10 days in Ireland: the perfect road trip itinerary

All shades of green really come alive in Ireland. And there is something calming and magical about it, especially when the sun comes out and plays with the shades. Of course, having all the green sites usually means also having all the rain, sometimes also fog and all shades of grey. But if you come prepared, the rain is just a part of Ireland’s charm (except when it rains on your Gap of Dunloe hike, then you just hate it ? ). We packed our rain boots and rain cover for the baby stroller, but somehow forgot umbrella at home. We bought one at the airport on arrival, but soon realized, it is not too useful when it rains, as it is usually also windy. This means is it better to pack a raincoat or waterproof jacket.

It was our first time in the country (and a first proper road trip with 8 months old baby), so I tried to design an itinerary where we could see the most iconic spots and still not drive too much. We choose to see the south of country and travel from Dublin to Galway (and back to Dublin). My planning paid off, as we had an amazing road trip, full of beautiful stops and great views along the way.

Dingle peninsula Ireland Europe
Dingle peninsula Ireland Europe

Map of the roadtrip

Source: Google Maps

DAY 1: arrival to Dublin

With all the craziness at European airports this year, also our flight got delayed and we arrived to Dublin late in the afternoon. Luckily, with our luggage. We were happy we booked a hotel near the airport with free bus shuttle, as we were really tired from the whole day of travelling. So our first impressions of Ireland were beautiful views from the airplane window.

Dublin Ireland Europe

DAY 2: Dublin – Kilkenny – Cork

We left Dublin sightseeing for the end of our trip, this means that day 2 started with figuring out how to drive the rental car on the left side of the road. Luckily for me, my partner did great and we were soon on the road towards the city of Cork. On the way we stopped in charming Kilkenny. We walked around colorful city center and along River Nore, saw the High Street and visited Kilkenny Castle. We also had a delicious lunch and then arrived to Cork in the evening.

Kilkenny castle Ireland Europe
Kilkenny Ireland Europe

DAY 3: Cork & trip to Cobh

Our hotel was just next to one of River Lee’s canals and close to the city center. After breakfast we walked to St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral, passing National Monument and Elizabeth Fort, then we visited the English Market and went for a coffee on Saint Patrick’s Street.

In the afternoon we drove to Cobh. This lovely seaside town is only 30 minutes from Cork and it is mostly known as the last place that Titanic stopped in Europe before departing for USA. There is the Titanic Experience center, but we didn’t visit it, we rather walked town’s colorful streets up to St. Colman’s Cathedral and on to the “Deck of Cards” Houses. We also ate some delicious seafood as it is fitting for such a place.

On the way back to Cork we stopped at Blackrock Castle Observatory. It was unfortunately closed, but we would love to visit the insides one day. Nearby Cork there is also one of the most famous castles in Ireland – the Blarney castle, which we did not visit, but you can choose to also drive there.

Cork Ireland Europe
Deck of Cards Houses Cobh Ireland Europe
Blackrock Castle Observatory Ireland Europe

DAY 4: Cork – Killarney

Before departing to our next destination, we stretched our legs walking around Fitzgerald’s Park and University College Cork campus. We arrived to Killarney just in time for lunch, which gave us energy to explore the city in the afternoon. We walked the Hight Street to Killarney House and Gardens and visited majestic St. Mary’s Cathedral. Then we drove to Lough Leane to walk around Ross Castle and got a first glimpse of the beautiful Killarney National Park.

University College Cork campus Ireland Europe
Killarney House and Gardens Ireland Europe
Ross Castle Killarney National Park Ireland Europe

DAY 5: Ring of Kerry

Killarney is great base for many day trips of exploring the beautiful nature (and towns) of Ireland. One of them is famous Ring of Kerry – a 179-kilometre-long circular route in County Kerry that takes you along some of the most scenic spots in the area. With a baby we only did small part of the ring, driving iconic narrow road along Upper Lake to majestic Ladies view. Then we headed back to Killarney stopping at Muckross Estate, to see the mansion and its gardens, before hiking part of beautiful Gap of Dunloe in the afternoon.

Ladies view Ring of Kerry Killarney National Park Ireland Europe Vanja Vodenik
Muckross Estate Killarney National Park Ireland Europe
Gap of Dunloe Killarney National Park Ireland Europe Vanja Vodenik

DAY 6: Dingle peninsula

Even rainy day could not spoil our trip to charming Dingle peninsula. We stopped at Dunquin Pier, admired the views of the Blasket Islands when the fog cleared for a moment, walked around sandy Coumeenoole Beach, then drive to Dingle via R599 road. There are many nice viewpoints along the way, as the road is part of the scenic Slea Head Drive. We had lunch in Dingle then stopped on Inch Beach for an ice cream before returning to Killarney.

Coumeenoole Beach Dingle peninsula Ireland Europe
Dingle town peninsula Ireland Europe
Inch beach Ireland Europe

DAY 7: Killarney – Cliffs of Moher – Galway

It was a day of lots of driving, but also with one of the best stops on our trip around Ireland. After some rainy days we were the luckiest to visit Cliffs of Moher on a sunny day. We bought tickets prior online, as they are cheaper than buying them on site. We enjoyed walking around the cliffs, admired the views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Aran Islands, went up O’Brien’s Tower and explored Visitors Center. The cliffs are really spectacular. They stretch 14 kilometers along the coast and are 214 meters high at the highest point. After some coffee with a view, we continued our way towards Galway and stopped for a lunch at picturesque little town of Doolin. Here we had a traditional Irish seafood chowder – delicious!

Cliffs of Moher O'Brien's Tower Ireland Europe
Cliffs of Moher Ireland Europe
Chowder Ireland Europe

DAY 8: Galway – Dublin

We woke up to another sunny day in Galway. The nice weather brought everyone out, so the city was packed with people, musicians, market stall, and it was lively and full of colors. We parked at Galway Cathedral, passed the River Corrib on Salmon Weir Bridge and continued our way towards the Spanish Arch and the Long Walk. Then we explored the Latin Quarter and walked past Lynch’s Castle to Eyre Square for a lunch. Before driving to Dublin we also wandered the campus of the National University of Ireland Galway.

In Dublin we took advantage of sunny day and visited National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. I just love a nice glasshouse and there are seven of them here. Then we dropped our luggage at the hotel before returning our rent a car.

Galway Ireland Europe
Galway Ireland Europe
National Botanic Gardens of Ireland Dublin Europe

DAY 9: Dublin

We successfully navigated Dublin’s public transport and hopped on double decker bus to the city center. We firstly walked around the colorful Temple Bar area, then continued our walk along the River Liffey to the Christ Church Cathedral and onto Dublin Castle and then St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Then we explored Iveagh Gardens and Saint Stephen’s Green. Before going for a lunch at Grafton Street, we also stopped at Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. The highlight of our day was for sure the visit to the Long Room in the Old Library in the Trinity College. The library was first built in the 18th century and today features 200,000 of their oldest books. There you can also see the Book of Kells – a 9th-century gospel manuscript.

Temple Bar Dublin Ireland Europe
Long Room Old Library Trinity College Dublin Ireland Europe

DAY 10: Dublin & going home

As our flight was in the afternoon, we left one great Dublin stop for the last day: Guinness Storehouse. While walking through the storehouse we learned about the production and history of Guinness beer. We ended the visit on the 7th floor at Gravity Bar, where we had a pint of Guinness and admired the amazing panoramic views over Dublin. A perfect ending to our great Irish adventure.

Guiness Storehouse Dublin Ireland Europe
Gravity Bar Guiness Storehouse Dublin Ireland Europe

Visited: May 2022

2 Replies to “10 days in Ireland: the perfect road trip itinerary”

  1. Marko Vodenik says: Reply

    What can I say: another well-prepaired trip with a lot of beautiful sightseeing. Luckily you also had lovely weather (with some not-so) and adventures left-side riding on narrow roads. You experienced local food and drink. Sounds like a perfect (but short) visit to a beautiful country. It is hard to pick more attractions in so a short time, especially with a small child.
    Maybe in the next posts, you can also include a basic map, so we (who didn’t visit that country yet) should get a better perspective of the trip.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. Thank you! That’s a good idea. I will add the map as I usually do. 🙂

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