Plan Your Perfect Ireland Itinerary (Without The Stress) With Our Handy 4 Step Guide

No BS. Just handy info.

Best Ireland Itinerary
Photo left: JeniFoto. Right: studiostoks

Mapping out an Ireland itinerary tends to be the most stressful part of planning a trip to Ireland.

If you’re currently in FFS-WHY-IS-THIS-SO-HARD mode then chill. The guide below is going to make planning your Ireland trip eeeeeeeasy!

I’ve been living in Ireland for 31 years and I’ve spent a good chunk of my holidays spinning around Ireland. I’ve whacked the tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years into this guide.

If you take 5 minutes to read it (OK, maybe 10…) you’ll leave with two things:

  1. A clear idea of how to go about planning your perfect trip
  2. Sample itineraries that you can follow (if you want to) from start to finish

Disclaimer: The best Ireland itinerary? There’s no such thing!

You’ll find a thousand blogs online that claim that they visited the ‘Emerald Isle’ and that they followed the ‘best Ireland itinerary’. Fair play to them!

The fact is, however, there really is no ‘perfect’ vacation itinerary for Ireland online. The best itinerary for Ireland is going to be completely subjective based on what YOU do and don’t like.

For example, your friend might want to see as many Irish castles as possible during their trip while you might want to revolve your schedule solely around the best walks and hikes.

The perfect itinerary for Ireland is…

The perfect Ireland vacation itinerary is the one that gets you excited and that ensures that you visit places that YOU want to see and experience.

The problem that people often run into when they’re planning their trip is that they have a list of places that they want to visit, but they’re not sure on the route to take or what’s possible.

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to follow that’ll help you plan your perfect Ireland itinerary. It’ll make the process straightforward and painless and it’ll banish any stress.

Planning your perfect itinerary for Ireland in 4 steps

Planning your trip, regardless of whether you’re spending 5 days in Ireland or 10 days in Ireland, doesn’t have to be a painful process. However, for many, it is.

You only need to read the various Ireland forums on Tripadvisor to see how stressed many people get when it comes to jotting down their Ireland road trip.

I’ve been planning trips for friends and randomers for a long time now and I do it in a fairly structured way that ensures as little hassle as possible is experienced. Below, you’ll find the exact steps that I use.

Step 1: Locking in the foundations of your trip

the irish road trip
Photo by luizandrade (shutterstock)

You can’t plan your Ireland itinerary without having the foundations/the bones of your trip locked down. When I refer to the ‘foundations’ I mean things like when you’re visiting and how long you’re here for.

I go into how to do this in detail (without any BS) in our guide to planning a trip to Ireland. You’ll find a handy 11-step process to follow that’ll make planning your vacation in Ireland easy!

In a nutshell, before you start thinking about locking in an itinerary, you need to have a few things set in stone:

It’s important that you have all of the above decided on in advance of planning out your Ireland itinerary. Why? Well, you’ll need each of the above if you want to map out a route.

For example, deciding where you’re going to fly into will give you a starting point for your road trip and knowing how you’re getting around will rule certain places in or out.

Step 2: Plotting out where you want to go

sunset on achill island
Photo by Mike Hardiman (Shutterstock)

OK, so you have your starting point (where you’re flying into), now it’s time to look at where you’re going to visit while you’re here.

Now, if you’re thinking, ‘Surely it’s better to decide where you’re going to be staying first and then decide where to go’ bear with me!

The absolute easiest way to map out your route is to first whip open a Google Map and to then plot out the places that you most want to see. Jot down absolutely everywhere.

No, really! Don’t worry about what’s possible and what isn’t at this point. Just whack down everywhere that you think you’d like to visit during your time here.

Struggling to decide where to visit? Hop into our guide to the 32 counties of Ireland to quickly find the best places to visit.

Step 3: Look for clusters

mullaghmore castle
Photo by Gareth Wray

Looking for clusters on your map is a really handy way to put the bones of your road trip itinerary together. Clusters help you understand where to base yourself from.

The best approach to this is to first look for the nearest cluster to your starting point. Let’s say, for example, you’re flying into Belfast and your first two clusters are scattered across Northern Ireland.

Happy days. Find a base/place to stay that’ll allow you to explore both of these clusters. Following this approach helps you build up a list of places that will form your various different bases.

Be clear about how you’ll get from A to B

When you’re looking for clusters, have transport in the back of your mind constantly. If you’re planning on renting a car in Ireland and exploring, you can ignore this advice.

Actually, if you’re on a guided tour or if you’ve splashed the cash and have a private driver, you can ignore this, also. However, if you’re using public transport to get around, you need to be careful.

The quality and availability of public transport in Ireland will vary from place to place. If you’re relying on it for getting around, spend some time at this point understanding how you’ll move from cluster to cluster.

Be patient

This stage in planning your Ireland itinerary can be the most time consuming, as you may need to research day tours from X place or see where a train goes to, etc.

Take your starting point and find the nearest cluster to it. That’ll be your first base. Decide how long to stay there for and then move onto your second cluster, AKA base two.

Keep following this process for planning your trip and you’ll eventually have an Ireland vacation itinerary to follow. Need to run yours by someone? Send it to me in the comments below!

Struggling? Be realistic and prioritise!

The biggest causer of stress amongst people planning their Ireland itinerary, in my experience, is that they try and pack in everything.

You need to be very realistic about what you can and can’t do during your visit. Yes, this’ll mean not seeing some places but it’ll ensure that you enjoy the time that you’re here for.

If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to see X, Y and Z places during your visit, open up a second Google Map and use it to understand the distances between each place.

This tends to be an easy way of ruling places in and out, for example, if you’re here for three days the chances of you seeing the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands are pretty unlikely.

Step 4. Deciding on a final route for your Ireland road trip

glenveagh castle
Photo by alexilena (Shutterstock)

At this point, you should hopefully have a fair idea of the route that your Ireland vacation itinerary is going to take. Now, it’s all about tightening it up and mapping it out.

I find that the best way to do this is in Google Sheets, personally. Pop in day 1, 2, 3, etc. and list out where your base will be and where you’ll be visiting.

If you’re using public transport or day trips to see certain places, you should take note of it here, also, to avoid any confusion down the line.

If you’re struggling to decide on how many things to do each day, work out how far they are from each other and try and get a rough sense of how long you’ll spend at each place. Here’s a quick outline of a 4 day Ireland itinerary.

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Base Killarney Killarney Doolin Doolin
Things to do Dingle Peninsula Ring of Kerry Cliffs of Moher Aran Islands
Dingle Town National Park Doolin Cave  
Slea Head Drive   Doonagore Castle  

Step 5. Locking in accommodation

Aghadoe hotel
Photo via the Aghadoe

Once you’ve decided on your Ireland itinerary, it’s time to book accommodation. It pays to shop around when it comes to deciding where to stay in Ireland.

For groups of 3 or more, Airbnbs can work out at a steal as you’re deciding the cost between you. This can be the best approach for those of you doing Ireland on a budget.

If you’d prefer to stay in B&Bs, use a comparison website to get an idea of where they are in the place that you’re visiting and then use Google to find their official website.

8 times out of 10 they’ll give you a better rate if you get onto them directly. If you’re in a different country, you could always fire them off an email.

And that’s a wrap on mapping out your Ireland itinerary

Hopefully, these steps will have made creating your Ireland itinerary a bit more straightforward. If they did, let me know in the comments below.

If they didn’t and you thought it was a load of sh*te, let me know, also! Below, you’ll find ready-made Ireland trip itineraries that you can follow.

They’re packed with things to do (everything from Trinity College and the Blarney Stone to the Rock of Cashel, the Dingle Peninsula and loads more) and advice on where to eat, sleep and drink.

Ireland vacation ideas: Ready-made self drive Ireland itinerary guides

places to visit wicklow
Photo left: PhilipsPhotos. Right: RR Photo (shutterstock)

If you’re here for ready-made itineraries that you can (literally) follow from start to finish, you’ll find the final section of this guide very useful. Below, you’ll get a heap of itineraries for Ireland that are:

  • Detailed (hour by hour)
  • Packed with full routes
  • Full of advice on where to stay, eat and drink

There are itineraries for every length of trip, from 48-hour weekend adventures to bucket list one-month trips. Dive on in!

48-hour itineraries

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t see much if you’re only getting to visit Ireland for 48 hours. Yes, it’s a tiny amount of time, but you can still have a great time.

All you need is a solid plan of action. We’ve created a clatter of 48 hour guides that’ll ensure that you get the most out of your time here. Here are the most popular ones:

The most popular of these guides tends to be our guide to a weekend in Kerry. If you follow it, you’ll see everywhere from the Ring of Kerry to the Dingle Peninsula (a lot of driving is needed).

Check out all of our 48 hour guides here. Note: we’re adding new 48-hours guides constantly, so if you don’t see a guide for a place you fancy visiting, it’s likely en route!

Ireland itinerary 5 DAYS

So, one of the most common requests that we receive is from people asking for help on planning 5 days in Ireland. 5 days can be a tricky amount of time.

It’s not a huge amount of time, but it’s enough to squeeze in some decent exploring IF you have a nicely planned itinerary. If you read our 5 day guide, you’ll be given 5 different ways of spending 5 days in Ireland.

There should be an itinerary in there that appeals to everyone visiting for this length of trip.

A sample 5 day itinerary

  • Day 1: Wicklow (National park, the Sally Gap, Lough Tay)
  • Day 2: Carlow (The Nine Stones, Huntington Castle, and Gardens, more)
  • Day 3: Kilkenny (Kilkenny Castle, Dunmore Cave, Smithwick’s Experience) 
  • Day 4: Wexford (Hook Lighthouse, Loftus Hall, and more)
  • Day 5: Waterford (Waterford City, the Copper Coast, and more)

Ireland itinerary 7 days

Spending one week in Ireland? Lovely. 7 days is a solid amount of time to explore Ireland, given the size of the island. I’m going to sound like a bit of a broken record here, but your 7 days will be all the better if you have a plan laid out in advance.

We’ve published a detailed guide to spending 7 days in Ireland – it contains 5 different routes that you can take. I’ve given you things to do each day, advice on where to eat, and recommendations on pubs to visit and places to stay.

An overview of our 7 day itineraries

  • Itinerary 1: Dublin, Wicklow, Tipperary, and Kilkenny
  • Itinerary 2: Waterford, Cork, and Kerry
  • Itinerary 3: Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo
  • Itinerary 4: Fermanagh, Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal, Derry
  • Itinerary 5: Meath, Louth, Down, Armagh, Antrim

Ireland itinerary 10 days +

If you’re visiting Ireland for 10 days I’m pretty damn jealous. 10 days offers you so much space for planning an unforgettable road trip.

It also gives you plenty of time to linger in places and have some chill time, also. We’ve two different guides that you can use if you’re visiting Ireland for 10 days:

Still not sure where to visit? Here’s a bit of inspiration!

If you’re still struggling for Ireland vacation ideas, the below section should give you a heap of ideas of places to visit and things to do.

I’ve going to pop in ten places in Ireland that I’ve been to many times before and that I’d happily visit many, many times again.

1. The Aran Islands

aran islands ireland
Photos: L – Gareth McCormack. Centre – Gastro Gays. Right – Chris Hill

There are few places in Ireland that shock the senses as much as the mighty Aran Islands (Inis Mor, Inis Oirr and Inis Meain).

You’ll find towering cliffs, ancient forts, buzzy pubs, fantastic food and plenty of brilliant walking and cycling routes that boast endless scenery.

2. The Inishowen Peninsula

inishowen scenic drive
Photo by Paul Shiels/

If I could retire anywhere in Ireland, it’d be on the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal. This little corner of Ireland is a little off the beaten track and it boasts a bounty of breath-taking scenery.

If you’re in search of peace, quiet and a landscape that looks like it was whipped straight from an oil painting, carve out time in your Ireland itinerary to visit here.

3. Mountains

slieve binnan
Photo by James Kennedy NI/

If you’re fond of a walk or hike, Ireland’s home to mountains of all shapes and sizes, from the massive Carrauntoohil in Kerry to the more accessible Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland.

If you can, try and factor in some time to hike on your Ireland itinerary. You don’t have to commit to a long hike – there are plenty of shorter hikes in Ireland.

4. The Ring of Kerry

the skellig ring in kerry
Photo by Tom Archer

The Ring of Kerry tends to make it onto many Ireland trip itineraries, and there’s no real surprise why. This route is home to an almost endless number of places to see and things to do.

From Ladies View and Moll’s Gap to Valentia Island, Kenmare and loooooads more, your spin along this stretch of road will pack a fine punch.

5. Castles, castles and more castles

belfast castle
Photo by Ballygally View Images (Shutterstock)

If you nip into our guide to the best Irish castles, you’ll discover an almost endless number of ancient structures to pop onto your Ireland itinerary.

From the Rock of Cashel and Trim Castle to Dunluce and Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, there’s no end to the number of castles that you can explore.

6. The Northern Ireland coastline

torr head ireland
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Many people visiting the Northern Ireland coast only visit the Giant’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge and Ballintoy Harbour.

Don’t get me wrong, all of the above are well worth a visit, but there’s also plenty more to see. Places like Whiterocks Beach, Murlough Bay and Torr Head are all well worth a visit.

7. Cliffs

highest cliffs ireland
Photo by Junk Culture/

When you hear the words ‘cliff’ and ‘Ireland’ in the same sentence, you tend to think of the Cliffs of Moher. However, there are plenty more cliffs in Ireland worth visiting.

The likes of Slieve League in Donegal and the Kerry Cliffs in, unsurprisingly enough, Kerry, are just two that are worth adding to your itinerary for Ireland.

8. Historical sites

hook head lighthouse
Photo by Neville Murphy via Failte Ireland

If you’re looking to soak up a bit of history during your time in Ireland, you’re in luck – there are heaps of historical sites scattered across the island.

Places like Hook Lighthouse in Wexford are Waterford City (the oldest in Ireland) two of thousands of historical places worth seeing.

9. County Dublin

cliffs in Howth
Photo by Cristian N Gaitan/

Many people that visit Dublin never make it outside of the city, which is a shame, as it’s in the wider county that you’ll find the best that the capital has to offer.

From the viewpoint on Killiney Hill to the Howth cliff walk, Malahide Castle, Ticknock and the Hellfire walk, there’s much more to Dublin to see and do.

Now, make sure to carve out time to see the likes of Trinity College, Kilmainham Gaol, etc. but don’t whittle away too much time in the city.

Frequently asked questions about creating the perfect Ireland itinerary

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years from people planning a trip to Ireland and wondering where to go and what to see.

Below, I’ve popped in some of the most FAQs. If you have a question that I haven’t included, pop a comment into the comments section below and I’ll try to help

The best way to see Ireland for the first time?

The best way to see Ireland is something that’s likely to cause a lot of debate. If you read our guide to getting around Ireland, you’ll know that I’m fond of combining a car with public transport.

You should take some time to consider the pros and cons of the different ways of exploring Ireland. How you get around is going to have a significant effect on your trip/overall experience.

For example, if you’re a nervous driver, is renting a car going to result in you worrying for the duration of the trip?! Would you be happier on a guided tour where you can sit back and enjoy the ride?!

Is Rick Steves Ireland itinerary good?

So, if you’re an American planning your first Ireland vacation itinerary, then the chances are you’ll be familiar with Rick Steves.

If you aren’t – Rick Steves is a travel writer and television personality from the US. He’s become the go-to guide for people (mainly from the US) visiting Ireland.

We regularly get emails from people debating taking one of the Rick Steves Ireland tours. The emails tend to come from people that are worried about spending a lot of cash and not being happy at the end of the trip.

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.

I’ve also scanned several of the reviews, and they’re excellent. This is arguably the best way to see Ireland if you’re visiting from the states and you only want to use a tour provider.

What are the must see places in Ireland?

This is going to be completely subjective, i.e. what I deem as being incredible the next person may deem as ‘Meh’. However, since you asked, the best places to visit in Ireland are:

  • Keem Bay on Achill Island
  • Geokaun mountain and Fogher Cliffs on Valentia Island
  • Wicklow National Park (spent many days hiking and walking here)
  • The summit of Croagh Patrick
  • The Inisowen Peninsula in Donegal
  • Kenmare (a mighty little town at the heart of heaps of scenery)

How many days should I spend in Dublin?

One of the traps that people planning an Ireland itinerary tend to fall into is how they allocate their time here. Many people that fly into Dublin will carve out three days in their itinerary for the capital.

Two days in Dublin is more than enough to see the main sights, both in the city and across the wider county. Any more time spent in Dublin is, in my opinion, a waste.

What tourist traps should I avoid?

This is a topic that tends to cause a lot of debate and it all depends on what you call a ‘tourist trap’. For example, if you read my guide to the Cliffs of Moher, you’ll hear me call it a tourist trap.

Places like the Dark Hedges (there’s no fee for visiting) in Northern Ireland attract and disappoint tourists. Why? Well, the vast majority of pictures that you see online are so heavily edited that you’re led to believe they look a certain way.

For the most part, you can dodge including tourist traps in your Ireland itinerary if you just do a bit of research in advance. Read reviews and see what others are saying.

What ‘tourist favourites’ should I include in my Ireland itinerary?

If you’re looking for the old reliables, make sure that you factor in some time to visit the Cliffs of Moher, the Rock of Cashel, the Blarney Stone, the Giants Causeway, the Ring of Kerry, Muckross House, the Aran Islands and the Dingle Peninsula.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


  1. Keith,
    I just realized you responded to my post in the comment section on the Wild Atlantic Way section. Sorry to basically duplicate my previous post here.
    Rich & Judy

  2. Hi, We are traveling to Ireland during Easter Week 2020 arriving in Dublin on Easter Sunday. We would like to attend a Catholic mass that day. Do you have any recommendations?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Leslie – all Catholic Churches in Dublin will run a mass on Easter Sunday. The one thing you’ll need to check is times. Many will run early morning or later in the evening (usually 18:00, but this can vary depending on the church.

  3. Hey Keith! Heading to see family on 26th of December and have 7 days to work with (flying in and out of dublin.) Traveling with a very well traveled 2 year old who is generally great at being on the move but still a consideration for any of the more “adventurous” activities. I’m mindful that the weather might be shite, mostly we just want to see beautiful landscapes, any must see attractions (weather permitting) and cozy, festive Christmas pubs. Would be happiest near an open fire with a pint or a wine to be honest. We have family in Dublin, we know we want to hit Galway & Sky Road and we also have friends in Dingle and are desperate to make it down there. I’m roughly thinking two days in Dublin (Dec 27 & 28) 5 days on the road (Galway, sky road, dingle…and anywhere in between!) night of 2nd back in dublin, departing AM 3rd Jan from Dublin Airport. I’m trying to get my head around the planning and having some trouble, don’t want to over do it and ideally don’t want to be in the car more than 2/3 hours at a time but don’t want to miss anything we want to do. Your blog is wonderful, hoping you can be my consultant!

    • Hi Aimee,

      Apologies for the delay – I’ve been battling a vomiting bug, which has been minus craic!

      OK – you’ve a really tight schedule, especially considering you want to do Dublin (East), Galway (West) and Dingle (South West) all in 5 days. Is there any way that you’d consider cutting out Dublin? It’d give you more time to play with in Dingle, which you definitely need.

      Another thing to note is that you’ll definitely end up spending more than 3 hours in the car, at times, e.g. Galway to Dingle is 3 hours plus.

      28th (Day 1): Wicklow

      Loads of easy-to-get-to scenery here that’s perfect if it’s raining or if the bambino doesn’t fancy moving about too much. Have a look at our guide to Wicklow. You could kick the day off with the Sally Gap Drive (have a look at Lough Tay) and then head out to Glendalough for one of the shorter walks around the lake (weather permitting). Then, to tick off your cosy pub goals, head to either the Wicklow Heather or the Coach House. The Wicklow Heather, in particular, is insanely cosy

      If it was me, I’d stay in Laragh – it’s a nice base and it’s close to everything. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Trooperstown Lodge.

      29th + 30th (Days 2 + 3): Galway

      Make the city or Salthill your base (here’s a guide on where to stay in Galway). There’s a load of stuff to do in the city and outside of it – have a look at our guide to where to go in Galway for some ideas.

      31st + 1st (Days 4 + 5): Dingle

      The drive from Galway to Dingle is around 3.5 hours, depending on traffic.

      Let me know what you think of the above.



  4. Hey Keith,
    Thank you so much for the reply, sorry to hear about the sick bug. Really appreciate you taking the time to help me and others, a wonderful service! So I probably should have mentioned, we’ve spent a good deal of time in Wicklow/Glendalough so probably won’t hit that area this time (although it is amazing!!) We will need the time in Dublin or else we’d have a very unhappy Nan on our hands! So I guess we’re looking for the ideal spots to hit in Galway (will look at your guide!) Kerry and maybe somewhere nice to stop off in Limerick or Tipperrary on the way back to Dublin. THANK YOU!

  5. Hi Keith,

    I am working on a plan to FINALLY visit Ireland in May 2020 and as of now my plan is to spend 10-12 days and drive myself throughout. Do you have any tips or advice on places to see (and also avoid) if you’re a female solo traveler? I have traveled before on my own plenty in places like Southern Africa and even lived in Italy for a few months, so I have common sense on most travel-related safety issues, but every country is different of course.

    I would also love to know if you have any recommendations on saf(er) places to stay or great places to check out for a genuine Irish Pub experience? If there’s a potential for live music, even better!

    I apologize in advance if you have noted some of these items already and I just haven’t gotten to that section of the site yet! But thank you in advance as well for your help!

    • Hi Rita,

      Sorry – I thought I had replied to your comment! Ireland’s like anywhere else in the world, you’ve nice, decent, law-abiding people…. and you have the exact opposite.

      Once you have your wits about you, you should be fine. Exercise the same level of caution as you did on your previous travels.

      Can you give me an idea of your route and I can recommend some pubs?



  6. Hey Keith,

    Planning on a combination of a golf trip and some sight seeing last week of March 23-30th in 2020. How concerned should we be in regards to the weather? Traveling with 6-8 and seems to be the only real week for all schedules. Let me know if it’s worth reconsidering. Look forward to hearing your feedback. Thanks!

    • Hi Mike,

      Here’s a guide to visiting Ireland in March. There’s info in it on the weather during the last two Marches (Marches… that definitely doesn’t sound right?!) to give you an idea on what we’ve experienced.

      In a nutshell, March and April can be tricky. We’ve seen more and more storms during these months over the years.

      That being said, you could visit and it could be grand. If you had the option to move it to May, that’d be ideal!



  7. Hi Keith!
    My name is Catalina, I’m from Argentina.
    I am travelling to UK for New Years Eve with my boyfriend and we’ll be in Ireland for 4 days. I really want to make the most of it even though I know we’re on a tight schedulle.
    We rented a car for 3 days. The day without car we’re going to Dublin.
    Regarding the 3 day road trip, the only thing I know for sure is Cliffs of Moher. I’ve already been to Galway and would like to visit another town.
    There are so many places to go that I feel a little bit overwhelmed! What would you recommed us? I was thinking:
    Day 1: Cliffs of Moher and something else.
    Day 2: Kerry?
    Day 3: Claire?
    Day 4: Dublin
    We are willing to sleep very little and see as much as we can. Great landscapes,some castles and a lot of Irish culture is what we are looking for.
    If you could give me your opinion on the schedulle I would be very greatful!!
    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Catalina,

      Cheers for getting in touch.

      If it was me, I’d do a day in Clare (there’s heaps of things to do around Doolin).

      You could do day 3 driving through the more off-the-beaten-track towns in Galway, like Leenaun, and make your way to Mayo.

      You could then do a night in Mayo and another in Sligo, if you liked.

      If you really wanted to do Kerry, you could always do day 1 in Clare and then head to Kerry for day 2 and 3, before heading to Dublin for day 4.

      It would be a lot of driving, but if that doesn’t bother you then it should be fine.

      I hope this helps.



  8. Hi, my husband and i are planning a trip to Ireland march 15 to march 22. We would like to get away from big cities and explore villages, wildlife, outdoor beauty with some history mixed in. Can you suggest which counties we might focus on, they all look beautiful ! We are folks who enjoy Airnb type accomodations and exploring the sights, we are happy to rent a car.

    • Hey! So, this is really going to depend on where you’re flying/arriving into. If you’re coming into Dublin, you could stay outside of the city in the likes of Howth or Skerries for a night. You could then do two nights in Wicklow in a town like Avoca or Roundstone or Laragh.

      You could then head to Galway and base yourself in (another) Roundstone. You could add in Mayo and stay on Achill Island for a few nights.

      As far as Airbnbs go, here are loads for you to look at!

  9. Hi Keith, first of all this page is impressive and was so helpful already!! Thanks for putting in so much work and help people find their best itinerary. We have possibly 7 to 8 days flying into Dublin airport and would like to do a camper van road trip. Hopefully only a small camper van without much amenities. We’d like to see coastal areas, cute and small villages and especially the little pubs 🙂 Most likely flying out from Dublin airport again because I assume we’ve to return the camper van in Dublin. Would you have any suggestions for which part of Ireland to visit best and maybe which route to take? We’re planning on travelling mid of Feb 2020. I would be thrilled to get a reply from you. Cheers, Lisa

    ** soz if I might have posted this comment twice but as I reloaded the page, my comment was gone so I’ve redone it.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you. I seem to constantly be battling colds and the flu these days!

      Sounds like a lovely trip you have planned. If it was me, I’d do the second 7-day itinerary in our 7 days in Ireland guide. Plenty of coastal areas in Waterford, Cork and Kerry to keep you occupied.

      I’ve done this route a handful of times over the years and it never fails to disappoint. Make sure that you drive the Copper Coastal Route in Waterford!



  10. Hello we will be coming to Ireland in August and would like to rent a vehicle for 8-10 people. We were wanting to do a self guided tour but are having issues finding a vehicle large enough. We would prefer NOT to drive but drivers are upwards of $5000 for 4-5 days….then we are headed to the ND Navy game on the 29th. We are very much looking forward to this trip but transportation is proving to be an issue.

    • Hey – I think your best bet is joining a guided tour. It’s going to be the only way that you can travel about the place with that many people all in one vehicle. Unless of course you stick to public transport and get around that way.

  11. Hi Keith

    Excellent site! So much information. Thanks for that. Still having a bit of trouble figuring out an itinerary. I would love some insight if possible.
    I will be travelling to Ireland with my husband and another couple in March. So soon, I know. We are flying to Dublin from Scotland on the 15th (morning) and flying from Dublin back to Canada on the 20th (afternoon).
    We will be renting a car. I would normally have planned to travel in a big loop from Dublin to Galway to Belfast and back to Dublin, but we are looking to spend St.Patricks day in Dublin. This is why I am stuck.
    I was hoping to experience Northern Ireland a bit (Belfast, giants causeway, dark hedges, maybe titanic experience). My other hope was experiencing some of southern and western Ireland with a focus on Galway (ideally 2 nights). But also seeing Kilkenny, Killarney, and maybe Cork. I don’t know how to best plan around being in Dublin for St.Patricks day (we would like to be around for breakfast and the parade + festivities that night so late 16th-early 18th).
    Any help would be very appreciated. Again, thank you for all the information you’ve already given me!


    • Hi Missy,

      Cheers – glad you found it useful! So, everything you mentioned in the above comment will absolutely not be possible with 4 and a half/5 days. You’d need to drive for every minute of the day, which would be a complete waste.

      The best thing to do in this situation is to prioritise which places are an absolute must, and which you just kinda want to see. That’ll help narrow down the route and make life for you a whole lot easier (it’ll also make your trip way more enjoyable).

      Here’s a suggestion (note: I’d do this completely differently if you didn’t say that you want to get back to Dublin for Paddy’s Day):

      Days 1 and 2: Belfast (make the city your base and explore the Causeway Coastal route)
      Day 3: Back to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day
      Days 4 and 5: Galway and then back to Dublin

      To be honest, spending Paddy’s Day in Dublin is killing your itinerary, to an extent. There’s nothing great about Dublin on the 17th, unless you’re really into parades. I’d be inclined to cut Dublin out completely, spend days 1 and 2 in Belfast, take the long drive to galway for days 3 and 4 and then try and squeeze in Kilkenny on the final day.

      Actually, scratch that – it’s just too much. Definitely look at priortising that places you want to see and try and skip Dublin on Paddy’s Day.

      I hope this helps.


  12. Hello Keith !
    Your site is fantastic, really haven’t scratched the surface yet. Will be visiting Ireland in May for a few weeks, probably between 10-14 days with my 87 year old grandmother. She can’t do hiking or anything but wants to see the ring of Kerry, Blarney stone.. book of kells, cliffs of moher.. lol she mentioned the sheep shearing.. just the main highlights. We will probably rent a car and my grandmother is not opposed to letting me take hikes independently of her if there are things she can’t do for physical limitations. . She is admirably mobile but tires pretty quickly.
    I expect her first day will be low key recovering from the flight and she will need to have rest stops along the way.. do you have any recommendations? Money isn’t a major issue (within reason.) This is her lifelong dream trip, she has regretted not making it to Ireland before. She wants to see as much as she can (and I’d like to see as much as possible, too, this is my first international adventure)

    Thank you!

    • Hi Kelly,

      That’s an amazing trip to be taking with your grandmother – fair play to her!

      My Nan is around the same age, so I can only imagine how memorable of a trip this will be for both of you. As this is a bucket list trip for her, I’d love to do out a proper (free) itinerary for you both – can you give me an email on [email protected] and we can get it rolling?

      When you email just give me a sense of any other ‘must-visits’ that you both have along with a rough idea of how much you want to spend on accommodation each night. I don’t usually do this, but as it’s such a monumental trip for you both, I’d love to help!



  13. Hello! We would love your advice. We are 4 Americans (2 couples from Utah) in our mid 40’s heading to Ireland for the first time. I say first because I hope to make it the first of many visits. We will be there Oct 8,2020 arriving around 10:00am and leaving the afternoon of the 17th fling in and out of Dublin. Flights are already booked! We will be renting a car and want to do a southern loop. Starting off heading south. We would like to stay 2 nights in each stop using Airbnb and or VRBO rentals. We would love to spend at least 1 night in a castle if at all possible but I have no idea where the best place for that would be. Things we really want to see; as many castles as possible, old historic sites, and ocean views, and pubs. Places on the must see list are Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Skellig Michael. We are “outdoorsy” so hikes and walks followed by a pint or 2 are our thing. I look forward to hearing from you, Cheers!

    • Hey,

      If you’re going to be heading south from Dublin, you could try Kilkea Castle (Kildare) or Tubbrid Castle (an Airbnb in Kilkenny).

      In terms of itinerary, you’ve a nice 9 days to work with, which is great. If it was me, and I wanted to see the places that you’ve outlined above, I’d do it like this:

      – Days 1 and 2: Arrive in Dublin, sleep off the jet lag, explore the city and use it as your base to visit Wicklow.
      – Days 3 and 4: Kilkenny – you could make Tubbrid Castle your base if it suited your budget. You could explore Kilkenny on day 3 and then on day 4 do a day trip to see the Rock of Cashel and then Cahir Castle
      – Days 5 and 6: Make Killarney or Kenmare your base. Visit the Dingle Peninsula, explore the National Park, head out to see Skellig Michael (hopefully you can get onto a tour).
      – Days 7 and 8: Clare – base yourself in Doolin and explore all around you

      Hope this helps.


  14. HI!
    Traveling into Dublin, headed to Galway. Priority is to find the old family homestead. Best way to find it? According to the 1911 census, the home is listed as “Residents of a house 22 in Glencoh (Turlough, Galway)”
    Your help is appreciated!

  15. Hi Keith,

    Your site has been so helpful in preparing for our upcoming trip to Ireland in June 2020. We are doing 2 days in Dublin, then driving to Galway for 2 days. We then plan to head to Killarney for 2 days and Kilkenny for 1 day. I just had a few questions:

    1. On the drive from Galway to Killarney, are there any smaller towns/villages that you think are must sees?
    2. With only being in Killarney for 2 days, I just don’t think we have enough time to tour the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. I think we will have to choose one. Do you have any recommendations?

    Thank you!

  16. Hi Keith –
    A ton of great information !!
    I am traveling with my 30-something daughter for about 5 days in mid May We are flying in and out of Shannon from NY We land VERY early on a Tuesday morning – think we will rent a car and drive to Cork ( family roots ) maybe stay there a day or so – do Cork, Kinsale and then go back up – Cliffs of Mohr and Galway and surrounding area and fly out on Sunday afternoon Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated Pubs/ restaurants are as important as the countyside!!

  17. Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the wonderful, informative site. Very helpful! We will be traveling to Ireland on July 8, 2020 and staying for 8 to 10 days. Arriving in Dublin and spending the first two days there, then heading off to visit ancestral counties of Roscommon and Kerry. Will be flying back from Dublin. Do you have suggestions relating to Roscommon and Kerry, plus other areas that we might be able to visit with the time we have allotted? Thanks for any advice you might be able to offer!


  18. Hello Keith,

    Your site is wonderful. Really a blessing for those of us who like hidden gems in a country. I am traveling in March for 10 days. Is it to crazy to aim going around the whole Island? I love to drive and there are spots everywhere i would like to visit. I concentrate in nature and sacred site. No cities or towns. Thanks so much

  19. Coming to this beautiful place in April. Arrive in Dublin on a Thursday at 0700. Was thinking of renting car and driving to…
    Day 1: Dingle, maybe via Rock of Cashel, and getting there Thursday afternoon.
    Day 2: Slea Head Loop.
    Day 3: Not sure
    Day 4: Dublin
    Day 5: Dublin

    Is this at all possible and/or worth the trouble of so much driving. Notice i wasn’t sure about day 3. I was thinking after Slea Head would be to head toward Dubling with a stop somewhere.

    What about..
    Day 1: Dublin through Rock of Cashel (to see castle, only) to Kenmare for Day 1
    Day 2: Ring of kerry Loop Drive then drive to Dingle
    Day 3. Slea Head Loop Drive, Head back to Dublin
    Day 4/5: Dublin

    • Hi Faran,

      Definitely a lot of driving in your suggested route above. If it was me, I’d arrive into Dublin and spend day 1 there. Spend day two in Wicklow.

      Drive to Kerry on the third day and base yourself in Killarney for two nights. You can do the ROK from here and explore more of the area around you.

      Head back to Dublin then on the final day. It’s a lot of driving but if you really want to get to Kerry you’ll have to go for it!

      Hope this helps! Cheers.

  20. Hi Keith
    My husband and two of our friends are planning a self drive trip of Ireland arriving around 14th September and staying 14 nights. We are Australians who have not travelled overseas a lot (actually only a trip to Canada a couple of years ago). What do you recommend. I thought we would include Belfast as well. What do you recommend.
    Cheers Karen

    • Hi Karen,

      It’s always tricky to reply to a itinerary question like this one as I don’t have any insight into the kind of things you like (e.g. are you here for hikes? Or do foodie trails appeal to you more).

      What I’d recommend doing is creating a ‘must-see’ list and then plotting out what’s possible from there. If you hop into our guide to Ireland’s counties, have a browse through each one and make a list of the places you fancy seeing.

      Then plot them on a Google Map. From here, you need to think about how much you want to be moving around. What I mean by that is, would you prefer to base yourselves from 5 different places over the two weeks? Or would you like to move around more frequently.

      I hope this helps. Cheers!

  21. Hi Keith

    I hope you’re well.

    I was planning a visit for July but that doesn’t look likely to happen on the current climate which has left me with one very upset 14yr old. So I thought we would look into rescheduling for October ?

    We’re hoping to fly into Belfast, and fly out of Dublin with a visit to family in New Ross along the way. I was planning on 5-7 days whilest keeping costs to a minimum. We have been offered a place to stay in New Ross with family so as many nights there as possible would be great.

    We are looking to sight see and ideally visit Galway and maybe Londonderry. Can you recommend an itinerary?

  22. 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

  23. 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.

    • 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!

  24. 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!

    • 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!

  25. 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!


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