Explore the magic of Ireland independently with this self-drive itinerary. You'll go from the ancient streets of Dublin to the rebel city of Cork, the heritage village of Killarney, and the Ring of Kerry. Keep going to the spectacular views of the Cliffs of Moher, buzzing cultural scene of Galway, and majestic views of the Aran Islands before you ultimately return to Dublin.

Highlights

  • Visit Ireland's oldest national park in Killarney
  • Explore the beauty of Dingle & Slea Head
  • Follow history along the Ring of Kerry
  • Walk along the stunning Cliffs of Moher
  • Take a sea voyage to the Aran Islands

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin Dublin
Day 2 Glendalough Trail Laragh
Day 3 Cork & the Rock of Cashel Cork
Day 4 Killarney National Park Killarney
Day 5 Ring of Kerry Drive Killarney
Day 6 Dingle Peninsula & Slea Head Dingle Town
Day 7 Cliffs of Moher Doolin
Day 8 Travel to Galway Galway
Day 9 Aran Islands Galway
Day 10 Return to Dublin & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin

Downtown Dublin
Downtown Dublin

Welcome to Ireland! Your trip starts in the capital city of Dublin. Once you're settled in, set out to explore this historic city and its abundance of museums, memorials, cathedrals, and cafes, each offering a slice of insight into what makes Dublin special.

Opt for a guided walking tour or simply wander the city on your own. Either way, don't forget a stop at the Guinness factory, located in the heart of the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery in the city.

Day 2: Glendalough Trail

Wicklow Way
Wicklow Way

Get on the road to start your drive today, heading to the lovely village of Laragh. Then leave your vehicle behind and follow the forest trails of the Wicklow Way to Glendalough. Once buzzing with activity 1,500 years ago, this monastic village has slowed down considerably, making it a tranquil place from which to explore historic ruins and the surrounding landscape.

There are multiple hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties to choose from within the valley. Enjoy a challenging hike to the viewpoint overlooking the beautiful valley lakes, or opt for a gentle stroll along the lakeshore to take in the flora and fauna in the valley.

Day 3: Cork & the Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel

Today you will travel south towards Ireland's "second city" of Cork, with a stop at the Rock of Cashel along the way. More than just a geological feature, this spectacular group of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone was once home of the high kings of Ireland. You will arrive in Cork late in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to explore the city.

Day 4: Killarney National Park

Just one of the many castles

After breakfast, travel across the mountainous terrain separating the County of Cork and the Kingdom of Kerry to the town of Killarney, home to Ireland's oldest national park. Cyle or hike along the three lakes of Killarney, or get into the water on a boat cruise or kayaking tour.

Killarney has a vast history with many remaining buildings and monuments, including Muckross Park, home to beautiful gardens and a 15th-century Franciscan friary, and Ross Castle, a structure on the edge of the lower lake with a history dating back to the Middle Ages.

In the evening, take a jaunting car trip and enjoy the sunset scenery of the park in a horse-drawn carriage.

Day 5: Ring of Kerry Drive

Ring of Kerry
Along the Ring of Kerry

Today you drive the iconic Ring of Kerry, passing through towns and villages like Killarney, Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel, and Sneem. If time allows, you may even check out Valentia island. 

Day 6: Dingle Peninsula & Slea Head

Slea Head
Slea Head

Head all the way west today to explore the most westerly peninsula in Europe. Along the way, you will see the Gallarus Oratory, ancient beehive huts, the Blasket Islands, and much more. Your drive will end in the coastal town of Dingle.

Day 7: Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

Travel along the edge of Europe to the colorful coastal town of Doolin. While a worthy stop in its own right, Doolin is also the approach to the famous Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are part of a protective barrier running from the Atlantic Way down to the southern end of Burren.

The spectacle of the Cliffs is best appreciated on foot, starting with a walk south from Doolin into the foothills. Take in the lower levels and layers of rock formations as you gradually ascend up their nearly 1,000-foot walls (300 m). If you'd rather enjoy the view from sea level, you can also choose to do a boat cruise.

Day 8: Travel to Galway

Downtown Galway
Downtown Galway

Depart Doolin and travel north towards Galway, the "Bohemian capital" of Ireland. Along the way, you can explore the lunar landscapes of the wild Burren region and Atlantic waves rolling into Galway Bay. Don't spend too long on the road, as you'll want ample time to wander the streets of Galway and sample its culinary offerings or take a historic walking tour.

Day 9: Aran Islands

Inis Mor
Inis Mor

Jump from  mainland Ireland to one of its most renowned islands, Inis Mor, which translates to "big island." Living up to its name, it's the largest of three islands that make up the wild Aran Islands. Once there, you can explore the island by foot, bicycle, or a jaunting cart, traveling across the magnificent landscape of rocky fields, wild ocean views, and incredible monuments of Christian, pre-Christian, and Celtic mythological heritage

Day 10: Return to Dublin & Depart

Departure
Heading out

Enjoy one more Irish breakfast before you travel back east to Dublin to return your car rental and bid farewell to the Emerald Isle.