The Perfect Ireland Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Days in Ireland

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Headed to The Emerald Isle and looking for the perfect Ireland road trip itinerary? I’ve got you!

I’m not going to lie, I don’t usually recommend road trips in other countries because I have been personally victimized by my driving skills abroad. I’m not the best driver in The United States and the idea of having to navigate foreign signs, rules, or even a manual car immediately causes me to break out in a cold sweat.


After spending nearly 6 months in Ireland and returning multiple times, I’ve realized that a road trip is really the best way to see Ireland. Trying to see the country by bus or train is both expensive and inefficient. Most buses aren’t direct (unless you’re going from one major city to the other), and the tickets aren’t exactly budget friendly…especially if there are more than a couple of people involved in the trip. This is one of the few countries where a road trip isn’t just a friendly suggestion – it’s a downright necessity. Luckily, Ireland is beautiful (amongst other things) and on the smaller side, so a road trip here is an amazing experience.

This is the best Ireland itinerary for 10 days (or more)!

The Perfect Ireland Road Trip Itinerary (10 – 14 days)

Ireland Road Trip Itinerary Overview

  • Dublin: 2 Days
  • Belfast: 1-2 Days
  • Derry: 1 day
  • Galway: 1-2 days
  • Killarney: 2-4 days
  • Cork: 2 days
  • Kilkenny: 1 day
  • Dublin: 0-1 day


Stop 1: Dublin

How long to spend in Dublin: 2 Days 

Although I’m a huge proponent of public transportation, Ireland is a country where a car is practically a necessity. Click to see out all the beautiful places to visit in the Best Ireland Road Trip itinerary! |
I was born in Ireland, so this is obviously a fact 😉

So you’ve arrived in Ireland, and chances are you’ve flown into Dublin…which is perfect, because this is where you should start your road trip. I recommend spending two days exploring Dublin before renting your car. It’s really easy (not to mention cost-efficient!) to get around the city on foot or on the metro, so wait to get your wheels until you’re about to leave the city.

Note: You can fly into Belfast or Shannon and adjust your itinerary accordingly but I highly recommend flying into Dublin. Flights are almost always cheaper and there are lots of car rental options both in the city and at Dublin Airport.

As Ireland’s capital and largest city, many visitors come to Dublin and never leave the city because there’s a TON to do there. You could easily spend several days in Dublin, but I recommend two to see the highlights. Dublin is great but there’s so much more to Ireland than the capital.

Best Things to Do in Dublin

  • Christ Church Cathedral: As one of Dublin’s oldest buildings, this Cathedral is easily one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. That’s not all, though. It’s home to The Medieval Crypt, which contains a mummified cat and rat that were trapped in the organ in the 1860s. Seriously fascinating! Get your ticket ahead of time here.
  • Guinness Storehouse or the Jameson Distillery: Honestly, unless you’re particularly interested in learning how both whiskey and Guinness are made, you really don’t need to go to both. I say this as someone who has been to both factories. Both Jameson and Guinness are iconic Irish drinks and visits to the factories include sample tastings. As a Muslim traveler, these weren’t the highlight of my visit but most tourists enjoy them. Avoid waiting in the ticket line and buy your tickets online: Guinness ticket here, Jameson ticket here, or a combined skip-the-line-pass here.
  • Leprechaun Museum: The Leprechaun museum is a small but quirky museum that’s a super fun place for photos. It’s definitely not a must-do in Dublin but it’s entertaining, especially for those that have kids.
  • Kilmainham Gaol Prison: This is the #1 thing to do in Dublin on Tripadvisor and with good reason: it’s a fascinating piece of history. It’s an old jail that was notorious for its harsh treatment of prisoners and played a huge role in historical politics. Definitely worth the visit. The guides are also super knowledgeable – definitely a bonus!
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral: This magnificent cathedral is home to beautiful architecture and extraordinary acoustics – perfect considering it’s the only cathedral left in Ireland that has daily sung services. It also houses the remains of Jonathan Swift (the author of Gulliver’s Travels). Skip the line by getting your ticket ahead here
  • Trinity College Library: Book and architecture lovers alike cannot miss the gorgeous Trinity College Library. It’s the largest library in Ireland and has a Hogwarts feel to it. It’s most famous for housing the Book of Kells, a beautiful hand-written manuscript containing the Gospels from The Bible. Only students are allowed to visit the main library but the Old Library is open to visitors. Get your ticket ahead of time here.
  • Check out the top museums and green spaces: Dublin is home to a multitude of spectacular art and history museums if you’re interested in Irish culture. It also has gorgeous green parks and spaces for those who love the great outdoors (I mean, who doesn’t?). This includes but is not limited to The National Gallery, The National History Museum, St. Stephen’s Green, The National Botanic Gardens, and more.
  • Temple Bar: The Temple Bar is easily Dublin’s most famous and touristy bar. It’s well-worth a visit for some photos and to explore the surrounding area by the same name. Bars are a big part of Irish culture and you should definitely visit a few (especially those that have live music) even if you don’t drink like me.
  • Copper Face Jack’s: This is Dublin’s most loved / hated nightclub and with good reason: it’s wild. In all honesty, I visited once during my college years but probably wouldn’t go back. I’m more of a homebody nowadays.
  • Local Foodie Adventure: If you’re interested in meeting some cool locals and having a fabulous foodie experience (who wouldn’t be?), check out these options from EatWith!

Where to Stay in Dublin


Drive from Dublin to Belfast.

It will take you around 2 hours to get from Dublin to Belfast on the freeway. Break up your road trip by stopping at Newgrange along the way, Europe’s largest burial chamber and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Plan to spend a couple of hours here before continuing onto Belfast. You’ll likely arrive in Belfast in the afternoon. Plan on spending 1-2 nights there, depending on what time you arrive.


Stop 2: Belfast

How long to spend in Belfast: 1.5 days

Although I’m a huge proponent of public transportation, Ireland is a country where a car is practically a necessity. Click to see out all the beautiful places to visit in the Best Ireland Road Trip itinerary! |
Global and local politics – Belfast is home to some amazing murals and street art

Crossing the border into Belfast is surprisingly easy. If it weren’t for signs, you might not realize you’re no longer in The Republic of Ireland, but in Northern Ireland instead. Just a couple of decades ago, Northern Ireland’s capital made the news a lot, due to hotly contested political and religious issues. Today, these issues aren’t entirely gone per say, but Belfast is not as unsafe as it was during the period of The Troubles. It’s well-worth the visit to see the political murals and street art at the very least – plus some of the top activities listed below. For even more information, check out this article for all the cool things to do in Belfast and along the Antrim Coast!

Best Things to do in Belfast

  • City Hall and Donegal Square: This neo-Baroque building has stunning architecture and if you’d like, you can take one of the daily tours to see the art collection and fancy interior decor – including stained glass windows.
  • Crumlin Road Gaol: This is the only Victorian jail left in Northern Ireland and once held some of the country’s most famous political prisoners during the 150 years it was running. 17 hangings took place here – you’ll learn about this and more in the informative guided tour. It’s definitely an interesting way to learn about local history and politics.
  • Crown Liquor Saloon: Most of the big cities in Ireland have at least one famous pub, and the Crown Liquor Saloon is Belfast’s. Come here for the great old style decor, both inside and out. Stay for some seriously authentic pub food – including an excellent plate of fish and chips!
  • Botanical Gardens: Located near The Ulster Museum, these gardens are a great place to get some fresh air and enjoy blooming flowers (especially during spring). The Botanic Gardens are on the smaller side so they don’t warrant a special trip but if you’re nearby, it’s worth it to stroll through.
  • Ulster Museum: The Ulster Museum has a little bit of everything – dinosaurs, mummies, and modern-day history and art. It’s essentially both a history and cultural museum. It has quite the variety of displays so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you like.
  • Titanic Belfast Museum: Anyone else low-key obsessed with The Titanic? *raises hand.* Even if you’re not, this museum is a must-visit in Belfast. It has special effects, rides, reconstructions, and more, spread across nine different galleries. It’s a really interactive museum and I highly recommend it. Get your ticket here.
  • Belfast Peace Wall: This wall is a fascinating way to see the remains of a not-so-distant past. The artwork is moving, particularly for those who are familiar with Irish history. Do NOT miss this when visiting Belfast. This a really sensitive relic of Belfast and I highly recommend doing a tour to get proper historical context. Book a tour either here or here. Note: you can see even more murals on Falls Road.

Where to Stay in Belfast


Drive from Belfast to Derry.

This is where this Ireland road trip starts to get even better, and even more gorgeous. Wake up early and grab breakfast then make your way to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. On the way, stop and pick up picnic items and have a picnic at one of the many benches lining the coastal route. The somewhat rickety bridge isn’t for the faint of heart or those who are scared of heights, but cross the 261-year-old bridge and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the North Coast and some spectacular photos to boot.

Next, do the short drive over to Giant’s Causeway, where you’ll find amazing hexagonal rock column formations caused by an ancient volcano eruption. It’s mind-blowing to see. After a couple of hours here, complete the drive to Derry, where you should arrive by late afternoon.



Stop 3: Derry

How long to spend in Derry: 1 day

Although I’m a huge proponent of public transportation, Ireland is a country where a car is practically a necessity. Click to see out all the beautiful places to visit in the Best Ireland Road Trip itinerary! |

Northern Ireland’s second largest city certainly packs a punch, as the only completely walled city in Ireland. Although it feels small, there’s plenty to do here in a day and you’re guaranteed to leave with a healthy dose of Northern Ireland’s history. Derry’s history is ever-present even today and can be seen in the various murals dotting the Bogside neighborhood.

Best Things to do in Derry

  • Derry City Walls: Derry is the only completely walled city in Ireland, with its 17th-century enclosure still intact today. It has 7 gates and 24 restored cannons, and you can walk the mile-and-a-half-long perimeter for some great views of the city. The walls are known for being never breached but there’s a lot of history behind them. If you’d like, you can book a walking tour with a local guide to get even more in-depth information about the walls. If you have time, don’t miss a visit to Tower Museum: a history museum built into the city walls.
  • Guildhall: This spectacular building has over 20 beautiful stained glass windows representing the history of the city. It’s a lovely historical building with gorgeous architecture and well-worth a visit for design lovers.
  • Museum of Free Derry: This recently renovated museum will tell you everything you need to know about the bloody history of Derry, covering everything from the civil rights movement to the creation of Free Derry to modern-day politics. It’s fascinating and provides some great context to any visit to Derry.
  • St. Columb’s Cathedral: This neo-Gothic church is the oldest and most historic building within Derry. It’s dedicated to a famous Irish monk and even has a little museum (Chapter House) inside.
  • Peace Bridge: Completed in 2011, this pedestrian bridge is a symbol of harmony, connecting the Unionist Waterside and Nationalist Cityside neighborhoods.
  • People’s Gallery Murals and The Free Derry Corner: The Free Derry Corner is in the photo pictured above – this landmark is located in Derry’s Bogside neighborhood. It was a self-declared autonomous national area for three years and serves as a reminder of historical political and religious issues in Northern Ireland. There’s also a collection of paintings there called the People’s Gallery Murals that commemorate the victims of Bloody Sunday. In order to get full historical context, I recommend taking this Bogside Murals Walking Tour.

Where to Stay in Derry

Drive from Derry to Galway.

The road from Derry to Galway is long – around 4 hours – so I recommend waking up early to see the various murals of Derry if you haven’t already. If you make good time, you can get to Galway by the early evening, leaving you enough time to grab dinner and maybe even check out some of the pubs (the Quays is my favorite!). If you’d rather just make a day of driving, consider stopping halfway through in Sligo for a quick walk around the town and to grab some lunch.


Stop 4: Galway

How long to spend in Galway: 2 days

Although I’m a huge proponent of public transportation, Ireland is a country where a car is practically a necessity. Click to see out all the beautiful places to visit in the Perfect Ireland Road Trip itinerary! |

Galway is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, but it’s still pretty small and cozy by most city standards. You can easily see all of Galway and Salthill in a day (I recommended renting a bike to get around), but it’s best enjoyed in two, if you have some time. I highly recommend spending one of the days doing a day trip (via ferry) to the Aran Islands, where you’ll find the Irish-speaking community, rolling hills, and soft Aran wool.

Best Things to Do in Galway

  • Salthill Promenade: Salthill, while technically its own town, is located just a 30 minute walk from the center of Galway. Walk or bike along the promenade and take in the beach views. You can enjoy one of the many coffee shops there or take a dive in from diving platform if you dare!
  • Enjoy some live music: Galway is very much a student town so there are plenty of traditional pubs in the center of town. The best part? Most of them have great live music from local bands. I studied abroad in Galway and spent a lot of time enjoying said music at various pubs but my favorite spots are Tig Cóilií, the Quay’s, and Crane Bar.
  • Eyre Square: Eyre Square is the center of town and kind of hard to miss. There’s really no reason to make a special visit here – it’s more for chilling and people watching. It does get a little noisy in the evening with live music and people milling about though.
  • Spanish Arch: The Spanish Arch is the only remaining arch of the old city walls. It doesn’t take long to see it and most people will pass it while wandering around Galway. I do recommend a meal at Ard Bia’s at Nimmo’s though, which is right next to the Arch.
  • Shop Street, Kirwan’s Lane, and Quay Street: The best things to do and see in Galway mostly honestly consist of wandering through the streets and enjoying the vibe. The center of town is dotted with independent shops, restaurants and pubs, and Galway is best enjoyed by exploring whichever ones catch your eye.
  • Galway Cathedral: Easily the most spectacular cathedral in Galway, it’s worth visiting the Galway Cathedral for the architecture alone, which pays homage a variety of styles. It was once the site of the city’s prison and was completed in the 1960s. In fact, it’s considered to be one of the last magnificent cathedrals to be built in the country.
  • Galway Food Tour: I love doing food tours, but most Irish cities are too small to offer them. Galway is home to many great restaurants and pubs, so it’s definitely worth doing a food tour here if you have some time. I recommend this one.
  • Extra: Day trip to the Aran Islands: If you have an extra day to spare, I definitely recommend a visit to the Aran Islands, one of the few Irish-speaking communities left in the country. It’s easy to book a ferry while you’re in Galway (most depart from Doolin) and go. Rent a bike and spend your day biking around the island, petting sheep, and taking in the scenic views. It’s also the best place to buy handmade Irish wool items!

Where to Stay in Galway


Drive from Galway to Killarney.

After spending two nights in Galway, get up early and drive to the Cliffs of Moher – Ireland’s most photographed landmark. If you really want to have the best Ireland road trip, then you can’t miss this. You can take a walk on the trails here, and even grab lunch nearby. On your way to the Cliffs, you’ll pass through quaint small towns, including Lisdoonvarna, home to the famous Matchmaker Bar. Spend the rest of the afternoon driving to Killarney. If you’d like, you can even stop in Limerick along the way.


Stop 5: Killarney

How long to spend in Killarney: 2-4 days


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Killarney is a small town located in County Kerry but it’s a great base for all the amazing things to do in the area. It’s most well-known as a stop on the scenic Ring of Kerry drive, but the town itself is cute and charming. Spend a day here exploring the town and surrounds, including the spectacular Gap of Dunloe. The Killarney National Park is worth an entire day but you can see the highlights in a few hours if you’re short on time. For those who have even more time to spare, I recommend two day trips from Killarney: one to visit the beautiful Dingle Peninsula and the second to do the scenic Ring of Kerry drive. If you’re short on time, you can pick and choose which activities sound the best to you.

Best Things to Do in Killarney

  • St. Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney House and Gardens, and Killarney City Center: Killarney is pretty small, like I mentioned, and it’s best explored by simply wandering through the town. Within the town itself, don’t miss a stop at St. Mary’s Cathedral, for its beautiful architecture and stained glass windows. Killarney House is a great property to explore, especially when the gardens are in bloom.
  • Killarney National Park: Home to dramatic landscapes, plenty of waterfalls and overall breathtaking scenery, Killarney National Park is not to be missed. You can easily explore most of the park by car, but biking is also an option if it’s a nice day. Aim to spend the majority of a day here, as the park is giant! Be sure not to miss Torc Waterfall, Ross Castle, and Muckross House while you’re there as well.
  • Gap of Dunloe: The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass separating two mountains by a river. The scenery is absolutely spectacular but it’s quite a difficult drive, thanks to a very narrow road that you’d be sharing with horse carriages and hikers. You can do the drive through the Gap but the best way to experience it is with this boat and pony trap tour. Biking or hiking are options as well.
  • Dingle Peninsula (day trip): Just an hour outside of Killarney by car, Dingle is one of the cutest little cities in Ireland. It’s a small port town (the only town on the Dingle peninsula) and is best known for its epic, rugged landscapes and beautiful beaches. It has everything you associate with a quintessential Irish town (crafts, live music, pubs, etc) but is also great for those interested in the great outdoors – it has everything from hiking trails to water activities. If you have the time, Dingle is not to be missed!
  • Ring of Kerry (day trip): Killarney and Killarney National Park are actually stops on the famous Ring of Kerry route – an epic 110-mile loop around County Kerry. This road trip offers some seriously scenic views of some of Ireland’s rugged landscape, but it’s a bit of a scary drive thanks to narrow roads. It’s doable in one very long day so I recommend starting early. If you have some extra time, don’t miss the connected Skellig Road Scenic Drive either.

Where to Stay in Killarney


Drive from Killarney to Cork.

This drive is only an hour and a half or so. Once you arrive in Cork, spend the early afternoon at the Blarney Castle, exploring the grounds, castle, and of course, kissing the stone! Head back into town for and spend the rest of the day in Cork city center. If you have extra time, spend the next day visiting the nearby towns of Cobh and Kinsale. Otherwise, continue onto Kilkenny.


Prefer to do an organized small group tour throughout Ireland instead of driving yourself? Check out this one by my favorite travel company!


Stop 6: Cork

How long to spend in Cork: 1-2 days

Although I’m a huge proponent of public transportation, Ireland is a country where a car is practically a necessity. Click to see out all the beautiful places to visit in the Perfect Ireland Road Trip itinerary! |
Kissing the Blarney Stone and internally freaking out

Cork is Ireland’s second largest city (third if you include Belfast) and has plenty to keep visitors busy. The city center has quite a few shops and restaurants worth exploring – it’s the perfect mix of hipster meets traditional. The real reason people visit Cork is for the famous Blarney Castle and Stone: kissing the stone will give you the gift of gab (or so they say). Either way, it’s worth dedicating a day or two to what residents fondly call the “real capital of Ireland.”

Best Things to Do in Cork

  • Blarney Castle and Stone: Easily Cork’s most popular attraction, you can’t leave Ireland without a visit to The Blarney Stone. Kissing the stone is said to give you the gift of gab and requires you to hold on to railings and bend backwards to kiss it (with some help, as pictured above). Exploring the grounds and associated castle is fun too!
  • Cork City Gaol: In case you haven’t gotten enough of old prisons in Dublin and Belfast, Cork also has its own you can visit, this time from the 19th/20th century. This one is complete with sound effects, wax figures, and exhibitions, making it a little more interactive than the others.
  • English Market: I’m a fan of wandering through food markets, and if you are too, be sure to stop by the English Market. They sell everything from produce to herbs to chocolate – plus there’s a little sushi stand for an ultra-fresh snack. Note that it’s closed on Sundays.
  • Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral: Saint Fin Barre’s is a Gothic revival three-spire cathedral that hosts music events. It’s complete with gargoyles, stained glass windows, and other interesting architectural elements. It’s especially worth a visit during one of their live music performances.
  • St Anne’s Church: Climb to the top of the tower at St Anne’s Church for epic panoramic views of Cork. Plus, you can ring the church bells!
  • Day trip to Cobh and Kinsale: If you’re spending two days in Cork, consider heading to Cobh and Kinsale on day two. Cobh is known as the Titanic’s last port of call, and here you’ll find cute colorful houses, the Titantic Experience, and Spike Island. In Kinsale, you’ll find two 17th-century fortresses, a charming town center, and the historic Desmond Castle.

Where to Stay in Cork


Drive from Cork to Kilkenny.

The road from Cork to Kilkenny is about two hours direct but it’s worth stopping at the historically significant Rock of Cashel along the way (and a meal at Mikey Ryan’s if you’re hungry). If you arrive early enough, head to the Smithwick’s Experience for a tour and see what you can of the town (you can see more the following morning). Alternatively, spend the rest of the day wandering through the town and save The Smithwick’s Experience for the following day.


Stop 7: Kilkenny

How long to spend in Kilkenny: 1 day 

Ireland's Ancient East Foodie Road Trip |, Ireland's Ancient East Road Trip |, Foodie Things to Do in Ireland |
How cute is the train the drives around Kilkenny?

Although it’s tempting to call Kilkenny a town, I was told  that it is most definitely a city and to not offend anyone by calling it otherwise. It’s worth spending a day in what’s fondly called the Marble City. Kilkenny is home to several churches and abbeys, as well as the Smithwick’s experience. It’s considered to be one of Ireland’s artsy cities, where you’ll find plenty of hand-designed crafts and jewelry – as well as plenty of delicious restaurants. I had a spectacular time re-visiting on my Ireland’s Ancient East road trip.

Best Things to Do in Kilkenny

  • Kilkenny Castle: Kilkenny’s top attraction by far is the Kilkenny Castle, which dates back to the 13th century and was inhabited for centuries, until it was eventually gifted to the city in 1967 for just £50. Talk about a bargain!
  • St Canice’s (Kilkenny) Cathedral: This is Ireland’s second-largest medieval cathedral and was founded in the 6th century. What makes it extra special is the fact that the high, round tower is the oldest structure in Kilkenny City. The coolest part? You can climb the tower for some spectacular city views.
  • Black Abbey: This majestic old church has some seriously beautiful stained glass windows. It’s said to be one the oldest continuously operating churches in Ireland!
  • Rothe House and Garden: This 17th century house is one of the best-preserved examples of an Irish merchant’s house. Walking through is like taking a step back in time to see the life a wealthy Kilkenny family.
  • Medieval Mile Museum: The fascinating church-turned-museum showcases the history of Kilkenny in medieval times. It has a fun interactive map for those interested in seeing maps of the ancient city.
  • National Craft Gallery: If contemporary crafts are your calling, head to the National Craft Gallery, where you can see and purchase some locally-made goods. They have all sorts of beautifully-made souvenirs and it’s always nice to support local crafts.
  • The Smithwick’s Experience: While Ireland is famously associated with Guinness, it’s actually a producer of an astonishing variety of alcoholic drinks that get exported worldwide. One of those drinks is Smithwick’s Irish Ale. The brewery-turned-museum is actually really fun and hands on, complete with talking holograms and functioning machinery. Since I don’t drink, I wasn’t especially interested in how pale ale is made. However, it was a fun experience and is probably even more enjoyable for those who partake in the final ale tasting. Get your ticket ahead of time here

Where to Stay in Kilkenny

Lastly, drive from Kilkenny to Dublin.

The drive from Kilkenny to Dublin is fairly quick: about an hour and a half. If you have even more time to spend in Ireland, head to Wicklow Mountains National Park instead, and spend the day there before driving back to Dublin for the night. Otherwise, head straight to Dublin to drop off your rental car, and fly out of Dublin that same day (or the next one, if you wish). You’ll probably be planning your return to Ireland on the flight home!


Stop 8: End Your Ireland Road Trip Itinerary in Dublin

Ireland's Ancient East Foodie Road Trip |, Ireland's Ancient East Road Trip |, Foodie Things to Do in Ireland |
Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin

I know this itinerary is a bit long, but it covers the full gamut of Ireland’s highlights. I spent six months living in Galway a few years ago and have visited Ireland multiple times since, so I made sure to include the best places when writing this Ireland road trip itinerary. However, if you have more time in Ireland, consider taking the trip a bit slowly or adding in a few days in Northwest Ireland (like County Donegal). No matter where in Ireland you ultimately choose to visit, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time in this spectacular country!

Ready to pull the trigger? Be sure to check out Expedia for the best deal on renting a car in Europe!

P.S. If you prefer to do some awesome adventure tours instead of a full-blown road trip, check out this post from Lydiascapes. 


Best Time to Visit Ireland

Ireland is known for its year-round rain, but with proper clothing, you can easily visit the country anytime, especially since winters aren’t frigid (although days are short). Summer technically has the best weather, but it’s peak tourist season and better avoided when possible. Instead, visit during spring or autumn for decent temperatures and fewer tourists.

  • March – May: Springtime in Ireland is still on the rainier and cooler side, but it’s a great time to visit for beautiful blooming flowers without the frigid cold of winter. Plus, days start to get longer.
  • June – August: This is peak travel season in Ireland and when the weather is best. However, this is also the most expensive and crowded time to visit.
  • September – October: Crunchy leaves, cooler temperatures, and fewer tourists: this is another great time to visit. Just be sure to go before the time change so you can still take advantage of longer days.


What to Pack for an Ireland Road Trip

  • Moisture-wicking socks: These moisture-wicking socks are perfect for all-day wear without smelly or sweaty feet. Just a few pairs will do.
  • Moisture-wicking clothing: Avoid being damp and pick up several moisture-wicking tops and bottoms as well. I’ve linked my favorites but you can also browse all your options at REI.
  • Fleece: Even in the summer, you’ll want to bring a fleece for potential weather changes. The weather in Ireland is unpredictable and summers aren’t too warm.
  • Packable down jacket: There are some days when it gets pretty chilly so a proper jacket does come in handy. I really like this packable one because it’s warm but doesn’t take up much room in your suitcase.
  • Waterproof jacket: It rains a lot in Ireland – pretty much all year round. This jacket is insulated to protect you from the wind and keep you dry. It also fits into its own pocket to make packing lightly that much easier.
  • Waterproof hiking shoes: I cannot stress this enough. Make sure the shoes you bring are waterproof and conducive to walking and/or hiking. I’m personally a fan of these but you can also bring along comfortable waterproof boots if you have them.
  • Travel First Aid Kit: I love that this travel first aid kit is small enough to stick in your bag but still has tons of items in it. I’d remove the scissors if you aren’t planning to check your luggage, but otherwise, this is incredibly handy, especially if you’re going to be doing outdoorsy things.
  • Power bank: I don’t know if I’m a phone addict or what (jk, the answer to that is an unfortunate but resounding yes) but I legit don’t understand how people can travel without a power bank. You’re out and about all day and using your phone to navigate, take photos, and who knows what else. I always carry my Anker PowerCore while I’m out. It’s light, holds multiple charges, and charges phones quickly. Win!
  • Portable WiFi: Once upon a time, I used to collect SIM cards like 90’s kids collected Beanie Babies. I had one for each country I visited and multiple phone numbers I could never remember. Why? So I could always have internet (I’m an addict and I know it). Nowadays, I use a eSIM. I get internet pretty much everywhere and can use it for multiple devices. P.S. read my TEP Wireless review here.
  • Universal travel adapter: After accidentally bringing the wrong plug for a country multiple times, I learned my lesson and bought a couple of universal travel adapters. You can use them in every country and never have to worry about plugs again, yay! This one also has USB slots, which is super handy if you are mainly charging phones, cameras, and tablets. I usually pack two just in case and charge all my stuff with a power strip (linked below).
  • Travel Camera(s): I know all the cool kids are about that #iPhoneOnly life, but I still like taking photos with a camera. Does that make me old? Whatever, I’m embracing it. Anyway, for adventure footage and photos, the latest GoPro is seriously the best. It’s waterproof, image stabilizing, and a bunch of other cool features. If you’re looking for a nice digital camera that doesn’t involve complicated lenses, I personally use the Sony RX100 II, which I’m obsessed with. This is the older model (I think they’re on the 6 now) but it works great. The Carl Zeiss lens helps take spectacular, high-quality photos but the camera is small enough to fit in a purse. I also bring my Instax Mini 9 with me cause I’m extra like that, but I also understand that most normal people don’t travel with three cameras.
  • Kindle: Confession: I’m low-key a book fiend and chances are high that I’m currently in the middle of reading something. As a traveler, I don’t have the luxury of taking up precious space in my suitcase with a book or three. I was uncertain about buying a Kindle initially, but it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Not only can you keep guidebooks on there, but it’s also nice to be able to read at your leisure on those long distance trips or at the beach. This particular Kindle magically blocks sun glare somehow (sorcery, I tell you!), which is why I prefer it to reading on a tablet.
  • Portable Travel Strip (optional): If you’re one of those annoying people charging your phone, laptop, and camera at the same time (read: me), bringing a small travel strip along makes powering your devices that much more efficient. I know I’m extra. Sorry, not sorry.
  • Insulated water bottle: I always bring a water bottle with me when I travel because single-use plastic sucks for the planet and buying lots of bottled water is expensive and inconvenient. You CAN drink the tap water in Ireland but I usually just bring along a Steripen everywhere I travel. It’s a UV water purifier that gets rid of 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, and I use it in combination with my CamelBak Insulated Water Bottle. This bottle is particularly awesome because it holds 20 oz and keeps water cold, which you’ll want on a road trip. If you’d rather purchase an all-in-one solution, Grayl’s water filtering bottle is a great alternative so you can fill directly from the tap and drink almost immediately.
  • Microfiber towel: Pretty much all hotels will have towels for use on hand, but I find that it’s always nice to have a towel I can use when I travel, whether I’m on the beach, at an impromptu picnic, or just a bit chilly. This Wise Owl Camping Towel dries super quickly, takes up almost no room and comes with a bonus face/hand towel for hikes and outdoor activities. I always bring it with me when I travel, whether I’m staying in a hostel or not.
  • Trip Insurance: A lot can go wrong when you travel (especially when you’re renting a car) which is why I always recommend getting trip insurance. World Nomads is my go-to company.


More Ireland Resources

Planning a trip to Ireland soon? Check out ALL my posts on Ireland below:


What do you think? Did this road trip cover Ireland’s highlights or did I miss a crucial landmark? Let me know in the comments below!


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16 thoughts on “The Perfect Ireland Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Days in Ireland

  1. 2TravelDads says:

    This sounds great. And I am putting together a road trip plan for Northern California, so even though totally different, I love this sort of approach to travel and now my travel planning juices are flowing!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Yay, I’m glad to hear it! Northern California is a great place to explore by car. Looking forward to reading all about it 🙂

  2. Heather Cole says:

    You’re right, having a car is so much better than relying on public transport and it gives so much more flexibility. This sounds like a fab road trip itinerary, and like you we’ve done about half of it, so need to go back and do the other half soon!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      It’s a must in Ireland for sure! Plus, it’s much more cost-efficient. I hope you get a chance to do the second half soon 🙂

  3. Jody Halsted says:

    To add Waterford & Kilkenny I would recommend adding 2 days- Kilkenny itself needs one to appreciate the Medieval City.

  4. João Heitor says:

    hello… nice road trip… i did that last September and i have loved those 6 days… we traveled 1200Km (Dublin-> Galway-> Cliffs of Moher – Limerick -> Killarney National Park – Kenmare through the park – Cork -> Cobh – Waterford – Dublin through Wicklow National Park) by car and they were worth every millimeter!!! perfect!!

    I will add the return to Dublin through the Wicklow Park (Old Military Road)… the sunset in the Dublin panoramic view near Killakee is perfect for ending the trip…

    It is good to remember!! :p

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Whoaaa that’s awesome! You basically saw all of Ireland :). Oh yessss I’ve heard great things about Wicklow! I’ll have to add it to the list for next time! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Alok Singhal says:

    I was in contention to move to Belfast sometime back, but not anymore. It would have been too nice to read this post on Ireland then ☺️

  6. Jasmine Chen says:

    Looks like you had a blast Sally!!! I haven’t driven in a foreign country at all so props to you! I remember being in LA and seeing how aggressive every driver was there bahhahaa. I think I’d be scared to drive there myself lol! This definitely makes me wanna hit up Ireland sometime soon tho and these suggestions are wonderful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks Jasmine! Haha I actually had my friend drive. I would be terrified to drive in Ireland. The roads are so narrow! LOL i do drive in LA though but for some reason I think Im just used to it. I hope you get a chance to visit soon!

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