Coming to Ireland soon? Delighted to hear it: we have been living here for over 10 years and love every inch of the country! These are our tips for spending 4 days in Ireland.
Ireland is a wonderful destination for a trip, even if you only have a few days to spend on its green shores.
We have been based in Dublin for over a decade and we are well used to short trips around the country: any time we have a handful of days free, we set off to see a new part of it and it is incredible how much you actually get to see even in a very short time.
Distances here are not long and while you need to take your time driving on these roads, there is a lot you can see in Ireland even with little time
You can easily spend 2 weeks visiting Ireland without running out of things to do. However, you can also see a lot of the country with a shorter stay.
Whether you are here for business and want to add on a few days for sightseeing or you find yourself passing though Ireland on the way from the US to continental Europe or the UK, these are our suggestions on the best ways to spend 4 days in Ireland.
RELATED: if coming en route to somewhere else especially, make sure you are ready for the peculiarities of Irish weather having look at our packing list for Ireland!
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How to use these 4 day Ireland itineraries
I have been living in Ireland for the last 14 years and take regular local vacations to make the absolute most of my time here.
I approach these tips from the practical knowledge of a local and the awe of the visitor and this is what I have tried to capture in the itineraries below.
While I can think of many ways to spend even just a weekend in Ireland if live here, in the itineraries below I have chosen areas that I believe are of most interest to foreign visitors to Ireland, who may want to see some of the country;s main attractions and must see site.
I recommend you use these itineraries as a baseline to see what you can visit with 4 days in Ireland and then make specific adjustments depending on your circumstances and budget.
I included links to many other articles on this site bout Ireland: if you click on them, you will find more detailed information about the locations mentioned as well as practical tips for visiting Ireland.
The best ways to spend 4 days in Ireland: recommended itineraries overview
|Area visited||Best for|
|The West (incl. Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Dublin)||Scenery, cities|
|The South (Cork, Blarney castle, Dublin)||Castles, scenery, cities|
|The West (Galway area) and Dublin||Doable without driving|
|Ireland top sites||Whirlwind tour|
Ireland in 4 days: explore the West
West of Ireland 4 days itinerary fast facts:
- Best for: scenic cliffs, remote landscapes, some of Ireland ‘must see’ sites
- Arrival/ Departure: arrival in Shannon / departure from Dublin
- Suitable for kids? Yes but involves long hours in the car
The West of Ireland is without a doubt one of the most scenic parts of the whole of the island.
Foreigners flock here but so do locals: a summer holiday in the West of Ireland is a much loved tradition for many Irish families and it is an easy and scenic way to get a break from the city.
With 4 days in the West, I recommend you plan your time as follows:
Day 1: arrival in Shannon and drive to Killarney
The first day is all about arriving in Ireland and settling in.
This area of the country has narrow roads, very different from many people may be used to in the US or even in continental Europe and I cannot stress enough how important it is to take your time to get a good rest before tacking them.
On your first day, I recommend you arrive in Shannon, make your way to Killarney and explore locally.
There is plenty to do in Killarney without having the drive excessively.
You can read our recommendations on how to spend a day in Killarney here.
Day 2: Drive the Dingle peninsula
On your second day I recommend you drive (or take a tour of) the beautiful Dingle Peninsula.
This is a lovely part of the country, easy to enjoy and visit and packs in both lovely natural coastal landscapes and colorful towns such as Dingle Town.
Spend the night in Tralee or surrounding area so you are well placed for the following stretch of your trip.
Day 3: The Cliffs of Moher and Galway
The Ciffs of Moher are one of the most famous if not the most famous attractions in the whole of Ireland and I highly recommend a visit.
Even when the weather is not great, even with the tourist buses, even with the ‘I have seen them in a million photos’ considerations about them, they are stunning and missing them is, in my opinion, a shame.
Surprisingly, they are also easy to visit if you are afraid of heights or with visiting with kids (you can read all the details here)
After a visit to the cliffs, head over to Galway but don’t rush: the Burren, which is this area, is peculiar and stunning and it is worth taking in the view while driving.
Spend the second part of the afternoon and your night in Galway (have a look at the Connacht hotel), catching the sites, dinner and listening to live music in one of the many local pubs.
Day 4: Dublin
On day 4 I get you to come to Dublin, which is an often understated destination in Ireland but one I believe deserves a day.
The drive from Galway is easy (you can even leave the car and catch the bus if you prefer) and once you are in the city you can finally stop driving and just walk. Dublin is easy to enjoy on foot.
There is a lot to do in Dublin and on one day you can see most of its main sites just strolling around the city center.
You can wing it or find my detailed one day Dublin itinerary here
Dublin is very expensive when it comes to hotels (and B&Bs and apartments…) so I do recommend you book early and carefully.
I have a good selection of hotels here (suitable for families but not only) and I recently had a lovely stay at the Hilton Garden Inn and the Hilton Dublin on Charlemont road which is well located, pleasant and well served.
Ireland in 4 days: the South and the East
South and East of Ireland 4 days itinerary fast facts:
The South and the east of Ireland have some of the country’s most famous sites including Dublin, Glendalough and Blarney castle with its legendary stone.
- Best for: historical sites, castles, countryside/mountain scenery
- Arrival/ Departure: Dublin
- Suitable for kids? Yes, this is one of the easiest areas for kids to enjoy
Day 1: Kilkenny
If you are landing in Dublin it may sound strange to leave without visiting. However, I have good reasons to let you take to the road straight away.
Unlike many other locations in Ireland, Kilkenny is a very easy drive from Dublin (motorway) and it is such a pleasant introduction to Ireland, it makes for a great first stop.
Park your car in the city center, settle in your hotel and then spend the day exploring the town.
There is plenty to see (find my full one day in Kilkenny itinerary here) and the city is likely to capture you with its beautiful medieval sites and vibrant atmosphere.
I like staying at the Ormonde hotel right in the city center to take it all in in beautiful surroundings.
Day 2: Cork and Blarney castle
After Kilkenny I recommend you drive in the direction of Cork, int he South of Ireland.
This is an easy drive again and it doesn’t just bring you to cool Cork city but also allows you to see one of the most spectacular castles in Ireland: the rock of Cashel.
The rock is wonderful and easy to reach from the main road: I recommend you visit the rock (doesn’t take long) and you can also have coffee/lunch in the nearby tea room.
From here, you can head to the famous Blarney castle, which you can easily visit in a couple of hours (a little more if queuing to kiss the stone), and then spend the night in Cork city (The Kingsley hotel and the Montenotte hotel are two good options).
Day 3: Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains
On day 3 I make you come back towards Dublin but with an overnight stop in the Wicklow mountains.
This is an area of great natural beauty (they are a National Park) and they are a beautiful and relaxing place to explore.
The easiest way to enjoy it to drive to Glendalough and spend day there.
Here you have a two beautiful lakes, a nice restaurant for a relaxed meal and the famous Glendalough monastic site, which is a simply wonderful.
If you like gardens and manor homes, you may also want to see Powerscourt Gardens, which are in this area and one of the most famous gardens in the world (their website say they are n.3 according to National geographic!).
Day 4: Dublin
On day 4, I have you coming back to Dublin. like I mentioned above, I highly recommend you leave the car as soon as you arrive in the city and then explore on foot.
Depending on you specific desire for Dublin, you can either walk around the city center and take in the main sites that way or plan a visit to iconic locations such as the Guinness storehouse.
In this case, I recommend you book skip the line tickets in advance here.
4 days in Ireland without a car: Dublin and Galway
- Best for: non drivers
- Arrival/ departure:Dublin
- Suitable for kids:yes
If you don’ want or cannot drive in Ireland, you will be happy to hear it is still possible to see quite a lot.
The best way to spend for day in Ireland without a car I believe is the following:
Day 1 Arrival in Dublin and bus to Galway.
Regular buses connect Dublin to Galway and the ride is easy and reasonably short. Hop on the bus on arrival and rest with an afternoon and night in Galway.
The Connacht hotel is a good option.
Day 2: Day trip to the Cliffs of Moher
Spend the day between the cliffs and the city and then relax with a night in Galway town.
This is an easy way to spend a day seeing stunning scenery and without the stress of having to lug our bags around and change accommodation.
Day 3: Day trip to Connemara
If you are in Ireland in the summer, a day trip to Connemara can be one of the highlights of your stay.
This area is famous for its beautiful landscape and is also the home of famous Kylemore Abbey.
The area is well served by day trips from Galway such as this one and makes for a good day out without having to drive or change hotels.
A bus tour was how I first visited Connemara and it was a lovely, easy option.
Day 4: Dublin city
On day four, it is easy to make tour way back to Dublin with a morning bus and spend the afternoon exploring.
4 days in Ireland highlight whirlwind itinerary
If all the itineraries above have left you with a burning desire to see absolutely everything I have mentioned, I am going to throw in a last itinerary that would allow you to see a lot and tick some main sites off your Ireland bucket list.
Please just be aware that this involves a good bit of driving an not much down time.
It goes without saying that some amazing sites are left out even with this fast itinerary but I made sure to include some of the most popular.
- Best for: Bucket list trip lovers
- Arrival/Departure: Dublin
- Suitable for kids: yes but very tiring
Day 1: Arrival in Dublin and drive to Cork
On the first day I have you heading South.
You can easily drive to Cork and make a stop at the stunning Rock of Cashel on the way or head to the city by bus.
While less scenic, this could be a good way not to have to drive straight away, something worth considering if you will be dealing with jet lag for instance.
Day 2: Blarney castle and Killarney
Start your second day at the famous Blarney castle, near Cork and then head to Killarney, in County Kerry.
Killarney is most famous as a base to drive the ring of Kerry but you will not have time for this on your time frame, so I recommend instead you take your time to visit the town and beautiful Muckross house.
Spend the night in Killarney and enjoy its lively evenings.
Day 3: Drive from Killarney to Galway
On day three you will tick off one more must see site and see the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, before making your way to Galway, where you will also spend the night.
The Connacht hotel is a good option.
Day 4: Galway to Dublin
Like all my other itineraries I get you come to Dublin on the fourth day.
This makes for necessary planning if you are flying from there but also ensures that you have one day when you don’t have to drive and can just relax.
I hope you enjoyed this itineraries and they helped you decide how to spend 4 days in irelan/d Safe travels!