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7 Days In Ireland From Dublin (‘Fast-Trip’ For Those With A Car + Low Fitness)

7 Days In Ireland From Dublin (‘Fast-Trip’ For Those With A Car + Low Fitness)

Planning a 7-day Ireland itinerary can be a pain in the backside… So, I’ve done all of the hard work for you!

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

In a nutshell, this 7-day itinerary:

  • 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:

  • Start point: In/near Dublin
  • Mode of transport: You’ll need a car (if you’re renting a car, read this Irish car rental guide – it’ll save you time and hassle)
  • Travel speed: This is a fast-paced itinerary
  • Fitness level: This is for those with a low level of fitness (i.e. it avoids long walks and hikes)
  • Need a different itinerary? I have many variations of this trip length here

An overview of this 7-day itinerary

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

It uses several bases (e.g. Dublin for 4 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 Dublin

Dublin City

Photos via Shutterstock

Day 1 of this 7-day Ireland itinerary is going to be very dependent on the time that you arrive into Dublin.

If you need to rent a car, I’d recommend collecting one at Dublin Airport. While you won’t need it for the first day in the city, it’ll save you from having to go and collect one at a later time.

For this itinerary, we’re going to make an assumption that you’ve landed in the morning and are ready to explore from mid-afternoon.

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: 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!

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 2: Trinity College

Trinity College

Photos via Shutterstock

Now you’re all fuelled up, it’s time to head to 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 3: 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. 


Stop 4: 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 5: 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’.


Stop 6: St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is just a short 7-minute walk from Christ Church Cathedral.

The magnificent cathedral is one of the city’s top attractions as well as one of the few remnants of Medieval Dublin!

It dates back to the 12th century and is Ireland’s largest cathedral. As you may expect, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has a long and rich history.

The cathedral has fallen into disrepair and has been damaged several times, most notably in the early 19th century.

During this period, it was restored by none other than Benjamin Lee Guinness (the first Lord Mayor of Dublin and owner of Guinness). 


Stop 7: Teeling’s Distillery

Teeling’s Whiskey

Photos courtesy Teeling Whiskey Distillery via Failte Ireland

Once you’ve had your fill of St. Patrick’s, head on over to the Teeling Distillery, an 8-minute walk away.

Founded by the Teeling family in 2015, the Teeling’s Distillery was the first new distillery to open in Dublin in over 125 years!

However, the family’s expertise span back generations, as they established a small craft distillery on Marrowbone Lane in 1782.

Today, the new distillery stands just a few streets away from the family’s ancestral distillery. 

They have several tours available, each of which has great reviews online. You can grab a ticket online before you go that includes a fully-guided tour of the distillery, followed by a tasting. 


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 stone’s throw from the Teeling’s Distillery. 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.

Live music and trad bars

Although I’ve a detailed Dublin pubs guide, my go-tos are Bowes, Kehoes and Neary’s.

There are plenty of live music pubs in Dublin, too, like the Celt, the Old Storehouse and Darkey Kelly’s!


Day 2: More Dublin City sites

St. Audoen’s Church

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s day 2 of our 7 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 take a spin 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: Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol

Photos via Shutterstock

Kilmainham Gaol is an extremely popular Dublin attraction so you’ll need to buy tickets in advance as they tend to sell out quickly.

We recommend allowing an extra 30 minutes before/after your tour so you can visit the museum. 

The gaol has a history spanning over 100 years, and during its time, it housed prisoners from the 1798 rebellion, the Anglo-Irish War, and the Irish Civil War.

Visitors will have an interesting insight into what imprisonment was like in the gaol and the role it played in Irish history. 

We’d recommend making your own way here via the Luas Red line from the city centre. You can get off at Heuston Station and take the 15-to-20-minute walk to Kilmainham Gaol.


Stop 2: Irish Museum of Modern Art

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Photos via Shutterstock

Make your way to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), a 10-minute walk away from Kilmainham Gaol.

The museum is housed in the beautiful 17th-century Royal Hospital Kilmainham, tucked away on 48 acres of grounds. 

The IMMA has a wide variety of exhibitions showcasing 3,500 modern and contemporary art pieces by local and international artists.

It’s free to visit (although some exhibitions may charge a small fee), and throughout the week there are free 30-minute tours – please check their website for up-to-date tour times. 

If you’ve got the time (and the weather is in your favour), take a quick turn around the grounds to check out more artworks and the Formal Gardens.


Stop 3: St. Michan’s

Michan’s Dublin

Photos with thanks to Jennifer Boyer

St. Michan’s is a 25-minute walk away from IMMA, but if you’re feeling tired, you can head to Heuston Station and jump on the Luas towards Saggart.

Get off at Smithfield, which is a stone’s throw from St. Michan’s and close to the Brazen Head, our recommendation for lunch! All in all, this takes 15 minutes. 

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 4: Lunch

Brazen Head

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s some very old pubs in Dublin, but one reigns supreme! When you finish up at St. Michan’s 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: St. Audoen’s Church

St. Audoen’s Church

Photos via Shutterstock

St. Audoen’s Church is a 14-minute walk from the Guinness Storehouse. While it’s well worth a visit, you won’t need too much time here. 

The church dates back to 1190, making it the oldest Parish church in the city.

However, parts of the church were added/restored at a later date, including the tower, which was damaged in 1596 following a huge gunpowder explosion nearby.

When you stop by, make sure to head to the main porch to have a look at the “Lucky Stone”, a late 9th-century gravestone that traders and merchants used to rub for good luck! 


Stop 7: Dinner, drinks and live music

Pubs in Dublin

Different trad bars in Dublin. © Tourism Ireland

It’s time to round off the second day of this 1 week in Ireland itinerary.

If you’re still struggling to pick a place/area to stay in the city, see my guide on where to stay in Dublin!

Here are some recommendations for the evening:

  • Food: There are some excellent restaurants in Dublin. SOLE and Gallaghers Boxty House are 2 I recommend over and over
  • Live music: There are plenty of live music pubs in Dublin. Darkey Kellys, the Old Storehouse and the Celt rarely disappoint
  • Historic pubs: From our guide to the best bars in Dublin – Kehoe’s and Neary’s are firm favourites

Day 3: Killarney (Via Limerick)


Photos via Shutterstock

It’s day 3 of your 7 days in Ireland itinerary, and it’s time to check out of your Dublin accommodation and head to Killarney in County Kerry!

Along the way, you’ll be sightseeing in Limerick, visiting some amazing attractions, and going on some gentle walks. 

Killarney is a lovely heritage town on the shores of Lough Leane. It’s a great base for exploring southwest Ireland and you’re going to be spending two nights here.

Recommended accommodation in Killarney

Stop 1: King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Head off to King John’s Castle in Limerick City (a 2.5-hour drive). 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 a 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 2: Lunch

Hook and Ladder

Photos via Hook and Ladder on FB

Limerick has great options for lunch.

I’d recommend:

  • SpitJack (good brunch and gourmet sandwiches)
  • Coqbull (delicious burgers)
  • Hook and Ladder (three locations in the city, but Sarsfield Street is the closest to the castle – vegan and vegetarian-friendly options). 

Stop 3: Adare


Photos via Shutterstock

Your next stop of the day is the gorgeous village of Adare, a short 20-minute drive from Limerick City.

Park up and head for a saunter around the town. As you ramble, you’ll stumble upon a handful of traditional thatch cottages, many of which are used as restaurants, cafes and shops.

If you fancy stepping back in time, drop into Adare Castle (you can take a shuttle from the town centre).


Stop 4: Arrive in Killarney, check-in and pick a mode of transport


Photos via Shutterstock

It’s time to make your way to Killarney. From Adare, it’s just under a 1.5-hour drive, so if you’re dying for some caffeine after the journey, head over to the Bean in Killarney to get a much-needed coffee and a snack!

Check into your hotel, then step out to explore the town a little on foot. We’ve two options for you to choose from:

Option 1: The jaunty


Photos via Shutterstock

Another great, and very unique way to explore Killarney, is via one of the traditional jaunting cars (i.e. the horse and cart).

On this 1-hour guided jaunty tour you’ll:

  • See Ireland’s highest Mountain Range – the MacGillycuddys
  • Trot past the 15th-century Ross Castle
  • See the impressive St Mary’s Cathedral
  • Learn about Killarney from a traditional Jarvey guide

Option 2: The Lakes of Killarney boat Cruise

Killarney Lakes

Photos via Shutterstock

Arguably one of the most popular tours in Killarney is this 1-hour (and very reasonable) boat tour that takes you around Killarney’s lakes.

The tour takes place on a glass-covered boat with heating and it gives you a completely different perspective of the national park.

You’ll drift by the 6th-century Innisfallen Monastery, see the highest mountain in Ireland and, at times, see Red Deer and White Tailed Eagles.


Stop 5: Killarney for the night

The Laurels

Photos via The Laurels on FB

While there are plenty of other things to do in Killarney, it’s time to chill!

Here’s some food and pub recommendations:

Day 4: The Ring of Kerry Drive

It’s day 4 of your 7 days in Ireland, and today you’re heading off for an adventure on the stunning Ring of Kerry Drive!

Be prepared for breathtaking views, stunning landscapes and the type of scenery that imprints itself upon your mind forever.

We’d strongly recommend reading this Ring of Kerry guide (with a handy Google Map) before you set off as it’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Start the day with a hearty breakfast at your accommodation, or if you’d prefer to go out, we have a couple of suggestions! 

Petit Delice is a family-run French patisserie with a stunning covered patio. It’s a great choice if you’re after a morning coffee and a freshly-baked pastry. Otherwise, Manna Cafe does a tasty full Irish as well as breakfast baps and pancakes. 


Stop 1: Ross Castle

Ross Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

(If you already visited Ross Castle yesterday, feel free to skip this spot and head straight to Torc Waterfall.)

From Killarney, it’s a 7-minute drive to Ross Castle in Killarney National Park. You can also take a horse and carriage to it, if you like!

Ross Castle was built by O’Donoghue Mór, an Irish Chieftain in the 15th century. The castle is in great condition and sits on the shores of Lough Lenane.

It’s steeped in mystery and according to local legend, O’Donoghue still sleeps under the lake’s waters, rising every seven years on the first morning of May. 

You can either visit the grounds and admire the castle from the outside or buy a ticket and join a guided tour.

During the tour, you’ll be taken through the various rooms and given information about the castle’s past inhabitants. The tour lasts around 45 minutes. 


Stop 2: Torc Waterfall

Torc Waterfall

Photos via Shutterstock

From Ross Castle, drive 15 minutes to the enchanting Torc Waterfall. According to local folklore, the waterfall was home to a man who was cursed by the devil to turn into a boar each night.

When his secret was revealed by a farmer, the man burst into flames and retreated to the Devil’s Punchbowl. 

There are two car parks close by, but in our experience, the closest car park, Killarney Hiking Parking Lot (here), is often full. So, you may need to park in the Torc Waterfall Lower Parking on the N71 (here). 

From the Torc Waterfall Lower Parking, it’s roughly 1km to the waterfall along a paved cycle path that passes by some gorgeous scenery.

From Killarney Hiking Parking Lot, there’s a small path that cuts through the forest and joins up with the cycle path roughly 250 metres from the waterfall. 


Stop 3: Ladies View

Ladies View

Photos via Shutterstock

From Torc Waterfall, it’s roughly a 15-minute drive to Ladies View. The viewpoint here is a popular stopping point on the Ring of Kerry road, with roadside parking directly facing the view (see parking here on Google Maps).

The viewpoint was named in honour of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting who were in awe when they visited in 1861 during a royal visit. The view looks out over the Upper Lake with mountains rising up on either side. 

Stop 4: Moll’s Gap

Molls Gap

Photos via Shutterstock

Drive for around 9 minutes along the N71 to another popular spot on the Ring of Kerry road, Moll’s Gap! There’s plenty of parking at Moll’s Gap (see parking here on Google Maps), but take care as the parking area is on a sharp bend. 

Moll’s Gap is also known as Céim an Daimh in Irish or ‘Gap of the Ox’, but it gets its nickname after Moll Kissane, owner of a local shebeen (unlicensed pub).

The pub was established in the 1820s when the road was being built, and Moll’s homemade poitin (a strong liquor sometimes made from potatoes) was a favourite with the construction workers!


Stop 5: Kenmare


Photo left: The Irish Road Trip. Others: Shutterstock

Continue on the N71 for 12 minutes to Kenmare, a lovely town at the head of Kenmare Bay. It was founded in 1670, and to this day, it’s still full of charm, with colourful houses, traditional pubs, and quaint cafes. 

Spend some time exploring the street on foot, popping into the local shops, or heading for a mid-morning coffee at Pucini’s Coffee and Books or Cafe Mocha. 

Stop 6: Derrynane Beach

Derrynane Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

From Kenmare, it’s a one-hour drive to Derrynane Beach – one of the finest beaches along the Wild Atlantic Way.

This a lovely white-sand beach backed by soft sand dunes that’s perfect for sauntering along. There are dangerous currents, and a small section is known locally as “Danger Beach”.


Stop 7: Lunch in Waterville


Photos via Dooley’s on FB

It’s time for lunch, so drive 18 minutes to Waterville, Charlie Chaplin’s favourite village in Ireland! 

We’ve got a few picks for where to eat, these are:

Stop 8: Coomanaspig Pass

Coomanaspig Pass

Photos via Shutterstock

The Coomanaspig Pass is one of the highest points in Ireland that can be accessed by car.

From the top, the views are spectacular, and the drive up to the pass is equally as stunning. 

Approach the pass via the R565 and the Skellig Ring.

The drive takes just under 30 minutes, with plenty of places to pull over and take in the view. 


Stop 9: Kerry Cliffs

Kerry Cliffs

Photos via Shutterstock

Continue onto the Kerry Cliffs, less than 5 minutes down the road.

The cliffs are absolutely magnificent, rising 300 metres above the Atlantic Ocean. 

The views from the Kerry Cliffs are wonderful, and on clear days you can see The Skelligs to the west as well as Puffin Island! 

Admission to the cliffs cost €4 and there are plenty of places to park. The cliffs are open daily from 9am to 7:30pm.

If you’re feeling a little peckish, there’s a small cafe for drinks, cakes, and sandwiches. 


Stop 10: Valentia by way of Portmagee

Valentia Island

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s time to head to Valentia Island, one of Ireland’s most westerly points. From the Kerry Cliffs, it’s a short drive onto the island via the bridge in Portmagee.

You’ll be using this route to get onto the island, but please note that to get off the island, you’ll be taking the ferry in Knight’s Town (more details below). 

There’s lots to do in Valentia, but some of our favourite things are the Valentia Island Lighthouse, the Slate Quarry, and the stunning Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs. 

The Slate Quarry is the most westerly quarry in Europe and the oldest quarry in production in Ireland. Slate from the quarry can be found in Westminster Abbey, the Paris Opera House, and the Houses of Parliament. 

Geokaun Mountain is the highest point on the island, standing 270 metres tall. The Fogher Cliffs are on the northern face of Geokaun, with incredible views of the Atlantic, distant mountains, and several islands.

There are three car parks/viewing points along the way. The last one here is the closest to the summit. The landowner charges a small entry fee. 

Once you’re finished exploring Valentia, it’s time to take the ferry from Knight’s Town off the island. The ferry runs between 7:45am and 9:25pm Monday – Saturday and 9am to 9:25pm on Sunday. Check the latest timetable on their Facebook Page.


Stop 11: Cahersiveen

Cahersiveen town

Photos via Shutterstock

From the pier in Reenard Point, it’s a 7-minute drive to Cahersiveen.

Some places to check out in the area are the Old Barracks, which has several exhibitions about the history of the local area, including The Life and Times of Daniel O’Connell, and the Cahersiveen ring forts, which are roughly 3km from town.

Park here to explore the Leacanabuaile Ring Fort and the Cahergall Stone Fort on foot. 

Stop 12: Rossbeigh


Photos via Shutterstock

From Cahersiveen, Rossbeigh Beach is a 30-minute drive.

Rossbeigh Beach is a beautiful 6km long sandy beach with great views over Dingle Bay.

It’s a Blue Flag beach and one of the most popular in the area!

We love it for a summer swim or a nice scenic walk in the winter.


Stop 13: Back to Killarney for the night

The Laurels

Photos via The Laurels on FB

Make your way back to Killarney and then head to your accommodation to freshen-up.

Killarney is a place that’s rarely too quiet, even during the off-season.

Dinner recommendations

There are some exceptional restaurants in Killarney. My favourites are:

  • The Mad Monk (top-notch seafood like sizzling crab claws and deep water prawn tagliatelle)
  • Kitty O’Se (splash out on the Seafood Tower to share)
  • Murphy Browns (hearty Irish dishes like roasted duck and fish and chips).

Pub recommendations

There’s some mighty old-school pubs in Killarney, too. For post-dinner drinks, head to JM Reidy’s, the Laurels Pub, or O’Connors.

They all have a traditional pub feel and are a great choice for a pint. JM Reidy’s has a lovely courtyard which is great in the summer, and O’Connors is perfect if you feel like cocktails. 

If you want to hear some live music, JM Reidy’s and O’Connors often have live music sessions.


Day 5: County Clare

Cliffs of Moher

Photos via Shutterstock

You’re saying goodbye to Kerry today and heading over to Doolin for a night.

The total drive time is around 2 hours and 40 minutes, and we have lots of places for you to stop on the way!

Doolin is a lovely village on Ireland’s west coast, known for its trad music. 

Doolin accommodation recommendations

Stop 1: Bunratty

Bunratty Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

From Killarney, it’s around two-hour drive to Bunratty Castle. Plan to spend at least one hour in Bunratty Castle and Folk Park (although you could easily spend three!).

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park sit on 26 acres of lovely countryside.

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

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. 

If you are hungry, pop into Mr. O’Regan’s Cafe for a cup of tea or a bite to eat. 


Stop 2: Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Photos via Shutterstock

Your next stop, the magnificent Cliffs of Moher are one of the area’s, (if not Ireland’s) most popular attractions.

The cliffs are a 1-hour drive from Bunratty, 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.

In our opinion, the visitor centre isn’t really anything that special, but you’ll get access to all three with the Cliffs of Moher Experience. 


Stop 3: Doolin for lunch

Doolin Village

Photos courtesy of Chaosheng Zhang

When you finish up at Moher, take the 10-minute drive to Doolin and get checked into your accommodation.

When you’re ready, it’s time for lunch.

Personally, the two places I keep going back to in Doolin for food are:


Stop 4: Doonagore Castle

Doonagore Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Doonagore Castle is located on top of a hill in a strategic location overlooking Doolin and out beyond to the Aran Islands.

It’ll take you 5 minutes to drive here from the village but, be-warned, that there’s no parking. You can find some pull in areas but please never block the gates nearby.

The castle, which dates back to the mid 16th century, is what’s known as a round tower house and it has a little courtyard that’s enclosed by a defensive wall.


Stop 5: Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Photos via Shutterstock

A 30-minute drive from out last stop, Poulnabrone Dolmen is a large portal tomb that dates back to the Neolithic period (between 4200 BC and 2900 BC).

It’s one of the most famous dolmens in the country and one of the most photographed.

When it was excavated in the late 1980s, around 33 remains were discovered buried underneath, alongside various objects.

It’s a really interesting piece of ancient Irish history and free to visit. 


Stop 6: Aillwee Cave

Aillwee Cave

Photos via Aillwee Caves on FB

Your next stop, the Aillwee Cave, is around 10 minutes from the dolmen. The Aillwee Cave is a fascinating underground system, full of caverns, rock formations, and even the bones of an ancient bear!

The site is close to the Birds of Prey Centre, a unique and educational experience involving some of the world’s top birds of prey. 

We’d recommend spending at least one hour at this stop, or even longer if you visit both attractions.

The Aillwee Cave tour lasts 45 minutes, passing by an underground waterfall and over bridged ravines.

At the Burren Birds of Prey Centre, you’ll be able to see predators like owls, vultures, and hawks, and possibly watch a 45-minute flying demonstration.


Stop 7: Back to Doolin via Corkscrew Hill

Corkscrew Hill Clare

Photos courtesy Clare County Council via Failte Ireland

When you leave the caves, take the short drive to Corkscrew Hill – it’s arguably one of Ireland’s bendiest roads.

There is a viewpoint near the top of the hill where you can pull in and enjoy this unique vantage point overlooking the Burren (here on Google Maps).

When you’re ready, follow the road downhill – you’re a 30-minute spin from Doolin.


Stop 8: Dinner, drinks and music in Doolin

Doolin Pubs

Photos by The Irish Road Trip

You’re going to round off the night in Doolin – a town well known for its cosy pubs and live music.

Here’s a few recommendations to keep you going:

Doolin food and pub recommendations

  • Restaurants in Doolin: Anthony’s at Doolin Inn and Russell’s Seafood Bar at Fiddle + Bow
  • Pubs in Doolin: McDermott’s (my go-to for the last few years) and Gus O’Connor’s on Fisher Street

Day 6: The Drive to Galway 

Galway City

Photos by Stephen Power via Ireland’s Content Pool

On day 6 of our 7 days in Ireland itinerary, it’s time to say goodbye to Clare and head over to beautiful Galway.

We’ve got a few recommendations on where to stay in Galway. They’re all in the heart of the city, with different options to suit your budget!

Recommended accommodation in Galway

Stop 1: Fanore Beach

Fanore Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Fanore Beach is a 22-minute drive from Doolin. It’s a gorgeous beach backed by rolling sand dunes.

The exposed beach is a popular spot for swimmers and surfers, and in the summer there’s a lifeguard service and a surf school.

Take a walk along the beach and such down some Atlantic air. There are public toilets on-site (open seasonally in the summer).


Stop 2: Dunguaire Castle 

Dunguaire Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Dunguaire Castle is a 40-minute drive from Fanore. 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. 

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

We’d recommend spending at least an hour here, walking the grounds and taking a self-guided tour.

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!


Stop 3: Galway City

Galway City

Photos by Stephen Power via Ireland’s Content Pool

From Dunguaire, Galway City is a 35-minute drive.

Once you’ve arrived (welcome!) it’s time to check into your hotel and head out to explore this charming city on foot or by bus.

Stop 4: Check-in, get lunch and decide between walking/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 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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 10: Dinner, drinks and live music


You’re a 35-minute drive from Galway City.

When you arrive, check-in (here’s where to stay in Galway) and chill for a bit.

If you fancy food and a drink, here are some recommendations:

Day 7: Back To Dublin

Dublin City

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s the last day, and time to head back to Dublin. It’s a 2 hour and 20-minute drive.

You have to drive through two tolls so make sure to have a card that taps or cash!

Have plenty of time before your flight? Check out anything in the city that you weren’t able to see on days 1 and 2.


Handy guides for planning your Irish Road Trip

And that’s a wrap on this road trip. Remember, you’ll find every length and type of road trip imaginable in our Irish Road Trip Hub.

If you’re in the middle of planning your visit, these guides should prove useful:

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