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5 Days In Ireland: A Logical Itinerary You’ll Love

5 Days In Ireland: A Logical Itinerary You’ll Love

My Irish Road Trip Library has 56 different itineraries for spending 5 days in Ireland (you can pick start points, transport type, etc.).

However, out of all of my 5 day road trips, the 1 below is hands-down the most popular!

This is a logical itinerary for those looking to explore a realistic amount of Ireland in 5 days.

You’ll need a car, you won’t have to change hotel every night and you’ll see some of Ireland’s most famous attractions. 

A quick overview:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Dublin (night 1 in Dublin)
  • Day 2: Day trip to Wicklow or Meath (night 2 in Dublin)
  • Day 3 : Killarney via Cashel (night 3 in Killarney)
  • Day 4: The Ring of Kerry (night 4 in Killarney)
  • Day 5: Depends (either back to the airport or Dingle)

A tried-and-tested itinerary for 5 days in Ireland


Right – take a few seconds to look at the map above, first, as it’ll give you a good lay-of-the-land!

Then take 30 seconds to scan the points below – they explain the key elements of this 5 day Irish road trip.

1. Where it starts

This is a 5 day Ireland road trip from Dublin. If you’re not starting in the capital, I have 5 day trips beginning in Belfast, Shannon, Wexford, Cork, Mayo and Donegal!

2. How you’ll get around

You’ll need your own mode of transport (see my guide to renting a car in Ireland).

If you are using trains and buses, I have 5 day public transport road trips starting in Dublin, Shannon, Belfast, Cork, Wexford, Mayo and Donegal.

3. Why this itinerary is so popular

The itinerary below has been used thousands of times and it is, hands-down, the one I get the most positive feedback on. The reason for this is that it is:

  • Realistic: Avoids excessive driving common in many 5 day Ireland road trips
  • Logical: Follows a tried-and-tested route that ensures you use your time efficiently

Day 1: Dublin

Welcome to Ireland’s capital! Now, the first of your 5 days in Ireland will be completely dependant on what time you land.

I’m going to follow a 1 day Dublin itinerary that assumes you’re landing early.

If you’re not, just adjust it as needed! Here are some need-to-knows:

Get your rental at the airport

So, although you won’t need a car for the first day, it’s easier to get it from Dublin Airport when you arrive, rather than having to collect it on the morning of day 2.

See my guide to renting a car in Ireland if this is your first time, as it can be a tedious task.

Night 1 and 2 accommodation

You’ll spend the first 2 nights of your 5 day Irish road trip in Dublin. Here are the places that I recommend over and over:

  • Budget: The Generator (in Smithfield – 25-minute walk from centre) and Abigail’s (hostel in Temple Bar)
  • Mid-rangeThe Harding Hotel (very central – right next to Christ Church Cathedral) and The Skylon (15-minute bus ride from the city)
  • Luxury: The Merrion (extremely central, just off St. Stephen’s Green) and The Westin (very central, just off Grafton Street)

Stop 1: The Long Room at Trinity

Trinity College

Photos via Shutterstock

The 1st stop on your 5 day trip to Ireland is the city’s Trinity College, which was incorporated in 1592, making it the oldest university in Ireland.

Now, you don’t have to be a student to enjoy Trinity – you can stroll inside its grounds and admire its Neoclassical and modern architecture.

The main landmark here is the bell tower (pictured above) which was finished in 1853.

The big attraction of Trinity, however, is the tour that takes you to the Book of Kells and the incredible Long Room Library.

The Book of Kells is an ancient manuscript that dates to around 800 AD! 

After seeing the book, you’ll continue through to the breath-taking Long Room which houses 200,000+ of Trinity’s oldest books!

There can be large queues: To avoid ’em, book a fast-track ticket for the tour that also includes Dublin Castle


Stop 2: The shortcut through Temple Bar

Temple Bar on St Patrick's Day

Photos via Shutterstock

The next stop, the Ha’penny Bridge, can be reached via a little detour through Temple Bar (it’s an 8-minute walk).

Arguably one of the most famous attractions in Dublin, Temple Bar is a ‘cultural quarter’ that gets far too much hype from visiting ‘travel bloggers’, in my opinion.

You’ll pay a ridiculous premium in many of the pubs in Temple Bar but the trade-off is live music throughout the day and a party-vibe… if that’s what you’re into!

My 2 cents: Walk right on through Temple Bar. I’ll give you some recommendations for historical city pubs in a moment!


Stop 3: The Ha’penny Bridge

Ha’penny Bridge

Photos via Shutterstock

Arguably one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland, the Ha’penny Bridge is Dublin’s original toll booth!

It has spanned the Liffey River for over 200 years and, once-upon-a-time, you had to pay a Ha’penny to cross it.

You won’t spend a huge amount of time here, but it’s a great little pit-stop en route to stop 4 of this 5 day Ireland itinerary.

Safety warning: You can get some dodgy characters hanging around on the boardwalk on the opposite side!


Stop 4: The GPO


Photos via Shutterstock

Leave the bridge and take the 5-minute walk along historic O’Connell Street.

Although the street is now home to gaudy shops and fast-food outlets, it’s steeped in history.

Keep an eye out for the different monuments that pay homage to key figures from the Easter Rising and the 1913 Dublin lock-out.

Aim for the GPO (you can’t miss it).

It’s here you’ll find one of the most overlooked museums in Dublin and it tells the story of the 1916 Easter Rising brilliantly.


Stop 5: Lunch at the oldest pub in Dublin

Brazen Head

Photos via Shutterstock

Right – it’s time for a feed and, if you fancy, a pint!

Take the 20-minute walk from the GPO to the Brazen Head – the 1st of many pubs I’ll take you to on this 5 day Ireland itinerary!

This is the oldest of the many old pubs in Dublin, and it dates back to 1198.

The exterior is like something you’d seen in Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series and the interior is like a living-museum.

You’ll get a hearty feed here, a decent pint of Guinness and a very memorable setting that’ll make it hard to leave!

Planning a 5 day Ireland road trip? My guides to deciding the best time to visit Ireland and planning a trip to Ireland will come in handy!


Stop 6: Christ Church, Dublin Castle or St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the problems with a short, 5 day trip to Ireland is that you often have to decided between one-place-or-another.

In this instance, you have 3 options:

  1. Christ Church Cathedral (8-min walk): Dates to 1030 and was established under the reign of Norse King Sigtrygg Silkbeard
  2. St. Patrick’s Cathedral (13-min walk): Dates to the 12th century and it is Ireland’s largest cathedral
  3. Dublin Castle (12-min walk): Dates to the 13th century and served as the English headquarters in Dublin for over 7 centuries

My 2 cents: Each of the above attractions are excellent. If I had to choose, I would visit Christ Church!


Stop 7: The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Photos © Diageo via Ireland’s Content Pool

The last stop on day 1 of this 5 day Ireland itinerary takes you to the Guinness Storehouse (20-min walk from Christ Church).

The home of the most famous of the many Irish beers, the Storehouse can be found at St. James’s Gate.

It was here that Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for the site in 1759!

Grab a ticket in advance (1 million+ people visit each year…) and take the self-guided tour of the interactive museum.

When you’re ready, continue up to the Gravity Bar where you’ll be treated to a freshly-poured-pint along with a view out over the city!


Stop 8: An evening in Dublin

Head back to your accommodation (see my guide on where to stay in Dublin if you haven’t decided) and chill for a bit.

Here are a handful of places to eat and pubs that I recommend to everyone spending 5 days in Dublin:

  • Restaurants: 3 of my favourite restaurants in Dublin are SOLE, Gallaghers Boxty House and FX Buckley
  • Pubs with music: Darkey Kellys, the Old Storehouse and the Celt are 3 of the best live music pubs in Dublin
  • Historic pubs: From our guide to the best bars in Dublin – Kehoe’s and Neary’s are firm favourites

Day 2 option A: Wicklow

upper lake Glendalough

Photos via Shutterstock

As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to give you 2 different options for the 2nd of your 5 days in Ireland.

‘Option A’ is Wicklow – AKA ‘The Garden County’ while ‘Option B’ is the Boyne Valley (Meath and Louth).

In my experience, ‘Option B’ is best suited to those that either 1, have a keen interest in history and/or 2, want to avoid longish walks.

Stop 1: The Sally Gap Drive (multiple stops)


Out of the many day trips from Dublin, the 26km/16 mile Sally Gap Drive is the one I’ve done this most.

This is a hugely rewarding scenic drive that starts from just outside of Roundwood Village, around a 1-hour drive from Dublin.

Here’s an overview of the stops along the route:

  1. Lough Tay: Also known as Guinness Lake, Lough Tay can be viewed from above from many vantage points
  2. Ballinastoe Woods: A now-famous woodland that can be easily accessed from along the road
  3. The ‘P.S. I Love You Bridge’: Made famous from the movie, it’s a an old-world-style-bridge
  4. Glenmacnass Waterfall: Park in the car park on the right and carefully walk along the road to the viewing area

Stop 2: Glendalough

Glendalough Round Tower

Photos via Shutterstock

Park up at the Glendalough Visitor Centre (€4) and plan to spend between one and 30 – 45 minutes exploring the centre and the ‘Monastic City’. 

The visitor centre is right next to the Monastic City, one of the most important monastic sites in 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!

At the centre, there’s a wonderful exhibition on the history of Glendalough and St. Kevin.

At the Monastic City, you’ll see the Glendalough Round Tower, one of the area’s most well-known landmarks. It stands 33 metres high and dates back almost 1000 years!

Does this itinerary not suit? Remember, we have 56 different itineraries for spending 5 days in Ireland here!


Stop 3: Choose a walk

Glendalough walks

Photos via Shutterstock

So, there are many walks in Glendalough, and they vary greatly in terms of length and difficulty.

I’ve done the different trails here many times over the years and the 2 I keep going back to are:

  1. The Lake Walk: A 2-hour/4.1km linear trail with very little incline
  2. The Spinc Walk: A 3.5 hour/9.5km looped hike that’s graded as strenuous (pictured above)

Stop 4: The Wicklow Heather for lunch

Wicklow Heather

Photo left: The Irish Road Trip. Others: Via Wicklow Heather

The most visually impressive restaurant you’ll visit during your 5 day trip to Ireland is the Wicklow Heather – a 6-minute spin from Glendalough.

I’d say I’ve eaten here 20 times over the years and, while the food is great, it’s the interior that keeps me coming back.

This is what I imagine an old Irish inn would have looked like back in the day – beautiful wooden panelling, beamed ceilings and thousands of photos and artefacts covering its walls.

Get in, rest your legs, make your belly happy and enjoy your very unique surroundings!


Stop 5: Powerscourt Waterfall

Powerscourt Waterfall

Photos via Shutterstock

The last stop before your journey back to Dublin for the night is Powerscourt Waterfall – a 25-minute drive away.

The waterfall here, which stands at around 121 metres, is the highest waterfall in Ireland.

It’s easily accessible, too! Park up and take the 30-minute walk that takes you right up to the base of the falls.

It’s particularly impressive after heavy rainfall!

Beware of the flies: If you visit during the summer months, this whole area is swarmed with them!


Stop 7: Back to Dublin


Photo left © Tourism Ireland. Others via Kehoe’s

It’ll take you around 1-hour to get back to Dublin.

I’m going to give you some different food and pub recommendations for this evening:

Day 2 option B: The Boyne Valley

Hill of Slane

Photos via Shutterstock

‘Option 2’ for the 2nd day of your 5 days in Ireland is the ancient Boyne Valley, which is home to counties Meath and Louth.

This day will suit those of you with an interest in Ireland’s past, as it takes in Newgrange and one of the best castles in Ireland.

Although you’ll see a lot if you follow this option for day 2 of your 5 day Ireland road trip, you won’t have to drive too much, as the attractions are all relatively close together.


Stop 1: Newgrange


Photos via Shutterstock

Take the 45-minute drive from Dublin City to the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site.

It’s here that you’ll find Newgrange – a neolithic passage tomb that dates to 3200 BC.

One of Ireland’s most famous historical sites, it attracts the attention of the world on December 21st.

The world watches on as the winter solstice sunrise illuminates the inner chamber, a phenomenon believed to be linked to ancient rituals.

The tour here is 1-hour long and it’s likely to be one of the most memorable stops on your 5 day Ireland road trip!

Book in advance: Pre-booking is essential if you want to visit Newgrange – you won’t get tickets at the door!


Stop 2: St Peter’s Church

Church Drogheda

Photos via Shutterstock

Take the 15-minute spin from Brú na Bóinne to the town of Drogheda (you’ll find parking here).

Take the 5-minute walk around to the impressive St. Peter’s Church and admire the French-Gothic architecture from the outside, first.

The church dates to 1884 and, inside, you’ll find an… interesting feature – the head of St. Oliver Plunkett.

Yes, his head. Plunkett was a Catholic archbishop who met his end after being done for ‘promoting the Roman Faith’ in England.

Does this 5 day Ireland itinerary not suit? Don’t worry – I have 56 different itineraries for spending 5 days in Ireland here!


Stop 3: Monasterboice


Photos via Shutterstock

Next up is the Christian settletment of Monasterboice, a 12-minute drive away.

Now, you don’t tend to see this in many 5 day Ireland road trips, but it’s a historically significant site that most will enjoy.

The ruins at Monasterboice date back to the late 5th century when it formed an important centre of religion.

It thrived up until 1142 when nearby Mellifont Abbey was founded.

You’ll likely only spend 30 minutes here, but the 28-metre-high round tower, the ruins and the outstanding Celtic crosses (1 of which is Ireland’s tallest) make it a memorable stop.


Stop 4: Lunch and the Kells Round Tower and High Crosses

Kells Round Tower

Photos via Shutterstock

Take the 35-minute drive to the town of Kells, next and let’s grab a bit of lunch.

Now, I’m going to give you a slightly odd recommendation – head for the ParkRi service station.

Yes, a service station… The best one you’ll every visit! You’ll find a heap of top-quality food options here.

When you’re ready, head over to see Kells Round Tower and High Cross.

You’ll see the 26-metre-high round tower as you approach along with the crosses, some-of-which date to the 9th century, nearby.


Stop 5: Trim Castle

Trim Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Trim Castle (25-minute drive) will likely be another of the highlights from this 5 day Ireland itinerary.

This is the largest Anglo-Norman fortification in Ireland and it’s incredibly impressive when viewing from afar.

It dates to the 12th century and it took over 30 years to finish. Although now in ruin, it’s still relatively well-preserved given its age!

Made famous thanks to its ‘Braveheart’ connection, it’s free to visit but you can also pay for a guided tour.

Go-for-guided! I’ve done the guided and the self-guided tour here and the guided wins hands-down!


Stop 6: Bective Abbey

Bective Abbey

Photos via Shutterstock

The next stop, Bective Abbey, is a handy 8-minute spin from Trim!

Although the ruins here date to the 13th and 15th centuries, there has been an abbey at this site since 1147.

It was founded for the Cistercian Order and the chapter house, church, and cloister are all still visible!

Although free-to-visit, Bective tends to be fairly quiet throughout the year. Allow 20-30 minutes here.


Stop 7: The Hill of Tara

Hill of Tara

Photos via Shutterstock

The final stop on day 2 of your 5 days in Ireland is a 10-minute drive away.

The famous Hill of Tara has been in use since the late Stone Age and it is a sacred site in Irish Mythology as it was the seat of Ireland’s High Kings!

Now, many that just head for a ramble around Tara leave underwhelmed (it’s not very visually impressive).

If you can please watch the free audio visual show at the visitor centre (inside the church) or take one of the guided tours.

Either of the above will help you understand and appreciate the significance of this ancient site.


Stop 8: Back to Dublin


Photo left © Tourism Ireland. Others via Kehoe’s

It’ll take you around 40-minutes to get back to Dublin.

If you fancy a feed, see my guide to Dublin’s finest restaurants.

If you fancy rounding of the 2nd night of your 5 day Ireland road trip with a drink, see my Dublin pubs guide.

Day 3: Killarney via Cashel

Muckross Abbey 

Photos via Shutterstock

The 3rd of your 5 days in Ireland will see you leave Dublin and head to the buzzy town of Killarney in Kerry.

You’ll stop at the ancient Rock of Dunamase, first, and then the outstanding Rock of Cashel, to break up the journey.

Where to stay in Killarney on night 3, 4 and potentially 5

Stop 1: The Rock of Dunamase

the Rock of Dunamase

Photos via Shutterstock

The Rock of Dunamase in County Laois is around a 1-hour drive from Dublin.

You’ll see it from afar as it sits in an elevated position at 46 metres/151 feet.

There have been numerous fortifications on this site over the years, as was revealed by excavations that took place in the 1990s.

There was a hill fort during the 9th century and then, around 845, Dublin’s Vikings sieged the site.

The current castle, which was built during the 12 century, is now in ruin, but you can park here and then take a short but steepish walk up to it for a look around.


Stop 2: Rock of Dunamase to Cashel

Rock of Cashel

Photos via Shutterstock

The Rock of Cashel will be the highlight for many that follow this 5 days in Ireland itinerary.

It’s a 55-minute drive from Dunamase and, although it’ll break up your trip to Killarney, it’s a hugely rewarding stop.

The Rock of Cashel looms over the busy town of Cashel in Tipperary from its position on top of a limestone outcrop.

It was originally the seat of the Kings of Munster, but in 1101, it was given to the church. It quickly became one of Ireland’s most important ecclesiastical centres.

The Rock of Cashel tour: The 1-hour guided tour is extremely popular so make sure to book tickets in advance


Stop 3: Cashel to Killarney

killarney horse and cart

Photos via Shutterstock

You’re a 2-hour drive from Killarney when you finish up at Cashel.

When you arrive, check-in to your accommodation (see my guide on where to stay in Killarney if you’re undecided) and then grab some lunch.

If you’re after something tasty and casual, J.M. Reidy’s rarely disappoints.

Day 3 of this 5 day Ireland road trip isn’t over – you’re going to explore a bit of Killarney, next!


Stop 4: Ross Castle

Ross Castle

Photos by The Irish Road Trip

Ross Castle is located inside Killarney National Park and, depending on where you had lunch, it should be walkable.

However, I’m going to recommend you drive as you’ll need the car for the next two stops!

Ross Castle, which dates to the 15th century, was built at the edge of Lough Leane by the O’Donoghue Mór clan.

Now, you can take a tour of the castle but, personally, I’ve always found it better to admire from the outside if I’m pressed for time.

It’s location right by the lake, surrounded by mountains and woodland, makes it an impressive sight to behold.

Does this itinerary not tick all of your boxes? Don’t worry – we have 56 different itineraries for spending 5 days in Ireland here!


Stop 5: Muckross Abbey

Muckross Abbey

Photos by The Irish Road Trip

Muckross Abbey is a 20-minute drive from the castle and it’ll take you roughly 20 minutes to walk to it and the same back.

A visit here is one of the more popular things to do in Killarney for good reason!

Although now in ruin, you can explore the 2 floors of the abbey and admire the many surviving architectural marvels, like the 3 mullioned window.

The abbey is a Franciscan friary and it dates to 1448. It’s most impressive feature is the giant yew tree that grows at its centre.


Stop 6: Torc Waterfall

how to get to Torc Waterfall

Photos via Shutterstock

The last stop on day 3 of this 5 day Ireland itinerary is Torc Waterfall, an 8-minute drive from Muckross.

Now, I left this last for a reason – Torc tends to be mobbed with people during the day and it’s near impossible to get parking.

Visiting later in the evening gives you a better chance at 1, being able to park next to it and 2, enjoying it when it’s a little quieter.

Torc is 66 ft high and 360 ft long and it’s a handy 5-minute walk from the car park, so it’s very accessible!


Stop 7: Killarney for the night

best pubs in Killarney

Photos via Jimmy Brien’s on FB

And that is day 3 of your 5 days in Ireland finished.

Killarney Town is a tourist-hot-spot and it’s pubs and restaurants tend to be buzzing throughout the year.

Here are the restaurants and pubs I go back to over-and-over again.


Day 4: The Ring of Kerry

ring of kerry route 2024

The Ring of Kerry Drive will be the highlight for many that follow this 5 days in Ireland itinerary.

I have a tried-and-tested (I’ve done it 14 times…) 1-day Ring of Kerry itinerary that takes in the best of the Iveragh Peninsula.

Get a decent breakfast in Killarney and then hit the road no later than 09:00 – you’ve a busy day ahead!

An overview of the route


So, you’ve already visited the first 3 stops from the map above, so you’re going to start from Ladies View, around a 20-minute drive from the town.

I won’t go through all of the stops in detail, as I do that here, but I’ll give you an overview.

  • Stop 1: Ladies View: The most impressive viewpoint on this 5-day Ireland itinerary
  • Stop 2: Moll’s Gap: A winding pass with breathtaking vistas of the Macgillycuddy’s
  • Stop 3: Kenmare: A charming town that’s notably quieter than Killarney
  • Stop 4: Staigue Stone Fort: An ancient fort built between 300 and 400 AD
  • Stop 5: Caherdaniel for lunch: Fuel up at the Blind Piper
  • Stop 6: Derrynane Beach: One of the Wild Atlantic Way’s finest
  • Stop 7: Coomakista viewpoint: A famous viewpoint
  • Stop 8: Coomanaspig: One of Ireland’s highest accessible points by car
  • Stop 9: Kerry Cliffs: Jaw-dropping cliffs towering 1,000 feet high
  • Stop 10: Valentia Island: Drive to Geokaun viewpoint for breath-taking views
  • Stop 11: Dinner in Portmagee: Grab a bite in the Moorings
  • Stop 12: Return to Killarney: It’s a 1-hour and 20-minute drive

Day 5: Depends (either back to the airport or Dingle)

Best Things to do in Dingle Ireland

The 5th day on this 5 day Ireland itinerary will be completely dependant on your plans.

If you’re flying home/getting the ferry home/or heading back to where you live in Ireland, you’ll need day 5 to travel.

If you have the full day 5 to explore, then it’s time for a day trip to the the Dingle Peninsula!

Stop 1: Inch Beach

Inch Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Stop 1 on day 5 of this 5 day Ireland road trip is a 40-minute spin from Killarney.

Although Inch Beach is on the Dingle Peninsula it is, as you can see from the aerial photo above, like a peninsula in itself!

It stretched for an impressive 5.5km and is one of the best beaches in Ireland for surfing.

Grab a coffee from Sammy’s (you can’t miss it!) and then head for a saunter while admiring the mountains and watching the surfers tackle the waves.

Does this itinerary not tick all of your boxes? Don’t worry – we have 56 different itineraries for spending 5 days in Ireland here!


Stop 2: Conor Pass

Conor Pass

Photos via Shutterstock

Our next stop is a 30-minute drive away – Conor Pass.

It stands at 410m above sea level and it’s one of the island’s highest mountain passes.

Please take note of the following:

  • If you’re driving in Ireland for the first time: Approach from the Dingle Town side. You can pull in and admire the view without having to drive it
  • If you want to drive it: Stick ‘Conor Pass’ into Google Maps and take the shorter route to the pass. You’ll drive it both ways

Stop 3: Dingle Town

Dingle Town

Photos via Shutterstock

Your next stop is the very lively Dingle Town, a 10-minute drive from Conor Pass.

Park at the harbour (here’s the car park) and then head-off around the town on foot.

You’ll see the status of Dingle’s famous dolphin, Fungie, along with the town’s colourful streets.

If you fancy some a great coffee and a pastry, head to Bean in Dingle. For breakfast, My Boy Blue is hard to bate.

If you’re in need to a hearty lunch, one of the best restaurants in Dingle is the Fish Box!


Stop 4: The Slea Head Drive


As was the case with the Ring of Kerry, the Slea Head Drive is likely to be a highlight for many who follow this 5 day itinerary for Ireland.

It follows and loop and takes in many of the best things to do in Dingle over the course of a 38km/24 miles.

I go into the drive in detail in this guide, but I’ll give you an overview of each stop:

  1. Ventry Beach: Beautiful 4.5km beach that’s perfect for a ramble
  2. Ceann Sleibhe and the White Cross: 2 famous viewpoints
  3. Radharc na mBlascaoidí viewpoint: A great viewpoint to soak up Dunmore Head
  4. Coumeenoole Beach: Stunning, no-swim beach
  5. Dun Chaoin Pier: The departure point for the Blasket Island Ferry
  6. Ceann Sraithe: A Star Wars filming location with views of the 3 sisters
  7. Clogher Strand: One of Kerry’s best beaches

Wrapping up my 5 day Ireland itinerary

You’ll hopefully have a better sense of what to see in Ireland in 5 days after reading the guide above.

Remember, I have 56 different 5 days in Ireland itineraries in my Road Trip Library that let you select:

  • Your starting point
  • Your mode of transport
  • Your fitness level
  • How fast you like to travel

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Julee Torrance

Monday 6th of September 2021

Keith We are planning a trip to Ireland next September. We will arrive Sept. 24 and have 5 to 7 days to see what we can. There is a group of 6 of us; four late 60's/early 70's and two in their late forties so strenuous hikes are out for most but we are all still active. We are planning on flying into Cork and ending in Dublin but are flexible on this. The group would like to see cliffs and amazing scenery while also getting some history (a castle?) and local flavor of pubs. We are thinking this: 2 days in Cork (following your itinerary suggestions); day threetravel through Kerry to Pormagee on day three seeing sites along the way; stay overnight in Pormagee and boat out to the Skellig of Michael on day four and begin to head back towards Dublin (where we will do some limited exploring) but not sure by what route. We had thought about trying to work Dingle in too but now we are leaning toward the Beara Peninsula while in Cork. Any advice is greatly appreciated. This is our first visit to Ireland and although we know we won't get to see much we want it to be a slow enough viewing that we enjoy our time. Thanks! Julee


Friday 28th of February 2020

Hey Keith,

We will be traveling into and out of Dublin at the end of April. I was looking at your Route 5: Cork and Kerry itinerary. We were thinking... Day 1-3: Driving to Kindle and doing the routes first 3 days, ending in Kenmare. Day 4: Driving to Kerry Airport to Dublin Day 4-6: Dublin OR Ring of Kerry Loop and Dingle Loop Day 1-3, and Dublin 4-6. Is this doable or do you have other suggestions. Both your day 1-3 and Ring of kerry/dingle look beautiful. We have seen others say Dingle is a must and is superior to the other peninsulas but researching google maps and seeing the pictures leaves us questioning that. Any help would be appreciated.


Wednesday 4th of March 2020

Hi Jamie,

The Dingle Peninsula is incredible. However, there are a number of other magnificent peninsulas in the area (the Beara Peninsula in Cork is out of this world).

The Ring of Kerry and Dingle route is an old reliable. I don't know anyone that's done it for the first time and that hasn't loved it. There's an endless clatter of natural beauty and plenty of adventure opportunities.

The first route you listed above sounds spot on to me. Is it your first time exploring this corner of Ireland?




Monday 13th of January 2020

Hi Keith! I will be traveling to Ireland the end of May with my boyfriend and 2 other couples. We all fly into Dublin and have about 4.5 full days to travel around, and want to fit in as much as possible. I've been once before but its everyone else's first time. I think we like route 5 the best. We plan on renting a car; everyone else would like to all be in the same car (so a minivan to fit 6) but I remember how narrow the roads can be and would rather have 2 smaller cars. Any advice? Are the roads through route 5 pretty driveable or would you recommend renting smaller? Thanks!


Sayar Karmakar

Saturday 11th of January 2020

Dear Keith, I wanted to personally thank you for this amazing trip guidance. I wanted to tell you how I used this guide to make ONE 5 day trip around the entire island! Daylight was short and we had to skip lunch and do it with dry foods during the day to at least see a few highlights every day.

Starting from Ireland on mid day we started with Dublin castle, Beer factory, stopped at Belfast city center, Belfast castle and then finished Day 0 near Dark hedges.

Next morning started with Dark hedges, Carrick-a-rede, Ballintoy harbour, Giant causeway, Dunluce castle, Mossaden temple and rested for day 1 night just inside the ireland border.

Next day was the hardest in terms of driving. Started by going up to Malins head, visited Glenvagah national park, stopped by Mount erigal, wanted to go to slieves head but decided against and chose Downpatrick's head instead. And then a brutal drive for 3.5 hours in dark to finally finish in Liscannor and rest for the night.

Next day started with the great great Cliffs of Moher. While trying to find a cheaper parking got a chance to take a look at Doolin cliffs as well! Then headed towards Nun's beach in ballybunion and then finally sunset at Dunquin harbour and Dunmore head (star wars fame). Rested in a great hilly house near Waterville!

Next day started with Kerry cliffs, then onto gap of Dunloe, Ross castle, Torc waterfall, Queen's point ( a bit disapoointing tbh) and then off to Old head of Kinsale.. Wanted to go to Blarney castle on my way to Dungarvan castle but my family was against it as they were already a bit bored. We stayed right opposite Dungarvan castle.

Then on the fifth and final half day started super early to go to Ballydwoane cove and beach, Huntington castle, then the final stop at lough tay and then finally dropped the car off at Dublin airport! Me and my brother have clicked 3000 pictures on this nothing but insane trip, and currently busy editing and spamming our insta feed.

Thank you so much for this guide. This trip wouldnt be possible without you kindly sharing it here.Can't wait to go back again during the summer and see how it feels with almost double the time with light.

Cheers, Sayar


Sunday 12th of January 2020

Hi Sayar - thanks for getting in touch and for the kind words!

That's a pretty packed itinerary - the above, for the most part, should be fine once you're not bothered by all of the driving and you just want to squeeze in as much as possible.

If you can, I'd definitely recommend trying to slow it down a bit. My only worry with an itinerary like this is that you're constantly flying about the place and that you don't leave yourself with a huge amount of time to explore around you (obviously if that's how you like to travel then that's perfect!).

I think your first day (exploring Dublin from mid-day and then heading up to Belfast and then onto the Dark Hedges) could be a little too much. Especially when you want to start Day 2 with doing the Causeway Coastal Route.

If you play around with some of your stops on day 2 a little, you'll spend less time driving and you'll line yourself up a little better route wise, here's a suggestion:

Day 1: Do Dublin Castle and the Guinness Storehouse as you mentioned above. When you finish up, head for Belfast and make that your base for the first night. Day 2: The Causeway Coastal Route: If you start this from Belfast, you'll end up at the Dark Hedges at the end (here's a full guide to driving the causeway coastal route). Spend the night in Portrush.

If there's anything I can help with let me know!

Cheers - Keith

Julee Craypo

Tuesday 26th of November 2019

Hi Keith!

Ireland is on the top of my bucket list and my husband and I are pulling the plug and coming for our ten year anniversary. We get in April 14th and flying to Edinburgh Scotland on the 20th. I dream of coastlines, cliffs and plenty of local Irish music to fill my cup, my husband want to see Star Wars filming locations haha! What would you suggest since we’re starting in Dublin and ending in Dublin?


Wednesday 27th of November 2019

Hi Julee,

Congrats in advance! OK - this was actually much trickier than I thought. The main filming locations are in Cork, Kerry and Donegal. Realistically, with the time you have, you need to pick either the Cork and Kerry locations or the ones at Malin Head in Donegal.

Personally, I think you'll get more bang for your buck in Cork and Kerry, as there are more filming locations to see.

Here's what I'd do:

// April 14th //

- Arrive in Dublin and ramble around the city for the day - If you're looking to stay somewhere fancy, try the

// April 15th //

- Spend day exploring Wicklow (stay near the Wicklow Heather - it doesn't get much cosier than this place - Google to see what I mean) - Lynham's Hotel is a solid option for the night (central and the reviews are excellent)

// April 16th //

- A big day of driving: Get up early this morning and drive to Cobh. This is your first stop off (3 hour and 10 minute drive from Wicklow) - Visit Kinsale next and then head along the coast to Brow Head (filming location) and visit Mizen Head after - Spend the night in Bantry (the Maratime is central, nicely priced, and has great reviews)

// April 17th //

- Limit the driving on this day. Make Killarney your base (there are loads of things to do in Killarney and closeby) - The Killarney Plaza hotel is central and has great reviews. It's a little pricer at around €130 per night, but the reviews are top-notch

// April 18th //

- Drive to Portmagee. The Skellig Michael boat tours start in April but you'll need to book in advance (note that weather conditions can result in sailings being cancelled) - Skellig Michael is arguably the most iconic of Ireland's Star Wars filming locations - Spend the night in the Moorings in Portmagee

// April 19th //

- Drive to Dingle. There's loads to see around here - Ceann Sibéal was another prominent filming location that you can visit while you're here - Spend the night in either the Dingle Skellig or the Dingle Garden Townhouse

I hope this is of some help.

Have a read of our guide to visiting Ireland in April - it's packed with info on weather, things to do, what to pack and all of that craic.



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