10-Day Ireland Itinerary: 3 Road Trip Routes

Last Updated on

by Maggie Turansky

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

Though it’s a small country, planning out the perfect 10-day Ireland itinerary can be quite overwhelming when you consider just how much there is to see and do in the Emerald Isle. And while you certainly can’t see everything if you’re only spending 10 days in Ireland, you have a lot of options available to you.

Whether you’re looking to explore historic cities, see some iconic natural sites or get away from it all in the wilds of the country, the routes outlined below are sure to help you map out the perfect Ireland road trip and plan a trip you won’t soon forget.

How Many Days in Ireland?

Many potential visitors wonder how many days to spend in Ireland in order to see a lot and do the country justice. Many look at the size of the country and think that they won’t need a lot of time to see the majority of the sites, cities and towns, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you want to cover a lot of ground, spend some time in the cities along with taking the beautiful natural areas and not feel overwhelmed or rushed, then plan to spend 10 days exploring Ireland.

While you’re certainly not going to be able to see all of Ireland in 10 days, it is a good jumping-off point and you will be able to spend a lot of time exploring particular regions and really getting to know the country.

For those who have a bit more time, spending 2 weeks in Ireland is never a bad idea. With 2 weeks, you can build upon some of the routes listed below and cover a lot more ground. However, you’re still not going to be able to have enough time to take in everything that the country has to offer.

Beautiful Irish Countryside
Beautiful Irish Countryside

Getting To & Around Ireland

Ireland is well-connected to mainland Europe and many other countries around the world and it’s easy to arrive in the country. The highest-traffic international airport is in Dublin and that is where the majority of flights will arrive into. There are also international airports in Belfast in Northern Ireland and in Shannon in the west of Ireland but these tend to have fewer flight options.

You can also get to Ireland via ferry from various destinations in England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man as well as some destinations in France and Spain.

Aside from getting around cities like Dublin or Belfast, the best way to get around Ireland itself is generally to rent a car. Yes, you have to get used to some narrow roads and, depending on where you’re coming from, driving on the left, however, it’s very much worth it and will enrich your time in Ireland exponentially.

Planning a road trip in Ireland will allow you the ultimate flexibility and will give you the opportunity to visit places a bit more far-flung, see the beautiful coast of Ireland and not have to be beholden to bus and train routes or the whims of a tour company.

You can travel by bus and train to get to and from major cities and destinations (you can view bus schedules here), but it isn’t going to allow you the same kind of flexibility and you won’t be able to see as much in the same amount of time.

Keep in mind that if you want to visit some areas in the Northwest of Ireland (particularly in County Donegal) bus connections can be few and far between and trains are virtually nonexistent, so a car is really necessary for those who want to explore this area.

If you want to hire a car for your Irish adventure, you can browse options here to compare prices across several different companies.

Driving the Sky Road in Connemara
Driving the Sky Road in Connemara

Classic 10-Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

This route begins in Dublin and covers all of the highlights of a classic route in the Republic of Ireland. This one includes time in the capital city of Dublin along some incredible destinations in the south of the country before terminating in the city of Galway on the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 1 – Dublin

Begin this Ireland route in Dublin, the capital city of the Republic of Ireland. Dublin has a rich history and it’s a great city to explore either independently or with a guided walking tour.

Start your day in Dublin exploring the Castle and its gardens before heading over to the historic Trinity College. Here you can tour the grounds of the university and also visit the Book of Kells and the Long Room. You can pre-book tickets here.

After that, take a stroll along Grafton Street and pop into some of the many shops available. Then, relax in the tranquil St Stephen’s Green before grabbing a pint of Guinness in the Temple Bar district.

Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle

Where to Stay in Dublin

Kilronan House – This cosy B&B in Dublin’s Georgian quarter is an excellent place to stay in the city. They have a number of highly-rated rooms available, a hearty breakfast included in the room rate, and are located within walking distance of all of the city’s top attractions.

Hotel 7 – This 4-star hotel is an excellent base in the Irish capital and is conveniently located in the centre of Dublin. They have a myriad of clean and comfortable rooms on offer, a friendly staff, and breakfast available each morning.

Jacob’s Inn – This hostel is a great option for budget and solo travellers. Extremely centrally located near all of the top attractions in the city, it is also one of the best-rated hostels in Dublin. They have numerous dorms and private rooms on offer and they also organise social events.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Dublin hotels!

Day 2 – Dublin

On day 2 in Dublin, pick up where you left off yesterday and take some time to explore more of the city and dig a little bit deeper. Visit the Kilmainham Gaol (make sure to book your entry tickets well in advance!), head to the Guinness Storehouse to see how this legendary stout is made and take in a few more sites of the city.

Your second day in Dublin should be filled with really getting to know the city on a deeper level. You will have the time to explore some cool little areas and take in some sites that you wouldn’t necessarily have time for if you were only spending one day.

Trinity College in Dublin
Trinity College in Dublin

Day 3 – Cork

On day 3, it’s time to leave Dublin and head south toward Ireland’s second-largest city of Cork. Plan to pick up your rental car today, rather than when you first arrive. You won’t need to drive in Dublin and you will just have to deal with parking and paying extra for a car you’re not using.

The drive from Dublin to Cork is about 3 hours and there are a few good places to stop off at along the way, so it’s advisable to get an early start.

One of the top places to visit en route would be the Blarney Castle where you can kiss the famous Blarney Stone. You also could opt to visit the ever-popular Rock of Cashel which is also conveniently located on the way.

Once in Cork, you’ll find it a compact city that’s easy to explore within the confines of one day.

Start off at the English Market and consider joining a food tour before wandering down Shandon Mile and taking in some of Cork’s top historic sites. Pay a visit to the Cork City Gaol and make sure to end your day in a pub with a pint of Murphys – which is Cork’s stout of choice!

City of Cork
City of Cork

Where to Stay in Cork

Shandon Bells Guest House – If you’re after a lovely guesthouse while staying in Cork, then this is an excellent option for you. They have a few cosy and comfortable rooms available and a delicious, hearty Irish breakfast available every morning.

The River Lee Hotel – If you have a bit of a higher budget to play with on your Ireland road trip, then this luxury hotel in Cork is a great option for you. Centrally located within easy walking distance of all cork has to offer, they have a range of plush rooms available and fantastic amenities.

Bru Bar & Hostel – This hostel is the perfect choice for those travelling solo or on a budget. They have a number of both dorm and private rooms available and a bar on site that makes it a great place to meet other travellers.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Cork hotels!

Day 4 – Cobh, Kinsale or Midleton

On day 4, you have the opportunity to explore some areas a bit outside of Cork but still with very easy reach of the city itself.

One of the most popular options is the nearby city of Cobh (pronounced Cove) which is famed for its deck-of-cards houses and for being the last port of call of the Titanic before it made its fated journey across the Atlantic.

The town of Kinsale is another super popular day trip option. This colourful coastal town is known to be the starting (or ending, depending on the direction!) point of the Wild Atlantic Way and it’s very much worth exploring.

Whiskey lovers will want to head to the town of Midleton, which is home to the Jameson Distillery. You can tour the distillery, learn about Irish whiskey and leave with plenty of happy memories. Plan to spend the night in Cork before we move on to our next destination.

The harbour at Cobh
The harbour at Cobh

Day 5 – Killarney

A little more than an hour’s drive northwest of Cork will find you in the charming town of Killarney in County Kerry.

Killarney makes for an excellent base for exploring all of the highlights of County Kerry, including the national park, the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula so plan to base yourself here for the next few nights.

Use this day to explore some of the highlights of Killarney National Park including Muckross House, Ross Castle and the Torc Waterfall. This is a beautiful area to explore and it’s worth getting here as early as possible.

End your day simply by enjoying the vibes of the village of Killarney itself and exploring its colourful and vibrant streets.

Torc Waterfall
Torc Waterfall

Where to Stay in Killarney

Old Weir Lodge – This guesthouse is perfect for mid-range visitors in Killarney. Offering a number of wonderful rooms, it also has a great location for exploring both the surrounding area and the town itself. There is also a hearty breakfast available daily.

The Killarney Park – Located in the centre of Killarney, this is a great choice for those after a luxury option in this Irish town. Offering a range of opulent rooms to choose from, there are also plenty of grand amenities for guests to enjoy.

The Black Sheep Hostel – This hostel is an excellent choice for those looking for a budget option while in Killarney. They have both private rooms and dorms available along with clean facilities, good common areas and a good atmosphere.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Killarney hotels!

Day 6 – Ring of Kerry

The sixth day sees you driving one of the most popular and iconic circular routes in the country and something essential when you explore Ireland – the Ring of Kerry. Because this is such a popular route, it’s best to get as early a start as possible to avoid crowds and tour buses on the small, winding roads.

You can skip the first stops in Killarney National Park as we stopped by them yesterday and head out toward the Ladies View. It’s highly recommended that you tap on the extra Skellig Loop drive onto your Ring of Kerry route in order to get the best experience possible.

The great thing about this drive is that it easily begins and ends in Killarney so you can take your time at each stop without having to worry about a long drive back to your accommodation.

Ladies View on the Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Ladies View

Day 7 – Dingle Peninsula

If you didn’t get enough incredible scenery and beautiful vistas while driving the Ring of Kerry then you’re in luck, day 7 includes another beautiful scenic loop – the Slea Head drive.

Comprising the Dingle Peninsula located to the north of the Ring of Kerry, the Slea Head drive is a popular route, though it can be a bit quieter than the Ring of Kerry. However, it’s still a good idea to get an early start here.

On this drive, you’ll be treated to gorgeous scenery, dramatic cliffs, beautiful ocean views and charming little towns. Plan to take your time driving so you can really enjoy all of the stops at your leisure.

It takes about an hour to get from Killarney to the town of Dingle so make sure to keep this in mind when you’re planning. You could opt to stay the night in Dingle, however, this isn’t entirely necessary.

Harbour of Dingle Town
Harbour of Dingle Town

Day 8 – Cliffs of Moher & The Burren

After exploring the highlights of County Kerry, it’s time to head north toward Galway City – your final destination for the evening. But on the way, make a pit stop at one of Ireland’s most famous attractions – the mighty Cliffs of Moher.

Located in County Clare just south of the city of Galway, the Cliffs of Moher are not actually Ireland’s highest sea cliffs (you’ll have to head to the Croaghaun Cliffs on Achill Island or the Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal for that), but they are certainly the most popular and are incredibly striking.

You can spend a few hours exploring the Cliffs of Moher and hiking around and getting some spectacular views. Make sure to also visit the nearby village of Doolin – a perfect place to stop for lunch (and maybe even a pint) before continuing on and exploring the Burren National Park.

End your day in Galway City, where you’ll be based for the remainder of your trip.

Burren National Park
Burren National Park

Where to Stay in Galway

The Stop B&B – A hip B&B located about a 10-minute walk from the centre of Galway in the historic Claddagh neighbourhood, they have several bright and modern rooms on offer and an excellent breakfast on offer each morning.

Park House Hotel – Located on Eyre Square in the centre of Galway, this hotel is perfect for those looking for a luxury stay in the city. Offering a range of plush rooms, there are also a myriad of other wonderful amenities available.

Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel – Located conveniently near Galway’s Eyre Square, this highly-rated hostel is an excellent option for budget and solo travellers alike. They have both dorms and private rooms to choose from along with breakfast available for guests daily.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Galway hotels!

Day 9 – Galway

The penultimate day of this Ireland itinerary is dedicated to exploring the lively and charming city of Galway. This city is very compact and you can easily tackle all of the top sites within the confines of a day.

Take the time to wander around the colourful Latin Quarter and take in the sites on lively Quay Street and Kirwan’s Lane.

You can also see the Spanish Arch, stroll along the harbour, visit the Galway Cathedral and even learn a bit about the city’s history at the Galway City Museum (which is free to enter!). You can book a guided walking tour or join a food tour if you want to explore with a guide.

Galway is also a great place to find a cosy pub for the evening and take in some trad music. However, there are also a lot of great restaurants to enjoy, as well.

Galway Cathedral
Galway Cathedral

Day 10 – Connemara or Galway to Dublin

If you have 10 full days to spend in Ireland and don’t need to catch a flight on your final day (or early the next morning), then use your final day to take a day trip to Connemara. Located in County Galway just north of Galway City, this gorgeous peninsula has a lot to offer visitors.

On a day trip, you can go for a short hike in Connemara National Park, visit the beautiful Kylemore Abbey, explore lively Clifden and even take in one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches at Dog’s Bay. Connemara is a truly special place to visit if you have the time.

You also could head to Ashford Castle which is located just over the border in County Mayo and is about a 40-minute drive from Galway City.

Alternatively, if you need to head back to Dublin, then it’s about 2.5-3 hours along the main motorway. However, if you have the time, there are a number of interesting stops along the way that you could take advantage of if you’re up for a detour.

Dog's Bay Beach in Connemara
Dog’s Bay Beach in Connemara

Irish Nature Lover’s Road Trip

If it’s not a first-time trip to Ireland or you’re simply keen to get a bit off the typical tourist trail, head away from the big cities and really enjoy all of the incredible natural scenery that the Emerald Isle has to offer, then this is the itinerary for you!

Day 1 – Dublin to Connemara

This itinerary doesn’t include any time in the capital city of Dublin so if that’s where you’re flying into, then pick up your hire car from the airport and hit the road and immediately head west toward the Connemara region of County Galway.

Alternatively, you could opt to arrive into the Shannon airport, which is about a 2-hour drive from Connemara rather than 3.5 hours from Dublin.

If you are driving from Dublin, you could opt to visit several stops along the way to Connemara should you wish, or simply stay on the motorway for as long as you can before you reach this wild and scenic area of Western Ireland.

Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park

Where to Stay in Connemara

Errisbeg B&B – This cosy bed and breakfast is situated on a lovely estate in the village of Rounstone. They have a number of great rooms to choose from, a hearty breakfast available and friendly owners to make your stay a great one.

Sharamore House B&B – Located in Clifden – the capital of Connemara – this bed and breakfast is a great option. They have a number of clean and comfortable rooms to choose from along with a fantastic breakfast to enjoy in the mornings.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Connemara hotels!

Day 2 – Connemara

Now that you’ve arrived in Connemara, it’s time to explore this incredible region. There is so much to see in Connemara that you could spend a number of days here and still not take it all in. However, one full day is enough to see and do a lot of the top things in this region.

Begin your day at Connemara National Park – it’s recommended to get here early as it can get quite crowded and popular. There are a number of hiking routes in the park that are great for an array of fitness levels, so be sure to pick one that suits you.

You can also opt to visit nearby Kylemore Abbey before heading to lively Clifden, the most populous town in the region. Also, make sure not to skip Omey Island – a tidal island that is only accessible at low tide.

Round out your day at the beautiful Dog’s Bay beach located just outside the village of Roundstone. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland and you would be forgiven for thinking you’ve arrived in the tropics.

Town of Clifden
Town of Clifden

Day 3 – Connemara to Achill Island

After a day exploring Connemara, it’s time to head north from County Galway to County Mayo. The final destination for today is the lovely Achill Island, however, there are countless places to stop off at along the way to make your drive interesting and to take in as much of the west coast as possible.

Start your day by driving along the beautiful Killary Fjord at the northern end of Connemara before reaching Aasleagh Falls. This isn’t the most spectacular waterfall in Ireland, but it is still very beautiful and stopping off at.

Continue on to visit Silver Strand Beach, Carrowmore Beach and Murrisk Abbey before driving across the bridge to Achill Island. You can also take some time to take in a few of the sites on the island so you have more time to dedicate to more places on the following day.

End your day at a cosy pub on the island – Lynott’s is the smallest pub on the island and, if you want somewhere with a little bit more space, then head to Ted’s Bar.

Killary Fjord
Killary Fjord

Where to Stay on Achill Island

Teach Cruachan Bed and Breakfast – Located in Keel village, this is a lovely bed and breakfast option for mid-range visitors to Achill. Offering a number of cos rooms, they also have a fantastic breakfast available each morning.

Ferndale Luxury Boutique Bed & Breakfast – Those after something a little bit more upmarket will love this chic boutique B&B. Located in a prime location for exploring Achill, they have a number of lovely rooms and a great breakfast in the morning.

Cosy Keel Cottage – This cottage is a great choice for those who’d like their own self-catering accommodation on Achill. Located in the village of Keel, it comes fully equipped with all you may need during your stay on the island.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Achill Island hotels!

Day 4 – Achill Island

Day four sees you spending your entire day exploring the highlights of Achill Island. Start your day on the lovely Valley Loop Walk which is an easy hike along the bucolic coast starting and ending at Golden Strand Beach.

Also, take the time to take in Dugort Beach, Slievemore Abandoned Village and, of course, the beautiful Keem Bay. Watch the surfers and grab a bite to eat in the village of Keel.

And if you’re interested in learning a bit about Irish Whiskey, then consider heading to the Achill Island Distillery, which claims to be the westernmost distillery in Ireland.

Road on Achill Island
A road on Achill Island

Day 5 – County Sligo & Southwest Donegal

Day five is another driving day with the final destination being the southwest of County Donegal. However, there is a lot to see along the way here so make sure to get an early start in order to take everything in!

Your first stop should be at the beautiful Glencar Waterfall. From there, it’s not far until you’re at the base of iconic Benbulben in County Sligo. If you’re up for a bit of a hike, then the Benbulben Forest Walk is an excellent idea – it’s an easy trail and will only take about an hour.

Next, take in the scenic Gleniff Horseshoe Drive before moving onto County Donegal. Here, you can visit the incredible Tullan Strand and the beautiful Fairy Bridges. Make your way to Donegal Town (a great place to base yourself in this area) and enjoy the sites that this lively little town has to offer.

Tullan Strand
Tullan Strand

Where to Stay in Co. Donegal

Ros Dún House – Situaed in Donegal Town, this bed and breakfast makes for the perfect base when exploring this gorgeous corner of Ireland. Offering a number of cosy rooms, they also have an excellent breakfast available in the mornings.

Bayview Country House B&B – This bed and breakfast in the town of Ardara is perfect for those looking for a bucolic escape in one of the area’s most charming towns. They have some lovely rooms to choose from along with a hearty breakfast available in the mornings.

Mill Park Hotel – This is a great hotel located in the centre of Donegal Town. Offering a range of different rooms to choose from, there is also an on-site fitness centre and swimming pool along with a cafe/bar for guests to enjoy.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Donegal hotels!

Day 6 – Southwest Donegal

Day 6 of this 10-day Ireland itinerary sees you exploring some of the absolute highlights the lovely County Donegal has to offer. Start at the Slieve League Cliffs, which are some of the highest sea cliffs in Ireland (higher than the Cliffs of Moher) and, as such, some of the highest in Europe.

After taking in this beautiful place, head over to the gorgeous Malin Beg Beach, take in some history at the Glencolmcille Folk Village and visit the sea caves at Maghera Beach (these are only accessible at low tide).

Head to the village of Ardara (this is another great base in this area of Donegal!) before embarking on the incredibly scenic Glengesh Drive.

Malin Beg Beach
Malin Beg Beach

Day 7 – Northeast Donegal

On day 7 of this itinerary, we’re heading to the northern part of County Donegal and exploring some of the most beautiful natural areas this region of Ireland has to offer.

Start your day in the beautiful Glenveagh National Park where you can enjoy views of Lough Veagh and Glenveagh Castle.

After this, take in the views from Horn Head, head to Doe Castle (which is a lovely little castle that you can tour for free!) and then head over to the iconic Fanad Head Lighthouse. Round out your day by viewing the incredible stretch of sand that is Ballymastocker Beach.

Fanad Head Lighthouse
Fanad Head Lighthouse

Day 8 – Inishowen 100

Day 8 sees you spending the majority of your day driving around County Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula and ending your day on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland.

Note that there is no hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, however, speed limits are listed in miles per hour in Northern Ireland rather than in kilometres per hour like in the Republic. This is something to be aware of when you leave County Donegal.

The Inishowen 100 drive circles the Inishowen Peninsula and will take you to the most northerly point on the island of Ireland – Malin Head. There are also plenty of other incredible sites to see along the way including gorgeous beaches like Kinnagoe Bay and Five Finger Strand and the Glenevin Waterfall.

To get to Northern Ireland, you can either take the car ferry across Lough Foyle from the town of Greencastle (this is the quickest) or add about 30 minutes to an hour more to your drive by going via Derry and forgoing the ferry. Spend your night on the Causeway Coast – the town of Portrush makes a great base.

Malin Head
Malin Head

Where to Stay on the Causeway Coast

Anvershiel House – This bed and breakfast in the town of Portrush is perfect for those looking for a mid-range choice on the Causeway Coast. Located within easy walking distance of the town centre and a few minutes from the Giant’s Causeway, they have a range of rooms and a great hot breakfast included.

Elephant Rock Hotel – Also located in Portrush, this hotel is great for luxury visitors looking for a more upmarket choice. They have a number of great rooms on offer along with a perfect location for both exploring the town and for seeing all of the highlights of the area.

Causeway Hotel – Situated right at the Giant’s Causeway visitor’s centre, this hotel is perfect for getting an early start to this incredible natural site. Not only are there a number of great rooms to choose from, but entry into the visitor’s centre is also included in the nightly rate.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Causeway Coast hotels!

Day 9 – Causeway Coast

Day 9 is dedicated to seeing all of the natural highlights that Northern Ireland has to offer. Most famous for the Giant’s Causeway, the entire north coast of Northern Ireland has so much incredible natural scenery that it’s so worth taking the time to explore this area.

Begin your day at the Giant’s Causeway – get here early to beat the crowds and know that you don’t need to pay to enter, only to park at and visit the visitor’s centre. If you’re up for a great, easy hike then park your car at the Salmon Rock Beach car park (free!) before walking about 30 minutes to reach the Causeway.

After visiting this incredible natural site, head to Dunluce Castle and some of the other highlights of the Causeway Coast. You can even opt to visit the Dark Hedges, made famous for being a filming location for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

The Giant's Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway

Day 10 – Causeway Coast to Dublin

On your final day, take your time winding your way back from the Causeway Coast en route to Dublin. There are a number of interesting places to stop off at along the way.

Whether you want to take in some natural sites you didn’t make it to yesterday or are keen for a whistlestop tour of Belfast before making it to Dublin, the world is your oyster.

All in without stopping, the drive from the town of Portrush to Dublin will take about 3 hours, so keep this in mind if you’re trying to catch a flight!


Irish Cities Road Trip

This 10-day Ireland itinerary is ideal for those who would rather spend the majority of their time in the cities with only a little bit of nature thrown in. While this route is certainly easiest if you have a car, this is the best route to embark upon if you’re not keen to drive while visiting Ireland.

Day 1 – Dublin

Begin this itinerary in the capital city of Dublin and plan to be here for the first three nights of your trip. Follow the guide for what to do on your first day in Dublin with what is outlined in the “Classic Ireland Road Trip” above.

Day 2 – Dublin

Spend day two picking up where you left off on day one in Dublin. There are lots of things that the Irish capital has to offer so planning to spend 2 full days exploring all that this dynamic and diverse city has available is ideal.

Day 3 – Wicklow

On day 3, take your time to go off on a day trip from Dublin to visit the nearby Wicklow Mountains National Park and some of the charming small towns surrounding the area.

This is a beautiful natural area to visit with so much to see and do. Known as the Garden of Ireland, this is one of the greenest places to visit in the country and really will give you the context as to why we call it the Emerald Isle.

Wicklow Mountains
Wicklow Mountains

Day 4 – Dublin to Galway

On day four, it’s time to head out of Dublin and make your way west. Take the day to really take advantage of all of the great stops and places to visit between Dublin and Galway.

Sure, you could stick to the motorway and make it to this western Irish city in a few hours, but you can see a lot of the country if you make some detours and take your time while on your way. Spend the next four nights in Galway City.

Day 5 – Galway

Day five of this route is dedicated to spending time in the city of Galway itself. This compact city is easy to navigate and you can certainly see the highlights within the confines of one day. Follow the suggestions outlined in the “Classic Ireland Road Trip” above for more information.

Day 6 – Cliffs of Moher

One of the most popular day trips from Galway and also one of the most popular sites to visit in all of Ireland are the iconic Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

Located just south of Galway City, it’s easy to visit these cliffs as a day trip but do make sure to get an early start in order to beat the crowds. If you’re not driving, this full-day tour or this full-day tour are options for a guided tour.

Walking along the Cliffs of Moher
Walking along the Cliffs of Moher

Day 7 – Connemara or Aran Islands

Time for another great day trip from Galway, you can opt to either head north to explore the beautiful Connemara region or hop on a ferry to visit the Aran Islands.

Both offer incredible scenery and a bucolic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and can also give you an insight into some village life in Ireland.

From the town of Rossaveel just west of Galway City, you can get a ferry to the island of Inishmore in about 40 minutes. This is the largest of the Aran Islands and it’s absolutely delightful to explore.

Day 8 – Belfast

From Galway, it’s time to head north and visit the capital of Northern Ireland – vibrant and gritty Belfast. The drive from Galway to Belfast can take about 3 hours and 45 minutes so it’s best to hit the road early to make sure you can get the most out of the city.

When in Belfast, make sure to take a black cab tour in order to learn more about this historically divided city and to give a bit more context on the Troubles.

And for a different side of history, also make sure to head to the Titanic Belfast Museum to learn more about the fated journey of this ocean liner – which was constructed in the Northern Irish capital.

Where to Stay in Belfast

The Warren Belfast – Thos looking for luxury will love this plush hotel in the Queen’s Quarter. Located within easy reach of all Belfast has to offer, they have a number of rooms to choose form, plenty of amenities and breakfast available, as well.

Vagabonds – This highly-rated hostel is perfect for those travelling solo or looking for a budget option in the centre of Belfast. They offer both private rooms and dorm beds along with clean facilities and good common areas.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Belfast hotels!

Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall

Day 9 – Giant’s Causeway

On day 9, you could opt to spend another day exploring Belfast or, if you’d like more beautiful natural scenery, then consider taking a day trip to the Giant’s Causeway and some of the sites on the Causeway Coast.

It’s only a little bit more than an hour from Belfast to the Causeway so it’s easy to get here early before all of the crowds descend on this beautiful place.

Day 10 – Belfast to Dublin

And on your final day, take your time making your way back down to Dublin from Belfast. There are a lot of wonderful stops along the way that can extend the otherwise rather boring 2-hour drive along the motorway.

En route, make stops at the Ards Penisula, gorgeous and historic castles, the Boyne Valley and Newgrange and Malahide. The Dublin to Belfast drive has a lot to offer and it’s a great way to round out the perfect Irish road trip itinerary.

Newgrange Neolithic Site
Newgrange in the Boyne Valley

Planning the perfect Ireland road trip can seem a bit overwhelming on the face of it when you think about just how much this incredible country has to offer. However, with proper planning and prioritisation, you’re sure to be mapping out the trip of your dreams in no time.

Are you planning to visit Ireland? Have any questions about these itineraries? Let us know in the comments!

Like It? Pin It!
Avatar photo

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie


  1. This appears to be a very informing web site. I will find a lot of good information here for sure. It defiantly will take some time to plan this trip, however there are great tips here that will assist in making our decisions. Thank you for all this information.

  2. Maggie, you are a god send! My wife and I have never been to Ireland and we will be there for 8 days and 7 nights. We need to be in Dublin the last 4 nights because of an event we are attending. If we landed in Dublin at noon and rented a car and drove to straight to Cork (1 night), and drove to Killarney (1 night) and drove to Galway (2 nights) (stopping at the Cliffs of Moher) on the way and then trained or drove our rental back to Dublin. Is this ludicrous? Also, would you HIGHLY recommend cutting Dublin down by one day and adding a day to the above itinerary? and if so, where would you add the day? Or how would you better use the time? Greeting from San Francisco 🙂

    • Hi Jim, I don’t think that’s ludicrous at all – it will be a bit rushed but you will still be able to see quite a lot 🙂

  3. Maggie,
    I left you a detailed itinerary, asking for your input. I also thinking we have wishful thinking we can accomplish our itinerary 🤪.
    I look forward to your input.
    Also, why is it most Ireland itineraries I have found go south. Why is that?
    Howdy from Texas

    • Hi Cynthia! I received your email and have replied to it. The south is simply the most popular area that many international tourists go in Ireland. However, visiting the west and north of the country is also very much worth it – we’ve particularly enjoyed our time in Counties Mayo and Donegal, for instance.


Leave a Comment