In under a week, this Irish road trip loops through a land of epic landscapes and even more epic history. Start in Dublin with a walking tour of the city's medieval and Georgian past, then set out toward the cultural and culinary capital of Galway. Gallop along the windswept beaches of Spiddal, take in dizzying views from the Cliffs of Moher, drive the scenic Ring of Kerry, and go kayaking by starlight on the saltwater lake of Lough Hyne.


  • Explore the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher by foot or by boat
  • Stimulate your taste buds in Galway, a European Region of Gastronomy
  • Go back in time with a tour of Dublin's Medieval Quarter
  • Kayak under the stars on Lough Hyne Lake

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, City Walking Tour Dublin
Day 2 Visit the Ruins of Clonmacnoise, Drive to Galway Galway
Day 3 Horseback Riding on the Beach of Trá na mBán Galway
Day 4 Drive to Doolin Village, Hike the Cliffs of Moher Doolin
Day 5 Drive Ring of Kerry to Kinsale, Sunset Kayak on Lough Hyne Lake Kinsale
Day 6 Drive to Dublin & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, City Walking Tour

Beautiful Dublin reflected in the water
Beautiful Dublin reflected in the water

Welcome to Ireland! After arriving at Dublin Airport, head to your accommodations and settle in before taking a Dublin walking tour led by a local guide. This tour goes into the heart of Dublin's Medieval Quarter, where the 1000-year-old Christ Church Cathedral stands. This is the elder of the city's two medieval cathedrals, but don't worry, this tour will pass by the "younger" 900-year-old St. Patrick's as well. Discover the 18th-century architecture of Georgian Dublin, which peppers the city and can be seen in its most impressive form at Dublin Castle.

For those looking to get an in-depth tasting of one of Ireland's most beloved exports, take a tasting tour at the Jameson Distillery. This unique tour not only offers samples of premium whiskeys that are exclusive to this distillery but also gives visitors the chance to see the office of John Jameson (colloquially known as "JJ"), the founder of this company that produces the best-selling Irish whiskey in the world.

Day 2: Visit the Ruins of Clonmacnoise, Drive to Galway

Fishing boats moored in Galway Bay
Pick up your rental car today and head to the bohemian and cultural center of Galway, whose artistic, musical, and culinary scenes truly cannot be beaten. On the way, consider stopping at the 6th-century ruins of the monastery Clonmacnoise or Cluain Mhic Nóis in Irish. After arriving in Galway, take a stroll through the Latin Quarter, which is filled with boutique stores, restaurants, and Galway's most beloved pubs and live music venues. Walk under the Spanish Arch, which was once visited by Christopher Columbus. Check out the traditional Claddagh Village, which is renowned for its romantic Claddagh ring design. 

Day 3: Horseback Ride on the Beach of Trá na mBán

Horse-riding on the beaches of Ireland
Go for a gallop on the beaches of Ireland
For those looking for a special outdoor adventure, take a horseback ride along one of Ireland's most famed shorelines, Trá na mBán, which is located in the village of Spiddal. This tour accommodates riders of all levels, and possible treks for more advanced riders include a visit to the 13th-century Renvyle Castle, which is known as the "Sea Pirates' Castle" and has a dark history to match its evocative title. If you'd rather skip the horseback tour, fret not: this beautiful area of Ireland includes beach, mountain, and turf terrain, all of which can be explored on your own terms.

Day 4: Drive to Doolin Village, Hike the Cliffs of Moher

Colorful cottages in Doolin 

Drive to Doolin, which is a hub of music venues and traditional Irish music. This lively village is set at the foot of the majestic Cliffs of Moher, which can be reached by foot or boat if you're interested in a different way of seeing Ireland's most iconic cliffs. There are also the labyrinthine Doolin Caves, which have the longest free-hanging stalactite in Europe. Doolin is renowned for its culinary scene, and those looking to try traditional Irish dishes like stews, vegetable soup and soda bread, and potato cakes will find abundant pickings here.

After arriving in Doolin, consider hiking the breathtaking coastal path to the village of Liscannor, which passes across the Cliffs of Moher. Explore the beautiful Burren Region on this hike: spot the Aran Islands and Galway Bay in the distance, take in the panoramic views from O'Brien's Tower, and marvel at the Maumturk mountain range. A guide is available for this trek, so whether you strike out on your own or let a local guide you, experience Ireland's most famed landscape in an unforgettable way.

Plan your trip to Ireland
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Day 5: Drive the Ring of Kerry to Kinsale, Sunset Kayak on Lough Hyne Lake

Mounatins Kerry
Lush green mountains in Kerry

Drive the scenic Ring of Kerry road across the Iveragh Peninsula, which is characterized by an unspoiled coastline, medieval ruins, and mist-shrouded mountains. There are loads of stops along the way, such as Killarney National Park, which features fantastic views, and the impressive Gap of Dunloe, situated between two mountain ranges. Check out the beautiful yet haunting ruins of Ballycarbery Castle or the ancient stone ring fort of Cahergall. Spot the Skellig Islands, one of which houses a 6th-century Christian monastery on its peak. 

If you're interested in a nighttime adventure, go kayaking under the stars in the saltwater lake of Lough Hyne, located between Skibbereen and Baltimore. This unique guided tour begins at dusk and offers a chance to take in all that Ireland has to offer: bioluminescence glowing in the water, seabirds flying above, and the scent of honeysuckle wafting on the breeze.

Day 6: Drive to Dublin & Depart

The streets of Dublin
The lively streets of Dublin

Drive back to Dublin today and if you have time, take in the last sights, sounds, and experiences of Ireland's dynamic and unforgettable capital. Return the rental car to the agency and continue on to your next destination. Safe travels and slán go fóill (goodbye for now).

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Map of Ireland Self-Drive Adventure: Dublin, Galway, Doolin & Kinsale - 6 Days
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