Take yourself through the scenery of Ireland on your own power with this self-driving and hiking itinerary. Your path will take you through buzzing cities rich with history, like Dublin and Cork, along with the natural wonders of the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, with plenty of opportunities to get out to stretch your legs and see the country from the trails along the way.

Highlights

  • Visit Killarney, Ireland's first national park
  • Explore the coastal route of Slea Head
  • 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/Wicklow Way Laragh
Day 3 Cork via Rock of Cashel Cork
Day 4 Cork to Killarney via Kinsale Killarney
Day 5 Ring of Kerry Killarney
Day 6 Dingle Peninsula & Slea Head Dingle Town
Day 7 Cliffs of Moher Doolin
Day 8 Aran Islands Galway
Day 9 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 to warm up your walking muscles. 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
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 via 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: Cork to Killarney via Kinsale

WILD ATLANTIC WAY
Wild Atlantic Way

Start at the port of Cobh this morning, the Titanic's last port of call in 1912. Keep going to the coastal town of Kinsale, where you can stroll the town streets while enjoying a fish and chip cone. Just a 15-minute drive away is the Old Head of Kinsale, which features an easy 1.5-hour, 4-mile (6 km) loop walk down a country road, accompanied by spectacular views.

Get back into your car and make your way across the mountainous terrain separating the County of Cork and the Kingdom of Kerry to the town of Killarney. Killarney is home to Ireland's oldest national park along with shining blue lakes and a vibrant food and culture scene.

Day 5: Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry

Today’s adventure takes you off the beaten track to explore the beauty of the world-famous Ring of Kerry. Considered one of the most beautiful destinations n Ireland, this route will offer you dramatic landscapes of rugged coastline, golden beaches, glittering lakes, picturesque villages, and spectacular mountain ranges.

Try out the Derrynane Loop Walk, roughly 6 miles (9 km) around Derrynane National Park near Caherdaniel. The trail follows part of an old mass path pilgrimage route, as well as the Kerry Way through hillside woodlands above the Derrynane beach.

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 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: 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 horse-drawn 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 9: Return to Dublin & Depart

Departure
Departure

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