7 days in Ireland – Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

7 Days in Ireland Itinerary

7 days in Ireland – Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

  • Day 1: Dublin
  • Day 2: Wicklow – Powerscourt, Sally Gap, Lough Tay, Wicklow, Glendalough
  • Day 3: Kilkenny – St. Canice’s, Medieval Mile, Kilkenny Castle, Smithwicks
  • Day 4: Wexford -New Ross, Dunbrody Famine Ship
  • Day 5: Waterford City – the Viking Triangle
  • Day 6: Hook Head Peninsula -Dunbrody Abbey, Dungarvon, Loftus Hall
  • Day 7: Kildare and the Rock of Dunamase

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Our 7 days in Ireland itinerary 

An Ireland Road Trip through Dublin, Wicklow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Kildare and back to Dublin. Ireland is definitely not a country you can see in 7 days. This 7-day road trip Ireland explores the southeastern part of the country. From Dublin through the mountains of Wicklow down to the Irish coast and back up to Dublin you will see many of the places you may have read about in guide books. 

Below, you’ll find a full guide to the Ireland Road Trip route that contains:

  • Things to do
  • Where to stay
  • Where to eat and drink
  • A map of the route

Day 1 – Dublin

If you are arriving from N. America you will probably be on a night flight which means you will land early in the morning at Dublin Airport.

You will need to rent a car to be able to see the best of Ireland. You can use public transport but it becomes very difficult to get around as many places are not served by transport and can add hours to your trips.

You can rent a car at the airport but it probably isn’t going to be needed in the City so I would suggest contacting My Irish Cousin who provide rentals and can bring the car to your hotel in the City or arrange a pick-up location that works for you.

Renting a car in Ireland is a pain in the ass because of the cost and the insurance rules. I strongly recommend that you take all the insurances that are offered simply for your peace of mind.

How to get to Dublin from the airport

Taxi’s to Dublin City Centre

Dublin Airport your Kilkenny to Waterford Itinerary

Uber is NOT available in Dublin but you can use the My Taxi app to get a taxi to where you have booked your accommodation. This will be somewhat expensive though at around €30 Euros. So if you don’t want to spend that kind of money and save it for your adventures in Dublin take the local bus.

I recommend picking up a Leap Visitor Card at the airport. The best way to get around on your first day in Dublin. 

The Leap Card will allow you to use the Dublin buses and the trams in Dublin. A Leap Card can be bought at the Airport or at some selected DART lines throughout the City. You can also purchase top-ups for your Leap card through the Android or Apple apps on your phone. The cost for an adult Leap card is 24 hours €10.00 or a 3 day (72 hours) €19.50.

Express Public Buses Airlink

Get Tickets: Airlink Express: Dublin Airport to Dublin’s City Center

The Airlink Express route 747 will get you to the centre of town and you have a few stops to choose from. So pick the one closest to your hotel and grab the Airlink. The cost of the Airlink is €6 one-way for adults. These buses run every 15 minutes or so and go to Dublin’s main bus station Busaras, then to O’Connell Street in the city centre and finally to Heuston, one of Dublin’s main train stations. See the official Airlink timetable. You can catch the Airlink bus just outside Terminal 1 Arrivals level. Look for the big green buses which will be to the left of the Arrivals exit. You can use your Leap Card on the Airlink Express.

Express private coach (Aircoach)

Aircoach is a privately-operated, 24-hour coach service that takes folks from the airport to the city centre. The Aircoach that goes to Dublin city centre is number 700. The Aircoach departs every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time of day. The Aircoach stops just outside Terminal 1 arrivals level and outside the main door of Terminal 2 departures level.  The adult fare from the airport to Dublin city centre (O’Connell Street) with the Aircoach is €7

Public bus (Dublin Bus)

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

The Dublin Buses are easy to recognise they are double-decker yellow with blue stripes. The main bus to Dublin is #41. This bus stops at Terminal 1, usually every 10 minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes non-peak hours. with yellow with blue strips along on the bottom, although sometimes Dublin Buses are used to display advertising, usually on the rear.

O’Connell Street is the main stop from there you can find your hotel or accommodations. Make sure you get the 41 bus that is marked Lwr Abbey Street via Aerfort. Keep in mind you must pay cash on the buses the driver cannot give change so pick some up when you hit the ATM.

There is another Dublin Bus that comes to the airport and this is #16. This route stops in the city centre (O’Connell Street) then crosses the River Liffey and continues through the southside suburbs. If you get this bus make sure you ask the driver to let you off on O’Connell street. You can catch the Dublin bus just outside Terminal 1 Arrivals the cost will be €3.30 and remember the exact coins will be needed.

What to see in Ireland in 7 days

Day 1 – Dublin

You are probably more than aware that Dublin has a host of activities and sites you may want to see. If you have your Leap card handy then you are well on your way. Dublin is also a very walkable city so I would suggest picking 4 or 5 “must-sees” and then figuring out your route.

Where to stay in Dublin

Let’s talk practicalities obviously if you land in Dublin you are going to want to make sure your accommodation is booked before you get there and if you arrive at the airport with some luggage you will want to head to your hotel or hostel and dump that bag. All these recommendations can be found on booking dot com. Most hotels will also allow you to drop your bags before check-in time so you aren’t dragging them around with you.

So depending on your budget so I recommend these hostels for those on a budget.

According to the Telegraph, these are the top budget hotels in Dublin

Where to eat in Dublin

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Since you are landing early in the morning and may have only had a chance to grab a coffee at the airport I suggest dropping the luggage and heading for breakfast. Having a full Irish will get you started on your day with plenty of fuel.

These are the top breakfast places in Dublin:

Cornucopia,  19-20 Wicklow Street

One of the few Dublin’s vegetarian/vegan restaurants, Cornucopia has a delicious breakfast with everything freshly made on-site, right down to mouth-watering homemade vegetarian sausages, hash browns and even the baked beans!  

Bewley’s Café,  Grafton Street

Bewleys restaurant on Grafton Street 7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Bewley’s Grafton Street is back after a few years of closure the iconic restaurant is back with a vengeance. Serving a selection of hot breakfasts and its favourite coffee and tea you can enjoy their full Irish or fresh baked goods to break your fast.

Brother Hubbard, Capel Street
A Middle Eastern-influenced cafe this is where to get Menemen that Turkish brunch staple of creamy eggs or some fabulous Cinnamon buns.

Two Pups, Francis Street

 Some of the best coffee in Dublin and a mainly vegetarian menu with locally grown produce they offer a really nice alternative to the loaded greasy spoon breakfasts. Apparently their French toast is a thing of beauty.

 Once your belly is full and you have been refreshed with a great cup of coffee or tea it’s time to explore Dublin. Now since you really only have a day and you will probably be a little bagged from your travelling I’m going to suggest a few things that you might enjoy.

Molly Malone statue in Dublin

I would suggest perhaps having your breakfast in Bewley’s as it is right in the heart of Grafton Street (sadly now Bewley’s is closed) where you can enjoy some of Dublin’s famous shops and listen to an amazing array of buskers. From Grafton Street it’s a short walk to the famous Molly Malone statue (otherwise known as the “tart with the cart” and from there you can head to Trinity College.

Trinity College and the Book of Kells

Trinity Library 7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

The great book has been refurbished this year and when it opens again you will see 2 pages of the book, but take the time and effort to visit as the Long Library as it is incredible. TIP book your tickets online before you go as this place gets booked up incredibly fast.

 From Trinity, you can then head to the famous Ha-Penny Bridge and cross over the Liffey to O’Connell Street.

GPO Witness History Museum O’Connell Street

Without knowing a countries history you can never know its people. The GPO or General Post Office was the site of the 1916 Irish Revolution and this Museum is simply amazing. It is an immersive, interactive and engaging experience of modern Irish history from the late 19th century to modern times with particular emphasis on the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Civil War and the peace process in Northern Ireland. Book your tickets online for a 10% discount.

At this juncture, I can well imagine you need a bit of a sit-down and a great cup of tea or coffee. I recommend two places the first being the GPO Cafe which is upstairs from the exhibit you get some lovely views of the main street and some lovely snacks and drinks. The second is The Art of Coffee which is in the GPO Arcade on Henry Street which is about a two-minute walk from the GPO.

If you are feeling somewhat refreshed from your coffee break then take a stroll down O’Connell street and check out some public art like the “floozy in the Jacuzzi” or the “stiletto in the Ghetto” and pick up some of those Irish gifts you need to take home with you.

At this point, I will bet you are exhausted and need to get back to your hotel to have a rest before dinner. My suggestion is to grab a taxi or if your hotel is a short distance and easy to walk go for it.

After your rest, you may want to head to a traditional pub for some great Irish music and entertainment and probably some dinner. There are two pubs that come highly recommended for both in Dublin.

The Brazen Head  Dating back to 1198, The Brazen Head is Irelands oldest pub and one of the best known for great food and cracking music and storytelling. The Brazen Head is a short walk from Christchurch Cathedral, The Guinness Storehouse and The Jameson Distillery and most hotels and hostels in Dublin.

famous pubs in Dublin O'Donoghue's for live music

O’Donoghue’s is a favourite haunt for Dubliners and the famous band The Dubliners and tourists from every corner of the world, who come to share the authentic character of one of Dublin’s oldest bars and to admire the artistry of real Irish musicians. They do serve soup and sandwiches so if it’s a light supper your after this would be perfect.

If you want something a little more interesting check out Hugo’s about 2 minutes from the pub it gets great reviews and friends tell me the service and food are superb.

For your next day’s adventure through Wicklow may I suggest either of these two for your night’s accommodation after you finish a long day of sightseeing.

Where to stay Glendalough and Wicklow

Located in Laragh just minutes from Glendalough The Trooperstown Wood Lodge is a luxury BnB affiliated with The Wicklow Heather Restaurant and they have a free shuttle from the restaurant ideal for an evening with a few glasses of wine or Guinness.

They also own the Heather House another fine BnB which has private chalets. Room pricing ranges from €90 per night as does the Trooperstown.

There’s also the Glendalough International Hostel which has both dorm rooms and private en-suite rooms and it’s also wheelchair accessible. Prices range from €37 a night.

Day 2: Wicklow (Powerscourt, Sally Gap, Lough Tay, Wicklow, Glendalough)

Once you are in your rental and headed out of Dublin to Powerscourt which is around a 45-minute drive depending on traffic. I suggest heading out before say 8 am and having breakfast at the Avoca cafe that is in the Powerscourt Manor before you spend a few hours exploring the incredible estate gardens.

Powerscourt view from the lake

Avoca is a mainstay in Ireland they began as a mill creating some of the most stunning wraps and woven items you can buy. From there they have bloomed into an amazing series of shops carrying all manner of items from great Irish baked goods and gourmet foods to the plates and cutlery to serve it with. There are Avoca recipe books, beautiful woven items, and some lovely unique Irish gifts to take home.

Located in County Wicklow and set within some of the most stunning views in the east of Ireland. Powerscourt was originally a 13th-century castle whose original owner was a de la Poer (anglicized as Power).

There is not much to see within the house itself as it burnt down many years ago and was restored as best as was possible. There are a number of shops upstairs and Tara’s Palace the Museum of Childhood which is well worth the entry fee as the dollhouses alone are magnificent. It also contains the largest collection of period dolls in Ireland.

the Japanese Garden at Powerscourt 7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

The Gardens at Powerscourt are the great attraction of the place. With stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain, they stretch over 47 acres and offer a breathtaking blend of formal gardens, statuary, fountains, lakes, Japanese gardens, a Pet Cemetery, the Pepperpot Tower, sweeping terraces, secret hollows and rambling walks.

Don’t forget to visit the Powerscourt Waterfalls which featured in the HBO epic drama The Vikings. There is an additional charge for the falls.

From Powerscourt head out towards the Sally Gap in the Wicklow Mountains – now this is a simple drive that takes around 25 minutes to get to the Gap and then about a 30-minute drive around the Gap with a few photo opps for some spectacular scenery.

Guinness Lake in the Wicklow Mountains 7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

The British Army built the road along The Sally Gap after the great rebellion of 1978. The goal was to allow the British Army to travel through the Wicklow mountains hunting rebels. The scenery in the Gap is absolutely jaw-dropping you will have views of the Liffey, the moors of the plateau, Kippure Mountain, Glenmacnass Waterfall and the Glengree VAlley.

The drive takes about an hour or two all in and will take you to Lough Tay or the Guinness Lake as it has become known. There’s a small rough carpark on the road and you can walk to see the outlook over the Lough. This is the Guinness Estate and is up for sale these days. This is the area where The Vikings was filmed for HBO and if you look closely you can picture Kattegat at the far right end of the Lough with the sandy beach. This view is absolutely breathtaking and well worth a good wander and some great Insta photos if that’s your thing.

Glendalough

From here you will head to Glendalough National Park these are jaw-droppingly beautiful. An area of outstanding natural beauty is it also home to one of the most important historic sites in Ireland. Lonely Planet Ireland calls Glendalough “truly one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and a highlight of any trip to the island.”

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Within the Glendalough National Park are the remains of an early Christian monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. It is easy to get to by car and there are many tours that will take you to the area as well. There is no bus service into the park apart from the tourist tours.

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Glendalough has 9 marked walks from easy to difficult for walkers. The Visitor Centre in Glendalough sells a Trail Guide for only €0.50. The maps list the nine routes with the shortest distance being a few kilometres and the longest 11 kilometres.

Before you tackle any of the Glendalough walks or visit St. Kevin’s Monastic ruins you may need a spot of lunch.  I would suggest the place in the area is the Wicklow Heather open from 8 am until 9 pm they serve a great coffee and if you happen to be there on Sunday take advantage of the amazing Sunday lunch.

Day 3 – Kilkenny  

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary Kilkenny Castle

 Heading out to Kilkenny and its famous medieval mile you will find plenty of parking in Kilkenny. There is a parking lot just behind the Medieval Mile where the Dunne’s Store is. It is a paid parking lot but it only costs a few euros. This is located smack dab in the centre of Kilkenny with a short walk through to the mile. If you head right you can end up at St. Canice’s and if you head left at Kilkenny Castle.

If you are mobility challenged and can’t face those longish walks there is a little shuttle train/bus that you can take.  At a cost of €8 Euros for adults, this is a great way to get around Kilkenny. This small road train does tours all around the city starting off at Kilkenny Castle and does a 30-minute tour of the Medieval Kilkenny.

view of the Nore river in Kilkenny

Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands the crossing on the River Nore and dominates the ‘High Town’ of Kilkenny City.  Kilkenny Castle is a complex structure that has evolved over 8 centuries and contains many architectural styles.  The cost to enter the castle is  €8 and you can wander the castle to your heart’s content.

St. Canice stained glass window

St. Canice’s at the other end of the Medieval Mile this cathedral was built in 1285 on the site of the original 6th century Church of St. Canice. It is a stunning place to see and if the organist is playing it is truly a spiritual moment. If you fancy it you can climb the Norman Tower outside the cathedral and see some outstanding views of Kilkenny from its heights. This is the only climbable tower in Ireland. The cost of tickets to the cathedral and the tower are a mere €7 euros.

The Medieval Mile Museum is located on the 13th-century site of St Mary’s church and graveyard and holds a treasure chest of artefacts from over 800 years of history.

Butter Slip Alley is a tiny dark walkway that connects the High Street to the Low Street, now known as St Kieran’s Street. The narrow medieval cobblestone alley was built in 1616 and was home to butter vendors.

Kytelers Medieval mile Kilkenny

If you need a break for lunch at this time may I suggest Kyteler’s Inn that sits in the middle of the Medieval Mile not only is chock full of history (including witch tales) it has a great menu available.

After your lunch, you should head to the Smithwick’s Brewery. This was founded in 1710 by John Smithwick. The location was previously a Franciscan Abbey where monks were brewing ale from the 14th century. The tour of the brewery lasts around an hour and costs €13.00 for an adult.

For dinner may I suggest one of the following:

For great Italian food try Ristorante Rinuccini. Located in the heart of the city and easy to find this is a family-run restaurant that is fine dining and the food is fabulous. 

Anocht offers a unique fine-dining experience in the Kilkenny Design Centre. Using fresh local ingredients you can find the best of Ireland’s Ancient East on your plate in stunning surroundings. The windows overlook Kilkenny Castle and the courtyard that was used to train the Earl of Ormonde’s horses.

Where to stay in Kilkenny

When you finish up at the Smithwick’s, head to your accommodation and get checked in before dinner.

Here are some recommendations on where to stay in Kilkenny and just outside the City.

Central hotels

Outside the City

If you have a large group I suggest something like Annamult House which can sleep up to 25 It is a luxurious 18th-century manor house in Bennettsbridge a very short drive from the centre of the City.

Day 4 Headed to Wexford County

Once you’ve had your breakfast which is usually included in your hotel price or BnB jump in the car and head towards Wexford. It is signposted out of Kilkenny and not difficult to find the drive will take you around 1 hour 15 minutes so I suggest you get going early right after breakfast.

Duisk Abbey

Make a quick stop in Graiguenamanagh where you can stop by Duiske Abbey. This is not a ruin as such but a Cathedral built upon the ancient grounds of an Abbey built around 1204. In the Cathedral, you can still see the medieval tile flooring and if you head to the back of this great church you will see a small sign pointing to the original entrance of the Abbey Church. Here you will find an ancient tomb of a knight and the original medieval doorway that was used to enter the church.

When you reach New Ross you should stop and see the Dunbrody Famine Ship.

The Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience is an authentic reproduction of a 1840s emigrant vessel located in the town of New Ross. Onboard you will be shown what the folks fleeing the famine had to endure to cross the Atlantic for the new world. Again, it is accessible and is close to Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford itself. They also have a café on board for visitors who want to relax and enjoy a bite to eat after their guided tour. It may be an idea to stop in New Ross and grab some lunch before you head out to Johnstown Castle.

Dunbrody
©Irish Defence Forces Creative Commons

From the Dunbrody Famine Ship, you head towards Johnstown Castle and Gardens which is situated just outside of Wexford City. The castle was built was the Esmonde family in 1169. You can take a guided tour of the Castle, the incredible grounds and the agricultural Museum for Adult €13.

Your tour will take from 2-4 hours depending on whether or not you take a long walk around the lake and gardens.

Johnston Castle

From Johnstown Castle, I suggest heading to Tintern Abbey which is about a 30-minute drive.

 The abbey takes its name from Tintern in Wales and was founded by the Earl of Pembroke around 1200.

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Legends say that when the Earl of Pembroke encountered a life-threatening storm during a sea voyage, he vowed to establish an abbey if he reached land safely. The Abbey was inhabited by Cistercian monks from a larger abbey at Tintern, Wales, of which the Earl was also a patron.

The Abbey is open from April to the end of October for guided tours and there is a tearoom, free parking and the cost is Adult: €4.00.

By this time you are probably exhausted from all that sightseeing and Church wandering and there is so much more to see. I’m going to recommend heading back to New Ross and spending the night there before heading out to Waterford.

It may seem counterintuitive but with the channels in from the sea and water to cross the best way to get around timewise is to head back to New Ross and spend the night. From New Ross the next day you will head to Waterford to spend the day.

Right, get up early indulge in a good breakfast at your hotel and head out to Waterford. This drive will take you around 30 minutes or so.

Day 5 Waterford

Wandering the Viking Triangle in the oldest city in Ireland Waterford. There is a lot to see in Waterford so get your walking shoes on and let’s go.

REginald's Tower Waterford

Waterford was founded by the Vikings around 1000 years ago and today it boasts the largest collection of medieval walls and defensive towers.

Get your bearings from your hotel and head out towards Reginald’s Triangle. Now if you happen to have stayed outside the city or at a distance from the centre of town don’t worry there is parking on the Quay and lots of it and you will easily see Reginald’s Tower from there.

viking sword

Reginald’s Tower is found at the highest point of the Viking Triangle, you can’t miss it as there is usually a Viking Boat just in front of the Tower. Inside you will find Ireland’s most comprehensive Viking exhibition that includes grave finds from a Warrior’s tomb. You can see the Waterford Kite Brooch, weapons and much more.

From Reginald’s Tower stroll out and through the Viking triangle which continues right behind the Tower. Here you will find the outstanding Medieval Museum.  It is Ireland’s only purpose-built medieval museum and the only building on the island to incorporate two medieval chambers, the 13th-century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault.

Don’t miss the stunning Heavens’ Embroidered Cloths, Waterford’s cloth-of-gold 15th-century vestments.

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

The Museum is completely wheelchair accessible and has a gift shop and a tea room where you can rest for a while. You can buy a combined Museums pass, which is great value for €15 and this includes the Medieval Museum and the Georgian residence of the Bishop’s Palace.

If you are into Waterford Crystal you can head next door to the House of Waterford Crystal to take a factory tour. You will see craftsmen at work blowing glass and creating those incredible designs used by Waterford. However a tip here Waterford is no longer made in Ireland at all it is outsourced to Eastern Europe where the artisans are paid minimally for these stunning creations. A little disappointing to say the least. Adult tickets are €13.05 online.

interior Christchurch Cathedral Waterford

Behind these Museums, you can tour Christchurch Cathedral. It may not look like much from the outside but inside it is chocolate-box pretty and it is entry by donation.

From Christchurch, you can wander back through the Viking Triangle and if you of a mind take the World’s first virtual reality King of the Vikings experience.

The king of the Vikings virtual reality experience is the first of its kind in the world. The adventure takes place in a reconstructed Viking house and seamlessly blends cutting edge technology with ancient Viking house building techniques. Rumour has it that this is a stonking experience and everyone we spoke to just loved it.

Each experience lasts 30 minutes. Price for the 2019 season is only €5.00 for an under 12, and €10.00 for an adult.

King of the Vikings

Don’t forget to get some photos of the world’s longest wooden sword in place at the heart of the Viking Triangle.

The sculpture by John Hayes and James Doyle is 23 metres long and commemorates the 1100 anniversary of Reginald, King of Waterford becoming King of York (England) in 918.

If you fancy a great place to grab lunch head to Ardkeen near Waterford Hospital and hit up Grow HQ. This one’s a little off the wall as its a Grow it Yourself social enterprise, with a cooking school and cafe but it makes for a fabulous lunch break. A beautiful “grow it yourself” idea with an amazing Cafe you need to get lunch here you won’t regret it. As they say on the website  “Mostly the distance from plot to the plate is about 112 steps. Richard and the garden team grow it, JB and kitchen team cook it, and our lovely customers eat it!” 

 That brings this day to a wrap so head back to your hotel for a bit of a rest before you head out to dinner. These are my recommendations for dinner in Waterford.

La Boheme at 2 George Street is a foodies delight, superb local ingredients prepared and cooked by a French-trained Chef who won tons of awards. I cannot recommend this place enough.

Fancy a little live music and some hopping bars check out The Reg right behind the Tower. The Reg houses a Restaurant, Roof Terrace, Bar and Nightclub including 5 separate bars. Each bar has its own unique character and offering with over 80 whiskeys sourced locally and further afield, 20 kinds of gin, 30 craft beers and a huge variety of cocktails.

Day 6 exploring the Hook Head Peninsula and Ireland’s most haunted house

It takes around an hour or so to do the drive to the Hook Head Lighthouse and see the stunning coastline of this area. On your way make a stop at Dunbrody Abbey. 1st May to 30th September

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Dunbrody is a ruined Cistercian Abbey founded in 1170 on the instructions of Strongbow, after the Norman invasion of Ireland. Herve de Montmorency (Strongbow’s uncle) made a grant of the lands to the monks of Bildewas in Shropshire (England), on condition that they should build an Abbey with a Sanctuary Abbey for anyone who has committed a crime.

Next to the Abbey is Dunbrody Castle, which contains an incredible maze created from 1500 yew trees. On the outside of the maze is a pitch and putt (perfect for the kids). Keep in mind though the Abbey and the Castle are only open from May 1st until the end of September. There is a lovely little Craft Shop that houses a small museum with the Dunbrody Castle Doll’s House at its centre.

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

During your stop here you can visit the Tearooms and bakery that offers fresh cakes, baked goods, coffee, tea and light lunches.

Next stop from the Abbey is Duncannon Fort which is a bastioned fortress perched on the side of the stunning Hook Peninsula. Over its 450 year history, the fort contains some fascinating tales of battles and invasions. Not only that but there are some stunning views of the Waterford Estuary. There are guided tours available from 1st June to the 31st of August. An adult entry fee is €6.

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Next stop Ireland’s most haunted house Loftus Hall. The Hall stands stark and lonely on the wild Hook Peninsula very close to the Hook Lighthouse. The Hall was built in the mid-1300s during the time of the great plague. If you are interested and have a spare 2.5 million handy you may just want to buy Loftus Hall.

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

Local legend says that the mansion is haunted by both the devil and by the ghost of a young woman. The young woman it is said was the daughter of the Hall and during a game of cards one night the stranger they had given shelter to during the storm was seen by her to have cloven hooves for feet. Upon spotting this the stranger rose from the table and flew out of the ceiling of the Hall. The young lady was sent into a state of shock and died shortly after to haunt the Hall forever.

Other tales say that the young lady was pregnant out of wedlock and her parents locked her up in the Hall to save public embarrassment. Either way, the locals say that a tiny skeleton was found in the walls of the Tapestry room and according to visitors this room is noticeably colder than the rest of the house. This is also the room where the card reputedly took place, you can still see the hole in the ceiling where the devil escaped.

There is a guided tour of the Mansion during the season that costs around €13, and if you are feeling particularly brave you can experience an adult-only lockdown in the house for the evening for around €70.

From the Hall, you now head towards the Hook Head Lighthouse which is one of the oldest operational lighthouses not only in Ireland but in the world. A lighthouse has stood on this spot for over 800 years and a beacon was first lit to guide ships into Wexford harbour in 500 Ad.

Hookhead Lighthouse Waterford

The Lighthouse is open year-round and there is a visitors centre and a little cafe inside. You may need to stop here for a bowl of warming chowder and a cup of tea if the winds are blowing before you head up the steps in the Lighthouse.

At this point, your trip is sadly near its end and you probably have to head back towards Dublin to catch your flight home on the 7th day.

Day 7 Kildare and the Rock of Dunamase

Since you probably want to stay overnight perhaps a stop in Kildare and a hotel or BnB there where you can have a rest and a lovely breakfast. County Kildare is west of Ireland’s capital, Dublin and it is considered horse breeding central. Famous for the Irish National Stud farm, the Horse Museum and the Curragh Racecourse – if you love horses Kildare is the place to go.

The Irish National Stud & Gardens in Co. Kildare is located about an hours drive from Dublin. The Stud celebrates Ireland’s love of horses and horse breeding. If you get lucky the stables may be open to seeing the horses up close and in the spring during foaling time you may see a baby future race winner. 

7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

You can wander the incredible Japanese Gardens or check out the Horse Museum at the National Stud.

Before you head up to Dublin to catch your flight you may find time to visit the famous Rock of Dunamase on your way. The Rock will only take around an hour to climb up to the top for some outstanding countryside views. This craggy limestone outcrop rises dramatically out of the plains just east of Portlaoise.

the Rock of Dunamase

For the early settlers in the area if offered a superb natural defence with sweeping views right across the country. It was even a wedding gift from the King of Leinster who granted the castle as part of the dowry for his daughter Aoife when she married the legendary Norman warrior Strongbow in 1170.

views from the Rock of Dunamase

From the Rock, it’s another hour to Dublin airport where you will probably be staying before you leave Ireland. This should give you enough time to get to your hotel for the night and then catch your flight home during the day.

I’m sure at this point you are exhausted and planning your next Irish trip to see more of this beautiful country. Stay tuned for more itineraries to explore the whole country.

If you would like a downloadable PDF of this itinerary simply click here

See you next time.

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7 days in Ireland - Ultimate Dublin to Waterford Itinerary

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