7-Day Ireland Road trip

the contrast of soft grass and hard sandstone on the way down to one of the inlets along the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

A herd of the beautiful black and white Kerry Cows grazing in a green meadow in Ireland

A herd of the beautiful black and white Kerry Cows grazing in a green meadow in Ireland.

In Ireland, immerse yourself in this 7-day road trip around southern Ireland itinerary. Prepare to be enchanted by the breathtaking landscapes, including lush pastoral hills adorned with iconic black and white cows and the sheep halt traffic. Discover the serenity of tranquil villages, the beauty of rugged cliffs against moody skies, and the captivating charm of accents far more delightful than the American twang. Savor a good beer and revel in the lively atmosphere of music, with jigs and tap-dancing filling the air. Experience the wonder of real-life castles, a world of fairytales and folklore. Ireland is a land brimming with mystique and magic.

While plotting my journey around the world, I reached out to my friends, inviting them to join me at any of my various destinations.  Sarah’s parents recently traveled through Ireland and Scotland and came back full of enthusiasm.  It didn’t take much convincing to get Sarah fully on board, and we began devising a plan for a memorable girls’ trip through southern Ireland, followed by a long weekend in Edinburgh loosely based on her parent’s recommendations.

A roadtrip through Ireland is an excellent way to explore this country. Self driving offers the flexibility for exploration and the ease of traveling on your own time. Public transportation In Ireland is available but somewhat limited when wanting to explore the outdoors.

This guide presents our 7-day itinerary, equipped with useful tools and apps to help you plan your own trip. I have included links to local tourism sites and event calendars, as well as tips to make your Ireland trip affordable. If you are looking for additional support, feeling overwhelmed, or not sure where to start, book a travel coaching call to get you on your way.



Table of Contents

  1. 7 day road trip Ireland itinerary
  2. Driving tips for Ireland
  3. Money saving tips while in Ireland
  4. Language, Currency, Visa.
  5. Accomodation and Logistics resources.
  6. Ireland Tourism links, useful blogs, event calendars

7 Day Road Trip Ireland Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin & Explore.

Guinness Storehouse:

Why it’s worth it: The brewery offers a nostalgic journey through their past advertising and marketing campaigns, showcasing their clever and artfully designed adverts that have contributed to Guinness’s long-standing success. Enjoy a free pint of Guinness on the rooftop terrace bar with stunning views of Dublin.

Tip: Save money by purchasing tickets online through the Guinness Storehouse website .

Posing in front of the Iconic Guiness Warehouse at St. James Gate, Dublin, Ireland. First stop on the 7 day Ireland road trip

Temple Bar District:

One of Dublin’s most iconic streets, popular among tourists.

Tip: Food and drinks in this area can be overpriced. Seek recommendations from locals and explore other dining options in Dublin.

Day 2: Dublin – Kilkenny – Cork

(Total drive time +/- 3 hours, 280km)

the facade of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland first stop on day 2 of our Ireland Road trip

Trinity College and The Book of Kells:

Tall bookcases with a wooden ladder in the famous Trinity Library, Dublin, Ireland

Explore the impressive Trinity College Library, known for its architectural beauty and extensive collection of books. The long two-story hall with arched ceilings has an impactful feeling of knowledge being housed here.  The Book of Kells is intricately illustrated with astonishing detail and color.  The artwork overshadows the Latin gospel.

Tip: Save time by purchasing tickets online to avoid crowds through The Trinity College.

the wooden arched roof of the amazing Trinity Library lined with double storied book shelves and busts of famous authors along the long hall, Dublin, Ireland

Kilkenny and Lunch along the River:

Experience Kilkenny’s the charm of this medieval city, visit the National Design and Craft Museum, and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere. Take time to explore the town and savor a delightful lunch by the river.

Evening in Cork.

Day 3: Cork – Killarney

(Total drive time +/- 1.5 hours, 100km)

The view from the ground of Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone, Killarney, Ireland

Blarney Castle and Gardens:

Kiss the Blarney Stone and embrace the Irish folklore. Explore the castle’s dungeons, magnificent gardens, and captivating landscape.

Tip: The Blarney Stone can be touristy, but the grounds are worth exploring. Pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors.

Muckross House in Killarney National Park:

The facade of the Vicotorian era mansion, Muckross House in Killarney National Park, Ireland.

Photograph by Sarah Mueller

Visit this Victorian mansion with stunning views of one of Killarney’s largest lakes. And explore the landscaped grounds and gardens and charming rivers and streams.

Night out in Killarney:

Killarney offers a vibrant nightlife scene with around 40 bars lining the streets. Discover the atmosphere, enjoy live music, and experience traditional tap dancing.

Day 4: Ring of Kerry Tour

(Total tour time: 6 hours)

A shaggy sheep grazing in a green meadow in the southern coast of Ireland in the Ring of Kerry, Ireland.

Ring of Kerry Tour – Wild Kerry Day Tours:

Experience the scenic beauty of the Ring of Kerry without the stress of driving. The tour includes Irish coffee, sheep herding demonstrations, and encounters with adorable baby lambs.

The entrance of The Red Fox Inn, Ring of Kerry with its beautiful bright red doors standing out against the white plaster building covered in thick green ivy.

Tip: If you prefer an independent experience, you can explore the Ring of Kerry on your own. Start early around 6:30 or 7am to avoid the bus crowds.

Walk in Killarney National Park:

Enjoy free access to Killarney National Park and explore the various walking, hiking, and biking trails. The park offers breathtaking landscapes, the and a range from easy to moderate difficulty levels.

Tip:  If you are an outdoor enthusiast, spend some additional time here exploring the beautiful landscapes of this National Park. 

The view of Torq Waterfall in Killarney National Park, Ireland

Day 5: Kenmare – Spanish Point

(Total drive time +/- 3 hours, 200km)

The table lined in ceramics in the Banquet Hall in Desmond Hall, Ireland

Newcastle West & the Desmond Castle and Banqueting Hall:

Stop in Newcastle West to visit the Desmond Castle, which offers a guided tour.  The banquet hall is a brightly lit room with high wood ceilings reminiscent of the dining rooms photographed for Kinfolk Magazine.   

Adare:

Thatched roof house with red windows in the charming village of Adare, Ireland

Discover the beauty of Adare, often regarded as the prettiest town in Ireland. Admire the thatched roof cottages, the picturesque river running through the town, and explore the charming cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Day 6: Spanish Point – Loop Head – Kilkee

(Total drive time +/- 2 hours, 100km)

Loop Head Lighthouse, Cliffs of Loop Head, Kilkee and The Wild Atlantic Way.

the contrast of soft grass and hard sandstone on the way down to one of the inlets along the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland. this was one of my favorite stretches on our Irleand road trip

Sandstone cliffs dropping into the Atlantic Ocean and on top of the cliffs are green and dried grasses along the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

a lovely stone house decorated with red framed windows in a meadow in Ireland

View from the Loop Head Lighthouse in Loop Head, Ireland

This stunning section of the Wild Atlantic Way is more remote and not overrun with tourists. The Loop Head Lighthouse offers panoramic views. Loop Head Peninsula shields the Shannon Estuary, and the coastline is supposed to be supreme for scuba diving and kayaking.

Tip: And unlike the Cliffs of Moher these cliffs are free to explore.

Standing a top the cliffs in western Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way

Day 7: Kilkee – Dublin

(Total drive time +/- 3.25 hours, 280km)

A view of the beach through a portico decorated with a bicycle and flower pots attached to the walls, Kilkee, Ireland

All things must come to an end. After a classic Irish breakfast, we drove straight across the Island, returned the car to the airport and flew out to Edinburgh to continue our adventure.

A table setting with a full Irish breakfast including sausage, potatoes, tomatoes, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, black pudding, cheese, toast, yogurt with currents, and a cup of Irish tea.


Driving Tips for Your Ireland Road trip

Sarah and I driving on the left side of the road for the first time. She is driving and excited and I am in the passanger seat nervous in the first moments of our Ireland road trip

  • The driver is always closest to the center line.  Be extra mindful of round-abouts and turning.
  • Find an empty lot before getting on the road and have a little practice.
  • If you haven’t driven a manual transmission car, don’t rent one.
  • Share the road with sheep and watch your side mirrors on the narrow ways.
  • In Gaeltecht speaking areas, the sign posts are in Gaelic.
  • Most important be safe and have fun on your Ireland road trip!
  • Here are more rules of the road.


Money Saving Tips for Ireland

  • Walk around the cities.
  • Rent a car. Train travel is possible to major cities but smaller villages are not as easily accessible.
  • Do Grocery runs and cook your own food.  Tesco, Lidl, Aldi
  • Stay at shared accommodations like AirBnB rooms or Hostels with kitchen access.
  • Wild camping is allowed as long as there isn’t a sign prohibiting it.
  • Wifi is available in most places.
  • The water is fine to drink.  Bring your own bottle.
  • Look for free activities.


Currency, Visas, & Language

The Republic of Ireland is part of the European Union.  The currency is Euros.

It is NOT part of the Schegnen Area.  If you are struggling to figure out how long you can stay here is a visa calculator

English is the primary language, but Irish is also spoken. Learn Irish on Duolingo.


Best Apps & Websites for Ireland

Trying to figure out the best times to go to Ireland? Peak tourist season is April-September, the summer months great for longer days, warmer weather, outdoor activities. This beautiful country has a lot of appeal year round, these apps and sites can help you plan a succesful Ireland road trip.

A beautiful Ivy covered hotel in Killarney, Ireland

This portion contains several affiliate links. At no cost to you, I can earn a small fee that can help me justify my time in this passion project blog.

Best Accomodation Booking Apps For Ireland

Helpful Map Apps

  • Waze & google maps. Have both. Google maps is not always reliable.

Flight Booking Apps for Ireland

Car Rental Sites

Local Communication

  • Vodafon SIM
  • Skype
  • WhatsApp

Outdoor Adventure

Weather apps

For more great apps check out my favorite travel apps.


Ireland Tourism , Blogs & Event Calendar Resources

All tickets, tours and towns links I have included in the above itinerary.

DiscoverIreland A thorough, easy to navigate, responsive and beautifully laid out website covering everything from activities, events, hikes, restaurants and bars, and accomodations.

The Irish Road Trip This is a website with a lot of great information to plan…you guessed it, A road trip. Tons of points of interest, maps, and versatile combinations to help you plan your adventure.

Events and holidays in Ireland https://www.irishtourism.com/festivals


And Every Road Trip Needs a Playlist…

Coming soon…
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