The best Ireland itinerary for 7, 10 days or 2 weeks in Ireland

Ireland travel itinerary

What is the best Ireland itinerary? Expert recommendations for the perfect Ireland itinerary and suggested stops to make the most of 7, 10 days or 2 weeks in Ireland.Updated 2021

A road trip around Ireland is a wonderful travel experience.

Scenic roads, plenty of accommodation options and welcoming towns make Ireland the perfect road trip destination no matter how long or how little time you have.

But how many days do you need to see Ireland? Is a week enough to see Ireland’s highlights and what are the best stops if you have 7, 10 or two weeks for visiting?

I have been living in Ireland for over 14 years and I have put together these Ireland itineraries with my top choices for things to see in the Emerald Isle on your first visit.

In this post you will find:

  • Practical tips about visit Ireland: when to go, what to expect, what to pack
  • 7 day Ireland itinerary: what to see with one week in Ireland
  • 10 day Ireland itinerary
  • 2 week Ireland itinerary

Please note: Ireland has announced it is reopening to international tourism on the 19th July 2021. For current travel advisory, updates and regulations that may affect your trip, check official Government Bodies, useful addresses are:

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Traveling to Ireland road trip resources

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How to plan your Ireland itinerary

In this article, I share my best Ireland itineraries, those that I believe will make you see the best of the country in the most sensible and efficient way.

However, since I know you may have specific wishes for your trip that I don’t cover, I also want to give some general suggestions on how to craft your own Ireland trip.

I believe the most important things to consider are:

Tiredness and jet lag

This applies to all your days on the road but to the first one in particular.

In these itineraries, I have kept the driving time on the first day as short as possible and on easy roads (mostly highway) as I know jet lag can be a huge safety issue on the road.

If going for longer distances, please be advised that outside the highways driving can be challenging (see below) and should be avoided when tired.

Some tips on how to handle jet lag (kids and adults) can be found here

Interests: nature vs museums

If you are interested in scenery, the best area to explore is the West.

If you are interested in dynamic city life and museums, plan extra time in Dublin instead

Driving times and extra stops

Always consider driving in Ireland is slow.

Use the table below as reference but consider that they only cover the time needed to go from one place to the other in average traffic and weather conditions and without intermediate stops.

Always add extra time to each of the distances shown

The best time for an Ireland road trip: Irish weather

Considering how far North it is, Ireland has a more moderate climate than many people expect.

The presence of the sea and of the gulf stream keeps the temperature from spiking to extremes.  In winter the temperature averages around 5 C / 41F (January being the coldest month) and in summer around 15 C/ 61F.

The best time for a road trip around Ireland is the summer: long daylight hours and low rainfall makes it the driest season and the safest in terms of driving conditions.

Spring is also a good time for road tripping in Ireland as well as early autumn.

Winter poses more hazardous conditions due to possible snow and short daylight hours.

How often does it rain in Ireland?

Irish people joke that in Ireland the different seasons are marked by cold rain (winter) and hot rain (summer). 

However, it doesn’t rain as much as you may think or as frequently.

Aside from some very wet days and frequent gray sky, you can expect showers more than solid rain for hours.

The driest months are usually August and September and these are a lovely time to visit the country also because of the long hours of daylight.

The wettest and darkest months are from November to February, when at 4.30pm darkness starts to set it.

If you travel by car in the winter, be aware that occasionally you do have snow especially in the mountains and some higher roads get closed. Always check road conditions and, if the season requires, do have snow chains on board.

More than the actual numbers and precipitation forecast however, what is really important to know when visiting Ireland is that the weather is very changeable and you can never really count on it.

Maybe it’s because of the wind, maybe it is for some other mysterious climate reason, but it is a very common occurrence for a sunny day to quickly turn into a very cold and wet one!

The best time of year to visit Ireland is the summer (May to September): these are the month with the longest hours of daylight and the driest climate.

What to pack for Ireland

When packing for Ireland, layers is the name of the game.

In winter, wear warm, comfortable, waterproof shoes, a proper winter coat and a sweater.

In summer, you can usually spend the warmest hours of the day in a t-shirt but may need a light cardigan and possibly a light jacket early in the morning or at night, or if the weather turns.

Find our full packing list for Ireland here.

Driving in Ireland

In Ireland, you drive on the left side of the road.

Motorways are few but well kept and allow for fast movement between cities. Smaller roads (National and Regional) are slow and winding but often very scenic.

They are slow and narrow so you must allocate enough time and be prepared to slow down for oncoming traffic.

These are the roads that will give you that quintessential Irish country experience you are most likely looking for in your trip.

If you are planning a road trip to Ireland, Auto Europe offers a good selection of vehicles: check prices here. 

For official information and updates on driving conditions in Ireland, please refer to the Irish Road Safety Authority and local rules of the road.

Find our practical tips for driving in Ireland here, based on our own experience

Ireland coastal road, 2 lanes
Irish roads can pose difficulties to travelers with a fear of height so I recommend you go slow, take your time and avoid driving in darkness

How many days in Ireland? How long do I need for an Ireland road trip?

I believe it is possible to get a first idea of the country with as little as a 7 day itinerary around Ireland but ideally, I would advise staying in Ireland a couple of weeks.

Neither of these lengths will be sufficient to see ‘everything’, but with one to two weeks you should be able to get a nice feel for the place and touch some of the most famous and beautiful attractions.

Below, you will find my suggestion for an Ireland itinerary for 7, 10 days and two weeks by car.

I am assuming you will start and finish your itinerary from Dublin, although international flights also leave and arrive in Cork and Shannon, both equally good options to cover most of the locations in this post.

my ireland itinerary includes the cliffs of Moher, three castle head, historical sites and Slieve league cliffs.

Best 7 day Ireland itinerary – 1 week Ireland road trip

A 7-day itinerary through Ireland requires some compromising and some popular location will inevitably be left out.

However, if you don’t mind driving a good bit, even with only one week in Ireland it is possible to include some of the most spectacular parts of the country.

For this length of trip, I can think of two hypotheses, depending on how much terrain you want to cover and how long you are prepared to drive.

Please note: driving time is calculated going straight from one place to the next. Add extra time for stops on the way.

Ireland itinerary 7 day schedule at a glance

Day N.Start / End point / Night stopWhat you’ll see Driving time
Day 1Dublin – KilkennyKilkenny1h 30 min
Day 2Kilkenny – KinsaleAncient ruins / charming towns2 h 15 min
Day 3Kinsale – KillarneyStunning scenery/ castles1h 40 mins
Day 4Killarney – GalwayStunning scenery / Cliffs3h+
Day 5GalwayConnemara Scenery3+
Day 6Galway – DublinCities2h 30 min
Day 7DublinDublin city centerNone

Day 1 – Arrival in Dublin and first night in Kilkenny

Depending on the arrival time of your flight and level of tiredness, you can spend your first day / night in the city or plan a first stop already in the country.

Dublin has convenient airport hotels and a vast choice of accommodation you can reach by public transport/car/taxi.

You can find a list of my favorite hotels in Dublin here. 

If you feel rested enough to drive, I highly recommend heading straight from the airport to Kilkenny.

The drive Dublin to Kilkenny is easy as it is served by a well-kept motorway (highway): getting there takes less than 2 hours and it can be an easy way to ease yourself into driving in Ireland.

Kilkenny itself is lovely and a great place to relax and take it easy on your first day. A great hotel in the city is the Ormonde Hotel, right in the town center and close to the castle.

Kilkenny castle, front view with lawns and turrets
Kilkenny castle as seen from its front garden. The grounds extend to the back of the castle with stunning lawns

Day 2 –  Kilkenny to Kinsale

The South of Ireland is gorgeous and Kinsale is a great base to discover the area.

On the way there you have a great choice of locations to explore which include the famous Rock of Cashel and Cobh, which is an interesting village with a good heritage center with memories of the ill-fated Titanic and the Lusitania.

Kinsale makes a lovely overnight stop.

Discover our favorite hotel in Kinsale, offering wonderful views over the waterfront here

Day 3 – Kinsale to Killarney

This day sees you driving in one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of Ireland.

National Road N71 is gorgeous and it is worth taking the time to drive it slowly so you can take in its wonderful viewpoints opening up around the roads bendy turn.

This is also the area of famous Blarney Castle which is easy to reach and pleasant to visit.

Make yourself at home in our favorite BnB in Killarney town

If you prefer to limit the driving and take it easy in Killarney, there is plenty to do here including Ross Castle and Muckross house which is a lovely stop also with kids thanks to its beautiful gardens and traditional farms.

Check out the best things to see in Killarney to plan your day here at best

Killarney National Park: Muckross house

Day 4 – Co Clare and Galway: the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher

This stretch of Ireland is full of beautiful spots including Ennis, the Burren, the famous cliffs of Moher and Galway.

Especially if traveling with kids, a stop at Bunratty Castle and Folk park  or check out the Ailwee Caves and Bird of Prey Educational center that is sure to please adults and kids alike.

Experience the famous Irish welcome in our favorite hotel in Galway

Day 5 – Galway and Connemara

Galway is a lovely university town, with a friendly vibe, and a wonderful position at the entrance of Connemara and close to the Aran Islands.

I recommend you take your time to experience all the fin things to do in Galway, this is a wonderful area!

If you are not tired of driving a day trip to Connemara is definitely worth it but, if you need a break, Galway has no shortage of shops and cafes to relax.

Experience the famous Irish welcome in our favorite hotel in Galway

Day 6 and 7: Dublin

The drive between Galway and Dublin is not long.

If you leave Galway early and use the motorway, you can get into Dublin in a little over 2 hours and spend the rest of the day in Dublin

Ireland in 7 days itinerary without changing accommodation every night

Our 7 day Ireland itinerary above covers a lot of ground and requires a lot of driving.

If you prefer to drive e little less and not lug your luggage from one accommodation to the next, you can also set a base for some nights in Dublin and some in Galway and explore from there.

From Dublin, you have a good choice of day trips you can take driving or by bus: find our favorite ones here

From Galway, you can easily visit the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and Connemara

Suggested Ireland itinerary 10 days

Ten days is a good length of time to visit Ireland and will allow you a more relaxed pace than the 7-day itinerary outlined above.

With ten days, I would recommend you include a visit to County Wicklow and the Ring of Kerry that I believe would be a stretch during a shorter trip.

Here is my favorite 10-day itinerary.

Please note: driving time is calculated going straight from one place to the next. Add extra time for stops on the way.

10 day Ireland itinerary schedule at a glance

Day N.Stay / End point / night stopWhat you will seeDriving time
Day 1Dublin / WicklowMountain scenery1h
Day 2Wicklow / KilkennyRuins / Towns1h 40 mins
Day 3Killkenny – KinsaleScenery / castles 2.15 h
Day 4Kinsale – KillarneyScenery 1 h 30 min
Day 5KillarneyRing of Kerry All day
day 6Killarney – GalwayBurren / Cliffs of Moher 3+
Day 7GalwayAran islands None
Day 8GalwayConnemara 3+
Day 9Galway DublinCities 2 h 30 mins
Day 10DublinDublin city center None

Day 1 – Arrival in Dublin and drive to Wicklow

Gorgeous County Wicklow lies just to the South of Dublin: driving there from the airport should take about 1 hour (motorway) and then you can relax in one of the many family-friendly hotels in the area.

Things you shouldn’t miss in Wicklow are Glendalough monastic site and the scenic road to it, passing the sally Gap.

Make sure you drive this stretch during daylight: depending on the time of your arrival and level of tiredness, you may prefer to plan the visit to this area early on your second day and spend the first night in Dublin.

 Stay at Tinakilly House Hotel and Restaurant for old world elegance

Day 2 – Glendalough to Kilkenny

 This day brings you to Kilkenny which is a pleasant city with a beautiful castle and a lovely town center with an artsy vibe.

Stay at the Ormonde hotel for a relaxing night in the city

Kilkenny is a lovely town with plenty to see: spend your day exploring its castle and the city’s famous ‘medieval mile’, explore its craft shops and make sure you spend the evening in a local pub listening to Irish music for the perfect introduction to Ireland.

Day 3 – Kilkenny  to Kinsale

The South of Ireland is gorgeous and Kinsale is a great base to discover the area.

Places of interest are Cashel, which has an incredible medieval rock worth seeing, and Cobh, which is an interesting village with a good heritage center with memories of the ill-fated Titanic and the Lusitania.

In Kinsale, stay at the Trident hotel for views over the beautiful waterfront

Day 4 –  Kinsale to Killarney

This is one of the most beautiful drives you will have following this itinerary. the road is slow and bendy but beautiful and scenic. Take your time and then set your base in lovely Killarney, famous for its cute houses and plenty of accommodation and dining options as well as a famous castle.

Make yourself at home in our favorite BnB in Killarney town

Day 5 – Ring of Kerry

One of the most famous areas of Ireland is the Ring of Kerry, a loop scenic road famous for incredibly beautiful landscapes.

The Ring of Kerry takes about one day so if you are interested in driving it I would suggest spending two nights in the area.

To avoid driving on the drop side of the road, make sure you drive the Ring of Kerry anticlockwise. This way, you may find yourself behind tour buses but you will not have to maneuver out of their way on a sheer drop, which you will be forced to do if going the opposite way!

High season alternative: the ring of Kerry is so popular it can become frustrating, so I suggest an alternative: the Dingle Peninsula.

tips for driving in ireland. In the photo,country road leading towards green mountain scenery

Located to the north of Kerry, this is one of the many Irish peninsulas stretching into the Atlantic in the west of the country and it is spectacular and, in parts, remote.

Day 6 – Killarney to Co Clare: the Burren and the cliffs of Moher

This stretch of Ireland is full of beautiful spots including Ennis, the Burren and the famous Cliffs of Moher (click here for our full guide to the cliffs).

What is truly special here is the scenery so especially on a beautiful day, it is worth to take your time and explore the Burren and walk along the cliffs.

If traveling with kids, a stop at Bunratty Folk museum can be really interesting as it allows to get a taste of medieval life in Ireland

Experience the famous Irish welcome in our favorite hotel in Galway

Day 7 – Aran islands

I love the Aran island and you have the time (and the good weather) to take the boat trip out from Doolin on the coast of Clare, this is likely to be one of the highlights of your Ireland trip.

Aran Island scenery with small cottages and dry walls
Aran Island scenery. Photo from Pixabay

Plenty of ferry rides are available in the good season to the island: this is a great way to see lovely Irish scenery and take a break from driving.

Day 8 – Galway and Connemara

Galway is a lovely university town, with a friendly vibe, but what makes is special is its position at the entrance of Connemara and close to the Aran Islands.

Connemara has wonderful, remote landscapes and it is home to famous locations such as Clifden and Kylemore Abbey that often feature as Ireland must-sees.

Spend a second night in Galway and decide on city exploring vs a day trip to Connemara on the spot for maximum flexibility.

Day 9 – Galway to Dublin

The drive between Galway and Dublin is not long, and depending on your interest you may either come directly to the city or stop en route to see the monastic site of Clonmacnoise.

Day 10 – Dublin

Unless your flight is early, you will have the end of day 9 and part of day 10 to visit Dublin. While this is not enough to see the city, you can still very much enjoy its vibe.

With only one day in the city, I would just take it easy and stick to taking a stroll in the city center streets.

Grafton street, Trinity College and Dublin Castle are all worth seeing and they are a short distance from each other and will anyway leave you with plenty of time to then head to the airport.

Find my favorite Dublin itinerary here.

2 weeks in Ireland: 2 week Ireland itinerary

With 2 full weeks in Ireland, you can see a lot of the Republic and will have the chance to visit Donegal, too remote to make it in my previous itinerary.

With two weeks, you can also stretch to Northern Ireland to Derry and the rightly famous Giant Causeway.

These two areas are not always included in Ireland itinerary for first time visitors but are, in my opinion, not to be missed.

Donegal is, I believe, the Ireland of dreams: large, sandy, tidal beaches swept by polar winds, crashing waves and screaming seagulls, and some of the highest cliffs in Europe.

Northers Ireland has wonderful coastal scenery and one of the best drives in the country: the coastal drive along the Antrim Coast, between Carrick-a-rede and the Giants’ Causeway.

Please note: Northern Ireland is part of the UK. While there is no hard border between the Republic and the North, check national regulations and entry requirements.

Ireland itinerary 14 days schedule at a glance

Please note: distances in the table below are from point A to B. Add extra time for local exploration and side stops.

Day N.Stay / End point / night stopWhat you will seeDriving time
Day 1Dublin / WicklowMountain scenery1h
Day 2Wicklow / KilkennyRuins / Towns1h 40 mins
day 3Killkenny – KinsaleScenery / castles 2h 15 mins
Day 4Kinsale – KillarneyScenery 1h 30 mins
Day 5KillarneyRing of Kerry All day
day 6Killarney – GalwayBurren / Cliffs of Moher 3+
Day 7GalwayAran islands None
Day 8Galway – ClifdenConnemara 1h +
Day 9Clifden -Donegal townDonegal 2 h +
Day 11Donegal – DerryScenery1 h 30 min
Day 12 Derry – Giant Causeway Derry, Armah coastline 1 h 15 mins
 Day 13 Giant Causeway – Dublin Dublin 3 h
 Day 14 Dublin Dublin None

Day 1 – Arrival in Dublin and drive to Wicklow

I like to start this 2 week Ireland itinerary visiting County Wicklow.

Gorgeous county Wicklow lies just to the south of Dublin.

Driving there from the airport should take about 1 hour (motorway) and then you can relax in one of the many hotels in the area.

Things you shouldn’t miss in Wicklow are Glendalough monastic site and the scenic road to it, passing the Sally Gap.

lough tay country Wicklow ireland

This is a fantastic drive along a mountain road that opens up on beautiful scenery of windswept hills, lakes and coastal views.

Make sure you drive this stretch during daylight: depending on the time of your arrival and level of tiredness, you may prefer to plan the visit to this area early on your second day.

Recommended hotels in the area:

Tinakilly House Hotel and Restaurant – elegant hotel with Manor House feel and beautiful restaurant onsite

Brooklodge at Macreddin Village TOP CHOICE! – a wonderful, romantic, intimate country hotel and resort surrounded by the beautiful countryside of County Wicklow, this hotel is a longer drive from Dublin but the perfect place for a first night in Ireland. Eat at one of the two excellent restaurants on-site and enjoy a drink in the hotel bar to toast to the start of your trip!

Day 2 –  visit Kilkenny and its stunning medieval center

This day brings you to Kilkenny which is a pleasant city with a beautiful castle and a lovely town center with an artsy vibe.

The city has a wonderful castle, a stunning cathedral and dynamic city center: spend the day exploring, shopping and eating, then settle in the Ormonde Hotel for a great night in town.

The hotel is right in the city center, it has a parking lot just in front, and it will allow you to visit the town on foot.

 Find our full guide to one day in Kilkenny here.

Kilkenny castle, front view with lawns and turrets
Kilkenny castle as seen from its front garden. The grounds extend to the back of the castle with stunning lawns

Day 3 – drive from Kilkenny  to Kinsale

The South of Ireland is gorgeous and the drive between Kilkenny and Kinsale offers some beautiful stops.

Places of interest between Kilkenny and Kinsale are Cashel, one of my favorite Irish castles, and Cobh, which is an interesting village with a good heritage center with memories of the ill-fated Titanic and the Lusitania.

The rock of Cashel, Ireland

I recommend you take your time to visit the Rock of Cashel in particular.

It is a scenic medieval rock where St Patrick is said to have converted the kings of Munster to Christianity and one of the best preserved clusters of Medieval buildings in the country.

A pretty tea house is at the bottom of the rock and it makes a pleasant lunch stop.

Kinsale is a delightful town on the sea, well known for its excellent seafood. Try to arrive here in the afternoon so you can settle, enjoy dinner and a walk in the pretty town center before the sun goes down.

In Kinsale, stay at the Trident hotel for views over the beautiful waterfront

Day 4 – enjoy the drive from Kinsale to Killarney

The road between Kinsale and Killarney is stunning so I recommend you take the day to drive it and take in all its natural beauty.

This area of Ireland is remote and will require longer hours in the car than other days in this itinerary: I recommend you take your time and stop in one of the many villages and pubs along the way to stretch your legs.

This is also a day when you can include a visit to famous Blarney castle. Blarney is one of the most famous and iconic castles of Ireland and a beautiful place for a walk.

As well as the castle itself, which is a stunning ruin, worth seeing are the gardens: look for the ‘poison garden’ and take a stroll in the beautiful woods for a mystical and romantic day.

You can read all about visiting Blarney Castle here.

Blarney castle Co Cork Ireland

Top tip! Because of the long hours driving, I recommend you plan this day and following one together so you can be sure you don’t overdo it.

As you get to Killarney, I recommend you pick a hotel in town so you can leave the car and go out for dinner and a drink on foot.

A lovely place to stay is the Old Weir Lodge in Killarney town centre

Day 5 – explore the Ring of Kerry

One of the most famous areas of Ireland is the Ring of Kerry, a loop scenic road famous for incredibly beautiful landscapes.

The Ring of Kerry takes about one day so if you are interested in driving it I would suggest spending two nights in the area and see both Killarney and Kenmare.

The Ring of Kerry takes about one day so if you are interested in driving it I would suggest spending two nights in the area.

To avoid driving on the drop side of the road, make sure you drive the Ring of Kerry anticlockwise.

This way, you may find yourself behind tour buses but you will not have to maneuver out of their way on a sheer drop, which you will be forced to do if going the opposite way!

High season alternative: the ring of Kerry is so popular it can become frustrating, so I suggest an alternative: the Dingle peninsula.

Located to the North of Kerry, this is one of the many Irish peninsulas stretching into the Atlantic in the West of the country and it is equally spectacular and, in stretches, remote.

How about Skellig Michael?

With two weeks in Ireland, you may have the time to fit in a trip to Skellig Michael, Unesco World Heritage site and spectacular location of an ancient monastic setting.

The island is not suitable to visit with very young kids or people with mobility issues but it is special and one of those sites that leaves a strong impression on visitors because of its uniqueness and beauty.

Because of limited accessibility, if you plan to go to Skellig Michael it is better to keep a very loose schedule for all other stops as you may be delayed in your visit by unsuitable weather.

I would go as far as saying to plan your whole trip around this visit, should it be a must see for you.

Day 6 – Killarney to Galway: the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher

This stretch of Ireland is full of beautiful spots including Ennis, the Burren and the famous Cliffs of Moher.

The cliffs are one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland and very popular.

Unlike other areas in the country, you will find here tour buses and tons of tourists however, it is one of those places that are famous for a reason!

The cliffs are special and, on a sunny day, they are an unforgettable sight.

You can read my guide to visiting the Cliffs of Moher here.

What is truly special here is the scenery so on a beautiful day, it is worth to take your time and explore the Burren and walk along the cliffs.

Spend the night is the lovely town of Ballyvaughan or settle in a relaxing hotel in Galway such as this one. Stay two nights if you want to spend the day in The Aran Islands the day after.

Day 7 – Aran islands day trip

I love the Aran island and you have the time (and the good weather) to take the boat trip out, this is likely to be one of the highlights of your Ireland trip.

Ferries connect the Aran island to the mainland regularly during summer and they are an easy day trip.

The Aran Islands are a group of 3: Inis Mor, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr.

They are pretty and give a taste of old Ireland that is not always easy to find on the mainland. I recommend to go in good weather conditions only as what is spectacular here is the scenery.

Day 8 – Galway to Clifden: Connnemara

Just to the North of Galway lies wonderful Connemara, known for its remote, stunning landscape and Kylemore Abbey.

Take a day to explore beautiful Connemara National park and settle in lovely Clifden, a charming and convenient overnight stop.

Treat yourself to a night at the beautiful AbbeyGlen castle hotel 

Day 9 – Clifden to Donegal town

Donegal is one of the most remote parts of Ireland and has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the whole of the island.

The area is less developed than others in terms on number of tourist accommodation and restaurants but there is enough to cater to all your needs and the remoteness of the area adds to the charm.

In Donegal, you can expect some of the best beaches in Ireland (wrap up, it’s windy here!) and large, empty, windswept landscapes.

beach in Donegal

Good accommodation can be found in Donegal town, from where you can easily reach wonderful Slieve Leagues, stunning and easily accessible sea cliffs.

Stay in the Abbey hotel right in the center of Donegal town for a lovely atmosphere and handy on site restaurant.

Day 10 – Donegal to Derry

Derry or Londonderry as it is called in the UK is a beautiful walled city rich with beautiful sites and history.

It is worth spending a night here and take the time to take a stroll along its medieval walls and a walk to see the famous ‘Free Derry’ corner.

Day 12 – Derry to Giant’s Causeway: Northern Ireland

It takes well over one day to visit Northern Ireland but if you can, I would add the extra stretch to see this part of the coast and try to visit at least its most famous landmarks such as Derry and the Giant Causeway.

Plan one night in the area to make the most of your time here and check out our Northern Ireland weekend itinerary for inspiration and photos!

Stay at the Hilton in Templepatrick for a relaxing night (you can read our review of the hotel here)

Day 13 -14 Dublin

Day 13 and 14 should be devoted to exploring Dublin. It takes about 3 hours to get to the city from the North and I suggest planning a stop at Dublin airport to return the car on the way.

Dublin is better explored on foot so if you rented a car, it is a good idea to return it before you settle into the city.

If budget allows, I would suggest you settle into the city center and spend a couple of days between Dublin beautiful shops, cafes and museums.

hotels you may enjoy are the elegant and historic Shelbourne, one of the best in the country, or the modern and well located Jury’s Inn at Christchurch

Some of the things you should visit in Dublin are:

  • Trinity College Dublin and its historical library with the Book of Kells
  • The area of Grafton Street and St Stephen’s Green, with shops, restaurants and music in the streets
  • St Patrick’s cathedral and/or nearby Christchurch
  • Dublin Castle and the beautiful Chester Beatty Library, a beautiful museum of oriental art.

Find more ideas on the best things to see in Dublin here.

If you are traveling with kids, you can pick some of your favorite family activities in Dublin from this list.

I hope you enjoyed reading my suggestions for the perfect Ireland itinerary and it helped answering the question: what is the best itinerary for an Ireland road trip?

Best Ireland itinerary photo collage with images of Kilkenny, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher

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36 thoughts on “The best Ireland itinerary for 7, 10 days or 2 weeks in Ireland

  1. Alaina says:

    I saw your post on GLT!

    Ireland is one of my favorite places in the world! I went there for aweek when I was in college, but I’m planning another trip in May of 2017. Definitely bookmarking this for future planning!! Thanks for sharing <3

    Alaina | http://www.pumpsandpineapples.com

  2. Allison (Fun Family Vacations) says:

    These are great tips. I agree, 7 days might work, but I think we would need to allocate at least 2-3 weeks.

  3. Rob Taylor says:

    The 10 day itinerary sounds perfect, as when we finally get there we’ll be spending a solid amount of time really exploring the countryside, monasteries and its castles and cliffs.

  4. Shobha George says:

    How detailed!! super helpful because I am planning to spend a couple of weeks in Ireland next year when I go to TBEX in Kilkenny in Ireland. And, handily there is a 2 week itinerary including Kilkenny, almost like you read my mind.

  5. Mama Munchkin says:

    What an incredible post. You literally did all of the legwork. I almost feel it necessary to check flights now bc the trip is so well mapped out. Thank you for all these wonderful details.

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      I am so glad you found it helpful! Itineraries can be really hard to plan: if you don’t know a place, it is so hard to gauge distances and give priorities, especially with kids, not exactly known for being patient with long drives… I hope this can help families looking into an Ireland trip: it is such a nice country to visit!

  6. Stephanie Langlet says:

    When I visited Scotland a few years ago, the raining reputation was the same and I only had one rainy day in 2 weeks. Even if I prefer the sun, Scotland, Ireland and Iceland are 3 attractive destinations for me.

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      I’d love to go to both Scotland and Iceland but I hear you about the sun: here the winter is long so when the summer holidays arrive, the temptation to go south is very, very strong, no matter how appealing Northern landscapes are

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      A two day itinerary might be challenging to see the whole country: Ireland is compact, but not THAT compact 🙂 With two days in Dublin, I’d spend one in town (with kids, check out Dublinia, the Natural History museum and maybe the zoo?) and the second one either on the coast (Howth) or in Wicklow county – on the blog I have posts about both, search for Howth and Glendalough and let me know what you think 🙂

  7. Skye Class says:

    This is a really great itinerary! I took the Shamrocker Adventure Tour there last summer and loved it, but I need to go back and see all the places I missed. I’ll definitely be using your suggestions.

  8. Enda Ginting says:

    I plan to go Ireland next June. Will have 12 days, and been looking for some ideas for itinerary. Your 10 days itinerary looks great as it covers my interests. With 12 days, not sure if able to cover Northern Ireland. Or maybe, I should think of going back from Belfast instead of Dublin, just to get a glimpse of it. Anyway, so glad I found your blog and suggestions. Cheers!!

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      Glad to hear this was useful! Northern Ireland is worth it, I believe, and doable if you don’t have to go back to Dublin. Otherwise, especially if the weather is not great, an idea can be to skip the Aran island and use the time to go North instead – the scenery is very impressive there!

      • Enda Ginting says:

        I’ll keep Northern Ireland as an option then. I’ll be traveling with friends, so no kids. Any suggestions of places which likely to be changed or left out apart from the Aran islands from the 10 days itinerary? I don’t really want to miss it really, but seems I need to compromise a place if I want to make it to Northern Ireland. Cheers and thanks! 🙂

  9. Patti Thum says:

    Very helpful information!! How long is the drive is from Kinsale to Killarney via N71? It sounds like a beautiful drive.

  10. Mia says:

    I’m Irish, and live in Ireland, and you are definitely helping people with your great tips. There are also often lots of free activities for families in Dublin, for example the if in Dublin city centre The ark in temple bar do free workshops for kids (art, culture etc), they are popular so book out fast and National Gallery also worth a look (free). Btw worth mentioning the Natural History Museum (dead zoo as we Dubs call it!) is free but opens late on sun and closed Monday. Another idea is west cork which would be on the route from kinsale to Kerry. A stop off in Baltimore is worth doing and a trip out to Sherkin Island. When in Kerry don’t forget to do the Gap of Dunloe. Failte romhait!

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      Hi Mia, thank you so much for stopping by and all the good tips (and sorry for replying so late!). I don’t know Baltimore and Sherkin but we are hoping to go that way again in the spring and will remember them – last time in the area it was a windy and wet November and we couldn’t do half of what we had planned. Thank you!

  11. Susan says:

    HELP!!!!
    We are planning a trip to Ireland in June for my 50th Birthday.
    Unfortunately for us, we only have 10 days.
    All the kids are grown & this is a finally it’s us time trip.
    I want to see it ALL!!
    Every time I think I have narrowed it down, I can’t stand the thought of missing something.
    Photography is my hobby, and I am just amazed by the beauty of Ireland.
    I would love to do both Northern & Southern Ireland. I know that is a crazy thought for 10 days, but if we can fly in one place & out another to make it happen I would do that.
    Do you think it can be done? Without racing around like a nut?
    If so, what would be your suggestion?
    I appreciate any help or wisdom you could share.

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by and what an amazing trip you have planned! I think with 10 days you can see a lot: my itinerary takes into account many stops for small kids but you can cover a lot of ground in Ireland without turning the trip into a crazy rush. With 10 days, I would give priority to the West and the North: Dublin and the midlands are pleasant but the beautiful cliffs and great scenery are in West (West Cork, Kerry, Galway, Connemara). I am not sure flying would save a lot of time and driving is your best bet to see the beautiful countryside – where will you be flying into?

  12. Madison Burton says:

    Great itinerary layout system! My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe in May and we were planning on spending about a week and a half in Ireland.

  13. Carol Johnston says:

    Love your blog. My husband and I will be in Ireland for 7 days in May 2017 and we want to see the south and west of Ireland but also Northern Ireland. Is it doable in 7 days?
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  14. Lucy O'Reilly says:

    A fantastic guide that would be made better by the inclusion of the Boyne Valley (birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East) – where most of the heritage and stories of Ireland originate.

    You have UNESCO Heritage Site of Newgrange, the Loughcrew Cairns, the Battle of the Boyne Centre, the Hill of Tara where the High Kings ruled Ireland from, the monastic town of Kells where the Book of Kells was written, Tailteann where the pre-Olympic games of Ireland took place, and Trim Castle, Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman castle and also film location for the film “Braveheart”.

    http://www.discoverboynevalley.ie has a lot of information on the area and events.

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      Thank you for sharing the link to this resource. I love the Boyne Valley: I haven’t included it here but I have it among my favourite trips from Dublin – we had a lovely trip there last year: three generations of us, from 4 to 74, and we all loved it 🙂

  15. Kay says:

    Thank You Marta for an excellent write up and detailed itinerary!! Will be perfect for our upcoming travel!!

  16. Toni says:

    Hi Marta,

    I love your 10 day itinerary. Any suggestions on good overnight places to stay. We are a group of 6 adults. We will be in Ireland 11days. We want to cover a lot of ground but would like to Stay overnight in 4 to 5 places. We want to use that as a base to explore for a few days and then move to the next place.

  17. Kim Whiteford says:

    Hi, thanks for that great information as I’m planning my trip for 2019, looking forward to seeing and learning more about part of my heritage.

    I would like some suggestions on places to stay on the trip. Liking the more B&B’s than hotels.

    Thank you

    Kim

  18. JohnB says:

    Since I’m guessing it is mostly Americans who read your guides, I think the suggestion to immediately leave Dublin upon arrival is not good. First, flights from the US are overnight, with most people barely sleeping or not sleeping at all. Second, most people are not used to driving on the left. Suggesting that people get in a rental car, drive on the left, on narrow roads, with sleep deprivation, is totally wrong! Making it sound easy as a trip to DisneyWorld is just wrong.

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