_Ireland- Cobh

7-Day Ireland Itinerary – The Perfect Road Trip

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Creating an Ireland Itinerary can feel overwhelming, there’s an incredible amount of beauty and so much to do within such a small country!

With its rolling green hills, stunning coastline, and vibrant cities, there’s something for everyone in Ireland. But creating a perfect weeklong itinerary can be tricky.

This comprehensive guide will help you plan your trip from must-see attractions and hidden gems to the best places to sleep and eat.

But first of all, here are some useful facts about Ireland to start off your planning.

Landscape- ireland
Ireland Landscape – Photo © Canva

Ireland Facts

Ireland Currency – Euro
Language – English, and Irish (both official)
Capital City – Dublin
Official name – Republic of Ireland
Population –  5,054,000 (est in 2022)
Flag orange green and white 🇮🇪
Nickname – The Emerald Island
Total Area – 70,280 km² (27,135 mi²)
Total coastline – 1,448 km (899.7 mi)

Best Time to Visit Ireland

_Ireland- Cobh
Ireland – Cobh- Photo © Canva

Ireland is a beautiful country that is rich in history and culture. No matter what time of year you visit, there is always something to see and do. However, there are certain times of year that are better for visiting than others.

The weather is generally milder in the spring and fall, making it a good time to explore the outdoors. Plus, you will encounter fewer crowds at the most popular attractions.

The summer months can be crowded, but they offer the longest days with the most sun and the opportunity to experience traditional Irish festivals.

If you want to avoid crowds and enjoy more favorable prices, the winter months may be the best time to visit Ireland. While they are the coldest months, it never gets unbearably cold in Ireland, and you won’t likely see any snow.

The weather in Ireland can be quite variable throughout the day in general, so it’s always best to layer. All year round you will likely get some rain in Ireland, with winter typically bringing the wettest months.

No matter when you go, you’re sure to have a memorable trip.

Dublin Bridge
Dublin – Photo © Canva

How to Get Around Ireland

Typically, you will fly into Dublin airport, though there are 5 international airports across Ireland. A good way to get around the major cities of Ireland is by bus.

You can easily find affordable buses that go between the major cities, and within the cities, you can get around by walking, taking a taxi, or using public transit.

Driving in Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful country with plenty to see and do, making it the perfect destination for a road trip.

The best way to get around Ireland is by car, as this gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and make spontaneous stops along the way.

In addition, there are many scenic routes to choose from, so you can customize your journey to suit your interests.

When renting a car, be sure to plan your route and prepare to drive on the left-hand side of the road.

And if you’re planning on driving in rural areas, be aware that some roads may be narrow and have sheep roaming about!

With a little planning and preparation, driving in Ireland is a great way to see the country at your own pace.

When it comes to car rental, it’s recommendable to use a platform such as Discover Cars where you can compare different car rental prices and policies on one site and get the best deal.

Just make sure you always read the fine print.

MY PICK
Best Car Rental Deals w/ Free Cancellation, Compare & Save! | Discover Cars

Find the best car rental deals and explore around freely, at your own pace. My favorite way to enjoy a destination!

Getting Around Ireland by Bus

Getting around Ireland by bus is a great way to see the country for a cheap price. The bus network is a mixture of public and private companies that serve many of the major towns and cities.

In addition, there are many smaller companies that provide service to some of the more rural areas.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the bus station, and discounts are often available for students and seniors.

The bus schedule can be confusing, so it’s a good idea to plan your trip in advance. The main bus services are Bus Éireann, Citylink, and Aircoach in the Republic of Ireland, while Translink is the main operator in Northern Ireland.

Traveling Ireland by Train

The train network in Ireland is typically quicker than taking a bus, but a bit more expensive. Similar to the bus system, it serves the major cities across Ireland.

The main train network in the Republic of Ireland is Irish Rail, while in Northern Ireland it’s Translink NI. Book your travel in advance, and make sure to check Eurail Passes for discounted travel over a certain time period.

7-day Ireland Itinerary

In this 7-day Ireland itinerary, I will share my best advice on what to see in Ireland in 7 days, whether you travel by car, train, or bus.

Day 1 – Dublin

Trinity College Library Dublin
Trinity College Library Dublin – Photo © Canva

Most people fly into Dublin to begin their week in Ireland. The lively capital of the country has plenty to do and see with bustling nightlife and constant activity.

Depending on if you like staying in cities, you should take at least one to two days to explore all that Dublin has to offer.

Dublin is a very safe major European city with something for everyone. History buffs will love exploring Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, while shopping enthusiasts can enjoy the many designer boutiques and independent shops.

And foodies will be in heaven, with everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to traditional Irish pubs.

Of course, no visit to Dublin would be complete without sampling a pint of Guinness at the original brewery.

But even if you’re not a beer drinker, there are plenty of other things to do in Dublin.

Take a stroll through St. Stephen’s Green, visit the Irish Museum of Modern Art, or catch a show at the Abbey Theatre.

Whatever your interests, you’re sure to find something to love in Dublin.

Temple bar

Top attractions and things to do in Dublin:

View the Book of Kells located in Trinity College Dublin’s library – An ancient, painstakingly hand-drawn manuscript of the four Gospels.

Visit either St. Patrick’s Cathedral or Christ Church Cathedral – The latter has a fascinating crypt full of religious artifacts.

Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin

Take a Guinness Storehouse Tour – Learn about the process of making Guinness, the history of Guinness in Dublin, and end with a pint in the bar that has sweeping panoramic views of the city.

Explore and picnic in Phoenix Park – One of the biggest city parks in Europe contains the Dublin Zoo among other fun attractions.

Have a pint and listen to traditional Irish music at the Temple Bar – Dublin’s most famous pub.

Tour Dublin Castle – The seat of the British government’s administration in Ireland until 1922.

Best Place to Stay in Dublin

🏨 The Grafton Hotel

The grafton Hotel dublin
Photo © Expedia

A luxury modern property in the heart of the city for the maximum comfort during your stay.

👉 Check rates and availability in Expedia | Hotels.com | Booking.com

Best Restaurant in Dublin

The Winding Stair – Check it on Google Map

Day 2 – Dublin / Galway

Galway City
Galway City

On your second day in Ireland, either spend a little more time exploring Dublin, or head over to the west coast to one of the best cities in Ireland – Galway! The west coast of Ireland has some of the most incredible scenery to explore and natural attractions to admire.

Galway is a beautiful city in the west of Ireland that is well worth a visit. It has a rich history and culture, as well as plenty of things to see and do.

The city is built on the River Corrib, which flows into Galway Bay, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, with parks, gardens, and walks.

The city is also home to a number of museums and galleries, as well as shops, restaurants, and bars.

Whether you’re looking for a historical or cultural experience, or just want to enjoy the beautiful scenery, there are plenty of things to do in Galway and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Gallway Cathedral
Gallway Cathedral

Distance

From Dublin, Galway is just over a 2-hour drive, or an ~2.5-hour train or bus ride.

Top attractions and things to do in Galway:

Spend time in the Latin Quarter – An area with cobblestone streets in the old center of Galway great for shopping and dining.

View the Galway Cathedral – Stunning and unique architecture with beautiful stained-glass art.

Walk along the Salthill Promenade – Views of the bay and lined with bars, seafood restaurants, and cafes (plus an aquarium!).

Spend time at the Galway City Museum – A free museum covering Galway’s archaeology, folk history, art, and natural history.

View the Spanish Arch – An archway built in the 1700s.

Best Place to Stay in Galway

🏨 The Lane

the lane Galloway
The Lane Galloway = Photo © Expedia

Stylish modern hotel located between the city center and the docks close to bus stations.

👉 Check rates and availability in Expedia | Hotels.com | Booking.com

Best Restaurant in Galway

Dela Restaurant – view on Google Map

Day 3 – Galway / Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher – photo from Canva

Galway is a lovely city to spend time in, but one of the perks is its excellent location and access to many incredible day trips around Galway. The best of which is the Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO SITE.

For your third day, you will want to spend time at the Cliffs of Moher and explore the beautiful areas around Galway City.

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, and it’s easy to see why.

The cliffs rise over 200 meters (700 feet) from the Atlantic Ocean, providing stunning views in all directions. Visitors can also take a boat trip out to sea to get a different look at the cliffs and the wildlife that inhabits them.

In the evening, travel to Dingle which is 3 hours away by car. Dingle is not very accessible by public transportation from Galway, the trip may take up to 7 hours.

Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
5.0

✔️ full-day trip to visit the natural majesty of the UNESCO-listed Cliffs of Moher one of Ireland’s most popular attractions from Galway.

✔️ Accompanied by a professional guide, travel south by luxury coach and pass through quaint fishing villages like Doolin and Kinvara.

✔️ admire the ancient fortress of Dunguaire Castle; i

✔️ immerse yourself in the Burren, a limestone landscape reminiscent of the moon’s surface; ✔️ spend a leisurely two hours walking the trails surrounding the colossal Cliffs of Moher.


Day 4 – Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. With its lush green landscapes, numerous beaches, and clear blue waters, it’s easy to see why so many people flock to this region every year.

You will also find some of the most relaxing and quaint places to stay in Dingle, making this a lovely day for rest and relaxation while taking in the stunning beauty of the region.

Dingle Peninsula landscape
Dingle Peninsula landscape – Photo © Canva

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. For those who love the outdoors, there are numerous hiking and cycling trails to explore.

Or if you prefer something a little more relaxed, take a leisurely stroll along one of the many pretty coastal paths.

There are also plenty of opportunities for water sports such as surfing, sailing, and kayaking.

And of course, no visit to the Dingle Peninsula would be complete without sampling some of the delicious local seafood!

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing break or an action-packed adventure, the Dingle Peninsula has something for everyone.

Dingle Peninsula
Dingle Peninsula – photo from Canva

Top things to do in Dingle

► Take a tour of the Dingle Peninsula and Sea Head Drive

You can drive on your own or just relax and take the driver to take you while you enjoy the views. Check out this top-rated tour here below ⤵️

OUR PICK
Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head Drive Group Tour
5.0

✔️ 3-HOUR TOUR

✔️ explore West Kerry Gaeltacht with a knowledgeable guide.

✔️ enjoy the sights of the best of West Kerry's bucolic beauty.

✔️ small-group tour

✔️ includes views of the Blasket Islands, a stroll on Coumeenole Beach


► Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Dingle

Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Dingle
5.0

✔️ A 4-hour crouse around Dingle Bay observing whales and dolphins

✔️ Enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery as you drive along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way,

✔️ Glide past Slea Head, the westernmost point of Europe, then cruise out to the Blasket Islands and look out for humpbacks whales, dolphins, seals, basking sharks, and puffins.

Best Place to Stay in Dingle

Ashe’s Bed and Breakfast

A simple and cozy bed and breakfast surrounded by beautiful greenery, with spacious rooms with WIFI TVs and tea/coffee-making facilities. They include bathrooms with power showers and hairdryers.

👉 Check rates and availability in Booking.com

Best Restaurant in Dingle

Reel Dingle Fish – See it on Google Map

Day 5 – Killarney / Gap of Dunloe

 Ring of Kerry Ireland
Ring of Kerry photo © Canva

On your fifth day, take one hour to drive (or 1.5 hours by bus) from Dingle to Killarney. This small town is located in southwest Ireland and is known for its striking scenery.

Killarney is the base for exploring the popular Ring of Kerry, and it’s surrounded by some of Ireland’s most striking natural landscapes.

There are many incredible day trips from Killarney, starting with the famous Killarney National Park. This park features towering mountains, pristine lakes, and lush forests, making it a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. In addition to its natural beauty, Killarney is also rich in history.

The town is home to several ancient castles and churches, as well as a number of museums and art galleries.

Killarney Ireland
Killarney Ireland Photo © Canva

On your first day in Killarney, take some time to explore the town and the closest attractions. The Gap of Dunloe might be a great way to spend your time.

Part of the Ring of Kerry, this scenic mountain pass is a standalone attraction in its own right that you can spend plenty of time exploring.

Hike through the Gap or take a tour that includes a boat ride and/or horse and carriage jaunting car through the scenery.

Best Place to Stay in Killarney

🏨 Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa

Killarney Plaza Hotel
Killarney Plaza Hotel – Photo © Expedia

The 4-star hotel Killarney Plaza is located by the Killarney National Park and offers, an indoor pool and spa and limited free parking. St Mary’s Cathedral is a 5-minute walk away.

👉 Check rates and availability in Expedia | Hotels.com | Booking.com

Best Restaurant in Killarney

► Bricín Restaurant and Boxty House – find it on Google Maps

Day 6 – Killarney / Ring of Kerry

_Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry – Photo © Canva

From Killarney, you should take a full day to explore the Ring of Kerry. The circular driving route takes in some of the most stunning scenery in the country.

From the wild and rugged coastline to the towering peaks of the Mac Gillycuddy’s Reeks, the landscape is truly breathtaking.

Along the way, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit some of Ireland’s most iconic sites.

It takes about 3-3.5 hours to drive the Ring of Kerry without any stops. If you have your own car, it’s great to take your time driving through and stopping where you’re interested.

Otherwise, there are many tours that will take you through the most popular attractions.

Top stops in the Ring of Kerry:

✅ Muckross House

✅ Torc Waterfall

✅ Ross Castle

✅ Rossbeigh Beach

✅ Skellig Islands

✅ Ladies’ View

Kenmare Town

Day 7 – Cork

Cork City
Cork City

On your last day in Ireland, you could spend some time in Cork and fly out of an airport in the southern part of Ireland, or you may need to work your way back up to Dublin.

Killarney to Cork is just over an hour by car or around 1.5 hours by bus/train. The drive from Cork to Dublin is about 2.5 hours.

If you’re looking for a charming, historic city to visit, then Cork is definitely worth adding to your list. This vibrant city is situated on the River Lee and is home to a number of impressive attractions, including the imposing Cork City Hall and the beautiful St. Finbarr’s Cathedral.

When it comes to things to do, Cork certainly doesn’t disappoint – from exploring the labyrinth of narrow streets in the quirky English Market to checking out the Street Art Trail, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

Cork College
Cork College

Top attractions and things to do in Cork:

  • Visit Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone – The famous stone is said to give the gift of “eloquence and persuasiveness” to those who kiss it.
  • Try local foods at the English Market – An 18th-century food market.
  • Visit the Crawford Art Gallery – Which displays modern Irish artwork.
  • Explore University College Cork – A beautiful and historic college with rotating exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Tour the Cork City Gaol – Hear the fascinating stories of this old penitentiary that looks like a castle.

Best Place to Stay in Cork

🏨 Maldron Hotel South Mall Cork City

👉 Check rates and availability in Expedia | Hotels.com | Booking.com

Best Restaurant in Cork

Jacobs on the Mall – Find it on Google Map 

Ireland Itinerary FAQ

Are 7 Days Enough in Ireland?

Ireland is a country with a lot to offer, from its lively cities to its stunning countryside. Many visitors find that seven days is enough time to see a good portion of the country, especially if you follow this Ireland itinerary.

However, there is so much to see and do in Ireland that you could easily spend weeks or even months exploring everything it has to offer.

If you only have a week, you may want to focus on visiting one or two regions in depth. That way, you can really get a feel for the local culture and attractions.

With more time, you could venture further off the beaten path and discover some of Ireland’s hidden gems. No matter how long you have to explore Ireland, you’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

The dark hedges in northen Ireland
The dark hedges in Northen Ireland

What is the best month to go to Ireland?

As I mentioned before, the best months to travel to Ireland are during spring and fall when the weather is generally milder and you will encounter fewer crowds at the most popular attractions.

Can you get around Ireland without a car?

Yes, you can definitely more around easily either by bus or train but if you rent a car it will be much more comfortable for you to move around at your own pace.

Is it expensive in Ireland?

It all depends on where you are coming from and what you consider expensive. A good way to find out is check out hotel rates and restaurants menus and you get an idea.

Ireland coastline
Ireland coastline Photo from Canva

Is it difficult to drive in Ireland?

It’s not difficult to drive in Ireland. You just need to keep in mind that you are driving on the left side of the road instead of the right and don’t forget it!

Also, keep in mind that roads can be narrow sometimes. be aware of your surrounding and keep the focus on the road ad you will be just fine.

Is Belfast worth visiting?

According to research, Belfast is considered the third most beautiful city in the UK so I guess it is worth visiting. The capital of Northern Ireland has many historic landmarks to visit and a vibrant nightlife.

belfast city hall
Belfast City Hall – Photo from Canva

7-Day Ireland Itinerary – final thoughts

If you’re looking for an amazing, scenic road trip to take in Ireland, this path through the Wild Atlantic Way is definitely the route to explore.

With plenty of stops and attractions to enjoy along the way, this 7-day Ireland itinerary will have you seeing some of the most beautiful parts of the Emerald Isle.

After exploring the best cities in the Republic of Ireland, as well as the most beautiful scenery and top attractions, you will get a wonderful taste of how incredible this little country is.


Janelle Author

About the Author – After traveling to over 25 countries and living in Dublin, Janelle created Make the Trip Matter – a travel blog dedicated to helping budget travelers and remote professionals travel more, live abroad, and discover a more meaningful experience from their travels.
You can also follow her travels on Instagram!


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