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Trip List by Sarnia G

Ireland Itinerary: 7+ nights Fly-Drive - Highlights of the South and West

Jun 19, 2012  I Heart Ireland
3.5 of 5 stars based on 1 vote

A 7-night fly-drive itinerary starting and ending at Dublin, visiting the medieval city of Kilkenny, the Rock of Cashel, Killarney, Cliffs of Moher and Galway city.

This itinerary could easily be increased to 8-10 nights by adding an extra night to Dublin, Killarney and also Galway.

  • 1. Dublin

    Day 1

    Arrive Dublin airport and transfer to city centre either by taxi, or aircoach.

    The HoHo bus is a great form of transport which will take you past most of the popular tourist sites. If you're only in the city for 1 day, you might prefer to explore on foot: Dublin is a fairly compact city and most sites are within easy walking distance of each other.

    Overnight Dublin.

    (If you have a spare night in your itinerary, you may wish to spend 2 nights in Dublin, and take a day-trip to either Newgrange and Hill of Tara in co. Meath, or visit Glendalough monastic settlement in the Wicklow Mountains).

  • 2. Kilkenny

    Day 2

    Collect rental car, either from the city centre or travel back to the airport if you don't wish to drive in Dublin City (I actually found the drive from the city to the ringroad very straightforward).

    Drive to the medieval city of Kilkenny, where you will find interesting historic buildings including St Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower; Shee Alms House; the Tholsel and Kilkenny Castle. Opposite the Castle lies Kilkenny Design Centre where you will find a good choice of quality items all made in Ireland.

    Tip: You may wish to overnight in Kilkenny, in which case, visit Kyteler's Inn, which has an interesting past.

  • 3. Cashel

    Day 2 continued . . . .

    After exploring Kilkenny, drive on to Cashel (approximately 60-75 minutes drive from Kilkenny) for the night.

  • 4. Rock of Cashel
    Rock of Cashel, Cashel

    Day 3

    Aim for an early start in order to see the Rock of Cashel before the tour buses arrive.
    There is a car park at the base of the Rock, and then it's a short but fairly steep walk to the entrance.

    Expect to spend 60-90 minutes at the Rock.

  • 5. Killarney

    Day 3 continued . . . .

    Drive from Cashel to Killarney in the Kingdom of Kerry (approximately 2.5hrs).
    This lively town on the Ring of Kerry is a good base from which to explore the surrounding area. Killarney is a good location for autumn/winter visits, as there is a good range of facilities in the town.

    If you've managed an early start from Cashel, you might have time in the afternoon to visit Muckross House and Gardens, which lie on the outskirts of town (drive in direction of Kenmare).

    Overnight Killarney

  • 6. Ring of Kerry
    Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

    Day 4

    Option 1:

    Take this day to drive around the Ring of Kerry; you'll need a full day to explore this beautiful area: beaches, historic houses, chocolate shop (Skellig Chocolates), Valentia Island.

    Overnight Killarney

  • 7. Dingle Town and the Slea Head Drive

    Day 4 :

    Option 2:

    You may wish to visit Dingle town and drive beyond the town around Slea Head, where you will discover a wealth of historic sites dating back to prehistory, plus gorgeous scenery wherever you look.

    Click on above link for details of sites and sights along the route.

    If you opt for Dingle Peninsula, you may wish to move accommodation, and stay in Dingle town overnight.

  • 8. Gap of Dunloe
    Gap of Dunloe, Killarney

    Day 4

    Option 3:

    If you want a relaxing day without too much time in the car, drive from Killarney on the N72 towards Killorglin, and turn off at Beaufort to Kate Kearney's Cottage, where you can park the car and hike through the Gap of Dunloe: gorgeous scenery!
    If you don't feel like walking, take a horse 'n carriage ride through the Gap; negotiate with the jarvey's for best price.

    If you want to take an "all inclusive" tour of the Gap, look at Deros Tours web-site.

    Overnight Killarney.

  • 9. The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren

    Day 5

    Time to depart Killarney and head to Galway. This would be your opportunity to visit the Cliffs of Moher and drive through the Burren region of North Clare en-route.

    From Killarney, head to Tarbert where you can catch the drive-on car ferry across the Shannon to Killimer, co. Clare. Head up the west coast of Clare to the Cliffs of Moher; this journey will take around 3.5-4hrs.

    Expect to spend 60-90 minutes at the Cliffs.

    Continue from the Cliffs through Lisdoonvara, Ballyvaughan and Kinvarra to Galway city for the night: approximately 90 minutes drive.

    Overnight Galway.

  • 10. Connemara
    County Galway

    Day 6

    An opportunity to drive out to the Connemara region, which lies beyond Galway: Kylemore Abbey, pretty villages, lakes and magnificent mountains, and Connemara National Park. If you wish to enjoy hiking or a horse ride, this would be a superb location for such an activity.

    Overnight Galway.

    (If you have a spare day in your itinerary, you could spend a further night in Galway, ie 3 nights total, and visit one of the Aran Islands. You can fly, or take the ferry).

  • 11. Clonmacnoise
    Clonmacnoise, County Offaly

    Day 7

    Time to leave the west coast of Ireland and head back towards Dublin airport in preparation for your flight home. The drive across to Dublin should take around 2.5-3hrs and is a fairly dull route. However, if you have time, you might like to stop en-route at Clonmacnoise monastic settlement on the banks of the river Shannon.
    Clonmacnoise is clearly signposted on the motorway.

    Tip: be sure to have a few euros in change for the motorway tolls (2 payable).

  • 12. Malahide

    Day 7 continued . . . . .

    There is a good range of hotels in/around Dublin airport, most of which offer a shuttle bus to the airport. If you have an early departure, you might wish to return the rental car on the evening of day 7 and use the hotel shuttle bus.

    If your flight leaves around lunchtime, you could opt to stay in the harbour town of Malahide, which has a choice of accommodation including The Grand, Malahide, plus good choice of restaurants and pubs.

    Overnight Dublin Airport environs.

    Tip: Allow 20 minutes to drive from Malahide to Dublin airport - and remember to refuel your car before leaving it at the depot. You will then use the shuttle bus to reach the terminal.