Looking for a trip to Ireland that mixes culture and history with outdoor adventure? This ten-day road trip has it all. Kick off the trip in Dublin, where you'll sightsee and taste locally brewed beer, then move onto colorful Galway before visiting one of the Aran Islands. You'll hike in Connemara National Park and visit 19th-century Glenveagh Castle, finishing up the trip with a trip to Giants Causeway and a final day and night in bustling Belfast.

Highlights

  • Taste locally brewed beer at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin
  • Traverse a deep ravine on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
  • Tour 19th-century Glenveagh Castle in Glenveagh National Park
  • Discover Ceide Fields, a 5,500-year-old Neolithic site

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin Dublin
Day 2 Dublin to Galway Galway
Day 3 Aran Islands & Roundstone Roundstone
Day 4 Connemara National Park Westport
Day 5 Achill Island Westport
Day 6 Westport to Donegal Donegal
Day 7 Glenveagh National Park Letterkenny
Day 8 Giants Causeway & Antrim Coast Antrim
Day 9 Belfast Belfast
Day 10 Departure Dublin

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin

A beautifully illuminated bridge in Dublin

Welcome to Dublin! Transfer from the airport to your first night's accommodation in the city center. After checking in, set out to explore the capital. Discover Dublin at your own pace or join a comprehensive walking tour to visit the highlights. Either way, you’ll want to find your way to St. James’s Gate Brewery to visit the Guinness Factory for a pint or two.

Day 2: Dublin to Galway

A quiet street in Galway at night

Today you will pick up your car rental and drive west to Galway, the bohemian capital of Ireland. Take a stroll along the city’s vibrant streets and enjoy its rich variety of culinary offerings. Step into the green-domed Galway Cathedral before heading into the Latin Quarter, which still features sections of the city's original medieval city walls.

Day 3: Aran Islands & Roundstone

Rugged landscapes on the coast of Ireland

Today you jump from mainland Ireland to one of its most renowned islands, Inis Mor, meaning "big island." It is the largest of three islands that make up the Aran Islands. Once there, you can explore the island on foot or on a bicycle to experience the island's magnificent landscape of rocky fields, wild ocean views, and incredible monuments of Christian, pre-Christian, and Celtic mythological heritage

Later, you will make your way back to the mainland where you then drive to your next overnight stop in the village of Roundstone.

Day 4: Connemara National Park

Views from the hiking trail in Connemara National Park

Today you travel to Connemara National Park and hike to the top of Diamond Hill before heading to Kylemore Abbey to grab a bite to eat and explore its interesting history and unique gardens. Then make your way to your overnight stay in the colorful town of Westport. The town is rich in historical areas of interest and a great traditional music scene.

Day 5: Achill Island

The rolling waves of the Atlantic off Achill Island
The rolling waves of the Atlantic off Achill Island

Today you will undertake one of the most scenic coastal drives in the whole of Ireland: the journey to Achill Island. The island is the country’s largest offshore island and is a magical paradise to explore by car. Connected to the mainland by a spectacular bridge that looks like whale ribs floating over the sea, this wonderful region boasts some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and coastlines as well several hidden gems such as a deserted village, an old signal tower, and some idyllic hidden lakes. Later, return to Westport for another overnight stay.

Day 6: Westport to Donegal

The windswept, isolated coast near Downpatrick Head

Departing Westport, travel to the north coast of Mayo and the unique Ceide Fields, a 5,500-year-old Neolithic site. Nearby is the windswept coast walk that leads to Downpatrick Head, where Saint Patrick is believed to have founded a church. If you haven’t had enough history, continue to the ruins of Moyne Abbey near Killala.

Afterwards, stop for lunch in Ballina, then make your way north towards Donegal Town via Bundoran. Take the opportunity to dip your feet into the wild Atlantic.

Day 7: Glenveagh National Park

Mountains and lakes in Glenveagh National park

After breakfast, you will travel towards Glenveagh National Park and Castle. Set in the mountains in County Donegal, it's filled with picturesque lakes, glens, and forests home to large numbers of red deer. Tour the 19th-century Glenveagh Castle. Then continue onto Letterkenny, where you'll spend the night.

Day 8: Giants Causeway & Antrim Coast

Unusual geology at the Giants Causeway

Today you will travel the stunning Antrim Coastline. Traveling along the coast you will have the opportunity to visit Dunluce Castle, Fair Head, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Portrush, Mussenden Temple, Portstewart Strand, and the Giants Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its setting is famed for its unique rock formation of about 40,000 basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption nearly 60 million years ago. Overnight in Belfast.

Day 9: Belfast

The Titanic Exhibition in Belfast

Belfast has much to offer you on your final day. Take a black cab tour, during which your guide will give you an in-depth history lesson of the city, visit the Titanic Exhibition, and relax with a local crowd in a corner pub.

Day 10: Departure

Today you will travel back to Dublin, where you will return your car rental to the airport and bid farewell to the Emerald Isle. Safe travels!