Independent travelers who would prefer to soak in Ireland's breathtaking scenery at a more leisurely pace will love this 12-day itinerary that combines short road-trips with cycling adventures. Get acquainted with Guinness and the famous Trinity College library in Dublin before heading off to explore the bohemian city of Galway and the mythological Aran Islands. Continue on to the otherworldly Burren, cycle the Dingle Peninsula, and tour the Muckross House in Killarney National Park before capping it all off with a night on the town back in Dublin.
Ireland Travel Insights
Independent travelers will experience the magic of Northern Ireland on their own terms with this self-guided road trip itinerary. Start with an informal walking tour of Dublin, then pick up your rental car and begin your adventure. You'll experience the vibrant culture of Galway, go hiking in Connemara and Glenveagh National Parks, tick the Giant’s Causeway off your bucket list, explore Belfast, and see more charming corners of the Emerald Isle.
Self-Drive Southwest Ireland: Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Ring of Kerry, Lakes of Killarney, Dublin - 9 Days
See the best of southwestern Ireland and Dublin on this self-driving tour through some of the Emerald Isle's best-loved counties. You'll discover Ireland's history in Adare and at Bunratty Castle, explore the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, wander the streets of Dingle, and view County Kerry's sparkling lakes and iconic green meadows. Before exploring Dublin's Trinity College and Grafton Street shops, you'll visit Cobh to sample local foods at The English Market and hear the bells of Shandon Steeple.
Explore truly breathtaking scenery in this walking tour that covers the Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head, including its famous Ventry Beach and Great Blasket Islands. Walk through and along grassy bogs, forests, rocky coastlines, and beaches while you enjoy views of seal colonies, historic "beehive" huts, mountain ranges, and alpine lakes. Summit Mt. Brandon, listen to traditional Irish music, relax in authentic pubs, and kayak Dingle Bay as you search the horizon for Fungie the famous dolphin.
Explore the West of Ireland on bike with this scenic, 10-day tour of coastal counties Clare, Galway, and Mayo. Cycle along the Shannon Estuary and up the coast to the Cliffs of Moher, where you'll stop for traditional music in Doolin and explore the famous Burren region. Transfer to the Aran Islands by ferry and cycle through this remote and traditional landscape, returning to the mainland via the bustling foodie city of Galway. End the trip in Northern Mayo by cycling through Neolithic fields, visiting a 19th-century castle, and tasting whiskey at Connacht Whiskey Company.
Explore villages, islands, peninsulas, and coastlines on this weeklong Irish family adventure through Kinsale and Kenmare. Learn about ancient pirate legends, smugglers, and monks of times past, from Charles Fort to the Skellig Islands. Your personal guide will help you to make the most of your journey by sharing ancient myths and legends and introducing you to local characters. Experience an authentic, off the-beaten-track version of Southwest Ireland together.
The ultimate self-driving tour of Ireland is filled with adventures through historic towns and scenic coastlines. Start in Dublin before exploring the villages of Laragh, the medieval Rock of Cashel in Cork, and the hiking trails in Kinsale. Then, tour Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, and Inch Beach off the Dingle Peninsula. The final leg of the road trip takes you to the must-see Cliffs of Moher, bohemian Galway, and two historic national parks before a final night in Derry.
Kerry may very well be a walkers paradise, with routes traversing one of Ireland's most treasured peninsulas. This tour combines the charming Irish towns of Dingle, Killarney, Sneem, and Kenmare with stunning walks along Slea Head, Kenmare Bay, and the famous Dingle Way. You'll discover "beehive" huts, cycle in Killarney National Park, take the ferry to the Blasket Islands, and stroll through oak forests, all while enjoying views of grassy bogland, dramatic cliff drops, and the picturesque Slieve Mish Mountains.
Ireland's great winter hibernation begins this month, as attractions and many hotels and restaurants close down from now until next Easter, temperatures drop back into the single digits and average daily hours of sunshine dwindle. The positives? The Irish combat the winter blues with some great arts festivals, and you will have many parts of the country almost to yourself as you explore.
December is all about Christmas in Ireland, with the bigger towns and cities particularly erupting in festive events, markets and elaborate decorations. The Christmas build-up is special, although the day itself is more a family celebration. Things get going again for New Year, with Dublin throwing the biggest party of all. The bright lights and events compensate for the weather: it is some of the coldest and wettest weather of the entire year, in fact, and no time to be out exploring the countryside.
The heavens open this month, as the highest rainfall of the year hits Ireland—but glorious fall colors brighten the moors, hills, and forests and the sun still shines some of the time. When it does, the weather can be the most beautiful of any time of year, particularly with hardly any other travelers around. Beware of long hikes in the increasing mud, and be sure to have a 'plan B' available for the likely damp days: great music and arts festivals in Cork and Dublin this month are helpful options.
A continuation of and occasional improvement on the weather of the summer high season, overall September could offer the perfect vacation in Ireland with a bit of luck. Air temperatures and water temperatures are still some of the year's best (just with a refreshing fall crispness in the air), and yet crowds are way down on August because kids are back at school and families are not on holidays now.
August is the height of the summer season, with sunny, largely dry weather and the year's warmest sea temperatures. Clement conditions make the setting for some great outdoor festivals around Ireland, alongside a spate of outdoor activities that showcase the country at its absolute best, whether that is hiking the Wicklow Way in the east, diving off the coast of Connemara or sea kayaking along Northern Ireland's stunning seaboard.
July is a sunny and comparatively dry month to visit Ireland. Water temperatures reach their annual maximum, increasing the temptation of activities like kayaking, while the warmest weather of the year makes hiking and cycling very popular now. This is the month when there are school holidays, and is accordingly one of Ireland's busiest periods.
To announce the start of summer high season, June has something going on almost every day in every region of the country. A lively atmosphere pervades in the villages, towns and cities, and out in the countryside, be that up in the hills or along the coast, it is getting crowded. Some of the sunniest weather of the year makes June even easier to enjoy.
May is when the weather, which has been warming for the last few months, shows the landscapes of Ireland in full color as average daily high temperatures of 59°F/15°C arrive and the countryside blooms with flowers and birdlife. Along with April, this is arguably the best month to enjoy Ireland, with the year's lowest rainfall to accompany the sun and with the crowds that arrive in the high season from June to August still absent in most places.
Many rate April as one of the best months to visit Ireland, period. Everything is open after the winter closures of many hotels, restaurants and attractions and the weather is vastly improved: in fact, depending on where you are, it could just be sunnier and more settled than at almost any other time of year. The year's crowds are not yet here, though, making your explorations more enjoyable and stress-free.
Spring, the season of change, may take a-while coming to Ireland, as chilly, rainy weather is as slow to clear as the country is in coming back into action after a winter's break that has seen many hotels, restaurants and attractions outside the big cities close completely. But two big festivities towards the end of the month, St Patrick's Day and then Easter, bring Ireland back into life with a bang, whilst the increasing appearance of the sun means visitors can enjoy at least a little of the superb outdoor activities on offer here.
Continued rainy, windy weather this month means that by now the Irish are likely heartily sick of winter. Perhaps this is why February is full of brilliant festivals everywhere from Dublin to Kerry. Indoor attractions will still be what occupy your time on a visit to Ireland this month, with a deep, varied and colorful legacy of historic sights to explore. But in the slowly increasing spells of sunshine, perhaps consider a wild walk along Ireland's iconic coastline, with its cliffs, sandy bays, and delightful fishing villages.
The coldest, windiest and wettest weather of the year makes January in Ireland a month best spent in its bigger towns and cities, where cultural attractions from Dublin's beautiful Trinity College to Killarney's mystery-swathed ruins await. Great dining in Dublin, Belfast, Galway, and Cork further help pass time in the wild weather, while dramatic sea vistas greet those who brave the elements to visit coastal stretches like the Wild Atlantic Way.
On this tour, you'll traverse some of the island's most beautiful hikes around the Antrim Coast, complete with dramatic coastlines, rugged and windswept cliffs, spectacular scenery, and fabulous unspoiled beaches. Start with a walk through the dense Breen Oakwood Nature Reserve before heading to Ballycastle for a hike around Murlough and Fair Head, where you'll gaze down at breathtaking cliff drops and relax on beaches. Head out to the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Giant's Causeway, and then end your trip in the historically-rich city of Belfast.
Explore the magic of Ireland on this week-long self-drive adventure. Start with a pint of Guinness in Dublin, dive into the Emerald Isle’s past at the Rock of Cashel, spend two nights in the famous heritage village of Killarney, and journey along the Wild Atlantic Way to tour the Dingle Peninsula.
This 5-day walking tour takes you through the scenic Dingle Peninsula—known as a “wild paradise”—filled with craggy mountains, sandy beaches, and historic pathways. Start your adventure in the colorful and lively village of Dingle Town before a day hike to sandy Ventry Beach, passing historical "beehive" huts along the way. Then walk across the peninsula over some of Ireland's most beautiful mountain scenery to Cloghane in the north and then back south to Annascaul, capturing panoramic vistas, deserted famine villages, and alpine lakes.
Traveling from Dublin to Galway has never been so green. Visit the two bustling Irish cities, tapping your toes to traditional music sessions, exploring foodie scenes with your taste buds, and chasing historic tales through cobblestone streets. In between, hike the scenic paths in the Wicklow Mountains, including the famous Glendalough Trail that passes through a 1,500-year-old settlement.
Prepare to fall in love with the rugged beauty of west Ireland on this active, yet easily completed trip that will take you through charming towns and villages along the Atlantic coast. You'll hike 111 miles (179 km) along the Wild Atlantic Way, which is often hailed as one of the top 100 destinations in the world. Walk in the footsteps of Catholic pilgrims on the Kerry Camino, enjoy some of Ireland's best beaches, and discover some of Ireland's ancient artifacts like Ogham stones and ringforts.
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 itinerary takes adventurous travelers through ancient forests and glacial valleys of Ireland's Wicklow Mountains. Starting in the picturesque village of Clonegal, you'll hike along Ireland's most popular hiking trail that winds through small towns and country villages where you can experience authentic Irish hospitality. End your hiking trip in Dublin, where you can wander around Marlay Park and enjoy the lively nightlife.
On this unique exploration of the northern coastline, you will learn the history of the troubles in Northern Ireland, visit castles and historical sites, spend the night on an island that boasts a bird sanctuary, and walk some of the most pristine, wild, coastlines and beaches found anywhere in the world. You'll also spend some time exploring Dublin with a private walking tour of the city and a visit to the Guinness Storehouse.
Explore the most scenic roads of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way on this self-guided cycling tour. Meet friendly locals and take time to immerse yourself in Irish culture. On this excursion, you will discover breathtaking beaches, rugged cliff-lined coastlines, and majestic mountains. Spend your evenings in the homes of traditional Irish hosts, where you will learn the local, Irish way of life and be treated to warm hospitality!
This guided road trip is the perfect introduction to Ireland for newbies. Over the course of a week, you'll visit both classic icons as well as 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.
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.
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 heritage village of Killarney, and the Ring of Kerry. Keep going to the spectacular views of the Cliffs of Moher, buzzing cultural scene of Galway, and majestic views of the Aran Islands before you ultimately return to Dublin.
Featuring three full days of walking County Kerry's Iveragh Peninsula, you'll discover why locals lovingly refer to this Irish county as "The Kingdom." Starting in Sneem, you'll work your way west toward Abbey Island, around the coast, stopping to explore the Skellig Islands before ending in Cahersiveen. You'll cover all sorts of terrain from beaches and dunes, to narrow paths and unmarked open hillsides, and enjoy jovial evenings in cozy pubs along the way.
Discover southwestern Ireland's most iconic scenery from ocean-carved cliffs to mist-shrouded bogs on this 8-day hiking and biking tour. Covering part of the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula, you'll alternate your days between cycling and hiking dramatic landscapes as well as spend a full day exploring the charming port-town of Dingle and its surroundings.
Explore the magic of Ireland on this week-long self-drive adventure, starting with a pint of Guinness in Dublin. You'll dive into the Emerald Isle's kingly past with a visit to the Rock of Cashel, spend two nights in the famous heritage village of Killarney, and drive along the Wild Atlantic Way to explore the Dingle Peninsula. Cap off your trip with a trek to the majestic Cliffs of Moher before returning to the capital.
Ireland has a reputation for conviviality, hospitality, and natural beauty. You need only visit charming seaside villages like Kinsale, the emerald green countryside of Cork County, and the lively pubs of Dublin to get a sense of this. On a custom tour, you'll experience these highlights plus many more in just eight days.
The emerald landscapes and rugged cliffs of Ireland have always held a magical allure. Traveling off-the-beaten-path, this guided tour covers some of Ireland’s quietest and least-visited sites in the west and northwest. Over 12 days, you'll hike, boat, kayak, learn history, see live music, and hop over to a tiny Gaelic-speaking island—and it all starts in Dublin, one of western Europe's most charming cities.
This 8-day assisted hike combines the best of the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, a land that's famous for its beauty, culture, and friendly locals. Hike through a series of spectacular mountains, deep-sea inlets, between ancient archaeological sites and through green sheep pastures. Hike through these wild stretches of uninhabitable coastline, enjoy spectacular views, and stay at night in comfortable village accommodations.
Explore one of the most spectacular regions on Ireland’s West Coast on this 8-day Dingle Peninsula assisted hike. Hike along this mountainous finger of land, which extends miles into the Wild Atlantic Ocean and is frequently pummeled by storms. Begin in Tralee and follow the southern shores to Dingle Bay, then return along the stunning north coast, with views of the Brandon mountain range and rocky Atlantic cliffs as you hike.
Explore the southwestern corner of Ireland on this 8-day guided hike of the Beara Peninsula, one of Ireland's "toes". Few roads cross this massive landscape, and those which do wind in hairpin turns through the rocky mountains. Follow trails between historic and natural landmarks, notably Bere Island, Dursey Sound, and Gleninchaquin Valley. Learn about local lore, from the prehistoric stone circles to the ancient tales of the Hag of Beara and Four Children of Lír.
Cycle the historic Ring of Kerry on this 8-day biking tour, staying at night in cozy B&Bs. Trace the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula, explore Killarney National Park, and visit the historic villages of Sneem and Kenmare. See 6th-century ruins on Skellig and Valentia Islands, and enjoy sweeping views of the wild Atlantic Ocean. You'll cycle along quiet country roads, take in the serene countryside, and hear local stories and legends in the neighborhood pub.
Immerse yourself in the culture and nature of western Ireland on this 8-day hiking trip. Enjoy hearty Irish pub meals, spend your days hiking on the rocky cliffs and wind-swept moors, and spend the night in comfortable accommodations in town. See medieval and prehistoric ruins and hear stories of bygone eras as you explore Mayo County's highlights: iconic Croagh Patrick, beautiful Clew Bay, and the stunning views of Killary Fjord.
Explore the beautiful landscape of the famous "Kerry Gold" butter on this 8-day hiking tour. See County Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula on a series of stunning day hikes, returning to town in the evening for a hot meal and a hearty pint at the neighborhood pub. Discover medieval monastery ruins, nesting bird colonies, and mountainous peninsulas carved deep with steep inlets.
Ireland has mild temperatures and plenty of rain, no matter when you choose to visit. Summer is warmest, with long days perfect for road trips and village-to-village walks. Spring wildflowers burst through cracks in glacial limestone, and fall bedecks the national parks in dazzling foliage. Chilly, quiet winters offer fewer options, though travelers will love the cheerful holiday festivities in Dublin. Read on and choose the season that's right for you.
Ireland is a wild corner of Europe, with many ways to explore. Long-distance trails make the country perfect for village-to-village walks, with terrain for every fitness level. The quiet roads are great for cycling, and a rugged Atlantic coastline lends itself particularly well to kayaking. Ireland's magical scenery will appeal to adrenaline junkies everywhere—here are some ideas for your active trip.
Ireland is full of kid-friendly outdoor adventures, fun ways to interact with ancient history, and cultural activities from falconry to farming. Chase the leprechaun legend in Carlingford, hang out with Ireland's favorite dolphin off the Dingle coast, or learn to surf on beginner-friendly beaches. The best part? Driving distances are short, with plenty of ways to keep little ones engaged along the way.
One of the best ways to experience Ireland's remote corners is with a multi-day walk through the heather-covered hills, stretches of unspoiled coast, and sheer cliffs that the Emerald Isle is famous for. Many routes are suitable for novices, and walkers spend their evenings getting a dose of culture (and a good night's sleep) in countryside towns and villages. Learn about the ten best multi-day walks in Ireland with this comprehensive guide.
Besides the stunning green hills, seaside cliffs, and wild Atlantic coast, Ireland is most known for its culture. Music, literature, history—all of these conspired to create a truly unique and attractive legacy. For travelers who'd like to get to the heart of this country, here are some of the most authentic cultural experiences in Ireland.
Ireland's unique collection of places to stay aptly reflects the charming idiosyncrasies of the country. Stay the night in a lighthouse, reenact Medieval life in a ring fort, get cozy in a hobbit home, or rent out the "pub with no beer"—find the perfect spot for your trip to Ireland with this list.
From Dublin to the Giant's Causeway, what most newcomers know of Ireland—and what's actually possible here—are two different things. With a bit of curiosity, it's possible to enjoy the highlights of Ireland in a wholly unique way. Experience Ireland's best-loved cities and sights differently with these ideas, including a "black taxi" tour of Belfast and midnight kayaking on a bioluminescent lake.