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What to see in Ireland?

I am going to Ireland for a week with some friends and was wanting to know what are the "can't miss" attractions. I only have 7 days so I want to make the most of it! Also, if anyone has any suggestions about an itinerary for a one-week trip in Ireland, I'd love to see those as well. Any ideas/suggestions are much appreciated!!

Posted by
9363 posts

I would suggest that you start by looking at several guidebooks. They often have sample intineraries for various lengths of trip. Without some ideas of your interests it's very difficult for us to guess what you might like to see or do. And if you are with friends, the intinerary isn't going to be completely up to you.

Posted by
45 posts

My friends have left the itinerary up to me. They just want a vacation! So I have free reign of places to go and things to do. I just want to know who has been to Ireland before and can give suggestions of things to see. I as well as my friends are very much into history so anything historical would be nice. None of us have been to Ireland before so it's not a question of what we won't like to see or do... we're up for anything!

Posted by
440 posts

I don't know where you'll be starting but if it's Shannon I can tell you Killarney is my favorite. It has the Muckross House and Ross castle, both very historical. Dingle isn't to be missed since it has some very old ruins and famine houses. Bunratty castle is a little "touristy" but I enjoyed it. Any place in Ireland will be wonderful. I've been twice and can't wait to go again! Have a great trip.

Posted by
9363 posts

I've been to Ireland four times, but I still can't say what you would like to do or see there. My "must see" list is probably different than yours. You really need to get a few guidebooks from the library and determine what you are interested in........How do you plan to get around? Rental car? Public transportation? What airport are you flying into? Your answers might limit how far you can travel during the week....... Do your seven days include the day you arrive and the day you leave? The answer to that will determine how much actual time you have "on the ground".........What time of year are you planning on traveling? What kind of budget do you have for lodging, food, activities? How old are you and your friends? How many of you are there traveling together? All of those answers might affect your options, too........ In short, the more information you can give us about your trip, the more able we will be to give you useful advice.

Posted by
1020 posts

Here's a loop tour which you can plug into whether you arrive at Dublin or Shannon: Dublin - Galway - Killarney - Ring of Kerry - Cork - Dublin. I personally put the Ring of Kerry and Dublin on the "don't miss" list, each for their history and beauty. If any of you golf, there are lovely courses all around the country and particularly around Killarney.

Posted by
319 posts


You really do need to get Rick's guidebook and do some thinking to narrow your interests. We can give you a long list of amazing sights but you'd never be able to see them all in one week. It's a big enough country that you'll need to focus on one or at most two areas for a week.

What are your interests? My favorite area is the SW, as it has IMO the most beautiful scenery. But you (or your friends) may not like it as much as it can be difficult to get around, you definitely need a car, and it's rural for the most part.

There's history all over the country, so we can give you great historical sites to check out no matter where you end up going. But you need to figure out at least a region before we can be of much help.

Posted by
126 posts

We thought we could drive around the entire island in 2 weeks. Ha, ha. We got as far as Galway with 2 nights to spare, but decided to stay there & then head to Dublin. My point is that with 1 week you'll have to group your sights in a way that you maximize your time there. And I guess it depends on what kind of traveler you are. We saw/did a lot. Are you renting a car?

I'd suggest Dublin, of course. There are some great sights, including the National Museum (Archeology & History), St. Stephen's Green, Merrion Square, Grafton Street & Temple Bar for fun. Close to Dublin is Trim Castle & Glendalough (monastic ruins) & the Wicklow Mountains, all accessible by bus.

Another suggestion would be to spend a couple of nights in Dublin and then go to Galway (driving-2hrs/train-2.5-3hrs) and back to Dublin. Spend a night there and visit the Cliffs of Moher & the Burren the next day.

Yet another loop I'd suggest is Dublin to Kilkenny & back. We drove that stretch in 2 hrs and I think it's the same by train and maybe add another .5 hour by bus. Kilkenny is a great town (I highly recommend Lanigan's Pub for great Irish/Rock music & food). You can spend the night there and visit the Rock of Cashel the next day, which is also accessible by bus and only 1/2 hour from Kilkenny. ( If you go to Cashel, try to go to Cahir as well. It's a great place for lunch and Cahir castle is lovely.

For me, reading about a place before going there is part of the whole traveling experience. Have fun!

Posted by
11798 posts

Places I enjoyed the most were Galway, Killarney and Blarney.

The day trip to Newgrange from Dublin was outstanding.

I could have skipped Waterford, the Ring of Kerry and Limerick (though the people I met in Limerick were great).

Each person is going to have their own preferences. Scenic drives aren't high on my list - I prefer a hike to a drive.

My best recommendation is to spend some time in pubs outside of big cities. The people you will meet are charming and friendly, it's practically impossible not to have conversations with the locals. Look for traditional sessions for the best music anywhere.

Posted by
1357 posts

You say you guys are into history, but there's a lot of history in Ireland. As far as Dublin goes, for more ancient history, there's the book of Kells or Dublinia (Viking museum). For more recent history, I loved the 1916 walking tour.

Posted by
1946 posts

Can you fly into dublin and out of shannon or the other way around we found this the best way to see Ireland our first trip we flew into and out of dublin and didn;t like the drive when we flew into shannon we came down the west coast and then up to dublin another trip we did the opposite and this seems to work best try to give dublin 2 days see book of kell/halfpenny bridge/kilmainhaim gaol skip guiness brewery/try to take in rock of cashel/newgrange/cliffs of moher/cobh and dingle rather than ring of kerry yes you can do all this in a week if you plan ahead

Posted by
45 posts

@ Nancy:

We were planning on flying into Dublin and staying there a max of 2 days (or we were hoping that would be sufficient time). We are leaving the States Dec. 28th and coming back Jan. 4th. We are a group of young women ranging in age from 23 to 27. Myself and one one of my friends have traveled more extensively than all the others so she and I are planning the itinerary. We would like to rent a car because we know that is the probably the most practical and economical way of getting around. We will probably use some of the public transportation as well when necessary.

Our flight will reach Dublin at 6:50 in the morning so we were trying to plan on something to do until we could check into our accommodation. We really have 6 days of full on travel time because the 7th day we are flying home at around noon. Only one person in our group has ever been to Ireland and she was a young child then so we are open for any suggestions.

We are a group of teachers so we are interested in any type of history really. Most of us are wanting to learn more about the potato famine firsthand so we can bring back knowledge to our students. Personally, I study history no matter what it is about, so any type os historical museums would be nice to see.

Thanks for all of your responses!!

Posted by
45 posts

@ G. Maria:

We are all the "see as much as we can even if we're dragging our feet" kind of travelers. I did a 3 week tour of Europe last winter and visited 12 countries and saw over 150 sites of hisotircal value. And 3 of the girls going on this trip went with me on that trip. I pack light and carry everything on me so that I can get around without having to worry about luggage. I planned that entire trip from all of Rick's books. We had down to even what trains we were taking and at what time so we could maximize our time at different sites. So I definitely plan ahead of time and will have the itinerary nailed down before we leave. There is always room for flexibility but I like to know ahead of time the big places we are going to visit. Thanks for your suggestions!!

Posted by
3 posts

I just visited Ireland for 3 weeks and enjoyed everything that I saw and did there. Love the traditional Celtic music and searched out as much as I could find. But I think that my favorite single memory was The Hole in the Wall wine cellar in Kilkenny. It's not far from the castle, at 17 High Street,
GPS coordinates: N52.65144 W7.25312 (look for signs directing you to its location down a walkway behind another building.) Built in the 16th century, it's recently been restored and furnished with tapestries, etc of that era. The owner, Michael, is a fascinating person in his own right, with lots of stories to tell about the building's interesting history. The lower wine cellar is very much a tiny, intriguing hole in the wall, and seats maybe 12 people. The night I was there, a local musician sang and played guitar in the upstairs great hall with its original stone floors, oak beams, plasterwork, etc, by candle/fire light. It was magical!

Posted by
166 posts

The Cliffs of Moher are an absolute must - breath taking!!

Posted by
8684 posts

Last year we did a 7 night trip to Ireland, flying round-trip to Dublin. We picked up our rental car when we arrived and drove to Kilkenny. I felt that was the longest I could drive on Day One. You are coming from the East coast, so you will not have as long a trip as we did from the West coast. Be realistic about how far you will be able to drive, considering they drive on the opposite side of the road. It will be something for you to adjust to. We spent one night in Kilkenny, then headed for Dingle. Dingle was my favorite place. We spent two nights there, driving the Dingle peninsula on our full day. Dingle had great pubs and music for something to do in the evenings. We then drove to Galway (using the ferry to cut down the drive), stopping at the Cliffs of Moher. Galway was very nice and I wish we had more than one night there. We drove back to Dublin and dropped our car at the airport, then took the bus into town. We spent the last 3 nights in Dublin, where we found plenty to do. Saving Dublin for last, it was easy to get to the airport for our flight home. Considering the time of year you will be there, you might think about places with plenty of indoor activities. Have fun!!