Tourism Geography

Ultimate 10-Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary| Tips & Top Attractions to Cover

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 10 min read

An Ireland road trip itinerary is essential for exploring this breathtaking island. In ten days, you can experience the rich culture of Dublin, marvel at the Cliffs of Moher, and drive along the scenic Ring of Kerry. Visit Belfast to learn about Northern Ireland's vibrant history. Stop at quaint villages and soak in stunning coastal views. This journey is a perfect blend of nature, history, and Irish hospitality.

Personally, I found the coastal drives to be the most magical, offering unparalleled views. Meeting locals in smaller towns made the journey warm and welcoming. The Cliffs of Moher left me speechless, and Dublin's lively spirit was contagious. This road trip truly brought out Ireland’s charm and diversity at every turn.

10 Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary


Start your 10-day Ireland road trip itinerary in Dublin, where you'll explore the rich heritage of Ireland's capital and Dublin castle. Then head south to Kilkenny's medieval streets and Cork's vibrant atmosphere.

Continue west to Killarney, then marvel at the coastal beauty of the Ring of Kerry. Travel to Dingle for its charming seaside views and fresh seafood. Journey north to Galway to experience the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and the unique Burren landscape.

Wrap up your trip by returning to Dublin for your final night before departing from the airport. Each day will be filled with Ireland's top sights and unforgettable adventures.

Day Itinerary Details
Day 1: Arrival in Dublin Arrive in Dublin, settle in your accommodation and spend the day exploring the city's historical landmarks.
Day 2: Dublin to Kilkenny Travel to Kilkenny, explore the medieval streets and visit the historic Kilkenny Castle.
Day 3: Kilkenny to Cork Depart for Cork and enjoy its rich culture, visiting sites like the Cork City Gaol and the English Market.
Day 4: Cork to Killarney Head to Killarney, a perfect base for visiting the stunning Killarney National Park.
Day 5: Ring of Kerry Experience the scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry with its spectacular landscapes and coastal views.
Day 6: Killarney to Dingle Drive to Dingle Peninsula, known for its rugged scenery and Gaelic culture.
Day 7: Dingle to Galway Travel to Galway, the heart of the West of Ireland, with its vibrant streets and lively arts scene.
Day 8: Day Trip to the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren Explore the dramatic Cliffs of Moher and the unique karst landscape of The Burren.
Day 9: Galway to Dublin Return to Dublin, enjoying the lush Irish countryside on your way back.
Day 10: Departure from Dublin Airport Depart from Dublin Airport, concluding your memorable tour of Ireland.

Day 1: Arrival in Dublin


Source: Number 31 Dublin

Begin your journey in Dublin, Ireland's vibrant capital. After landing at Dublin Airport, head to the bustling city center to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere. Visit the historic Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells, a masterpiece of medieval art. Wander through Temple Bar, an iconic neighborhood filled with pubs, restaurants, and live music.

I remember my first stroll along Grafton Street, where local musicians filled the air with enchanting tunes, and street vendors offered unique handmade crafts. The energy was infectious, making it impossible not to smile. We stopped at a cozy café for Irish breakfast before setting off to explore the city. This day is just the beginning of an unforgettable adventure.

Day 2: Dublin to Kilkenny


On the second day of the itinerary, head south from Dublin to Kilkenny. The route takes about an hour and a half via the M9. Along the way, you'll see the lush Irish countryside roll by.

Arriving in Kilkenny, the medieval city greets you with its charming streets and historic architecture. I remember being captivated by Kilkenny Castle's grandeur. It stands majestically over the River Nore and offers a peek into Ireland's regal past.

After exploring the castle, stroll through the town, grabbing lunch at a local café. Wander through the medieval lanes to reach St. Canice's Cathedral and climb its round tower for a panoramic view.

As evening falls, check out the lively pub scene, where traditional Irish music and local craft beers add a special touch. Kilkenny was one of my favorite stops on the journey, leaving me eager for the next day's adventures.

Day 3: Kilkenny to Cork


On Day 3 of your ultimate Ireland road trip, the journey from Kilkenny to Cork is nothing short of magical. Start your morning exploring the charming medieval streets of Kilkenny, visiting the impressive Kilkenny Castle and wandering through the Butler House Gardens. From there, head southwest towards Cork, stopping by the picturesque Rock of Cashel for a glimpse of Ireland's ancient heritage. Once in Cork, embrace the vibrant atmosphere of the English Market, sample fresh produce, and explore the historic Shandon Bells & Tower.

I distinctly remember walking through the market's bustling stalls and tasting the local cheeses. The drive through lush landscapes provided stunning views, making the entire trip unforgettable. Cork’s lively spirit and warm hospitality made us feel right at home. This day will forever remain a cherished memory of the trip.

Day 4: Cork to Killarney


On day 4 of this ultimate 10-day Ireland road trip itinerary, we head from Cork to Killarney. As the journey begins, the lush green landscape unfolds alongside us, leading to iconic stops like Blarney Castle, where kissing the legendary blarney stone is a must. Driving through the scenic roads of County Kerry, we approach Killarney National Park, home to breathtaking views like Torc Waterfall and Muckross House.

I can vividly recall how the air was cool and refreshing as we took a leisurely stroll along the serene lakeshore. The vibrant energy of Killarney town, with its charming pubs and shops, added to the magic of the day. Wandering through the park, the views were simply enchanting, making it a highlight of my trip. Watching the sunset over the mountains as the day wound down felt like a perfect way to wrap up our adventure.

Day 5: Ring of Kerry


Day five of the ultimate 10-day Ireland road trip itinerary takes you on the iconic Ring of Kerry. This scenic route promises breathtaking coastal views, rugged landscapes, and charming towns. Driving through picturesque villages like Kenmare and Cahersiveen, you'll encounter lush green pastures, ancient stone forts, and pristine beaches.

A personal highlight for me was hiking in Killarney National Park, where the stunning Torc Waterfall and serene Muckross House await. I vividly remember the warm welcome in Waterville, a quaint town with a rich history, and the spectacular views over the Skellig Islands from the Kerry Cliffs. The winding roads brought endless surprises at every turn, making the Ring of Kerry an unforgettable leg of my journey.

Day 6: Killarney to Dingle

The sixth day of your Ireland road trip will take you from Killarney to the Dingle peninsula. Start early, as the scenic drive will offer stunning views of the rugged coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way. En route, stop by Inch Beach to stretch your legs and breathe in the sea air. From there, the twisting roads will lead you to Dingle town, a vibrant fishing village known for its colorful pubs and traditional music.

I couldn't resist visiting the Dingle Distillery for a taste of their whiskey, and the staff shared some local stories that added to the experience. Wandering around the marina and sampling fresh seafood was also a highlight, while the nearby Slea Head Drive provided breathtaking vistas of the Blasket Islands. The journey from Killarney to Dingle promises unforgettable views and delightful stops at every turn.

Day 7: Dingle to Galway

Start the day with a hearty breakfast in Dingle, then begin the scenic journey to Galway, which will take you just over an hour, through some of Ireland's most breathtaking landscapes. Stop at the Cliffs of Moher to witness their sheer beauty and feel the invigorating breeze as you peer down at the Atlantic. As you continue your drive, admire the limestone landscapes of the Burren and take time to explore its rare flora and historic landmarks.

Arriving in Galway, you'll immediately feel the city's vibrant, bohemian spirit. I loved strolling through the Latin Quarter, absorbing the lively street performances and colorful shops. A pint at a local pub was the perfect end to a day full of exploration, where I enjoyed the warm hospitality and traditional music that filled the room. The journey from Dingle to Galway is one to remember, full of natural beauty, cultural charm, and unforgettable moments.

Day 8: Day Trip to the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren


On Day 8 of your 10-day Ireland road trip itinerary, take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. At the Cliffs of Moher, the breathtaking coastal vistas will leave you in awe as you gaze at the Atlantic Ocean from towering cliffs. The sea breeze, crashing waves, and expansive view make for an unforgettable experience. I was captivated by the unique scenery and couldn't resist taking countless photos.

Next, head to The Burren, a striking, rocky landscape that contrasts beautifully with the lush greenery of Ireland. Walking among its limestone pavements feels like stepping into another world. The unique flora and fauna here offer a distinct snapshot of Ireland’s biodiversity. My stroll through this rugged terrain was both peaceful and inspiring, offering a deeper appreciation for the diverse landscapes on this island.

Day 9: Galway to Dublin

On Day 9 of our Ireland road trip itinerary, we journey from Galway to Dublin. The morning begins with a scenic drive through the lush Irish countryside, passing charming villages and rolling hills along the way. Arriving in Dublin, we head straight to Trinity College to marvel at the ancient Book of Kells and stroll through the elegant Long Room.

Afterward, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is essential to understand the brewing heritage of this iconic stout. We wrap up with a leisurely walk through St. Stephen's Green before diving into the bustling Temple Bar area for a lively night out.

The contrast between Galway’s laid-back vibe and Dublin’s energetic rhythm is striking. From the serenity of the Long Room to the excitement of Temple Bar, every moment is filled with the magic of Ireland’s capital.

Day 10: Departure from Dublin Airport

Day 10 of your Ireland road trip itinerary is all about the departure from Dublin Airport. This final day provides a chance to reflect on the incredible journey you’ve experienced over the past nine days. Before leaving, make sure to give yourself ample time for packing and a final leisurely Irish breakfast. If you're staying close to the airport, consider one last stroll through a nearby town like Swords or Malahide.

Personally, I found it essential to stock up on souvenirs, particularly those famous Irish woolens and local whiskeys, before heading to the airport. I also made sure to fill up the gas tank before returning the rental car, avoiding any surprise fees. Finally, the drive to the airport offered some peaceful moments to soak in those last Irish vistas. Leaving Ireland is bittersweet, but knowing you'll return makes it a little easier.

What is the Best Time for an Ireland Road Trip?

The best time for an Ireland road trip is from late spring to early autumn, between May and September. During these months, the weather is mild, and the countryside comes alive with vibrant green landscapes. Daylight hours are longer, giving you more time to explore iconic sites like the Cliffs of Moher and Giant's Causeway.

Personally, I found that summer offered the best conditions for leisurely driving along the Wild Atlantic Way. I remember enjoying warm days as I explored charming villages like Kinsale and Galway, savoring local cuisine and meeting friendly locals. The vivid scenery and festivals added a lively energy that made every stop memorable.

Essential Tips for Driving in Ireland Trip

When preparing for a road trip through Ireland, you need to be equipped with some crucial driving tips. Navigating the winding rural roads and bustling city centers will require attention to detail and an understanding of local driving customs. Roads can vary from broad highways to narrow coastal paths with stunning views. On my last road trip, I found that familiarizing myself with road signs and traffic rules helped immensely. I also learned to respect speed limits because unpredictable weather conditions make the roads challenging. Here are some essential tips for your Ireland driving adventure:

Drive on the Left Side

Always drive on the left side of the road, as it's the standard in Ireland. The driver's seat will be on the right side of the vehicle, which might feel unusual if you're used to driving on the right. Take some time to acclimate to this new orientation, especially when navigating roundabouts or overtaking. On my first day driving, I occasionally drifted toward the right out of habit, but keeping this rule in mind made things easier.

Understand Road Signs

Road signs in Ireland can be bilingual, showing directions and instructions in both Irish (Gaelic) and English. For example, "Garda" means police, and "An Lár" indicates the city center. Familiarizing yourself with key terms will save you from confusion on the road. Also, keep an eye out for unique signs indicating historical landmarks or scenic routes. I found it helpful to have a basic understanding of common terms before heading out.

Be Cautious of Narrow Roads

Rural Irish roads are often winding, with many sharp bends and unexpected twists. They're also quite narrow, sometimes only wide enough for one vehicle. Stay alert and be prepared to yield or pull over into passing points when encountering oncoming traffic. I remember driving through the Ring of Kerry, where patience was crucial as I navigated hairpin turns alongside other vehicles.

Mind the Speed Limits

Speed limits are strictly enforced, so always follow them. They're typically posted in kilometers per hour, which can be tricky if you're accustomed to miles. Residential areas may have speed limits as low as 30 km/h, while highways might allow up to 120 km/h. I found that adhering to these limits was crucial, especially when transitioning from highways to villages, where limits can drop suddenly.

Plan Fuel Stops

Gas stations, known locally as petrol stations, aren't as frequent in rural regions as in urban areas. Fill up your tank whenever you have the chance, particularly before venturing into remote regions like the Wild Atlantic Way. I once underestimated my fuel needs near the Connemara National Park and had to backtrack for miles to find a station.

Avoid Driving at Night

Night driving in rural Ireland can be tricky due to the lack of streetlights and narrow, winding roads. It becomes even more challenging if you're not accustomed to local driving conditions. On one occasion, I mistakenly drove too late into the evening, and the limited visibility made the journey much slower and stressful. Plan your trips to complete them before dark.

Know the Toll Roads

Ireland has several toll roads, especially around Dublin and other major cities. They often require cash or card payment at toll plazas or payment via electronic tags like eFlow. Keep some change handy to avoid scrambling for money at the last minute. I found the M50 barrier-free toll particularly useful but needed to remember to pay online afterward.

Practice Patience

Irish drivers generally exhibit a high degree of patience and courtesy. Be prepared for delays due to narrow roads, agricultural vehicles, or sheep crossing. Relax and go with the flow, and you'll enjoy the journey much more. During my travels in Ireland, I discovered that a patient mindset made a significant difference in enjoying the beautiful landscape.

Prepare for Sudden Weather Changes

Ireland's weather is unpredictable, with sunshine giving way to fog or heavy rain within minutes. Make sure your windshield wipers and headlights are working well, and adjust your driving speed according to road conditions. On one memorable day, I left Galway under clear skies but was soon engulfed in mist along the Cliffs of Moher, emphasizing the importance of being prepared.

Secure Rental Car Insurance

Before hitting the road, ensure your rental car insurance covers potential issues like accidents, theft, and breakdowns. Roadside assistance is also vital, particularly for rural driving. I opted for comprehensive coverage during my trip, which proved useful when I had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, knowing help was just a call away.

What to Pack for an Irish Road Trip?

When preparing for your ultimate 10-day Ireland road trip itinerary, packing wisely is crucial to make the most of your journey. The weather is known to change rapidly, so versatile layers are your best friend. I packed a waterproof jacket that kept me dry during sudden downpours and a cozy sweater for those misty mornings on the Ring of Kerry. Don't forget comfortable hiking shoes; the terrain can be rugged, and extra socks help with unpredictable mud. A portable charger was essential when my phone's GPS was drained while navigating the Wild Atlantic Way.

Bringing snacks helped me power through long stretches of driving between small villages, and a lightweight backpack kept my essentials close at hand while exploring attractions on like the Giant's Causeway. Also, sunglasses shielded me from the occasional bright sun reflecting off the dramatic coastline cliffs. With these essentials and more, you'll feel ready to tackle any adventure the Irish roads throw your way:

  • Waterproof jacket: Perfect for rain showers that sneak up without warning.

  • Comfortable walking shoes: Essential for navigating hiking trails and cobbled streets.

  • Extra socks: To stay comfortable even after a muddy trail.

  • Layered clothing: Adapt to weather changes effortlessly.

  • Power bank and charging cables: Keep devices charged for maps, photos, and music.

  • Travel guidebook or map: Navigate scenic routes with ease.

  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes during those rare sunny breaks.

  • Travel-sized toiletries: Stay fresh during the journey.

  • Snacks and water bottles: Refuel when you're miles from the nearest town.

  • Lightweight backpack: Carry daily essentials while sightseeing.

With these items in tow, you’re equipped for an unforgettable Irish road trip adventure!

FAQs On Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

1. What is the best route to take for a 10-day Ireland road trip?

The best route for to visit Ireland via road trip starts and ends in Dublin. It typically includes stops at iconic destinations such as Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, and Belfast. This circular route provides a mix of natural landscapes, historic landmarks, and vibrant cities.

2. How much should I budget for a 10-day Ireland road trip?

Budgeting for a 10-day Ireland itinerary should include accommodation, car rental, fuel, food, and entrance fees to attractions. Plan for around $1,500 to $2,500 per person, depending on travel preferences and seasonal variations.

3. What type of accommodation is recommended for this road trip?

Accommodation options like bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, and guesthouses are popular and plentiful across Ireland. Consider booking a mix of accommodations to experience Irish hospitality while staying close to major attractions.

4. Is it necessary to book attractions in advance?

It is advisable to book major attractions in advance, especially for popular sites like the Cliffs of Moher, visitor center or Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. Pre-booking helps ensure availability and can sometimes provide discounted rates.

5. What is the driving experience like in Ireland?

Driving in Ireland involves navigating narrow, winding roads, often on the left side. Signage is clear, and most roads are well-maintained. Renting a small, fuel-efficient car is ideal for maneuvering through towns and scenic routes.

6. Can you find vegetarian or vegan food on a road trip through Ireland?

Vegetarian and vegan options are increasingly available in cities and tourist towns. Dublin, Galway, and Cork have many eateries catering to diverse dietary needs. For rural areas, it’s advisable to pack some snacks.

7. Are credit cards widely accepted on the road in Ireland?

Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops across northern Ireland. However, keeping some cash handy for rural areas and small establishments is recommended.

8. What are the essential items to pack for a 10-day road trip in Ireland?

Pack layers of clothing for unpredictable weather, a rain jacket, comfortable shoes for walking, travel adapters, and a camera. An updated GPS or map is also handy for navigating rural areas.

9. Is travel insurance recommended for an Ireland road trip?

Travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover potential cancellations, medical emergencies, and rental car issues. It ensures peace of mind throughout your journey.

10. What cultural etiquette should I be aware of during my trip?

Respect local customs and be polite to the locals. Tipping in restaurants is customary but not mandatory, and a 10% tip is standard. Greetings are warm, and striking up conversations is often welcomed.