a great selection of local craft beers. The restaurant can get booked out pretty quickly, but you can always eat in the bar upstairs, which also has steak on the menu. 

Live music and trad bars

If you want a taste of what Dublin’s best pubs are, see our detailed Dublin pubs guide. If you’re solely looking for places that do exceptional Guinness, see our guide to Dublin’s best pints.

If you fancy a bit of live music, there’s plenty on offer. Pipers Corner on Marlborough St. has some great tunes, with live music from 9pm every Tuesday to Saturday, and from 8pm on Sunday.

The inside has more of a modern feel, but you’ll be guaranteed authentic Irish music.  

For the full experience, O’Donoghues Bar on Merrion Row has live music every night of the week. It’s about as traditional as Irish pubs get, with a brilliant atmosphere.

The Celt is another fantastic pub with live music every night from 9pm, although it’s not always traditional.

Day 4: More Dublin City sites

St. Audoen’s Church

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s day 4 of our 19 days in Ireland itinerary, and there’s a full day of Dublin sightseeing ahead of you.

Now, although we’ve focused on the city for day two of this itinerary, you could easily change this day and explore the coast of Dublin.

For example, you could get the train out to Howth Village, tackle the Howth Cliff Walk, grab lunch in the village and then take the train over to Malahide Castle.

Or, you can take it easy and stick to the city, like we do in the itinerary below.

Stop 1: Breakfast 

breakfast

Photos via Shutterstock

You may want to save money and eat breakfast at your hotel (if it’s included), but if not, we’ve got a couple of suggestions!

The Eatery on Church St. is a great choice for breakfast and it’s right across from St. Michan’s (your next stop). They do a great full Irish breakfast, or for something a little lighter, grab a pastry. 

We also love Urbanity (a 4-minute walk away) for their delicious loaded porridge and orange, mango, and banana smoothie bowl. 

Stop 2: St. Michan’s

Michan’s Dublin

Photos with thanks to Jennifer Boyer

St. Michan’s on Church Street is a great way to kick-start the day. If you don’t fancy walking, take the Luas as far as Smithfield, which is a stone’s throw from St. Michan’s.

St. Michan’s is an incredibly interesting church that dates back to 1686, although there used to be a Christian chapel on the same spot, which was established as early as 1095. 

Despite its modest size, St. Michan’s is packed full of history. In our opinion, the best way to learn about it is on their guided tour, which gives you loads of interesting info. 

During the tour, you’ll get the chance to go into the 12th-century crypts and see real-life mummies that have been preserved for over 500 years; head into the vaults which were frequented by famous author Bram Stoker; and the magnificent organ, which is one of the oldest still in use in Ireland. 

Stop 3: The Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery

Courtesy Jameson Distillery Bow St, Dublin

The Jameson Distillery on Bow St. is only a 5-minute walk from St. Michan’s and you can book tickets in advance right here.

The distillery was founded by John Jameson in 1780 and was the original site where the world-famous Jameson whiskey was distilled. 

At its height in the late 1800s, many called the distillery a “city within a city” as it was 5 acres, housing engineers, painters, carpenters, coppersmiths, and more.

There were two deep wells under the site to supply the distillery with water, and cellars were dug under streets nearby to store the whiskey. The distillery experienced highs and lows, eventually closing in 1971. 

Today, Jamesons is produced in County Cork, but the Jameson’s Distillery Bow St. offers award-winning tours and experiences.

There are several to choose from lasting between 45 and 90 minutes, but for first-timers, we recommend the 45-minute Bow St. Experience.

Stop 4: Lunch 

Brazen Head

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s some very old pubs in Dublin, but one reigns supreme! When you finish up at the distillery, you’re a short 7-minute walk to the Brazen Head.

The pub is the oldest in Dublin and one of the oldest in Ireland, dating back to 1198. They serve traditional Irish pub grub and their Guinness beef stew is divine. 

You’ve had a busy morning, so kick back here, make your belly happy and set yourself up for the next stop of the day.

Stop 5: Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Photos © Diageo via Ireland’s Content Pool

Walk off your hearty pub lunch by taking the short 14-minute stroll to the Guinness Storehouse. It’s at St. James’s Gate, the home of Guinness, and there are several tours available. 

We recommend the Guinness Storehouse Experience, a self-guided tour that takes roughly 90 minutes.

You’ll learn about Guinness’ history, its ingredients, and get to enjoy a pint of Guinness and one other Guinness beer (for ages 18+) whilst taking in the views of the Gravity Bar. 

Stop 6: Dinner, drinks and live music

Pubs in Dublin

Different trad bars in Dublin. © Tourism Ireland

For your second night in Dublin, we’ve got a few recommendations! For dinner, we love Crow Street Restaurant or Rustic Stone.

But, if you don’t mind going a little further, Richmond in Portobello is a Michelin Bib Gourmand serving modern European Cuisine.

Our dinner recommendations

If you’re looking for something close by, Spitalfields is a short walk from the cathedral. It’s a little bit pricey, but the atmosphere is great and the food is top-notch!

However, Spitalfields is 16+ only, so it’s not suitable for young families. Otherwise, check out The Bull and Castle across the street from Christ Church Cathedral.

Their menu has F.X. Buckley Steaks (renowned in Dublin), plus a great selection of local craft beers. The restaurant can get booked out pretty quickly, but you can always eat in the bar upstairs, which also has steak on the menu. 

Live music and trad bars

If you want a taste of what Dublin’s best pubs are, see our detailed Dublin pubs guide. If you’re solely looking for places that do exceptional Guinness, see our guide to Dublin’s best pints.

If you fancy a bit of live music, there’s plenty on offer. Pipers Corner on Marlborough St. has some great tunes, with live music from 9pm every Tuesday to Saturday, and from 8pm on Sunday.

The inside has more of a modern feel, but you’ll be guaranteed authentic Irish music.  

For the full experience, O’Donoghues Bar on Merrion Row has live music every night of the week. It’s about as traditional as Irish pubs get, with a brilliant atmosphere.

The Celt is another fantastic pub with live music every night from 9pm, although it’s not always traditional.

Day 5: Wicklow’s Wonders

Lough Tay

Photos via Shutterstock

Today, you’ll be exploring Wicklow, the country just south of Dublin, also known as the Garden of Ireland.

You’ve got a big day ahead of you, so make sure to grab a hearty breakfast before you head off on your bus tour.

The tour leaves near the Molly Malone Statue on Suffolk Street, so if you’d rather eat out, we recommend heading to Keoghs Cafe (just around the corner from the statue) for breakfast and a coffee. 

Getting to Wicklow option 1: A guided day trip

This 8-hour day trip includes a fully-guided day tour of Wicklow’s best sights and includes a visit to Powerscourt Gardens (you’ll need to pay into the gardens separately)!

You’ll be driven along the Sally Gap, see iconic film locations used in P.S. I Love You, Brave Heart, and Vikings, and explore an ancient 6th-century settlement. 

There are two options for this tour, so make sure to choose the option with the Powerscourt Garden visit as this is the more easy-going choice. 

We’ll take you through the stops below, but note that 1, you may not always physically stop at all of these sights and 2, these tours are subject to change, so always check with the provider in advance. 

Getting to Wicklow option 2: St. Kevin’s Bus

We definitely think a guided tour is the best way to explore Wicklow without a car, but if you can’t book onto the tour above, we suggest using St. Kevin’s Bus to get to Glendalough. 

Take a look here for an in-depth guide. This should really be your Plan B as the guided tour includes the Sally Gap Drive, which is fantastic!

Stop 1: The Sally Gap Drive

Sally Gap Drive

Photos via Shutterstock

OK, this isn’t really a stop. The Sally Gap is a famous crossroad on the Old Military Road through the Wicklow Mountains. The road was built in the early 1800s following the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

It’s a beautiful drive, with spectacular views of the mountains and blanket bog. One of the most notable attractions in this area is Lough Tay (AKA Guinness Lake). 

Another is Glenmacnass Waterfall. However, the mountain views and the narrow roads that you drive along are what’ll really make this corner of Ireland a place that you won’t forget.

Stop 2: Glendalough Monastic City

Glendalough Round Tower

Photos via Shutterstock

The Monastic City was one of the most important monastic sites in this part of the country. The city was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and went on to become one of Europe’s most famous religious sites!

Right next to the settlement, there’s a visitor centre where you can enjoy the exhibits and learn more about the site and what made it so important.

After you’re all clued up, walk the 2 minutes to the monastic site and admire the Glendalough Round Tower, Cathedral, and St. Kevin’s Church. 

Stop 3: The Lakes at Glendalough

upper lake Glendalough

Photos via Shutterstock

Along the way, you’ll be passing by Glendalough Upper Lake and Lower Lake. Carved out by a melting glacier long ago, the upper lake is spectacular, nestled between trees and mountains.

It’s home to St. Kevin’s Bed, a small cave where St. Kevin lived as a hermit for several years before he founded the monastic city. 

The lower lake is the smaller of the two but equal in beauty, with gorgeous views of the mountains and forest. 

Stop 4: Powerscourt Gardens

Powerscourt House

Photos by Chris Hill via Failte Ireland

The Powerscourt Gardens are filled with grandeur and were voted by National Geographic as one of the world’s Top Ten Gardens!

The 47-acre Powerscourt Gardens are managed by a team of five gardeners, who tend to the Walled Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Italian Garden, and more. 

The grounds are filled with ornamental lakes, formal gardens, and statues, making them perfect for a leisurely stroll!

Stop 5: Back to Dublin for the evening

Pubs in Dublin

Different trad bars in Dublin. © Tourism Ireland

After a long day of sightseeing, you’ll be heading back to the city. Head back to your hotel to freshen up before dinner, or if you’re not fussed, head out for something to eat as soon as you get back.

Our dinner recommendations

If you’re looking for something close by, Spitalfields is a short walk from the cathedral. It’s a little bit pricey, but the atmosphere is great, and the food is top-notch!

However, Spitalfields is 16+ only, so it’s not suitable for young families. Otherwise, check out The Bull and Castle across the street from Christ Church Cathedral.

Their menu has F.X. Buckley Steaks (renowned in Dublin), plus a great selection of local craft beers. The restaurant can get booked out pretty quickly, but you can always eat in the bar upstairs, which also has steak on the menu. 

Live music and trad bars

If you want a taste of what Dublin’s best pubs are, see our detailed Dublin pubs guide. If you’re solely looking for places that do exceptional Guinness, see our guide to Dublin’s best pints.

If you fancy a bit of live music, there’s plenty on offer. Pipers Corner on Marlborough St. has some great tunes, with live music from 9pm every Tuesday to Saturday, and from 8pm on Sunday.

The inside has more of a modern feel, but you’ll be guaranteed authentic Irish music.  

For the full experience, O’Donoghues Bar on Merrion Row has live music every night of the week. It’s about as traditional as Irish pubs get, with a brilliant atmosphere.

The Celt is another fantastic pub with live music every night from 9pm, although it’s not always traditional.

Day 6: The Causeway Coast 

Giants Causeway

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s time to hit the road and check out the incredible Causeway Coastal Route.

There are a bunch of tours to choose from, including ones that bring you to the Game of Thrones locations. We’ve picked this one that just does a full-day trip to the Giants Causeway while taking in a clatter of attractions along the way.

This tour leaves very early in the morning, 6:45 to be exact, so unfortunately, you don’t have a lot of options for breakfast. However, the first stop on this trip is a petrol station where you can grab a quick breakfast and some snacks for the day. 

Something to remember today is that you will be visiting Northern Ireland, which has its own currency. Not to worry though, most places take card. If you are curious about the differences between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, check out this article

Stop 1: The Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges

Photos via Shutterstock

Your first sightseeing stop today is the epic Dark Hedges. It’s here that you’ll find an avenue lined with 150 beech trees that has delighted photographers, painters and directors for many a year.

Once again, there’s a big aul Dark Hedges Game of Thrones link! If you’re a fan of the insanely successful HBO series, then you’ll probably recognise the Dark Hedges as ‘The Kings Road’. The avenue features in Season 2, Episode 1: ‘On the King’ s Road’. The Dark Hedges were featured during a scene where Arya Stark escaped from King’s Landing.

The hedges date to 1755 and were planted alongside the road running up to Gracehill House in an attempt to make the road up to the estate more formidable. Looks like it worked! Grab some photos, look out for the spooky Grey Lady, and then it’s back on the coach to Belfast for dinner and drinks.

Stop 2: Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Your next stop is the legendary Dunluce Castle. We are just making a quick stop here today to take some photos and take in this incredible castle ruin. The castle dates back to the 1500s and is rich in history. Of course, there are several legends, most notably the Dunluce Banshee, whose wails and screams are said to haunt the Northeast Tower. It’s another top spot for Game of Thrones fans, too—the castle served as the Greyjoy fortress on the Iron Isles.

Stop 3: Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

Photos via Shutterstock

The legendary landscape of the Giants Causeway boasts more than 40,000 basalt pillars, jutting proudly out from the sea. In Irish folklore, the path was used by the hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill to get to Scotland, where he fought an enemy giant.

It was formed more than 60 million years ago and has been studied by geologists for more than 300 years, making it one of the most important and unique nature reserves on Earth. You’ll spend some time climbing over the ancient stones, while your guide regales you with the myths and legends that surround this world-famous attraction.

Stop 4: Belfast

Belfast City

Photos via Shutterstock

Our final stop of the day is the city of Belfast, where you will have around 1.5 hours to explore. Wander around the Cathedral Quarter, visit the Titanic Experience or grab a quick drink in one of the many incredible pubs. If you have the time, check out this article about some of our favourite things to do in Belfast. 

Stop 5: Back to Dublin for the night

Pubs in Dublin

Different trad bars in Dublin. © Tourism Ireland

It takes around 2 hours to get from Belfast to Dublin. 

You’ll find tons of options for food, drink, entertainment, and plenty of live music here, so whether you go back to your accommodation to freshen up first or head straight out is up to you.

Our dinner recommendations

If you’re looking for something close by, Spitalfields is a short walk from the cathedral. It’s a little bit pricey, but the atmosphere is great and the food is top-notch!

However, Spitalfields is 16+ only, so it’s not suitable for young families. Otherwise, check out The Bull and Castle across the street from Christ Church Cathedral.

Their menu has F.X. Buckley Steaks (renowned in Dublin), plus a great selection of local craft beers. The restaurant can get booked out pretty quickly, but you can always eat in the bar upstairs, which also has steak on the menu. 

Live music and trad bars

If you want a taste of what Dublin’s best pubs are, see our detailed Dublin pubs guide. If you’re solely looking for places that do exceptional Guinness, see our guide to Dublin’s best pints.

If you fancy a bit of live music, there’s plenty on offer. Pipers Corner on Marlborough St. has some great tunes, with live music from 9pm every Tuesday to Saturday, and from 8pm on Sunday.

The inside has more of a modern feel, but you’ll be guaranteed authentic Irish music.  

For the full experience, O’Donoghues Bar on Merrion Row has live music every night of the week. It’s about as traditional as Irish pubs get, with a brilliant atmosphere.

The Celt is another fantastic pub with live music every night from 9pm, although it’s not always traditional.

Day 7: Mighty Meath and Louth

Trim Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

On day 7 of the 19 days in Ireland itinerary, you’ll be heading out to County Meath to explore the Boyne River Valley, known for its archaeological sites.

It’s another jam-packed day, so make sure to have a hearty breakfast and pack some snacks in case you get peckish on the road.

Today’s 10-hour organised day trip leaves from the same spot, near the Molly Malone statue. There aren’t too many breakfast options open this early, so once again, we recommend Keoghs Cafe as they open at 6am. 

Keep reading below for an overview of the tour, but please note that 1, you may not always physically stop at all of these sights and 2, these tours are subject to change, so always check with the provider in advance. 

Stop 1: Hill of Uisneach

Hill of Uisneach

Photos via Shutterstock

The Hill of Uisneach is an ancient ceremonial site that’s home to numerous monuments and earthen artefacts.

It’s an interesting spot that’s steeped in folklore, and according to Irish mythology, the hill is the centre of Ireland and where everything began!

At the site, you’ll find a conjoined ringfort, arguably the most important monument on the hill, a monument known as St Patrick’s Bed (stood at the highest point on the hill), and the Stone of the Divisions, a group of stones said to mark the exact centre of Ireland. 

Stop 2: Fore Abbey

Fore Abbey

Photos via Shutterstock

Fore Abbey is the ruin of a Benedictine Abbey founded by St. Feichin in the 7th century. The ruins are in good condition with several features that are still visible to this day, including St. Feichin’s Church which was built in 900 AD. 

The abbey is known for its legendary “Seven Wonders of Fore”. These are the monastery in the bog; the water that flows uphill; the tree that has three branches; the mill without a race; the water that doesn’t boil (in St. Fechin’s holy well); the anchorite in a cell; and the lintel-stone raised by St. Fechin’s prayers. 

Aside from the wonders, Fore Abbey is also well known for the Fore Crosses, 18 crosses that are spread out over 10km. 

Stop 3: Loughcrew Passage Tombs

Loughcrew Cairns

Photos via Shutterstock

The Loughcrew Passage Tombs, or Loughcrew Cairns, are a group of neolithic passage tombs that date back to 3000 BC.

Cairn T is the largest of the tombs and can be seen from many miles away. It contains magnificent examples of Neolithic art and is perfectly aligned to the sunrise during the spring and autumn equinoxes. 

Like Fore Abbey, this site is also entangled in folklore. According to local legend, the huge throne-like boulder (nicknamed the Hag’s Chair) on the Cairn’s north side was the seat of an old witch!

Please note that the walk up to the cairns is very steep and may prove difficult for those with low levels of fitness.

Stop 4: Trim Castle

Trim Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Trim Castle is Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman fortification. It’s very impressive with an imposing presence that’ll catch your eye from afar as you approach the town.

The Castle dates back to the 12th century and took Hugh de Lacy and his successors 30 years to complete. 

The tour of Trim Castle is well worth it, especially for any Braveheart fans, as parts of the movie were filmed there!

If you have time, take a stroll out to the large tower ruins on the hill past the castle (you can’t miss them). You’ll get a great view of the castle from afar from this point.

Stop 5: The Hill of Tara

Hill of Tara

Photos via Shutterstock

The Hill of Tara has been in use since the late Stone Age, but it’s known best as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, with all old Irish roads leading to the site!

The site is shrouded in myth, and the story of Conn of the Hundred Battles tells the tale of how the High Kings of Ireland came to be. 

It’s free to visit, with a free 25-minute Audio Visual Show at the visitor centre (in the church), and free guided tours scheduled every day.

Stop 6: Back to Dublin for the night

Dublin City

Photos via Shutterstock

From the Hill of Tara, it’s a 50-minute drive back to Dublin City Centre (depending on traffic).

Our dinner recommendations

If you’re looking for something close by, Spitalfields is a short walk from the cathedral. It’s a little bit pricey, but the atmosphere is great, and the food is top-notch!

However, Spitalfields is 16+ only, so it’s not suitable for young families. Otherwise, check out The Bull and Castle across the street from Christ Church Cathedral.

Their menu has F.X. Buckley Steaks (renowned in Dublin), plus a great selection of local craft beers. The restaurant can get booked out pretty quickly, but you can always eat in the bar upstairs, which also has steak on the menu. 

Live music and trad bars

If you want a taste of what Dublin’s best pubs are, see our detailed Dublin pubs guide. If you’re solely looking for places that do exceptional Guinness, see our guide to Dublin’s best pints.

If you fancy a bit of live music, there’s plenty on offer. Pipers Corner on Marlborough St. has some great tunes, with live music from 9pm every Tuesday to Saturday, and from 8pm on Sunday.

The inside has more of a modern feel, but you’ll be guaranteed authentic Irish music.  

For the full experience, O’Donoghues Bar on Merrion Row has live music every night of the week. It’s about as traditional as Irish pubs get, with a brilliant atmosphere.

The Celt is another fantastic pub with live music every night from 9pm, although it’s not always traditional.

Day 8: The trip to Galway

Galway City

Photos by Stephen Power via Ireland’s Content Pool

Today you’re heading to colourful Galway, where you’ll be spending four nights!

If you haven’t found anywhere to stay yet, here are our top budget, mid-range, and luxury picks for Galway:

Recommended accommodation in Galway

Stop 1: Heuston Station

Heuston Station

Photo left: Google Maps. Others: Shutterstock

The train from Dublin to Galway departs from Heuston. There are several ways to get there. You can take a taxi, walk, or take the Luas Red line, which has a stop right out of the front.

The trip to Galway takes about 2.5 hours. There are plenty of shops inside the station where you can grab snacks for the train and get some breakfast. There are better options in the station, so we recommend buying food for the train instead of waiting to buy something on the train.

Stop 2: Galway Ceannt Station

Galway Train

Bottom right photo: Shutterstock. Others: Google Maps

Welcome to Galway! The train station is located in the centre of Galway. From here we recommend you go drop off your bags before setting off to explore the city on foot.

Stop 3: Check in, get lunch and decide between walking or the bus

food in Galway

Photos via Blakes Bar Galway on FB

When you land in Galway, head to your accommodation, get checked in and head for lunch.

By now, you must be hungry. There are heaps of brilliant places for lunch in Galway, but if you don’t want the hassle of finding somewhere to eat, we’ve got a few suggestions! 

We recommend Blakes Bar (traditional pub grub), Zappis (authentic Italian cuisine), or Tigh Neachtain (Irish and international cuisine). 

Now, Galway is a very walkable city, but if it’s raining or if you fancy getting dropped to the ‘main’ attractions the hop-on/hop-off bus tour is well worth buying.

Regardless of which option you choose, here are some of our favourite sites in Galway City (we’ve listed them in a logical way for you to walk between them).

Stop 4: Galway Cathedral

galway cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

Galway Cathedral is wonderfully impressive both inside and out. It’s arguably the jewel in the Galway City skyline and you’ll cop it from many places as you stroll around the city.

Interestingly enough, it’s not as old as it looks, and construction on the building was only completed in 1965, earning it the title of ‘the last great stone cathedral to be constructed in Europe’.

The cathedral is free to enter, but visitors are asked for a donation of €2 to help with the building’s upkeep.

Stop 5: Quay Street and the Latin Quarter

Galway City

Photos by Stephen Power via Ireland’s Content Pool

Galway’s colourful streets are an absolute joy the ramble along regardless of the time of year.

If you’re walking from the cathedral, you’re a short stroll away from the Latin Quarter and Quay Street, where you can have a nosey around.

These streets are alive with the buzz from tourists and locals alike.

Stop 6: The Hall of the Red Earl

One of our favourite places to visit in Galway (especially if it’s raining!) is the Hall of the Red Earl.

The Hall of the Red Earl is one of Galway’s most interesting sites. The ruins date back to the 13th century, with ties to the founding of Galway and the Anglo-Norman De Burgo family.

It was the first municipal building in the city, used for collecting taxes, hosting banquets, and sentencing criminals. 

The Hall of the Red Earl was lost as the city grew until 1997 when the ruins were unearthed by archaeologists on behalf of the Office of the Public Works.

Today, you can walk amongst the ruins, view the artefacts, and learn about the hall’s history from the informative displays. 

Stop 7: Galway City Museum

Galway City Museum

Photos via Galway City Museum on FB

The Galway City Museum is just a stone’s throw from the Spanish Arch. It’s one of the best places to learn about Galway’s history, culture, and archaeology, with collections telling the story of prehistoric Galway all the way through to 19th and 20th-century Galway! 

The museum has three floors and seven long-term exhibitions, including The Wild Atlantic – Sea Science, and an exhibition on Pádraic Ó Conaire. 

It’s free to visit, although donations are always appreciated. 

Stop 8: Spanish Arch and the Long Walk

Spanish Arch

Photos via Shutterstock

The Spanish Arch is a must-see Galway attraction, dating back to Medieval times. The large stone arch is located on the outskirts of the city centre, overlooking the Claddagh (shore).

It originally housed soldiers who were keeping watch on the city’s Medieval walls. Its nickname is thought to come from the city’s merchant trade with the Spanish, whose ships would often be docked in the area!

From the Spanish Arch, you can take a short stroll alongside the water to what’s known as The Long Walk. You’ll likely have seen pictures of it (it’s a line of colourful buildings right on the water).

Stop 9: Dinner, drinks and live music

Galway Pubs

Photos courtesy Failte Ireland

Galway is a lively city regardless of the time of year. Here’s some spots worth checking out:

Our dinner recommendations

For dinner, we’ve got a few stellar recommendations: Ard Bia, The Quay Street Kitchen, and Dela. Ard Bia is absolutely fantastic, but you need to book in advance for dinner.

The restaurant has a quirky interior and serves beautifully presented modern dishes.

The Quay Street Kitchen has a great selection of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes, and Dela has modern Irish cuisine on the menu.

Live music and trad bars

There’s some mighty pubs in Galway. After dinner, head out for drinks at either Tigh Neachtain or The Crane. Both are traditional pubs with a great atmosphere. 

Trad music is an integral part of the city, with heaps of options to choose from. Our favourite spots are Crane Bar (mentioned above) and Tigh Chóilí.

Day 9: Connemara and Cong

cong village

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s day 9 of your 19 days in Ireland itinerary, and today you’ll be exploring the breathtaking Connemara and Cong!

Grab breakfast at your accommodation or head to Gaslight Brasserie, Esquires Organic Coffee Co, or Jungle, which are all near the departure point outside of the Hyde Hotel.

This 8-hour organised day trip takes you through Connemara, stopping at popular attractions like Kylemore Abbey.

Keep reading below for an overview of the tour, but please note that 1, you may not always physically stop at all of these sights and 2, these tours are subject to change, so always check with the provider in advance. 

Stop 1: Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Photos via Shutterstock

Kylemore Abbey is a stunning Benedictine monastery that dates back to the 1920s. It’s incredibly picturesque, sitting on the shores of Pollacapall Lough.

The lower floors of the abbey have been restored and are open to the public, as well as the beautiful Victorian Walled Garden.

The estate includes a Neo-Gothic church and several woodland and lake-side walks. 

Stop 2: Killary Fjord and Leenane

Killary Fjord

Photos via Shutterstock

Leenane is a beautiful village in an area of outstanding beauty. The village sits at the top of Killary Fjord, tucked away under the Maamturk mountains.

If you’re about ready for a second coffee and a snack, we recommend picking something up at The Purple Door, a lovely family-run cafe. 

Killary Fjord is Ireland’s only fjord! It stretches 16km across, forming a natural border between County Galway and Mayo.

It’s a truly breathtaking part of Connemara, with mountains rising up dramatically around the water. 

Stop 3: Cong

cong village

Photos via Shutterstock

Cong Abbey, or the Royal Abbey of Cong, is a historical ruin in the heart of Cong. The ruins mostly date back to the 12th century, although it was built on the site of a 6th-century monastery founded by St. Feichin. 

The current abbey was reconstructed in 1307 and dedicated to St. Mary. But, sadly it fell into ruin sometime during the mid-1500s, after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.

The ruins are in good condition and are said to be one of the best examples of medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the country. 

When you visit, try to imagine the 3,000 inhabitants that once lived on the abbey. 

Stop 4: An Spideal

Spiddal

Photos via Shutterstock

An Spideal on the shores of Galway Bay is a gorgeous little seaside village full of rural Irish charm.

There are several beaches in the town that are worth a look if you have time, or if you’d rather do some shopping for souvenirs, head to the Spiddal Craft Village & Cafe for unique gifts made by local artists. 

The village is a part of the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area), and a large percentage of the population speaks Irish regularly. 

Stop 5: Back to Galway for the night

Galway City

Photos by Stephen Power via Ireland’s Content Pool

After a long day, it’s time to make your way back to Galway. Make a stop at your hotel to freshen up for dinner, or if you’re simply too hungry, head straight to the restaurant from the bus stop!

Our dinner recommendations

For dinner, we’ve got a few stellar recommendations: Ard Bia, The Quay Street Kitchen, and Dela. Ard Bia is absolutely fantastic, but you need to book in advance for dinner.

The restaurant has a quirky interior and serves beautifully presented modern dishes.

The Quay Street Kitchen has a great selection of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes, and Dela has modern Irish cuisine on the menu.

Live music and trad bars

There’s some mighty pubs in Galway. After dinner, head out for drinks at either Tigh Neachtain or The Crane. Both are traditional pubs with a great atmosphere. 

Trad music is an integral part of the city, with heaps of options to choose from. Our favourite spots are Crane Bar (mentioned above) and Tigh Chóilí.

Day 10: The Aran Islands

Dún Aonghasa

Photos via Shutterstock

Today is going to be an adventure-filled day exploring the Aran Islands, so make sure to wear appropriate clothes and pack for all types of weather!

This 8.5-hour day trip takes you over to Inis Mor and it also sails right below the Cliffs of Moher on the return journey, giving you a very unique perspective. 

The boat departs from Galway Pier, which is just a short walk away from Eyre Square. We recommend getting breakfast where you’re staying or near Eyre Square in one of the locations we have mentioned before.

Keep reading below for an overview of the tour, but please note that 1, you may not always physically stop at all of these sights and 2, these tours are subject to change, so always check with the provider in advance.

Stop 1: Inis Mor

Inis Mor

Photos via Shutterstock

Today, you’re going to be exploring glorious Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands. The island is 31 km² and has a population of around 800 people.

Inis Mor’s residents are within the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht, and you’ll notice there’s a strong sense of Irish culture. The landscapes are incredible, with miles of stone walls and rugged coastline. 

Stop 2: Grab a bus or bike and head to see the seals

Inis Mor Seal

Photos via Shutterstock

We recommend either renting a bike (preferably an eBike), or if you don’t feel like being too active today, hopping on a mini bus tour when you arrive on the island.

It’s important to note that you’ll only have four hours on Inis Mor, so if you feel like taking it a bit easy, hopping on a mini-bus is the best option. 

Once you arrive on the island, there are several bike hire companies within walking distance of the pier: Aran Bike Hire, Inis Mor Bike Hire, and eBike Self Guided Tours. 

From the pier, it’s 4.1km to the Seal Colony Viewing Point (around 15 minutes cycling). The island is home to a population of Atlantic Seals who live close to Kilmurvey Beach. 

The viewpoint is easy to find, and during low tide, you can spot as many as a dozen seals sunbathing on the beach and rocks. 

Stop 3: Dún Aonghasa

Dún Aonghasa

Photos via Shutterstock

Dún Aonghasa is a prehistoric hill fort sitting on the edge of an 87-metre cliff.  It’s not clear exactly how old the fort is, but parts of the fort date back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

It’s the biggest fort on the Aran Islands with three impressive drystone defence walls. If you’re cycling, you’ll need to park your bike at the ‘bike parking’ area (here on Google Maps), then walk the final 1km on foot.

There’s an incline approaching the fort and the last section is on rocky ground, so good shoes are a must. There’s no barrier at the edge of the cliff, so make sure to take extra care and don’t go near to the edge. 

If you have low levels of mobility, the walk out here might be too much of a challenge. If that’s the case, you’ll find the lovely Teach Nan Phaidi close by where you can grab a coffee and a bite-to-eat, if you like.

Stop 4: The Worm Hole

Worm Hole Inis More

Photos via Shutterstock

Also known as the Serpent’s Lair or ‘Poll na bPeist’, the Worm Hole is a one-of-a-kind natural tidal pool! What makes it so unique? Well, its rectangular shape is 100% natural.

It was featured in the 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving Series and although it’s a little hard to find, it’s well worth the extra effort. 

From Dún Aonghasa, the best way to visit The Worm Hole is to (carefully) make your way east along the cliffs (stay well away from the edge). It’s roughly 1.6km with painted rocks marking the way.  

Even though it may be tempting to go for a swim, we highly advise against it as there’s no easy way to get out of the pool if you get into trouble.

The tidal pool also contains underwater currents, and depending on the tide and weather, waves can crash over the top.

Stop 5: The Black Fort

Black Fort

Photos via Shutterstock

Dún Dúchathair, or the Black Fort, is an ancient fort 2.7km (roughly 8 minutes cycling) from Kilronan. The fort is near a cliff edge and it’s thought that it gets its nickname thanks to the cliff’s dark limestone which is characteristic of the area. 

The site has terraced stone walls that surround the Clocháns (stone dwellings). Similarly to Dún Aonghasa, it’s not clear just how old the Black Fort is, but it’s believed to be built around the same time. 

The way is clearly signposted and easy to find, but before you reach the fort, the paved road ends and the terrain becomes rockier.

Most people choose to leave their bikes at the side of the road and proceed on foot. There’s no barrier or fence at the cliff edge, so once again, take extra care close to the cliffs. 

Stop 6: Lunch 

Joe Watty's

Photo left: Gareth McCormack via Failte Ireland. Others: Via Joe Watty’s

After the trek back to your bike, you must be hungry. For a small island, there are plenty of places to eat and some of our top picks are Joe Watty’s Bar, Bayview Restaurant, and Madigan’s Bar & Restaurant at the Aran Islands Hotel. 

Both Joe Watty’s Bar and Bayview Restaurant are a good pick for families, with hearty Irish dishes, delicious seafood, and a children’s menu.

Madigan’s Bar & Restaurant has a seasonal menu with light bites and a lovely outdoor seating area overlooking the water. 

Stop 7: The Cliffs of Moher from below

Cliffs of Moher cruise

Photos via Shutterstock

During the Cliffs of Moher Cruise, you’ll get the chance to view the cliffs from a completely different angle!

Whilst sitting on the boat looking up at the magnificent cliffs is awe-inspiring, our favourite part of the cruise is passing by the enchanting sea cave, which was one of several Harry Potter filming locations in Ireland.

You’ll also get the chance to see Ireland’s largest seabird colony at the An Branán Mór sea stack, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a dolphin, seal, or basking shark in the water!

Stop 8: Back to Galway for the night

Galway Pubs

Photos courtesy Failte Ireland

After another long but fun-filled day, you’ll be heading back to Galway. Luckily you’ll be dropped off at the pier, so you won’t have too far to travel back to your hotel.

Our dinner recommendations

For dinner, we’ve got a few stellar recommendations: Ard Bia, The Quay Street Kitchen, and Dela. Ard Bia is absolutely fantastic, but you need to book in advance for dinner.

The restaurant has a quirky interior and serves beautifully presented modern dishes.

The Quay Street Kitchen has a great selection of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes, and Dela has modern Irish cuisine on the menu.

Live music and trad bars

There’s some mighty pubs in Galway. After dinner, head out for drinks at either Tigh Neachtain or The Crane. Both are traditional pubs with a great atmosphere. 

Trad music is an integral part of the city, with heaps of options to choose from. Our favourite spots are Crane Bar (mentioned above) and Tigh Chóilí.

Day 11: County Clare

Cliffs of Moher

Photos via Shutterstock

Today, you’ll be taking a tour of North Clare. It’s a wonderful corner of the country, with beautiful landscapes and historical sites. It’s home to the Burren National Park and the Cliffs of Moher, one of the most popular natural tourist attractions in the country!

We’re recommending this 8-hour day trip from Galway City as it takes in a good chunk of Clare’s main attractions (and it has excellent reviews).

If you fancy a hearty breakfast, we’d recommend Pascal Coffee House (the pancakes are amazing) or Gaslight Brasserie (great for a full Irish or a breakfast burrito). 

Keep reading below for an overview of the tour, but please note that 1, you may not always physically stop at all of these sights and 2, these tours are subject to change, so always check with the provider in advance.

Stop 1: Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

The enchanting Dunguaire Castle sits on the shores of Galway Bay and has an impressive 75-foot tower.

According to legend, if you stand at the front gate and ask a question, you’ll have an answer by the end of the day!

The castle was built in 1520 and belonged to the O’Hynes clan. In 1912, the castle was bought by writer Oliver St. John Gogarty.

During his ownership, he restored the castle and hosted several famous writers, including W.B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. 

Stop 2: Corcomroe Abbey

Corcomroe Abbey

Photos via Shutterstock

Corcomroe Abbey is a late 12th/early 13th-century abbey ruin, tucked away amongst the scenic Burren hills.

The ruins are in great condition and as you pass by, admire its Cistercian architecture set against the backdrop of lush green hills. 

Stop 3: The Burren

The Burren

Photos via Shutterstock

During the tour, you’ll be driving right through the Burren, a gorgeous landscape characterised by huge limestone plateaus. 

The Burren is what is known as a karst landscape, a distinct landform that arises when carbonate rock (such as dolomite, marble, or limestone) is slowly dissolved by water, giving the land its unique shape.

In fact, the Burren is still being shaped by the rain to this day! Karst landscapes have sinkholes, caves, and underground streams, the Burren being no exception, with huge subterranean caverns below its surface.

The Burren is one of the best examples of karst landscapes worldwide, and it has a diverse range of flora and fauna thanks to its varied landscape. 

Stop 4: Doolin Pier

Doolin Pier

Photos via Shutterstock

You’ll then make a quick stop at Doolin Pier, the main access point to the nearby Aran Islands

This place tends to be a hive of activity as the two ferry providers shuttle people to and from Inis Mor, Inis Oirr and Inis Meain (you’ll be visiting Inis Mor tomorrow).

Stop 5: Lunch at Hotel Doolin

Hotel Doolin

Photos via Hotel Doolin on FB

For lunch, you’ll be heading to Fitz’s Pub and Eatery, which is a part of Hotel Doolin. It’s a cosy traditional pub serving up delicious Irish food.

The Navarin-style Irish lamb stew is a huge hit, as is the sustainable all-white fish chowder. If you’re a beer drinker, make sure to try their in-house Dooliner Beer, a creamy and smooth Irish red ale. 

Stop 6: The Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Photos via Shutterstock

Your next stop, the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland.

The cliffs are 15 minutes away from Doolin, with breathtaking views of the wild Atlantic, Galway Bay, and the Aran Islands. 

There’s a visitor centre on-site, as well as 800 metres of paved walkways with viewing areas and the historic O’Brien’s Tower. 

Stop 7: Lisdoonvarna

Lisdoonvarna

Photo left: UpSwing Mediaa. Top right: Maria Ryan Donnelly. Bottom right: Failte Ireland

Keep your eyes peeled as you pass through Lisdoonvarna, a spa town renowned for its annual matchmaking festival! The festival began in 1857, and today it attracts over 20,000 visitors from all over the globe. 

Lisdoonvarna is relatively new for Irish standards (dating back to the early 19th century), but it’s still full of charm, with colourful shop fronts and traditional houses. 

Stop 8: Back to Galway for the night

food in Galway

Photos via Blakes Bar Galway on FB

From Lisdoonvarna, it’s around one hour and 20 minutes back to Galway, so sit back and relax as you may your way back through the lovely countryside.

Our dinner recommendations

For dinner, we’ve got a few stellar recommendations: Ard Bia, The Quay Street Kitchen, and Dela. Ard Bia is absolutely fantastic, but you need to book in advance for dinner.

The restaurant has a quirky interior and serves beautifully presented modern dishes.

The Quay Street Kitchen has a great selection of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes, and Dela has modern Irish cuisine on the menu.

Live music and trad bars

There’s some mighty pubs in Galway. After dinner, head out for drinks at either Tigh Neachtain or The Crane. Both are traditional pubs with a great atmosphere. 

Trad music is an integral part of the city, with heaps of options to choose from. Our favourite spots are Crane Bar (mentioned above) and Tigh Chóilí.

Day 12: The Trip to Limerick 

Limerick City walks

Photos via Shutterstock

It is time to say goodbye to Galway and head down to Limerick City, where we will spend the next two nights. 

Before we head out for the day, grab some breakfast at your accommodation or nearby and then grab some snacks for the road. 

Recommended accommodation in Limerick

Stop 1: Getting to Limerick City from Galway 

Limerick to Galway

Photos via Google Maps

 You have two options for travelling between Galway and Limerick, bus or train. 

Citylink offers a direct service between Galway and Limerick that takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes and drops you off in the middle of the city on Henry Street. 

You can also take a train between the two however you need to be careful when booking. There are multiple direct trains a day that will get you to Limerick in around 2 hours. However, if you happen to book a train that is not direct, it will double your journey time, and you will need to change trains at least 3 times. 

Stop 2: Limerick City 

Limerick City walks

Photos via Shutterstock

Welcome to Limerick City! Head to your accommodation to drop off your things and then it’s time to explore the city. 

Stop 3: The Hunt Museum

Hunt Museum 

Photos via Tourism Ireland’s Content Pool

The Hunt Museum was established after John and Gertrude Hunt decided to donate items from their personal collection to the people of Ireland.

The museum has a large collection with over 2,500 artefacts, including pieces from Ancient Egypt and Stone-Age Ireland. Highlights of the collection include works by Picasso and dresses by famous Irish fashion designer Sybil Connolly.

Recently, the museum launched the “Museum in a Garden”, a beautiful garden dotted with 3D printed replicas of historical artefacts (you can grab a ticket online here).

Stop 4: Lunch

Hook and Ladder

Photos via Hook and Ladder on FB

It’s probably close to lunchtime by now and we’ve got a couple of suggestions for you. We usually head to Coqbull, The Buttery, or the Hook and Ladder when we’re in the city. Coqbull is a casual dining restaurant serving up top-notch burgers and wings. The Buttery is our go-to for brunch, and the Hook and Ladder (the one on Sarsfield Street) has delicious sandwiches and a mouth-watering vegan burger.

Stop 5: King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Head off to King John’s Castle, a 10-minute walk from the centre of the city. The 13th-century castle sits on King’s Island, on the banks of the River Shannon. The castle is in fantastic condition and is one of Europe’s best-preserved Norman castles.

King John’s Castle was built under the orders of King John, the “Lord of Ireland” and Richard the Lionheart’s brother. It was built in between 1200 and 1212, with numerous repairs and extensions over its 800-year history.

The castle was a military stronghold with solid curtain walls, turrets, and strong fortifications. However, despite this, it sustained heavy damage during the 1642 siege of Limerick (the first of five Limerick sieges during the 17th century). There’s a fantastic exhibition on the siege inside the castle if you’d like to learn more.

Most people spend around one and half hours visiting the castle and visitor centre. You can have a look at the interactive exhibits, try on historic costumes, and in the summer, play Medieval games in the courtyard!

Stop 6: Dinner, drinks and live music

Nancy Blakes

Photos via Nancy Blakes on FB

There’s some excellent restaurants in Limerick and there’s some mighty old-school pubs in Limerick, too.

Our Limerick food recommendations

Our absolute favourite spot for dinner is the Curragower. It’s right on the banks of the River Shannon with beautiful views of King John’s Castle across the water.

Grab some delicious pub grub like the roasted lamb rump or the lightly breaded scampi, then stick around for some pints after dinner.

Otherwise, we also like SpitJack (the rotisserie pork belly is a customer favourite) and The Locke (they have a delicious steak and ale pie and great vegetarian options).

Our Limerick pub recommendations

For drinks, again, we love the Curragower but Tom Collins is another lovely pub.

Another great trad pub is Nancy Blakes and depending on the night, they might have some music on. However, if you don’t mind heading a little out of the city centre, then Charlie Malones is a must-visit.

In our opinion, it’s one of Limerick’s best-kept secrets, with a real old-school pub vibe.

Limerick is a great city for trad music. The Locke often has music and even dancing on some nights if you’re lucky! Dolans is also great, but it’s a short walk from the city centre. 

Day 13: Bunratty Castle 

Bunratty Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Today we are going to take a short bus journey into County Clare, where we will visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. 

Before we hop on the bus, grab some breakfast at your accommodation or nearby. Cafe Rose and Bistro has great breakfast options, from delicious omelettes to freshly baked scones. 

Stop 1: The bus to Bunratty 

Treaty Stone

Photos via Shutterstock

You have two bus options to get from Limerick City to Bunratty, Dublin Coach or Bus Eireann. Both options take around 15 minutes to get to Bunratty. However, they leave at different times from different parts of the city. Dublin Coach leaves from Arthur’s Quay while Bus Eireann leaves from Limerick Bus Station.

Check the schedules, pick your bus and then head out to Bunratty.

Stop 2: Bunratty Castle and Folk Park 

Bunratty Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park sit on 26 acres of lovely countryside only 15 minutes outside of Limerick City.

Visiting the Folk Park feels like stepping back in time as 19th-century buildings and streets have been recreated to resemble what they would have originally looked like.

The park has over 30 buildings, including village shops, rural farmhouses, and Bunratty House, a beautiful Georgian home. 

You can also take a tour of Bunratty Castle, the last of four castles built on the site (grab your skip-the-line ticket online before you go.) However, prior to the castles being built, the site was home to a Viking trading camp in 970.

There is a lot to see and do at Bunratty, so if you need a break to sit down and refuel, head to Mr O’Regan’s Cafe for a cup of tea or a bite to eat. 

Stop 3: Back to Limerick City 

Limerick City walks

Photos via Shutterstock

After you’ve explored the Folk Park, head back to Limerick City on the bus. Make sure to check bus schedules and pick-up points. The journey back to Limerick City takes around 15 minutes. 

Stop 4: Lunch 

Hook and Ladder

Photos via Hook and Ladder on FB

If you are ready for a bite to eat, here are our lunch suggestions for Limerick City. 

We usually head to Coqbull, The Buttery, or the Hook and Ladder when we’re in the city. Coqbull is a casual dining restaurant serving up top-notch burgers and wings. The Buttery is our go-to for brunch, and the Hook and Ladder (the one on Sarsfield Street) has delicious sandwiches and a mouth-watering vegan burger.

Stop 5: Treaty City Brewery 

Treaty City Brewery

Photos via Treaty City Brewery on FB

While we are all fans of a pint of the black stuff, Ireland has some incredible craft breweries, and Treaty City Brewery is one of them. 

The brewery is right across from King John Castle. It is located inside what used to be a derelict building that was transformed into a beautifully modern brewery.

They offer an Ultimate Tour, where guests will be shown around the artisan brewery, learn about the brewing process from Master Brewers, followed by a complimentary beer tasting! So after lunch, head on over and join a tour or grab a pint in this really unique brewery. 

Stop 6: Dinner, drinks and live music

Nancy Blakes

Photos via Nancy Blakes on FB

There’s some excellent restaurants in Limerick and there’s some mighty old-school pubs in Limerick, too.

Our Limerick food recommendations

Our absolute favourite spot for dinner is the Curragower. It’s right on the banks of the River Shannon with beautiful views of King John’s Castle across the water.

Grab some delicious pub grub like the roasted lamb rump or the lightly breaded scampi, then stick around for some pints after dinner.

Otherwise, we also like SpitJack (the rotisserie pork belly is a customer favourite) and The Locke (they have a delicious steak and ale pie and great vegetarian options).

Our Limerick pub recommendations

For drinks, again, we love the Curragower but Tom Collins is another lovely pub.

Another great trad pub is Nancy Blakes and depending on the night, they might have some music on. However, if you don’t mind heading a little out of the city centre, then Charlie Malones is a must-visit.

In our opinion, it’s one of Limerick’s best-kept secrets, with a real old-school pub vibe.

Limerick is a great city for trad music. The Locke often has music and even dancing on some nights if you’re lucky! Dolans is also great, but it’s a short walk from the city centre.  

Day 14: The trip to Cork

English Market 

Photos by Chris Hill via Tourism Ireland

Today, you’re hopping on a bus and heading over to Cork, where you’ll be spending three nights.

Before you set off, grab some breakfast from your accommodation or somewhere nearby.

Recommended accommodation in Cork City

Stop 1: Limerick Bus Station

Limerick Colbert Station

Photos via Google Maps

The quickest and easiest way to get between Limerick City and Cork City is by bus.

Expressway offers a daily service operating out of Limerick Bus Station, which is located right next to Limerick Colbert, pictured above.  

Stop 2: Cork City

Cork City

Photos via Shutterstock

Welcome to Cork City! It’s probably nearing lunchtime by now, so head over to your accommodation to check in or drop off your bags before finding somewhere to eat and exploring the city.

Stop 3: Lunch

Myo Cafe

Photos via Myo Cafe on FB

Walk the short six minutes to the Cornmarket for lunch. Be mindful that one of the next stops is also a foodie destination, so don’t fill up too much! We recommend popping into Bodega for delicious pub grub, the Cornstore if you’re after something a little more upmarket, or Rising Suns if you’re craving a pizza.

Stop 4: Shandon Bell Tower

Shandon Bell Tower

Photos courtesy Catherine Crowley via Tourism Ireland

Shandon Bell Tower is an iconic landmark in Cork City and a must-visit attraction! The tower is a part of the Church of St. Anne, which was built in 1722. The church was built to replace an old church on the same site that was destroyed during the Seige of Cork in 1690.

You’ll need to pay a small fee to get to the top of the tower, but from the top, you’ll have wonderful views of the city, and you’ll be able to ring the bells!

From the city centre, it’s around a 10-minute walk to the Shandon Bell Tower.

Stop 5: The English Market

English Market 

Photos by Chris Hill via Tourism Ireland

The English Market is only 10 minutes away from the bell tower. It’s a beautiful covered market with impressive mid-19th-century architecture. Its name, “English Market”, was to help distinguish it from the Cornmarket, formerly known as the “Irish Market”.

The market dates back to 1788, making it one of the oldest covered markets in Europe. Aside from its history and beautiful architecture, the English Market is known for its delicious food, and you can get everything from artisanal olives to homemade jams.

Stop 6: Dinner, drinks and live music

Sin E

Photos via Sin E on FB

There are heaps of brilliant places to eat in Cork City, but we recommend Market Lane, Spitjack, Liberty Grill, and Orso.

Our Cork food recommendations

There are heaps of brilliant restaurants in Cork City, but our personal favourites are Market Lane, Old Town Whiskey Bar at Bodega, and Cornstore. 

Market Lane has a delicious-sounding menu featuring Irish favourites like pan-fried hake with braised leeks, smoked mussels, and baby potatoes.

Head to Old Town Whiskey Bar for burgers, salads, and traditional pub grub, and Cornstore for steaks and seafood. 

Great Cork City pubs

There’s some glorious pubs in Cork, too. For drinks, check out Mutton Lane (a quirky traditional pub), The Oval (a historic pub named after its unique oval ceiling), and Castle Inn (a traditional family-run pub with a great atmosphere).

There are some great spots for hearing some trad music in Cork, our top choices are Sin E and The Corner House. 

Day 15: Blarney and Cobh

Cobh

Photos via Shutterstock

Today you’re heading to Blarney and Cobh, which are both just outside of Cork City. Get ready to see castles and cathedrals and to visit the Titanic’s last stop before her tragic end.

Grab a spot of breakfast in Cork before you head out for the day. We like Cafe Gusto and The Farmgate, but you could also wander around the English Market to find somewhere. 

We’d recommend this 8-hour day trip that takes you to Blarney Castle and then onto the charming town of Cobh.

We’ll take you through the stops below, but note that 1, you may not always physically stop at all of these sights and 2, these tours are subject to change, so always check with the provider in advance. 

Stop 1: Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Blarney Castle is one of the most famous of the many castles in Ireland. The current castle dates back to 1446, but prior to that, there was another stone castle on the site that dated back to 1210. 

Blarney Castle has an interesting history and has changed hands several times.

It was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars, seized by parliament in 1646, and confiscated in the 1690s during the Williamite War when its owner (the 4th Earl of Clancarty) was captured. 

Stop 2: The Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone

Photos via Shutterstock

The Blarney Stone is a block of grey limestone built into Blarney Castle. According to folklore, anyone who kisses the stone will be given the “gift of the gab” or the gift of flattery and eloquence.

The stone has been set into the castle walls since it was built in 1446, and it’s believed that the practice of kissing the stone dates back to the late 18th century. 

Today, it’s a must-do activity in the castle, although it’s not easily achieved! To kiss the stone, you’ll need to be on your back and edge yourself closer to the stone to kiss it upside down.

There’s a large gap between the floor and the stone, but nowadays, thanks to health and safety regulations, there are metal bars to prevent you from falling if you slip through the gap. 

There are several origin stories of how kissing the stone came about, from tales involving goddesses to Queen Elizabeth I, to 15th-century lawsuits.

Stop 3: Cobh

Cobh

Photos via Shutterstock

Cobh is a historic coastal town in Cork City harbour that’s beautiful to stroll around regardless of the time of year.

It was the last stop of the Titanic before it departed for New York and home to St. Colman’s Cathedral.

Stop 4: St Colman’s Cathedral

Cobh Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

Cobh Cathedral, or St. Colman’s Cathedral, is one of Cobh’s iconic landmarks. It’s a gorgeous cathedral with large stained-glass windows, intricate carvings, and an impressive 90-metre spire that dominates the town’s skyline. 

It took 51 years from the first cornerstone being laid to the cathedral’s consecration. Building the cathedral was a mammoth project and cost well over the initial budget.

It’s just as beautiful on the inside as it is from the outside, with large stone arches, pillars, and red marble shrines. 

The cathedral is on top of a hill, so you’ll have great views over Cork Harbour. 

Stop 5: Titanic Experience

Titanic Experience

Photo left: Shutterstock. Others: Via Titanic Experience Cobh

The Titanic Experience gives visitors an immersive insight into what life was like aboard the Titanic.

It includes a 30-minute tour where you’ll experience an incredible cinematographic experience of the ship sinking. 

Aside from the tour, the experience has several exhibitions telling the personal stories of the passengers, the role of the RMS Carpathia in rescuing survivors, and much more. 

Stop 6: Back to Cork for the night

Sin E

Photos via Sin E on FB

After the day’s activities are finished, it’s time to head back to Cork for your final night.

Our Cork food recommendations

There are heaps of brilliant restaurants in Cork City, but our personal favourites are Market Lane, Old Town Whiskey Bar at Bodega, and Cornstore. 

Market Lane has a delicious-sounding menu featuring Irish favourites like pan-fried hake with braised leeks, smoked mussels, and baby potatoes.

Head to Old Town Whiskey Bar for burgers, salads, and traditional pub grub, and Cornstore for steaks and seafood. 

Great Cork City pubs

There’s some glorious pubs in Cork, too. For drinks, check out Mutton Lane (a quirky traditional pub), The Oval (a historic pub named after its unique oval ceiling), and Castle Inn (a traditional family-run pub with a great atmosphere).

There are some great spots for hearing some trad music in Cork, our top choices are Sin E and The Corner House. 

Day 16: Mizen Head or Kinsale

Mizen Head

Photos via Shutterstock

Today, we’ve two options for you. The reason for this is that option 1, the West Cork bus tour is seasonal.

The second option is to take a bus from Cork City down the road to Kinsale. We’ll run through both options below for you.

Option 1: The bus tour

Gougane Barra

Photos via Shutterstock

The first option is this 9-hour bus tour that explores West Cork. Now, from what we can see online, this mainly runs during the summer.

So, you need to check online in advance to see if tickets are available. Here’s a quick insight into where it’ll take you:

  • Stop 1 – Gougane Barra: Gougane Barra is an isolated place filled with beauty and what has to be one of the most picturesque chapels in Ireland! Tucked away in the valley, you’ll find St. Finbarr’s Oratory, a small chapel on an island on a serene lake.
  • Stop 2 – Bantry: Your next stop is Bantry,  a busy harbour town and fishing port at the mouth of Bantry Bay. The surrounding area is rich in history, with ringforts, stone circles, and megalithic tombs nearby.
  • Stop 3 – Mizen Head: Continue on the highlight of the tour, Mizen Head. You’ll find Mizen Head right on the tip of the Mizen Head Peninsula, the most southernly point of the island. The landscape is wild and rugged, characterized by jagged cliffs that plunge down into the roaring Atlantic.
  • Stop 4 – Clonakilty: Finally, you’ll be stopping at Clonakilty, a lively town filled with brilliant pubs and cute shops. The vibrant town has colourful houses and shop fronts and a thriving food and music culture.
  • Stop 5 – Back to Cork: After the long day, it’s time to head back to Cork City for dinner, drinks, and music (we’ll pop some suggestions below).

Option 2: Get the bus to Kinsale

Kinsale

Photos via Shutterstock

The second option is to take the bus from Cork City to Kinsale. There’s a regular service (the 226) that goes every day of the week, and that takes around 45 minutes or so.

It’s a handy option for those of you that either don’t fancy/can’t book onto the West Cork trip. Here’s a mini-Kinsale itinerary for you to tackle if you choose this option:

  • Stop 1 – Ramble time: Arrive in Kinsale, grab a coffee (it’s hard to beat the Cosy Cafe) and explore the town’s colourful streets.
  • Stop 2 – St Multose Church: St Multose Church is thought to be one of the oldest churches belonging to the Church of Ireland! It’s a cruciform church with a crypt that dates back to 1190, although the entire church is built on a 6th-century ecclesiastical settlement.
  • Stop 3 – The Kinsale Museum: Here you’ll find heaps of local history in a building dating back to the 1590s.
  • Stop 4 – home time: Get the bus back to Cork City for the night

Then Cork City for the night

Sin E

Photos via Sin E on FB

Our dinner recommendations

There are heaps of brilliant restaurants in Cork City, but our personal favourites are Market Lane, Old Town Whiskey Bar at Bodega, and Cornstore. 

Market Lane has a delicious-sounding menu featuring Irish favourites like pan-fried hake with braised leeks, smoked mussels, and baby potatoes, as well as international dishes like Sri Lankan vegetable curry with tempura aubergine and forbidden rice. 

Head to Old Town Whiskey Bar for burgers, salads, and traditional pub grub, and Cornstore for steaks and seafood. 

Live music and trad bars

There’s some might old-school pubs in Cork City, too. For drinks, check out Mutton Lane (a quirky traditional pub), The Oval (a historic pub named after its unique oval ceiling), and Castle Inn (a traditional family-run pub with a great atmosphere).

There are some great spots for hearing some trad music in Cork. Our top choices are Sin E and The Corner House. 

Day 17: The trip to Waterford

Waterford Treasures: Medieval Museum

Photos courtesy Waterford Museum of Treasures via Failte Ireland

It’s time to pack your things and check out of your accommodation in Cork, as today you’re heading to Waterford City, the oldest city in Ireland. You’ll spend your final two nights here before heading back to Rosslare to catch the ferry home.

Grab some breakfast at your accommodation or nearby. Alchemy Coffee on Barrack Street does great coffee and pastries, which are perfect for bringing on the journey!

Recommended accommodation in/near Waterford City

Stop 1: Travel to Waterford City

Waterford City

Photos via Shutterstock

You have two options for getting to Waterford from Cork – the bus or train. The bus is the most straightforward and what we would personally take, but we’ll outline both options below for you.

As always, we strongly recommend booking your tickets a few days in advance:

Option 1: Bus

We’d recommend getting the Expressway bus from the bus station at Parnell Place (pictured above). It takes just over 2 hours in total.

Option 2: Train

You can also get a train between the two. Just note that you may need to change trains multiple times at Mallow or at Limerick Junction, or both.

Stop 2: King of the Vikings

King of the Vikings

Photos by Peter Grogan_Emagine via Failte Ireland

As we mentioned earlier, Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland, dating back as far as 914 A.D., when it was originally a Viking settlement. King of the Vikings is a really cool virtual reality experience that shows visitors what the city would have been like when it was inhabited by Vikings.

You’ll find it inside the Viking Triangle, on the south bank of the Suir River, which was named after the 1,000-year-old Viking walls that used to surround the area. The experience takes place inside a reconstructed Viking house that sits in the centre of 13th-century Franciscan Friary ruins. The virtual reality experience lasts for 30 minutes, and since it’s only a small space with enough room for 10 people only, pre-booking is advised.

Stop 3: Reginald’s Tower

Reginald’s Tower

Photos courtesy Waterford Museum of Treasures via Failte Ireland

Your next stop, Reginald’s Tower, is only a three-minute walk down the road from the King of the Vikings. The tower is the oldest civic building in the country and has been in continuous use for over 800 years!

Originally, a wooden Viking fort stood on the site, but later on, the Anglo-Normans replaced it with the impressive stone tower. The tower was part of ancient Waterford and is thought to be one of the points of the Viking Triangle, alongside Turgesius Tower and St. Martins Castle.

Inside, you’ll find a part of the Waterford Museum of Treasures, which focuses primarily on Waterford’s Viking heritage (you’ll be visiting the other parts later!).

Stop 4: Lunch

breakfast

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s probably around lunchtime now, so grab a bite to eat somewhere in the city. We suggest checking out The Granary or McLeary’s Restaurant.

The Granary is a charming quay-side cafe offering homemade light bites such as quiches, salads, and sandwiches. McLeary’s Restaurant (not to be confused with McLeary’s Cafe, although this is another lovely spot a 15-minute walk from the Viking Triangle), is a good choice if you’re looking for a late lunch. They open at 1pm, offering Irish dishes like slow-roast lamb shank and fish and chips.

Stop 5: Waterford Treasures: Medieval Museum

Waterford Treasures: Medieval Museum

Photos courtesy Waterford Museum of Treasures via Failte Ireland

It’s time to visit another branch of the Waterford Treasures Museum, which is just a short walk from your previous stops. The Medieval Museum is the only purpose-built Medieval museum in the country, with a focus on the Medieval heritage of Waterford.

It’s an interesting museum with a great collection and some really good exhibits. Inside, you’ll find the oldest wine vault in Ireland, the only surviving full set of Medieval vestments in Europe, and the earliest gold ring brooch in Europe.

If you are a big museum fan, then it’s worth purchasing the Freedom of Waterford Value Pass, which gives access to five attractions within Waterford’s Viking Triangle. You can purchase it online here.

Stop 6: Waterford Treasures: The Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace

Photo left: Joseph Carr. Others: Keith Fitzgerald/George Munday

Your final sightseeing stop of the day is the final Waterford Treasures museum, The Bishop’s Palace. This museum is a short three-minute walk from the Medieval Museum, and well worth a visit.

It’s a cool museum set inside a magnificent 18th-century townhouse, with guided tours led by guides in historic costume! The historic home is decorated with period decor, showcasing 18th-century furniture, glass, art, and silverware. A highlight of the collection is the Penrose Decanter, the oldest piece of Waterford Crystal in the world, dating back to 1789.

Stop 7: Dinner, drinks and live music

An Uisce Beatha

Photo left: Google Maps. Others via An Uisce Beatha on Fb

You’ve a fine evening of eating and sipping ahead of you in the ancient city of Waterford.

Here’s a couple of recommendations to get you going!

Our dinner recommendations

There’s a heap of great restaurants in Waterford. Head to Momo if you’re in the mood for an eclectic mix of international dishes, with things like Thai yellow curry and Masala cauliflower steak on the menu. 

Bodega is a great choice if you’re after a casual dining experience, with some delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes on offer.

Finally, if you’re after modern European cuisine, then we recommend enjoying dinner at Sheehan’s. You’ll find classics like burgers and steaks, as well as daily specials like chicken and chorizo pie. 

Live music and trad bars

There’s some mighty pubs in Waterford. A couple of our favourites are J. & K. Walsh Victorian Spirit Grocer (a fully-preserved Victorian bar) and An Uisce Beatha (an old-school pub with a great selection of craft beers).

For live music, head to Katty Beary, Tullys Bar, and An Uisce Beatha (which we mentioned above).

Day 18: Kilkenny

Kilkenny City

Photos via Shutterstock

Today, you’ll be heading to Kilkenny, a lovely medieval town, to explore some of its top attractions!

Start the day with a hearty breakfast at your accommodation or find somewhere nearby.

Stop 1: Get the train to Kilkenny

Kilkenny to Waterford

Photos via Google Maps

There are trains from Waterford to Kilkenny leaving throughout the day.

If you catch the 11:00 train, you will be in Kilkenny by 11:35 with plenty of time to explore the city.

Stop 2: Lunch

Aroi Kilkenny

Photos via Aroi on FB

Our go-to lunch spots in Kilkenny are Aroi (a fantastic Asian fusion restaurant that opens from 12pm) or Petronella (a great spot for a light lunch or comfort food like steaks and chicken goujons, again, they open from 12pm).

Stop 3: Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Kilkenny Castle is in the heart of Kilkenny on the banks of the River Nore. The castle dates back to 1195, although the present castle is primarily a Victorian remodel, making it rather unique as far as Irish castles go. When it was built, the Norman castle, which was constructed by Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (also known as ‘Strongbow’) would have been a key defensive building.

The castle has a spectacular and lavish interior which is accessible via guided or self-guided tours. The castle grounds are equally as beautiful, with 21 acres of parklands that are free to visit. It’s well worth taking a little stroll along one of the trails and viewing the castle from the outside.

Stop 4: Smithwicks Brewery Experience

Smithwick’s tour

Photo left: Courtesy Dylan Vaughan (via Failte Ireland). Others via Smithwick’s

The Smithwick’s Brewery Experience is a short eight-minute walk from Kilkenny Castle. Smithwick’s Irish Ales can be traced back to 1710, and today, it’s one of Ireland’s most popular beers.

The guided tour of the brewery lasts roughly one hour, with information about the beer’s history, the brewing process, and a free tasting at the end (a delicious Smithwick’s pint).

Stop 5: Back to Waterford for the night

An Uisce Beatha

Photo left: Google Maps. Others via An Uisce Beatha on Fb

It’s a 13-minute walk to Kilkenny MacDonagh station. If you take the 16:44 train, you will be in Waterford by 17:21. Don’t worry if you miss it. There are plenty of trains after this one.

Our dinner recommendations

There’s a heap of great restaurants in Waterford. Head to Momo if you’re in the mood for an eclectic mix of international dishes, with things like Thai yellow curry and Masala cauliflower steak on the menu. 

Bodega is a great choice if you’re after a casual dining experience, with some delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes on offer.

Finally, if you’re after modern European cuisine, then we recommend enjoying dinner at Sheehan’s. You’ll find classics like burgers and steaks, as well as daily specials like chicken and chorizo pie. 

Live music and trad bars

There’s some mighty pubs in Waterford. A couple of our favourites are J. & K. Walsh Victorian Spirit Grocer (a fully-preserved Victorian bar) and An Uisce Beatha (an old-school pub with a great selection of craft beers).

For live music, head to Katty Beary, Tullys Bar, and An Uisce Beatha (which we mentioned above).

Day 19: The trip back to Rosslare

Waterford Bus Station

Photos via Google Maps

Today you head to Rosslare so that you can catch the ferry and head home!

Get some breakfast before you check out of your accommodation, or find somewhere nearby to eat.

Stop 1: Waterford Bus Station

Expressway operates a bus between Waterford and Rosslare Harbour. The bus takes about an hour and 20 minutes.

Stop 2: Rosslare Europort

Make sure you don’t miss your ferry!

And that’s a wrap on this road trip

slea head loop

Photos via Shutterstock

We hope you found the above road trip guide useful. If you have any questions, ask in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help.

Or, if you’d like to browse our other Irish Road Trip itineraries, visit our Road Trip Hub – cheers!

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