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The Perfect Ireland Itinerary: 7 Stops You Can’t Miss!

My Ireland travel guide!

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MikeNovember 8, 2017 - 2:15 pm

Hey Sher, great write-up…very comprehensive. I agree, Ireland was never really tops on my list either, but I’m so glad I had a chance to go. I love it when a place exceeds my expectations. How did you do with the driving? Did you fall in love with Tyson at Roseleauge?

SherNovember 8, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Ha I wrote about our experiencing with the driving in this post.

It ended up being fine so now I want to road trip Scotland! The main thing I found strange was how you had to pay inside at the gas station, there would also be like empty parked cars while everyone waited to pay ha!

I read your Tyson story – loved the interview with Mark! Funny enough I wrote my post about Rosleague last night.. will be publishing it in a couple weeks :) Which was your favorite of the blue book properties?

The GuestbooksNovember 13, 2017 - 8:37 am

Love this post! I’ve always wanted to do a trip to Ireland so this is so much food for thought and really comprehensive! I’m based in Dubai at the moment but definitely one for the bucket list when I’m based in the UK again. Thanks for sharing all your tips! : )

[…] the planning process, we looked at Auto Europe to get an idea of all the car rental agencies available in Ireland and […]

[…] nearly 3 weeks in Ireland driving all around the country, our road trip was complete! As an American, driving on the left in Ireland certainly took some […]

[…] We stayed at the Killarney Royal, a charming, boutique hotel conveniently located in the centre of town. The hotel has been family owned for over 3 generations and was originally a townhouse, so all the rooms are slightly different and feature antique furnishing. We loved how spacious and luxurious our room was – easily the largest hotel room we stayed in during our trip to Ireland! […]

[…] Photo courtesy of Sher from Sher She Goes […]

[…] to see more amazing stops like Connemara? Check out this great Ireland itinerary by Sher She […]

[…] This Northern Ireland self driving tour is circular and it starts and ends in Belfast. Ideally you would spend two nights in Belfast, either split (one at the start and one at the finish) or both together at the beginning. We then suggest stopping for an overnight somewhere halfway like Ballintoy or Bushmills. Finally, you would spend a night or two in Derry before returning to Belfast or going south into the Republic of Ireland. […]

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[…] structures and ancient burial tombs. This makes it a great hotel to stay at for anyone looking to road trip Ireland and drive through the Wild Atlantic […]

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[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

DonnaFebruary 14, 2018 - 8:31 am

Hi Sher: Love all your articles! We are budget travelers, but would like to splurge 1 night to stay in a castle or another luxury type accommodation. Do you have a suggestion for one that will accommodate 4 per room? We’re open to any location at this point as we are still working on our itinerary for 8-9 days. I looked at Gregan’s Castle and it appears we would have to get 2 rooms there which would be out of our budget even for a splurge! Thanks for all the great info!

SherFebruary 14, 2018 - 1:57 pm

Hi Donna! Thanks for the kind words. Yes – I would definitely recommend splurging a night in one of Ireland’s cool castle hotels. Have you seen my post on the list here?

Hm, I’m not sure if they have room for 4 at Gregans, perhaps you could email them to ask if one of their suites could accommodate? Gregans is a more cozy house. If you can’t get rooms there, I would still recommend making a dinner reservation. It was very good!

At Rosleague, in Connemara, the rooms are HUGE and they might be able to fit 4.

In Killarney there’s lots of options for bigger parties. We had 4 of us in a loft style room at Old Weir Lodge for incredibly affordable rates.. I think we each paid around $30/night but this was also off season. I wouldn’t say it’s luxury but definitely very comfortable.

We also stayed at the Killarney Royal in one of their corner rooms which had 2 queen size beds and I’m sure 4 would be comfortable there.

If I went back to Ireland I would love to stay at Adare Manor or Ashford. Both are pricey (depending on the season) but they seem like once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Falconry, boating, archery, golf etc. Adare opened right after my trip ended but we saw the outside renderings and it looks FAB. Ashford books out months in advance, even in the off season. They also have a cottage on the grounds which are converted into rooms, I believe those are cheaper and you still get to experience the castle + grounds.

I will say in general the Irish are very hospitable and friendly. We made a mistake one night and booked a last minute room in Dingle which only came with a twin (there were 2 of us). It was meant for a single. They were very nice at the front desk and didn’t force us to upgrade rooms. Instead, they added in an extra cot / rollaway bed.

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

SavannahMarch 30, 2018 - 3:56 pm

Hi!! This was an amazing guide!
I was wondering what your opinion on staying at one hotel in Dublin for the duration of the trip and taking multiple day trips to certain sights?! It seems to be less expensive and less stressful than trying to find a bunch of different hotels, but I also don’t want to miss anything since this is a once in a lifetime thing! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

SherMarch 31, 2018 - 10:25 am

Hi Savannah – glad the guide was helpful! Hm, so do you mean you don’t plan to rent a car? If that’s the case then yes, a great way to see Ireland is to base yourself in Dublin and do day trips. Dublin is on the northeast of the Republic of Ireland and a lot of the famous sights are on the western coast, so it will be a bit of a longer drive. It’ll also probably be much more expensive than if you rented a car to drive around Ireland on your own and Dublin hotels tend to be much more expensive than in other cities. But, a guided tour will take care of all your transportation! so, there’s pros and cons :)

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Kasey BuchingerMarch 7, 2019 - 12:46 pm

This is the best itinerary of an Ireland trip I have read yet! Thank you so much. I traveling with children (3.5 years and 8 months) is there any of the stops that you would recommend NOT going to? Or ones that you would recommend on adding? I often wear the baby in a carrier, so needing to use a stroller is not necessary.

Thanks in advance.

SherMarch 7, 2019 - 1:48 pm

Hi Kasey,

Thanks so much for the kind words!! I am actually planning to head back to Ireland this year!

Hm… So let me preface this by saying I don’t have kids so I may not aware of all the do’s & don’ts for young children. I would suggest spending less time in Dublin, which is most popular for its bars, and seeing the countryside. I think kids would like Dingle, with the dolphin, boat tours and the Slea Head drive is very beautiful. Skip Minard Castle, it is a long drive and they are ruins, not a still standing & furnished castle like Kilkenny. The town of Kilkenny is nice too.

Kerry is probably very kid friendly. The town center is very cute, lots of shopping, great food + ice cream, Killarney park is beautiful and kids probably like the horse buggy rides. If you have time, pop over to Wexford and the Irish National Heritage Park – the park itself is a open air museum, and then they have some excellent activities you can book like falconry, archery, dressing up like Vikings, etc. I wrote some more about it here, and you can check out their Youtube channel to get a feel for it.

Hope that helps!

KApril 1, 2019 - 10:19 am

Thank you so much for this! Just a quick 1uestion re Itinerary…Does the number of days include the previous days’ plans? I.e. for the 5 day itinerary, is the idea that you’d do the itinerary for days 3 and 4 as well? (i.e. Dublin, Newgrange, Howth, Galway, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara Galway)? Thank you!

SherApril 1, 2019 - 1:11 pm

Hi! It’s flexible depending on how many days you have and whether or not you’ll be renting a car! If you have 3-4 days, I would recommend staying in Dublin and taking a day trip or two :)

TCLeeApril 19, 2019 - 6:36 pm

Thank you so much for this post. We will be first time overseas travelers with a “once in a lifetime” trip next year. It’s a 2 week trip and we are hoping to see as much as we can. You gave me some feedback initially when we were thinking of taking a Viking Cruise. We’ve changed our minds and are now looking at Ireland, England, and Germany. Do you think we could see enough of Ireland in 4 days? Dublin looks great but we aren’t as interested in the bigger ‘cities’ so we are thinking only 1 day there. After I mapped out your recommendations, it looks like we would be most interested in the Galway/Clare areas. Thinking maybe we fly into that side of the island and out of Dublin to England. Interested in how many days you think we would need to see Kylemore/Clifden/Connemara Park/Aran Island/Mohr/Bunratty Castle?

SherApril 19, 2019 - 6:53 pm

Hi! You can see a lot of Ireland in 4 days, but you’d probably need to rent a car (and be comfortable driving on the left). I don’t think Galway has its own airport, so you have to check for the closest airport + factor in driving time.

Aran Island would be a full day trip.
Connemara you could drive through or you could spend all day hiking and exploring.
Kylemore Abbey might still be under construction, in which case, just a couple hours (it’s mainly the garden as the castle was under renovation when I visited)
The Clifden drive is beautiful – it would take maybe a couple hours.
Galway would be nice to spend a day in, we just drove through and had lunch. Galway is a smaller city and known for its pubs so if you like nightlife you could spend the night.

It depends on how long you want to linger in each place, and the driving. Typically what do is I add all the destinations I want to see in Google Maps and use their driving distance as a benchmark. The roads in Ireland are very narrow, and we were unused to driving on the left, so I’d add 30-45 minutes longer to the Google Maps driving estimates.

At a quick glance, I’d estimate 5 days at minimum for the places you listed, and 6-7 if you wanted to take it leisurely? Hope that helps!

16 of the Best Places to Visit in Italy

Here are the most beautiful places in Italy to add to your bucket list.

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LydiaMarch 31, 2019 - 2:45 pm

Sher,
I love Italy so much. When I visit, the places mentioned will feature in my itinerary, sure. For obvious reasons, Florence and Venice will be a priority.

Kimberly CrichtonApril 3, 2019 - 11:44 am

Your “10 Best” in Italy inspired me to take a trip soon. Both the descriptions and the photographs are great.

SherApril 3, 2019 - 3:41 pm

So glad to hear that!!

Natalie Ann RedmanApril 10, 2019 - 9:40 am

So many beautiful locations in Italy!

OuttaraApril 13, 2019 - 3:24 pm

It’s so hard to find a favorite place in Italy, I feel that every time I visit I find a place better than the last. I been meaning to visit Cinque Terre but haven’t gotten around to it, and now you have added even more places for me to add to my list! What is a girl to do with all these options lol

Review: Gregans Castle Hotel in the Barren Burren, Co Clare

Irish Castles, kittens and JR Tolkien!

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All the Best Food We Ate in Ireland!January 5, 2018 - 6:22 pm

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All the Best Food We Ate in Ireland!

A foodie’s guide to Ireland

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Don't Skip Wexford Ireland - Here's WhyJanuary 28, 2018 - 7:01 am

[…] 1 | Brandon House Hotel – Brandon House is a bit of an older hotel, but rooms are clean and we slept super well in the comfy beds. We had dinner in the lobby restaurant which was unexpectedly amazing – I highly recommend the huge dessert selection! More photos of our meal in this post. […]

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Mark FilipJune 25, 2018 - 12:16 am

Loved going through your site to see what you guys did and we really benefited from your car rental and driving tips.
Thanks for posting this great info, we will use it on our July Ireland trip!

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Judy CunninghamJanuary 28, 2019 - 1:43 pm

I found all of your information very helpful. Thank you!

Kelly WagstaffMarch 27, 2019 - 6:39 pm

Hey there, the link on this page to itineraries in Ireland actually links to itineraries in Panama. you may wish to fix that link.
Thanks for all you suggestions for our trip to Ireland!!!
Best,
Kelly

SherMarch 28, 2019 - 1:11 am

Ah, fixed! Thanks for letting me know :)