A great choice for families or travelers who prefer a little independence, this itinerary will take you on a leisurely road trip through some of Ireland's most scenic cities and natural sites. Experience the allure of Ireland as you drive along the coast and over verdant hills between stop at the medieval Rock of Cashel, Killarney National Park, and the Cliffs of Moher.


  • Tour the Rock of Cashel
  • See the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher
  • Hike in Killarney National Park
  • Drive the Ring of Kerry
  • Explore the city of Galway

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin Dublin
Day 2 Tour the Rock of Cashel - Cork Cork
Day 3 Hike the Old Head of Kinsale - Killarney Killarney National Park
Day 4 Killarney Killarney National Park
Day 5 Drive the Ring of Kerry Killarney National Park
Day 6 Cliffs of Moher Lahinch
Day 7 Explore Galway Galway
Day 8 Depart Galway  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin

Downtown Dublin
Downtown Dublin

Welcome to Dublin! Ireland's capital city is steeped in history, and it has an abundance of museums, memorials, cathedrals, and unique sites to explore. After you land at Dublin Airport (DUB), a private driver will drive you to your accommodation in Dublin's city center.  After checking in, we recommend you go exploring.  

Suggested activities include:

  • Take a guided walking tour and get a feel of the city through the eyes of a local guide. (We can pre-book this for you.)
  • Visit the Guinness Factory located in the heart of the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery
  • Have dinner at one of Dublin's critically acclaimed restaurants or cafes in the city center.

Day 2: Tour the Rock of Cashel - Cork

View of the Rock of Cashel
View of the Rock of Cashel

After breakfast today, you will pick up your rental car in Dublin and travel south on a beautiful 160-mile (259 km) drive to Cork, Ireland's second-largest city.

Along the way, you can make a stop at the Rock of Cashel, a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone that was the historic home of the High Kings of Ireland. Consider having lunch at one of the many restaurants along the main road leading to the site before continuing your drive.

You will arrive in Cork late in the afternoon, and after you check in to your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day to explore the city.

Day 3: Hike the Old Head of Kinsale - Killarney

Port Cobh
Port Cobh

Start the morning by driving 15 miles (24 km) outside of the center of Cork to Port Cobh, which was the Titanic's last port of call in 1912.

After exploring the small, colorful town, you will drive 30 miles (48 km) to the coastal town of Kinsale where you can take a stroll around the town and treat yourself to some exceptional fish & chips.  A 15-minute drive away is the headland known as the Old Head of Kinsale, where you will have the opportunity to hike the easy 3.7-mile (6 km) route down a country road that provides spectacular views at every turn of the 1.5-hour trek.

After that, you will make your way over the mountains that separate the counties of Cork and Kerry on your final 54-mile (88 km) drive to Killarney. From there, you'll make your way to your hotel inside Ireland's oldest national park.

Plan your trip to Ireland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Killarney

Ross Castle
Ross Castle

Today you can relax and explore the town of Killarney and Killarney National Park at your leisure.

Suggested activities include:

  • Head to Muckross Park and walk around the beautiful gardens
  • Visit the 15th-century Muckross Abbey and Ross Castle
  • Take a kayak or cruise around the lake
  • Go hiking one the many footpaths
  • Rent a bike and ride along the bike trails

Day 5: Drive the Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry

Today’s adventure takes you on a 28-mile (45 km) drive to the world-famous Ring of Kerry. Considered one of the most beautiful destinations in Ireland, this route will offer you dramatic landscapes of rugged coastline, golden beaches, lakes, picturesque villages, and mountains.

If you'd like to do some additional hiking, you can drive about 13 miles (22 km) to Derrynane National Park near Caherdaniel. The Derrynane Loop Walk, a moderate 5.5-mile (9 km) walking route, follows some of the old mass path pilgrimage route and the Kerry Way. You'll pass through the hillside woodland above the Derrynane Blue Flag Beach and Derrynane House.

After you finish your day of hiking, you'll return to your hotel in Killarney.

Day 6: Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

Today, you will drive about 120 miles (194 km) to the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher. These impressive cliffs form a protective barrier around the rich, fertile land at the southern end of the Burren region. Standing proudly above the Atlantic Ocean, their towering dominance is best appreciated on foot, so we recommend taking a daylong trek.

After you see the cliffs, you will continue on and drive 6 miles (10 km) to the coastal town of Lahinch.

Day 7: Explore Galway

Downtown Galway
Downtown Galway

Today, you'll drive 57 miles (93 km) north to Galway, the bohemian mecca of Ireland.

About 30 minutes into your journey,  you can get out and explore the remarkable moon-like terrain of the Burren.

Once you reach Galway, you can take the rest of the evening to soak in Galway’s vibrant streets, sample its wide variety of food, or take a tour of its unique historical places of interest.

Day 8: Depart Galway

A local shepherd with his flock
A local shepherd with his flock

After a final breakfast at your hotel and final stroll through the streets of Galway, you will either return your rental car or follow your own arrangements for the next phase of your journey.


Map of South Ireland Scenic Road Trip - 8 Days
Map of South Ireland Scenic Road Trip - 8 Days