While most think that just a flight into Dublin means they’ve seen Ireland, well we beg to differ. The Emerald Isle is a diverse place that’s got more than just fantastic pubs serving the best Guinness you’ll ever have. There are roads less traveled that you ought to take so that you can get the real whiff of Ireland’s magic. If you’re worried about getting enough time off to see the whole island, then here’s your solution: just take a week off and you’ll have all the time you need. Still not sure about it? Follow this itinerary and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in just 7 days!

Day 1: Land in Dublin & drive to Kilkenny

Kilkenny Castle. Historic landmark in the town of Kilkenny in Ireland.

As soon as you’ve landed in your flight to Dublin, make sure you rent a car and get ready to hit the road. Your first stop will be the beautiful old city of Kilkenny. The drive will take just 1 ½  hours.

What to see & do:

There are tons of wonderful places to see in Kilkenny. You can start off with the impressive 12th century Kilkenny Castle, which can be found in the heart of the city.  Visit the Hole in the Wall pub, which is housed in one of the oldest townhouses in Ireland, and have a few pints of Smithwick Irish Ale, which is brewed right in Kilkenny and is second in popularity only to the iconic Guinness.

Where to stay:

Once you’ve had an active day sightseeing and soaking up the history of Kilkenny, make sure you’re booked in at the 4-Star Newpark Hotel, which is centrally located, and boasts amenities like free WiFi and a full range of spa offerings.

Day 2: Drive to Cork, with stops along the way

St Patrick's Quay on river Lee. Cork, Ireland

After a good night’s rest and a hearty Irish breakfast to fuel you on, drive to the city of Cork.

What to see & do:

There’ll be a couple of notable stops along the drive: the Rock of Cashel, Cahir (which has a rather wonderful castle) and Blarney Castle (where you can kiss the legendary Blarney Stone for the gift of eloquence!). The whole journey, along with the stops, should take about 5 hours, with the actual driving time being 2 ½  hours. Once you get to Cork make sure to check out the nightlife around Oliver Plunkett Street, which has some really cozy pubs that are perfect for a lively evening out.

Where to stay:

You can find a couple of great accommodations in Cork, either at the Montenotte Hotel and the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa – both excellent hotels with great city views and super facilities and currently offering some really good deals.

Day 3: Exploring Cork, and then drive to Cobh

Kennedy Park at the coastal town of Cobh in Ireland

What to see & do:

After a good night’s sleep, make sure to visit the English Market for some great coffee and a delicious breakfast. You can also burn off some of those calories with a walk down St. Patrick’s Street, where you’d find the friendly locals socializing outdoors (when the sun is out). Don’t forget to ring the Shandon bells at St. Anne’s Tower (yes, they actually let visitors ring the bell!), which date back to the 18th century. Once you’re done, hit the road again for your next stop, which is the seaside town of Cobh, about 30 minutes away.

Cobh is famous for being the departure point for Irish immigrants to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and is also famous for being the last port visited by the ill-fated Titanic. There’s a 60-minute Titanic Trail walking tour for history buffs, and you can also see the Annie Moore statue, the first immigrant to walk through New York’s Ellis Island inspection center in 1892.

If time permits and you’re still hungry for some more great scenery, make the 30-40 minute drove to the picturesque coastal town of Kinsale, where you can end the day with some wonderfully fresh seafood at the highly-rated Fishy Fishy restaurant.

Where to stay:

After your full day of sightseeing, drive back to Cork to stay in the hotel you’ve selected.

Day 4: Drive to Limerick, then the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher Tourist Attraction in Ireland

Once you’ve got some breakfast in one of Cork’s excellent eateries, take the 2-hour drive on to Limerick, en route to see the iconic Cliffs of Moher.

What to see & do:

In Limerick, you can stop by to see King John’s Castle as well as the famous St. Mary’s Cathedral, both which possess magnificent architecture. Museum buffs wouldn’t want to miss the Hunt Museum, which houses a fine collection of Bronze Age, Iron Age, and medieval artifacts. If you’re in the mood for some refreshments, a nice place to grab a pint and some lovely bar bites is Nancy Blakes.

Next, head on to the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most symbolic natural landmarks and a fantastic photo op. The tourist center has a wealth of information and you should pop in if you can. You can also see The Burren region that’s nearby, a barren landscape that’s full of rocks and limestone.

Where to stay:

Drive back about 50 minutes to the city of Clare to spend the night. Two great hotels can provide you a restful night’s sleep. Check into either the Hotel Woodstock or the Armada Hotel – both conveniently located with reasonable prices for the night.

Day 5: Drive to Galway

Dunguaire Castle reflection in Kinvara, Ireland

A scenic 2-hour drive will land you in Galway.

What to see & do:

You can marvel at a 16th-century castle that played host to literary revivalists like William Butler Yeats and George Bernard Shaw – Dunguaire Castle. Make it a point to learn little bit about Celtic jewelry and the famous traditional Claddagh ring at Thomas Dillion’s. Then, sample some amazing Irish farmhouse cheese at Sheridan’s and then head to Griffin’s Bakery to try some of their tantalizing bread. Make sure to walk through Quay Street, which has pubs and restaurants that are sure to satisfy your every craving.

Where to stay:

Your accommodations for the night will exceed expectations when you book into the family-friendly Connacht Hotel or the elegant 4-star Clybaun hotel.

Day 6: Drive to Dublin & explore the city

St Stephen's Green park in Dublin

Just a 2 ½-hour drive will lend you back in the bustling capital city of Dublin, where there’s so much to see and do that you’ll need little more than a day.

What to see & do:

Dive into Dublin by checking out Trinity College (Ireland’s most prestigious university) and the Book of Kells (an ancient Latin manuscript that’s a national treasure). Catch up on some people watching at St. Stephen’s Green in the center of the city and take a selfie with the famous Oscar Wilde statue in the park. Walk over to the nearby Grafton Street, which is full of shops selling all kinds of items. While visitors will flock to the historic Temple Bar and its surroundings, for a more authentic pubbing experience opt to hit The Storehouse on Crown Alley, where you’ll still find plenty of great company and live music on most nights.

Where to stay:

Crash for the night at the Ashling Hotel, conveniently located for your final “activity” to do in Dublin before you leave for home!

Day 7: Guinness Storehouse, and fly home

Close up of a glass of stout beer in a bar

Assuming you still have half a day worth of activity and your hotel is very close to it, we couldn’t suggest a better experience for you to have one last taste of Ireland…at the Guinness Storehouse!

Learn to pull the perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse, while also savoring probably the tastiest Guinness you will taste anywhere in the world. There’s a lot to be learned from the fun-filled tour and you can leave with a lot of great souvenirs…and maybe you’ll sleep pretty well on your flight home too!

Sláinte chugat!

So there you have it: who said you can’t do Ireland in just 7 days?  Enjoy your Irish adventure!

 

Want to make that Ireland road trip a reality? Find a week off work and start planning now!

About The Author

Dhinesh Manuel

Socialite, philanthropist, costumed crime fighter by night...no wait...that's Batman...my bad ... Musician, writer, travel junkie, dog lover, and database of useless information. I love to learn about new cultures, experience new cuisines, meet new people, and have a few laughs along the way!