Hit the road and see the best of the Emerald Isle on this 5-day self-driving jaunt through Ireland. Walk the ancient streets of Dublin, kiss the Blarney Stone in Cork, visit the famous heritage town of Killarney, take in breathtaking views of the Cliffs of Moher, and revel in the energy of bohemian Galway. From windswept Atlantic coastlines to bustling city streets, this itinerary is perfect for independent travelers looking to pack some of Ireland's most iconic sights into a short space of time.
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Ireland's influence on global pop culture is undeniable—it's the land of "40 Shades of Green" and Guinness beer, after all—but this little island off the west coast of Europe also holds centuries of history, creating a curious blend of old and new in one compact destination. The rugged southwest is any traveler's dream—think golden beaches, vertical rock cliff faces, and mountains hugging the coast—while the "Ancient East" is home to ruins dating back thousands of years. See the highlights in a few days, or take your time getting to know the many hues of the Emerald Isle.
When is the best time to visit?
Ireland is best visited between March and October. June, July, and August are the busiest months for international travel, due to the increased chance of dry weather. That said, rain isn't as persistent or frequent here as you might think—the Irish climate is actually quite mild, with average temperatures only changing by a few degrees from March to October. This makes it ideal for active travel, with world-class hiking and cycling throughout the country. Learn more
Where should you go in Ireland?
Southwest Ireland is a must for first-time visitors. Killarney, which sits on the eastern end of the Iveragh Peninsula, is a good jumping off point to explore the world-famous Ring of Kerry. It's also on the outskirts of Killarney National Park, a stunning natural landscape of 26,000 acres.
From here, you can take your pick from locations dotted all along the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,500-mile driving route running from Mizen Head in the southwest to Malin Head in the northwest. The west coast boasts the iconic Cliffs of Moher, charming towns, and traditional Irish music, while further north lies the bohemian city of Galway. Venture west from here and you'll get to boggy and mountainous Connemara, home to Ireland's most unique landscapes. Learn more
How many days do I need?
Ireland may be small, but it's not a country to be rushed. If you only have a week, immersing yourself in one small region is the best way to see what makes the Irish tick—consider spending 2 nights in Dublin and taking a few days to explore the rural west coast. To experience multiple regions, you can easily fill 2 (or even 3!) weeks of well-spent travel. For an active trip, you might take a few days to relax in the countryside before a week of hiking or cycling on the west coast, followed by cultural exploration in one of Ireland's urban areas.
Getting Around Ireland
Self-driving in Ireland is popular, and major roadways connect Dublin to cities including Galway, Cork, and Limerick (and Shannon Airport). Some road trips do rely on rural roads, like the famous Wild Atlantic Way and the Ring of Kerry. Trains serve the bigger cities, and Aer Lingus offers direct flights from Dublin to smaller, regional airports. Learn more
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.
This guided road trip is the perfect introduction to Ireland for newbies. Over a week, you'll visit both classic icons and some off-the-beaten-path sites—paired with beautiful landscapes and gentle walks to breathe in the fresh air of Ireland's spectacular Wild Atlantic Way. In the evenings, partake in the local pub experience with a pint of Guinness and traditional Irish music. The tour starts and ends in Dublin, where you can bike and kayak to some of the capital's best sites.
Hike the Ring of Kerry at your own pace on this 11-day self-guided itinerary. The iconic Ring route is a loop of the Iveragh Peninsula on Europe's westerly edge. With the Atlantic and mountains ever-present, you'll follow the trail between some of Ireland's most charming towns and beauty spots, like Kenmare Bay, Caherdaniel, and Glencar. The start and end point of Killarney is easy to reach from a host of airports in Ireland.
Experience the best of Ireland's coastal scenery, historic sites, and vibrant cities on this week-long self-drive adventure. Starting in Dublin, this circular route takes you south to the Rock of Cashel and Ireland's second city of Cork, before heading into the wilds of Killarney National Park and along the spectacularly scenic Ring of Kerry. After a day spent exploring the Slea Peninsula and the seaside village of Dingle, you'll head up the west coast to hike along the Cliffs of Moher and spend a final night in Galway, enjoying the music, arts, and "craic" of the European cultural capital.
Explore the magic of Ireland independently with this self-drive itinerary. You'll go from the ancient streets of Dublin to the rebel city of Cork, the quaint village of Killarney, and the breathtaking Ring of Kerry. Keep going to the spectacular views of the Cliffs of Moher and the buzzing cultural scene of Galway before you ultimately return to Dublin.
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Embark on an epic Celtic road trip to discover the national parks and castles of Scotland and Ireland. Start on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh's Old Town, then drive into the Highlands to enjoy the villages around Cairngorms National Park. After whisky tastings on the Isle of Skye, you'll fly to colorful Dublin, hit the castles in County Cork, and spot red deer in Killarney National Park.
Go off the beaten track on this self-drive history and cultural tour of Ireland that takes you to some of the country's most beautiful regions and noteworthy landmarks. From Dublin, you'll visit ancient burial mounds, travel the Wild Atlantic Way, hike through national parks, and tour historic castles. For a bit of fun, you'll enjoy nights out at local pubs and walking tours of vibrant cities like Galway and Dublin.
On this 11-day journey through southern Ireland, you'll eat, drink, and travel like a local. In Dublin, you'll see highlight landmarks on walking tours plus imbibe at the famous Jameson Distillery and Guinness Storehouse. Then hit the road and enjoy the stunning scenery of counties Cork, Kerry, and Galway as you take boat trips, visit the Cliffs of Moher, embark on nature hikes, tour historic villages, and much more.
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Mind your time in Ireland
Aug 28 - Sep 8, 2023
Overall, the trip was absolutely amazing. Shauna was very easy to get a hold of, and it was a great advocate for us throughout our trip. We loved staying in Glendalough and seeing the ring of Kerry was mind blowing. We would definitely do this again, especially with the assistance of Our guide. The only issue that we ran into was that when we arrived in Dublin, we went to go pick up our rental car, and the rental car company did not tell us if there was a time limit on the pick up. So, we... read more
Sep 3 - Sep 10, 2023
Dean and other members of the team were professional. They were able to accommodate our last minute requests.
we had an outstanding tour guide, Margaurite....
Aug 26 - Sep 4, 2023
we had an outstanding tour guide, Margaurite. Her knowledge was impressive, as well as her love for Ireland. She meshed so well with our family. Our group consisted of my husband and I, our daughter and son-in-law, our daughter and fiancé. We also had our 11 month old grandson. Dean made sure that everything we did, was doable with an infant. Every hotel was prepared for an infant. I would NOT hesitate to have kimkim plan future vacations. We made some changes to our itinerary, and it was handled well.