Ireland Road Trip Tips

Ireland Road Trip

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, I’m sharing my top 10 Ireland road trip stops.  It’s been almost 5 years since my personal Ireland road trip. That means, I had to dust-off the scrapbook (because yes, I scrapbook) and remember the good times.  We did an Ireland trip for our first anniversary and it was lovely. There was amazing weather (this is not normal), the people are so nice, and the landscape is beautiful.

I’m excited to go back and look at all the photos from our trip. Therefore, I’m giving away 5 printable photos from our Ireland road trip with inspirational travel quotes. You can download them on the Journey Junkies page or sign up here if you’re not a member. You can also find canvases of our photos on our Zazzle page.

Driving in Ireland

The roads in Ireland are some of the most difficult I’ve driven.  I don’t say that casually either, I learned to drive on the side of a mountain. I’ve gone off-roading, driven on roads where “only tours should go” and driven in 3rd world countries. Every time someone tells me it’s tricky driving somewhere, I tend to roll my eyes, but this was the first time they were right. I don’t say this to tell you not to do it, you definitely should, just be aware, that’s all. Here’s the route we took below from Google Maps.

Map of Ireland Road Trip by Google Maps
Map of Ireland Road Trip by Google Maps

10 Spots to Add to Your Bucket List

1. Jameson Distillery & Guinness Factory

There are mixed reviews out there about Dublin. To be fair, it’s definitely not my favorite European city but it’s worth a visit. Personally, I think a weekend will do it, but you could spend more. I’ve been twice and I thought it was at least worth taking my husband to since he didn’t go with me the first time.

If you do make it to Dublin, visit both the Jameson Distillery and the Guinness Factory. They are both worth a visit and can both be done in a day along with other spots in Dublin. You can learn to pour the perfect pint at the Guinness Factory and taste whiskey from all over the world at the Distillery.

Pour the Perfect Pint at the Guinness Factory on an Ireland Road Trip
Pour the Perfect Pint at the Guinness Factory on an Ireland Road Trip
Jameson Distillery
Jameson Distillery

2. Trad on the Prom, Galway

However, having said everything above about Dublin, don’t just do Dublin. I did this on my first trip to Ireland and was disappointed. After my second trip to Ireland I saw so much more and realized how gorgeous it is. Plus, I tend to like the country-side better than cities anyway.

Our first stop on our road trip was in Galway. I can’t say much about this little town because our flight actually got delayed and we missed our full day here. Nonetheless, we did arrive in time to see the show Trad on the Prom.

If you listen to nothing else here, listen to this. Trad on the Prom is fantastic.  It’s a traditional Irish music and dance show and it is well worth attending. In fact, I was so exhausted from our delayed flight that I thought I might just be ready for the show to end so I could go to bed. I was wrong, from the minute the show started, I was hooked. It’s brilliant.

Trad on the Prom Irish Music & Dance Show in Galway
Trad on the Prom Irish Music & Dance Show in Galway

3. Cliffs of Moher

The next stop on our Ireland road trip was the Cliffs of Moher. We drove to the Cliffs from Galway and spent the day there. Then we traveled to Gap of Dunloe where we spent the night. This is about a 4.5 to 5 hour drive when it’s all said and done. We were starting the Ring of Kerry the next day and wanted plenty of time.  It worked well for us, but we are early risers and don’t mind a bit of driving.

The Cliffs are amazing and did not disappoint. I wish we could have also done the boat ride but didn’t have the time or money for it.  However, I don’t recommend doing just the boat ride. My parents actually did this, but were a bit disappointed. I was happy we walked along the top of cliffs if we could only do one or the other.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Peak Over the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Peak Over the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Gape of Dunloe, Ireland
Gape of Dunloe, Ireland

Ring of Kerry

These next 4 stops are all on the Ring of Kerry which is a whole trip in itself. This area is some of the best of Ireland’s wild side with mountains ocean views and dramatic landscapes. You owe it to yourself to do this drive, not just take a tour.

4. Ballycarbery Castle, Cahersiveen

Our first stop along the Ring of Kerry was Cahersiveen. Here we also saw the Ballycarbery Castle. You have no shortage of castles in Ireland but this one is lovely with the greenery on it.

Ballycarbery Castle
Ballycarbery Castle on the Ring of Kerry, Ireland

5. Valentia Island

Next up is Valentia Island. This where you’ll really get those dramatic ocean landscapes. From here you can also get to Skelligs Island.  However, you’ll need to check the boat times. We didn’t do this as the boat only leaves once or twice a day and it didn’t fit our schedule.

Valentia Island View, Ring of Kerry Ireland
Valentia Island View, Ring of Kerry Ireland
Valentia Island, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Valentia Island, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Valencia Island, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Valencia Island, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

6. Fogher Cliffs, Valentia Island

Also on Valentia Island is the Fogher Cliffs which you should definitely make a stop at when you arrive on the island. You’ll also be able to view the Skelligs Island if you don’t make it over there.

Fogher Cliffs, Valentia Island, Ireland
Fogher Cliffs, Valentia Island, Ireland
Fogher Cliffs, Valentia Island, Ireland
Fogher Cliffs, Valentia Island, Ireland

7. Caherdaniel and Staigue Fort

After we did Valentia Island, we stayed in Caherdaniel and it was a lovely seaside town. there’s a lovely beach and our room had a view of the ocean. From here we also did Staigue Fort which was one of the more interesting things we toured. It’s a circular fort and definitely worth checking out.

Caherdaniel Accommodation View, Ring of Kerry in Ireland
Caherdaniel Accommodation View, Ring of Kerry in Ireland
Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

8. Blarney Castle

That wraps up the Ring of Kerry portion of our trip. We also made a stop at the Killarney National park which is lovely but not in my top ten.  The next item in the top ten is the Blarney Castle.  Legend says if you kiss the stone here you will be blessed with eloquence and persuasiveness. We did it, but it’s a bit gross (I’ve heard some people pee on it so there’s that). However, the castle itself is definitely lovely.

Blarney is also close to the city of Cork. While not in my top ten, we did do a little kayak trip through the city that I would recommend as well if you’ve got the time. The cork gaol (jail) is also worth a trip.

Kiss the Blarney Stone, Ireland
Kiss the Blarney Stone, Ireland
View from Blarney Castle, Ireland
View from Blarney Castle, Ireland
Blarney Castle, Ireland
Blarney Castle, Ireland

9. Cahir Castle

After Blarney, we headed towards the Rock of Cashel, but made a stop at another castle (because why not?). Cahir Castle is also a lovely stop. We also took a tour of a Swiss Cottage that was beautiful as well.

Cahir Castle, Ireland
Cahir Castle, Ireland
Cahir Castle, Ireland
Cahir Castle, Ireland
Swiss Cottage near Cahir Castle, Ireland
Swiss Cottage near Cahir Castle, Ireland

10. Rock of Cashel

Number 10 on the list should be number 1 if I were ranking these in order of their awesome-ness. However, I did this in the order we drove it so it’ll have to be 10. Do not miss out on the Rock of Cashel. If you’ve done any research on Ireland, you’ve probably heard of it.  It’s a spectacular castle with stunning views. The tour is also very good (or so my husband said, I get distracted taking the photos).

Rock of Cashel, Ireland
Rock of Cashel, Ireland
View from Rock of Cashel, Ireland
View from Rock of Cashel, Ireland
Rock of Cashel, Ireland
Rock of Cashel, Ireland

Freebies

Download free photos of gorgeous Ireland on the Journey Junkies page.
Download free photos of gorgeous Ireland on the Journey Junkies page.

That’s my top ten Ireland road trip stops. If you enjoyed the photos or love Ireland, be sure to download the free images over on the Journey Junkies page.  You can sign up for the Journey Junkies club here if you missed the link.

Have you ever been to Ireland? If so, what was in your top ten?

Ireland Road Trip Tips: 10 Spots to Add to Your Ireland Bucket List Today

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