WHAT TO SEE ON A ONE-WEEK TOUR OF IRELAND
Spend a week visiting the stunning scenery and historic sights of Ireland. The ideal Irish holiday consists of exploring the cities as well as the countryside, to take in the culture, history and beauty of the Emerald Isle.
With a week it is possible to go from the capital Dublin and spend some time driving along the west coast. Seven days give you enough time to visit the highlights of Ireland with a little flexibility to see more off-the-beaten-path stops as well.
Of course, the journey is just as important as the destination when you’re on a road trip. In Ireland you can expect scenic drives and plenty of attractions to stop at along the way.
Imagine yourself wandering through ancient Celtic monuments, going for a walk on the green hills, and learning about Gaelic culture. You could sit in a typical pub tasting the local brew and listening to live Irish music.
Read our recommended itinerary below for more inspiration and ideas.
Here’s our suggestion for a one-week Ireland itinerary:
Day 1 - Arrival in Ireland
You’ll fly into Dublin, the capital, largest city and international hub of Ireland. If you arrive earlier in the day, you can spend the afternoon at your leisure, exploring the city and its many attractions.
Dublin is an amazing combination of heritage sites, fun museums, green parks, historic pubs and lively entertainment. To immerse yourself fully into this buzzing city, we recommend taking a stroll along the cobbled streets of the Temple Bar district or along the characterful O’Connell Street.
Fans of history, books and collegiate atmosphere will want to visit the historic Trinity College and see the ancient Book of Kells.
There are plenty of fun activities you could also add to your itinerary should you have the time. Enjoy an afternoon tea in a double decker vintage bus as you sightsee around the city. Or you could grab a pint at the Guinness Storehouse for a taste of their world-famous beer.
Spend the night in the Dublin area.
Day 2 - Drive to the west coast
This morning you start your road trip around Ireland. You’ll cross the country to make your way toward the west coast. Through the midlands there are a few worthwhile stops where you may want to spend some time.
You can immerse yourself in local history at Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. You could make a pit stop at Kilbeggan Distillery to see how the local whiskey is made. You’ll also come across the atmospheric ruins of Clonmacnoise where you could go for a stroll.
Spend the night in the Galway area.
Day 3 - Explore Connemara or the Aran Islands
Today you have a choice between visiting the rugged mountains of Connemara or going to discover the Aran Islands.
For the first option, you could drive through the striking region where you’ll find a mixture of landscapes from mountains to white sand beaches, tranquil lakes and heathlands. You could spend some time exploring the fjord of Killary harbour before visiting Kylemore Abbey and its Victorian Walled Garden.
To discover Gaelic culture and spend a leisurely seaside day, opt for the boat trip to the windswept Aran Islands.
Spend another night in the Galway area.
Day 4 - The Cliffs of Moher
Today you’ll see some of Ireland’s most famous landscapes. But first, start the day at Dunguaire Castle. It is one of Ireland’s most photographed castles thanks to its location along the Galway Bay. You’ll then drive through the spectacular and lunar-like Burren.
In the afternoon, take in the majestic beauty of the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s top tourist attraction.
Spend the night in the Killarney area.
Day 5 - Around the Ring of Kerry
You have all day to explore the scenic Ring of Kerry, a magical drive through the Irish countryside and along the coast of the Iveragh peninsula. It is part of the larger Wild Atlantic Way and is a must-do for most visitors.
We recommend going counter-clockwise and stopping at the Kells Bay House and its gardens as your first visit of the day. You could then stop by the ancient stone forts of Caherdaniel and Staigue as well as stroll along Derrynane Bay.
Along the way you could also take an optional boat tour from the coast to see the Skellig Islands from up close. These otherworldly islands were recently featured in the Star Wars movies.
If time allows, you could finish the day by visiting some highlights of Killarney National Park. This includes the picturesque Torc Waterfall and the lakeside Ross Castle and Muckross House.
Spend another night in the Killarney area.
Day 6 - Discover more of Ireland’s rich history
Today’s journey will take you back to Dublin. You could go the direct way, but to take advantage of your last full day in Ireland, we recommend stopping along the way at attractions and beautiful sights.
One of them is the famous Blarney Castle. It is legendary in fact as the castle and its history is surrounded in myths and tales. Don’t miss out on kissing the Blarney Stone, which supposedly gives you the gift of eloquence.
Later, explore the spectacular Rock of Cashel, which is home to an important collection of medieval buildings that span over 1,000 years of history.
Spend your last night in Dublin, where you can top up your Irish adventure with one last delicious dinner.
Day 7 - Departure
Today you fly home from your Irish holiday. If you have time, you could spend the earlier part of the day visiting another of Dublin’s museums. Or take a final stroll along the River Liffey or in one of the beautiful parks of the city.
Want to go on an Ireland road trip?
With a full week driving around Ireland, you’ll have the freedom to pull the car over at any attractions or breathtaking views.
The best part? You won’t have to worry about where you’re going or sleeping, because your Nordic Visitor travel consultant will plan your trip and sort all the details before you arrive.
We reserve your accommodation, rent a car for your trip, and can book activities to fill your days with more adventures. You’ll also have access to our 24/7 emergency helpline should you need to call us at any point.
Good to know: Our tours aren't set in stone. We can modify the itinerary! Would you prefer to spend more time in one location? Add another town to your trip? Or even stay in a special accommodation like a castle hotel? Just ask your Nordic Visitor travel consultant for advice.
Want to stay longer?
If you want to slow down the pace and take in more Irish attractions, we highly recommend extending your self-drive tour to 10 days or more.
All of Nordic Visitor’s Ireland self-drive tour packages can be tailored by our regional experts. They can add extra nights at select locations or modify the driving routes if you have any particular attractions in mind. Just ask!
For example, if you add one more night to your tour you could also discover the Wicklow Mountains region. And with 10 days and more, you could visit the island in more depth. Follow the Wild Atlantic Way route or pop into Northern Ireland for a complete tour of the island.
The possibilities are endless when visiting Ireland. You could dive deeper into the Ring of Kerry, explore the Dingle Peninsula, visit the Aran Islands or the Achill Island for some coastal scenery.
You could drive up to the northernmost county, Donegal, or discover the east coast in more detail. At the other end of the spectrum, you could spend more time in the south, visiting the city of Cork or the town of Kilkenny.
When is the best time to visit Ireland?
Ireland is a beautiful country all year long. This means you can’t go wrong when you book your one-week Irish getaway. That said, we recommend the summertime or its shoulder months for the best experience.
The summer, consisting of the months of June, July and August, is the high season. It is marked by long daylight hours and the best (and most stable) weather of the year. Attractions also operate under longer hours and more availability than in winter.
All of this means you can discover Ireland to your heart’s content.
However, you may find that top attractions are very popular at this time. Indeed, Ireland attracts visitors from around the world especially in summer.
If you would rather have a quieter holiday, visit during the spring or autumn. These shoulder months include April, May, September and October. During this time, you’ll find the best of both worlds: quieter attractions but plenty of good weather and daylight to explore.
Are you interested in exploring Scotland too?
You could combine a tour of Ireland with a road trip around Scotland for an epic Celtic itinerary. We recommend a minimum of 10 days for this, however, so you can have enough time to dive into the cultures of both countries.
Spend the first 4 to 10 days driving around the rugged Highlands and islands of Scotland. Then follow that up with another road trip around Ireland to take in all the jaw-dropping coastal landscapes and historic landmarks.
Scotland is a great destination to complement a tour to Ireland. Their cultures and history are so closely linked and you’ll be able to meet the locals and get immersed in both.
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