Ireland was not in the cards for this year. Although Ireland was on my travel bucket list of places I wanted to visit in the near future, I had planned a trip to New Zealand for this year. However, I’ve learned long ago that no matter how much you plan, plans are bound to change. When a close friend of mine who lives in England announced that he was getting married, I knew it was a wedding I couldn’t miss, so instead of New Zealand, I’m headed to England for a quick trip before forging onward for an epic Ireland road trip!
Unfortunately (per usual), duty calls back in the office, so my time in England will be brief…extremely brief. But, I’m excited to spend a night in historic Bath, England before the wedding (a stunning canal city I’ve heard so many great things about).
With being short on timing, it was absolutely necessary to stay in the heart of the historic city center, so I’m looking forward to calling Duke’s Boutique Guest House my home (even if just for one night), before hopping a flight to the Emerald Isle.
So, where am I headed?
Here’s my Ireland Road Trip Itinerary in a nutshell:
I’m thrilled to start my Ireland road trip off with a bang in Galway on the country’s west coast. Everyone that I know who has been to Galway has fallen in love with the city. And, from my research, what’s there not to love? Galway is a vibrant university town known as the arts capital of Ireland. Galway city center is small enough to explore by foot, but large enough to offer plenty of things to do and see. While there, I’ll be staying in style at the centrally located Hotel Meyrick.
Related Post: GALWAY: Gateway to Ireland’s West Coast
After Galway I’ll take a gander at the majestic Cliffs of Moher before heading onward to live out my childhood fantasy of being a princess. How’s that you ask?
I’M STAYING IN A CASTLE! Can you tell I’m excited? And, not just any castle – the famed Dromoland Castle. (*Swoon*). The majestic castle is located in County Clare on a lake and a 400 acre estate. I can’t wait to explore the grounds and experience Dromoland’s fine dining.
After living out my “princess for a day” fantasy, I’m headed to the rugged Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. While researching this trip I was genuinely torn between driving the tourist favorite “Ring of Kerry” versus the lesser traveled Dingle Peninsula. (And, when I say torn, I mean stressed, losing-sleep-at-night type of torn). Many travelers who have visited Ireland multiple times recommended that I drive the Dingle Peninsula over the Ring of Kerry; however, there’s no denying the Ring’s popularity. (Surely, it has to be popular for a reason, right)? So, to calm my anxiety and my “fear of missing out,” I decided to squeeze them both in. From Dromoland Castle we will drive the Dingle Peninsula and spend the night at the historic waterfront Milltown House in Dingle. Aside from the spectacular peninsula views, I’m also excited to explore hilltop medieval Dingle Town. (*Update* You can now read what I thought about driving the Dingle Penninsula versus the Ring of Kerry in this post).
Related Post: Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?
The next morning I’ll get an early start and drive to Portmagee in hopes of having the chance to boat out to Skellig Michael. Skellig Michael is an uninhibited ragged island 8 miles offshore from the Iveragh Peninsula which was home to monks in the 6th century. It’s said to be hauntingly beautiful and has been high on my bucket list since I’d read articles which describes Skellig Michael as Ireland’s most striking destination. The stretch of water from the mainland to the island is said to be a treacherous one, so there’s no guarantee that the weather and water conditions will cooperate and I’ll actually make it to the island at all. (Fingers crossed)! After I make it back to the mainland, I’ll spend the rest of my day exploring quaint Valentia Island and will be resting my head at Carraig Liath Country House B&B. (*Update* Curious whether the weather gods were cooperating and I actually made it out to this bucket list destination? Check out my post on Skellig Michael here).
The following day I plan to drive at least a part of the Ring of Kerry, particularly to Killarney National Park, before heading to Kenmare to stay at the Kenmare Bay Hotel and Resort. I’ve chosen Kenmare as my Ring of Kerry base over Killarney, which over travelers’ have told me can be a bit of a “tourist trap.” I’m told Kenmare is more authentic and charming.
From Kenmare I’m headed to the beautiful cliff-top coastal town of Kinsale in County Cork. Not only is Kinsale picturesque, it’s also known as the “foodie capital” of Ireland. After all that driving, I plan to slow down in Kinsale. Literally. My schedule is restricted to walking the delightful, colorful town and choosing which mouth-watering restaurant I should dine at. Luckily, the city is filled with adorable B&Bs which are perfect for some R&R.
The last city on my Ireland road trip itinerary is Dublin. You can’t visit Ireland without a stop in the country’s lively capital city, right? While in Dublin my base will be the luxe 5 star Westbury Hotel. The centrally located hotel will be an amazing place to experience everything Dublin has to offer, including Dublin Castle, Trinity College and Temple Bar. (I’m also planning on hitting up the Guinness Storehouse Tour and the Jameson Distillery… of course). 🙂
Related Post: A Local’s Guide to Dublin
Are you planning a trip to Ireland? You can find great Ireland deals and book your hotel room, apartment or B&B here. (And, most bookings can be cancelled for free)!
If you’re planning a Ireland road trip, check out this article to learn how to tackle Ireland’s roundabouts like a pro!
What do you think of my Ireland road trip itinerary? Have you been to Ireland? If not, would you like to visit?
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Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you choose to make a purchase through them I earn a small percentage at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support to keep this site up and running! You can find FWTG’s full disclosure policy here. CC Photo Credits from Flickr: Bath on Avon by Scott Jungling; Ireland023 by RBarrison; Cliffs Near Dun Beag by NealeA; Skellig Michael by ash_crow; Waterville and Ballinskelligs Bay by Stefan Jurgensen; Kinsale Boats 4 by Rich Renomeron; Usher’s Quay, Dublin by Giuseppe.
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