Ireland is a fantastic island with so many places to see. Even if you went on a Road Trip around Ireland, you would still come back wishing you did more, there is so much to do! We have done our best to compact a Road Trip Itinerary into 14 days!
We must point out that this is not necessarily a final plan you should follow. Everyone’s Road Trip is unique, so you could use this list for inspiration and customise it to make it your own!
DAY ONE: Dublin – Start in Ireland’s capital city
Guinness Storehouse – Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction
Home of the Black stuff. Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide. It is brewed in almost 60 countries and is available in over 120. Annual sales total 850 million litres (1.5 billion imperial or 1.8 billion US pints).
Kilmainham Goal – Ireland’s most famous Jail
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison located in Kilmainham in Dublin, which is now a museum. It has been run since the mid-1980s by the Office of Public Works (OPW), an Irish government agency. Kilmainham Gaol played an important part in Irish history, as many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed in the prison by the British and in 1923 by the Irish Free State.
Glasnevin Cemetery tour – Ireland’s most famous Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery, officially known as Prospect Cemetery, is the largest non-denominational cemetery in Ireland with an estimated 1.5 million burials. It first opened in 1832, and is located in Glasnevin, Dublin. Some of Ireland’s most famous people are buried here including Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, Luke Kelly, Daniel O’Connell and many more.
Experience Dublin’s Best Traditional Pubs
Dublin is full of amazing pubs; probably the most popular area for tourists is the Temple Bar! However, this area is quite pricey. There are many other alternative pubs to see around the town such as The Brazen Head, O’Donoghues Bar, Cobblestone Pub, Toners and much more!
DAY TWO: Head north
Newgrange, Co. Meath – Older than the Egyptian Pyramids
Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, about one kilometre north of the River Boyne. It was built about 3200 BC, during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.
Bloody Bridge, Co. Down – A hidden gem
This little gem is located close to the lovely seaside town of Newcastle. There are some fantastic pools upstream which are amazing to take a swim in.
Newcastle Co. Down – A beautiful seaside town
Newcastle is a beautiful small town in County Down, Northern Ireland. The seaside resort lies on the Irish Sea coast at the base of Slieve Donard, one of the Mourne Mountains, and is known for its sandy beach and the Royal County Down Golf Club. The town lies within the Down District Council area. The town is twinned with New Ross, County Wexford, in the Republic of Ireland.
DAY THREE: Capital of the north – Belfast
The Titanic Exhibition – Experience the birthplace of the World’s most famous shipwreck
You can’t escape the influence that this ship has had on the city. In 2012, during the centenary of the loss of this famous vessel to an iceberg in the North Atlantic, the brand new Titanic Belfast centre opened to the public. The stunning design of the venue is meant to remind you of two ships being built side-by-side in the Harland & Wolff shipyards, and the building contains a fantastic series of interactive displays on Belfast’s industrial heritage – as well as, of course, the history of Titanic herself from inception right up to exploring the seabed and finding the wreck.
Black Mountain walk – View all of Belfast from above
It’s an unbelievable experience to go up to the top of these mountains and look over all of Belfast and beyond. The mountains rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills, which provide the backdrop to the city’s skyline. The rich, varied archaeological landscape is home to a host of wildlife. There are walking trails along a variety of terrain: through heath, on stone tracks, along boardwalks and road surface.
The easiest way to do this amazing walk is to drive and park your car in the car park at the start of the walk. The address is: Divis Road, Hannahstown, near Belfast, County Antrim, BT17 0NG.
Crumlin Road Gaol – Belfast’s most famous prison
The former prison which was taken out of service in 1996 is now a museum and conference centre close to the city centre which allows you to see the prison wings, execution cells, tunnels to the courthouse, and learn about the history of this building and its impact on life in the region. It’s brilliantly done and very educational.
Irish pub crawl – Experience the local Irish culture
The city is packed with places to drink and enjoy the ‘craic’. Visit the historic Crown Liquor Saloon on Great Victoria Street – a must for tourists complete with old tiling, private wooden drinking booths and gas lamps. They also have dining rooms with authentic Irish fayre such as champ, coddle, stews and colcannon.
Continue your Guinness drinking in the Duke of York, which has its history in the newspaper trade; try The John Hewitt in the Cathedral Quarter; or pop into Kelly’s Cellars dating back to the 16th century. Many of the city’s pubs also offer great food and entertainment.
DAY FOUR: keep heading north
Dark Hedges – Experience a famous and picturesque road
The Dark Hedges is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland and a popular attraction for tourists from across the world. It has been painted by hundreds of visiting artists and is a favourite location for wedding photographs.
Carrick-a-rede rope bride, Co. Antrim – Cross Ireland’s most famous bridge
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim. It is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below.
The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. In 2009 it had 247,000 visitors. The bridge is open all year round (subject to weather) and people may cross it for a fee.
Bushmills Factory, Co. Antrim – Where one of Ireland’s most famous drinks is made
Bushmills Irish Whiskey is made at Ireland’s oldest working distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Bushmills Brand Experience encompasses guided tours around a working distillery with all the associated sights and smells, tutored whiskey tastings, a specialist whiskey shop and a well-stocked gift shop with exclusive Bushmills merchandise. There is also a restaurant serving lunches and Bushmills inspired treats throughout the day. The Distillery Tour Centre is open 7 days a week.
Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim – A beautiful place
Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast, and was the headquarters of the MacDonnell Clan. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641.
The site was also witness to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives.
Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim – Northern Ireland’s iconic attraction
No trip to the north coast is complete without this one! The Giant’s Causeway is proof that Mother Nature provides the most dramatic tourist attractions. The natural wonder is comprised of around 40,000 polygonal basalt rock columns, formed by the ancient volcanic landscape and stretching along the coastline like a series of gigantic stepping stones.
A Giants Causeway Day Trip from Belfast is one of the country’s most popular excursions, with visitors taking the unique opportunity to walk one of nature’s most peculiar pathways.
DAY FIVE: Derry and Inishowen
Derry City, Co. Derry – A historic city
Derry is a Northern Ireland’s second biggest city and located very close to the Irish border. The city is full of history from the Walls of Derry to Free Derry Corner. The city has seen a massive transformation in recent years with new attractions such as the peace bridge.
Dunagree Point, Co. Donegal – A hidden gem
Drive north from Derry and you venture into the Inishowen Penninsula. This is a beautiful place where you will have to stop and admire the views along the way. Just look at this!
Malin Head, Co. Donegal – Visit the most northen rocks on the whole island of Ireland
If you are on the Inishowen Penninsula, you have to go to Malin Head which is the most northern point of the whole island of Ireland. This is a picture we took when we last visited.
Clonmany Waterfall, Co. Donegal – one of Ireland’s most beautiful waterfalls
One of Ireland’s greatest Waterfalls is located on this little Penninsula. You will not be disappointed! There is a lovely Ice Cream shop and cafe close to the waterfall so you can relax.
DAY SIX: More of Donegal and Sligo
Portsalon Beach, Co. Donegal – One of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches
One of Ireland’s greatest beaches, a very extensive sandy beach on the shores of Lough Swilly. It gently slopes towards the Atlantic ocean and is located in a Natural Heritage Area (NHA). The beach at Portsalon can be reached by travelling northeast in the R246 from Carrowkeel to Portsalon.
Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal – One of Ireland’s best National Parks
Glenveagh National Park is one of six national parks in Ireland. Situated in the Northwest of Co. Donegal, Glenveagh encompasses some 16,000 hectares in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. Such a great wilderness is the haunt of many interesting plants and animals.
“A National Park exists to conserve interesting plant and animal communities and associated landscapes in their natural state and, under conditions compatible with that purpose, to provide for appreciation of them by the visiting public.”
Slieve League Cliffs, Co. Donegal – Stunning Cliffs
Ranked Number 1 attraction on TripAdvisor for County Donegal. Climbing to this point on Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal is a truly memorable experience. The views are fantastic! Highly recommended to add this place to the list of places to visit!
Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo – A beautiful place
A great little town with amazing views. If you are into walking, there is a lovely walk around the head of the peninsula. If you wish to stay here you could get a room at The Beach Hotel or The Pier Head Hotel. For campers, there are numerous camp sits in the area!
DAY SEVEN: Mayo and Galway
WB Yeats Grave, Co. Sligo – The resting place of a legend
Drumcliffe, County Sligo is set against the striking backdrop of the Benbulben Mountains. It is best known as the final resting place of W.B. Yeats. Found in the churchyard, his grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription, “cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by.” This was Yeats’ self penned epitaph together with the instructions that the grave consist of “no marble, no conventional phrase”. The graveyard also contains a high cross and nearby is the site of a 6th Century Columbian monastery.
Downpatrick Head, Co. Mayo – A place of wonder
Downpatrick Head, Co Mayo. Just 3 miles north of Ballycastle village is a striking headland standing 126ft above the sea. From here, there are fantastic views of the Atlantic, the Staggs of Broadhaven to the west, and high cliffs along the shore. The small stone building at the top of Downpatrick Head was used as a lookout post during the Second World War. It is now used to view the many species of birds on ‘Dún Briste’.
Doolough Valley (Famine Valley), Co. Mayo – A place of beauty
The Doolough Valley was the most beautiful scenery we saw in Ireland. Doo Lough means Dark Lake. The lake is at the southern end of the valley and does look quite dark on the surface. The valley is bogland and is uninhabited except for the intrepid sheep who seem quite content to have it to themselves. The bog grass has a beautiful reddish hue. Many small waterfalls flow down both sides of the valley.
Clew Bay, Co. Mayo – An amazing bay with hundreds of mini islands
Clew Bay (Irish: Cuan Mó) is a natural ocean bay in County Mayo, Ireland. It contains Ireland’s best example of sunken drumlins. According to tradition, there is an island in the bay for every day of the year. The bay is overlooked by Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain, and the Nephin Range mountains of North Mayo.
Clare Island guards the entrance of the bay. From the southwest part of the bay eastwards are Louisburgh, Lecanvey, Murrisk, and Westport; north of Westport is Newport, and westwards from there lies Mulranny, gateway to Achill. From the south side of the bay, between Clare Island and Achill, Bills Rocks can be seen.
Connemara National Park – A Sensational National Park
Connemara National Park is one of six national parks in the Republic of Ireland that are managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It is located in the west of Ireland within County Galway.
Sky Road, Clifden, Co. Galway – A scenic road
Sky Road, Clifden, Connemara. The Sky Road drive in Clifden is a popular route in the Connemara region and has been described as being the most impressive coastal drive in the country. The steep ascent along the coastal edge provides a wonderful vantage point with panoramic views of Clifden bay and its many islands.
Galway City – A Cultural City
Galway is an amzing spot! It is legendary for a night out, especially on the weekend! There are tons of traditional bars with live music and clubs. If you wish to go here, make sure you book in advance as hotels and hostels may be booked up.
DAY EIGHT: Clare and Limerick
Father Ted’s House, Lackareagh, Co. Clare – The iconic house of a legendary TV show
For fans of the television show, this is a must-see place! It is extrememly rare to get the opportunity to go here. Most people can’t find the house as its literally in the middle of nowhere, a house with no number and a road without a name! Lucky for you we can provide directions! You have to get a photo outside it before you die!
- Navigate to the town of Kilnaboy/Killinaboy (This village has two names)
- Take a left at the church ruins
- Continue for about 5-10 minutes past the school
- The house is on the left
The Burren, Co. Clare – A wondrous place
If you go to Father Ted’s House, the Burren is literally all around you. So why not check some of the Burren out! it is a karst landscape which measures approximately 250 square kilometres and is enclosed roughly within the circle made by the villages of Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna.
The Burren National Park is one of six National Parks in Ireland and the smallest in size (15 km²).The Burren National Park Visitor Centre is located on Church Street in Corofin, County Clare.
Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare – The world famous cliffs
The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year. Standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point they stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland.
From the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day one can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, Loop Head to the south and the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry.
Limerick, Co. Limerick – A historic city
Limerick is a city in county Limerick. It is located in the Mid-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. Limerick City and County Council is the local authority for the city. The city lies on the River Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King’s Island, which is bounded by the Shannon and the Abbey River. If you visit here you must visit Kind John’s Castle!
DAY NINE: Enter the beautiful Co. Kerry
Ballybunion, Co. Kerry – A holiday hotspot
Ballybunion is a beautiful coastal town and seaside resort in County Kerry. There are castle ruins near the town, although all that remains is a single wall, and two golf courses in the area including the famous Ballybunion Golf Club, a top class Links course founded in 1893 and host course to the Murphys Irish Open in 2000 and Palmer Cup in 2004.
According to the Central Statistics Office, Ballybunion had a population of 1329 in 2002. It is a popular destination in summer for its beautiful beach!
The Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry – A Sensational Peninsula
The Dingle Peninsula is the northernmost of the major peninsula in County Kerry. It ends beyond the town of Dingle at Dunmore Head, the westernmost point of Ireland and arguably Europe. The drive around the peninsula is one of the best in Ireland!
Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry – A beautiful national park
Located beside the town of Killarney. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, Oak and Yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks.
DAY TEN: The Famous Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry, Co. Kerry – The must do loop
Any Irish road trip has to have the Ring of Kerry! It is a 179-km-long circular tourist route in County Kerry, south-western Ireland. Clockwise from Killarney it follows the N71 to Kenmare, then the N70 around the Iveragh Peninsula to Killorglin – passing through Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh – before returning to Killarney via the N72. There is so much to see on this road and you should dedicate a whole day to it!
DAY ELEVEN: Co. Cork
Brown Head, Co. Cork – The southern-most point of the whole island of Ireland
If you have visited the northern-most point of the whole island of Ireland, you have to visit the southern-most point at Brow Head. Its a great spot with fantastic views!
Kinsale, Co. Cork – A beautiful and historic town
Kinsale is a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, Ireland, which also has significant military history. Located some 25 km south of Cork City on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it sits at the mouth of the River Bandon and has a population of 2,257, which increases substantially during the summer months when the tourist season is at its peak and when the boating fraternity arrive in large numbers.
Kinsale is a popular holiday resort for Irish and overseas tourists. Leisure activities include yachting, sea angling, and golf. The town also has several art galleries and a school of English. The town is compact with a quaint air of antiquity in the narrow streets. There is a large yachting marina close to the town centre.
Charles Fort, Co. Cork – An amazing historic port
Charles Fort is a star fort located on the water’s edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County Cork, Ireland. James’ Fort is located on the other side of the harbour. Charles Fort is built on the site of an earlier stronghold known as Ringcurran Castle, which featured prominently during the Siege of Kinsale in 1601.
The fort, which is named after Charles II, was designed by the Surveyor-general Sir William Robinson – architect of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The fort was built in the 1670s and 1680s to a star fortification design – a layout specifically designed to resist attack by cannon.
DAY TWELVE: More of Cork (its a huge county!)
Beal-na-blath, Co. Cork – the spot where Michael Collins died
Michael Collins, probably Cork’s most famous man died at this scene during the Irish Civil War. Undoubtedly the location of one of the most high profile killings in Irish history. There is a monument here in his memory at Béal na Bláth, Co. Cork.
Blarney Castle, Co. Cork – Kiss the world famous Blarney Stone
Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland, and the River Martin. Though earlier fortifications were built on the same spot, the current keep was built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty, a cadet branch of the Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446. The noted Blarney Stone is found among the machicolations of the castle.
Cork City, Co. Cork – Visit the Rebel City
Cork is a city in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and in the province of Munster. In 2005, it was selected as the European Capital of Culture. There is lots to do here including seeing the Cork City Gaol, Blackrock castle and the English Market.
DAY THIRTEEN: Tipperary, Kilkenny and Wicklow
Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary – Visit a legendary site
The Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary is a historic site located at Cashel. It was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church.
The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe. Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny – Visit a vibrant and cultural city
Kilkenny is a city located in south-east part of Ireland and the county town of County Kilkenny. It is on both banks of the River Nore in the province of Leinster. Kilkenny is a popular tourist destination. In 2009 the City of Kilkenny celebrated its 400th year since the granting of city status in 1609.
Kilkenny’s heritage is evident in the city and environs including the historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House, Shee Alms House, Black Abbey, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. Francis Abbey, Grace’s Castle, and St. John’s Priory. Kilkenny is regarded for its culture with craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums.
Annual events include Kilkenny Art Festival, the Cat Laughs comedy festival and music at the Rhythm and Roots festival and the Source concert. It is a popular base to explore the surrounding towns, villages and countryside.
Glendalough, Co. Wicklow – Visit the most beautiful lake you’ll ever see!
A popular day trip from Dublin, Glendalough, or the ‘Valley of Two Lakes’, is one of Ireland’s most prominent monastic sites, nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
The 6th-century Christian settlement was founded by St. Kevin and boasts a series of impressive remains set against a backdrop of the picturesque Irish countryside. Nicknamed ‘the garden of Ireland’, Wicklow is a nature lover’s paradise of rolling meadows, vast lakes and hillsides carpeted in purple heather.
DAY FOURTEEN: Arrive back to Dublin!
Finish your amazing Road Trip back where you started! Time to relax and reflect on your amazing experience!