Day 1: Arrival in Dublin
– Meat eater? Then start your day with an Irish Breakfast! Most local cafés or restaurants serve a great one! Hotels do a decent job too.
– Head to Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university. Visit the Book of Kells exhibition, showcasing an illuminated manuscript, and explore the beautiful campus.
– Walk to Dublin Castle, an iconic landmark with centuries of history. Take a guided tour to learn about its significance and explore the State Apartments and gardens.
– Enjoy lunch at a nearby eatery, trying some traditional Irish cuisine or international delights available in the city center.
– Take a leisurely stroll through St. Stephen’s Green, a picturesque park in the heart of Dublin. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and picturesque landscapes.
– Family-friendly activities: Visit Dublin Zoo located in Phoenix Park, offering a wide range of animals and attractions for all ages.
– Alternatively, join a Viking Splash Tour, an amphibious tour on a Viking-themed vehicle exploring Dublin’s streets and waterways.
– Explore Grafton Street, Dublin’s bustling shopping street known for its street performers and lively atmosphere. Enjoy browsing shops or listening to music.
– Have dinner at a local restaurant or pub. Consider trying some traditional Irish dishes or experiencing live music in a pub setting, showcasing the city’s vibrant nightlife.
– Depending on your energy levels, consider attending a traditional music session in a local pub or enjoy a relaxing evening at your accommodation, preparing for the next day’s adventures.
This detailed schedule for Day 1 in Dublin offers a blend of historical landmarks, green spaces, family-friendly activities, dining options, and cultural experiences suitable for various interests and ages. Adjust the itinerary based on your family’s preferences and pace for a memorable start to your Irish journey.
Day 2: Dublin to Killarney
– Check out from your accommodation in Dublin and begin your journey to Killarney, either by car or train.
– If you opt for a scenic drive, consider taking a route that allows you to explore some charming towns or landmarks along the way, such as the Rock of Cashel or Adare village.
– Welcome to Killarney!
– After settling into your lodging, head to Killarney National Park, one of Ireland’s most beautiful and renowned natural areas. Renting a bike or driving around are great options but there are dozens of walking trails which are stunning as well. Entrance to the Park is free!
– Visit Muckross House and Gardens: Take a guided tour of the elegant Victorian mansion and explore the stunning gardens, filled with diverse flora and fauna.
– Enjoy a picnic lunch in the picturesque surroundings of the park or grab a bite at a nearby café.
– Explore the park further: Take a traditional jaunting car ride, a horse-drawn carriage tour, to enjoy the park’s beauty and learn about its history from local drivers.
– Visit Torc Waterfall, a stunning natural attraction accessible via a short hike through woodland trails. Capture scenic views and enjoy the serene ambiance.
– Family-friendly activities: Consider taking a boat tour on the Lakes of Killarney, offering breathtaking views and a relaxing experience for all.
– Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Killarney town or at your accommodation, indulging in delicious Irish cuisine or international fare.
– Spend a relaxed evening at your accommodation, reflecting on the day’s adventures, or explore Killarney’s nightlife if you’re up for it. Alternatively, take a leisurely stroll around the town before retiring for the night.
This plan for Day 2 showcases some of Ireland’s attractions and offers opportunities for family-friendly activities amidst stunning natural landscapes. Obviously adjust the scehdule based on what you’re most interested in and your preferred pace of travel.
Day 3: Ring of Kerry and Killarney
– Start early to embark on the scenic journey along the Ring of Kerry, a famous circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula.
– Drive or take a guided tour, stopping at viewpoints to admire breathtaking landscapes, picturesque villages, and coastal panoramas.
– Visit Cahersiveen or Sneem: Explore these charming villages along the route, take a stroll, and perhaps stop for a coffee or snack.
– Arrive at Waterville, a coastal town with stunning views. Enjoy lunch at one of the local eateries, sampling fresh seafood or traditional Irish dishes.
– Continue the journey along the Ring of Kerry, stopping at notable spots like Kerry Bog Village Museum or the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre (if interested and time allows).
– Family activities: Explore the Kerry Bog Village Museum, offering insights into Ireland’s rural history, traditional cottages, and folk history. Alternatively, enjoy a nature walk or short hike along the route.
– Return to Killarney in the late afternoon or early evening.
– Relax and unwind at your accommodation or explore Killarney town further. Consider visiting local shops, cafes, or enjoying a leisurely walk around the town center.
– Have dinner at a local restaurant in Killarney, experiencing more of the town’s culinary delights.
– Depending on your preferences, you might want to attend an evening entertainment session, such as traditional Irish music in a pub, providing a perfect end to the day.
As a local of Killarney myself and owning Slieve Bloom Manor we love welcoming people from all over the world to our town. Be sure to check out restaurants like the Bricin, J.M. Reidys and The Laurels for food, drink and Live Music.
Day 4: Killarney to Galway
– Check out from your accommodation in Killarney and begin your journey towards Galway.
– Travel from Killarney to Galway (approximately 3.5 hours by car).
– Consider a scenic drive, taking the N18 route or exploring some stops along the Wild Atlantic Way for breathtaking coastal views.
– Arrive in Galway and check into your accommodation.
– Head to the city center and take a stroll through Galway’s lively streets, known for its vibrant atmosphere and cultural richness.
– Visit Eyre Square: Relax in the park, take photos, and enjoy the surrounding shops and cafes.
– Explore Galway City: Wander around Shop Street, exploring local shops, boutiques, and street performers.
– Family activities: Visit Galway Atlantaquaria, Ireland’s National Aquarium, showcasing marine life from Irish waters and beyond. Alternatively, explore the Galway City Museum to learn about the city’s history and heritage.
– Have dinner at one of Galway’s renowned restaurants, sampling local cuisine or international dishes.
– Enjoy the city’s bustling nightlife: Listen to live music in one of the pubs along Quay Street or shop for traditional Irish crafts in the Latin Quarter.
– Spend the evening enjoying Galway’s vibrant atmosphere, experiencing its cultural offerings, and winding down after a day of travel and exploration.
Galway is the most popular stop after Killarney, especially if you’re travelling Ireland clockwise (from Dublin). You can either take the ferry from Tarbert or stay on the motorway. If you’re on the motorway (highway) I would suggest either checking out St.John’s Castle in Limerick or Bunratty Castle, two spectacular castles well worth visiting. *Bunratty being my personal favourite. If you’re looking to stop along the way Adare is a perfect spot.
Day 5: Day Trip to Aran Islands
– Start your day early and head to the ferry terminal in Galway (either Rossaveal or Doolin, depending on the ferry route you choose) for your day trip to the Aran Islands.
– Take the ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands (ferry schedules may vary, so check in advance).
– Arrive at Inishmore and begin your exploration of the island. Options for transportation on the island include bicycle rentals, pony and trap tours, or guided tours.
– Visit Dun Aonghasa, a prehistoric fort situated on a cliff edge offering spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the fort and its surroundings.
– Continue exploring Inishmore: Visit the Seven Churches, a historic site with medieval ruins, and the Wormhole, a natural rectangular pool formed by the sea’s erosion.
– Take a break for lunch at a local café or enjoy a picnic, savoring the island’s tranquility and beauty.
– Depending on the ferry schedule, spend the late afternoon enjoying the island’s landscapes, taking in the stunning coastal views, or engaging in leisurely activities.
– Return to Galway in the evening by ferry.
– Have dinner at a recommended restaurant in Galway, recounting the day’s experiences on the Aran Islands.
– Enjoy a relaxing evening in Galway, perhaps taking a leisurely stroll through the city center or enjoying the bustling atmosphere in the Quay Street area.
Outside of Kerry, this part of Ireland is my favourite! Day 5 provides a more detailed plan for a day trip to the Aran Islands from Galway, highlighting the key attractions and experiences available on Inishmore and the other islands. Adjust the schedule based on ferry schedules and your interests for an enriching and memorable day trip. If you want to make the most of it book in with Ollie’s Tours for an energetic and unforgettable tour.
Day 6: Galway to Cork
Now before we get into it please note this really depends on your flight itinerary. If you’re flying out of Dublin I would recommend travelling to Wicklow and exploring Glendalough National Park. This is just over an hour drive from Dublin Airport so it’s a nice pre-flight stopping point. Or you could of course head back to Dublin and explore other areas such as Dún Laoghaire and the National Botanical Gardens.
If you have more time in Ireland there’s only one direction to go and that is north. Keep driving the Wild Atlantic Way up to Donegal and stop off in Sligo. If you’ve still got time leftover keep driving and see Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge (Ballycastle BT54 6LS, UK). Giant’s Causeway is also spectacular.
From Galway city to Donegal town centre is about 3 hours of driving so plan accordingly.
Now back to the itinerary where you will fly out of Cork.
– Check out from your accommodation in Galway and start your journey towards Cork (approximately 2.5 hours by car).
– Consider a scenic drive or stops along the way, such as the Burren National Park or the Cliffs of Moher (if not visited previously).
– Arrive in Cork and check into your accommodation.
– Head to Blarney Castle, a renowned landmark near Cork City. Climb to the top of the castle to give the Blarney Stone a kiss for the ‘gift of the gab’ and explore the castle’s gardens.
– Family activities: Visit Fota Wildlife Park, a conservation park home to various animals from around the world. Enjoy a walk through the park, observing wildlife in spacious natural settings.
– Alternatively, visit Cork City Gaol for a historical tour, learning about Cork’s penal history and heritage.
– Return to Cork City in the evening and explore the city center.
– Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, savoring delicious meals and perhaps trying some specialties of the region.
– Spend the evening relaxing at your accommodation or exploring Cork’s nightlife, depending on your preferences and energy levels.
Day 7: Cork City Exploration and Departure
– Start your day with a visit to the English Market in Cork City. Explore this historic covered market, known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse array of fresh produce, local delicacies, and artisanal goods.
– Visit St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, an impressive Gothic Revival-style cathedral known for its stunning architecture, stained glass windows, and peaceful ambiance.
– Explore Cork City Hall, located nearby, to admire its architecture and learn about the city’s history.
– Family activities: Visit Blackrock Castle Observatory, a unique science center offering interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and views of Cork City from the castle’s tower. Engage in educational and entertaining experiences for all ages.
– Alternatively, spend time at Fitzgerald Park, a beautiful park with gardens, sculptures, and a playground, perfect for a leisurely family afternoon.
– Enjoy a final dinner in Cork City, savoring the flavors of local cuisine or international dishes at a recommended restaurant.
I would highly suggest you visit the town of Kinsale as it’s got some of the best food in Ireland and the scenary is incredible! I’ll insert an image below :). It’s about 40 minutes drive from Cork City.
– Depending on your departure time, take a relaxing stroll through the city center, making any last-minute purchases or soaking in the city’s atmosphere.
– Depart from Cork for your onward journey, either by train, plane, or other transportation arrangements.