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7 nights in Ireland - Itinerary ideas & help

After 4 days in Dublin in November (plus 1 day trip to the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, Burren & Galway Bay from Railtours Ireland), my husband and I have decided to go back this summer. We will be bringing my inlaws as an anniversary/birthday gift to them.

We are arriving at Dublin Airport roughly 9:00 am on Sunday, July 8, and leaving for home from Dublin on Sunday, July 15 at 4:30 pm. We do not plan to spend a lot of time in Dublin, just because we already spent 4 days exploring it in November and want to get out into the rest of the country more -- but we do need to do a couple of things that I know my mother-in-law will definitely want to see. I've got the beginnings of an itinerary here. You'll notice a lot of walking tours on here in various places; Hubby and I greatly enjoy walking tours and find them to be a great way to get a look around and decide what we want to go back to later (and our inlaws are both thankfully very healthy and active people). Thank you in advance for any feedback and ideas you might have!

Day 1:

  • Arrive at 8:50 am, pick up rental car.
  • Glendalough Monastic Site with stop at ??? for coffee/tea/snack on the way.
  • Rock of Cashel, with stop at ??? for lunch
  • Cahir Castle
  • Stay the night around Cahir area

Day 2

  • Off to Cork
  • Blarney Castle
  • Cork walking tour???
  • English Market
  • Crawford Art Gallery
  • Cobh
  • Fota Gardens
  • Stay the night in Cork

Day 3

  • Kinsale
  • Kinsale walking tour
  • ??? other Kinsale things
  • West Cork Heritage Center (in Bandon)
  • Glenview Gardens & Hobbit House
  • Back to Cork for the night, or continue exploring west and stay the night in Killarney??

Day 4

  • Off to Killarney to start the Ring of Kerry (Clockwise)
  • Stay the night somwhere on the Ring

Day 5

  • Rest of Ring of Kerry
  • Drive up to Limerick, stopping wherever looks interesting
  • Stay the night in Limerick?

Day 6

  • Limerick walking tour
  • Ennis
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Galway
  • Galway City Museum

Day 7

  • Galway walking tour
  • Drive back to Dublin
  • St Patrick's Cathedral & Trinity College if time
  • Musical Pub Crawl (we did this in November and had quite a lot of fun)

Day 8

  • Kilmainham Gaol
  • Irish Museum of Modern Art
  • Airport and home
Posted by
3466 posts

Since you do plan to spend a bit of time in Dublin, consider doing that at the beginning of the trip and then rent a car the next day. My reasoning is that after a long flight the individual that will be driving will be sleepy, tired, and somewhat jet lagged. Those conditions, along with driving on the opposite side of the road than normally, might not be the safest way to go. Even a minor fender bender at the beginning of a trip is a real bummer for the rest of the trip. Don't mean to rain on your parade as Ireland has enough on it's own. Just something to think about. Have a great trip.

Posted by
1754 posts

I am not sure what the question is, other than feedback. You have lots of driving, but I’m sure you know that.
In Limerick, we enjoyed King John’s castle.
In Ennis, we had no idea what to do, but found a young lad by the Michael O’Connell statue giving walking tours of Ennis, which we enjoyed. His name is Ollie.
Try to avoid one night stays.

If this was my trip, I would cut down your driving. Maybe skip the Cork/Kinsale area. On the ROK, you could see the Cliffs of Kerry. More beautiful and less touristy than Cliffs Of Moher.

Posted by
18 posts

We were in Ireland 8 years ago, and loved it! We drove from Dublin around the circumference of the island. We went to Glendalough on our first day and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would also recommend to skip Cork area and skip the ring of Kerry. Go to Dingle and drive the Dingle Peninsula. There is much to see, from the beehive huts to the oratory made of stones. Beautiful and much less traveled than the ring of Kerry. There is also great pubs and sights to see around Dingle. We also enjoyed the national park in Killarney, beautiful. If you go to the Galway area, take the ferry to Inish Mor. It is a wonderful day trip. We also really loved going to the north coast of Northern Ireland and visiting the Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-a-Reedy bridge. The ancient sites just north of Dublin are also interesting stops.

Posted by
7 posts

If we don't actually stay in Cork but still drive the extra bit from Cahir to go to Blarney Castle before heading toward Killarney and then either the Ring or Dingle, do you think that would be feasible? My husband has said that Blarney Castle is one thing he thinks my mother-in-law would really want to see.

Posted by
359 posts

Not to be a kill joy but both Blarney and Killarney are on Rick Steves top ten tourist traps of Europe:

"Blarney Stone (Ireland): Busloads line up to kiss a stone on the top of a castle rampart and get “the gift of gab.” The best thing about this lame sight is watching a cranky man lower lemming-like tourists over the edge, belly up and head back, to kiss the stone while an automated camera snaps a photo — which will be available for purchase back at the parking lot. After a day of tour groups mindlessly climbing up here to perform this ritual, the stone is slathered with spit and lipstick." RS

"Killarney (Ireland): This is a place where most tourists wear nametags — a traffic jam of tour buses. If you have the misfortune to spend the night in Killarney, you’ll understand what I mean. The town is a sprawling line of green Holiday Inns and outlet malls littered with pushy shoppers looking for plastic shamrocks." RS

Agree with Rick that neither have much of anything to do with Irish culture or history and that there are so many better options. In addition the Blarney Stone is not very accessible to seniors if they have any physical limitations.

Obviously if they are something you want to see great....no problem....Just a good warning by Rick that many waste valuable time on these spots not realizing their problems. Forewarned is forearmed. There are marvelous things to see -near- Killarney but the city itself is not the best.

Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Kilorglin, Portmagee, Castlemaine, Dingle and others are all marvelous spots near scenery and sights that do connect with the real Ireland.

Skip Cork.....Kinsale area is wonderful but a long way out of your way......Beara Peninsula, the ROK and Dingle/Slea Head are worth much more time.

Posted by
1878 posts

I would not advise driving immediately after getting off an international flight with six to nine hours of time difference--especially when driving on the left. Having traveled in Ireland in 2002 and 2016, I think this itinerary is very ambitious. Too many one night stays. Expect it to take longer than you expect it to take to get from place to place. Stay in Kinsale not Cork. For me the star fort in Kinsale was awesome. Also stay in Kenmare not Killarney. If you don't already have the flights booked, fly open jaw into Shannon and out of Dublin. Kilmainham Gaol is a great visit, book tickets in advance.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello all trippin' travelers, soo convince me why husband and myself should visit Ireland, I really want to go . I know nothing about Ireland. Don't even know where to start, what airline flys to Ireland, or where or first stop should be . Also, when's summer in Ireland, don't want to go when it's too cold . We're seniors .

Posted by
72 posts

Brromio, you will get better responses if you start a new post on your topic.

To the OP, we took our teens to Blarney Castle and they loved it. I could take it or leave it. There are a lot a winding stairs involved to reach the top, so not a great place to go if there are any mobility issues. The grounds and gardens are beautiful for strolling. The woolen mill is right there, and no matter how many times I have been there, I still love to go in and poke around. In the summer it will likely be very busy in Blarney.

You have a pretty ambitious itinerary overall. I think you will realize this once you start moving around, so you might want to think about the things or places you really want to see and decide what you might be willing to give up. Hard choices, I know!

Posted by
359 posts

Bromio.....better to start a new thread. Let us know what you like to do on a vacation. Do you like Cities and nightlife or quiet with history and scenery. .....etc.

In short though Ireland is a land of rich history, absolutely spectacular scenery and Best of all the nicest, warmest, most genuine, and funny people I've ever run across. Also in general, with some exceptions it is not over developed...it is a very special place and if you plan your trip right allowing time to explore and interact calmly it is a magical life changing place.

Posted by
552 posts

I think your itinerary is, in general, a little too ambitious. You have a lot planned for each day, and a lot of driving. As others have mentioned I would not try to drive the first day, especially since it will take you time to get your luggage, get out of the airport, get the car, find your bearings and then make it to your first destination. I would stay in Dublin for at least the first day and see one or two of the things you have on your list for you last day. Glendalough and Cashel in the same day only if you have a whole day, not a partial day. I would skip Cork/Blarney and go to Kinsale, Charles Fort is close and worth a look (the walking tour takes about an hour). I would pick either the Ring of Kerry, or Dingle Peninsula, not both. I can't comment on Limerick as I didn't stop there, but the Cliffs of Moher were great (keep in mind that bad weather may make it impossible to see much), and you could also spend some time in the Burren area. On your drive back to Dublin you may want to stop at Clonmacnoise for an hour or so. I'm not sure if you will have much time to see anything on the day you fly out as you may have to check out of your hotel by noon, and you will have to be at the airport as much as three hours before your departure time. It might be best to just spend some time in the morning wandering the Temple Bar area or St. Stephen's green. I really would be best to put most of your Dublin time at the beginning of your trip.

Posted by
186 posts

Depending on where you leave from in the U.S., you could be too sleep deprived to land and jump into a car rental and start touring. I agree with some of the previous posters--stay the first night in Dublin, nap, walk, have a nice meal and listen to music, then start with the car tour the next day.