14 days in Ireland: the ultimate Ireland road trip itinerary

Its small size means it’s super easy to see lots of the highlights of the Emerald Isle in a short space of time. So if you’ve got 14 days to spend in Ireland, here is our ultimate two weeks in Ireland Road Trip Itinerary.

At just 36,000 sq miles (84,421 square kilometres), the Emerald Isle is pretty small in size. For perspective, that is only slightly larger than the State of West Virginia.

If you still aren’t convinced; to drive non-stop from the country’s most northern point in Malin Head to its southern tip in Brow Head, it would take around eight-and-a-half hours!

Ireland’s small size means it’s perfect for a full-country road-trip to take in all the highlights of the Emerald Isle from the breath-taking Causeway Coast in the north to the scenic Wild Atlantic Way in the west, the historic Ancient East, and the beautiful South Coast.

So if you’ve got 14 days to spend exploring the Emerald Isle, you’ve come to the right place. Let us do the work and check out our ultimate two-week Ireland road trip itinerary below.

Day one – Dublin

Start in Dublin.
Credit: Dublin Regional Tourism Authority

Dublin is a practical place to start your two weeks in Ireland Road Trip Itinerary as it is home to Ireland’s main airport. Fly into the city early and spend the day shopping, seeing the sights, and soaking up all the Georgian Dublin charm.

There are lots of day trips to take in Dublin. Visit the historic Trinity College Dublin where you can catch a glimpse of the Book of Kells, which will give you an insight into Irish history. Then head down Grafton Street to do a bit of shopping before heading for some lunch.

After lunch, head to Kilmainham Gaol and Dublin Castle for an insight into the city’s history before heading on to the iconic Guinness Storehouse where you can find out all you need to know about Ireland’s favourite drink.

After an action-packed first day, head for some dinner at one of Dublin’s excellent restaurants before soaking up the Irish pub culture at Temple Bar.

Where to eat

Brunch culture has taken over the capital city in the past few years, and Dublin has a wide variety of delicious spots for breakfast, brunch, and lunch.

Head to Grand Canal Dock where you’ll be spoilt for choice including spots such as herbstreet and HQ Gastrobar. Or head city centre and try Metro Café, Póg, Tang, or Balfes.

For dinner, Dublin offers up anything you’re in the mood for whether that be traditional Irish cuisine or something from further afield. Some of our recommendations include Sophie’s, Pi Pizza, Brother Hubbard, or NoLita.

Or if you’re feeling super indecisive, head to Eatyard, which offers a wide range of tasty treats from various vendors.

Where to stay

Unsure of where to stay in Dublin? For an indulgent city centre stay, we recommend the high-end Marker Hotel in Dublin’s Grand Canal Quay, from which you can get panoramic views out over Dublin (£200/€220 per night).

For something more mid-range stay, check out The Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street (£140/€159 per night), and for a comfortable and affordable night’s rest, try out The Hendrick in Smithfield (£70/€80 per night).

Day two – Dublin to Glendalough

Stop of at Glendalough on day two of your two weeks Ireland Road Trip Itinerary.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Head south out of Dublin stopping off at the quaint port towns of Dun Laoghaire, Bray, and Greystones, which are home to some great spots for breakfast as well as being relaxing spots to start the second day of your two weeks in Ireland Road Trip Itinerary.

Try out Gourmet Food Parlour in Dun Laoghaire, Dockyard No. 8 in Bray, or the Happy Pear in Greystones.

From there, continue about an hour south to the stunning surroundings of the Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough.

This sixth-century Christian settlement is one of Ireland’s most famous monastic sites, so not only is it a haven for nature-lovers, but it also provides a historical insight into Ireland’s past.

As well as the iconic Glendalough and the Monastic site, make sure to check out the breathtaking Guinness Lake (Lough Tay). Off the trodden tourist track and a stunning sight to see, this has to be one of the best places to visit in Ireland.

A day here will help you rejuvenate after a hectic first day in Ireland’s capital, so you’re ready to take on the next twelve days.

Grab some traditional Irish pub grub at the Glendalough Hotel for the perfect way to end your day.

Where to stay

Stay in the aptly named Glendalough Hotel (£120/€135 per night), give glamping a go at Glendalough Glamping (£110/€120 per night), or try out the country-style Tudor Lodge B&B (£99/€110 per night).

Day three – Glendalough to Kilkenny to Waterford

Kilkenny Castle is a must on your Ireland Road Trip Itinerary.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Continue south towards the coast of the Celtic Sea towards Waterford stopping off at the incredible Kilkenny Castle to break up the two-hour drive.

If you fancy spending a bit more time in the town of Kilkenny, there is plenty to see and do in this town on the River Nore. Check out St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower, Black Abbey, St Mary’s Cathedral, St Francis Abbey, St John’s Priory, and Kilkenny Town Hall.

Grab some lunch in Kilkenny at Petronella or Zuni Restaurant before heading on to Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford.

Once you arrive in Waterford, visit the Viking Triangle and hear incredible stories of the fleet of Viking ships that arrived in Waterford in 914 AD.

Other must-sees include the House of Waterford Crystal, the Comeragh Mountains, the stunning Waterford Greenway, and Reginald’s Tower.

Head for dinner at McLeary’s, known for their outstanding fish, or Emiliano’s for the best pizza in town.

Where to stay

For a decadent stay, book a night in the Faithlegg House Hotel (£200/€225 per night). For something more mid-range, try the elegant and traditional Granville Hotel (£100/€109 per night), and for a fantastic budget stay, check out the Waterford Viking Hotel (£60/€69 per night).

Day four – Waterford to Tipperary to Cork

Visit Cork on day four of your two weeks in Ireland Road Trip Itinerary.
Credit: Chris Hill for Tourism Ireland

From Waterford, head west towards Ireland’s largest county: Cork. A great stop on the journey is the historic Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, which was the seat of the Kings of Munster before the Norman invasion.

You’ll have plenty to do once you arrive in Cork. From visiting the scenic Mizen Head, Ireland’s most south-westerly point, to learning all about whisky at the Jameson Experience, and discovering the history of the Titanic at the Titanic Experience, there is lots to enjoy in this county.

One thing you can’t miss in Cork is a trip to Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the Blarney Stone – the experience may not be for everyone, but it’s sure something to remember!

If you have the time, it’s also worth taking a trip out to the colourful fishing village of Kinsale or the heritage town of Cobh for an authentic taste of Ireland.

For dinner, head to the famous Market Lane Restaurant in the city centre or the elegant Cornstore Restaurant, which specializes in locally sourced seafood and steaks.

Where to stay

To stay in true Irish luxury, you can try out the 800-year-old Castlemartyr Resort Hotel (£220/€240 per night). If you’d prefer something more understated, check out the stylish Montenotte Hotel (£140/€170 per night), or for a budget-friendly stay, check out The Imperial Hotel (£100/€120 per night).

Day five – Cork to the Ring of Kerry

You can't miss the Ring of Kerry.
Credit: Chris Hill for Tourism Ireland

Start day five of your two weeks in Ireland road trip itinerary by heading to Killarney, where you can set off on a scenic drive of the famous Ring of Kerry.

You can drive the entire 112 mile (179 km) circular route without stopping in about three-and-a-half hours, but to fully enjoy the experience and take in all the sights, it’s best to leave aside a full day for this.

Some of the best stops on the route include the breath-taking Killarney National Park including Muckross Estate and Torc Waterfall; the quaint villages of Kenmare, Portmagee, and Sneem; the iconic Skellig Islands and Valentia Island; and the beautiful Gap of Dunloe.

End your day in Dingle, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, make the most of Ireland’s traditional pub culture, and grab a homemade ice cream from Murphy’s.

Grab some dinner from the Boat Yard Restaurant where you can enjoy unrivalled views over Dingle Bay or enjoy some traditional pub food from Lord Baker’s, believed to be the oldest pub in Dingle.

Where to stay

For a truly decadent stay in some of the most beautiful surroundings Ireland has to offer, try The Europe Hotel and Resort in Killarney (£240/€265 per night).

If you are looking something more mid-range, check out the Dingle Bay Hotel (£130/€145 per night), and for something more affordable, book a night in Dingle Harbour Lodge (£73/€80 per night).

Day six – Dingle to Limerick

Two weeks in Ireland isn't complete without visiting Limerick.
Credit: Brian Morrison for Tourism Ireland

Spend the morning in Dingle – make sure to stop off at Bean in Dingle for some great coffee. And if you have time, take a boat out to see Dingle’s resident dolphin, Fungie.

After a relaxed morning, head north through Tralee and the stunning fairy-tale town of Adare, which is famous for its thatched-roof cottages.

Head to your final destination of the day, Limerick. The city, which lies on the River Shannon, is one of the most underrated destinations on the Emerald Isle.

If you’re interested in Irish history, make sure you check out the 13th-century King John’s Castle and check out the interactive exhibition to learn all you need to know about its heritage.

Other great spots to check out in Limerick include the iconic Milk Market and the fascinating Hunt Museum.

For a delicious evening meal, head for dinner at Freddy’s Bistro, the River Restaurant, or Dolan’s Pub.

Where to stay

For a truly luxurious stay, book a night in Adare Manor, just a 25-minute drive outside of the city (£500/€575 per night). For something more affordable, try the Savoy Hotel in the city centre (£130/€140 per night), and for something budget-friendly, check out the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel (£70/€80 per night).

Day seven – Limerick to Clare

Stop off at Clare.
Credit: Christopher Hill Photographic for Tourism Ireland

So you’ve officially made it to halfway through your two weeks in Ireland Road Trip Itinerary – time flies when you’re having fun!

From Limerick, head north to County Clare where you can enjoy the stunning views at the iconic Cliffs of Moher, visit Burren National Park, or even check out Father Ted’s house from the beloved Irish TV show.

If you have time, it’s worth taking a boat out to the Aran Islands from Doolin to immerse yourself in Irish history and tradition.

When you fancy some dinner, try out The Old Bakehouse Restaurant, Byrnes, or Barrtrá Seafood Restaurant.

Where to stay

For a luxury spot to rest your head, book a night in Gregan’s Castle Hotel in the Burren (£250/€275 per night). For a mid-range option, stay in the Armada Hotel (£110/€120 per night), and for something budget-friendly; check out the Wild Atlantic Lodge (£70/€80 per night).

Day eight – Clare to Galway

Galway is a must on any Ireland road trip itinerary.
Credit: Fennell Photography for Failte Ireland

It’s time to head to Galway – one of the best spots on the Wild Atlantic Way. Boasting a mix of modern and traditional Irish culture, there is plenty to see and do in this incredible city.

From strolling along the beautiful Salthill Promenade to exploring the colourful Latin Quarter full of traditional Irish shops and history, Galway is sure to add something special to your two weeks in Ireland.

Home to some of the best nightlife Ireland has to offer, end your day in a traditional way by heading to an Irish pub for a drink of the black stuff. For incredible atmosphere and live music, check out O’Connell’s Bar, The Quays, or The Front Door.

Some great places to eat in Galway include The Dough Bros, The Front Door, and the Michelin-starred Aniar Restaurant. If you’re in the city at the weekend, it’s also worth checking out the Galway market.

Where to stay

For a high-end stay, book a room at The g Hotel (£200/€220 per night). For something more affordable in the city centre, try out The Hardiman Hotel in Eyre Square (£130/€145 per night). Or for something budget-friendly, check out the cute and cosy Nest Boutique Hostel (£70/€80 per night).

Day nine – Galway to Mayo

Make sure you visit Mayo.
Credit: Chris Hill Photographic for Tourism Ireland

From Galway, continue north through the scenic Connemara National Park via the Sky Road in Clifden before entering the beautiful County Mayo.

Some must-see spots in County Mayo include the quaint towns of Westport and Cong, the breath-taking Clew Bay, which is overlooked by Croagh Patrick, the stunning but harrowing Doolough Valley, and the iconic Downpatrick Head.

If you have time, make sure to make the trip to Achill Island where you can visit Keem Bay, Kildavnet Castle, and the Great Western Greenway.

After an action-packed day exploring Mayo, grab a bite to eat at House of Plates in Castlebar, Towers Bar and Restaurant, or Sage Restaurant in Westport.

Where to stay

For a stay fit for Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, John Travolta, and Jack Nicholson, stay in the luxurious Ashford Castle (£400/€450 per night).

For something a bit more affordable, try Breaffy House Resort (£126/€140 per night). And for something a little cheaper, check out The Waterside B&B in Westport (£75/€85 per night).

Day ten – Mayo to Sligo to Donegal

Visit Donegal on your two weeks in Ireland.
Credit: Martin Fleming for Failte Ireland

Day ten will see you finish your route along the Wild Atlantic Way as you will finish the day in the incredible county of Donegal.

Driving through Sligo where you can marvel at the distinctive Benbulbin Mountain, make your way towards the pretty town of Donegal – the perfect place to stop for lunch.

After refuelling in Donegal Town, head west to the incredible Slieve League Cliffs, which are amongst the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Next, head northeast through the breath-taking Glenveagh National Park passing Mount Errigal on your way to Ireland’s northern coast.

Make sure to check out Fanad Head, where you’ll find one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, and the most northern point in Ireland, Malin Head, which featured in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

End your day with a delicious meal. If you fancy something hearty, opt for some fish and chips at Killybegs Seafood Shack, or try the pizza and beers from the popular Rusty Oven.

Where to stay

For ultimate luxury, try the five-star Lough Eske Castle (£250/€275 per night). If you’re looking something mid-range, check out the Sandhouse Hotel and Marine Spa (£115/€127 per night). Or for something more budget-friendly, try The Gateway Lodge (£70/€80 per night).

Day eleven – Donegal to Derry

Visit Derry.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

Day eleven of your two weeks in Ireland not only takes you from the Wild Atlantic Way onto the Causeway Coast but also across the border from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland.

Spend the morning exploring the stunning beaches Donegal has to offer including the deceptively named Murder Hole Beach – the sea air will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the last few days of your Irish adventure.

Next head east to Derry. En route you may pass Wild Ireland animal sanctuary; make sure to stop if time allows. Once in Derry, take in the history of this incredible city.

Derry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, so there is plenty to see and do. Check out the iconic Derry City Walls, the Peace Bridge, and the quaint Craft Village.

Grab a bit to eat at Quaywest, a beautiful converted 18th-century boathouse, or the incredibly unique Pyke ‘N’ Pommes.

Where to stay

For a high-end stay, book yourself into the stunning Everglades Hotel (£150/€160 per night). For something more mid-range, stay at the centrally located City Hotel (£100/€110 per night). And for a comfy stay on a budget, try the Saddler’s House (£70/€80 per night).

Day twelve – Derry to Belfast via the Causeway Coast

Explore the Causeway Coast during two weeks in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Day twelve sees you take on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast, which has gained popularity over recent years thanks to HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Travel west from Derry and take in all the sights this beautiful route has to offer, starting with Benone Beach, Downhill Demense and Mussenden Temple. From here you’ll pass through several cute little seaside towns including Castlerock, Portstewart, and Portrush – all great places to stop for ice cream!

Further along the route, you’ll be treated to some of Northern Ireland’s main attractions including the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, the Dark Hedges, and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Grab a bite to eat at the Ramore Restaurants, which offers a wide variety of cuisines, Harry’s Shack on Portstewart Strand, or the traditional Bushmills Inn.

Where to stay

For a luxury stay on the coast, stay in the Ballygally Castle Hotel (£180/€200 per night). For something more affordable, try the Golflinks Hotel in Portrush (£100/€115 per night). Or for a cheaper option, try the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle (£80/€90 per night).

Day thirteen – explore Belfast

Make sure you visit Belfast in your Ireland road trip itinerary.
Credit: Chris Heaney for Tourism Northern Ireland

Spend the penultimate day of your two weeks in Ireland Road Trip Itinerary in the capital city of Northern Ireland: Belfast. A city full of history and culture, there is plenty to see here.

Check out the impressive Titanic Museum, Belfast Castle, the historic Crumlin Road Gaol, or head up Cave Hill to get a great view over the city – all of which are considered to be some of the top things to do in Northern Ireland.

To immerse yourself in local life and experience what Belfast is all about, head to St George’s Market, where you can enjoy local food, crafts, and live music. Not only will you get to soak up the atmosphere, but you’ll also have the opportunity to locals.

Grab some dinner at the unique Holohan’s at the Barge, or for a range of options, check out St Anne’s Square.

End your day with a traditional pub-crawl stopping off at some of Belfast’s best spots including the Crown Liquor Saloon and the iconic Cathedral Quarter.

Where to stay

For the perfect night in Belfast, stay in the city’s tallest hotel, Grand Central Hotel (£180/€200 per night). For something more mid-range, head to Ten Square Hotel (£110/€125 per night). Or for something more budget-friendly, check out the stylish 1852 Hotel (£50/€55 per night).

Day fourteen – Belfast to Co. Down to Dublin to finish off your Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

Spend the last day of your two weeks in Ireland in the Mournes. A must on your Ireland road trip itinerary.
Credit: farm6.clik.com

Start your last day in Ireland early and head south towards the beautiful County Down, home to the Mourne Mountains.

The Mourne region is known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and its landscape inspired many of the descriptions in Narnia by Belfast-born writer C. S. Lewis.

Some of the highlights include Northern Ireland’s highest mountain Slieve Donard, the beautiful seaside town of Newcastle, and the view over Carlingford Lough from Kilbroney Park.

Eat your last meal in Ireland at the Percy French at the stunning Slieve Donard Hotel or the ever-popular Mourne Seafood Bar before making your way back to Dublin to conclude your two weeks in Ireland.

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