A suggested 5-day trip itinerary around Ireland, visiting Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Clare, Galway, and numerous recommended stops en route. This itinerary covers just under 1000 km (c. 620 miles) and aims to show you some of Ireland’s scenery, history, heritage and culture. We have chosen 24 visitor attractions which are along the route, some of which we hope you will visit. A summary of each place to visit is on this page with more available if you follow the various links. In each town/city you will visit there is a selection of Ireland’s finest accommodation which you may book securely online through us and you can also hire a car in Ireland.
- Day 1: Dublin – Cork
- Day 2: Cork – Killarney
- Day 3: Killarney – Limerick – Ennis
- Day 4: Ennis – Galway
- Day 5: Galway -Dublin
Dublin – Cork
Distance: 250 km (156 miles)
From Dublin take the M7 and M8 to Cork.
Attractions en route
- Emo Court, Co. Laois
- Heywood Gardens, Co Laois
- Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary
- Cahir Castle, Co. Tipperary
- Swiss Cottage, Cahir, Co. Tipperary
- Blarney Castle, Co. Cork
On your way to Portlaoise is Emo Court, a mansion built in 1790 on the Neo Clasical style and surrounded by beautiful gardens. Also nearby are Heywood Gardens which were designed by Edwin Lutyens, completed in 1912, and consist of gardens, lakes, woodland and architectural features.
At Cashel is the famous Rock of Cashel, a spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale.
South of Cashel you will pass Cahir Castle which was once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family, the castle retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure.
Swiss Cottage, also in Cahir, is a delightful “cottage orné” built in the early 1800s by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall to a design by the famous Regency architect John Nash. Its interior contains a graceful spiral staircase and some elegantly decorated rooms.
Blarney Castle just to the north west of Cork City off the N20 is the medieval castle famous for its stone the Blarney Stone. Here you will have the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone, a famous tradition.
Spend the night in Cork City: find and book a hotel in Cork or other accommodation.
About Cork City
The city of Cork is the capital of the County Cork and is Ireland’s second city. The city’s name comes from ‘An Corcaigh’ meaning ‘the marsh’ on which the city was built. Its romantic setting on the banks of the River Lee gives one a feeling of pleasant relaxation.
Cork – Killarney
Distance: 86 km (53mi)
From Cork take N22 to Killarney
- Killarney National Park
- Muckross Friary
- Muckross House and Gardens
- Muckross Traditional Farms
- Ross Castle
About County Kerry
The county of Kerry boasts some of the most fantastic scenery in all of Western Europe. This truly dramatic and diverse county is a must for sightseers and holiday makers alike. This land of tall mountain and rugged coast is the touchstone against which all other beauty spots in Ireland are popularly measured.
But it is the west of this region with its postcard picture landscape which has attracted flocks of visitors since the mid 18th century.
Fine scenic roads, including the famous Ring of Kerry, trace the coastline of mountainous fingers jutting out into the Atlantic. Off one of these peninsulas is the beautiful Valencia Island looking westwards into the ocean.
Some of the Irelands greatest poets have been inspired by this region such as Aodhagán O Rathaille as well as the English poet Edmund Spenser.
Your second day will give you the opportunity to some many of Kerry’s spectacular scenery and history.
The uniqueness and diversity of the Kerry landscape is only matched by that of the Kerry people. Centuries of farming on difficult terrian has given rise to a spirit of cleverness and ingenuity amongst the Kerry folk, producing bards and storytellers, poets and playwrights along with it’s fair share of trickster and con men. Kerry has been home to great men like Daniel O’Connell, the liberator of the Irish Catholics as well as the father of Jesse James, one of Americans most notorious outlaws.
Killarney National Park comprises of 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) of beautiful lake and mountain scenery. The Park is famous for its’ native natural habitats and species including oakholly woods, yew woods and red deer.
Muckross Friary is a Franciscan Friary and was founded in the 15th century and is in a remarkable state of preservation which gives you a chance to re-live the history of this holy place until the 1640′s
Muckross House is a magnificent Victorian mansion and one of Ireland s leading stately homes. The elegantly furnished rooms portray the lifestyles of the landed gentry, while downstairs in the basement one can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the House.
Muckross Traditional Farms preserves in real life the farming traditions of rural Ireland in the past.
Ross Castle is a typical example of the stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages.
Spend the night in Killarney: Find and book accommodation in Killarney.
- Lough Gur Neolithic Settlement, Co. Limerick
- King John’s Castle, Limerick City
- Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare
- Craggaunowen – The Living Past, Co. Clare
In and around Killarney you have the opportunity to travel around some of Ireland’s most impressive landscape. The drive known as the Ring of Kerry takes you from Killarney along the coast road and around the peninsula and on to Tralee. You will pass Ireland’s highest mountains the Macgillicuddy’s Reeks. The highest mountain is 1041 metres (3,400 feet) in height.
About County Clare
The county of Clare is truly a wonder of nature. With the Cliffs of Moher towering 700 feet above the Atlantic waves and the spectacular Burren landscape in the north of the the county, Clare is a geographer’s dream.
The lack of agricultural activity has allowed many of the Burren’s dolmens and stone forts to remain untouched for many thousands of years, one to the most famous of these, the Poulnabrone dolmen is featured on many postcards and Irish stamps. On the edge of the Burren, deep beneath the rocks lie the Aillwee Caves. Long since vacated by their former inhabitants, the extinct Irish bear, the caves are now open for viewing by the public.
Lough Gur shows and tells the story a typical Pre-Celtic Settlement 5,000 years ago.
King John’s Castle in Limerick City was built in 1210 and a visitor centre tells its long history.
Bunratty Castle, built in 1425 and furnished in 15th and 16th century furnishings is a typical Irish Tower House.
At Craggaunowen – The Living Past, we come to the arrival of the Celts in Ireland. The story is told of how they lived, farmed, hunted and died.
Spend the night in or near Ennis: Find hotels and bed & breakfast accommodation in Ennis.
Ennis – Galway
Distance: 81.5 km (51mi)
Leave Ennis and take the N85 to Lahinch and then on to the Cliffs of Moher.
- Cliffs of Moher, Lahinch, Co. Clare
- Burren Centre, Co. Clare
- Aillwee Cave, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare
- Clare Archaeology Centre Dysert O Dea Castle
- Lynch’s Castle, Galway City
The magnificent Cliffs of Moher, 215 metres (705 feet) high, face the Atlantic Ocean. Splendid cliff-top walks offer distant views over the coast and offshore islands.
The Burren is the area that covers most of North Clare. The Karst landscape here is quite a rarity and certainly very unusual. The Burren Centre introduces you to the unique Burren District, and with models, displays and an audio-visual reveal its complexities. Visitors can explore its geology and geography, learn about the rich diversity of Burren flora and fauna and the history of man in the landscape.
With its stalactites, stalagmites, relics of bears and waterfall, the Aillwee Cave, beneath the Burren, has become one of Ireland’s leading attractions. It is an essential stop on a visit to the Burren
Dysert O’Dea Castle and Archaeological Centre in Corofin is known for its wealth of historical and archaeological remains. Built in 1480 the castle is now an archaeological centre with more than twenty five archaeological and historical sites.
Continue to Galway City. Among the sites to see here is:
Lynch’s Castle, a 16th century castle which was heavily altered in 1966 when it was converted into a bank. The exterior preserves some of the few remaining Irish gargoyles as well as the arms of Henry VII, the Lynch family and the Fitzgeralds of Kildare.
Spend the night in Galway: Find and book Galway accommodation.
About Galway City
The city of Galway is one of the most modern and fastest growing in Europe. This city has been a centre of economic importance for almost 100 years and is the fourth largest urban area in the Republic. Galway is a medieval city that is rich in culture. It is also a university city which is partly responsible for its vibrancy and love for the arts. It has much to offer visitors, both young and old.
Galway – Dublin
Distance: 213 km (132mi)
From Galway take the N6 to Kinnegad.
At Kinnegad take the N4 (M4) to Dublin
- Athenry Castle, Co. Galway
- Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly
- Trim Castle, Co. Meath
- Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare
From Galway City take the Dublin Road (the N6). A few kilometres out of the town is Athenry Castle. This is off the main road on the R348. Athenry is one of the most notable medieval walled towns surviving in Ireland, owing its foundation to Meiler de Bermingham who built his Castle there c.1250.
A few kilometres off the N6 before the town of Athlone is Clonmacnoise. Clonmacnoise: An early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight churches (10th-13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs.
At Enfield, Co. Meath take the R159 to Trim.
Trim Castle is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy began construction of the castle in about 1172 but the central tower – the keep – was not completed until the 1220′s.
Take the R405 to Celbridge. Castletown House is the largest and most significant Palladian style country house in Ireland. Built c.1722 for the speaker of the Irish House of Commons, William Conolly (1622- 1729) the designs of a number of important architects were used, notably Alessandro Gailiei, Sir Edward Lovett Pearce and later Sir William Chambers.
Spend the night in Dublin: We have a wide selection of hotels in Dublin and other places to stay.