This 7-day Irish itinerary may be perfect for you if you're planning a short trip to the Emerald Isle.
Ireland is famous worldwide for its rolling green hills, stunning castles, and pub scene. There are many incredible sights to see on the island of Ireland.
Planning your trip can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, but I'm here to help.
Today on the blog, I'm sharing a full 7-day itinerary that you can easily follow during your time in Ireland. This trip focuses on completing a loop around the southern half of the country.
Depending on what insterests you most and what you want to see, you can use this itinerary as a basic guide, then customize it to your liking by adding, removing, or swapping stops.
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Why Seven Days?
Seven days is the sweet spot. You can see a good amount of Ireland in just a week. You can easily adjust your itinerary to fit into 5 days or 10 days, depending on the length of your trip!
It's completely up to you to decide exactly how long you should spend in Ireland, but seven days will give you an adequate amount of time to begin to explore this wonderful country and immerse yourself in Irish culture.
Now, if you have the luxury of staying longer, I highly recommend it. Ireland is a small country, but believe me there's plenty to see and do.
However, seven days of sightseeing in Ireland is a great beginning.
Let's dive into this interesting 7-day Ireland itinerary, packed with beautiful scenery, major cities, national parks, and more.
Day One - Dublin
We begin in Dublin, assuming you will fly into Dublin airport. If you fly in after midday or later in the afternoon or evening, consider staying in a hotel or Airbnb for the evening before beginning your first official day in Dublin.
Start your day with good, filling breakfast at your bed and breakfast or hotel. Alternatively, you can grab a tasty breakfast at one of the many restaurants in Dublin. Next, venture out to explore Trinity College.
Many visit Trinity College just to view the amazing buildings and architectural wonders. The college was first built in the 16th century. The library there will have any bookworm falling head over heels.
Trinity Library hosts a vast collection of books and is the most extensive library in Ireland. Many of their volumes are centuries old. It also houses the famous Book of Kells. This ancient manuscript, also known as the Book of Columba, contains the four gospels from the New Testament.
The main library is currently used by students and college staff, and is not open to the public. However, tourists can explore the Old Library, where the Book of Kells is located.
After you've taken the tour of the Old Library, don't forget to wander around the college campus. This is my alma mater, so trust me when I say, the campus is stunning. Trinity College is one of Europe's oldest universities, and is an elite educational institution.
After spending some time at Trinity College, you can grab lunch, then venture to the Irish Whiskey Museum or Dublin Zoo if you have little ones.
Don't forget to pay a visit to Molly Malone with her wheelbarrow on Suffolk Street.
Fun Fact! Did you know that Irish whiskey sales are the fastest-growing in the world?
The Irish Whiskey Museum in Dublin offers guided tours and whiskey tastings. Sampling whskey - now that's a truly relaxing way to spend an evening in Dublin.
You'll have a chance to taste different samples from their vast selection of Irish whiskeys. Knowledgeable guides provide lots of information about the history and cultural significance of whiskey in Ireland.
Booking a tour is relatively simple, and highly recommended. The museum hosts an online booking portal.
Lastly, grab dinner at one of Dublin's fabulous and unique restaurants. If it's not too late, take a stroll through St. Stephens Green.
This beautiful city park consists of 27 acres of elegant gardens with beautiful sculptures dotted all around the park. It's the perfect place to sit on a bench and watch the people of Dublin stroll by. Remember, the park closes at dusk.
The buildings surrounding the park are primarily Georgian architecture, many of which have brightly painted doors.
Want to explore more in Dublin? Check out: 11 Things to Do in Dublin You Don't Want to Miss.
Day Two - Wicklow and Kilkenny
Welcome to day two. Today after breakfast, you will drive from Dublin to Kilkenny Castle, stopping by the Wicklow Mountains on your travels. You can stop by Glendalough and then make your way onwards to Kilkenny.
Glendalough means the valley of two lakes. This glacial valley in County Wicklow, is home to an early monastic settlement with a round tower. It was founded by Saint Kevin in the 6th century.
Dublin to Wicklow will take about an hour. Wicklow to Kilkenny Castle is about 1.5 hours. Plan on staying in Kilkenny for the evening.
Make sure to wear walking shoues that are really comfortable, as you'll be doing a lot of walking today.
After exploring Wicklow Mountain National Park, grab lunch along your route to Kilkenny Castle, or enjoy a packed lunch you prepared or purchased in advance.
Kilkenny Castle dates back to the 12th century, and is the ancestral home of the Butler family. The castle and gardens are the highlight of any tour of Kilkenny, Ireland's medieval city.
After Kilkenny Castle, you can spend more time exploring Kilkenny and grab dinner before settling in for the night.
Day Three - Cork
On the third day you'll drive from Kilkenny to Cork city, on Ireland's southern coastline. This leg of your trip will take a little under two hours. Cork is the second largest city on the island of Ireland, filled with fabulous things to see and do.
After checking into your accommodation for that evening, grab lunch in Cork city, and then head over to Blarney Castle. You can buy tickets in advance on their website.
After touring the castle, and kissing the famous Blarney Stone, you can head back to the city to do some more sightseeing.
There are other choices of great visitor attractions in Cork. Instead of visiting Blarney, you could visit the port of Cobh.
This is where the Titanic left Ireland for New York, before meeting it's tragic end in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Titanic exhibition in Cobh is extremely interesting. In addition, the Cobh Heritage Centre is dedicated to remembering the many Irish people who emigrated from these shores, to start anew in America, Australia and other distant destinations.
They also commemorate the tragic sinking of the Lusitania off the coast of County Cork in 1915.
Day Four - Killarney
After breakfast, you'll be on the road again, making the one-hour and fifteen-minute drive to Killarney National Park in County Kerry.
You can choose to stop for lunch along the way or pack something to enjoy in the park. There's a lovely restaurant in the park, near Muckross House.
Either way, it will be a day filled with beautiful sightseeing and truly exploring Ireland's natural beauty.
Ross Castle stands on the edge of Lough Leane in Killarney National Park. Dating back to the 15th century the tower house is suprisingly intact.
Fun fact: Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland. You can spend the day exploring hiking trails and gardens, and admiring the wildlife.
I highly recommend spending the whole day at the park. There's just so much to see and do. Take a jaunting car to see Torc Waterfall. Explore Muckross House and Gardens, or Muckross Traditional Farms.
You can end the day by enjoying dinner in the town of Killarney, before calling it a night.
Day Five - Limerick
Welcome to day five! Grab breakfast and coffee on your way out—your next stop is Limerick, Ireland. Once you arrive in Limerick, feel free to check into your accommodations.
From there, you can choose to explore the city. King John's Castle is a medieval keep on the banks of the river Shannon and is well worth a tour.
Alternatively you can make another hour's drive out to the Cliffs of Moher, which I highly recommend.
The Cliffs of Moher will simply take your breath away. These soaring cliffs are one of Ireland's most recognizable and visited landmarks.
Located on Ireland's Atlantic coastline, these towering cliffs are one of the most majestic sights along the Wild Atlantic Way. The Cliffs of Moher are absolutely worth visiting!
On the way back to Limerick you could stop off at Bunratty Castle for a medieval feast. You do need to book this experience in advance. The folk park beside the castle is also well worth visiting.
Day Six - Galway
Day six will be spent in Galway city, Ireland. If you prefer skipping Limerick to spend an extra day in Galway, that's an option too. Otherwise, today you can make the hour drive up to Galway.
While in Galway, you can explore the city museum, restaurants, Quay street, and even the Latin Quarter.
This is the home of the Claddagh Ring, so you can check out the Claddagh village and perhaps purchase your own ring at the Claddagh Museum.
Day Seven - Back to Dublin Airport
Today you'll make your journey back to Dublin to catch your flight home!
It's about a 2-hour and 15-minute drive from Galway to Dublin Airport.
Extend Your Trip
There are endless options to extend your trip to Ireland.
You can choose to explore Northern Ireland and visit the Giant's Causeway, add more ancient castles to your list, etc.
Whether you're interested in tourist attractions or spending time living like the locals, Ireland has an incredible experience waiting for you.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
If your plan is to spend most of your time in Ireland enjoying outdoor activities, visiting Ireland in the summer would be ideal.
Unless viewing some of the natural wonders of Ireland and the freezing cold sounds appealing, try to visit in the summer months and hope for good weather. But truly anytime you can get there, is the best time to visit Ireland.
If you're wondering what to pack for your trip, you might like my blog post, What to Wear in Ireland.
You can easily customize your trip, and you can easily choose to spend more time enjoying what the cities have to offer or add more national parks and hikes to your itinerary.
I hope you find this 7-day Ireland road trip itinerary useful, whether you follow it exactly or use it as a bouncing-off point to build the perfect trip.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
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