Around Ireland In 18 Days: A Coastal Road Trip Of A Lifetime (Full Itinerary)

Day 18. Finishing the trip off in style in Louth

It’s crazy to think that today is the last day of the trip. I’ll be honest, I’m absolutely banjaxed from writing this guide.

I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s taken nearly 80 hours of research, writing and editing over the past month. Set the alarm for 9:30 and get out of the hotel for 10.

1. Grab some brekkie in St. Georges Market (arrive at 10:00)

st george's market belfast
Photo by Brian Morrison via Tourism Ireland

No day of successful exploration has ever been fulfilled on an empty stomach. Doubly so when there’s a hangover present. Enter St. Georges Market.

There’s been a Friday market here since 1604 and every week over 240+ traders take to the markets stalls and flog everything from shark meat to fresh fruit.

The second you step foot inside the market you’ll feel your stomach give an approving rumble as the smells of fresh food hailing from every corner of the earth wafts over you from every direction.

Have a ramble around and grab something that makes your mouth water.

2. A Hike up Slieve Foye in Carlingford (arrive for 12:15)

Slieve foy views
Photo by Marija Dolo/Shutterstock.com

The drive from Belfast to our first stop on day 18 should take around 1 hour and 15-minutes.

When you’re ready, it’s time to hike up Slieve Foye. This is a hike that’ll take around 3 hours depending on fitness levels.

I’d recommend a pair of hiking boots or runners with really good grip – we weren’t prepared when we climbed Slieve Foye and ended up on our arses many times as we made our way back down it.

Park near the village and take a right turn when you come to Ma Baker’s Pub. From there, we quite literally walked straight the whole way to the top.

Now, I’m not recommending that you do what we did, as we definitely made our own trail to the top. The folks at Discover Ireland have a thorough guide on the various walks that you can do.

3. A Post-Hike Feed

where to eat carlingford
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

You should get back to the village for roughly 15:40. Dust yourself off and take the short stroll to Ruby Ellen’s Tea Rooms

I had breakfast in Ruby Ellen’s Tea Rooms recently and it was ammmmmmmazing, so I’m sure lunch is just as good (going off the reviews it definitely is!) Grab a bite to eat and rest the legs.

4. Coffee, a ramble by the Marina and Pints… oh, and Chips!

walking in carlingford
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Grab a nice strong coffee to go after you finish eating and walk down and towards the marina. You’ve been through a lot over the past 18 days. Savour the moment.

When you’ve done all the savouring that you can muster, head back to the village and into PJ O Hare’s pub.

The evening is yours to chill, nurse a couple of well-earned drinks and soak up some atmosphere.

When you’ve finished up for the evening, head to the takeaway around the corner from Ma Baker’s pub – don’t settle for the chip van.

When you’ve a fully belly, head in the direction of your bed for the night. I’d recommend staying at the Oystercatcher Lodge as it’s nice and central and reasonably priced.

And that’s a wrap

18 long and unforgettable days of travelling around Ireland’s coastline have come to an end.

If you’ve gotten this far, I owe you a virtual pint. Let me know if you found this useful in the comments below.

If you’d like to see shorter, slower road trips, drop into our road trip guide hub and have a look around.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I have been using your guide for the past few months to plan my Ireland trip set for April 2019. I figured it was about time I dropped a comment!! 🙂 Your guide has helped me tremendously as it seems to encompass everything we are looking to find in Ireland…. raw natural beauty, unique experiences, good coffee, and good beer! Can’t thank you enough. I hope to comment again once we return!

    • Ah, thank you. I’m glad. Getting comments like this make it worth it.

      I hope you’re trip goes well.

      Cheers,

      Keith

  2. This is seriously the best travel guide ever. I was getting stressed because I’ll be solo traveling all of March and haven’t planned much (by design) and this gives the perfect outline of exactly the things I want to do and see. So thank you for the enormous amount of time this must have taken. So much appreciated.

    • Haha! Cheers dude.

      Glad you found it useful. This took roughly 3 weeks of research and writing… and rewriting.

      I hope the trip goes well.

      Keith

  3. We’re traveling to Ireland in November, 2019 and thank you very much for your outline and information. Question: On maps, it shows Northern Ireland almost like another country. Do you need anything to pass from Ireland to Northern Ireland and back, or is it all in the same? Seems trivial, but it could make a big difference if we plan to do things in Northern Ireland and then we could possibly not have the proper travel documents. Also, do you know if your passport is all you need or if you need a travel visa? Thanks for your time. Have a great day!. WandanTexas

    • Hi Wanda,

      You’re welcome.

      Northern Ireland is technically part of the UK, so it is regarded as a different country.

      Currently, there is no form of ‘hard’ border, but there’s been a lot of talk about the potential of one with Brexit looming.

      If you’re driving a rental car, this is where things can get tricky. I had one from Europa car recently and was told I’d be automatically charged (they have GPS devices within the rental) whenever my car passed into Northern Ireland – the max total charge was 90 euro, I believe.

      If you’re renting a car, be sure to check this in advance.

      I hope this helps.

      Keith

  4. Hi,
    This is a great guide, but if you had a few extra days…
    Three Castle Head is also stunning. You are close enough to it when you are heading for brow head. Well worth it!
    Lough Hyne in Skibbereen is also beautiful, lovely forest walk and salt water lake to swim in. Night time kayaking with the bioluminescent water a must!
    Enjoy,
    Joanne

    • Thanks for the recommendations Joanne.

      Love Lough Hyne in particular. Did the forest climb with my dad last summer on a hot day in July – great spot!

  5. Question for Keith and others. We have a wonderful opportunity to spend a month in Ireland and in previous trips we’ve enjoyed many of the same activities you do…hiking, enjoying the featured sights and geography in general, informal dining, great pubs, etc. We have never been north of Westport, county Mayo. Would it be worth it to spend a week in the Sligo / Donegal region? If yes, we would rent a house for the week. Is there a town that would be central to this region that you could recommend as a home base? We would be there in late August/early Sept 2020.
    Thanks in advance for your response (or anyone else who could add their thoughts)

    • Hi Bill.

      Abbbbbbbbbbbsolutely spend a week in Sligo and Donegal.

      There’s a tonne of things to do in both, regardless of whether you decide to do something active or just chill.

      Personally, I’d spend half in Sligo and half in Donegal.

      Here’s a guide to 48 hours in Sligo that should help, along with a 3-day guide to the best things to do in Donegal.

      In terms of where to stay – I love Strandhill and Rosses Point. For Donegal, it’s hard to beat Ardara.

      I hope this helps!

      Keith

  6. Hi Keith,
    I am planning our road trip to Ireland in october and I love your Instagram account. I like to use your suggestions for our schedule.
    On day 11 you suggest to leave Westport and Achill on the same time (16:55) ? So this is a pretty long day 😉 I prefer to stay an extra night on Achill Island. What do you think?
    Thanks
    Uli

    • Aha! OK, that’s clearly a mistake on my part. I’ll get those times updated!

      I love Achill, personally.

      There’s nothing bad that can come from a second night spent there.

  7. Hi Keith,

    I am considering travelling to Ireland this summer via road-trip and AirBnBs. While researching, I found your blog and found it very helpful and resourceful.

    I am travelling from New Delhi (India) with my extended family (infants, toddlers, siblings, wife, parents etc.). Assuming this might be our only trip to Ireland together as a family, I am interested in covering Ireland comprehensively within a limitation of 11-13 days.

    Is it possible to shorten the suggested 18-day itinerary to the above duration by bypassing some of the locations or sites. I understand this would mean we missing a few locations, but need your help.

  8. Really digging this blog!! I have the travel blog so bad and Ireland is next on the list – your recommendations are speaking to me! Thanks for taking the time to create all the wonderful road trips / ideas.

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