14 days in Ireland – the ultimate road trip Itinerary
This two weeks in Ireland road trip includes Northern Ireland and some of the sites that should be on your bucket list. This 14-day Irish road trip itinerary can start from where ever you fly into. I’ve written it so that if you fly into Shannon you can start from there, Dublin and Belfast the same. Simply follow the 14 days in Ireland itinerary from the point where you land and you are on your way to experience magical Ireland.
Planning the perfect 14 days in Ireland road trip itinerary does not have to be stressful or overwhelming. In fact the more you relax on your Irish road trip the better it will be.
Hubs and I are originally from Ireland (we got our Irish passports) and left when we were kids. We came back to housesit around 5 years ago and decided to make our home in Ireland once more. We have been able to visit the corners of Ireland that tourists rarely get to see when we head out on our Irish road trips.
- 14 days in Ireland – the ultimate road trip Itinerary
- 14 days in Ireland road trip
- The perfect two-week road trip in Ireland
- Day 1. Spending time in Dublin
- Day 2. Newgrange and Boyne Valley
- Day 3. Belfast
- Day 4. Causeway Coast
- Day 5. Derry (Londonderry)
- Day 6. Donegal – It’s different up here
- Day 7. Sligo – the most underrated County in Ireland
- Day 8. Mayo – on the Wild Atlantic Way
- Day 9. Galway City – music town
- Day 10. Cliffs of Moher & Bunratty County Clare
- Day 11 – Dingle Peninsula Drive
- Day 12 Ring of Kerry and Skellig Michael
- Day 13 Blarney Castle
- Day 13 – 14 Kilkenny – Medieval mile
We have travelled the length of Ireland and stayed all over the country both North and in the Republic, we currently make our home in Donegal. This is an incredibly diverse country and taking a two-week road trip around Ireland no matter how long or how short we can guarantee you will want to return to the Emerald Isle.
This Ireland itinerary is pretty comprehensive but trust me it will be exhausting as there is just so much to see and you will be pulling over your car endlessly just to capture those phenomenal Irish scenic moments.
I have to add here that many Canadians and Americans I know think flying to Ireland is expensive, trust us it isn’t really if you choose to come off-season as in Spring or Fall flights are much cheaper. They get even cheaper if you choose January (after New Year) and into April. Our son booked a flight through Skyscanner that cost less than $500 Canadian for mid-January.
If you are flying in from North America you will probably take an overnight flight and end up at your destination airport very early in the morning. Don’t worry about your luggage as your hotel will allow you to store it before you can check in.
14 days in Ireland road trip
Getting from the Airport to Dublin
For this Irish Road trip, you are going to need a car to be able to drive yourself. 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 provides rentals and can bring the car to your hotel in the City or arrange a pick-up location that works for you. Touring Ireland by car is the best way to see not only the major sites but things off the beaten path.
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.
Taxi to Dublin City Centre
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. 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. Even if you are only spending a day or two in Dublin this will work out much cheaper for you.
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 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
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.
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
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.
The perfect two-week road trip in Ireland
Day 1. Spending time in Dublin
You are probably more than aware that Dublin has a host of activities and sites you may want to see. Dublin is a very walkable city so I would suggest picking 4 or 5 “must-sees” and then figuring out your route.
There are many things to do in Dublin but it is an easy city to walk around. Since you will probably be somewhat jet-lagged if you flew overnight I’m going to keep this part of the itinerary a little simple. Now you could get a Dublin Pass for your day in the City that would cost you around €62 for an adult pass. Now that will get you into over 30 Dublin attractions and includes the Hop on Hop off bus tour which is very handy to learn the layout of the city.
If you do get the Ireland Heritage Pass here are the sites I recommend.
- Hop on Hop Off bus pass
- Jameson’s Distillery Tour or Guinness Storehouse
- Glasnevin Cemetery and the Gravediggers pub
- Epic Museum
- GPO Witness History
The pass also includes entry to other great Dublin attractions such as the James Joyce Centre, The Little Museum of Dublin, Christchurch Cathedral and Dublin Zoo for example. You can sort of pick and choose the sites that are on your must-see list.
If you don’t want to see all the usual suspects then perhaps the off the beaten path sites are for you. I would recommend booking an evening’s meal and entertainment at the Brazen Head. Dating back to 1198, The Brazen Head is Ireland’s oldest pub and one of the best known for great food, cracking music and storytelling. The Brazen Head is a short walk from Christchurch Cathedral, The Guinness Storehouse The Jameson Distillery and most hotels and hostels in Dublin.
At this point, it’s probably time to head to bed and get rid of that jet lag. The next morning your hotel will probably provide a full Irish breakfast and you can have My Irish Cousin deliver your car and head out on your two weeks in Ireland journey.
Day 2. Newgrange and Boyne Valley
Newgrange is about a 45-minute drive from Dublin, depending on traffic. Newgrange is a deeply historic site in County Meath where countless ancient artefacts and tombs are located. I would expect to spend around 2 hours touring the site.
At Newgrange, you park your vehicle and then walk to the Visitor’s Centre which has a cafe and a small museum. At the Centre, you will board a shuttle bus to the site itself. At the site, you will be given a brilliant tour by a knowledgeable guide who will demonstrate how the great tomb appears during the solstice.
From Newgrange, you can take a short drive to the Battle of the Boyne which commemorates the biggest battle in the history of Ireland that took place in 1690.
So now we head up to N. Ireland, there is no border to cross and no paperwork required just remember to tell your car rental company that you are driving into and through N. Ireland.
To get to N. Ireland google directions through Carlingford which is one of the prettiest villages in Ireland and there is a ferry across the water to N. Ireland where you will land after a 10-minute boat ride in Kilkeel. The boat ride will cost around €12 for all passengers and the vehicle.
Before you board the ferry makes a stop in Carlingford where you will find some great restaurants including Michelin starred ones serving some phenomenal seafood chowders with fish caught fresh that day.
You will pass through the Mourne Mountains which offer some incredible scenic vistas across County Down. So take a moment to stop on your way to Belfast for some brilliant photos to take home with you.
Day 3. Belfast
Don’t be panicked about driving into Belfast it’s a pretty small city and the traffic isn’t any worse than any other small town in N. America. Do make sure your hotel or accommodation has parking though or make sure you can find the parking which is often not necessarily near the actual building.
Belfast is a small city again like Dublin very walkable and easy to get around. I recommend the following places to see when in Belfast.
1 St. George’s Market is one of my favourite places in Belfast to just hang out, grab some groceries or simply head there for breakfast. You will find something for everyone here. They are only open Friday through to Sunday with a different group of vendors each day.
2 The Titanic Exhibition is almost across the river from St. George’s Market. If you are really into boats and exhibits you will love this place. I have to be honest here I found it very pricy given that there is virtually nothing of the Titanic still around so the exhibits are mainly maps, charts, architectural type drawings and interactive displays. But having said that practically every tourist I know who goes on the tour loved it.
The Titanic Experience is a self-guided experience through 9 interactive galleries that explore the full Titanic story (approx. 1hr 45 mins), and admission to SS Nomadic (approx. 30-40mins). Book your tickets in advance to avoid queues! The online cost is £19.00 for adults and for children is £8.50.
3 The Europa and the Crown Pub are across the road from each other in central Belfast. The Europa has an interesting history of being the most bombed hotel in Europe during the Troubles. It’s been rebuilt and renovated many times but it’s a good central place to stay in Belfast.
4 The Crown Liquor Saloon was once regarded as one of the mightiest Victorian gin palaces in the British Isles. The Crown hasn’t changed since it was built. There are ten snugs that were built during the Victorian era to provide privacy for some of the pub’s customers. Within each sung is the original metal plates for striking matches and the antique bell system for summoning staff.
The Crown is decorated with intricate tiling, beautifully carved woodwork and spectacular stained glass.
5 A Black Taxi Tour is an absolute must in Belfast. The drivers are witty and skilled in Irish banter and slang and unbiased in their commentary. The tour will take in all areas that were targets and centres for The Trouble which hit Belfast particularly hard.
Belfast will keep you busy for the day and I would say in the evening treat yourself to a fabulous meal in the Cathedral Quarter at the Merchant Hotel.
Day 4. Causeway Coast
Next morning bright and early you should start on your way to the Causeway Coast part of your trip. Your breakfast will be served up at your BnB or hotel so you are well prepared for today’s journey.
Heading out of Belfast you can choose a couple of different directions. If you plan on doing the entire Causeway Coast you may want to start at Carrickfergus where you can tour the Carrickfergus Castle.
If not follow the signs or your Google maps to head towards Cushendall. Gleneamon sweeps down to the picturesque village of Cushendall which is the heart of the Glen. This area is known for its spectacular waterfalls and stunning walks. The 9 Glens of Antrim are worth a stop as they are one of the most stunningly beautiful areas in N. Ireland.
You’ve probably seen those tunnels carved into the solid rock faces on the Causeway Coast. Cushendall is also, where the coast road was widened years ago and you will see the Red Arch that sits below Red Bay Castle.
From Cushendall you will head to Cushendun which is famous for being the place where the Game of Thrones filmed Melisandre’s shadow baby scenes.
Continuing down the Coast Road follow the signs to Ballycastle this drive will take at least an hour from Belfast but count on about 2 hours because guaranteed you will need to stop and take advantage of the many beautiful photo opps.
If you have some extra time and are looking to find some puffins why not take the ferry to Rathlin Island when you are in Ballycastle. The cost of the ferry is around £12.00 return and remember to book the fast ferry. When you get to Rathlin you can take the Puffin bus for £5.00 return. Count on spending at least 3 hours here.
Carrick-a-Rede that infamous swaying rope bridge is only about 10 minutes from Ballycastle. This is a must-do on many folks’ bucket lists when they come to Ireland.
Keep in mind that the walk to the bridge itself is around 2 km and it’s pretty rough and uneven terrain so it can be very hard going depending on the weather. The cost of the walk across is £6.50 per person. You can see the bridge from the sea if you take one of the fabulous boat trips around the Causeway Coast.
There is a good-sized parking lot for the bridge and there is a nice little gift shop and cafe in the area to keep warm in if someone in your party insists on walking the bridge. You will probably be at Carrick-a-rede for around 2-3 hours if you walk the bridge.
At this point, you are probably famished with all that exercise so head out to the Giant’s Causeway, which is only 15 minutes away and is one of the world’s most impressive UNESCO sites.
The sea washed basalt cliffs define N. Ireland’s Causeway Coast as nothing else does. Sitting at the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland the Giant’s Causeway is made up of 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.
TIP: Park behind the little pub and enjoy a lovely warming bowl of chowder or a pint before heading to the Giant’s Causeway. If you park here you won’t be subjected to the National Trust’s exorbitant £11.00 per person entry to the parking lot fee.
The Giant’s Causeway is FREE but the National Trust doesn’t like to tell you that and there has been a rather nasty controversy at the GC about this for years. The Visitor ticket cost gets you into the visitor’s centre that is all. If you wish to take the shuttle bus for £1 down to the viewing areas it is a separate fee and the shuttle runs every hour. You can catch the shuttle behind the Visitors Centre. If you park at the pub you will see the tunnel behind the visitor’s centre and as you pass through the tunnel you will see the shuttle bus stop.
Ten minutes away from the Causeway sits Dunluce Castle the atmospheric ruin perched high on the cliffs on the Causeway Coast. Access is limited for those with wheelchairs and the ruin itself is tricky but manageable if you have some mobility issues. There is a gift shop and a small visitors centre museum and the parking is free. Adults tickets are £5.00, Child/Seniors: £3.00.
On the way to the Dark Hedges, which will take you around 25 minutes driving you will pass through Bushmills where it is worthwhile to do a tour of this world-renowned distillery. Tickets for the tour cost around £9.00 and include a tasting, the tour itself takes about 40 minutes.
The Dark Hedges are another site that is on everyone’s bucket list thanks to the Game of Thrones and their use of the area for the King’s Road. Sadly the trees are nearing the end of their lives as they only live to be around 100 years and that has been reached. The hedges used to intertwine so dramatically years ago that you felt you were driving through a green tunnel it was magical.
The Dark Hedges are still magical but you can no longer drive down the road and must park in the hotel across the road from them.
In the summer months, the days are very long in this part of the world so it will still be light well into the evening as the sun sets around 10 pm. So you can still visit Mussenden Temple even when it is getting late. The drive from the Dark Hedges will take around 40 minutes or so.
The site has some outstanding views of the coastline and is free to visit. There is a fabulous little coffee shack called Wee Al’s, and yes he is Scottish, that serves some of the best coffee in Ireland.
From Mussenden head down to Derry or Londonderry as you prefer this will take you about an hour. I recommend staying overnight in Derry so you can appreciate the city the next day.
Day 5. Derry (Londonderry)
I highly recommend a taxi tour around Derry, we took one with Adrian and it was the best tour I have ever been on. The tour takes you around the Bogside where the infamous Bloody Sunday event took place. Our driver was born and raised in Bogside and showed us sights we never expected to see. His commentary was unbiased and provided us with deep insights into both the Troubles and Irish culture.
I would recommend spending the day in Derry as you are probably pretty tired from your Causeway Coast Tour and the next day you can head out to Donegal.
Day 6. Donegal – It’s different up here
Donegal is a huge County and there is just no way to see all of it in a day. So I recommend heading from Derry to Glenveagh Castle and National Park where you can spend a couple of hours touring the magnificent castle and gardens. This drive will take around an hour from Derry. From here you will see Mount Errigal and some stunning views of the interior of Donegal. There is a small cafe and gift shop if you need to stop for some sustenance.
From Glenveagh your next stop will be the Cliffs of Slieve League. This drive takes an hour from Glenveagh along the Wild Atlantic Way where the scenery will be breathtaking. I highly recommend a drive through Glencolmcille and if you get a chance a visit to the Folk Village. Glencolmcille is an area of outstanding beauty, the raw waves of the Atlantic crash on some magnificent beaches and the hills around the area are often bathed in a golden glow even when raining.
From Glencolmcille head towards the Cliffs of Slieve League, that’s about a 20 drive. When you reach the Slieve League, depending on the time of year you will find the visitors centre and a shuttle bus to take you up to the Cliffs. If you feel like a good 2km plus hike park in the lot below the sheep gate and hike to your heart’s content.
If you can’t do that hike then grab a shuttle bus and head up to the viewing platforms at the top. If the area isn’t busy with no shuttle, simply head up through the sheep gate (don’t forget to close it behind you) and you can drive up to the small parking lot at the viewpoint.
The views from Slieve League will leave you breathless and there is a truly scary hike up the pathway if you dare.
From here I recommend heading to Donegal Town and the best place to stay while you are in Donegal. On the way, you will pass by some lovely traditional Irish villages and if you are getting pretty hungry I suggest a stop in Killybegs where you can grab some great food at the Ahoy Cafe right across from the harbour or the Seafood Shack where you can get some of Killybeg’s finest fish and chips. If you are in the mood for something a little more substantial look for the Supervalue store on your left-hand side as you are leaving Killybegs and head upstairs to the Fusion Cafe which is fabulous food and great value.
From here head-on into Donegal Town and the place where you booked your hotel or BnB stay. Donegal town has loads to explore but since you will probably be getting in a bit late in the day you may want to take a rest before you head out for a musical pub night.
Pubs I recommend very highly in Donegal Town are McCafferty’s which is often packed to the gills and has brilliant musicians playing every night it is right beside the Diamond the town’s central point. There is also the Scotsman and the Reel Inn both of which have great live music and are closer to the River. For the oldest pub in Donegal Town check out The Forge behind the church on the river.
Some great places to eat in Donegal Town include the Blueberry Cafe for breakfast and lunch and The House which has been voted Ireland’s Best Gastro Pub. If you fancy some of Ireland’s best Indian Food check out Chandpur which is just off the Diamond behind Toni’s Bistro.
I recommend spending at least half the day exploring Donegal Town. It’s very easy to walk and you can see Donegal Castle and the Abbey Ruins and take a Donegal Bay boat tour all before you head out to Sligo.
Day 7. Sligo – the most underrated County in Ireland
We will make this a quick tour of Sligo, although I have to say if you get a chance to come back to Sligo, do it. Sligo is the most underrated County in Ireland which means its lack of tourists makes it an easy place to fall in love with.
Head out from Donegal Town towards Sligo, you will find it a quick drive and soon you will be seeing Benbulben in the distance. As you head down the motorway look for the signs for the Gleniff Drive and take an hour or so to travel around this jaw-droppingly beautiful drive. As you exit Gleniff Drive look for the signs for Drumcliff which is where W.B. Yeats is buried.
From Sligo, we will head into Mayo where you can head towards Beleek Castle for your overnight stay. Belleek is located near Ballina Mayo and is a stunningly beautiful castle hotel where rooms start at around €150 including breakfast.
Day 8. Mayo – on the Wild Atlantic Way
From Belleek Castle head towards Downpatrick Head which is about a 45-minute drive. Once you reach Downpatrick head you can park in the free parking lot and hike towards the sea views where you can see the Dun Briste sea stacks which have graced Irish calendars for decades.
This sea-stack is called Dún Briste (broken fort). Local legend says that when a pagan chieftain refused to convert to Christianity, St Patrick struck the ground with his crozier, splitting a chunk of the headland off into the ocean, with the chieftain on top! The walk from the parking lot is around 1.5 km and covers quite rocky and uneven ground so take care.
From Downpatrick Head, we are going to head to Galway. Sadly you will miss the Ceide Fields on this trip but next time you must come back and explore further. It’s around a 3-hour drive to Galway City where you can spend the night.
On your drive to Galway if the day is still long enough – take a brief stop in Cong where the Quiet Man was filmed you won’t regret it.
If you need to stay a night in a luxury castle you could always book into Ashford which has every conceivable luxury within it. From hawking on the grounds to fishing in the lake – Ashford had delighted royalty to world leaders.
Day 9. Galway City – music town
I wouldn’t stay in Galway City as it is very expensive and runs around 200 per night and truth be told the City Centre is full of activity and that means loads of drunks in the streets. However, I would spend the day exploring the City. Take a look at BnB’s in Salthill which is just on the edge of the city or another option would be to find a hotel or BnB in Athenry which is around 30 minutes from Galway City.
Galway is a small town but it is lively, to say the least. Loaded with fabulous pubs, the best Irish musicians and of course home to the Claddagh Ring Galway is a must-visit.
Things to do in Galway
- Visit the Galway Museum, 3 floors of Galway and Irish history from the prehistoric era to medieval times and more and it’s free. It’s located near the Spanish Arches.
- The Front Wall of the Spanish Arches used to protect the quays of Galway and there are only two arches left. They are nearly 500 years old and nearby you will find Nimmos the best place to eat in Galway.
- Nimmo’s isn’t a cheap cafe but the food is glorious and well worth the price. Lots to choose from for vegetarians and vegans as well.
- Shop street the perfect name for the perfect shopping area. Beautifully coloured buildings, pubs and restaurants are all down shop street. If you love your Instagram this is the place for the perfect insta photos, although a tad crowded with tourists at the best of times.
- All down Shop Street throughout the day you will spot every kind of busker there is. From dancers to full bands or singular musicians. Stop and have a coffee at any of the sidewalk cafes and enjoy the music and dance.
- The Claddagh Museum at Thomas Dillon Claddagh Gold is located in Quay Street, just off Shop Street they have a little museum detailing the history of the Claddagh.
- A booklover’s dream come true Charlie Byrne’s, filled with anything bookish over 100,000 new, used and bargain books.
- Strolling down the Salthill Prom with the Galway Girl song in your head. Just outside the City is Salthill which is not only a great place to stay in Galway but it has a beautiful path along the waterfront and you can even swim there if you can take the cold.
Day 10. Cliffs of Moher & Bunratty County Clare
Since Day 10 is going to be spent exploring the Cliffs of Moher I’m going to recommend that from Galway you head to Doolin which is a quintessential Irish village that is just picture perfect. Book your BnB or hotel here for the night so you can set out early to explore the Cliffs of Moher which are only 10 minutes from Doolin.
Doolin is a fantastic jumping-off point for exploring the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and the Aran Islands. Adventure beyond the usual by taking a horseback ride through the Burren, or head to one of the two pubs in town: McGann’s and Fitzpatrick’s and enjoy some great Irish craic.
The Cliffs of Moher, quite likely the most visited Irish location ever. You can walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher.
If you fancy a good hike you can leave the car in Doolin and follow the marked trails to the Cliffs. If you can find Nag’s Head which is the most southerly point of the Cliffs there is a little car park there where you can drop €2 into the honesty box, and it’s just a 15-20 minute walk to the Cliffs.
Guerin’s Path, which is about 1km away from the visitor centre at the Cliffs of Moher costs €5 per person. This is a family-owned farm and business and will give you a spectacular walk along the Cliffs.
The Wild Atlantic Way route itself is free with many sites along the way that also have no entry cost, but there are places where to get the best views, such as the Cliffs of Moher you will pay a parking and entry fee. The cost to see the Cliffs of Moher is €8.00. If you want to climb O’Brien’s Tower at the Cliffs there is an extra charge of €4.00. There is a large car park at the Cliffs and all-day parking here is included in the price of a visitor centre ticket.
From the Cliffs of Moher, we head South to Bunratty Castle which is just beyond the Shannon Airport. Since you have probably spent the morning exploring the Cliffs of Moher the afternoon will be spent exploring Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. It’s only about an hour’s drive from Moher to Bunratty.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park Bunratty Castle is a large 15th-century tower house in County Clare, Ireland. It is believed that it was originally a Norse settlement that was destroyed by Brian Boru in the 900’s.
The Castle and Village cost is €15.25 per adult and €10.50 per child and that covers the full experience of the castle and village but not the medieval banquet.
Bunratty Castle showcases one of the finest collections of medieval furniture in Ireland. You can trek up to the roof where you will see spectacular views of the area. The rooms are filled with a collection of artefacts from the late medieval to the renaissance period and include rugs, tapestry, clothing, furniture, tools, art and weaponry.
From Bunratty, you now head down to Adare which is one of my favourite villages in Ireland. In Adare, you can book either a luxury castle stay at Adare Manor which is next to the ruins of a 15th century Franciscan Abbey.
On the main street are some truly lovely boutiques and fabulous places to eat and have a coffee. I particularly recommend the Village Bistro. Where we had the best breakfast ever of brioche French toast with caramelized bananas and bacon – oh my god heaven on a plate.
Day 11 – Dingle Peninsula Drive
There are so many reasons to visit the Dingle Peninsula not the least of which is the jaw-dropping scenery. From Adare, the drive to the Dingle Peninsula is about an hour and a half. To drive the Dingle peninsula will take 4 – 6 hours, it is a 50km route, depending on how many times you stop for photos and believe me you will stop a lot. In truth, I would spend 2 days in the Dingle area as there is so much to see.
Because of the narrow roads and lots of tourists and buses and the roads are very narrow you do have to be very wary of the large tour buses. The narrow road winds through an unforgettable landscape, ancient ruins, small villages, beautiful beaches and the rugged and raw Atlantic frame the views.
As you travel to the Peninsula you will drive through the lovely village of Dingle which is a seaside paradise. Colourful shops line the street and you can grab some fabulous icecream or fish and chips if you fancy lunch.
The scenic Slea Head Drive is one of the most spectacular in Ireland. Winding around the edges of the peninsula you will be treated to some incredible photo opportunities.
After finishing the Dingle Peninsula Drive head to Killarney for your overnight stay and Day 12’s Ring of Kerry Drive or a trip to the Skelligs.
Day 12 Ring of Kerry and Skellig Michael
The Ring of Kerry is around 179km (111 miles) long and takes around 3.5 hours to drive around without stopping. Trust me though you are going to want to stop – a lot. You could take a famous Jaunting Car around the ring if you want it is an experience everyone should have.
Killarney National Park is one of the most impressive on the Ring of Kerry and has everything from Manor Houses to stunning waterfalls.
If you want to add a trip to the famous Star War Islands the Skelligs you should plan to add another Day to your visit to Kerry.
Boat rides to the Skellig’s cost around €80 to €100 for landing trips. However, you should know that the boats are often cancelled due to the weather. There are also no facilities on the boats or on the Island which mean no washrooms or cafes. You will need to be very fit to climb the steps but that cluster of beehive huts overlooking the wild Atlantic is jaw-dropping.
By this time I’m pretty sure you are exhausted so we are going to head towards Cork and a rest. This drive will take around an hour or so depending on traffic.
Day 13 Blarney Castle
So Day 13 and we are at Blarney Castle, a tour of the Castle and the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone will cost you around Probably one of Ireland’s most famous landmarks the legend of the Blarney Stone is one that many tourists pilgrimage to. Not my idea of fun as you have to hike up many narrow and worn stairs and then take care that someone has a good grip on you as you bend over backwards to kiss the stone. But it does seem to be high on many a bucket list. Adult tickets are €16.00 online (normally €18.00).
So from Blarney Castle head up to Cork and if you have some extra time explore the City which has a young interesting vibe to it. Don’t forget to explore the Cork English Market when in town.
Once you have done your flying visit to Cork it’s off to Kilkenny and its famous Medieval Mile. This drive will take around 2 hours but it puts you in a good position to head to Dublin on the 14th day when your flight probably leaves.
Day 13 – 14 Kilkenny – Medieval mile
Kilkenny is known for its Medieval Mile and also as the Marble City because of its distinctive black marble. When walking the Mile you will see medieval slipways or alleys, a Tudor Inn, a Dominican Abbey and a fine example of a 17th-century merchant’s house and the only example of its kind in Ireland.
Kilkenny also has a fascinating history of witches in Ireland so be sure to look out for Kytelers Inn to learn the story of the Irish witch burning.
There’s a little train in Kilkenny at €8 for adults, this is a great way to get around Kilkenny if you are mobility challenged. This small road train does tours all around the city starting at Kilkenny Castle and does a 30-minute tour of the Medieval Kilkenny. Don’t forget to visit Kilkenny Castle one of the finest castles in Ireland.
You can either stay in Kilkenny for the night or head up to your hotel near Dublin Airport to catch your flight home.
I hope this 2 weeks in Ireland road trip has been useful for you. Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have and if you want to download a printable PDF just click here.
Have you visited Ireland? What were your favourite sites?
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