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The 2023 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

The 2023 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

Day 12 (Limerick) – Thatched Cottages, Castles and Kayaking

It’s crazy to think that we haven’t even reached the end of week two yet.

Day 12 takes us from Kerry to Limerick.

Get a lie in after your night out in Dingle and hit the road for 10. There’s a lot of exploring on the cards for today.

1 – Conor Pass

// Dingle to Conor Pass – 10-minute drive (arrive for 10:10) //

If you read our guide to the craziest roads in Ireland, then you’ll recognise Conor Pass.

driving conor pass county kerry

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Conor Pass runs from Dingle out towards Brandon Bay and Castlegregory, and is one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland, standing a whopping 410 m above the sea level.

The tight, narrow road snakes alongside the mountain and weaves its way along sharp cliff faces on one side and an enormous drop to the other.

conor pass in dingle

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

You can pull in at the side of the road before the pass and admire the views around you.

On a busy day, this’ll be a nervous drivers nightmare, but just take your time, drive carefully and you’ll be fine.

2 – The gorgeous village of Adare

// Conor Pass to Adare – 1 hour and 50-minute drive (arrive for 11:30) //

adare village limerick

Photo by Patryk Kosmider (Shutterstock)

We’ve a long drive to Adare in County Limerick.

The Geraldines of Kildare developed Adare during medieval times. The present village was largely an early 19th-century creation by the Dunravens.

As you make your way through the village, you’ll encounter many gorgeous thatch roof cottages.

Park the car, stretch the legs, and have a little wander around the town.

Related read: Check out our guide to 20 of the best things to do in Limerick at any time of the year.

3 – King John’s Castle (one of the finest castles on this Ireland road trip)

// Adare to King John’s Castle – 25-minute drive (arrive for 12:30) //

king johns castle

Photo by Shannon Development

You’ll find King John’s Castle in the heart of medieval Limerick City.

The castle, which was established in the 13th century, reopened in 2013 following a multi-million euro investment.

Those that visit the castle will experience a brand new visitor centre with state of the art interpretive activities and exhibitions.

Outside in the courtyard, you’ll discover a medieval campaign tent, a blacksmiths forge, and scenes from a 17th-century siege.

Head off on the tour and soak up some of Limerick’s rich past.

4 – The Buttery for lunch

// St. John’s Castle to the Buttery – 10-minute drive (arrive for 14:00) //

When you’re in Limerick and hankering for a feed, head to the Buttery.

Their brunch is seriously damn good.

Fuel up here and get ready for the rest of the day.

5 – Kayaking on the River Shannon

// The Buttery to Get West Kayaking – 3-minute walk (arrive for 15:30) //

limerick city kayak tour

Photo via Get West

This is a verrrrry unique way to experience Limerick.

The folks at Get West are among several companies that run kayaking excursions along the River Shannon.

You’ll get to see Limerick from a completely different perspective – just look at the view you’ll be treated to of King John’s Castle above!

6 – Round off the day with a feed, a pint and some live Music at Dolan’s pub

I spent a night in Dolan’s pub a few years back with a couple of friends.

The lady running our B&B told us that if we didn’t enjoy it, she’d give us the nights accommodation for half price.

We went. We had a fine feed. We supped many a pint. And we tapped our feet to live music.

A mighty pub and the perfect way to round off your day.

7 – Where to rest your head

I’ve only stayed in Limerick City once over the past few years.

We spent the night in the George Hotel, which was central, reasonably priced, and faultless.

I’ve popped in an affiliate link to it above (you won’t be charged extra, but I’ll get a small commission which helps pay for this site).

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Isabella Dennison

Sunday 26th of March 2023

Good day Keith,

Wow, what an amazing work you've done! I'm forever grateful!!! Please can you email this to me. We are planning to explore Ireland for the first time this year 2023, all the way from South Africa.

Thank you

Keith O'Hara

Monday 27th of March 2023

Thanks Isabell!

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply!

I've tried to get this converted to PDF on a number of occasions, but the result is very messy due to the volume of photos in it.

If there's any specific questions that I can help with, please fire them on and I'll do my best to answer them.

Keith

Jodie Wilson

Sunday 26th of March 2023

First retirement trip. Ireland for a month! Go big or go home. So excited to start this new chapter in our lives - and to hit the roads of Ireland. This guide is perfect - but Iā€™d love a more readable copy if you could email it to me.

Lorraine

Monday 13th of March 2023

Keith, this is an extraordinary itinerary and so detailed. Thank you

Phillip Ennis

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

I'm tipping my hat to you for having the tenacity to put together such a helpful, insightful and thorough guide for all of us to enjoy. Thank you.

Michael

Saturday 22nd of January 2022

I think this is stunning, and have used it to plan our trip, which may not be as long but will incorporate your suggestions, I will let you know how we faired later in the year. Thank you very much

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