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The Best Ireland Itinerary (Irishman’s 2024 Guide)

The Best Ireland Itinerary (Irishman’s 2024 Guide)

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. You can pick your trip length and starting point

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

2. You can pick a mode of transport

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

3. You can decide how fast you want to travel

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

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

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

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

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

3 days in Ireland

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

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

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

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

4 days in Ireland

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

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

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

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

5 days in Ireland

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

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

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

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

6 days in Ireland

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

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

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

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

7 days in Ireland

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

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

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

8 days in Ireland

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

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

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

9 days in Ireland

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

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

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

10 days in Ireland

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

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

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

11 days in Ireland

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

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

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

12 days in Ireland

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

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

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

13 days in Ireland

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

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

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

14 days in Ireland

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

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

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

15 days in Ireland

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

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

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

16 days in Ireland

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

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

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

17 days in Ireland

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

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

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

18 days in Ireland

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

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

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

19 days in Ireland

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

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

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

20 days in Ireland

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

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

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

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

21 days in Ireland

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

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

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

FAQs about the best Ireland trip itinerary 

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

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

What is the best Ireland itinerary?

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

How many days in Ireland is enough?

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

Is Rick Steves Ireland itinerary good?

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

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Nicola Doyle

Thursday 7th of April 2022

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

Keith O'Hara

Friday 8th of April 2022

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


Friday 6th of August 2021

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

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

Thanks again!

Heather Cripe

Sunday 18th of April 2021

Hello Keith,

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

Keith O'Hara

Monday 19th of April 2021

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

Cheers from a cold and sunny Dublin!


Sunday 17th of May 2020

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

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

Keith O'Hara

Sunday 17th of May 2020

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

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

Here's a couple of examples:

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

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

I hope this helps!

Lynda rendell

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

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

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