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10 Days in Ireland this July

My wife and I just booked our first trip to Ireland to Ireland this July and I'm looking for some tips for a 10 day itinerary. I really like Rick's 11 Day Ireland Itinerary but as we have about 10 days I assume we'd have to cut something out and I'm a bit concerned about travel times between destinations. We fly into Dublin on a Thursday morning on a red-eye from the US and leave at noon two Sundays later at noon (10.5 days overall). Rick's Itinerary more or less goes like this based on how many days you have:

3 days: Dublin
5 days, add: Dingle Peninsula
7 days, add: Galway, Aran Islands
9 days, add: Kilkenny/Cashel, Burren/County Clare
11 days, add: Antrim Coast and Belfast

Based on geography I'm thinking of doing something like this (though it feels like a lot to me!):
-Days 1-3 in Dublin (Thursday, Friday & Saturday)
-Day 4 drive to Dingle making stops in Kilkenny and Cashel on the way(Sunday)
-Day 5 Dingle (Monday)
-Day 6 drive to Galway seeing Burren and Cliffs of Moher on way (Tuesday)
-Day 7 Visit Inishmore from Galway in day, evening in Galway (Wednesday)
-Day 8 Drive to Portrush from Galway (Thursday)
-Day 9 Antrim Coast (Bushmills, Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Rope Bridge) drive to Belfast in evening (Friday)
-Day 10 Belfast, return to Dublin in evening (Saturday)
-Day 11 Flight out of Dublin at noon (Sunday)

I know this is very similar to Rick's itinerary but does it seem realistic? I'm open to shifting things around and any recommendations. I will say that our "musts" are at least 2 days in Dublin, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher, Antrim Coast and Belfast; but beyond those we'd be flexible. I was also sort of interested in Glendalough and Derry but as they weren't on Rick's list I wasn't sure they'd be worth it. Finally, looking at that drive from Galway to the North is there anything good to see do on the way?

Posted by
1172 posts

We have as many days as you do and in the end, decided to stick to the south so that we are not rushed. That being said, we also have 2 kids (11 and 8) with us. I have a friend who is there now, who has the same itinerary planned as you do. She did say that it would-be go, go , go but that is how they like to travel.
I am sad that we won't be doing the north but just keep telling myself that I will have an excuse to go back :)

In case you are interested, this is our itinerary
Dublin- 3 nights
Kilkenny 1 night: stop at the national stud on our way from Dublin
killarney 2 nights: stop at castle and blarney on our drive from kilkenny. In Killarney do national park, muckross house, sheep farm visit, Skellig Michael
dingle: 2 nights
galway 2 nights: stop in adore and do cliffs of Moher on our way to Galway
While in Galway, go over to Aran Islands
Cong: 1 night
then back to Dublin for 1 night and home

Posted by
581 posts

This is doable, but you are going to be rushed, and some days will be a lot of driving. This itinerary has you constantly on the move, barely spending a day in any place except Dublin. It also doesn't allow for bad weather. For instance, if you get to Galway and the weather is bad and sea is rough you may not want to go out to the Aran Islands. Kilkenny is a neat little town, and you may want to spend more than a couple of hours once you get there. The same is true of Galway, and there is a lot more to see in the Galway area that could easily fill three days. You are essentially driving from one end of the island to the other and not allowing for unforeseen circumstances. If anything goes wrong along the way (a flat tire) you are going to miss seeing something. Personally, I would cut off something on one end or the other. Either leave Dingle or the Antrim coast off your list this time. I would recommend sticking to the south on this trip. Go from Dublin to Galway, then south to Dingle and back up through Kilkenny. This would allow you to spend some time in each town. You want to have the option to spend a bit more time if you want to, and not feel rushed to get to the next location.

Posted by
317 posts

Greetings from Ireland.
The trip does have days with a lot of driving, that wouldnt be for me, but Ive found there are travellers who enjoy the road-trips and enjoy seeing a lot of diverse places in Ireland in defined amount of time.
So, my opinion is your itinerary is great. If you want a complete overview of Ireland, then you must see the North, there is no debate about that. Because there are huge cultural and topographical differences between the South-West and the North Coast. My fingers are crossed you opt for both.
If you're a history buff, Id also say visit Derry for an hour or two en route to Portrush. Its Irelands most historic city and only walled town left in existence, its also my hometown, though I now live in my Dingle Guesthouse and spend most of my time in Irelands 'Deep South!
Let me know if you have anymore specific questions, I know your suggested itinerary well. I guide it every 15 times per summer for Rick Steves! :)
le meas/with respect
Stephen McPhilemy
Rick Steves Ireland Tour-Guide
Dingle & Derry

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you everyone for the tips! Stephen, it's so relieving to see that a local thinks it's not only doable but is crossing his fingers that we do choose to see both the south and north! I do have a few specific questions for you regarding the plan...

-What would you recommend doing/seeing with the brief stop in Derry? I'm into history and culture/art (be it medieval or troubles). Both my wife and I would consider ourselves foodies and she's into sights/photography and is a devout Catholic always interested in cathedrals or Catholic history. Obviously we can't see it all with such a brief trip, but what would you suggest for us?

-Do you think the 3 days in Dublin is a good idea? Or might we be a little less hectic if we did two days in Dublin and freed up one extra day to use elsewhere?

-Finally the Galway/Aran Islands portion of the trip is probably the day I'd be most willing to change, though it may be that I just don't know enough about either (please let me know if they are absolutely amazing and must sees!). Would skipping them for something else along the way from the Southwest to the Northeast make the trip a bit less hectic (like Mayo, Sligo or Donegal)? I know that the Galway to Portrush with a stop in Derry drive is a long trip.

Posted by
147 posts

If you like Irish/Catholic history then you might think about adding Glendalough to your itinerary. You have a full schedule already, but I would find a way to add this monastic site to your travels. We have been there twice and will include it on our next visit. Also, I spent 5 or more hours at the Archeological Museum in Dublin and had to leave because I was on sensory overload. There is a room that holds Ireland's Treasures (The Treasury) which includes many ecclesiastical items and the Tara Brooch and so on. We also enjoyed visiting Clonmacnoise, Monsterboice and Old Mellifont Abbey (a French monastic site near Monsterboice) which all have religious significance. If you do visit Kilkenny, The Black Abbey and St. Canice Cathedral are lovely and well worth visiting. I might think about not visiting Northern Ireland this time and focus more time on the places you already have on your itinerary that are in the south unless NI is a must do for you this trip. I don't remember the exact name of the website but if you google it you can get a list of the major religious sites in Ireland.


Posted by
31 posts

Barbara, we've actually already decided on cutting Dublin down to 2 days instead of 3. The question now is whether to spend day 3 on Glendalough and Kilkenny (spending the night in the later) or still simply stopping in Kilkenny and Cashel on the way to Dingle on day 3 and using the extra day there (Dingle). We're actually very excited about the North; the more research I do the more fascinated I am by the place so I'm not really willing to cut that out. As far as Glendalough goes I'm starting to think that we can see similar things (monastic settlements and ruins) at Cashel and on the Dingle Peninsula but perhaps I'm wrong.

Posted by
147 posts

Your idea about stopping in Glendalough and then spending the night in Kilkenny sounds great. Dingle is one of my favorite places. You will enjoy the area. Yes, you will see monastic ruins and such as you tour the Dingle Peninsula Loop. The beehive huts, Reasc Monastery, Gallarus Oratory and Kilmalkedar Church are some of the religious sites and ruins you might visit, and they are awesome. However, I still think Glendalough is a site not to be missed. Whatever you decide to visit will be the right choice for you. Enjoy!