Eight days in Ireland is enough time to explore three to four destinations in one region. Using Dublin as a jumping-off point, discover the West Coast's iconic Wild Atlantic Way or venture to Northern Ireland to wander among Belfast, Antrim's waterfalls, and islands in the Scottish Hebrides. Another option is to city hop arts-loving Galway to cosmopolitan Cork. More active travelers might consider a walking adventure of western Ireland's The Burren, Aran Islands, and Connemara.

Itinerary #1: West Coast of Ireland Road Trip

Covering a lot of ground, this west coast road trip offers the perfect balance of history, culture, and active adventure. You'll admire epic views of mountains and coast as you drive the Wild Atlantic Way, hike the Cliffs of Moher coastal path, venture to the Aran Islands, and explore The Burren's remote landscape and ancient (and mysterious) archaeological sites.

Sunset over Doonagore Castle in Doolin
Sunset over Doonagore Castle in Doolin
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, Drive to Doolin Doolin
Day 2 Ferry Trip to the Aran Islands Doolin
Day 3 Tour the Loop Head Peninsula Doolin
Day 4 Hike Around Ballyvaughan, Explore The Burren National Park Doolin
Day 5 Hike the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Path, Drive to Killarney Killarney
Day 6 Explore Killarney & the Three Lakes Killarney
Day 7 Drive to Kilkenny, Visit Kilkenny Castle & Smithwick's Brewery Kilkenny
Day 8 Drive to Dublin & Depart  

From Dublin, you'll drive to Doolin and enjoy the colorful traditional cottages and Irish music before hopping on a ferry to Inisheer, the smallest of the three Aran Islands, where you can explore its rocky landscape and ancient monuments. On Day 3, take a day trip around the dramatic Loop Head Peninsula, part of the iconic Wild Atlantic Way coastal route. Then, stop at Carrigaholt fishing village, the Dunlicky Castleopt ruins, and visit a perfumery, a distillery, or a cooking school. Next, lace up your walking shoes and go for a hike around Ballyvaughan and check out the mysterious Neolithic dolmens in The Burren National Park.

On Day 5, trek the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Path and pause at O'Brien's Tower, a 19th-century stone-built observation tower and the cliffs' highest point, before driving to beautiful Killarney. The following day, explore Killarney National Park and its three lakes—Lough Leane, Muckross Lake, and Upper Lake—for a scenic walk through ancient woodlands steeped in Irish mythology. See Kilkenny and its Victorian remodeling of a 13th-century fortress on Day 7 and stroll along the River Nore and Kilkenny's Medieval Mile on your last morning before returning to Dublin. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Dublin, Northern Ireland & the Isle of Islay

Focusing on the Emerald Isle's east coast, this self-drive itinerary covers the highlights of Dublin, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Islay with activities that include boarding a fast passenger ferry over to Scotland's Isle of Islay, chasing waterfalls in beautiful Antrim, exploring the capital cities of Dublin and Belfast, and walking on the UNESCO-listed Giant's Causeway. 

Antrim Coast
Chase waterfalls along the Antrim Coast
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, Historical Walking Tour, Whiskey Tasting Dublin
Day 2 Drive to Belfast & Explore the City, Cave Hill Walk Belfast
Day 3 The Causeway Coast, Giant's Causeway Ballycastle
Day 4 Rathlin Island Day Trip Ballycastle
Day 5 Isle of Islay (Scotland) Day Trip Ballycastle
Day 6 The Waterfalls of Antrim, Louth Carlingford
Day 7 Back to Dublin for a Free Afternoon  Dublin
Day 8 Dublin's Great Cathedrals & Churches, Guinness Storehouse, Depart  

Arriving in Dublin, set out to discover its Medieval Quarter, starting with Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle. Head up the coast to Northern Ireland the next day and learn about Belfast's recent history with a Black Cab Tour and visit the Cathedral Quarter, the Titanic Exhibition, and the famous Peace Wall. Explore the Causeway Coast on Day 3, stopping at Giant's Causeway to check out the impressive basalt columns before hitting the Antrim Coast to Ballycastle. Day 4 is for a ferry ride to Rathlin Island, where you can spot puffins and seals, while Day 5 is for seafood and whiskey tasting at Scotland's Isle of Islay, part of the Southern Hebrides.

On Day 6, discover waterfalls along the Antrim Coast, followed by a drive south back into Ireland and coastal county Louth, which is small but with much to see, including Saint Laurence's Gate, majestic Millmount Fort, St. Peter's Church, pretty fishing villages, crumbling Castle Roche, and King John's Castle. On Days 7 and 8, you're back in Dublin. Wander through Dublin's green parks, the cobblestone streets of Temple Bar, and around Trinity College to see the Book of Kells or shop on Grafton Street. Visit St Patrick's Cathedral—the city's largest—before making a final stop at the Guinness Storehouse. Learn more

Plan your trip to Ireland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Ireland's Beautiful Cities: Dublin, Galway & Cork

You'll overnight in Dublin, Galway, and Cork, three of the country's best-loved cities, on this eight-day trip, as well as hike in stunning Connemara National Park, visit colorful Cobh, the Titanic's last port of call, check out Cork's authentic local bars, and kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle.

The colorful town of Cobh, the Titanic's last port of call
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, City Tour Dublin
Day 2 Connemara National Park Galway
Day 3 Explore Galway, "The Quiet Man" Movie Walking Tour Galway
Day 4 Kinsale, Cobh, Cork City Cork
Day 5 Visit Blarney Castle, Spike Island Tour Cork
Day 6 Explore the Rock of Cashel, Visit Kilkenny Castle Dublin
Day 7 Tour Dublin's Medieval Quarter, Guinness Storehouse Dublin
Day 8 Depart Dublin  

Landing in Dublin, you'll taste whiskey at Jameson Distillery Bow St. and admire Dublin's highlights like the statue of James Joyce, O'Connell Bridge, the Olympia Theatre, Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, and Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin's most famous landmark. The following day, hike up Diamond Hill at Connemara National Park for countryside views and visit the magnificent Kylemore Abbey before enjoying Galway's vibrant streets, quirky bookshops, and lively local bars. Explore Galway's Latin Quarter, notice the Spanish Arch, and check out the traditional Claddagh Village on Day 3.

You'll then wander the charming port of Cobh, where you can see Charles Fort or hike The Old Head of Kinsale Loop. Next, discover Cork's Huguenot Quarter and French Church Street. On Day 5, lean back and kiss the famous Blarney Stone before ferrying to Spike Island, host to a seventh-century monastery and fortress. Drive from Cork to Dublin, stopping at the medieval Rock of Cashel and for a guided tour of Kilkenny Castle on Day 6. On your last full day, explore Dublin's Medieval Quarter, St. Audoen's Church, and the crypts of Christ Church Cathedral, followed by a pint at the Guinness Storehouse to end your Irish adventure. Learn more 

Itinerary #4: Western Ireland on Foot: The Burren, Aran Islands & Connemara

With hikers in mind, this western Ireland active itinerary has you trekking along the colossal Cliffs of Moher, exploring the otherworldly limestone landscape of The Burren, experiencing traditional island life on Inis Mór, and following a historic pilgrimage path in beautiful Connemara.

The Cliffs of Moher
Take in windy views as you hike along the famous Cliffs of Moher
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Doolin Doolin
Day 2 Green Road Walk via The Burren Doolin
Day 3 Cliffs of Moher Hike & Ferry to Inis Mór Inis Mór
Day 4 Inis Mór & Dun Aonghasa Fort Walk Inis Mór
Day 5 Ferry to Connemara & Maumeen Pass Hike Lough Inagh Valley
Day 6 Lough Inagh to Leenane Walk Leenane, Aasleagh
Day 7 Transfer to Galway, Explore Ireland's Bohemian Capital Galway
Day 8 Depart Galway  

On Day 1, enjoy the village of Doolin's coastal scenery, lively pubs, and traditional Irish music. The following day, begin your 11-mile (18 km) trail around Black Head Mountain and continue over Gleninagh Mountain. Descend into Burren National Park and over the hill of Slieve Elva before reaching Craggagh. Discover the Cliffs of Moher on Day 3, and pause at O'Brien's Tower, the cliffs' highest point. Clamber over Inis Mór along small paths and quiet roads on an 11-mile (17 km) trek that passes prehistoric churches and the stone fort of Dun Aonghasa on Day 4.

Walk 9 miles (14 km) of the Western Way, starting at the Teernakill Bridge near the village of Maam, and venture over the Maumeen Pass (Mám Éan) on Day 5. Then, on Day 6, trek the 10-mile (16 km) route through the Inagh Valley, enjoying views of the Maumturk mountains and the Twelve Pins range. You'll go through Letterbreckaun to Tullyconor, via a conifer plantation forest to Killary Harbour fjord, and to the seaside village of Leenane. End in dynamic Galway on the Wild Atlantic Way on Day 7, prized for its art scene, street performances, and live music. Admire the Spanish Arch and enjoy one last stroll, ending in Galway Bay. Learn more

More Great 8-Day Ireland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Ireland? Check out these other eight-day Ireland itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of 8 Days in Ireland - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 8 Days in Ireland - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas