The rolling green hills, the welcoming Irish and the stunning cliffs make Ireland a destination on many travellers dream lists. The island may look small on a map but the question when planning a trip to the green isle soon becomes where to visit in Ireland. In this two week hidden gem Ireland itinerary we share both well known Ireland destinations as well as lesser-known treasures uncovered while exploring this magical destination.
You will need to rent a car for this 14-day itinerary and we do not include Northern Ireland in this Irish travel plan. In deciding what to see in Ireland we came to realize that although we could tick off most of the popular Ireland destinations in 14 days, we would not have time to come to truly know Ireland and its people.
Two Week Hidden Gem Ireland Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive Dublin
Arrive in Dublin and pick up your rental car at the airport. Have a relaxing afternoon and evening recovering from jet lag after checking into your accommodation. We chose a quiet bed and breakfast that provided parking. You won’t want to drive in Dublin. Lower your stress level by walking or using public transport, taxi or rideshare service.
We stayed at Arranmore House which is a comfortable and welcoming bed and breakfast.
Check for prices of accommodations in Dublin
Day 2 – Dublin – Guinness Storehouse, Book of Kells, Temple Bar
There may be no better way to begin Ireland sightseeing then visiting the most popular of all Ireland tourist attractions, the Guinness Storehouse. Arthur Guinness founded the brewery in 1759 and it has now grown to a seven-story historical beer showcase.
Arthur would likely need a pint of his beloved Guinness to settle his nerves should he see the thousands pouring into his brewery today.
Visit the Book of Kells at the library of Dublin’s Trinity College. Containing the four gospels of the New Testament, created by Columban monks in 800 AD, the Book of Kells is a must-see in Ireland for those intrigued by religious history.
Wander the Temple Bar area with its narrow lanes lined with boutiques, galleries and pubs. Have dinner in one of Dublin’s most popular areas for those seeking culture and nightlife.
Day 3 – Dublin – Secret Food Tour, Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
One of the best things to do in Ireland is eating delicious comfort food. No need for breakfast this morning. Book with Secret Food Tour and devour your way through quaint and historic Dublin. While learning the history of the city, expect a traditional Irish breakfast, Irish cheese tastings, lunch at an authentic pub, Irish ice cream and of course some fish and chips or oysters.
From there board a Hop-on Hop-off bus for a sightseeing tour of the city of Dublin. Stretch your legs at the stop for Phoenix Park. One of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European city. If you are lucky you may spot some wild fallow deer.
For dinner enjoy authentic Irish food with the locals at Fagan’s Pub, 146 Drumcondra Rd Lower, Drumcondra.
Day 4 – Dublin, Rock of Dunamase, Nenagh Castle, Newcastle West
Depart Dublin for Newcastle West which will be your home base for the next five nights. Watch the stone-bordered, green fields of County Limerick fly by like a vibrant Irish quilt.
Stop at a lesser-known gem of Ireland the Rock of Dunamase, located some 85 kilometres (53 miles) southwest of Dublin. It sits quietly in a rural setting without kiosks, restaurants, toilets or organized tours. Best of all it is free.
Passing hands through battles from the 9th to 17th century, its current claim to fame is that it was featured in the 2010 movie Leap Year.
Stop for lunch in the town of Nenagh. On a sunny day grab a table outside Cafe Q on Pearse Street. Don’t leave without a scrumptious chocolate chip cookie.
Explore the hundred-foot high Nenagh Castle which is open April to October but closed on Sunday and Monday. Admission is free.
Pass through the popular tourist town of Adare known for its thatched roofs and being named one of Ireland’s prettiest towns by the Irish government.
Arrive to a little known secret escape in Ireland, the town of Newcastle West. The ancient castle walls of Desmond Hall shimmer against the Arra river as the local ducks and heron bid their greeting.
We stayed in a historic row house where local artisans are diligently restoring the back buildings of the property. Thought to have been constructed in the 1600s, the stone structures are transforming to cozy rental apartments under their skilled hands.
Day 5 – New Castle West – Cliffs of Moher, Burren, Dan Cronin’s
Should you search the internet for the best places to visit in Ireland the Cliffs of Moher will be high on the list. Ireland’s top natural attraction draws thousands of visitors gazing at the vistas of cliffs plummeting 700 feet to the wild Atlantic ocean below.
Leaving the Cliffs of Moher to settle in for lunch at Danny Mac’s on Main Street in the small town of Lahinch. A favourite with locals and tourists everything is delicious including the fresh bread. Browse Kenny Woolen Mills on Main Street for authentic Irish crafts or walk along the scenic waterfront.
On the drive back to Newcastle West stop at Burren where extensive rock fields of karst dominate the Irish landscape.
Dinner tonight at Dan Cronin’s Bar and Bistro, which we attest serves up the best Shepherd’s Pie on the planet. The multi-generation family-run mainstay in Newcastle West became one of our top Irish gems discovered.
Day 6 – Newcastle West – Marguerite’s Bakery, Foynes Aviation Museum, Barnagh Tunnel, Glenquin Castle, Cleary’s Pub
The tantalizing aroma of rich coffee and fresh baking will lure you to Marguerite’s Bakery. With scrumptious cakes and pastries competing with warm scones and fresh jam, breakfast may be the biggest decision of the day.
Drive from Newcastle West to the village of Foynes. Lunch today is at the birthplace of Irish coffee at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. We recommend the chowder and of course the Irish coffee.
Return to Newcastle West to explore Barnagh Tunnel. The relatively undisturbed former Limerick Tralee rail tunnel is now safe haven for an extraordinary array of flora and fauna.
Minutes from Newcastle West stands Glenquin Castle, one of the finest 16th-century tower houses to survive in Ireland. The six-story tower comes complete with a steep, narrow spiral staircase leading to an eye-popping view. Open May to September a local number invites visitors to call for access.
Several doors down from our accommodation in Newcastle West the purple exterior of Cleary’s Bar the sound of live music beckons. You’ll soon feel like a long lost friend in this local Irish gem.
Day 7 – Newcastle West – Newcastle West Golf Club, the Great Southern Trail or Boutique Shopping
Time for a day of exploring close to your Irish home away from home. Our hidden gem Ireland itinerary provides three choices for the day.
Option 1 – Voted friendliest in the province of Munster, Newcastle West Golf Club should be on any golfer’s list of places to visit in Ireland. An excellent course with good challenges at a reasonable rate, my brother-in-law reports, after completing a round partnered with a welcoming local.
Book dinner tonight at the club’s Stables Bar and Restaurant.
Option 2 – Formerly the route of the Tralee rail line dating back to 1867, the Great Southern Trail now serves as a hiking and cycling trail. The outdoor equipment store in Newcastle West rents bicycles with advance notice.
Option 3 – Shop the extensive boutique stores of Newcastle West.
Day 8 – Newcastle West – Blarney Castle, Cork, Titanic Exhibit Cobh
The Blarney Castle and its famous kissing stone near Cork is one of the best known Ireland points of interest. With over sixty acres of gardens, streams and waterfalls the non-kissers can meander about the beautiful grounds.
The outdoor tables at the Stable Yard Cafe provide a stunning view of the castle and a good spot for a coffee break.
Drive to Cobh and have lunch at Leonardo Cafe Kimbo at 5 West Beach, Kilgarvan. All day breakfast and sandwiches at reasonable prices and this wee find also serves gluten free options.
On the waterfront take in the Titanic Experience. At this location, the final passengers boarded the Titanic before the fateful voyage began.
Dinner in Newcastle West at The Silver Room in Market Yard. Likely the most upscale restaurant in town but not so much so that you can’t wear hiking clothes. We did.
Day 9 – Ring of Kerry, Portamagee, Stone Forts, Killarney
Farewell to Newcastle West. Today is a big driving day ending in Killarney.
The Ring of Kerry and Skellig Ring comprise a circular route in southwestern part of the island with some of the most spectacular views in Ireland. Get an early start with a first stop at Kenmare at the artisan bakery Maison Gourmet located at the top of Henry Street for delicious pastries and coffee.
Drive the route in a clockwise direction as the tour buses will be driving counter clockwise. This will decrease the likelihood of you dealing with busloads of fellow tourists on your Ireland sightseeing expedition.
There are endless viewpoints and some of the most beautiful places in Ireland on this route. Our favourites include O’Carroll’s Cove, St Finian’s Bay and the delicious Skelligs Chocolate Factory
The Kerry Cliffs provide jaw-dropping views rivalling those of the Cliffs of Moher with far smaller crowds. Watch for signs for the best view in Kerry County. The charge is four euros for parking.
Move on to a late lunch in Portamagee which is the landing point for Skellig Michael tours. Due to the increased popularity of the stunning islands as a backdrop to Star Wars films, these tours book up 3-6 months in advance so will require planning ahead.
We recommend eating at the Bridge Bar on Main street which serves excellent pub food.
Continue driving to explore the stone ring forts at Leacanabuaile and Cahergall.
Check-in for two nights in Killarney. We stayed at The Gleneagle River Apartments which were spacious, clean with a full kitchen. The location is quiet but does require a walk or taxi ride into town.
Compare prices for accommodations in Killarney
We suggest dinner tonight on Main Street at The Laurels a traditional Irish pub run by the O’Leary family for almost a century.
Day 10 Killarney – Gap of Dunloe, The Coffee Pot, Celtic Steps
One of the most spectacular places in all of Ireland is the Gap of Dunloe. An 11 km (7 miles) narrow winding gorge meanders through an exquisite valley.
Drive from Killarney and park at The Coffee Pot Cafe at the Gap, a warm and welcoming home-like restaurant open Monday to Sunday, March through April.
In good weather try walking or cycling the path connecting five lakes via the River Loe. A horse-drawn cart can also be rented. Cars are discouraged strongly from using the road. Watch for the painted sheep meandering through the valley.
Returning to Killarney, take in a musical evening of Irish dance and music at Celtic Steps in Killarney. The show runs from April through October and pre-booking tickets is advised.
Day 11 – Dingle – Dolphin boat tour, Dingle Distillery
Depart Killarney and drive to Dingle in County Kerry. When one thinks Ireland can not possibly have any more beautiful places to visit the Dingle peninsula proves that to be untrue.
Charming, quaint and colourful the town of dingle is home to Fungie the dolphin who has called this bay home for decades. Take a boat tour with Dingle Dolphin Tours to watch for Fungie or to explore the astounding cliffs of the area.
We recommend the scrumptious fish and chips at the Boatyard Restaurant on the main street of Dingle.
In the afternoon browse the quaint shops, pubs and restaurants with their vibrantly coloured walls beckoning visitors. For those looking to sample and learn more about Irish whiskey book, a tour at the Dingle Distillery launched in 2012.
Housed in a converted sawmill, a tour of this artisan Irish whiskey distillery, is a lesser-known distillery and one where you can get up close and personal with the process of whiskey production.
Stay one night in Dingle.
Compare prices on accommodations in Dingle
Day 12 – Galway, Old Town, Galway City Museum, Monroe’s
From Dingle head to Galway, where history and entertainment weave an Irish tapestry. Spend the afternoon walking around Old Town exploring restaurants, shops and pubs.
If golfing is your game, as it is for my brother-in-law, Galway has no shortage of options. He recommends Galway Golf Club for its convenient location, friendly staff and a course with a mix of coastline holes providing an enjoyable and challenging round.
Galway City Museum is an excellent stop to take in the city’s history from 1800 to 1950. Have dinner tonight at Monroe’s at 14 Dominick Street Upper where you find friendly staff, live music and reasonable prices. If you have any energy left take an evening stroll along the sea wall.
Stay two nights in Galway.
Check here for best prices of accommodations in Galway
Day 13 – Galway – Aran Islands, Inishmore, DunAengus Fort, O’Reilly’s
Today escape to the quiet of the Aran Islands. Inishmore is the largest of the islands and has a population of 1000 residents scattered through 14 villages. Take the ferry from Rossevael (23 miles west of Galway city centre). Once on Inishmore, options for sightseeing include bus tours, vans, minivans, bicycling or horse and buggy.
The main attraction is the Dun Aengus Fort located on the edge of a 100-foot cliff. An important archaeological site, the fort also offers spectacular views.
Return to Galway for your final night in Ireland. We suggest a final Irish dining experience at O’Reilly’s Bar and Kitchen 232 Upper Salthill.
Day 14 – Galway to Dublin
Farewell to beautiful Ireland. With many hidden gems uncovered, there will be so many more places to see in Ireland on a return trip. Drive from Galway to Dublin approximately 2.5 hours on M6 and depart from the airport.
What would you like to see in Ireland?
Pin these for future Irish trip planning.
We were house guests of a friend in Newcastle West. All opinions are my own. If you would like to read more about the rental property click here.
Thanks for this very informative piece. I’ve saved it for further reference, especially as my wife and I want to visit Ireland since she is half Irish in her ancestry. Well, actually I do have an Ireland trip mapped out. Mine is, btw. 4 weeks! We like to do our travelling slowly and stay in some spots for a while to be able to see as much as possible and not be rushed.
Pit I think 4 weeks is a wonderful idea. We too are coming to love staying in places for multiple nights. Out time in Newcastle West which was such an authentic experience was one of the high points to be sure. Where you come to feel like you are part of the community. I look forward to hearing about your future trip. Certainly we would love to return to Ireland . thanks kindly for saving the article. I hope it is helpful to you.
Sue, this is a great 2 weeks itinerary for Ireland. I have visited Dublin…long time ago, would certainly love to visit again since I was only there for a long weekend. Brian and I have often talk about doing a road trip in Ireland, your guide and hidden gem suggestions will be very useful. It is certainly a very beautiful country. Sounds like you had a great time there?
Gilda although it may sound corny we fell in love with Ireland. It has become possibly our number one travel recommedation. The friendly people were so welcomng we fetl as though we had come home. We went i nthe shoulder season so a bit cooler but not quite as crowded. I understand July and August can be very busy. If you ever have any questions about it feel free to message me.
I can’t wait to go back to Ireland. I fell in love with the few parts of it we saw on our cruise last summer. Even though it was pouring–and I mean pouring–the day we spent at the Blarney estate, I loved it. So pretty and green. Now when I go back, I’ll have your list of things to see to help guide my way through the rest of the country.
Carrie we were quite lucky with the rain but I agree even when it was raining Ireland is gorgeous. We too would like to go back and return to some of these gems and explore northern Ireland too. I’m delighted to hear the post will be helpful to you in the future.
Thank you for the fantastic tour you two! Such rich and deep history. 😎👍🏻💕
My pleasure John. Ireland is such a beautiful country both in its people and it’s scenery. You are so right about the rich history. One could spend a very long time exploring.
I remember you being very taken with Newcastle West, Sue. My chief regret is not getting up the coast as far as Galway and the Arrans. I’d love to go back and see more of the west coast. I only had 5 days. This sounds like a nice itinerary.
Jo I’m glad that you had that time in Newcastle West. I think I remember that from the other article we did in the fall. We too would love to return to ireland and experience more. It now feels as though we have old friends to visit and wow to that green and stunning coastlines.
You really made the most of your time in Ireland. I loved your posts about this trip! A great guide.
Thank you Darlene. Another time I would like ot take about a month and stay longer in locations. Thank you for reading the posts last fall and happy to get your feedback about this being a helpful guide. Much appreciated.
An absolutely delightful 14-day tour, Sue. Love the colorful sheet, the purple Draper’s Bar and all the hills and sturdy old buildings. I passed up a chance to go to Ireland. Silly, silly me. So much to see. Love this tour. Thank YOU! 😀 😀 😉
Tess I think you would love Ireland. Pack your raincoat but you will hardly notice the moisture for the warmth of the irish people. We have traveled to many locations but we have the strongest affection for the folks of Ireland who made us feel as though we were the best people on the planet. Such a gift when traveling to feel so at home.
Great tour, Sue. Thanks. I traveled through the south many years ago by myself and remember how beautiful the area was. I hope to revisit Ireland with Peggy. My ancestors landed in the north for a while before moving on to the colonies in 1750. I hope to take a look around where they came from. –Curt
That would be a fabulous trip Curt retracing your routes. We felt like family most everywhere we went. I can only imagine what it might be like to connect with blood relatives!
Now that’s what I call a fantastic itinerary, Sue. And, a jam-packed one. Beauty, food, architecture, castles, nature… What does one want more? Except time in this fascinating country. Did you find it easy enough to drive on the left side? Do you feel unfulfilled, craving to go back, or were you satisfied? As I read through your post and saw the photos, your previous stories came to mind, from the scrumptious secret food tour, to Dave’s kiss at Blarney Castle to the cell phone dropped in droppings. 🙂 Thanks for the useful trip overview and the smiles.
Liesbet you have a wonderful memory and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a loyal reader. We would have loved to have had at least two more weeks. When we had the extended time in Newcastle West we got to know many of the townspeople and that became the best part of the trip. Hopefully we will go back one day and explore further.
We spent eight days in Ireland with our daughters when they were young, which wasn’t nearly enough. We visited many of the places you mention here and would definitely like to return and see more one day.
It must have been wonderful to have that time with your daughters in ireland. Like you we would love to return to send more time and explore more of this beautiful country.
A well-thought out itinerary, Sue. Looks like you packed as much in as possible in 14 days in Ireland and I remember reading some of these places in your previous posts 🙂 Ireland looks like such a charming place with those old pubs, sheep castles and rolling hills. From what you did, sounds like there was lots of distance and walking covered and you seemed to be so full of energy throughout it all. Would love to know how you stay so chipper on your travels 🙂
Mabel we did pack a lot into our time in Ireland and thank you for remembering some of the previous stories. You are such a loyal reader and we appreciate that very much. We traveled with Dave’s brother and his wife and they had four weeks in Ireland. The Galway section at the end is from their travels. Dave and I were at a blogging conference in Killarney for two days so they experienced Galway for on our behalf.
I don’t always stay chipper and do need a good night’s sleep. I’ve also found that beinng able to stay in one place and exploring from there makes a huge difference. Not having to pack and unpack each night. I also think attitude plays a big role. I often tell myself that so many people in this world can only dream of this opportunity so that helps me stay positive and energized.
Sue, what a great idea to share your Irish Itenerary. You certainly had a great plan and why not see as much as possible when travelling? I remembered some of the places and experiences form your previous posts. I remember being especially intrigued by the secret ingredient on the food tour and the gobsmacking cliffs of Moher. The photos of the beautiful landscapes make me want to visit.
Shannyn many thanks for the kind feedback and your loyal reading. It makes me smile having you rememebr those articles from the fall. Although this style of post would not be my usual style it seemed like after having taken notes and at the recommendations of locals having so many good suggestions it would be fun to share it with others. We loved Ireland and highly recommend it. The people are so very friendly and the scenery breath taking.
I remember so many of these photos – or ones similar to them – when you were away. My question is that with all that eating, how do you manage to stay so tiny? 🙂
Joanne I will say it is one of the reasons we often choose a very active vacation. In Ireland we did a ton of walking. I’m a bit of a grazer when it comes to eating so for me its about portion size. Thanks for remembering some of these images from the fall and posts we did on the specific spots along the Irish way. We appreciate your loyal following and the defending of top commenter. 🙂
man, am I jonseing for a Guinness right now!!! Great itinerary. It’s odd, but I keep thinking back on my time in Ireland, more so than most places I visit. Maybe I need to return?
do I need to fill out my name each time…or is this a new system you got going?
We too think often of Ireland and our want to return. Such gorgeous scenery but it is the friendly people that really truly have stolen our hearts.
As to signing in to comment I think once you have done it once that should be all. I see that you changed your Gravatar name so perhaps it’s picking you up as someone new? Let me know if you have problems.
A fabulous guide Sue! I went to Ireland awhile back when my uncle was teaching there doing a fellowship. I loved it! So beautiful. I’d love to go back. A wonderful itinerary!
Nicole thank you for your kind feedback and for sharing the article on Facebook. Wonderful that you have fond memories of Ireland as well. Like you we very much hope to return one day.
Wow, Sue, this Travel Guide Itinerary is a work of art. A plethora of fantastic spots and creative options, with numerous links and suggestions. Something like this takes months to plan, and here you have narrated and outlined it so thoroughly for us. I always appreciate helpful hints like taking a route in the opposite direction that the tourist buses go, and alternatives like the Kerry Cliffs where you get the same views and less crowds. The picturesque photos and spirited narrative add a lot, and make me want to book a trip now. Many thanks.
Jet sincere thanks for your feedback here. This type of article takes a big effort, perhaps more than I realized until we were well into it. Our time in Ireland is one of our top trips to date. The Irish folks we met shared so many gems along the way it seemed a shame not to share them with others. Your enthusiastic comment means a lot. Thank you.
Looks like a fantastic tour! And what a nice guide to use if I ever get there again for a few days. I like to explore cities on the hop-on-hop-off buses…so easy to see what is of interest. Loved the painted sheep 🙂
Helen I’m glad to hear the guide may be of help in a future trip. Aren’t those sheep a pure delight? I was head over heels for those sheep. I also dropped my phone in some of there ‘droppings’. That should teach me for wanting to get up close and personal. 🙂
Wow Sue, brilliant! I would stop by the Guinness Storehouse. Weird how I rarely drink but love a good, cold glass of the Big G. Not Google, either. But every step on this 14 day vacay sounds like so much fun, brimming with natural beauty. Thanks for sharing 🙂
The big G, that made me smile. I never liked Guinness in Canada but somehow in Ireland it was absolutely delicious. We loved Ireland and the friendly people. I always thought we Canadians were friendly but the Irish really are over the top in the welcoming department.
Very informative Sue….I will be forwarding a link to our youngest…her and her husband are going over to Ireland latter part of May…they are both uber planners and I think this would help them alot….again…great post!!
How exciting for your daughter and son in law to have a trip planned to Ireland! Many of these things we have added as gems were recommendations from locals. I hope they have a fabulous trip and find some other gems too along the way. Thanks for the kind feedback Kirt.
Thank You for this information. We never have been to Ireland and thus I will keep in mind this post, if we decide someday to go there. This year we again will make a road trip to Germany. There is much to see and experience. From Finland Germany is easy to reach by boat. It will be our fourth road trip there.
Have a good day!
Have a wonderful time in Germany! I recall some of your posts from other trips. I didn’t realize it is so easy to access by boat from Finland.
We only had a week in Ireland (as part of a longer 6-week European trip) so it was necessary to hit the highlights but we managed a number of the sights in your list. Unfortunately, there’s too much eating and drinking on this itinerary for my Other Half who tends to think money spent on such things is extravagant and hence our diets tend to be limited to breakfast in the B&B, anything we can scrounge from aforesaid breakfast for lunch (if anything) and then basics from the supermarket for dinner. One day, when I’m rich, I’m going to treat myself to a gastronomic tour. 🙂
Heather definitely the dining features are optional of course. We liked to give suggestions for those who want to go our to eat. We spent a fair amount of time researching and asking locals for suggestions. When we stayed in Newcastle West it was great to have a full kitchen so breakfast and lunch were often eaten there or packed for day trips.
Wonderful and my eyes are all on the Guinness 😉
That made me smile Joshi. The Guinness in Ireland is especially delicious.
I’ve always thought I’d like to visit Ireland, and now I have many more reasons to want to go. (But you had me at “Secret Food Tour”!) What beautiful country – all those lovely greens just make me go, “Ahhhh!” 🙂
When people spoke of the green of Ireland I always thought to myself ‘ How green can it really be?’ Well it turns out that I often looked at my camera after taking photos to see if I had the settings in some weird state because I couldn’t believe the green that was leaping form the images. I do think you would like to visit there Diane. The people are so down to earth and friendly. Not to mention the stunning scenery of course.
WOW. I truly had no idea that there is so much to see in Ireland. We have friends who are on an Ireland tour (on their own with two other couples and a van) for 21 days. I wondered why so many days – now I know! Your tour here is delightful. However, you don’t mention the weather you ‘ran into’ during your stay there. :–)
We had such good weather Pam. The day at the Gap of Dunloe it poured rain but other than that no rain jacket required. Now i can’t say it was bright blue skies but not a down pour. Three weeks sounds glorious. We didn’t even get to Northern Ireland so would love to return with a longer amount of time to explore.
What a great itinerary, Sue. Thanks so much!
Happy to share our gems of Ireland with you Indah. We so loved that trip.
This was so informative Sue. Thanks so much for writing this piece. After all the planning that went into our Patagonian trip, our Ireland trip planning will be a breeze! 😀
LuAnn I’ll be honest in that I hope you might do a similar post when you return from your South America adventure. Or perhaps pieces of it. I’ve never done one of these before but I do think they can be extraordinarily helpful. Should you head to Ireland I’d be happy to chat about specifics.
Fab post Sue! We’ve been to Ireland but only briefly, so this comprehensive list is very useful. Thanks!
Thanks Deb. We fell in love with Ireland and hope this itinerary will help others feel the same.
What a brilliant post, Sue. Love the details and the links. The hundred foot high Nenagh Castle is intriguing. Then, the Glenquin Castle Newcastle West, a six story tower! Thanks for sharing these gems.
A work of love this article I will admit. Many of these gems found through the advice of locals and ones not jumping out in guidebooks. Your generous feedback is much appreciated Mahesh.
What a wonderful guide! I still hope to some day make it to Ireland to follow up on some genealogy!
Oh that sounds like it would be a great trip with such a purpose. Ireland has become one of our most recommended destinations.
Thanks for writing this Sue. I’m not sure if we are going to be able to fit Ireland into our time living here in England, but I am going to try, so a post like this is really helpful!
I’ll be crossing my fingers you get a chance to explore at least a bit of Ireland Amy. We felt as though we needed another couple of weeks to do it justice. I’m glad the post may come in handy for you.
Great tour. We did something similar, but my sister-in-law persuaded us to hire a driver as well as a car. It was expensive but worth every penny as we were able to find a great guide who is now also a friend — and I didn’t have to navigate those narrow roads.
I can totally see the value in having a driver and guide. We traveled with Dave’s brother and our sister in law so they took turns driving. Often the roads were so narrow and close to the stone walls I couldn’t bear to sit in the front. Glad to hear you had such a wonderful experience in Ireland.
Sue, I thought we would never go to Ireland. Decades ago we did the UK to death covering every square inch of England, Scotland and Wales but managed to miss Ireland. We always said Ireland was too wet, too cold, too unpredictable weather-wise and besides we would have to go through Heathrow again which we both hate. BUT -now No.1 son has got a transfer to London for two years so Britain is back on the agenda. We can’t let him live on the other side of the world and not visit him at least ten times. You’ve met hubby so you will understand. Anyway this time we will make it to Ireland. Thanks for the itinerary, it is going straight on to my new Ireland Pinterest board. cheers Lyn
I can totally understand when your child moves to another side of the world the travel must happen! For Ireland you definitely will want to pack some very warm clothes and rain gear and shoes that can deal with mud. I’m not sure if you read my post on the Cliffs of Moher but I honestly thought we might blow off into the Atlantic. Having said that we only had one solid day of rain and that was at the Gap of Dunloe. Still the bright blue skies were not a daily event either.
Having said that the scenery is stunning and the people some of the friendliest we have ever met. Once you get planning feel free to drop me a message. I know your hubby likes higher end accommodations so our recommendations don’t fit that criteria. We went for middle of the road.
Thanks for the pin to Pinterest. I’ve never before written one of these complete guides but so many locals shared their gems with us it seemed a shame not to pass them on.
What a beautiful countryside of Ireland. I have visited there yet. 🙂
Amy I think you would love it. With your photography skills you would have no end of subject material.
Great tips! We are actually in Ireland right now and loving it. We took the ferry from Doolin to Inis Oirr and it was fantastic- we got to see the Cliffs of Moher from the sea as well, which was incredible.
Kate that does sound incredible to see the Cliffs from the water. Were the seas rough? Hoping you are having a fabulous time. We absolutely loved Ireland.
Sue – this tour sounds exactly like what I have been searching for. I was originally planning to travel with some friends, but unfortunately, they have all bailed on me. So, I am currently coming on my own. I wanted to get your opinion about a woman traveling by herself in Ireland. It seems like the people are very friendly, but I know some cultures frown on women traveling alone. Thoughts?
Kate I have to admit that I am no expert on solo travel and this trip was done in a group of four. To use this itinerary in its entirety as is would require renting a car. For us driving on the opposite side of the road was a challenge and we worked as a team with navigating our way around. Every where we went in Ireland people were extremely helpful and friendly. Of course I would suggest all the common sense safety precautions of travelling anywhere. We had spoken quite a bit with a solo male traveler prior to his going to Ireland and he had a travel agent help home with train and bus connections as the driving challenges were something he wanted to avoid. Ireland sees a great deal of tourists so I don’t think there is any issue of cultural sensitivity to solo female travel. I hope that helps a bit.
Hi Sue. We are planning 15 nights in Ireland and Northern Ireland in April 2019 and I’ve found your blog great to help me plan. We arrive by ferry with the car form Holyhead and will leave from Belfast to spend a week around the west coast of Scotland and travelling back to London. That means we will go south from Dublin and I was wondering what you think of us spending 2 or 3 nights in Cork instead of Newcastle West? Have heard Waterford is worth a visit. Then 3 nights in Killarney before Galway for 2. Then head up to the north. It’s hard to fit it all in I know.
Grateful for your thoughts.
Cathy you have it so right that it is hard to fit it all in. In choosing Cork vs Newcastle West it will be in what kind of experience you are looking for. Cork is a city of course where as Newcastle West more the authentic Irish town. I was not too interested in Waterford and the crystal but for others that may be something not to be missed. I think if you prefer a city setting then Cork is a reasonable choice. The day we were in Cork the traffic was crazy and parking was a challenge but we had a good time nonetheless. To be honest it will be hard to go wrong in Ireland. Well other than that we all want to stay a couple of months! I’d love to hear what you decide.
Hi again Sue. I’ve come up with an itinerary and I’d be grateful for your thoughts. I’ve been told on trip advisor it’s not practical at all. Leave Holyhead with our hire car and 3 nights Dublin, 2 in Cork, 3 in Killarney, 2 in Galway, 1 in Sligo and then 2 in Londonderry and maybe 3 in Belfast before getting ferry to Scotland. May stay in villages near major cities but easier to name cities than villages. I know everyone likes different things but thought this might give us plenty of scope. Value your opinion. Thanks
Cathy greetings from Mexico where we are currently traveling with Dave’s brother and his wife. They were with us in Ireland and also did Northern Ireland and then joined us in the south. Their comment was that they didn’t feel you needed three days in Belfast and perhaps another night in Londonderry might be better spent. As to Cork if you do the major Titanic exhibit in Belfast you likely won’t need/want to do the one in Cork.
We don’t see any big problems with your itinerary but you will be busy and doing a lot of travelling in just over two weeks. If you have any flexibility and you want to do all of Ireland three weeks may allow for a more relaxing trip and time to settle in here and there.
Whatever you decide I am certain you will love Ireland. Be prepared for wind, rain and the warmest people one can imagine. At least that certainly was our experience.
Thanks Sue for the prompt response. I’ll rethink Cork and Belfast. Really appreciate your help. Enjoy Mexico and watch that tequila! Everything in moderation! Except travel!
Our last day here in Mexico sadly. Home to snow we go. I love that line Everything in moderation except travel! It could be a t-shirt. 🙂
Sorry Sue. Promise I won’t annoy you again! Thinking I might skip Sligo and go to Donegal fro Galway and spend 2 nights before 2 in Derry and 2 in Belfast.
Have fun in Mexico
Oh gosh I’m happy to chat anytime! Wonderful to know when our articles or advice are helpful. Since we haven’t been to north perhaps you can tell us what you think when you get back. I felt we just didn’t have enough time with two weeks to get up there but would have loved to have gone to the Giant’s Causeway. It was a highlight for Dave’s brother and his wife.
Safe travels and feel free to be in touch any time.
My husband and I just returned from a three week trip of the Southern parts of Ireland. Our trip was magical and I can’t wait to return. I do want to give one word of advise and warning about those who choose to visit the Barnagh Tunnel, as we did this too. We parked in one of the many car parking lots assigned for walkers. While we were walking the trail, our rental car was broke into and my purse and travel bag were stolen out of the trunk. I then spent the last 3 days of our trip visiting the Embassy trying to get a new passport. So be warned about this area. It is a beautiful area to walk, but watch out for the bad eggs in the area.
Oh no Karen I am so very sorry to hear this! I appreciate you sharing your experience. Not the way one ever wants to spend time on a holiday.
Karen I wanted to follow up and let you know that I contacted one of the good folks we met in NewCastle West to tell him of your situation. He has in turn contacted someone very involved with the trail system. I know it won’t help you but hopefully others might benefit from the knowledge.