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Alright, we know we don’t need to tell you that Ireland is one gorgeous country. Sweeping landscapes, jagged rock, and lush, flowing greenery are all hallmarks of Ireland. With seven days to work with, we had to decide where we were going to go and what we were going to do in the southern part of Ireland. Trip planning is always an exciting time but also a pain. Here, we’ve narrowed it down to what we think are the best things to see on an Ireland road trip.

Our trip through our interpretation of southern Ireland was stunningly beautiful, not only in landscapes but also in its culture, people, wildlife and of course the delicious food. If we had to pick, these are our top ten reasons why you have to plan an road trip through Ireland.

BEST TIPS FOR AN IRELAND ROAD TRIP 

  • Where to Stay – Out of all of the incredible and unique stays in Ireland, we have to say our first at Newlands Lodge was full of character, charm, and amazing hospitality just outside of Kilkenny. We used Booking.com for all of our stays and is great for finding those charming B&Bs. Alternatively, you can always see if hotel corporate codes might work for you.
  • Car Rentals – Rent a car at Dublin airport to get around the narrow roads. Save the most money through car rental coupon codes and book with RentalCars and Discover Cars to find the best deals.
  • Activities – Most of the tours/attractions we did were those that needed to be booked through the site specific website ahead of time. If time allows check out additional tours through GetYourGuide or Viator.
  • Flights – International flights are never cheap, but with the Skyscanner “Everywhere” feature you can find the best deals. Check how much it would be for you to get to Ireland!
  • Insurance – Make sure you’re covered for all of your adventure activities with the best travel insurance.
  • Hottest Deals – Bookmark our frequently updated travel deals page.

Table Of Contents

Things To See On An Ireland Road Trip

small ireland road surrounded by foliagesmall ireland road surrounded by foliage
Image via Unsplash by Jacki Drexler

There are so many great things to see on an Ireland road trip, as well as different attractions and activities to explore and experience, but if we were to pick our favorite things we saw on our southern Ireland itinerary and why we would go back, it would be these!

Map of Ireland counties

As you plan your Ireland road trip itinerary, seeing the many counties Ireland consists of will be useful in determining your path of travel. 

map of ireland countiesmap of ireland counties
Image via worldmapblank.com

Ireland road trip map 

This map represents one of many examples of routes you can take to explore the several attractions Ireland has to offer. It not only highlights the top areas of things to see on an Ireland road trip through the southern region, but a possible road trip route through the northern Ireland region as well. 

If you expand your road trip to Northern Island it is worth visiting Slieve League cliffs, driving the causeway coastal route, and exploring Derry, Londonderry and Belfast.

road trip routes on ireland maproad trip routes on ireland map
Image via avrextravel.com

#1 Skellig Michael

Chapel at the Monestary on Skellig MichaelChapel at the Monestary on Skellig Michael

We kind of needed to start here, right?  I mean this place is nothing short of incredible.  Yes, I am a Star Wars fan and yes, I totally brought a mini lightsaber.  Did I duel a kid while I was there with said lightsaber too, you bet I totally did! This place is so much more than a Star Wars nerd’s dream come true though.  

First let us break it down how it works. You will get on a boat in Portmagee, and you will be out in the middle of the ocean where these two giant islands jut out of the water.  The first one, aptly named Little Skellig, looks completely white and you think it is just a really white island and that’s when you see ALL the birds.

Cute Puffins on Skellig MichaelCute Puffins on Skellig Michael

Past that, you have Skellig Michael, which is the sanctuary ecosystem for so many unique species of birds, including the cute puffin.  June is the perfect time to see tens of thousands of puffins and their babies. If this is something you’d like to see on your Ireland road trip, plan accordingly. 

I almost forgot about the monastery, which includes a cemetery and a medieval church, surrounded by beehive shaped huts we saw when we first got off our boat.  The sights and architectural structures offer a one-of-a-kind experience.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Time:

  • Duration – 2.5 hours to tour the island, 5 hours total
  • Departure Point- The Marina, Portmagee, Co. Kerry, Ireland
  • Season – Tours run May 15th – September 30th.

Price:

  • €45 per person for bot tour around the islands
  • €125 per person for a landing tour
  • There are no children, student, senior or group discounts for the landing tour, children under the age of 12 are not permitted on the landing tour.

Language: All tours are spoken in English

Website: Skellig Michael

FAQ:

  • Are reservations required? Yes, and you will need to book way in advance as tours fill up and sell out quickly.

Tips:

  • Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be climbing hundreds of stairs in the landing tour.
  • If you want to see the puffins book a tour before August as this is their migrating period.
  • There are no restrooms on the islands. There are some on the boats, go before arriving to the island if you don’t think you’ll make it the entire 2.5 hour tour.

Alternative Skellig Island Tours:

#2 Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel On The HillRock of Cashel On The Hill

The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most unique and spectacular archaeological sites.  It is legitimately a Castle On A Hill.

Found on a prominent green hill, banded with limestone outcrops, rising from a grassy plain and bristling with ancient fortifications, this was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster hundreds of years prior to the Norman Invasion.  

This picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.  Given the age of the structure, it is surprisingly still intact.

Given that this is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations, you can expect higher crowd numbers when visiting this historical site. However, this is one of the few attractions in Ireland that is open year round. So even if you are there in the off season definitely add this stop to your Ireland road trip itinerary. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Time:

  • Duration – 1 to 1.5 hours
  • Times – 9AM-5PM (last entry at 4:45PM) mid-March through Early October, 9AM-4PM (last entry at 3:45PM) mid-October through mid-March

Price: All visitors must have a ticket and they can be purchased online.

  • Adult – €8.00
  • Group/Senior – €6.00
  • Child/Student: €4.00
  • Family: €20.00

Parking: There’s a public car park close to site. Note there is a short walk up an incline from here.

Language: Tours are in English but there are printed information sheets available with translation in several different languages.

Website: Rock Of Cashel

FAQ:

  • Are guided tours the only way to see Rock of Cashel? No, you can tour the grounds on your own at your own pace, unless you are wanting to tour Cormac’s Chapel.

Tips:

  • Cormac’s Chapel visit is by guided tour only. Last tour is 2:30PM daily, there are limited tickets and they can only be purchased online
  • Call ahead for tour times, they can change short notice.
  • If you have time Kilkenny Castle is close by and also worth a visit.

Alternative Rock of Cashel Tours:

#3 Ring of Kerry + Skellig Ring

View from Valentia IslandView from Valentia Island

Ireland at its wildest can be found in this picturesque loop at the heart of County Kerry.  This 179 kilometer circuit of this peninsula is perfect for driving with the road that winds past pristine beaches, medieval ruins, mountains, lakes, and views of the island-dotted Atlantic.  

This is the same Ring of Kerry where you will get access to the Skellig Michael, which we already covered above.

This driving loop starts in Killarney and it is recommended that you drive counter-clockwise because, officially, all big coach buses have to go this way.  Now while everyone warned us that these roads would be hard to drive, we did not find it too bad. Though that might be because we were always on a whacky time schedule because we started late and ended late based on our personal Ireland road trip itinerary.  

You can easily do the full loop in one day BUT you will have to be a bit creative with your own Ireland road trip itinerary if you want to do Skellig Michael because that often starts in the morning and departs from Portmagee, which is about midway through the loop. If you plan on basing your trip from Portmagee, check out Atlantic Sunset guest house.

Also, don’t miss Valentia Island, which has gorgeous views of the landscape and its towns.  Enjoy these beautiful views from your room in the Royal Valentia Hotel. There is also Kerry Cliffs, which most guidebooks do not seem to talk about, but is well worth the view.  Kerry Cliffs is a brother to Cliffs of Moher, but we loved it there because there are way less tourists and you get this wild collection of jagged rock and dramatic cliff drops from the several viewpoints that are available.  To round things out you have Molls Gap and Ladies View. Both of these are just as popular as the others mentioned when talking about tourist locations and both are definitely worth taking the time to see. Molls Gap offers stunning mountain views, while Ladies View gives you gorgeous sights of Killarney’s breath-taking lakes.

How you do this southern Ireland road trip is up to you.  A lot of planning your southern Ireland itinerary depends on the amount of time you have. So stop where you please if you have the time for it or continue onwards if you are short on time.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Kerry Cliffs Visitor Experience:

Time:

  • Duration – at least an hour but can stay as long as you want
  • Departures – Opening hours is dependent on weather, cliffs will be closed if weather is bad. Also closed during the winter season

Price: Roughly €5 a person for a ticket, purchased at the booth at the entrance.

Parking: Large car-park on-site.

Website: Kerry Cliffs

Tips:

  • You will climb a steep incline so be prepared for that and wear comfortable hiking shoes.
  • Always check the weather before going, if it’s bad weather the cliffs will be closed.
  • There is food and drinks available on-site.

Ring of Kerry Tours:

#4 Dingle

Wild Atlantic crashing into the rocky coast of DingleWild Atlantic crashing into the rocky coast of Dingle

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the trip for me was the entirety of the Dingle peninsula.  This may be a little less famous than its cousin, the Ring of Kerry, but it is equally, if not more charming and beautiful.  

It’s a place where land meets ocean, the sharp rocks jut out of the water, tiny settlements are spread all over, and sandy coves appear once in a while.  Here you will also find an ancient landscape of ring forts, beehive huts, early Christian chapels, picturesque hamlets and abandoned villages.

The most memorable thing here is the drive around where things can get a bit hairier than the Ring of Kerry. This is because you do get pretty close to the edge of the cliffs and the roads narrow to one lane along Slea Head Drive. Even though this route is more intimidating than the others, it is said to be one of Ireland’s most scenic routes.

Dingle Downtown StreetsDingle Downtown Streets

Don’t miss the town of Dingle either because you’ll find some amazing food here and charming streets. It’s also where Fungi the dolphin used to reside, and there’s plenty more history this little town has to offer. Try out a tour like this to get a full view of the peninsula and then enjoy a relaxing stay at the Old Irish Farmhouse while there!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tips:

  • Travel Slea Head Drive in a clockwise direction (follow the road signs) to avoid on coming traffic, including large tour buses.
  • You can drive the loop of Slea Head Drive in an hour’s time, but we recommend giving yourself at least a half day to do so to stop and see the many sights and attractions along the way.

#5  Killarney

Entrance to Ross CastleEntrance to Ross Castle

We have a Killarney in Canada but it surely is not the same as the original Killarney National Park in Ireland. 

Within the park you can view Ireland’s largest mountain range, as well as the famously beautiful lakes. The natural beauty of Killarney is undeniable and spans a large area. Try out a walking tour to see what we mean.

During your visit here you will most likely base your stay in the city of Killarney and from there you’ll be able to enjoy the sights of several attractions, as well as the best routes for the ideal road trip. These attractions include Muckross House, Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle, and Torc Waterfall.

Killarney is perfectly situated to be either at the start or end of your drive through Ring of Kerry. Further down in this post we go into more detail on where exactly to stay in Killarney, so keep an eye out for that.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Time:

  • Hours – 24 hour pedestrian access to park, access to gardens at both Killarney House and Muckross House are open daily but hours vary. Visitor center is open daily 9:15AM-5:15PM.

Price: No fee to enter the park but attractions within do charge to visit.

Parking: There’s free parking on-site and several car-parks available.

Website: Killarney National Park

FAQ:

  • Are reservations required? No, you can go at any time.

Tips:

  • Always look into the weather before going and bring what you need for that.
  • It’s recommended to stay on the marked trails especially if you’re not an experienced hiker.

#6 Cliffs of Moher

The huge crowds of tourists by the tower at Cliffs of MoherThe huge crowds of tourists by the tower at Cliffs of Moher

A trip to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without this behemoth sight!

It is hard to describe the staggering beauty of these vertical cliffs that fall into the ocean and the colors that shine through depending on the lighting conditions. You can expect to see hues of amber, amethyst, rose-pink and deep garnet-red.

Now as a super popular destination, like the others mentioned before, it is also going to be crowded here.  Be sure to check out this blog post so you can see that we have dropped a ton of super secret tips about not having to pay for parking, as well as where the best spots are to hike to. Hopefully with these tips and tricks you can easily navigate the crowds of people while enjoying what all the sights have to offer.  

What we will say is that the official “Cliffs of Moher” viewing points are just alright, but if you leave the official boundary and head north, that is where you get that glorious view of the cliffs. From there you can see the waves of towering rock weave in and out for miles, views you thought never existed! 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Time:

  • Duration – Morning and evening tours are 2 hours, afternoon tour is 4 hours
  • Departures – Open daily 9AM-5PM: morning tour 9AM-11AM, afternoon tour 11AM-3PM, evening tour 3PM-5PM.

Price: Seeing the cliffs is free, but to gain access to all areas you must purchase a ticket.

  • Adults – from €7.00
  • Child (12 years and under, max 4 children per adult booking) – FREE
  • Family Ticket 2 Adults, 2 Children under 12 – from €14.00

Parking: Parking on-site is included with ticket purchase.

Website: Cliffs of Moher

FAQ:

  • Are tickets required? Technically no since it is a mountain range that can be seen from all angles, but if you want walk the paved paths of the mountains and visit the attractions there you will need tickets.

Tips:

  • Plan your tour for the morning or evening, tickets are cheaper, there’s less people and the sunrise/sunset make for beautiful views.

Alternative Cliffs of Moher Tours:

#7 Burren National Park

Burren National ParkBurren National Park

I think what really impressed us about our Ireland road trip is just how distinctly different each county is.  Once you get to County Clare, not only do you have the Cliffs of Moher, but you also have the alien-like landscape in Burren National Park.

This national park is smaller than the others in Ireland, but it is still wildly popular to tourists and locals due to its unusual features. 

Just as its name suggests, you can expect to see lots of rocky terrain and rock formations in the park. While that may sound thrilling to the geologists reading this, it may not sound like a party to the rest. Rest assured, this park still has a lot to offer and will take most by surprise.

What is interesting about this park, other than the unique flora that grows there, is that it’s not run like your standard National Park. Meaning it does not have an official entrance.  The visitor center is actually located in a nearby town.  The park itself you find by taking a small road through said town and if you know your hiking trail routes, you just park on the side and head out!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Time:

  • Hours – Park is open year round, Corofin Information Point open daily 10AM-5PM in October to April and 9:30AM-5PM May to September, closed for lunch 1pm to 2pm.

Price: Free

Parking: Park at the Corofin Information Point and take the free shuttle offered to the park.

Website: Burren National Park

FAQ:

  • Are reservations required? No, you can go at any time.

Tips:

  • There are seven different trails marked with how difficult they are, but all are rugged so wear strong hiking shoes.
  • Look at trail maps ahead of time and plan your trip there in advance.

Burren Tours To Try:

#8 Galway

Pedestrian Streets of GalwayPedestrian Streets of Galway

Now this is our favorite city in Ireland.  

What we love about it is that it is comfortably small, making it easy to explore. Because of its small size, you can easily get around all over the city simply on foot. This gives you a little break from being in the car, as well as a chance to calm your nerves from the intense road routes previously mentioned at other sights.

Here you will find the friendly locals to be full of energy and excited to help or offer tips of getting around, things to do and places to see. Not to mention the delicious food that can be found in Galway.  It’s approachable, it’s fun, it’s artsy, and it’s bohemian. We highly recommend adding this stop on your Ireland road trip itinerary.

Don’t miss the buskers, live music on the streets, boutique shops, cafes, and local restaurants along the long promenades of pedestrian streets.  

For more inspiration, read the top 6 of the best things to do in Galway for our suggestions of attractions to see or do, restaurants and pubs to try, as well as hotel recommendations for a good night’s rest while there.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tips:

  • Galway is a compact city, making it easy to walk from place to place. It also has a great bus service so for this leg of your trip you won’t really need a car, plan accordingly.
  • There’s tons of attractions, restaurants, events and sights to see here, plan ahead of everything you’d like to do and give yourself plenty of time.

#9  Kilmainham Prison

Victorian Prison at Kilmainham Gaol prison in Dublin IrelandVictorian Prison at Kilmainham Gaol prison in Dublin Ireland

We have stayed at a prison converted into a hostel in Sweden and we have been to Alcatraz, but we have to say that this is the most fascinating prison turned museum we have been to.  Located in Dublin, steeped in a dark history, our guide walked us from wing to wing, recounting the story of the painful path to independence and the famous inmates that resided there.

The most memorable part is the newest wing of the prison, which was a big change in philosophy to incarceration with open spaces and natural lighting.

Our only regret was that we did not know enough about Irish history to start to remember all the inmates! So if this is something that sounds like you would want to experience, a little research beforehand could make a world of difference. 

Make sure you book your tickets online because they sell out fast and they have fixed times for their excellent tours.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Time:

  • Duration – 90 minutes; 60 minutes for the guided tour of the building and the remaining time can be spent touring the museum
  • Hours – January-June 9:30AM-5:15PM, July-August 9:30AM-05:45PM, September-December 9:30AM-5PM

Price: The visitor center is free but there is an admission fee if you’re going into the pioneer village and ruins.

  • Adults – €8.00
  • Senior – €6.00
  • Student – €4.00
  • Family – €20 (2 adults and 2-3 children under the age of 18)
  • Children under 12 – free but still require a ticket.

Parking: There’s no parking facility on-site but there is available parking at the Irish Museum of Modern Art/Royal Hospital Kilmainham, 5 minutes walking distance – access via East Gate, Military Road.

Language: Guided tour is offered in English and Irish but you can download information pamphlets online in other languages.

Website: Kilmainham Gaol Museum

FAQ:

  • Can you make group bookings? Yes, group bookings of 10 or more people must book their tour in advance.
  • Are tickets refundable? No, tickets are non-transferrable and non-refundable.

Tips:

  • Purchase tickets in advance, tours fill up quickly.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early or 20-30 minutes early if you are the last tour to have time to explore the museum.
  • It’s not recommended that young children do the tour due to the nature of it and strollers are not permitted.

Alternative Kilmainham Gaol Tours:

#10 Blarney Castle

Blarney CastleBlarney Castle

Oh the famous Blarney Stone.  We saved the best for last of course!

Now everyone knows about the Blarney Stone, and yes, we lined up for almost an hour to experience it ourselves.  We are proud to say that we are a recipient of eloquence, or really leveling up our smooth talking.  It is a tradition that goes back to Queen Elizabeth I where a saying was invented “to talk blarney”.

While it was certainly interesting to see this 15th century castle up close and personal while some random guy held us in place for us to make contact at the top of the battlements, it is honestly the rest of the grounds of this place that does not get the credit it deserves.

From the fern garden, to toxic plants in the Harry-Potter-like poison garden or landscaped nooks and crannies of the Rock Close.  These are the places that make this place worth spending time at. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Time:

  • Hours – January-March 9AM-5PM (Last Admission 4PM), April 9AM-5:30PM (Last Admission 4:30PM), May-September 9AM-6PM (Last Admission 5PM), October 9AM-5:30PM (Last Admission 4:30PM), November-December 9AM-5PM (Last Admission 4PM)

Price: You can purchase tickets online or upon arrival, tickets are not based on time slots

  • Adults – €20
  • Student/Seniors (65 years and over) – €16
  • Children (6-16 years / 5 & under free) (Must be accompanied by an Adult) – €9
  • Family (2 adults + 2 children) – €50

Parking: There’s a car-park on-site for €2

Website: Blarney Castle & Gardens

FAQ:

  • Are reservations required? No, you can go at any time during open hours. Either purchase ticket online or upon arrival.

Tips:

  • Depending on when you go, there will most likely be a line to kiss the stone. Be prepared to wait quite awhile to do this and tour the gardens and grounds before you get in line.

Alternative Blarney Castle Tours:

What to Pack for Ireland Road Trip

The luxury of a road trip is that you have a car to store things as you go, so you can prepare a little more than you might if you were dragging a backpack around the country on public transport. Space should be less of a concern and you don’t need to think about keeping things ultralight. Power is also a luxury you have as you go.

As part of this Ireland road trip travel guide, here’s a list of the things we brought on the trip and why they should be on your packing list.

  • Columbia Women’s Outdry Ex ECO Tech Jacket – Whether it’s this or another waterproof jacket, the key is to have a light and durable outer layer that will at least keep your upper body dry.
  • Helly Hansen rain pants – We were lucky enough to never needs these on our trip but have learned from Iceland, it is always good to have pants that you can slip on.
  • Columbia Conspiracy Titanium OutDry Trail Running Shoe – To round out the waterproofing gear, having good shoes that perform well during hikes, walks, and rain is so important.  We love these shoes because they’re breathable, low profile which is good for summer, and very comfortable.
  • Travel towel – B&B’s are great at providing amenities like towels, but the one instance for us where we needed this was at Galway Glamping.  Whether you need it or not, these are super compact and can be useful in other scenarios like if you get wet from the rain, decide to go to the beach, or do surfing lessons.
  • Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube Set – These are awesome for any travel you do.  We’ve been using this set for awhile to keep our shirts organized, underwear together, and all our random loose cables and chargers in one spot.
  • Victorinox Travel Organizer – Ireland was so safe that we didn’t feel the need to travel with a money belt so organizers like this were perfect to keep my passport and travel papers nice and tidy.
  • Toiletry kit – The hanging toiletry organizer is a must for any traveler.  We’re a big fan because the hook allows you to hang this off of a vanity mirror or towel rack in a hotel/hostel and gives you counter space.  Kits like this are small but surprisingly allow you to pack a ton of things inside.
  • Travel power bar – Surge protectors such as this that take 1 outlet into 3 is helpful especially if you have to charge a bunch of things at night. You never know how many outlets your B&B or hotel is going to have so this is super handy.
  • Cigarette USB adapter – USB plugs in cars are notorious for being slow charging.  Get one of these chargers for the cigarette adapter to allow two USB devices to be charged at the same time and at a faster rate.  The one we used was unfortunately a slow speed one.
  • Power bank – If you have more devices you want to charge on the go and you’ve run out of ports/adapters in the car, it’ll be smart to have a basic power bank as your back up.  This Xiaomi one has a ton of capacity (10,000 mAH) and is super light.
  • Car phone holder – If you’re going to be using your phone as your GPS, don’t forget to bring a holder. Our favorite are these magnetic ones which clip to an air vent.  The unfortunate thing for us was that we didn’t account for our rental car to not have a regular air vent which made it near impossible to mount.  We eventually found a way but it was at a weird angle and the phone would periodically fall off.  The kind of things you don’t really think about when you’re packing right?

Where To Stay In Southern Ireland

The following hotels are all based out of Killarney. As mentioned above, we think this is a great location for base since it has so many great sights and attractions nearby, as well as being a great starting or ending point for the best Ireland driving routes during your road trip.

BUDGET

front street view of killarney court hotelfront street view of killarney court hotel

Killarney Court Hotel

This hotel is unique amongst most, as it features a beauty center in which you can schedule a facial, massage, body wrap and body scrubs! Not to mention a pub and a restaurant on site, as well as 24-7 room service. After a long day on the road seeing all the sights, this is the perfect place to come back and unwind with a whiskey for the night!

MID-RANGE

great southern killarney king suite with large window viewgreat southern killarney king suite with large window view

Great Southern Killarney

Labeled as a Victorian landmark and one of Ireland’s most beautiful hotels since the 1800s, this hotel features 6 acres of gardens, an indoor pool, spa, fitness center, restaurants and a bar! Even though this hotel is secluded and surrounded by beautiful gardens, it lies in the heart of Killarney town center, so there’s lots to explore nearby!

MID-RANGE

things to see on an ireland road trip the ross hotel large king suite with sitting areathings to see on an ireland road trip the ross hotel large king suite with sitting area

The Ross

“The Ross is a beautiful hotel, right in the center of town. My room was spacious, with a massive king bed! The view from my bedroom was stunning. Dinner was good, and the cocktails delicious. The staff were all so friendly!”

LUXURY

front street view of the killarney park hotel and entrancefront street view of the killarney park hotel and entrance

The Killarney Park

This 5-star, family-run hotel features an indoor and outdoor pool, a spa and fitness center. There are also two restaurants on-site; one being a well-known, award-winning place, and the other is a newer addition. Staff here can help you plan and schedule one of the many day trips there is to offer here!

Final Thoughts

Ireland is truly a one of a kind destination for a road trip. With views like nowhere else and friendly locals that want you to experience all the wonders the place they call home has to offer, although planning a trip like this may seem stressful, you will quickly realize how worth it it all is.

Now that you are ready to plan your vacation to explore the top things to see on an Ireland road trip, we only hope that you truly enjoy the experience these places offer like we did. Amongst the breathtaking views, the history and culture, and even feeling the rush of the winding, curving, sometimes frightening Ireland driving routes, there is no other experience like it.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to road trip in Ireland?

It’s recommended to visit Ireland between the months of April to September, when the days are a bit longer and the weather a little better. We’d say, if possible, aim for June. This is the start of it’s peak season, right before crowds get too large and the weather is typically best.

How long should you stay in Ireland to see it all?

It only takes 13 hours to drive around Ireland, but we recommend at least a week stay (7 days) so that you have the time to stop and enjoy the many tourist attractions along the way. To get the full experience of all the attractions without having to rush or pack your itinerary full daily, we’d say a two week stay would be the perfect amount of time.

What is required to rent a car and drive in Ireland as an American tourist?

All you need to rent a car and drive in Ireland is a valid driver’s license and credit card. We recommend that you bring a letter from your credit card company that states the coverage you have if that is what you plan to use.

Is Ireland a good road trip?

Absolutely yes! As well as the things we have listed in this post there is so much to discover which are best to access by car. Drive along Giant’s Causeway, pass the Wicklow Mountains, visit the dark hedges and the rede rope bridge, and finish off your trip with is visit to Jameson Distillery or at the infamous Temple Bar for a pint of Guinness.

What you should read next

Travel Resources For Your Next Trip

If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.

Credit cards: Don’t get burned by hidden fees on top of terrible exchange rates. When we travel now, we use the Wise Card. Simply load it with the currency you need before you go and use it as a regular VISA or their digital wallet card. Use their free app to track how much you have and top up when you need to.

Flights: Of all the booking search engines, Skyscanner is the most helpful and easy to use thanks to their Everywhere feature. Kayak is also another that’s we will often check as well.

Car Rental: If you’re looking to save money, these car rental coupon codes will be a true game-changer. Otherwise, DiscoverCars and RentalCars are great places to start.

park sleep fly airport parking discount codepark sleep fly airport parking discount code

Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.

Data: We’ve been a huge fan of wifi hotspot devices like PokeFi because their rates are so good and you can use it globally but recently, we’ve really loved using eSIMs. The best one is Airalo. Save money by getting region-specific eSIMs and use referral code WILLIA9500 to get $3 USD credit on your first purchase. Ubigi is another one that we’ve had success with where they uniquely offer 5G coverage. Use code AWESOME10 to save 10% on your first order.

Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs plus they have their Genius tier discounts. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.

Vacation Rentals: Your first instinct will be to check Airbnb but we always recommend checking VRBO as well if you’re looking for a vacation rental.

Tours: When planning our trips, we always check both Viator and GetYourGuide to at least see what’s out there in the destination that we’re going to. They often have different offerings and prices so check both.

Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.

  • Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
  • RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
  • SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
  • Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
  • InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.

If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.



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