Experience all that Ireland has to offer on this six-day road trip. Travel back to the medieval streets of Dublin, where you can see one of the world's oldest manuscripts, then head to Kilkenny to touch the cool stone walls of its famous castle. Drive the Ring of Kerry to marvel at breathtaking views, and sit down to a feast in Galway, the first place in Ireland to be designated a European Region of Gastronomy. Whether looking for history, nature, or the adventure of a lifetime, this road trip has it all.

Highlights

  • Kiss the medieval Blarney Stone and get the gift of eloquence
  • Wander the imposing halls of Kilkenny Castle 
  • Watch the best sunset in Ireland from the Cliffs of Mohar
  • Hike the magnificent and lush trails of Killarney National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, Tour the Medieval Quarter Dublin
Day 2 Drive to Kilkenny, Visit Kilkenny Castle Kilkenny
Day 3 Drive to Killarney, Explore Killarney
Day 4 Experience the Wonders of Killarney National Park Galway
Day 5 Drive to Galway, Explore Birr
Day 6 Return to Dublin, Tour the Guinness Storehouse, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, Tour the Medieval Quarter

Dublin's Mellows Bridge reflected in the river
Dublin's Mellows Bridge reflected in the river

A Céad míle fáilte: Welcome to Ireland! After landing at Dublin Airport, pick up your rental car and drive to Dublin to begin your Irish visit. Dublin is the largest city in Ireland and has been the seat of government for over 900 years, going back to the Norman invasion of the 12th century and, by many accounts, even earlier. No matter what you desire—whether it's traveling back through history at Dublin Castle, gazing into the future with a walk in Dublin's Docklands, or visiting the modern Spire of Dublin—there is plenty to do in this lively city.

Explore the Medieval Quarter with a personalized guide or stop for coffee at the library of Trinity College and marvel at the Book of Kells, one of the oldest manuscripts in the world. Cross over the River Liffey on the Ha'penny Bridge to stroll through St. Stephen's Green and Grafton Street if you're in the mood for some shopping. Treat yourself to an indulgent lunch at Café en Seine or experience a different kind of extravagance at the Church, a restaurant that's actually in a 17th-century church. From art to history to culture, Dublin is alive to all who visit!

Day 2: Drive to Kilkenny, Visit the Majestic Kilkenny Castle

The fairytale Kilkenny Castle
The fairy tale Kilkenny Castle

Today, drive south to Kilkenny, the old medieval capital of Ireland. Once there, take a guided tour of Kilkenny Castle, which has been named one of the most beautiful castles in the world thanks to its romantic atmosphere, beautifully maintained gardens, and fantastic views.

Afterward, if you're looking for something adventurous, check out Dunmore Cave, which contains impressive calcite formations and remnants of Viking activities. There's also the option to visit the 17th-century Highbank Organic Farm. Gather apples, make a refreshing apple drink, and enjoy some whiskey or cider straight from the farm, which is known as Ireland's smallest distillery.

 

Day 3: Drive to Killarney, Explore 

Ross Castle in Killarney
The stunning surroundings of Ross Castle in Killarney 

Drive southwest to the beautifully preserved town of Killarney. Those looking for a castle adventure need look no further than the medieval Ross Castle, which is straight out of a fairy tale thanks to its stunning architecture and lakeside location. Visit the 19th-century Muckross House and Abbey, which includes beautiful gardens, a calming tea house, and an ancient yew tree in the cloisters, which is believed to be 700 years old.

 

On the way to Killarney, consider making a stop at the Rock of Cashel. This iconic ecclesiastical site offers travelers a jaunt through the past with its collection of medieval buildings in Gothic and Romanesque styles. Another possible stop is the 5th-century Blarney Castle, where visitors can see one of Ireland's greatest treasures: the Blarney Stone or "Stone of Eloquence," which gives anyone who kisses it the gift of gab.

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Day 4: Experience the Wonders of Killarney National Park

The Black Valley
The green landscape of the Black Valley

Enjoy a day off by exploring Killarney National Park. Killarney National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which features lush landscapes, incredible waterfalls such as Torc Waterfall, and spectacular hiking trails in the Black Valley for those who want to get their boots dirty.

The Ring of Kerry is a beautiful scenic drive that goes around the Iveragh Peninsula and offers endless viewpoints and picturesque locations. Drive up through the mountains to see the famed Gap of Dunloe. The area of Killarney offers outdoor activities for all sorts of travelers, including kayaking, lake boat tours, and guided drives through the park.

 

Day 5: Drive to Galway, Explore

Galway at sunrise
Galway at sunrise

Drive to Galway and on the way, consider making a stop at the Cliffs of Moher, an unforgettable limestone formation overlooking Ireland's rugged west coast. While Galway's origins date back to the 12th century, it has become one of Ireland's most energetic, artistic, and cultural sites thanks to its unique combination of the historic and modern. Galway is known for its exceptional culinary scene, so grab a plate of oysters or eat at one of its Michelin-starred restaurants. Stroll the Salthill Promenade for fantastic views of the sea or meander down High Street and find some claddagh rings.

 

For those who want to get out of the city and spend a day off the beaten track, consider exploring the castles of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands. This unspoiled part of Ireland is filled with empty roads, beautiful landscapes, and magical bogland. Wander the halls of the 19th-century Gothic walls of Kinnitty Castle, commune with ghosts in Leap Castle (known as the most haunted place in Ireland) or walk the stunning Slieve Bloom Way and pass through the imposing ruins of Glinsk Castle

Day 6: Return to Dublin, Tour the Guinness Storehouse, Depart

Guinness Storehouse
A view of the levels of the Guinness Storehouse
Drive back to Dublin and tour the Guinness Storehouse to learn all about one of Ireland's most famous exports. Located in the heart of St. James' Gate, the Guinness Storehouse gives visitors the chance to see the world's largest pint glass, discover the ways that the brewing heritage of Guinness intersects with Ireland's history, and take in the best views of Dublin and sips of the black stuff from the top of the rooftop bar. After enjoying this tour, head to Dublin Airport to return your rental car and continue on your journey. Safe travels!

More Great Ireland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Ireland? Check out these other Ireland itineraries, explore different ways to spend six days in Ireland, or discover the best time to visit Ireland.

Map

Map of Ultimate Ireland Road Trip: Dublin, Kilkenny, Killarney & Galway - 6 Days
Map of Ultimate Ireland Road Trip: Dublin, Kilkenny, Killarney & Galway - 6 Days