Have you ever experienced the freedom of the open road? Seeing everything by car is the only true way to explore gorgeous Ireland.
Let me start by saying though, if you are not familiar with UK driving i.e. tiny cars, abnormally small winding roads, sometimes inclement weather, on the opposite side of the street while on the opposite side of the vehicle, then you need to be prepared because it is not for the faint of heart.
But if you are an adventurer and experience seeker like myself who loves to live a little bit dangerously and by your own rules then there is indeed no other way!
So, join me in where to go and what to see as you drive around Ireland in only 6 Days!
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
Day 1 DUBLIN
DAY 2 CLIFFS OF MOHER
DAY 3 KILLARNEY
DAY 4 THE RING OF KERRY
DAY 5 BLARNEY CASTLE
DAY 6 DUBLIN
Day 1- Start your adventure in Dublin
Dublin is the most popular tourist city in all of Ireland with a major airport it is a great place to begin and end your road trip.
Be sure to stay as many nights as you would like at the beginning or the end of your trip so you can enjoy the many tourist attractions like a few of my favorites; the Guinness Brewery, where you can catch a view and enjoy a scrumptious dark stout, even if you’re not a beer drinker like me, you will definitely love it!
Walk around Temple Bar and enjoy the musicians in the streets as well as yummy drinks and eats. Although you should get a good night’s rest, so you can start your early morning road trip.
Day 2- Doolin or Lahinch for Cliffs of Moher
Get up early! The driving time is about 3.5 hrs. I recommend staying in either Doolin or Lahinch. We got a late start the day we decided to go, from over drinking (don't make the same mistake). Then we incurred rain which made for a even more wild ride.
Doolin is North of the Cliffs of Moher and is a fun little town known for its music scene. Lahinch, south of cliffs, is some surfers dream and if you are wanting to make surfing the Atlantic part of your vacation this might be a better choice.
As for the highlight of the region you have the Cliffs of Moher. You can drive directly to the visitor's center to park your car and walk around, or you can nestle into your overnight accommodations and embark on more exciting modes of transportation.
From Doolin or Lahinch you can walk or bike to the cliffs. Obviously, be prepared with hiking boots and know the hike is about 2.5 hrs. one way (from Doolin that is) but absolutely gorgeous.
Whatever mode of transportation you choose you are bound to be blown away. The Cliffs of Moher to date is still one of the most beautiful places I have seen and deserves an entire day dedicated to that beauty.
When we finally arrived, we had beaten the rain and all the crowds. We got there right before dusk. The clouds parted for us as soon as we reached the top of the cliffs and it was so impactful that we cried.
I would suggest visiting the cliffs either earlier or later in the day so you too can miss the busloads of tourists. The Cliffs of Moher will be one of the highlights of your trip. I mean just look!
Day 3- Killarney and Bunratty Castle
After you’ve rested, we made our journey to Killarney, and there is plenty to see along the way.
I recommend making a pit stop about an hour into your drive at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, at the start of the day.
We got here early around 9am, had breakfast and quickly walked around. Don't linger too long because Killarney is a destination in itself. We could have easily spent the entire day exploring Killarney and Killarney National Park.
Killarney reminded me of all the Irish Folktales I heard as a child. We took a horse-drawn carriage (Jaunting Car) through Muckross and see the Muckross House and Gardens, we walked around tiny Leprechaun Trails. If you have time walk to Ross Castle and see Innisfallen Island.
You will be so taken by the magnetism in Killarney you won't ever want to leave. So like us, get here early and leave here late. The complete drive time to Killarney is 2.5 hrs. without stops. It's also a great location for another overnight stay.
Day 4- Drive the Ring of Kerry
Driving the Ring of Kerry can begin and end in Killarney. The actual driving time can be about 3.5 hrs, but you will be stopping A LOT along the way, so plan for a 6-8 hr day of driving and exploring.
It might sound like a lot but don't be worried that is the entire point of the Ring of Kerry. I have to be honest it was one of the most relaxing drives I've ever done. It was mesmerizing, and you will have no shortage of insane photo ops Along the way,
We saw viewpoints, Celtic ruins, castles, quaint villages and so much more. We stopped for coffee, lunch, candy, and a few times just to cry.
You can stay overnight somewhere along the Ring of Kerry, go back to Killarney for the night, or If you are feeling up to it, you can continue and make your way to Cork. We were so used to driving at this point we decided to head straight onto Cork. If you do that just be prepared for night driving.
The extra drive to Cork took us 1.30 hrs. But the bonus was we got to wake up there which meant 1 day driving free!
DAY 5- Cork for BLARNEY CASTLE
You might be thinking this is just another castle… Well, it's not.
The grounds of this castle are purely magical. When I was walking around the magnificent gardens and through giant garden "portals" it was literally like passing through the gateway to a different time, a time of fairies and witches of Princes and wizards.
Most people are excited to kiss the Blarney Stone which I think is a right of passage if you have made it this far, but honestly the true magic is in the exploration of its grounds, they will be etched in my memory forever.
After visiting The Castle we had plenty of time to walk around the quaint town of Blarney and talk to the locals, who quickly made us regret making full lip contact with the magical stone (do it anyway).
We enjoyed this peaceful magical day before we woke up to head back to Dublin. Believe me you won't want to go!
Day 6 - Rock of Cashel to Dublin
The drive back to Dublin is about 3 hrs. Want a medieval break on your venture back?
The Rock of Cashel is a really unique and actually interesting site and its only 1.5 hrs. outside of Cork. It is a fun way to break up the trip. The panoramic views are insane, but the history is even more alluring.
After your visit jump back in your car to finish the last leg of your adventure to Dublin only 2 hrs more to your destination.
My cousin and I loved this Ireland road trip. The scenery along the Irish countryside was some of my favorite. There way no limit to the amount of stuff you may pull over and see along the way. Ireland will not disappoint.
The stops on this itinerary were among my favorites but each city and village had a culture that can consume you. If you have more time then this take the road trip at your leisure. There is no shortage of welcoming faces and nice to sleep places along the way.
If you decide to take the journey or if you already have please connect with us and let us know what sites and places were your fave. We cant wait for you to experience Ireland in all of it glory!