Julie Ireland, Itinerary 109 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.

This Ireland Itinerary is good for:

  • Families
  • Scenic Drives
  • Game of Thrones fans
  • Historical Sites
  • Stunning Scenery

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.

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

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


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. Another idea is a guided tour of the Jameson Whiskey Distillery with tastings.

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

Dublin things to do

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 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.


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.

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 and Kilkenny instead.


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, 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.


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 a Irish vs. Scotch whiskey taste test. The Old Midleton Distillery is located just east of Cork.


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 and 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

Star Wars Ireland

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

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 10 day Ireland Itinerary

Tonight, sleep in Killarney.

Day 6

Drive from Killarney to the Cliffs of Moher

Today we drive north to the Cliffs of Moher. From Killarney to Doolin 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

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

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



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 you should 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

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

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

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.

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.

More Information about Ireland

BEST OF IRELAND:  14 Must-Have Experiences in Ireland
CLIFFS OF MOHER:  Cliffs of Moher: How to Walk from Doolin to Hags Head
RING OF KERRY:  Tips for Driving the Ring of Kerry
DINGLE PENINSULA: Driving the Dingle Peninsula
SKELLIG MICHAEL: How to Visit Skellig Michael: One of Ireland’s Most Unique Destinations
GIANTS CAUSEWAY: The Jaw-Dropping Giant’s Causeway

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

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 109

    1. Post

      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. Post

          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

  1. 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.

  2. 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. Post

      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

  3. 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. Post

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

  4. Great itinerary for 10-days — and this was your first trip to Ireland??

    Would you have left off Northern Ireland and spend more time in the south if you were to do this all over again? The reason I ask is that we have many clients who want to do 10 day trips and incorporate Northern Ireland. You know it is possible but it does speed things up and add quite a bit more driving. I typically recommend 14-days for a full loop of Ireland to get a good feel for it.

    If you were to go back, what would you do differently?

    1. Post

      That’s a good question. Yes, it did feel a bit fast but we still really enjoyed it, and we don’t mind moving fast like that. There were spots that we missed along the way, just because we did not have time for them. I think that this is a good trip for people who don’t have a lot of time and want to get a full tour of the island. Spreading this out over 14 days is great for those who have that much time, but I think that anything beyond 10 days is a stretch for most people. If I were to go back, I’d add more time to west coast of Ireland. It’s spectacular and I think that having the time to go to some of the off-the-beaten-path spots would be incredible. Cheers, Julie

  5. Thank you for your thoroughness..
    As the pandemic gets under control, we would love to visit Ireland, it has been a dream of ours.

    1. Post
  6. Hi there!

    All of the various itineraries you have to offer are so helpful, so thank you!

    This may not be the best question to ask, but hoping you can provide me some insight. My husband and I are hoping to take a 2-week trip next year to Europe and really focus on Ireland and the UK. However, we’re debating if it’s worth spending ~4 days in Scotland, 4 days in England and 4 days in Ireland. Do you think that’s enough time to have spent at each place? Thanks in advance!

    1. Post

      Hello Samantha. With 4 days in one country, you will be able to visit one of the cities and go on day trips from here, or quickly explore one region. In Scotland, I think it’s worth spending two full days in Edinburgh. With the other two you can road trip into the Highlands. Ideas include Glencoe, Inverness, or part of the whisky trail. We have a post about driving to Isle of Skye which might help you here. You won’t have enough time for the Isle of Skye, but you can get ideas about where to go in the countryside in this post.

      In Ireland, you can spend 2 days in Dublin and 2 days day tripping from here. Or, totally skip Dublin and head right out to the Atlantic Coast (Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, etc).

      In England, with 4 days, you could be very busy just in London. Or you could do one whirlwind day in London and then drive out to Stonehenge, Bath, and the Cotswolds.

      Your options are endless. The 4 days in each country will give you a nice taste of each and then in the future you can always come back and revisit your favorite spots.

      Cheers, Julie

    1. Post

      I don’t have a PDF to send you. But you can print a PDF version on your own. Using Google Chrome, go to File -> Print -> More settings -> save file as PDF. And then you can print it. Cheers, Julie

  7. I have been looking for a site that offers independent tours! This is awesome! Question though..what should I expect to pay (ballpark) for a ten day trip like this?

    1. Post

      Hello Brian. Glad we can help! There are several factors that affect trip cost (time of year, budget vs. luxury travel, etc). For a mid-range traveler with two meals per day (assuming breakfast is at your hotel), expect to pay around $400 per person per day (but this can vary a lot based on your hotel choice and where you dine). This is a very rough estimate, assuming $100 for food, $100 for a rental car, and $200 for a hotel. Cheers, Julie

  8. Hello,

    We are planning a trip to Ireland next June. We love your itinerary and all your pictures and information. Can you tell me how many different hotels & B&Bs you stayed at? Did you stay somewhere different each night? Also, any other recommendations of places to say? Thanks so much! It is really such an incredible website! THANK YOU!

    1. Post

      Hello Mary. I’m so glad you like our website!! For this itinerary, you need 2 nights in Dublin, 3 nights in Killarney, 2 nights in Doolin (or 1 night in Doolin and 1 night in Galway), 1 night in Portrush, and 1 night in Belfast. Our specific hotel recommendations are listed on articles for that area. Click the links in this itinerary to see those more in-depth articles. I hope you have a great trip to Ireland! Cheers, Julie

    1. Post

      It’s a little challenging the first time. Your natural inclination is going to be to stay on the right. It helps to have the passenger pay attention as well, to make sure you stay on the correct side of the road (especially when making turns). In some places, like in and around the towns, the roads can be narrow, so be prepared to hug the side of the road as you drive. Cheers, Julie

    1. Post

      We do not offer tours. This itinerary is to be used as a guide for independent travel. However, you can show it to a travel agent and they can make arrangements for you. Cheers, Julie

  9. Wow! Planning a two week 50th anniversary trip to Ireland and don’t want a tour. We spend our time on mission in many parts of the world and appreciate the freedom of doing travel ourselves. Happened upon your great site and it really meets our needs. Hoorah! Thank you so much!

    1. Post

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