Planning a trip to Ireland: Our 11 Step Process (Guarantees A Stress-Free Irish Adventure)

planning a trip to Ireland
Photo left: Iryna Kalamurza. Right: Piotr Orlinski (Shutterstock)

If you’re in the middle of planning a trip to Ireland and you’re feeling stressed, CHIIIILL!

Many of us (myself included) that have pulled out tufts of hair trying to plan a trip for ourselves or others, with everything from deciding when to visit and how to rent a car causing STRESSSS.

But, as I said, chill… in the guide below, you’ll find everything you need for planning your trip to Ireland. Literally. Everything.

Hours upon hours have gone into researching and writing this guide to make it as useful as physically possible. So, grab a mug of tea, sit back and dive on in.

Planning a trip to Ireland: A step-by-step approach

I’ve helped many people plan out their Ireland trip over the last few years. With each person, couple or group, I tend to follow a very systematic (and easy-to-follow) approach that I’ll give you below.

If you take the time to read this guide, I can promise you three things:

  • You’ll leave this website with a plan of action
  • You’ll (hopefully) discover tips and tricks that’ll save you time and money
  • You’ll have a far less stressful time planning your Ireland itinerary

Below, you’ll get an insight into everything from deciding how to get around Ireland to how to rent a car without be scammed… it happens. So, I’ll stop rambling. Dive on in!

Step 1: Defining a rough budget

planning a trip to ireland on a budget
Photo left: Konstantin Aksenov. Right: David Dea (Shutterstock)

The first step in planning your trip to Ireland is to define how much money you have to spend. I get that this sounds very obvious, but it’s important to have a number in your head from the beginning.

Why? Well, having a rough idea of how much you can realistically spend on your trip to Ireland will inform many of the steps that follow in the planning phase.

If you’ve never gone about budgeting and planning a trip like this before, it’s easy to get bogged down when it comes to getting an estimate of how much you’re likely to spend.

Not sure where to start?

The best approach, in my opinion, is to jot down your core costs (costs that you can’t avoid, like flights, travel insurance, etc.), your daily unavoidable costs and an ‘entertainment budget’ (optional)

Record each of these costs and throw in 200-300 for misc costs. It’s important to give yourself this buffer. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up not needing it.

Core costs Daily Costs Entertainment
Flights Accommodation Admission to attractions
Transportation Food + water + snacks Pints and drinks
Insurance    
Hiking gear    
Misc     

 

I know a lot of people that’ll set out their core costs and then set an allowance for daily costs, e.g. €90. They’ll work within the limit and, if they have to, they’ll dip into the misc fund.

A handy thing to get into the habit of doing when planning a trip to Ireland is to set an entertainment budget. The cost of numerous nights in pubs add up very quickly.

People on a tight budget

Ireland is expensive. But you can save money if you’re clever. The trick is to reduce your unavoidable costs and limit or completely cut out the avoidable costs.

Now, when I say ‘unavoidable costs’, I’m talking about the likes of flights. If you have to fly here, the only way to nab a deal and reduce this cost is to book in advance.

On the unavoidable costs, things like eating out can be a big cash drainer. To avoid these costs, stay in self-catering accommodation where you can cook and prepare your own meals.

Drop into our guide to doing Ireland on a budget. It’s packed with tips on how you can save money before you arrive and while you’re here.

How much I spent per day on a recent trip

OK, I think the best way for me to help you understand how much you’ll spend per day on your trip to Ireland is if I break down a recent trip that I was on in Galway. I’ll include rough prices for each day. 

I drove from Dublin to Galway City. Spent one night in the city and one night in Clifden. Didn’t do any paid attractions (there was no need).

  • Accommodation (Airbnb in the city and hotel in Clifden): €125
  • Petrol for the two days: €65
  • Lunch over two days: €30
  • Dinner (pizza first night and decent restaurant the second): €60
  • Water and coffees: €16
  • Pints on both nights (4 the first and 6 the second): €50.40
  • Tolls (rough estimate): €15
  • Breakfast on morning one (it was included in the hotel): €16
  • Total: €377.40

Could we have done the above for less? Absolutely. This is just to give you a very rough idea of how much it can cost per day in Ireland.

Step 2: Deciding how long you’re going to visit for

weather in ireland by month
Photo left: Brian Morrison. Right: Big Smoke Studio

The length of your trip to Ireland is going to be determined by two things – how much time off work you can get and how much money that you have to spend.

If you have the freedom to choose how long you’re going to visit Ireland for, then myself and everyone else reading this is are very feckin’ jealous.

Most people have very little control over how long they’re visiting Ireland for. They tend to be constrained by a trip (e.g. they could be on a Scotland and Ireland road trip and they only have X time in both countries) or they could be constrained by work holidays.

Longer, when possible, is better

In a nutshell – the more time you have here the better. Why? Well, there’s 100’s of amazing places to visit in Ireland and ideally you don’t want to have to squeeze seeing and doing loads of things into a tiny time frame.

The more time you have to play with, the more you’ll see and the more chilled your pace will be. That being said, if you’re only visiting for 5 days, you can still see loads – you just need to be clever when it comes to planning the itinerary for your trip to Ireland (more on this below).

Step 3: Finding the perfect time to visit Ireland

mussenden temple walk
Photo by silvester kalcik (Shutterstock)

I chat with a lot of people that are in the middle of planning a trip to Ireland. People often get caught up in what they want to see, before they’ve even decided on when they plan on arriving.

I find that deciding when you’re going to visit is useful information what you’re going to do. For example, if you visit during the summer, you’ll have lovely long days and plenty of time to explore.

If you visit during the winter, the days are much shorter and you’ll need to be far more selective in where you go and what you do.

How to decide when to visit Ireland

If you’ve read our detailed guide to the best time to travel to Ireland, you’ll know that I’m partial to the shoulder season (the chunk of time that falls between the off-season and the peak season).

A lot of people that I speak to that are in the early stages of planning their Ireland trip tend to lean towards the summer months.

Why a trip to Ireland in summer is a good idea

  • During the summer, the days are nice and long
  • The weather tends to be better (emphasis on tends – see our guide to the weather in Ireland for more info)
  • On the whole, it’s just a nice time to head off exploring Ireland

Why I prefer the shoulder-season

  • There are fewer crowds (summer can be mental in certain places)
  • Accommodation tends to be a little bit cheaper
  • Flights are noticeably cheaper

Things to consider

  • Plan your Ireland itinerary around when best suits you and your situation
  • E.g. if you’re low on cash, avoid the peak season
  • Weigh up the pros and cons of the different times of the year (yes, the off season is cheaper, but will you get to do what you want to when the days are shorter?)

Step 4: Deciding how to get around

getting around Ireland
Photo right: Art Ward. Left: Martin Fleming

Deciding how you’re going to get around isn’t a decision to take lightly. Your main mode of transport, whether it be a car or a bus, is going to have a massive effect on your trip.

I always find that you’re better off making this decision early on when you’re planning a trip to Ireland. If you decide that you’re going to take a guided tour, it means you won’t need to do many of the following steps (tour companies tend to have set itineraries).

If you decide that you’re going to rent a car, you’ll have to follow the steps below to a tee. There are three different things that you should consider when deciding how to get around:

  1. Your experience: e.g. will the convenience of a car make it more enjoyable?
  2. Your budget: e.g. will having someone else plan everything for you make the trip less stressful?
  3. What you want to see: e.g. if you want to step off the beaten path, an organised tour isn’t the way to go

Ireland travel: The best way to get around

In my opinion, the best way to get around Ireland is to combine modes of transport. For example, you could use public transport in the big cities and towns and then head off on organised day trips, also.

In our guide to getting around Ireland, you’ll find the pros and cons of the various different modes of transport. Be mindful of this decision and it’s key to a great trip.

Renting a car

If you’re considering renting a car for your trip to Ireland, you need to do your research. As you’ll find in our guide to renting a car in Ireland, there are some shady companies out there…

Car rental companies tend to deliberately try and overcomplicate the process of renting a car, and this usually means that you end up paying way more than you originally budgeted for.

Driving in Ireland

Many people visiting Ireland tend to be wary of driving in Ireland, citing ‘those narrow country roads’ as the main cause of their concern.

If you read our guide to driving in Ireland, you’ll find that getting behind the wheel here doesn’t have to be stressful, once you’re prepared.

Step 5: Plot out your ‘must-see’ attractions on a map

best castles in irelanf
Photo left: Kwiatek7. Right Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

OK, happy days – you now know how you’re going to get around Ireland, which will make moving onto step 5 possible. What do you want to see? Hopefully, this isn’t being decided for you and you get to decide where to go and what to explore.

Start a list of EVERYWHERE you want to see. The chances are it won’t be possible to see all of these places but plot each place out on a Google My Map.

Understanding the lay of the land and distances

By plotting out all of your ‘must-sees’ on a Google Map, you’ll get a quick understanding of the lay of the land and where the various different attractions are located.

It’s often at this point that people think, sh*te, I thought X place was waaay closer to Y. This task is useful as it’ll start to rule in and rule out certain places.

It’ll also give you a sense of where the majority of the places that you want to visit are located, which is crucial in deciding where to fly into (step 6).

Step 6: Picking the starting point for your trip to Ireland

best castles in ireland
Photo left: Thomas Bresenhuber. Right: Adrian Pluskota

OK, so you’ve decided when you’re visiting, how long you’re visiting for, how you’ll get around and how much you’re happy to spend. The next decision is deciding where you’re going to arrive into (by plane or ferry).

Sometimes, this is completely decided for you based on where you’re travelling in from. If you have the flex to choose, you need to choose wisely!

Take a look at the map that you’ve used to plot down all of your ‘must-sees’ and plot the various different airports that you have the option to fly into, e.g. Dublin Airport and Shannon.

If all of your ‘must-sees’ are in Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry, it makes sense to use Shannon as the starting point for your trip to Ireland.

Why your arrival point is so important

This is an important part of your planning a trip to Ireland process as it’ll give you the starting point for your Irish road trip, and it’ll often rule certain counties and attractions in or out.

There are five international airports in Ireland:

  • Dublin Airport
  • Cork Airport
  • Shannon Airport
  • Knock Airport
  • North West Belfast Airport

If you’re spending a week in Ireland and you want to explore Northern Ireland, try and fly into Belfast. If you’re here to explore the best of Dublin, fly into Dublin Airport. 

If you’re looking to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, fly into Shannon! For those of you arriving by ferry into Dublin or Wexford, you’ll have two fine starting points for your trip.

Step 7: Booking your flights to Ireland

airports in ireland
Photo right: Serjio74. Left: Peter Gyorfi-Batori

If you’ve made it this far, you’re doing well. Hopefully, the last 6 steps have already started to make planning a trip to Ireland more straightforward for you.

Step 7 is nice and straight forward – get your flights to Ireland booked! The earlier you do this the better. Doing this well in advance will ensure that you stick to your budget.

It’ll also give you the starting point (where you’re flying into) needed to start planning the route that you’re going to take while you’re here.

Ireland travel tip: If you’re thinking of renting a car, wait until after step 8 – you may only need a car for certain points of the journey.

Step 8: Creating your Irish road trip itinerary

renting a car in ireland
Photos via Shutterstock

Now that you have your starting point and (hopefully) a rough idea of the different places that you want to visit, it’s time to start mapping out your itinerary.

We’ve created a handy guide for this (how to build the best Ireland itinerary) but I’ll give you a quick idea of how to go about doing it. Pull out the Google map with all of the places that you want to see plotted out.

Be realistic

The biggest causer of stress amongst people planning a trip to Ireland, in my experience, is that they try and fit EVERYTHING into one trip.

I was chatting to a woman last week from America who’s visiting Ireland for 5 days in 2021. She wants to visit Dublin, Kilkenny, Kerry, Belfast, Donegal and Galway… can you see what this isn’t really possible?

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

There’s nothing worse than trying to cram everything into a short space of time as you end up spending hoooours in the car/on public transport.

Prioritise attractions

Let’s say that you’re here for a week and you really want to drive the Wild Atlantic Way. Now, you could absolutely drive the Wild Atlantic Way in a week, but you wouldn’t get to appreciate it, as you’d constantly be on the move.

Remember that Google Map that I keep going on and on about? It’s time to whip that out again and start prioritizing. For example, maybe the Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher are two of the main things you’d like to experience.

Pop them at the top of the list with whatever else you really want to see. If you’re struggling to narrow the list down, assign numbers to each place/attraction. This’ll help you realise what you really want to see vs what you only kind of want to see.

Look for clusters

The next step is to look for clusters on the map near your starting point. If you find a group of places that you want to see while touring Ireland, take note of the county in your spreadsheet.

This will help you build up a list of places that will form your various different bases. When you’ve run through the whole map, it’s time to bring it all together.

This stage in planning a trip to Ireland 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 itinerary to follow. Need to run yours by someone? Send it to me in the comments below!

Ready-made Irish travel itineraries

We’ve made a TONNE of different Ireland travel itineraries available on this site for free. They’re detailed (we’ve literally planned the entire trip from start to finish…) and contain everything from where to go to where to drink.

You can browse all of them in our road trip hub. If you’re still unsure of where’s worth visiting, jump into our Ireland counties hub – you’ll find the best things to do in each county there.

Step 9: Locking in the final route and booking accommodation

Doolin Village Lodges

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

Decide on a final itinerary and commit to it. Once you have your plans set, it’s time to get your accommodation booked. If you’d like some suggestions on unique places to stay, drop into our hub on where to stay in Ireland.

Ireland travel tip: if you plan on staying in B&Bs, it’s always worth ringing them up or sending them an email directly, as they’ll tend to give you a better rate than if you book via a third party.

Step 10: Getting the best bang for your buck when planning a trip to Ireland

ireland travel tips
Photos via Shutterstock

If you’ve read our Ireland travel tips guide, you’ll have come across some of the things below. In a nutshell, if you’re organised when planning your trip to Ireland, you can save money in certain places.

There are sightseeing cards, like the Heritage Card, that’ll save you a decent chunk of cash when visiting certain attractions. Families, in particular, can save big with family passes.

VAT refund

If you’re travelling to Ireland from outside the EU, you’re entitled to a VAT refund on some of your purchases. Yep, you can claim cashback after visiting.

Now, in order to make this saving, you need to be prepared in advance of visiting. You also need to know which purchases qualify. Find out everything you need to know in our guide to the VAT refund.

The Heritage Card

The Heritage Card is a handy way to save on admission to state-managed Heritage Sites. If you’re wondering what a Heritage Site is, they’re places like Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin and the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre in Meath.

Find out everything you need to know, including how much you can save and what attractions are included, in our guide to the Heritage Card.

The Dublin Pass

The Dublin Pass is another one to be aware of for those of you planning a trip to Ireland and visiting Dublin. Similar to the Heritage Card, the Dublin Pass gives you access to fee-paying attractions.

Now, the thing that makes this sightseeing card unique is that it gives you access to the majority of the top attractions in Dublin, like the Jameson Distillery, the Little Museum of Dublin and the Guinness Storehouse.

Find out everything you need to know, including how much you can save and what attractions are included, in our guide to the Dublin Pass.

Step 11: Things to know before you visit

tipping in ireland
Photo by nutcd32 (Shutterstock)

And finally (says you!) we’re onto the last step in planning a trip to Ireland – things to know before you visit. I’ve used some of the most FAQs that we get on this site for this section.

The most common questions we get tend to revolve around the difference between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, what to do about tipping during your tour in Ireland and Irish culture.

Tipping in Ireland

Tipping in Ireland, for the most part, is optional – don’t be fooled into believing that you need to tip for everything. It’s fairly standard to leave between 10 and 15% in places where you’ve had a meal.

Now, there are a few scenarios where tipping in a place where you’ve eaten isn’t necessary; the first is if the service was sh*te. The second situation is if it’s already included in the bill.

Find everything you need to know (including when you absolutely don’t have to tip) in our guide to tipping in Ireland.

Drinking laws

Ireland’s drinking laws are crystal clear – the legal drinking age is 18. That means you need to be 18 to buy a drink in Ireland or consume alcohol in a public place.

According to Ireland’s drinking laws, it’s illegal for under 18s to:

  • Buy alcohol
  • Pretend that they’re old enough to buy or consume alcohol
  • To consume alcohol in a public place

It’s also illegal to give anyone below 18 alcohol (there’s one exception to this – find out more in our guide to the drinking age in Ireland.)

Northern Ireland vs the Republic of Ireland

Some people are surprised to discover that there are differences between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Yes, they’re separate countries on one island. There are 32 counties in Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland is made up 26 counties and Northern Ireland is made up of the remaining 6. Here’s an insight into how they’re broken down (it’s worth noting that two different currencies are also used – read more in our guide to the currency in Ireland):

Republic of Ireland counties

  • Carlow
  • Dublin
  • Wexford
  • Wicklow
  • Louth
  • Kildare
  • Meath
  • Westmeath
  • Kilkenny
  • Laois
  • Offaly
  • Longford
  • Clare
  • Cork
  • Kerry
  • Limerick
  • Tipperary
  • Waterford
  • Galway
  • Leitrim
  • Mayo
  • Roscommon
  • Sligo
  • Cavan
  • Donegal
  • Monaghan

Northern Ireland counties

  • Derry
  • Antrim
  • Fermanagh
  • Tyrone
  • Armagh
  • Down

FAQ about planning a trip to Ireland

I’m going to pop in some more FAQs that we’ve received in the past from people planning a trip to Ireland. If you have a question that I haven’t covered, feel free to ask it in the comments below.

How much does it cost for a trip to Ireland?

This one gets asked a lot and it’s one that I’m always wary of answering, as it’s completely dependant on where the person is visiting from, when they’re visiting and how they travel (e.g. hostels or hotels).

If you scroll up to our section one estimating a budget when planning a trip to Ireland, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to getting an idea of how much your trip will cost.

Where’s best to visit?

I’ve been travelling around Ireland a lot over the last ten years. My favourite places are Connemara, the Ring of Kerry, the Copper Coast (Waterford) and West Cork.

As far as where’s best to visit, I think that’ll change based on who you’re talking to. I know a lot of Game of Thrones fans who love Northern Ireland, I know people who love hiking who love the Mournes. It really does depend.

Do you do Ireland planning as a service?

Not at the moment. With that being said, I can see us moving to offer Ireland planning as a service as it’s insanely time-consuming helping people with itineraries (we’ve been doing it for free for the last 2 years).

It’s also, for the most part, a thankless job – I’d estimate that 90% of the emails and comments that I reply to never come back to say thanks. Not ideal when you took the time (often 30 to 50 minutes) to write a thoughtful reply.

I hope this guide makes it less stressful for you when you’re planning a trip to Ireland. If it was useful, let me know in the comments section below.

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!

61 COMMENTS

  1. Going to do a roundtrip this summer with my girlfriend, to show her the beauty of Ireland! This is going to be our route.. (these are our headlights)
    Any recommendation on what to visit/must see, or where to stay?

  2. Really enjoying the content of the emails as well as on the Instagram stories. I’m doing a solo two week road trip in August and I’ve basically got my plan made but I have one day that I feel I might be over planned and I’d appreciate your advice. I’ll be starting out in the morning from my Aunt’s house about 20km east of Killarney. I’d like to drive round the Beara Peninsula (will be referring to your recent guide!), then stop In Kinsale and Cobh then on to Cashel where I’ll be staying the night.
    Is that too much for one day? Should I think about staying the night in Cobh instead and head for Cashel the following day? I don’t mind a long day of driving – say on the road before 9, and I’d like to be at my b&b by around 6 but This will be my first time seeing Beara, Kinsale and Cobh so don’t want to shortchange myself by trying to see too much in a single day. Would really appreciate your input!

    • God = that’s a good distance you’re covering in one day even if you don’t mind driving.

      I made a mistake of skipping the Beara Peninsula on several visits. It’s a gorgeous part of the country.

      Personally, I’d spend a good chunk of time on the Beara Peninsula (unless it’s raining and you don’t fancy getting wet), then head for Mizen Head, Brow Head and spend the night in Skibbereen.

      Otherwise you’re stretching yourself quite a bit.

      I’m not sure how you’d fit in Kinsale and Cobh – you may have to leave them out.

      Alternatively, you could do a quick spin around Beara, head to Mizen, and then power on towards Kinsale and Cobh.

      Tough one! When’s the trip?

      Glad you’re finding it useful!

      Cheers,

      Keith

      • Thanks Keith. You confirmed what I was already thinking. I’ll be over the last two weeks of August. I like your suggestion of adding Mizen Head and Brow Head and staying in Skibereen.

        I don’t want to be so focused on a checklist that I’m rushing through. I’ve had to skip Beara,Kinsale and Cobh past few trips because of family obligations so I really don’t want to miss them again. So I’ll stay in Skibereen that night and head off in the morning.

        Thanks again for helping with this and just in general with sharing the benefits of your own experiences!

        Karen

        • No worries. Glad it was useful.

          Planning a trip in Ireland when you’re living here can be just as tricky as planning one when you’re visiting from abroad.

          Enjoy the few days and safe travelling.

          Keith

  3. Hey! Can you recommend any nice reasonable hotels with walks/outdoor activities can you can get to from Dublin without a car? Thanks ?

    • Hey Nsyn,

      Does it have to be a hotel?

      I’d recommend staying somewhere near Glendalough in Wicklow, but the hotels out that way can be really pricey. That being said, there are plenty of places to rent for the night on Airbnb. There are also several B&Bs.

      If you do decided to visit Wicklow (handy spin/bus journey from Dublin – here’s a load of info on getting there https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Dublin/Wicklow), there are plenty of walks and hikes in the area.

      Have a look here – http://visitwicklow.ie/all-walks/

      Cheers,

      Keith

  4. Hi! Do you happen to know some good 3-5 day hiking trails in Donegal? I have never been to Donegal so I’m planning to go there this summer.

    Thanks in advance and thanks for the awesome work you’re doing!

  5. I just wanted to ask 1-2 question about a weekend trip that I’m planning with a friend. I’m from Germany, working in Cork for 3 months now. Next week, a friend from Germany is coming over for the weekend.
    We would start Friday afternoon to Galway, spend a night there and go see the Cliffs of Moher early Saturday. From there we want to make our way down on the west coast and I wanted to ask about 1-2 must see’s on the way or even a good place to stay from Saturday to Sunday. If you have any ideas, I would be very thankful.
    Have a good day 🙂

    • Weird – I replied to this yesterday, but the comment seems to have vanished.

      OK, just so I have this right:

      – Galway on Friday night
      – Somewhere in Clare on Saturday
      – Home on Sunday

      Option 1

      – Friday afternoon in Galway
      – Head out to connemara in the late afternoon/evening (the evenings are bright until 8 or so, so you’ve plenty of time to explore)
      – Spend the night in Clifden or Roundstone
      – Here’s a guide to the best things to do in Galway in 48 hours that you might find handy

      – Saturday morning make your way to Clare
      – Spend the night in Doolin
      – Sail below the cliffs and take a ferry over in Inis Oirr
      – Here’s loads of things to do in Clare

      Option 2

      – Spend Friday in Galway City
      – Get up early on the Saturday and head down to Clare to see the cliffs
      – If you have a car, definitely head out to the cliffs at Kilbaha, after, they’re brilliant
      – Refer to the guide in option one for other things to do in the area
      – Spend the night wherever you fancy. I find Doolin is handy as it’s a good base for seeing a lot of Clare’s attractions, but there are other great towns in the county

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  6. Hey. Myself my partner and two boys are heading to Clare in two weeks for 4 days. We have a few things we want do, cliffs of moher etc. is there something that you’d recommend that is a must do over that neck of the woods?

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If it was me, I’d take a spin out to Inis Oirr island. It’s a handy ferry from Doolin, although I’m not sure how suitable it would be for very young children.

      Definitely take a spin out as far as the cliffs at Kilbaha. They’re a bit out, but well worth checking out. Just be careful with the little fellas as it gets insanely windy out that way and the cliffs are unguarded.

      The Aillwee Cave is another great spot, especially if you’re looking to keep the pair of the amused. The Doolin Cave is another solid shout.

      I’ve a two day guide to Clare here along another one for people looking to make Doolin their base.

      Hope this is useful.

      Enjoy the trip.

      Keith

  7. We are traveling Next Spring 2020 and I am hoping most things will be open. 20th of March to the 11th of April. We are a mixed bunch, my husband and I, out 11 year old daughter, and my 75 year old mom. We have 4 days in Castletown Geoghegan, 5 in Portstewart, 5 in Murroogh, 6 in Nengah and two to finish in Dublin. My two questions right now are, can we get car service from Doolin to Murroogh? For a night out? It’s about a 30 min drive. And can we (mom and I are Hacketts) do a day trip from Nengah (Silvermines) to Baltimore and Schull?

    • Thanks for getting in touch, Jenna.

      Sounds like a great trip in the making.

      On the Doolin query

      I found the below taxis online that service the doolin area. You’d need to ring in advance to ensure that they’ll be able to accomodate.

      – Sean Cullinan +353 (0)864029997
      – Peter Mooney +353 87 2069019
      – John Sheedy Doolin Taxi +353 86 2353100
      – Joe Burke +353 (0)863702652 email: burketaxe@gmail.com
      – Dennis +353(0)86 6066996

      On the Silvermines to cork query

      I’ve never heard of a day trip from Tipperary to Baltimore and Schull – would you be able to rent a car? It’d make things a fair bit easier.

      You could get a train and bus from Tipp to Baltimore, but you’re taking a 6 hour plus journey one way https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Tipperary/Baltimore-Ireland

  8. Hi Keith!
    We love your advice and are planning our trip around it. We have visited Ireland before and loved it but only a week and we felt we were in the car way too much so now we have two weeks and will travel Connemara, Donegal and Northern Ireland. I would love your insight if we are missing something or if it doesn’t make sense and you could speak into our plans it would be greatly appreciated! Our plans are:
    Land in Dublin
    Drive to Galway for the night- Maldron Hotel
    Tour Connemara and stay two nights at the Delphi with
    one day to visit Clifden, do the higher Diamond Hill walk and Sky Road and one day to relax and do the seaweed bath
    Newport for two nights with plans of biking the Greenway and hiking Crough Patrick
    Four nights at Jackson Hotel in Ballybofey and take our time exploring Donegal with our homebase at the hotel
    Two nights at the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle
    One night in Belfast at the Titanic Hotel
    Last night in Dublin and haven’t booked the hotel yet.
    Does this sound insane? Or too laidback?
    Thanks so much!!

    • Hey!

      Haha! That is one long aul comment!

      Thanks for the kind words – glad you’re finding it useful.

      OK, let me trying and organise this in my own head. So, this is your plan:

      • Day 1: Land in Dublin and drive to Galway for the night (sounds good – personally, I’d stay in Dublin that night, as you’ve been travelling, but if it works for you happy days.
      • Day 2 and 3: Tour Connemara and stay two nights at the Delphi (lovely – loads to do in Delphi alone – the zip lining looks great) with
        one day to visit Clifden, do the higher Diamond Hill walk and Sky Road and one day to relax and do the seaweed bath (this all sounds great – you’re giving yourself loads of time to explore at your will)
      • Day 4 and 5: Newport for two nights with plans of biking the Greenway and hiking Crough Patrick (sounds good, too – drop into Brannen’s – nice old pub)
      • Day 6, 7, 8 and 9: Four nights at Jackson Hotel in Ballybofey and take our time exploring Donegal with our homebase at the hotel
      • Day 10 and 11: Two nights at the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle
      • Day 12: One night in Belfast at the Titanic Hotel
      • Day 13: Last night in Dublin and haven’t booked the hotel yet

      All of the above sounds spot on.

      The only thing I’d change if it was my trip is the Donegal section.

      I’d space out where I was staying, so do two nights where you are and explore the area around it and then another two up near Dunfanaghy.

      It’ll save you having to drive so much and it’ll give you a different taste of the county.

      I hope this helps!

      Keith

  9. Keith,
    First off, your instagram (love the vids of you messing with your old man) and this site are both amazing! My mom, myself and a few friends are heading to Ireland for two weeks in late May/early June. I’ve been before (my dad is from Finglas) but my friends haven’t so we have a lot on the itinerary. We are going to attempt to squeeze in a counterclockwise trip around the country. I’ve explored your site and took a lot of suggestions from your guides! I was wondering if you had any must see spots/sites in the Waterford/Wexford area? Or any suggestions in general?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Hannah,

      Haha! I’ll tell the aul lad that he has another fan (he hates the videos, as you can probably tell from his reactions!).

      Wateford has a mountain of different places that you can explore.

      Personally, I love the Copper Coast. It’s regurally missed by people visiting Waterford and it’s one of the best stretches of road in the country.

      Here’s a guide on the best things to do in Waterford if you’re only visiting for a couple of days.

      Fo Wexford, make sure to visit the Hook Peninsula. Hook Head lighthouse is one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world and well worth checking out.

      Curracloe Beach (used during the filming of Saving Private Ryan) is also well worth dropping by for a stroll.

      There’s a forest right next to it which is great for a ramble through, also.

      I hope this helps. Have a great trip.

      Keith

  10. HI Keith,
    I’m planning a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way starting in Cork – i love walking and cycling but i also really want to experience the pub music and maybe join in on the mandolin. I am wondering if you can offer any advice on some pubs that welcome (or don’t mind) people joining with the music making.
    While in have a mandolin in NZ i am also hoping to buy one in Ireland – a flat back with a pick up would be great. Do you know of the music shop in Cork or the chain of music shops in Ireland
    Thank you Keith,
    Looking forward to hearing from you
    Virginia

    • Hi Virginia,

      I hope you’re well!

      I’ve been to a lot of bars in the past where people have had a quiet word with the barman or one of the band and they’ve been allowed up to play.

      However, I’ve been to just as many where someone just storms up on stage and tries to join in, without consulting those playing in advance.

      My advice would be to google ‘live music in x town/village’ that you’re staying in and ring the pub in advance and check with them.

      They’ll be able to tell you whether or not it’s ok to do.

      Have a great trip.

      Keith

  11. Hi Keith,
    Love all your information and chatting . Thank you
    I’m heading to Cork and the Wild Atlantic way in August and really wild love to know of some pubs that might allow musicians join in the music making. Do you know of any please.
    Many thanks
    Virginia

  12. Hey Keith,

    Love your site – always get great inspiration from it! Just noticed Donegal Airport isn’t on the airport map above – flights to and from Dublin and Glasgow Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun. I have yet to fly into it but the take off is just as spectacular – well worth the price, particularly if you are stuck on time for a visit!

    Keep up the good work!

    Maeve

  13. Hey! Absolutely love your page. We’ve got a road trip coming up in August for 2 weeks and we’re so excited! Love the 25 day guide you wrote and will be taking lots of inspiration from there! We’ve got a few things we have to do (visit family, a wedding) but for the rest of the time, would you recommend planning things properly or going more with the flow? We’re bringing a tent so can be flexible with where we stay! Thanks so much – love your work!

    Our route in case you’d like to know – sail into Dublin, but head straight to Belfast (been to Dublin a few times)! Up to the Giants Causeway, visiting family in Leitrim for a few nights then on to a wedding in Mayo for 3 nights, Galway, Clare (pit stop at Father Teds House obviously!) Then Kerry and Cork before leaving from Rosslare.

  14. Hey! Absolutely love your page. We’ve got a road trip coming up in August for 2 weeks and we’re so excited! Love the 25 day guide you wrote and will be taking lots of inspiration from there! We’ve got a few things we have to do (visit family, a wedding) but for the rest of the time, would you recommend planning things properly or going more with the flow? We’re bringing a tent so can be flexible with where we stay! Thanks so much – love your work!
    (Our route at the mo is Belfast – Giants Causeway – visit family in Leitrim – wedding in Mayo – Galway – Clare – Kerry – Cork)

    • Hey! I’d definitely recommend having a decent idea of what you want to do and when.

      It’ll just give you that extra bit of comfort knowing that the trip has a structure and that you’ll see everything you want to see during your time there.

      That being said, I often just head off without any real plan, but I can do that as I live here and I know I’ll have plenty more chances to get out and about and see the places that I want to see.

      When you’re visiting family in Leitrim, definitely take some time to drop into Sligo. There’s a mountain of stuff to do out that way. This Sligo itinerary should help.

      Have a great trip.

      Keith

  15. Hi , I’m planning a trip to Kerry , Monday 28th October , 5 nights , 2 adults & 3 children , adults plan to climb Carrantuohill , can you recommend a cottage preferably, Rossbeigh maybe , needs to have a sea view ,any help would be great , thanks Linda

  16. Hey Keith!

    Going to be traveling to Ireland for 5 days in late August through early September with my girlfriend and it’ll be our first time in the country. Would love to get your thoughts on our rough itinerary and see if you think we’re trying to fit too much in or if there’s something we’re missing that we should really hit. Sorry in advance for the longer comment!

    Day 1:
    – Arrive early AM in Dublin
    – Spend morning in Dublin and take mid-morning bus to Galway
    – Afternoon/evening in Galway

    Day 2:
    – Breakfast in Galway and pick up a rental car
    – Trip to Cliffs of Moher
    – Midday trip to Limerick for lunch and walking around the city
    – Afternoon trip to Kerry to spend the afternoon and night in the area (possibly stay in Killarney?)

    Day 3:
    – Morning in Kerry
    – Midday trip to Cork
    – Afternoon/evening in the area and spend the night near Kinsale

    Day 4:
    – Breakfast in Kinsale
    – Morning trip through Cobh to Waterford
    – Day/afternoon in Waterford
    – Evening/night in Wicklow

    Day 5:
    – Morning in Wicklow
    – Hit Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains National park during the day
    – Return rental car and take bus/taxi to Dublin for the evening

    Day 6:
    – Breakfast in Dublin and departure flight at 11:30

    We really haven’t ironed out the finer details and know that there are days worth of things to do in each place we’d like to stop, but are really just hoping to be able to wander through the south side of Ireland and see what we see while hitting a handful of specific things.

    Any specific areas we should try to plan in or look for? We’ll ideally book our lodging a month or two before our trip so we’ll have some structure to where and when we will need to be at our destinations, but other than that are very open to suggestions.

    Thanks for all the help!

    • Hey,

      No hassle. OK, I’ve had a look through it. It’s definitely way too much squeezed into such a short space of time. I’m not even sure how physically possible it’d be. Yes, you’d visit loads of counties, but you wouldn’t spend anywhere near enough time in them to enjoy them.

      I’ve added comments in beside each day of the itinerary you sent and made some suggestions.

      Day 1

      – Arrive early in Dublin, spend morning there and take mid-morning bus to Galway, afternoon/evening in Galway.

      Verdict: depends how early your flight is, but you’ll be getting very little in in Dublin. That’s cool if you want to get straight out of the city.

      Day 2

      – Breakfast in Galway (GO TO DELA – it’s amazing!!) and pick up a rental car, trip to Cliffs of Moher, midday trip to Limerick for lunch and walking around the city, afternoon trip to Kerry to spend the afternoon and night in the area (possibly stay in Killarney?)

      Verdict: this one has me a little confused – you’re planning on waking up in Galway, driving to Clare, then on to Limerick for lunch and then to Kerry?! This would be craaaaaaaazy. You’ll be driving all day and literally leaving a place as son as you arrive.

      Recommendation: There’s a tonne of things to do in Clare. Spend the day there and enjoy it. You won’t regret it.

      Day 3

      – Morning in Kerry, Midday trip to Cork, Afternoon/evening in the area and spend the night near Kinsale

      Verdict: Same as above. You’ll see a handful of things in Kerry and then you’ll be leaving it. You physically can’t spend this little time there.

      Recommendation: Spend day 3 and 4 in Kerry. Here’s a 2-day guide to help you plan your time there.

      Day 5:
      – Breakfast in Kinsale, Morning trip through Cobh to Waterford, Day/afternoon in Waterford, Evening/night in Wicklow.

      Recommendation: Spend day 5 exploring West Cork. A day isn’t nearly enough here but you’ll get to see some of it.

      Day 6:
      – Head back to Dublin

      I hope this helps!

      Keith

    • At this moment in time, I’d say Blasket, as I’ve never been and I’m going mad to visit.

      That being said, I’ve many a fond memory from Inis Oirr over the years.

      This proooooooably won’t help you make a decision…

  17. What’s up Keith! Love the page, I’m 25 and will be traveling to Ireland alone this July 16-31. Flying in and out of Dublin, I plan on merging two of your “5 day trips” to make a 10 day trip. (Give or take a couple days) which two would you recommend for a young guy looking to see the country and mix in a little night life too? Any suggestions would help! Thanks man ??

    • Hi Trevor,

      Sorry that it’s taken me so long to get back to you.

      If it was me, I’d do the Cork and Kerry route and combine it with Clare, Galway and Mayo.

      The reason that I’d recommend that combination is that I’ve done something very similar as a solo traveller – and loved it.

      That being said, a combination of any will work.

      On the nightlife side of things, if you’re after nightclubs and that kind of thing, you’d be better placed spending the night in the larger towns and cities.

      That being said, you’ll find plenty of pubs in most towns. They may be quiet midweek (this’ll depend on the town) but should be far busier at the weekend.

      Anything else I can help with?

      Cheers,

      Keith

  18. Hi Keith, was hoping you might be able to guide me. Have been to Dingle a few times, all summer visits and with kids in tow. Planning a three day break this December after our wedding and Dingle is calling. I know parts of Kerry are virtually dead and places close for certain periods…. we have a romantic notion of long walks and all the Guinness we can drink and although it’s a “honeymoon” we don’t really want to be alone as such. Would you think there would be a bit of craic in the pubs? That’s a long winded explanation of a simple enough question…. sorry for the ramble!

    • I’ve been to Dingle 4 times over the past two years.

      Once in the summer and three times during the ‘off-season’.

      The most recent visit was back in April. Any time I’m down that way I usually drink in Dick Mack’s. It’s a deadly little pub.

      To this day I’ve never found it empty.

      The quietest that I’ve found it was one Wednesday evening in October. We managed to get a seat in the front area, though, which was still buzzing, but much quieter than you’d get at the weekend (or even towards the latter end of the week).

      I wouldn’t worry if I was you 🙂

      Have a great trip.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  19. That’s great. Thanks so much for your help! You’ve put my mind at ease. Appreciate you taking the time to respond!

  20. Hi Keith, we are planning a trip to Ireland with my husband and 19 year old son, we have 12 or 13 days and we are thinking about doing the road trip around the island. We don´t know how to go about it and how many days is best to stay in each place. What do you recomend us to do? We love nature, waterfalls, cliffs, ancient monuments and castles, and nice towns and cities too. Thanks

    • Hi Fabiana,

      Where are you flying into? And what time of the year are you visiting?

      Also, without going into too much detail, what kind of budget are you working with?

      Cheers,

      Keith

  21. Hi Keith,
    I am planning a trip for me and my sister for 5 days, 4 nights in Ireland in September. It will be our first time there. I find it difficult to choose what to see in this short period of time. My plan is:
    day 1: fly to Dublin, arrive in the morning, rent a car and drive to Cork and spend 1 night over there.
    Leave on day 2 and drive along the coast (Kinsale, Baltimore, Skibbereen, Mizenhead) and spend the night maybe in Bantry or Glengarriff?
    Day 3 en 4: drive ring of Kerry in the morning, spend 2 nights in Killarny, visit Dingle on day 4.
    Day 5: Drive back to Dublin, stop for lunch in Limerick.
    Is this a reasonal itinerary?
    Thank you for your advice!
    Dionne

    • Hi Dionne,

      Sorry – I’ve been away on holidays for the past week and I’m only catching messages here now.

      So, from reading through your itinerary, the must-hit spots are Cork and Kerry.

      Day 1 looks fine. It’s a decent drive from Dublin to Cork, but it’ll finely place you for the places that you’ve outlined that you want to see. There’s loads to see and do in Cork!

      Day 2 looks OK, also. You’ll be packing a good bit into the day but if you’re anything like me and don’t mind a busy itinerary, you’ll be grand. I’ve stayed in Bantry before and liked it. Anywhere in the neck of the woods will do the job, though.

      Day 3 and 4 is where I’d probably switch it up a bit.

      Spend day 3 doing the Ring of Kerry (here’s a guide to follow) and spend the night in Killarney.

      I’d personally aim to spend night 4 in Dingle. If you want to visit Limerick, you’re better off spending night 4 in Dingle, as Limerick is a bit of a detor if you’re staying in Killarney.

      You can take the N21 from Dingle to Limerick and then make your way from there to Dublin.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  22. Question. I love your website and Instagram and really want to plan a road trip.
    Is there any option that you know of for someone not willing to rent a car and learn driving on the left side of the road?
    I am older and, although I could probably do it I think it would add an unnecessary level of anxiety to the trip.
    I have explored all of the traditional tour companies and realize that is not the way I wish to spend my visit.
    I crave quiet, space and independence and that is not the way of the established tours.
    I look forward to your response.
    Annie

  23. Hello Keith! Your website is wonderful, and I only wish I would have found it sooner. We will be in Ireland next May for 21 days. Following roughly the same Rick Steve’s Ireland itinerary with a few tweaks. We were wondering what there was to see between Waterford and Kinsale?

  24. Hello Keith, let me start by complimenting on your site, the tons of information are so useful!. We are visiting Ireland next summer with our 2 children (4 and 7). We are used to travelling around with them but now I fear that I have tried to squeeze in too many things. We want to enjoy the nature and not spend too much time in our car.
    This is what I have so far:
    – arrive at Dublin Port in the evening, overnight around Wicklow Mountains for 2 nights
    – head to Lahinch for 2 nights
    – clifden 2nights
    -Ballina 1night (I thought to stay here to avoid the long drive between Clfiden and Ardara)
    -Ardara 2 nights
    – 2 nights to explore north Donegal (arouond LetterKenny) or Inishowen (where would be the best base?), what would you prefer if you had too choose?
    – 3 nights Ballycastle
    – 2 nights Warrenpoint
    then back to Dublin to take the ferry

    I still have one night to squeeze in but I don’t know where to put it. Any suggestions?
    Do you think our itinerary would be good, or are we missing out on some better parts?
    I think it’s better for us to save the south-west for another trip.
    Thanks so much for your time!
    Elke

    • Hi Elke,

      Thanks for the kind words! That actually sounds like a pretty nice itinerary. Love Ardara. Such a brilliant little town. I randomly got stuck in the middle of their St. Patrick’s Day Parade last March… some bloke told me it was OK to drive through the town… it most definitely was not.

      Make sure you nip into Nancy’s – great food!

      OK, if it was me and I was following the below itinerary and I had an extra day, I’d extend the time in Mayo and pick a different base. Make Westport (here’s a great spot to stay) or Newport (I’ve stayed in this place and loved it) your base and spend two days exploring Mayo.

      Achill Island, Downpatrick Head, the Mullet Peninsula, Louisburgh and the Lost Valley are all solid options for 2 days in Mayo. Here’s loads more things to do in Mayo that’ll keep you occupied.

      On the Donegal question, the only place that I’ve ever stayed in on the Inishowen Peninsula is a place called Carndonagh, and it was perfect as a base. I’m pretty sure this is where we stayed.

      Everything else looks good, though. To be honest, in comparison to many of the itineraries that get sent in, this is If you need any other help with the planning, hop into our guide to planning a self drive Ireland itinerary. Or feel free to fire on any other questions.

      If you’re looking for things to do in each of the places you mentioned above, hop into our guide to the different counties in Ireland. I’ve tried to add in as many unique attractions as possible.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  25. Hey, Keith,

    My name is Ekaterina.
    First of all let me express my warm gratitude to the work you’ve done for all of us by creating this AMAZING site! Be sure you have already saved our time by publishing detailed routs and, of course, best pubs 😉

    We have a crazy idea of road trip in winter. Is Wild Atlantic Route safe enough? We will be approximately on 25 Jan – 7 Feb. FYR – we are Russians who got used to severe weather conditions with great experience of driving abroad. What are the main warnings while experiencing Wild Atlantic Route during winter?

    Best Regards, Ekaterina

  26. Hello Keith.
    Love your site! Thank you. My family (4 people, 2of which at 21&23year old guys) along with another family of 4 with boys the same ages. Are planning a trip in May 2020 for 8 days. Dublin to Dublin. I really like the Giants Causeway but don’t want to miss the cliffs of Mohre and Galway. I also want to keep it interesting for our adventurous crew. We tend to prefer “off the beaten path” our budget is moderate. We don’t mind splurging for memories, (a castle stay?) but we are fine in a hostel too. We will be renting cars to get around. I’d appreciate any help you can give. Happy New Year. And thank you in advance. Lora

  27. Hey Keith,

    Great site! For sure I am already stressed about planning the ideal trip for my son’s highschool graduation. It is not until June 2021, but I like to plan way in advance. Key word is “ideal”, I found your post on an itinerary for 5 days….like 5 different routes and thought that would help me determine what I should do on our trip as its actually for 10 days….thinking we for sure can do it, but now it just offered a slew of other points of interest. May I give you what I think our “our” main things we want to do/see collectively and you offer up something?

    Skellig Michael Tour, this is #1 for my son to see the Island from Star Wars.
    Climbing the highest point in Ireland, Carrauntoohil
    Fota Wildlife
    Trinity College/Book of Kells
    Cliffs of Moher/Slieve League…we favor Slieve League
    Having his first beer with his dad, a Guinness, in Ireland…in the oldest bar in the world “Seans bar”
    Kayaking in caves
    Loftus hall

    These points of interest are all over the place, Dublin, Galway, Portmagee, middle of Dublin/Galway for the beer, Cork/Fota, Loftus hall on southeast, etc….then there is giants causeway, etc.

    Then there is the driving…lots of driving, jetlag from Dublin to consider. So for now my plan looks like:
    Galway (2 nights)
    Killarney (3 nights)
    Killkenny (2 nights)
    Dublin (2 nights)

    Day 1, 2, Galway
    Day 3, 4, 5 Killarney
    Day 6, 7 Killkenny
    Day 8,9 Dublin
    Day 10 Fly Home?

    1. Day 1 Arrival Dublin, drive to Galway, stop at Seans bar, oldest bar in the world, Athlone (2.5 hours)…stay at Air BnB or Connacht Hotel
    a. When in Galway for that day
    i. The Lighthouse, vegetarian café (breakfast or lunch)
    ii. TGO Falafel Bar
    iii. Moran’s (dinner)
    iv. Wander around Latin Quarter
    v. Eyre Square
    vi. Walk the river corrib
    vii. The Dough Bros, best pizza
    2. Day 2 (Daytrip, stay at Galway again)
    a. Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden
    b. Lough Corrib/Ross Errily Friary/Killary Fjord/Cong
    3. Day 3, Drive to Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, see Doolin, then drive to Killarney, overnight
    4. Day 4 (Skillig Michael/Ring of Kerry, Dingle)
    a. Ancient Monastery, nesting spot of Puffins, Stars Wars force awakens
    5. Day 5, Hike Carrauntoohil, overnight Killarney
    6. Day 6, Drive to Kilkenny
    a. See Rock of Cashel, Hore Abbey, Plains of Tipperary on way
    7. Day 7 Kilkenny day trip to Hook head
    a. Loftus hall
    b. Kayak caves
    8. Day 8, drive to Dublin
    a. Trinity College to see Book of Kells
    b. Kilmainham Gaol, famous prison
    c. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
    9. Day 9 Dublin
    a. Kayak with seals
    b. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, see tomb of Daniel Oconnell, the holiest grave in Ireland
    10. Day 10 fly back to home

    what do you think?…..I was also toying around with taking a bus from Dub to Gal…to help with initial drive after plane ride…I dunno…can I drop rental car off at different destination?

    Brandon

    • Haha! Hey Brandon – this is hands-down the longest comment that I’ve received here… ever!

      OK – let’s try and tackle the itinerary. You’re trying to squeeze in a lot. Allow 2 days in Dublin at the beginning to banish the jetlag.

      Day 1 and 2: Dublin (you said you want to see Trinity College/Book of Kells. Add the GPO 1916 tour to your list and check out our guide to Dublin for more things to do)
      Day 3 and 4: Galway (make a detour to Athlone on the way to see Sean’s Bar – you could do a day trip to Connemara one day and another to Clare to see Moher the next)
      Day 5, 6 and 7: Killarney
      Day 8, 9 and 10: Kilkenny (Stop and see Cahir castle on your way from Killarney. When you finish at Cahir, visit the Rock of Cashel. Make Kilkenny your base for the three days. You can visit the Hook Peninsula from here on day 9 and it’s a handy spin back to Dublin on day 10).

      One thing to note: You have Fota Wildlife Park included – you’ll need to cut this out to make the below work

      I hope this helps (spread the word about this website and I’ll owe you a pint!)

      Cheers,

      Keith

  28. Hello, Keith!
    I just found your site and am enjoying reading all of the information. My husband and I will be in Ireland the last week of March. Ireland has been at the top of my travel wishlist for a while so I’m very excited. So far, our plans include:
    Arrive in Dublin from Chicago on Tuesday morning, grab some brunch after getting our car.
    Tuesday – staying in Athlone at Shannonside B&B.
    Wednesday- driving to Doolin to catch a ferry to Aran Islands, seeing Cliffs of Moher on the way back.
    Staying at Kinvara Guesthouse on Wednesday and Thursday
    Staying at O’Brien’s Cashel Lodge on Friday
    Staying at Clifford House in Rosslare on Saturday
    Staying at Clontarf Castle on Sunday
    Monday afternoon flight home to Chicago out of Dublin.

    Any advice on places to see as we go? Any pubs we must try?
    Thanks much,
    Shannon

  29. Hi Keith! I love your website and have found it very helpful! I would like some advice on the plans I have so far. I am not able to walk long stretches so hiking and such is out for me unfortunately. My husband and I will be visiting right after Christmas to celebrate his (New Years Eve) birthday! We are both so excited because this has been a bucket list trip for us for a very long time! I’m sorry if this message is crazy long. I have a rough itinerary but I’d like advice about if I’m trying to squeeze too much in or if I’m missing things that I absolutely MUST see. If you could check it out for me and give me any pointers I would be forever grateful!
    Fly in Dec. 26Day
    1 Dec. 27                                             
    Dublin
    Guinness Storehouse
     Jameson Distillery
    St.Patrick’s Cathedral
    Kilmainham Gaol 
    Walk over Ha’Penny Bridge
    Day 2 Dec. 28                                             
    Meath
    Bru na Bionne Visitors Centre/New Grange Monument
    WestMeath
    Kilbeggan Distillery 
    Sean’s Bar 
     Offaly
    Birr Castle
    Day 3 Dec. 29                                 
    Tipperary
    Cahir Castle 
    Rock of Cashel  
    Waterford
    Dungarvan Castle
    Cork
    Blarney Castle
    Jameson Distillery 
    Dursey Island
    Possible Sightseeing
    Old Head of Kinsale
    Cape Clear Island
    Mizen Head
    Day 4 Dec. 30                                             
    Kerry
    Killarney National Park 
    Limerick
    King Johns
    Castle Clare
    Cliffs of Moher 
    Bunratty Castle 
    Day 5 Dec. 31                                             
    Donegal
    Malin Head 
    Grianan of Aileach
    Doe Castle 
    6 Jan. 1                                    
    NorthernIreland
    Giants Causeway
    Dunluce Castle
    Belfast Castle 
    Old Bushmills Distilery 
    Down Cathedral 
    Titanic Belfast 
    Fly home Jan. 2
    Thank you so much for all of your advice on your website. It has really be so helpful!
    Cheers,Mary

    • Hi Mary,

      I’m not trying to be condescending or anything here, so I hope it doesn’t come across that way – have you plotted out any of the days above on a Google Map?

      There’s a crazy distance between some of the places. On day 3, in particular, it’d be physically impossible to squeeze all of that in.

      It’s worth using the distance/time feature on Google maps and plotting in point A to point B and so on to see what’s feasible.

      I know that’s probably not much help, so apologies!

      Keith

  30. Anyone wanting yo know the best times to visit Ireland. In general it’s best to come any time between first of January and end of December!

    There’s different beauty in every season and there’s always a bit of “Craic”

  31. Hi Keith,

    I will be staying a week at Corrymeala in Ballycastle, UK from July 27-Aug 2nd and I’d like to spend a few days before or after that leg of the trip in Leitrim. If I fly in and out of Dublin (because it’s cheaper and non-stop flight from USA) what would you recommend? Do I take public transportation or rent a car to go to Leitrim from the airport? Are there places to see between Dublin, Leitrim, and Balleycastle I should put into the agenda? Any help would be appreciated!!! Thank you!

  32. St. Patrick’s day (also my birthday) is right in the middle of my trip to Ireland. I have 10 days there. March 13th-22nd, 2020. I land in Dublin on the 13th and have to be back there on the evening of the 16th until the morning of the 18th. So…I have about 3.5 before at Pat’s day to explore and about 4.5 days after St Pat’s day explore. My thoughts are to see as much of the northern half of the island as I can on the first half of the trip and as much of the southern half on the second half of the trip. Can you help me out with this? I’ll rent a car as needed but would like to travel by bus and train most of the time since I do drink. I’ll be 29 and I like a good pint (or 18). I also like the outdoors, ancient history, and anything unique !

  33. We are sailing into Belfast on 24th May with car and caravan in tow, we sail back from Dublin on 24th June ( return date flexible). My question is this, does your ‘Ultimate Road Trip’ itinerary use routes suitable for caravans? We want to do and see as much as possible, we haven’t booked any sites yet, so we are open to suggestions from the experts!

  34. Hi Keith!

    Thank you for all of your advice and the detail that you give. We are doing a 7 day/ 8 night trip to Ireland. Flying into and out of Dublin. The first 2 days are Dublin and from there we get to pick B&B’s and where to go will be renting a car. I know a few things we want to see and do are the Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, and Killarney and Wicklow national parks. What kind of Iterniary would be best to end the trip close to the airport? We love history and the beauty of Ireland.

    Thank you!
    Cora

  35. Hopefully coming to Ireland September 28th through October 8th. 7. Mayo
    1. Dublin Airport- Kilkenny 28th 8.Mayo- Wicklow 5-6th
    2.Kilkenny-Cork 29th-1st 9.Wicklow-Dublin 6-8th Leave Dublin on the 8th
    3.Cork.
    4.Cork-Limerick 1st-3rd
    5.Limerick
    6.Limerick-Mayo 3-5th

    Love to see the scenary! Try to stay away from roundabouts, drive off the beaten path
    Never driven on the left getting an automatic. small car. Two females traveling. Wanting your recommendations. WANTS: Kylemore Abbey, Cliffs of Moher, Down Patrick head,English market, Glendalough, Rock of Cashel in Tipperary??? , Northern Lights???Aran Islands. Like to purchase another sweater if I can afford.
    We’re looking at bringing around 2,000 american money? if there is any where you think we should see let me know. Blarney castle Photos. Other than that I could care a less about the gift . Powerhouse gardens is on the list as is a few other places. Thanks!

    Liz Ryan

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