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Driving for one week in Ireland

We are flying into Dublin from Copenhagen in mid September. We are picking up a rental car right away and will head to Kilkenny. We have the car rental for 7 nights and then return it to Dublin. Our last two days /nights are spent in Dublin before we fly home to Canada. We have been to Ireland before and feel we have seen Dublin, Galway and Belfast. So far I have booked two nights in Dingle and the one night in Kilkenny. I am wondering what itinerary people would suggest for a car rental for 7 nights. We do not liek to have one night per spot and want to see what are considered the major sights in the countryside. WE also love to walk/hike.

Thanks so much for any input.


Posted by
1528 posts

Have you driven in Ireland or UK before? Are you comfortable driving on the left side. Can you drive standard shift and shift with your left hand? Automatic transmission cars are considerably more expensive and sometimes hard to come by.

Posted by
2151 posts

The south coast is lovely. Since you'd be west already, maybe visit Cork, with Cobh...And the butter museum! There's a lovely coastal trail near the Balymaloe house &cookery school. A wonderful lunch and then a blustery walk were a highlight of my visit to the area.

I found shifting with the left hand to be the easiest part of driving 'on the wrong side of the road'. (My challenge was the curbs that kept jumping out at me.)

Posted by
329 posts

If you haven't already rented your car, I recommend using We rented from them for Ireland in September 2021 and paid just under $900 for 12 days for an automatic compact car.

Posted by
324 posts

To add to Bob's comments, my hubby is a dual citizen in New Zealand and has spent months at a time there driving daily and even taking driving lessons. However he recently commented that he would never go back and expect to drive immediately upon arrival. It takes a while to flip your brain to the other side.😊 Have you considered taking a bus or train to your first major destination and then renting the car there once you have had a bit of time to adapt?

Posted by
36 posts

Yes we have driven in the UK many times before. We have already rented the car abs we have booked an automatic. We feel the experience is totally different when driving than taking a bus. We are not interested in doing that. I was mostly looking for suggestions of towns or cities to stay in. I have read that Kinsale for example is better than Cobh. Also wondering where we should stay to visit the Cliffs of Mohr. Thx.

Posted by
517 posts

Re: place to stay near Cliffs of Mohr, we liked the seaside village of Lahinch. Lots of folks like Doolin for the music. Both provide easy access to the Cliffs, ferries to the Aran Islands and the Burren. Further down the coast is Loop Head peninsula and the village of Kilkee.

Posted by
1206 posts

We have not been to Cobh but did spend 3 nights in Kinsale and very much enjoyed it. I did ask the Kinsale TI about Cobh and they didn't think much of it. But they were probably biased. ;-)

From Kinsale you could maybe spend a night or two in Kenmare and either visit Killarney National Park or the Beara Peninsula.

Posted by
2256 posts

It is so easy to get from Kinsale to Cobb by ferry as it cuts down on driving time. An afternoon there is worthwhile due to its history with the Titanic and Luisitania and Annie.Moore.the first.immigrant in Ellis Island. The view from the cathedral is fantastic.

Posted by
6933 posts

We stayed in Lisdoonvarna for visiting the Cliffs of Moher, as well as the Burren and other bits of County Clare in the area.

Posted by
2680 posts

Since you've already seen Dublin, Belfast, and Galway I'd suggest spending the limited time you have in the west.
Collecting your rental in Dublin and starting your drive from there strikes me as the waste of a day, eventually followed by another when you have to return it a week later.
Don't know if this might be of interest, but there are 2 direct flights per day on RyanAir connecting Dublin and the Kerry airport near Killarney. If you can adjust your arrival time to dovetail with one of those flights you could continue directly to Kerry and pick up your rental car at the airport there to start exploring Kerry, Dingle, Beara and maybe even Connemara a bit further north. I think that would maximize your discretionary time in what most here consider to be the prettiest part of the country.
You could then return your vehicle at the Kerry airport and catch one of the flights back to Dublin in order to be in place for your return flight home the next day.

Posted by
4096 posts

We loved the Connemara area and enjoyed our stay at the Abbey Glen Hotel near Clifden.

Posted by
3489 posts

Oooh, a butter museum? Duly noted for my next trip since I will spend time in the Cobh area.

Posted by
9955 posts

We stayed in Kinsale for 3 nights last year and loved it. We had our last dinner at Fishy Fishy and regretted not discovering it sooner.

Posted by
1597 posts

Have you thought about Kenmare area? This gives access to the Ring of Kerry, Beara Peninsula (less popular than ROK) as well as Sheep's Head (even less on the tourist itinerary but lovely scenery). There is also Bantry House.

Alternatively head to Kinsale or Cobh which have already been mentioned.

Stop off at either Rock of Cashel and/or Cahir Castle on your way to Kilkenny.