Ireland is an ancient land filled with awe-inspiring scenery and landscapes, wonder at every turn, and adventure to be had by the bucket load.
Given its intimate size, Ireland is also a great place for a road trip. With even the farthest points easily accessible in a one-stint drive, cross-country adventures are super doable -even as a weekend trip.
For all of you out there planning to explore the Emerald Isle, we vote that you do so by car if you can. Here are five epic Irish road trips that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Buckle up!
5. DIY Game of Thrones tour – for incredible filming locations
The HBO hit TV series Game of Thrones (2011-2019) first stormed the airwaves back in 2011 and has become a cult classic since. The fantasy show tells tales of the leading families of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and their fight for power.
Game of Thrones was largely filmed on location in Northern Ireland, and since its inception, the tourist trail has exploded up North with die-hard fans looking to experience these stunning backdrops up close.
Although plenty of organised Game of Thrones tours exist, a DIY road trip is our suggested approach. You can do a simple one-day pursuit that will touch on key sites, or stretch it out to a five-day excursion if time allows.
Check out our five-day route, which you can adjust to suit your travel plans and interests.
4. Kerry to Cork – for breathtaking coastal drives
This five-day excursion from County Kerry to County Cork offers some of the most stunning coastal roads, with beautiful beaches, weather-worn cliffs, and remote country beaches along the way.
From Ballybunion to Dingle and on to Killarney, your eyes will feast on some of the most stunning surroundings you’re likely to ever experience on the Emerald Isle.
Then head to Kenmare and go on to Kilcrohane; then from Clonakilty to Cork city. Needless to say, this drive will be a trip to remember.
3. Coastal Causeway Route – for striking sea and cliff views
The Coastal Causeway Route is a 212-kilometre (130-mile) scenic drive along Northern Ireland’s coastline.
This dramatic route meanders along winding country roads, endless valleys, towering mountain ranges, and rugged cliff faces, making for one enchanting road trip.
The route travels from Belfast Lough to Lough Foyle in County Derry, and with epic adventures to be had along the way and some of the most stunning scenic photography to be captured, we think this is one of the most incredible driving routes in Ireland.
2. Wild Atlantic Way – for multi-county natural beauty
As far as epic Irish road trips go, the Wild Atlantic Way route is a must. It is the longest continuous coastal route in the entire world, and it’s considered by leading travel platforms to be a memorable experience not to be missed.
The route travels 2,500 kilometres along the West coast of Ireland from Kinsale in County Cork to Malin Head in County Donegal.
Expect the word “epic” to take on a whole new meaning as you wind your way through endless counties that offer wonderment and natural beauty.
From the Slieve League Cliffs to the Dingle Peninsula—from the placid perfection of Glencar Lake to the wild ocean waves in Bundoran—this trip is beyond worthy of your bucket list!
1. Ring of Kerry – for a bit of everything
The Ring of Kerry has to be the ultimate Irish road trip. This stunning loop drive traces the wild weathered roads of the ancient county.
The route begins and ends in Killarney and is thus, quite literally, a looped route. Road trippers along this route are bound to be enchanted as they fly past rolling valleys and herds of sheep that graze by the roadside at dusk.
Be amazed as you wind along cliff paths and mountain passages, pass ancient ruins, and creep through remote sleepy seaside towns.
Watch in wonder as weathered fishing trawlers (which offer the finest seafood you’re likely to have ever tasted) crawl up to the shore as the sun sets against postcard-worthy landscapes.
Yep, we’re going to go ahead and say it: The Ring of Kerry is the most epic road trip in Ireland. Whether you like the countryside, mountains, cliffs, or shores, this route offers a bit of it all.