Ireland Self Drive
8 Days / 7 Nights
From undulating green pastures to sheer cliffs and commanding stone castles, Ireland is touched by a little something extra. Take a walk down Dublin's cobbled lanes and admire the views along the Ring of Kerry. Traditional Irish music lures visitors to Doolin, and cruises of the nearby Cliffs of Moher keep them coming back for more. Spend a night in an Irish castle, or simply park your car by the side of the road and stare in awe at the rolling landscape. A road trip around Ireland will surely be memorable.
HIGHLIGHTS AND INCLUSIONS
Accommodations in 3/4 star centrally located hotels: 2 nights in Dublin, 1 night in Blarney, 2 nights in Killarney, 1 night in Galway, 1 night in Bunratty
Private arrival transfers
Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Whiskey Distillery Skip-the-Line Tour
5 day automatic car rental with unlimited mileage and CDW
Arrive in Dublin and collect your bags. As you exit customs, your transfer representative will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Once you've gotten settled, have a leisurely afternoon exploring Dublin's main downtown as you please. Take a stroll down Grafton Street for the best dining and shopping options, and walk through St. Stephen's Green, a beautiful park in the city center.
Today you'll have a full day of exploring the best of Dublin on foot, so wear comfy shoes. Begin your morning at Trinity College and see the Book of Kells, an illustrated Gospel manuscript book dating back to the 9th century. Stop at Dublin Castle, which dates back to 1204, and Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin's oldest medieval cathedral at almost 1,000 years old.
This afternoon, head on your skip-the-line tour of Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery. This tour takes you through both of these popular complexes with a fun, knowledgeable guide. You’ll enjoy tastings of beer and whiskey at both locations.
There are so many great options for dinner tonight. No matter what you choose, end your day with a drink at the iconic Temple Bar.
Pick up your rental car and begin your Irish road trip! The routes you take and the stops you make are entirely up to you.
Perhaps you'll visit the Rock of Cashel, a grand castle and Ireland’s most visited historic site. The castle grounds are extensive and sit beautifully in the scenic countryside. Be sure to pop into Hore Abbey next door, the ruins of the last Cistercian monastery in Ireland. Or perhaps you'll opt for the "marble city" of Kilkenny where you can take a tour of the 12th-century Kilkenny Castle and take a stroll through the charming town.
After lunch, head onward to the Blarney Castle, one of Ireland's most popular sites. Stroll the gardens before heading for the Blarney Stone itself. Kissing the stone is said to give you the gift of eloquent speech.
End your day at a nearby cozy bed and breakfast.
Today, head onward to the town of Killarney and the surrounding area. Begin at Killarney National Park, a beautiful park with some incredible scenic viewpoints that you can access right from the seat of your car.
Be sure to stop at Muckross House, a grand Victorian mansion set against the backdrop of the national park. Take some time to enjoy the interior of the home, its gardens, and traditional farms. Also nearby is Muckross Abbey, an old monastery dating back to the 6th century. If you’re up for a bit of nature this morning, head on an easy hike through scenic lush forest to Torc Waterfall.
In the afternoon, visit Ross Castle, which resembles an old stone fortress and sits on a picturesque lake. End your day with a stroll around downtown Killarney, home to many colorful shops and restaurants.
Take a day trip around the Dingle Peninsula, considered to be one of the most scenic drives in all of Ireland. Stop at Inch Beach for a morning stroll before heading to the colorful town of Dingle for a delicious seafood lunch. Continue on your loop drive around Slea Head Drive for some breathtaking coastlines, stone cottages, and plenty of photo stops.
Head back to Killarney for another lovely evening.
After an early breakfast, pack up your car and head north to Tarbert, where you'll catch the 20-minute ferry to Killimer. You won't have any problem filling your day in County Clare, with its sheer cliffs and rock formations, quaint Irish villages, and expansive water views. Don't miss the iconic Cliffs of Moher and the wild, windswept Loop Head Peninsula. Make a stop in Miltown Malbay for a taste of traditional Irish music, then head just a few minutes south to explore the rock pools, coves, and low cliffs of Spanish Point. Continue inland through rocky Burren National Park on your way to Galway.
Check into your B&B and head into the city for dinner.
The only major urban hub on the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway is a lively mix of shop-lined streets and historic pubs. It's also a gateway to the natural wonders of County Galway. Visit the Dunguaire Castle on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay, or peruse the food and produce stalls of the centuries-old Galway Market. If you want to continue your landscape tour of Ireland, Connemara National Park lays claim to over 7,300 acres of mountains, woodlands, rivers, bogs, and heath.
End your trip with a truly memorable experience -- overnight in one of Ireland's great castles. You are spoiled for choice here, but a great option in this area is the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, a beautiful estate hidden in the forest along the Owenmore River. You will certainly feel like royalty after a night at this gorgeous property.
After breakfast, check out of your castle and drive to the airport where you'll return your rental car. You'll no doubt be planning your next trip the Emerald Isle before your plane even lifts off the ground.
International flights (may be included)
Travel insurance (may be included)
Meals not indicated in this itinerary
From $850 per person
Based on double occupancy. For solo travelers or larger groups, please inquire. Rates are subject to change and cannot be guaranteed until a deposit has been made.
This trip can be completely customized to suit your needs and desires. Want to skip an activity or add something in? Are you traveling with kids? Please contact me with any questions.