The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

How we planned our ultimate Irish road trip:

When planning our ultimate Irish road trip, we basically decided to just do a big loop around the country. There were many cities that we wanted to visit and many sights that we wanted to see. The number one destination on both of our lists…. The Cliffs of Moher. Before our road trip, we planned out the most important cities and sights that we both wanted to see.

We waited to book a lot of our accommodations, because we wanted a lot of flexibility in our travels. We did this in case we really liked a city, then we could spend an extra night. Likewise, if we really disliked a city (which is rare in Ireland I think…), then we could move on to the next destination. This worked in our favor when the weather near the Cliffs was rainy and cloudy with low visibility. Since seeing the Cliffs were both of our #1 sight to see, we stayed an extra night in the Doolin area.

Here is a map of our ultimate Irish road trip:The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

Accommodations:

Before going on the road trip, we both decided that we could maybe save a few bucks and sleep in the car one or two nights throughout the week. We got our rental car and almost immediately changed our minds. The car was tiny…. we could barely fit our suitcases in the car, let alone enough room to sleep. Since we got into Dublin around midnight, we couldn’t justify buying a hotel for eight hours. So, we spent one long, miserable night in the car. Spending another night in the car did not cross our minds again…

For a majority of our trip, we used Booking to find places to stay throughout our trip. We loved using this website because we were always able to find a place to stay in the city we wanted and in our price range. For each city that we stayed in there will be a Booking link to that region. We stayed in a lot of bed and breakfasts (more common than hotels in Ireland it seems), a couple of hotels, and one hostel. All of which were very nice! However, we were especially pleased with the bed and breakfasts.


Where to go in Ireland:

Belfast: 

Belfast was the first stop on our road trip. Immediately upon landing in Dublin and getting our rental car, we headed north into North Ireland. Our main purpose for visiting Belfast was to see The Titanic Museum. However, I would have loved to explore North Ireland more, as it is a beautiful country. We also paid a visit to The Belfast Castle… Not the first castle we would see on this road trip (they are all over Ireland). Our stop in Belfast and North Ireland was short and sweet, but I hope to explore them both more someday.

The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

 

Sligo:

We only stopped in the town of Sligo for dinner, but got to enjoy our first Irish dinner. I ordered the fish and chips, a dish very common in North Ireland and County Donegal of Ireland. The town of Sligo was just a tiny bit south of County Donegal… So I still count this meal as a traditional Irish meal. The town was beautiful and the people were friendly, however, we really wanted to have more time in Galway and Doolin, so our visit to the town of Sligo was short and sweet.

 

Galway:

Also known as the cultural heart of Ireland, Galway, was one of my favorite cities that we visited. Galway was a beautiful, friendly, and lively city and I felt fully immersed in the Irish culture when visiting. I finally got to try a Full Irish Breakfast (bacon, sausage, and eggs w/ a variety of side dishes–we had potatoes, bread w/ different spreads, coffee, and orange juice). The next day we spent the morning exploring the city of Galway. We went shopping in the market and bought Claddagh Ring’s and learned about the tradition with the rings. Later on we headed to the beach and explored a little bit more before heading onto our next destination.

I’m not super hard to please, but I can honestly say that Galway was one of my favorite cities that I visited on my six week European adventure. It was such a beautiful town, full of Irish culture and friendly people… What more could you ask for?

The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

 

Doolin:

Our visit to Doolin was extended a night when we were told it was a better idea to find a stool in a pub and a pint of beer, rather than get poured on at The Cliffs of Moher. Since visiting the Cliffs was one of the most important things on the trip, we gladly extended our stay in Doolin. The first night we stayed in a hostel and the second night we stayed in an adorable bed and breakfast. Our favorite place was the bed and breakfast. As the house was beautiful, the breakfast was delicious, and the hosts were so friendly and hospitable (which we were finding was a common theme among the Irish).

Finally, the rain had gone away and even though it was cloudy, we were visiting the Cliffs. It must be the luck of the Irish or that God answered my prayers, but by the time we reached the main trails of the Cliffs, the clouds were gone and the sun was shining.

There were many times on my trip to Europe that I was so excited about an amazing view or place we were able to visit. But there were three times on my trip to Europe that I was in complete and utter awe at the view in front of me. Those happen to be…

1. The magic of the Eiffel Tower twinkling at night,
2. the beautiful views of Switzerland, and finally,
3. the Cliffs of Moher…

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher was a dream come true

In my six weeks of travel, it was visiting the Cliffs that I was most excited for. So imagine my excitement when it turned out to be a perfect day with the most incredible views. I’m not over exaggerating when I say that the Cliffs of Moher is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. I promise you that a trip to Ireland, is not a trip to Ireland without a visit to the Cliffs.

The Ultimate Irish Road Trip
The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

 

Killarney:

Being a stop on the Ring of Kerry, we decided to add Killarney to our road trip. Since we didn’t have enough time to drive the Ring of Kerry (guess we will have to visit again), we decided to make a stop along the route. There was so much to do and explore in this city, but with limited time, we decided to visit a beautiful lake and waterfall. A stop in Killarney is a good addition to your road trip, as it is a city full of culture and outdoor beauty.
The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

 

Dublin:

Our visit to Dublin was short… and sort of sweet. I must say, driving in Dublin is now one of my worst nightmares.

One of the things that we had to do on our stay in Ireland was to have a pint of Guinness. We decided to visit The Guinness Storehouse… Why not try our first pint right from the source. With both of us enjoying beer (maybe a little too much sometimes), we were both extremely satisfied with our first taste of Guinness. I feel as if you can’t say you fully experienced Ireland, without trying a Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse was a fun and interactive place to learn about the brewery’s history and how Guinness is brewed, taste a Guinness, and have incredible views of the city of Dublin.

If we didn’t have to drive in Dublin, I am certain that our visit would have been a lot more sweet. But since we had to visit the Guinness Storehouse, we were forced to drive in rush hour traffic. In a foreign city. With a gas tank on empty. Priorities, huh?

The Ultimate Irish Road Trip
The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

 

I must say, a road trip is the best way to see a country. I hope this ultimate Irish road trip guide helps you see the best of this amazing country!

 

The Ultimate Irish Road Trip

Disclaimer: by booking a stay through the links on this page, The Wandering Brunette does earn commissions with no extra cost to you. Booking.com is a site that I use and trust while traveling and therefore recommend it to others.

23 Comments

  1. Christina
    September 30, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    Ireland is a fantastic place for a driving holiday. I remember going to the Cliffs of Moher and just sitting on the ground soaking up the view. There’s magic at every corner in Ireland.

    • September 30, 2016 / 3:13 pm

      Me and my friend just found a place to hang out on the Cliffs and just sat in awe. I agree, Ireland is a magical country!

  2. September 30, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    This is something that I want to do for a very long time! I really like the route that you took. How long would you recommend to take for all these places? I would love to drive around Scotland too, so I was wondering about the possible duration of this kind of trip.

    • September 30, 2016 / 3:12 pm

      Best way to travel in my opinion 🙂 We were there for about 6 days, which felt like a decent amount of time, but we also missed some of the things that I really wanted to see. I’d say at least a week or ten days because you always find something that doesn’t go as planned (i.e. the first day in Doolin when we couldn’t go to the Cliffs). I also like to take my time in each place.

  3. September 30, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    Totally agree that a road trip is the best way to see a country – I did a bus tour of Ireland when I was 18, though I really want to get back now that it’s 10 years later and do a roadtrip with the hubby. Will be nice to have the freedom and flexibility of driving ourselves 🙂

    • October 2, 2016 / 3:45 pm

      That would be such a fun trip 🙂 Having freedom and flexibility makes it all the much better!

  4. October 1, 2016 / 1:01 am

    I love road trips. You really get close to the place, its people and culture on a road trip. Ireland is a great country for doing a road trip as you can get really close to some amazing natural landscapes. I am sure you had a wonderful experience. For me the pick of the lot would be Moher and Killarney.

    • October 2, 2016 / 3:46 pm

      I agree! And it’s a safe country too, perfect for my first out-of-country road trip! Cliffs of Moher was definitely one of my favorites 🙂

  5. October 1, 2016 / 1:12 am

    Road trips are definitely THE best way to see a country. I completely agree with you. That is one awesome trip. That’s exactly what I want to do when I go there. Thanks for the great ideas and tips. ^^

    • October 2, 2016 / 3:47 pm

      Thank you 🙂 hope I helped give you some tips and tricks for your visit! Have a wonderful time when you visit!

  6. October 1, 2016 / 1:41 am

    Happy to see Belfast on your road trip and actually the first stop! I’m watching this show on Netflix called “The Fall” and it set in Belfast which is giving me lots of wanderlust to visit Northern Ireland. I visited the Cliffs of Moher a few years ago and its still one of my favorite viewpoints in Ireland. I took a tour bus but would have much preferred doing my own thing by driving.

    • October 2, 2016 / 3:48 pm

      I wish I could have explored Northern Ireland more! I guess I’ll have to visit again 🙂 I’ll have to check out that show!!

  7. Stella Rea
    June 20, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    Which shop did you buy your claddagh rings from?

  8. August 26, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    wow this is a perfect little road trip. I wish I was headed out there any time soon…..because it looks like you already did all the work for me!!! hahah

    • August 30, 2017 / 5:30 pm

      Thank you Cassy! I hope you are able to visit Ireland some day.. it is an amazing country!

  9. August 26, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    This is a wonderful road trip! My boyfriend has been wanting to do a road trip around Ireland and I’ll definitely show this to him 🙂

    • August 30, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      Thank you Jordan! It is the perfect place for a road trip, I highly recommend you and your boyfriend to road trip around Ireland 🙂

  10. August 26, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    This is such a great road trip! One of my friends took a trip very similar to this last year and fell in love with Gallway. But the whole country is just a beautiful green gem. I can’t wait to go one day.

    • August 30, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      Ireland is easily one of my favorite countries, I loved Galway too! I hope you are able to visit someday 🙂

  11. August 27, 2017 / 12:13 am

    Ireland is such a fantastic country for a roadtrip! Great post!

    • August 30, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      Thank you Emily! It is the perfect road tripping country!

  12. August 27, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I think a road trip is the best way to see a country!
    Last year we did Iceland, this year Scotland and after this post I think next year we choose Ireland!

    • August 30, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      A road trip definitely is the best way to see a country 🙂 Iceland is one of the top places that I want to visit in the next year! And Scotland is up there too! Hope you enjoy your Irish road trip next year!

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