Nothern Ireland

Looking for some help on an itinerary for Northern Ireland. We fly into Dublin and will spend the day there. The next day plan to head out. Looking at going to Derry, Donegal, and to see Giants Causeway. Possibly go down to Galway and over to Aran Islands. Does anyone have any advice on what to see in these areas, or additional itinerary stops along the way to these areas? We plan to rent a car. We will have seven days, and fly back out of Dublin. We have been to Ireland before and went southern part, Bru na Boinne and we were in Dublin longer.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8735 posts

There are many different guidebooks that can answer your question. You haven't really given us any information about your interests, budget, or anything else that would make suggestions easier. What time of year will your trip be? Does your seven days include the day you arrive and the day you leave (giving you actually only five whole days)? How many people are "we"? Are you interested in spending any time in Belfast? The more specifics you can give us, the easier it will be to offer suggestions.

Posted by Dave
Ventura, CA, USA
1458 posts

Ashley, I agree with Nancy that more background will be helpful, but in the meantime I would like to highly recommend that you take a day, or even just a half day, in Belfast. A good Black Taxi tour will really illuminate the political and social issues, and the tour of Belfast city hall is fascinating. Have fun!

Posted by ashleyd
23 posts

There are four people in the group, going in May. The seven days does not include the day we fly in or out, but includes the day in Dublin. I would say we would plan $100-150/day depending on what we were doing. I would be interested in seeing any historical or natural sites, which you are right, I can easily find in my guidebook. My last visit, I enjoyed visiting old sites, such as monasteries or castles. I also liked visiting pubs, live music, and visiting the countryside and doing a hike. I was hoping suggestions from people on places or sites they had particularly found interesting and would recommend. We may not make it to Belfast, but thank you for the advice, we may consider it.

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2790 posts

Head off to Belfast. Stop and see Newgrange. Stay overnight in Belfast. Visit Crumlin Road Goal, The Titanic Museum, The Botanic Gardens, visit St. George's Market and eat at Mourne's Seafood, next to Kelly's Cellars Pub on Bank street. next day head out to the magical Giants Causeway. From there it's 2.5 hours to Donegal. You can easily stop in Derry for lunch.

Posted by Cheryl
Edmonds, WA
8 posts

We actually skipped Belfast, but even if you do not, be sure to walk the walls in Derry, and visit the Tower Museum. The displays in the History of Derry Exhibit are very helpful in explaining the years of plantation, and how the troubles evolved. The Donegal coastline is incredibly beautiful, and in the southwest of Donegal, the Slieve League Cliffs rival the Cliffs of Moher. The far northern coastline is gorgeous, and I would spend at least one day exploring it if you have the time. (But don't tell everybody, because much of the area is unspoiled by the tourism that makes the southwest of Ireland so crowded.)

Posted by Mary Lou
3 posts

Throw a stick in any direction in the north of Ireland & you'll be facing natural beauty. Ring of Gullion is a unique area near Newry. Malin Head in Donegal is spectacular. You can follow on Facebook Discover Northern Ireland; always posting suggestions. Also look into the Wild Atlantic Way for a driving route down the northeastern coast. You can't go wrong no matter where you go.

Posted by Mary Lou
3 posts

Oops, Wild Atlantic Way is a northwestern coast of Ireland driving route, not northeastern. My mistake there.

Posted by Mary Lou
3 posts

Oops, Wild Atlantic Way is a northwestern coast of Ireland driving route, not northeastern. My mistake there.

Posted by Sarah
Seattle, Washington
122 posts

Newgrange isn't worth the time to drive there. Belfast is a great city to visit, but keep in mind when you are booking a hotel/hostel/B&B that you get a garage to keep your car in. All rental cars in the republic have a sticker with the companies name on the back window so they know that you really aren't from there. I'd say a must is driving the costal route A2, I had a great lunch in Cushendall on my way to the Giant's Causeway. Derry is the same with car staying over night. I'd skip Donegal and go to Sligo. Sligo isn't visited by many tourist but it has a lot to offer. I wouldn't go all the way south to Galway.