Julie Ireland, Itinerary 119 Comments

Ireland is a popular destination on many travelers’ wish lists, for a good reason. This country is a joy to explore, with stunning landscapes, friendly and welcoming people, and ancient historical sites. Don’t let it’s small size fool you…there is a lot to see and do here. On this 10 day Ireland itinerary, tour the highlights of this country.

This itinerary is designed as a road trip. You will need to rent a car in order to tour the island. Ten days is just enough time to visit the highlights of Ireland, including Dublin, the Rock of Cashel, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, and Northern Ireland. It’s an amazing trip, but expect to have busy, action packed days.

 

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the points of interest of this Ireland itinerary. You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest. If you click the star, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin

Your tour of Ireland begins in Dublin, Ireland’s largest city. Depending on where you are arriving from, you may have limited time (and energy) today.

Check into your hotel and take a quick nap if you need it. Spend the afternoon and early evening getting acquainted with Dublin. We recommend heading over to the Temple Bar area, for dinner and drinks in one of the many pubs.

Sláinte! You are in Ireland!

Dublin Temple Bar

Temple Bar in Dublin | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Where to Stay in Dublin

LUXURY:  Merrion Hotel. With impeccable service, a 2-star Michelin restaurant, landscaped gardens, and gorgeous rooms, this is a top pick in Dublin if you are looking for a luxurious hotel.

UPSCALE: Hotel 7. Located within walking distance of the top sights, this beautiful hotel gets rave reviews from prior guests. 

MID-RANGE:  Roxford Lodge Hotel. This boutique-style hotel offers stylish, Victorian-style rooms, and elegant dining room, and a handy bus station near the hotel. If you are traveling as a family, check out the family room that can accommodate four people.

BUDGET: In Dublin, there are several hostels that get good reviews: Jacobs Inn Hostel, Abbey Court Hostel, and Gardiner House.

Day 2: Dublin

Spend day 2 of this Ireland itinerary touring the city of Dublin. Must see sights include a visit to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, the Kilmainham Gaol, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and the National Museum of Ireland. Many people love the tours at the Guinness Storehouse, which ends with a pint of Guinness in the penthouse bar with 360° views over Dublin. 

End the day with live Irish music in one of the pubs.

Dublin things to do

Dublin | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

If you prefer, you can skip some of these sights in Dublin, opting to take a four-hour day trip out of the city to Newgrange, also known as Brú na Bóinne. Newgrange is a 5,000 year old passage tomb, one of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites.

Tonight, sleep in Dublin.

Day 3: Drive to Killarney

It’s time to say goodbye to Dublin and hello to the Irish countryside.

Today you will drive out to Killarney. If you drive directly there, it takes about four hours. However, there are sights to see along the way.

Kilkenny

From Dublin, it takes an hour and a half to drive to Kilkenny.

Kilkenny is an awesome little city in Ireland. We only spent about two hours here, having dinner and then a pint (or two!) in one of the many pubs. We loved this place, more so than Killarney or Kinsale. Explore the town in the morning, have lunch, and then continue your road trip, heading to the Rock of Cashel next.

Kilkenny

Kilkenny | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

The Rock of Cashel

From Kilkenny, it takes one hour to drive to the Rock of Cashel.

This is not to be missed. Overlooking the Plains of Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most historic sights. This was the seat of the ancient kings of Ireland. St. Patrick baptized King Aengus here in 450 AD. Now visitors arrive every day to tour this historic complex of buildings.

You can tour the Rock of Cashel in about an hour, but make sure you also walk downhill to the much less visited and just as awesome Hore Abbey.

Rock of Cashel Drone

Hore Abbey with the Rock of Cashel on the hill behind it | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Before driving to Killarney, there is still enough time in the day to visit either the Blarney Stone or the colorful town of Kinsale.

The Blarney Stone

Located in Cork, the Blarney Stone is a major tourist site, where groups of people line up to kiss the famous Blarney Stone to get the “gift of gab.” We skipped this, since Rick Steves ripped this experience. We chose to put our time into Kinsale instead.

Kinsale

Kinsale is one of Ireland’s most picturesque towns. With colorful, winding lanes, fabulous restaurants, and a nearby golf course, Kinsale attracts a lot of visitors during the summer months. It’s also the starting point (or ending point, depending on which way you are traveling) of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Ideally, Kinsale deserves a full day of your time. However, with just an hour or two, you have enough time to explore the colorful town center and have a drink, snack, or even dinner, depending on what time it is when you get here.

Kinsale

Kinsale | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Old Midleton Distillery

If you want to tour a whiskey distillery in Ireland, this one is the best of the best. You can take a tour of the distillery, ending with an Irish vs. Scotch whiskey taste test. The Old Midleton Distillery is located just east of Cork.

Jameson

Today’s road trip ends in Killarney. You will spend three nights in Killarney, using this town as a home base for the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula.

Where We Stayed in Killarney: We stayed at the Gleann Fia Country House and we highly recommend this B&B. We had a huge family room, Tyler and Kara loved playing Monopoly in the conservatory each night, and being located just outside of town, it was very easy to get to by car.

Restaurants to try in Killarney

Bricin Restaurant. This is a fabulous restaurant serving traditional Irish cuisine. We loved the food and we loved the atmosphere.

Treyvaud’s. Another great restaurant serving gourmet food.

Dinner at Treyvauds

Day 4: Skellig Michael & the Ring of Kerry

Today, you can either drive the Ring of Kerry or visit Skellig Michael.

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael is a rocky island located off of the coast of the Ring of Kerry. Visit an ancient monastery, see the nesting spot of Puffins, and see where “Star Wars: A Force Awakens” was filmed.

To get here, it is a one-hour trip by boat over the somewhat rough Atlantic Ocean. Only a handful of boats are permitted to make the trip everyday, so your tickets must be booked well in advance. Also, landing tours to Skellig Michael only run between the beginning of May and early October.

If you visit Skellig Michael, tours typically return to Portmagee by 2 pm. You have enough time the see the highlights of the Ring of Kerry as you make your way back to Killarney.

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

 

Star Wars Ireland

Skellig Michael | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Ring of Kerry

If you are in Ireland during the off-season, you will not be able to visit Skellig Michael, but you can still drive the Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most popular drives. In one day, you can drive through miles of green, rolling hills, explore colorful, Irish towns, and see a fantastic stretch of Ireland’s rugged coastline. Learn more about what to do in our Guide to the Ring of Kerry.

If you prefer to sit back and enjoy the experience with a driver and guide, this Ring of Kerry tour starts and ends in Killarney.

Ring of Kerry

View on the drive along the Ring of Kerry

Tonight, sleep in Killarney.

Day 5: Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula is gorgeous and this is one of Ireland’s best road tripping spots. Yes, the Ring of Kerry is beautiful, but the Dingle Peninsula is stunning. Tour charming little Dingle, enjoy the views out to the Blasket Islands, walk on the huge beach named Inch Beach, and be prepared for some amazing sights.

Dingle Peninsula Ireland

Dingle Peninsula | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

 

Dingle 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Dingle | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Tonight, sleep in Killarney.

Day 6: Killarney to the Cliffs of Moher

Today we drive north to the Cliffs of Moher. From Killarney to Doolin (a great home base for exploring the Cliffs of Moher) it is two and a half hours of driving, but we recommend some stops along the way.

Adare is a cute town with a small strip of colorful, thatched houses. Unfortunately, a fire several years damaged several of these houses, so it’s not quite the scenic detour that it once was.

Adare Cottage 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Adare | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Limerick is a small city with a very cool castle that can be explored.

The Burren is a rocky, limestone plateau with Iron Age stone structures.

Your day ends in Doolin, a very small town that is a great base for exploring the Cliffs of Moher.

Where to Stay in Doolin: For hotel recommendations in Doolin, read our post about the Cliffs of Moher.

Day 7: Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher stretch 14 km from north to south, starting at Doolin in the north and ending at Hags Head in the south. There is a well-marked hiking trail along the entire stretch of coastline. The Visitor Center, located at the midpoint, is also at the highest point of the Cliffs.

Over one million people every year visit the Cliffs of Moher, making this one of Ireland’s most popular attractions.

Today, walk the Cliffs of Moher, a journey that takes most people five hours.

For a different perspective of the Cliffs of Moher, sail beneath the cliffs on this one hour cruise that starts and ends in Doolin.

Cliffs of Moher 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Cliffs of Moher | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Tonight, you have the option to spend a second night in Doolin or drive an hour and a half north to Galway.

Day 8: Drive to Northern Ireland

This is the longest driving day of this Ireland itinerary. Today you will be heading north to the town of Portrush in Northern Ireland. From Doolin, it is a six hour drive (five hours from Galway).

Spend some time in Galway, a favorite city of many visitors to Ireland. Between Sligo and Donegal, enjoy the views of the wild and rugged coastline.

Galway 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Galway | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

 

Atlantic Way 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Mullaghmore Head on the Wild Atlantic Way.

If you are making great time, you can take a three hour detour out to the Slieve League. This is another dramatic stretch of coastline, similar to the Cliffs of Moher. Because of the remoteness of these cliffs, not many tourists make it out this way. We didn’t either, unfortunately.

Have dinner and check into your hotel in lovely little Portrush.

Where We Stayed in Portrush: We stayed at the Albany Lodge. This is a basic, nothing fancy small hotel located in Portrush.

Day 9: Northern Ireland

One day gives you just enough time to tour the highlights of Northern Ireland. Most sites are clustered around the northern coastline and around Belfast.

Northern Ireland draws many Game of Thrones fans, as this is a major filming location for the HBO TV series. We toured the sites but were disappointed. Many of them were overcrowded and barely resemble what you see on TV. If you are traveling to Northern Ireland to see the Game of Thrones filming sites, read this before you go: Game of Thrones Filming Sites in Northern Ireland…What You Should Really Expect!

Places to Visit in Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle. See the ruins of an ancient castle perched on the cliffs of the Northern Ireland coastline.

Dunluce Castle 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Dunluce Castle | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. This rope bridge spans the gap between two rocky, coastal cliffs. Get here early or late to miss the crowds.

Giant’s Causeway. This is spectacular. It is worth traveling to Northern Ireland just to see this. The Giant’s Causeway is a stretch of coastline with perfectly formed hexagonal columns, all massed together at the water’s edge…it’s an amazing sight to see.

Get here at sunrise or sunset for the best experience. If you arrive in Portrush early enough on day 8, consider coming here to watch the sunset. This just may be one of the highlights of this entire trip.

Visiting Giants Causeway 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Giant’s Causeway | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

The Dark Hedges. This is the most popular Game of Thrones filming location in Northern Ireland. The Dark Hedges is a short road lined with twisted, mature beech trees. This is the Kingsroad.

Kingsroad 10 day Ireland Itinerary

The Dark Hedges | 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

Your day ends in Belfast. If you make it before closing time (between 5 pm and 7 pm depending on the season), you can tour the Titanic Museum. The Titanic was constructed in the Belfast Harbour in 1911.

Day 10: Fly Home

Begin your travels home. Or, for those with more time, continue on to your next destination.


With More Time

If you have more than 10 days, here are some great places to add to this Ireland itinerary.

Aran Islands

The Aran Islands sit off the coast of Ireland and are accessible from Doolin and Galway between March and October. To see the Aran Islands you can either add a day or visit the islands on day 7 of this itinerary. To do this, on day 6, drive directly from Killarney to Doolin and spend the afternoon on the Cliffs of Moher, in order to spend day 7 on the Aran Islands.

This full day tour includes a visit to the Cliffs of Moher and a visit to the Aran Islands. Here are a few more tours to the Aran Islands:

 

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park is a great place for hiking and exploring the Irish outdoors. You can visit Connemara on a day trip from Galway. On this tour from Galway, visit Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, and the village of Cong.

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine Monastery located just around the bend from Connemara National Park. This is a very picturesque spot, a gorgeous building that is featured in many publications about Ireland.

Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle is a medieval castle that has been turned into a five star luxury hotel. It’s an impressive building to see, and John Wayne, President Ronald Reagan, King George V, John Lennon, Brad Pitt, and many more celebrities have been guests here. Ashford Castle is located one hour north of Galway.

Spend more time in your favorite spot

You could also add more time to places we already list in this Ireland itinerary, such as Northern Ireland, Kilkenny, Galway, and Dublin.

 

Best Time for this Ireland Itinerary

Spring, summer, and fall are the best seasons to visit Ireland. Summer is peak season, so expect large crowds of people but longer days and warmer temperatures.

If you want to avoid most of the tourists, late spring and early fall are your best bets.


If you have any questions about this 10 day Ireland Itinerary, let us know in the comment section below. 

More Information for Your Trip to Ireland

BEST OF IRELAND: For a list of top experiences in Ireland, read our post Best Things to Do in Ireland. Walk the Cliffs of Moher, drive the Ring of Kerry, visit Dublin, and explore the Dingle Peninsula

HORE ABBEY: If you have plans to visit the Rock of Cashel, learn why you should add on Hore Abbey in our Guide to Hore Abbey.

NORTHERN IRELAND: Northern Ireland was a big filming site for Game of Thrones, but there are some things to know before you go. The Giant’s Causeway is one of our favorite places in Ireland and worth the time to get here.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: Get more travel ideas in our article 10 Days in Europe itinerary, which has 10 itineraries for your next trip to Europe. If you have less time, we also have an article that lists 25 different ways to spend one week in Europe.

 

Going to Ireland? Buy the Guide:


Planning a trip to Ireland? Read all of our articles in our Ireland Travel Guide.

 

 

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Ireland Itinerary Road Trip 10 Days

Comments 119

  1. Avatar for Brigid Sheridan
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      We don’t have a printable version of this itinerary yet. Currently, you can print it from your internet browser. Press CTRL + P (command+P on a mac) to bring up the printer dialog box. From here you can print it or save it as a PDF and print the pages you like. Our website is not optimized for printing so it will be a lot of pages. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Sandy
    Sandy

    We are visiting for 14 days and thinking of following your plan. Spending 2 days in Dublin, one day in Kilkenny via Wicklow and Glendalough, one day Rock of Cashel ,Cobh and Kinsale, one day exploring Killarney, one day ROK to Dingle, one day Dingle Peninsula and staying in Tarbert (or should we stay in Galway) and than spending one day doing the ferry tour to cliffs of Moher and Inis Oirr and staying in Doolin, one day Burren and Kylemore Abbey (don’t know where to stay), than drive to London Derry and spend rest of the days exploring northern Ireland. Is this plan do able or should I add or drop something. Any help will be awesome. Thanks.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Sandy. I think that sounds like an awesome road trip! It’s busy but we personally like traveling that way, so I think your itinerary looks great. I don’t know much about Tarbert. The itinerary that we did is different than what I wrote in this guide (we had more time). We stayed in Limerick and really liked it. Looking on a map, Tarbert looks a bit out of the way, but if there was a hotel/BnB there that you really liked in Tarbert, you could stay there instead of Galway or Limerick. But otherwise, I think Galway and Limerick are better options.
       
      I don’t have specific hotel recommendations for someplace near Kylemore Abbey, but Ashford Castle could be interesting (with a little extra driving) or a larger town like Castlebar or Sligo, which is on the way to Londonderry. If you can add on the Slieve League cliffs near Donegal, that would be a great addition to your itinerary. We didn’t do it but other people have been writing in about how great it is to see those cliffs.
       
      Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Sandy
        Sandy

        Julie, thanks for your suggestions. Yes staying in Galway makes more sense. We thought that the ferry from Tarbert will save us some driving time and we will have more time to explore the cliffs. We were thinking of adding the Slieve league cliffs but thought it might be a bit of a stretch. Are 4 days in Northern Ireland a bit too much and should we extend one more day at Killarney?
        Thanks,
        Sandy

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          If it were me, I’d add some time for Slieve League before adding another day in Killarney. I’m really bummed that we missed Slieve League. As for how much time to spend in Northern Ireland, it depends on what you want to do. A day in Belfast would be nice and a day along the north coast (Portrush, Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a -Rede) is awesome too. We spent some time visiting the Game of Thrones sights (this was back in 2016) and weren’t that impressed. So, 2 days as a minimum in Northern Ireland, and of course you could spend more time than this if there are other things you want to do. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Elaine Dooley-Spies
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Elaine. If it were me, I would add a day in Sligo to visit the Slieve League, which is similar to the Cliffs of Moher and some people say that it is better. An extra day to day trip to the Aran Islands would be nice. More time in Northern Ireland would also be good, since you really only have about a day here, on this itinerary. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Elaine Dooley-Spies
        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          You’re welcome. At the end of each day, I give the location on where to stay. In most cases, I give at least one hotel recommendation (usually where we stayed), sometimes more. We use Booking.com to find and book our hotels when we travel. You can enter in the location and then make your reservations on Booking.com, for those towsn where we have limited recommendations. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Michael Ramsay
    Michael Ramsay

    You didn’t make it to Slieve League, in Donegal. That is unfortunate as these Donegal cliffs are three times higher than Moher.

    I have been to Ireland many times: the Slive League cliffs are a must see.

  5. Avatar for Tara
    Tara

    We are wanting to take this trip in March with our family and hope to have a hand fasting ceremony at the end. Any suggestions for that? And we will have 7 people for sure, maybe more. Any suggestions to make it doable financially???
    Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hand fasting…that sounds interesting! Unfortunately, I don’t know about how to go about arranging it. With 7 people, I would say you could all pitch in and rent a large SUV or a small van (to save money), but driving a big vehicle could be tricky on some of the smaller roads in Ireland. I remember driving on some very narrow roads around the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry. You could stay in apartments with a kitchen and prepare your food rather than dining out. March is the off season so prices (and crowds) should be lower this time of year. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Lori Fasciano
        Lori Fasciano

        Hello, my husband is 6’3″ wide shoulders will the mini vw up fit or should we think of getting an economy vehicle? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          I’m not sure because I am not familiar with a mini VW. Maybe there is a way to find out interior dimensions online?

  6. Avatar for Claire
    Claire

    Wow, that is a whirlwind trip. There is so much to explore in such a small Island! We’re from England and have a 9 day trip to Northern Ireland planned for August, fingers crossed it can happen. We have younger kids, so hoping we can take some time out and enjoy some of the great beaches and seafood, amongst everything else. We did the ROI in 2007 before we had the kids and it was a fabulous trip. So many places, so little time!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      I agree, so many places and so little time! I hope everything works out for you and your upcoming trip. Cheers, Julie

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