Starting in historic Dublin, get ready for a two-week road trip that immerses your family in the best of Ireland. Drive onward to Kinsale, Kenmare, Tralee, Doolin, and Birr to experience unbeatable natural beauty, stately castles, rich history, friendly locals, and cultural experiences. You and the kids will be falconing one minute, sailing the next, whale watching, and hiking—and that's all just in the first few days. Buckle up and prepare to make some memories!


  • Drive the unforgettably beautiful Kerry Ring
  • Try your hand at falconing and head out whale watching
  • Cozy up to the fire and spend the night in a castle
  • Explore one of Europe's leading attractions, the EPIC Museum

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, Walking Tour Dublin
Day 2 Tour Dublin's Medieval Quarter Dublin
Day 3 Kilkea Castle & Falconry Castledermot
Day 4 Drive to Cork, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle & Kinsale Kinsale
Day 5 Explore Cobh & Beach Kinsale
Day 6 Drive to Kenmare, Toy Factory Kenmare
Day 7 Sea Safari  Kenmare
Day 8 Woodland Fairy Treasure Hunt, Drive to Tralee Tralee
Day 9 Killarney & Ring of Kerry Tralee
Day 10 Drive to Doolin, Caves & St Tola Goat Cheese Farm  Doolin
Day 11 Ferry to the Aran Islands, Inishmore & Dun Aonghasa  Doolin
Day 12 Castles of the Hidden Heartlands Birr
Day 13 Return to Dublin, EPIC Interactive Museum & Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Dublin
Day 14 Depart Dublin  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, Walking Tour

Temple Bar
Discover Dublin with a guided walking tour

Céad míle fáilte! A hundred thousand welcomes! Settle into your accommodation, then slip on a pair of comfortable shoes―your family's first adventure is a relaxed two-hour walking tour of Dublin's history and culture, a delightful way to get a sense of the city. Guided by a local historian, you and the kids will learn about its growth from a Gaelic village through settlement by the Vikings, Normans, and English to the modern city it is today―and you'll see it all unfold before you as you stroll Dublin's streets.

Starting from the iconic Gresham Hotel, you'll encounter highlights like the statue of James Joyce, the Spire of Light, and the O'Connell monument. Cross the Liffey, and you'll find the Silicon Docks, the European home of giant tech companies. Wend your way by cultural centers like the Temple Bar district, Olympia Theatre, and Dublin Castle, and explore Wood Quay (the remains of the largest Viking settlement outside Scandinavia). If the kids are hungry, whip them into the Boxty House at Temple Bar, which offers child-friendly traditional food.

Day 2: Tour Dublin's Medieval Quarter

Flowers blooming in front of Christ Church Cathedral
Flowers blooming in front of Christ Church Cathedral

This morning will find you on your feet again―but it's well worth it. Take a guided tour of Dublin's Medieval Quarter, beginning with a visit to Ireland's oldest parish church, St Audoen's. Be sure to climb the bell tower for fantastic views. Nearby you'll find the remnants of medieval fortifications and St Audoen's Gate, which has remained intact since the 13th century. The tour includes a visit to the Christ Church Cathedral—built in 1030 CE by the Viking king, Sitric, it's an integral part of Dublin's history. The fascinating crypt holds relics of knights, saints, and kings, including the tomb of Strongbow, the Norman lord who conquered Dublin. 

If you've all worked up an appetite on the tour, you don't have to leave the medieval quarter to find great food. Try The Lord Edward FitzgeraldThe Bull and Castle, or Darkey Kelly's. You may think you all have a good feel for medieval Dublin now, but once you're refreshed, take it one step further (so to speak) and head to nearby Dublinia, a museum made with the kids in mind. This highly interactive experience will bring what they've seen so far to life―they'll love to dress as Vikings, live aboard a ship, and go to a medieval fair. 

Day 3: Kilkea Castle & Falconry

Girl holding falcon
Give falconry a try at Kilkea Castle

Pick up your rental car this morning, and drive about an hour from Dublin to discover one of Ireland's oldest continuously inhabited castles, Kilkea. Built in 1180 and resided in for centuries by Ireland's rulers, this carefully-preserved castle will sweep you back in time yet still provide you with all the modern luxuries. Set in rolling pastureland, you'll be awed both by the beauty of the buildings and their setting. That's not all, though―this is a paradise for active families.

Once you've settled in, take advantage of the falconry offered on-site―the kids will be excited to get so close to falcons, owls, and hawks and to experience their majesty and power, all with the stunning backdrop of the castle. If falconry doesn't appeal, there is plenty else on offer. Try horse riding, shooting, and archery, or take a walk in the nearby Mullaghreeland Wood. If you'd rather have a quiet afternoon, enjoy the luxurious spa facilities and follow up with some fine dining. 

Day 4: Drive to Cork, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle & Kinsale

Rock of Cashel
Wildflowers below the Rock of Cashel

Today you'll drive to Cork, Ireland's southern hub. Take a break halfway at the Rock of Cashel, a medieval ecclesiastical site of Gothic and Romanesque-style buildings and a 12th-century round tower. Continue to the "Rebel City" of Cork― with its history of fighting for independence, it has a vibe all its own, with plenty of art galleries, unconventional museums, and a small-town feel. Grab a traditional pub lunch here, and then head out of town to Blarney Castle. The kids will have a great time scampering over the castle and grounds, and, if they are tall enough, they'll be able to kiss the Blarney Stone on the top tower and be granted the "gift of the gab" (meaning, great chat).

Afterward, drive on to Kinsale, the foodie capital of Ireland. Take the Scilly Walk to the star-shaped 17th-century military fortress, Charles Fort, and let the kids explore history hands-on as they climb the lookouts and creep through the tunnels. You'll be spoiled for choice at dinnertime―famous for its fresh seafood and produce, with plenty of restaurants, cafés, and markets to choose from. Head back to your accommodation in Cork, a four-star hotel with sweeping views of the Atlantic. Spend the evening relaxing, and feel free to make use of the in-house babysitting service.

Day 5: Explore Cobh & Beach

The colorful seaside town of Cobh

Take a short drive this morning to the picturesque seaside town of Cobh, famous as the Titanic's last port of call in 1912. Before you head to the beach, it's worth taking a little time to explore the town itself. Scale the colorful '"Deck of Cards" (a street of quaint Victorian housing) to be rewarded with stunning views of the town and the ocean, or discover Cobh's rich history at one of its museums―a must for Titanic aficionados in the family. St Colman's, standing sentinel over the town, is Ireland's tallest cathedral and arguably one of its most lovely, so be sure to make some time to visit.

Later, head to the beach and spend the day building sandcastles and splashing around with the kids. If your family likes a little more action, take to the water with a half-day family sailing course. Learn the ropes with a personal instructor and come away with a new family hobby. If you're in the mood for a longer excursion, head over to Spike Island, once the world's largest prison and now one of its most popular tourist attractions. They run a fascinating family-friendly tour of the less gruesome buildings and history―you'll have to come back another time without the kids to hear the rest!

Day 6: Drive to Kenmare, Toy Factory

Old Bridge, Kenmare
Old Bridge, Kenmare
Plan your trip to Ireland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

This morning, head west toward Kenmare. Stop off about halfway at Kilnamartyra and call into the Toy Soldier Factory, the last of its kind in Europe. Not only will you be able to view a live casting demonstration from mold making to the final painting, but you and the kids can also choose from one of many molds to paint your own soldier, fairy, monster, or ornament. Fun for all ages, you'll come away with a souvenir to boot. When you've finished, head on to Kenmare Township.

Located on Kenmare Bay, this colorful small town is full of charm and good restaurants and is a handy base for outdoor exploration. Just a short walk from the town center, you'll find the remnants of a Bronze Age stone circle, and there are plenty of parks, and hill walks where you can let the kids run off some steam. A 10-minute drive will get you to Molly Gallivan's Farm and Cottage, a fascinating glimpse into life 200 years ago, complete with a petting zoo for the young ones. Head to the Bay to spot some seals, then enjoy a pint and a good meal at one of the local pubs before heading to your accommodation for the night. 

Day 7: Sea Safari 

Dolphin sightings are common on this sea safari
Dolphin sightings are common on this sea safari

This morning will be a treat for the whole family―a 2.5-hour sea safari of the stunning West Coast. Cruising close-up to beautiful islands, cliffs, caves, lighthouses, beaches, and charming coastal villages, this tour would be a highlight even without the sea life. The kids will have a great time spotting the various species of dolphins, whales, and seals, as well as many seabirds. You'll likely spend at least part of the journey accompanied by harbor porpoises, trip regulars around here.

You're bound to have worked up an appetite, so back on shore, head to another great restaurant or pub. The afternoon offers plenty of child-friendly options―consider a chocolate-making course at Lorge Chocolatier (kids are welcome) or take a drive out to the Verart Sculpture Garden, a family-friendly outdoor immersive art experience. Alternatively, explore some of the villages on the scenic Ring of Beara and find another hidden gem of a pub to nestle into for dinner. 

Day 8: Woodland Fairy Treasure Hunt, Drive to Tralee

Fairy Trail
Take a walk along the fairy trail

Today is your last day in Kenmare, so make it memorable for the kids with a stroll through the woods and into the world of Irish folklore. This isn't just any old walk, though: your family's mission is to spot the 18 dwellings of the mysterious Tuatha Dé Danann, more commonly known as fairies. Tiny houses nestle under the shelter of trees along scenic woodland trails, waiting for the most observant among you to discover them. Who will be first?

If you don't mind a little more walking in the afternoon, take the slightly adventurous scenic drive to Gleninchaquin Park and be rewarded with some of Ireland's best family-friendly hiking. Pack a picnic and enjoy spectacular and varied views, a quaint cottage, and the company of a few sheep! Afterward, drive on to your next destination, Tralee

Day 9: Killarney & Ring of Kerry 

Ring of Kerry
Stop for photo ops along the Ring of Kerry

Devote your morning to exploring Killarney and its surroundings. Begin with a relaxing boat trip across one of the lakes in the Killarney National Park, enjoying panoramic mountain views from your heated, glass-covered boat. Disembark in the remote Black Valley, the last place on the mainland to be connected to the electric grid. There's some fantastic hiking around here, with plenty of waterfalls to discover and a charming six-arch bridge. Back in Killarney, let the kids explore the nearby Ross Castle and the beautiful Muckross Abbey, or sustain the family at one of the town's fine pubs or restaurants. 

Spend your afternoon taking a leisurely drive around the Ring of Kerry, enjoying some of Ireland's most stunning ocean and mountain views. Let the kids stretch their legs in the picturesque towns of Sneem, Waterville, and Glenbeigh. Stop off at the medieval Cahergall Stone Fort. Afterward, head north through Tralee to your final stop for today, the magnificent Ballyseede Castle Hotel, where a warm fire, stunning views, and gorgeous rooms and food await.

Day 10: Drive to Doolin, Caves & St Tola Goat Cheese Farm 

Father and son feeding goat
Help care for the goats at St Tola's

This morning, drive to the home of traditional Irish music, the lively port village of Doolin. Located near the majestic Cliffs of Moher, its beautiful setting and bright houses—not to mention its fantastic live music culture—have made it a favorite stop-off for many. Be sure to make time to see these striking cliffs, but don't forget the lesser-known Doolin Caves―adults and kids alike will be awed by Europe's largest stalactite, which measures a whopping 24 feet (7.3 m).  

After lunch, accompanied by excellent traditional music, head to St Tola Goat Cheese Farm in County Clare. The kids will love petting and feeding the Saanen, Toggenburg, and British Alpine goats while you learn more about sustainable farming techniques. Discover how cheese is made by watching a demonstration and doing a taste test―the best way to learn. Your kids will never look at cheese on the supermarket shelf the same way again! Head to your accommodation in Doolin for the night. 

Day 11: Ferry to the Aran Islands, Inishmore & Dun Aonghasa

Hire a bike and explore
Hire a bike and explore

Head over to the Aran Islands by ferry this morning for a memorable day trip. You can disembark on any of the three islands: Inis Oírr ("East Island"), Inis Meáin ("Middle Island"), or Inis Mór/Inishmore ("Big Island"). Though all are beautiful, Inishmore is definitely fun for the kids with its bicycles for hire and a fantastic beach, Kilmurvey, just waiting for sandcastles and splashes. 

If you're on Inishmore, there are several ancient churches and settlements you can visit, but the island is best known for its huge Iron Age fort, Dun Aonghasa. This complex defense structure was used centuries before it appeared elsewhere in Europe. The ruins are easily reached and explored, even with very small children. Bring a packed lunch and climb up a wee way to dine with a priceless view. 

Day 12: Castles of the Hidden Heartlands

Eagles Rock County Leitrim
Eagles Rock, County Leitrim

Go off the beaten track today with a tour of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands in County Leitrim. This unspoiled and magical part of Ireland is filled with quiet roads, lakes and rivers, historic abbeys and monasteries, and peaty bogland. Family-friendly hiking trails are abundant, and there are also several castles worthy of a closer look to break up the driving.

Kinnitty Castle has been beautifully restored and offers many activities, while Leap Castle, famous for its gruesome past, is also an interesting stop. Glinsk Castle, the last castle built in Ireland, is open to the public to explore and is surrounded by a beautiful woodland trail, the Slieve Bloom Way. Enjoy discovering some of Ireland's less touristy highlights, then head to your accommodation.  

Day 13: Return to Dublin, EPIC Interactive Museum & Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship

The Jeannie Johnson Ship, Dublin
The Jeanie Johnston Ship, Dublin

Drive back to Dublin this morning to enjoy one more day of sightseeing in this plucky little city. Don't miss the extraordinary EPIC Museum of Irish Emigration, repeatedly voted Europe's best attraction. Follow the fascinating stories of real Irish men and women as they journeyed around the world to the US, Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Spain, contributing greatly to these countries' culture and leadership. This museum is highly interactive and great for all ages.

Next is the Jeanie Johnston Ship, a beautifully restored vessel moored on the Liffey Quayside. The exhibition focuses on the plight of over one million Irish escaping the famine for life overseas, 2,500 of whom left their homeland forever on this very ship. Younger kids will enjoy playing captain, while older ones will appreciate discovering the history with you. Round the day off by visiting one or two of Ireland's other must-see destinations that you may have run out of time for earlier in the week. 

Day 14: Depart Dublin

Girl at Dublin Airport
Say your goodbyes at Dublin Airport

Sadly it's your last day in Ireland. If your flight doesn't leave until later, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and stroll through Dublin's streets. Pick up a few souvenirs or visit one of the many historical sights. For another taste of Irish culture, why not pop into the Leprechaun Museum? Plain good fun for kids and adults alike! Make your way to the airport in time to drop off your rental car before the flight. Safe travels!

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Looking for more inspiration for your family trip to Ireland? Check out these other Ireland itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in Ireland with your family, or discover the best time to visit Ireland.


Map of Action-Packed Ireland Family Road Trip - 14 Days
Map of Action-Packed Ireland Family Road Trip - 14 Days