The Ultimate 10 Day Ireland Itinerary: Ireland Road Trip Extravaganza

There is nowhere on the planet better for a road trip than Ireland–and this 10 day Ireland itinerary will show you how to pull off the absolute best Ireland road trip!

After more than a month across multiple visits spent exploring Ireland, we’ve fallen completely head-over-heels with the impossibly green landscapes, the jaw-droppingly beautiful cliffs, the quaint farms, the delightful country inns, the colorful small towns, and the quirky cities that the island is known for.

We’ve watched the sunset at the Cliffs of Moher, become obsessed with Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, explored Dublin, sipped Guinness in countless pubs, fallen in love with colorful villages like Cobh, and sought out lesser-known destinations like the Slieve League Cliffs, Hook Peninsula, and County Mayo.

Colorful pub painted red in Kenmare Ireland
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This 10 day Ireland itinerary is a careful whittling down of our absolute favorite things we’ve found in Ireland–with plenty of choose-your-own-adventure style options thrown in. 

We want to make sure that this Ireland road trip itinerary leaves you completely smitten with the country, while also helping you narrow down the overwhelming number of amazing places to see in Ireland (which, let’s be honest–can’t all be covered with only 10 days in Ireland).

Ready to start planning your Ireland road trip? Here’s what we suggest.

10 Day Ireland Itinerary Map 

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How We Structured this 10 Day Ireland Itinerary

We structured this 10 days in Ireland itinerary so that you circle around the entire island and avoid doubling back during your trip.

This makes for a fun and, most importantly, flexible Ireland road trip itinerary, so if you have more or less than 10 days in Ireland, you’ll still be able to complete the trip with some adjustments.

It also means that you don’t have to follow our suggested stops to the letter–we’ve made notes on some of the days of this 10 day Ireland itinerary showing where there are a few logical choices to fill your time, so feel free to choose whichever adventure most appeals to you!

Kate Storm standing against a split level fence with Irish countyside in the background--plenty of this to be found on an Ireland road trip!

We’ll cover more alternate ideas and suggestions for your Ireland itinerary if you’re working with more or less than 10 days in Ireland closer to the bottom of this post.

The way this Ireland itinerary is structured does mean that you move most nights, so be prepared for that!

This 10 day Ireland itinerary does also cover destinations in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom).

Though the border is open between the two countries, keep this in mind as it will have a small impact on your trip (most noticeably, you’ll need to alert your rental car company of your plans to leave the Republic of Ireland, and you’ll need to change currencies during your trip).

Jeremy feeding lambs along Slea Head Drive Ireland

The Ultimate 10 Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin.

Most likely, you’ll land in Dublin exhausted and jetlagged, so plan to take it easy on your first afternoon in the city!

If you land early enough in the day and want to hit some of the best things to do in Dublin, this would be a great opportunity to check out Trinity College and the Long Room, stroll across the Ha’Penny Bridge, duck into some of Dublin’s many gorgeous bookshops, and grab a cozy dinner in a traditional Irish pub.

Cobblestone streets surrounding colorful buildings in Dublin Ireland

Day 2: Explore Dublin.

Dublin is a fun, quirky city, so it’s definitely worth taking one full day to explore it during your 10 days in Ireland!

We recommend covering anything you didn’t get to from the above afternoon arrival suggestions, plus a visit to the Guinness Storehouse and/or Jameson Factory, a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and some time spent wandering around the pricey-but-picturesque Temple Bar district.

Want to visit both the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Factory during your 10 days in Ireland?

Then this popular tour is for you!

The Complete 2 Days in Dublin Itinerary

Depending on time, you may also want to check out St. Stephen’s Green, the General Post Office, or Kilmainham Gaol.

You can read our full suggestions for spending a couple of days in Dublin here.

Temple Bar as seen on a summer day, with flowers over the entrance to the bar--an iconic bar, it's worth at least stopping by during a 2 day Dublin itinerary.

Day 3: Kick off your Ireland road trip and visit Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, and Hore Abbey.

This is the day your Ireland road trip truly begins: pick up your car as early in the morning as possible, and hit the road!

We recommend sleeping wherever you plan to spend day four (we’ll cover our suggestions below), but on your way down south, you have a few stops to make!


This colorful little village is exactly the sort of small Irish town you’ve no doubt been dreaming of seeing during your 10 days in Ireland: full of colorful buildings, pretty, winding streets, and a castle, it’s the perfect first stop on your Irish road trip.

Cathedral in Kilkenny Ireland, an essential stop on your 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary!

The Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel’s history dates back far longer than its current buildings, which are “only” 700-900 years old.

Rumored to be the sight of the King of Munster’s conversion to Christianity in the fifth century, the Rock of Cashel served as the seat of Munster kings long before the Normans arrived in Ireland.

Today, an impressive Celtic art collection is located at the sight, and the views overlooking the nearby countryside are stunning.

Photo of a cow in Ireland with the Rock of Cashel in the background--a fairly typical scene during an Ireland road trip!
See the Rock of Cashel in the background? Admittedly this photo is mostly of the cow, but I couldn’t resist using it!

Hore Abbey

Built in the 13th century as a Cistercian Monastery, Hore Abbey practically lies in the shadow of the Rock of Cashel–but unlike the former, it is both free and uncrowded to visit.

We highly recommend a quick stop here–it’s an absolutely beautiful set of ruins, and worth seeing during your 10 days in Ireland.

Kate Storm in the distance walking into Hore Abbey--this dress and tights combo is one of my go-to outfits when packing for Ireland.

Day 4: Check out County Waterford + County Wexford OR visit Cork, Cobh, and Blarney Castle.

Sadly, 10 days in Ireland isn’t enough to cover absolutely everything–so we’ll outline two suggestions for this part of your Ireland road trip: either a visit to County Wexford and County Waterford, or a visit to Cork, Cobh, and Blarney Castle.

Here’s what to expect at either place.

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Option 1: County Waterford + County Wexford

If you’re looking for a more offbeat option for this part of your Ireland road trip, head to County Wexford and County Waterford for the day!

The Hook Peninsula, home to the adorable Hook Lighthouse, the fascinating (and haunted) Loftus Hall, the lovely Tintern Abbey, and the John F. Kennedy Arboretum (yep, it’s named for the US president), is an absolutely delightful place to spend a day.

Hook Lighthouse in County Wexford Ireland

We adored our time in this area and highly recommend it.

Glassblower working in the Waterford Crystal Factory--a tour here is definitely worthy of a place on your 10 day Ireland itinerary

Once you finish up around the Hook Peninsula, head to Waterford to tour the Waterford Crystal Factory, which is an incredibly cool (and affordable!) experience that blew both of our expectations out of the water.

Where We Stayed in County Wexford

Inishross House (New Ross) — If I had to sum up Inishross House in a word, it would be hospitable. This is exactly the kind of B&B you come to Ireland for: everything from the colorful breakfast room to the comfortable room to the helpful and attentive couple who ran the B&B was an absolute delight.

The included breakfast was phenomenal and kept us full for most of the day!

We adored this property, and when we return to New Ross in the future, we’ll absolutely try to stay there again.

Check rates & book your stay at Inishross House!

Full Irish breakfast served at Inishross House New Ross--when planning a trip to Ireland, definitely keep in mind which hotels serve delicious breakfasts like this.

Option 2: Cork, Cobh & Blarney Castle

Want to stick to the classics? Beautiful Cork, with its gorgeous English Market and historical center, and famous Blarney Castle, the home of an (apparently) very kissable stone, are popular options for a 10 day Ireland itinerary for a reason!

10 Cool Things to Do in Cobh, Ireland

You definitely won’t be disappointed by these classics–especially if you have your heart set on receiving the “gift of the gab” from the Blarney Stone.

Nearby Cobh is a delightful and colorful port town that packs a huge history–as the last stop for the Titanic before it met its tragic fate and a huge center of Irish emigration, Cobh’s history is impressive, heavy, and well worth learning a bit about during your trip to Ireland.

Kate Storm in Cobh Ireland wearing the red dress recommended on this packing list for Ireland

Where We Stayed Near Cork

Find Us Farmhouse (Macroom) — Located in the countryside and nestled between a few farms, the Find Us Farmhouse is the most peaceful place we stayed in Ireland. 

In addition to the comfortable rooms and wonderful hospitality, the breakfast–and the beautiful breakfast room–were enormous highlights.

We loved staring out our bedroom window and watching the cows graze just a few feet from us, and it was definitely an experience worth having at least once on a trip to Ireland!

Check rates & book your stay at Find Us Farmhouse!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm sitting at a breakfast table at a bed and breakfast near Cork Ireland.

Day 5: Visit Killarney National Park.

Technically part of the Ring of Kerry, famous Killarney National Park lives up to its reputation. The views are nothing short of magnificent, and the park is an incredibly relaxing and beautiful place to pass a day.

There are endless hikes and highlights that you can find inside Killarney National Park, but here are a few popular sights that are easily accessible and that you should be sure to add to your 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary!

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Muckross House

Built in the 19th century, the magnificent Muckross House is glitzy enough that it once played host to Queen Victoria itself.

The family who built the home had to sell it off less than a century after it was built, and that sale created the basis for Killarney National Park.

Muckross House in Killarney National Park, Ireland--well worth seeing during 10 days in Ireland!

Torc Waterfall

Measuring around 20 meters high, Torc Waterfall barrels through thick, green vegetation in Killarney National Park, giving off a beautiful and otherworldly vibe.

It’s also incredibly easy to access–despite looking like it’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually only about a 5-minute walk from the road!

Kate Storm in a yellow raincoat standing in front of Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park Ireland

Ladies View

Looking for one of the best views in all of Killarney National Park? If so, be sure not to drive past Ladies View without stopping for a quick peek!

If you’re looking for a great place for a picnic lunch during this part of your Ireland road trip itinerary, you can’t go wrong with bringing a meal here.

Kate Storm in a blue long-sleeved shirt overlooking Killarney Natoinal Park--a must-see spot when planning a trip to Ireland!

Muckross Abbey

This beautiful abbey is located a quiet and lovely walk away from Muckross House, but it feels a world apart: incredibly well-preserved and home to a gorgeous cemetery out front, Muckross Abbey is absolutely worth seeing during your 10 days in Ireland.

Be sure not to miss the gorgeous and gigantic yew tree in the courtyard, nor the chance to head upstairs and admire the area from a different vantage point.

Muckross Abbey in Killarney National Park, as seen during an epic Ireland road trip!

Lakes of Killarney

You really can’t miss the Lakes of Killarney, given that they make up more than a quarter of Killarney National Park–but it’s definitely worth noting that the upper, middle, and lower lakes are all stunning and worth paying attention to during your visit.

If you’re as lucky as we were, perhaps you’ll even stumble across some golden retrievers playing in one!

Lakes of Killarney in Killarney National Park, Ireland, with a golden retirever playing in the water in the foreground.
Lake 10/10, Golden Retriever 15/10

Day 6: Tour the Dingle Peninsula OR the Ring of Kerry OR the Beara Peninsula.

Driving out along one of western Ireland’s magnificent peninsulas and admiring the coastal scenery is an absolute must on your Ireland road trip–but while the Ring of Kerry is the most popular ring to drive, you’ll see we have a different opinion on the best option!

We’ve driven all three of these peninsulas personally, and, well–let’s just say we have our favorites.

That being said, any one of these peninsula drives makes for an excellent addition to your 10 day Ireland itinerary, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Colorful street in Dingle Ireland with a bright yellow building. Dingle is the starting point for Slea Head Drive.

Option 1: Slea Head Drive + Dingle Peninsula

Slea Head Drive is home to some of the best scenery in all of Ireland–as is the Dingle Peninsula as a whole.

This drive is easy to make, chock full of interesting sights ranging from archaeological wonders to adorable lambs to beautiful beaches, and is far less crowded than the Ring of Kerry. 

Slea Head Drive: The Ultimate Guide to Dingle Peninsula’s Epic Road Trip

In our biased opinion, the Dingle Peninsula is one of the loveliest places in all of Ireland, and since this 10 day Ireland itinerary really only leaves time to drive one of Ireland’s ring roads, we vote that you head right to this one.

We wrote an entire guide to driving Slea Head Drive, so we won’t repeat ourselves too much here–but if you head this way, be sure not to miss Slea Head Beach, Dunquin Pier, or the Sleeping Giant + the Three Sisters!

Plus, of course, there are plenty of things to do in Dingle itself–the colorful little village is quite the delight to explore!

Dunquin Pier on Slea Head Drive, an unmissable place to see on a 10 days in Ireland itinerary. There's a photographer with a tripod and red jacket on the right side of the photo.

Option 2: The Ring of Kerry

I’ll be honest: the Ring of Kerry is iconic, beautiful, and you won’t be disappointed by including it on your 10 day Ireland itinerary… but Slea Head Drive on Dingle Peninsula is better, and unless you have your heart set on the Ring of Kerry, we’d drive that one instead!

However, the Ring of Kerry is absolutely gorgeous, and we don’t want to undersell it–the scenery is stunning, especially at the end of the peninsula near the Skellig Islands.

11 Best Day Trips from Dublin, Ireland (+ Tips!)

If you’re lucky enough to experience the Ring of Kerry on a beautiful day, definitely wake up early and plan to make Skellig Michael part of your Ireland itinerary!

It’s worth noting that Killarney National Park is part of the Ring of Kerry, so this Ireland road trip itinerary does cover a portion of the ring regardless of what you choose to do on day six.

Keep in mind that the Ring of Kerry is undoubtedly the most popular of these three peninsula options, and the only one where you’ll have to contend with passing enormous tour buses on relatively tiny roads (though the Ring of Kerry does have the biggest–though I use that term loosely–roads of these Ireland road trip options as well).

Photo of a rowboat in a lake in Killarney National Park Ireland--definitely be prepared for all weather when putting together your Ireland packing list!

Option 3: The Ring of Beara

Are you the type of traveler who likes to stray off the beaten path, who would rather avoid crowds than see the most famous sights, and who is enchanted by the idea of being on a road trip in Ireland where you might even go a few minutes without seeing another car or human being (I’d say living thing, but you know, this is Ireland–there’s always a shep around somewhere)?

If so, the Ring of Beara–the easternmost and least-touristed of these three peninsula road trip options–is an excellent choice for you.

As you drive from Cork through the Caha Pass and then wind your way down the Beara Peninsula, the scenery only grows more and more remote and beautiful.

McCarthy's Bar as seen along the Ring of Beara on an Irish road trip

Small fishing villages dot the peninsula–we loved Castletownbere–and by the time you reach the end of the peninsula, words like “desolate” start coming to mind.

If this sounds like the right peninsula to you, bear in mind that it also has some of the hardest driving of the three options–traffic is thin, yes, but the roads are very small, and you might find yourself having to back up quite a distance to let other vehicles pass more than once!

Irish coastline as seen along the Ring of Beara--the perfect Ireland road trip destination for those looking for something offbeat!

Day 7: Explore Doolin + the Cliffs of Moher.

The colorful village of Doolin is extremely tiny–but it’s adorable, interesting, and also the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher!

11 Delightful Things to Do in Doolin, Ireland

How you structure this part of your Ireland itinerary really comes down to exactly how you want to explore the cliffs.

Looking to soak in the iconic views quickly and then explore a bit of the town, or maybe even spend half a day on the island of Inisheer? Head to the visitor’s center (and try to get there early).

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland with O'Brien's Tower visible on the left and the Stack visible on the right

More of a hiker? The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Route runs 18km from Doolin to Liscannor and can be completed in one day–but even those looking for a shorter hike are in luck. Hiking from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher takes about 2 hours each way, and from the Cliffs of Moher visitor’s center to Hag’s Head takes about one hour each way.

Rather view the cliffs from the sea? A Cliffs of Moher cruise can be a great way to get a unique perspective on the cliffs. This is the cruise that we enjoyed.

Book your Cliffs of Moher cruise today!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm standing in front of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland shortly before sunset

Day 8: Head to Northern Ireland (and maybe stop by the Slieve League Cliffs).

For the final part of your 10 day Ireland itinerary, we’ll be leaving the Republic of Ireland behind and heading into Northern Ireland–so don’t forget to swap your Euro for pounds before paying for anything with cash!

On your way to Derry, the easiest stopping point for the evening before kicking off your Northern Ireland explorations, consider a detour to visit the absolutely stunning Slieve League Cliffs: significantly taller and just as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher, these cliffs are located in Donegal and get just a fraction of the visitors as the Cliffs of Moher.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Other stops to consider along the way between Doolin and Derry are County Mayo (especially Belleek Castle, which we absolutely adored), and Galway.

This part of your Ireland road trip itinerary will include a fair bit of driving–it’s about a 5 hour drive if you go directly from Doolin to Derry–so you won’t want to overstretch yourself, but you definitely have time for at least one detour for some sightseeing!

Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal Ireland, as seen during a fabulous Ireland road trip

Day 9: Drive the Causeway Coastal Route.

The Causeway Coastal Route follows the northern coast of Northern Ireland (say that five times fast!) and is home to some of the most popular tourist sights in the area, including Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede, and Dunmore Castle, among others.

Be sure to add the following sights to your Ireland road trip itinerary when you drive the Causeway Coastal Route!

Open road in Northern Ireland with green fields on either side

Before taking off, though, I do want to provide one other alternative idea for this section of your Ireland itinerary: if you’re a big Game of Thrones fan, you may prefer to book a GOT tour rather than doing a self-drive of the Causeway Coastal Route. 

This well-reviewed GOT tour covers most of the spots outlined in this Ireland road trip itinerary, while also including stops at plenty of other film locations!

Book your Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland today!

Dunluce Castle

Dating to the 13th century and once the seat of Clan McDonnell, Dunluce Castle is best known today for its impressive location on a small island just off the mainland, accessible by bridge.

Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland

Giant’s Causeway

The famous coastline of Giant’s Causeway is made up of about 40,000 basalt columns–definitely not an everyday sight!

Like at the Cliffs of Moher, a trip to the visitor’s center (and resulting fee) isn’t required to see the basalt columns, but if you’re not interested in a 2-mile hike, you’ll want to pay to enter the more traditional way.

Grab your tickets to Giant’s Causeway today!

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Mussenden Temple

This 18th-century temple-like building was once part of a grand estate. 

While it’s lovely up close, if you want to get beautiful views of it perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean during your 10 day Ireland itinerary, head to Downhill Beach.

Downhil Beach with Mussenden Temple in the background, as seen during our most recent Irish road trip!


Want to cross a rope bridge suspended 30 meters above cold water and rocky, unforgiving coastline? At Carrick-a-Rede, you can!

The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is delightfully picturesque, and for a fee you can cross it from the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede.

Because of the enormous popularity of the bridge, it’s recommended to book tickets in advance, especially if your Ireland road trip falls over the summer.

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The Dark Hedges

In the 18th century, an impressive number of beech trees were planted to line the path to a manor. They grew, twisted and beautiful, and eventually gave the road an eerie feel… which is how Game of Thrones came to use them briefly for a film location, causing their 21st-century popularity to skyrocket.

Though the Dark Hedges aren’t technically located on the Causeway Coastal Route, they’re a very easy detour from Giant’s Causeway, and absolutely worth adding to your 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary if you’re a GOT fan!

Kate Storm in a red dress facing away from the camera at the Dark Hedges, one of the most popular locations to see on a Northern Ireland road trip itinerary

Day 10: End your Ireland road trip with a visit to Belfast + a drive back to Dublin.

Depending on what your flight plans look like, the last day of your 10 day Ireland itinerary might include a full day worth of sightseeing, or it may mean a quick hurry back to Dublin.

If you have a full day ahead, we recommend checking out the impressive Titanic Experience in Belfast and also learning about the important history of The Troubles on a walking tour

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Central Belfast is located less than 2 hours by car away from the Dublin airport, so while you do want to be cautious with time, the two cities really aren’t as far apart as it might feel given the highly inefficient way you initially traveled between them on this Ireland road trip!

In the afternoon, as you drive back to Dublin, consider stopping at the Howth Cliff Walk for an easily accessible set of stunning views–a last goodbye to Irish cliffs and delightful seasides, if you will.

Howth Cliff Walk in Ireland, a fun bonus stop for your 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary. Wildflowers are in the foreground and a lighthouse in the background.

Important Ireland Road Trip Tips

Remember: drive on the left during your Ireland road trip!

Sounds obvious, I know, but based on the vast number of reminders in our rental car, on the roads, and at the rental agency, I think it’s safe to say that Ireland sadly suffers a fair bit from right-side-of-the-road drivers such as ourselves giving into muscle memory and driving down the wrong side of the road.

Be extra-careful, and if you’re not used to driving on the left, be sure to chuckle a bit at yourself the 73rd time you walk around to the wrong side of the car to get in!

Leperchaun Crossing sign as seen in Ireland--keep an eye out for quirky details like this during your 10 days in Ireland
As spotted in Killarney National Park–love this sign!

Rent the smallest car you possibly can.

If the car can hold your travel group and your (reasonable amount of) luggage, it’s big enough–trust us.

Irish roads can get very, very narrow–like, we’ve had to back up 300 yards to find somewhere to pull over and let someone past narrow–and any kind of large or luxury car will be a liability during your Ireland road trip, not an asset.

Belleek Castle, County Mayo: A Cozy Getaway in Ireland's Countryside

Keep an eye out for bikers and pedestrians.

Pedestrians and bikers–even children–are not a remotely uncommon sight along the road when taking an Ireland road trip, so be very careful! 

This is especially common along scenic drives like the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula, as well as in villages, but be extra-careful regardless of where you are.

Photo of car parked on the side of the road during an Ireland road trip. Two bikers are visible passing by on the right side of the photo.

You may need an International Driving Permit (and a license of a certain age).

While International Driving Permits aren’t required in Ireland for licenses that are already printed in English, we’ve encountered stricter contracts with more obscure requirements when renting a car in Ireland than just about anywhere else–on our first trip to Ireland, we were actually turned away from several rental agencies, including the one we had a reservation with!

Be sure to check and double-check the requirements for your rental car before taking off for your 10 days in Ireland–you definitely don’t want any unpleasant surprises when you land.

Discover Cars sent our rental contract to us almost immediately after booking on our most recent trip to Ireland, and we were able to review it with plenty of notice.

Speed limits are only loosely correlated with safe driving speeds.

Err on the side of caution, always–especially on small roads where you might not have much advance notice to stop if another car turns around the corner.

A sheep on the road in Ireland--keep an eye out for this on your Ireland road trip!
This sheep was not remotely baa-shful about darting into the road!

Gas stations are self-service, and you usually pump, then pay.

In Ireland, don’t expect to pay for gas at the pump: generally speaking, you’ll first pump your gas, and then go into the shop to pay for it.

This is a reversal from what we’re used to in the USA, where you either pay by card at the pump or, if you’re paying by cash, pay and then pump.

Don’t start your car rental until the day you leave Dublin.

You definitely won’t need a rental car in Dublin, and it’ll be a hindrance to have to worry about parking.

Instead of picking up your rental car the moment the plane lands, wait until you’re ready to start your Ireland road trip in earnest to save yourself both money and hassle.

Ready to kick off your Ireland road trip?

Book your rental car with Discover Cars now!

Jeremy Storm with a white rental car on the Ring of Beara during an Ireland road trip

More (Or Less) than 10 Days in Ireland?

Working with a different number of days for your Ireland road trip itinerary than what we’ve outlined here? Here are a few suggestions if you’re trying to put together a trip to Ireland on a different timeline!

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With One Week in Ireland

With one week in Ireland, you’ll be best served by cutting your stops dramatically–consider sleeping in exactly 3 places during your week in Ireland: a night in Dublin/the city you fly into when you first arrive, 3 nights on either the Dingle Peninsula or the Ring of Kerry, and 3 nights in/near Doolin to visit the Cliffs of Moher and surrounding area.

You certainly could move faster and see a bit more, but by basing yourself in a few spots and taking day trips, you’ll be able to see a surprisingly large percentage of the most popular things to see in Ireland with limited time.

Interior of McCarthy's Bar in Ireland, with liquor bottles on the back wall

With 2 Weeks in Ireland

With a few extra days tacked onto this 10 day Ireland itinerary, we would recommend adding 1-2 of the optional suggestions we cover during this Ireland road trip itinerary: maybe you drive both the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry, maybe you see both Cobh and County Wexford, maybe you take a Game of Thrones tour in Northern Ireland and drive the Causeway Coast independently.

The options are limitless, but with 2 weeks in Ireland, you definitely have a bit more flexibility!

Afternoon tea in Belleek Castle Ireland shot from above

With 3 Weeks in Ireland

With 3 weeks in Ireland, you truly have the opportunity to dive deep into the country.

While it’s tempting to add in enough cities and towns to cover new places every day, we definitely recommend spending at least some time slowing down and exploring a region that interests you more deeply–perhaps for 4-5 days.

You will be able to add in a lot of extras with a full 3 week Ireland itinerary to work with, though: consider dedicating more time to Derry and/or Belfast, exploring Donogal or County Mayo more thoroughly, spending a night or two on the Aran Islands, or heading down to Kinsale… just to name a few options.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm hold tall swords in front of other antique weapons at Belleek Castle in Ireland

The Best Time to Visit Ireland

If you’re hoping for sunshine and the warmest weather possible, summer–especially late June, July, and August–is absolutely the best time to visit Ireland. 

It probably comes as no surprise that Ireland has a rather short summer, but that also means that its peak tourist season can come with lots of crowds.

While we found it fairly easy to avoid the worst of the crowds during our most recent Ireland road trip (we’ve spent time in Ireland in June, July, and August), if you would rather feel like you have the country to yourself, aim for shoulder season.

Cows standing in a green field with the sun setting behind them--plan to see a lot of sights similar to this when taking a trip to Ireland.

Visiting Ireland in the spring or fall naturally means cooler weather, more rain, and even more crowds, but the trade-offs of sharing the roads and villages with fewer tourists can be worth it.

Winter in Ireland is rather mild as far as temperatures go, so if you’re willing to bundle up, you can even have a delightful off-season Ireland road trip.

However, some seasonal businesses like inns, especially in the countryside, do close for the off-season, so be aware that by spending 10 days in Ireland over winter, you might find your plans need to be a bit more flexible.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm sitting on a split-level fence in Ireland while on an Ireland road trip

What to Pack for Ireland

We’ve created a complete, detailed suggested packing list for Ireland here–but in the meantime, here are a few things we absolutely recommend bringing with you as you complete your 10 day Ireland itinerary!

Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and an Ireland road trip (hello, driving on the left) is definitely a time to be better safe than sorry. We use and recommend Safety Wing for trips to Ireland.

Travel Adaptors for Ireland — Ireland uses the same plugs that the UK does–and note that these are different from the bulk of mainland Europe. Double-check you add the right ones to your Ireland packing list! We use these and have never had any issues.

Comfortable Day Bag — We currently use Pacsafe’s sleek anti-theft backpack and love it, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash for this 10 day Ireland itinerary, that’s totally understandable. Just aim for something comfortable to wear, not flashy, and medium-sized–we used a Northface Jester backpack for years and loved it as well.

Jeremy Storm carrying a pacsafe backpack and wearing a gray jacket, looking out over Conor Pass in Ireland

Waterproof Boots — In my opinion, waterproof boots are an absolute must-have item on your Ireland packing list year-round. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry regardless of the circumstances, they’re comfortable to wear, and they can be fashionable, too!

This is my pair, and I adore them. Even when my jeans got completely drenched (like just-climbed-out-of-a-pool levels of drenched) during a rainstorm in Dingle, they still kept my feet completely dry. Jeremy wore these and loved them.

Kate Storm feeding sheep on Slea Head Drive--definitely stop at at least one farm during your 10 days in Ireland!

Rain Jacket —  Having a rain jacket is a huge asset when visiting Ireland, and if you don’t already have one, we absolutely recommend picking one up when planning a trip to Ireland.

This is mine, and I love and recommend it. It folds up incredibly well to fit into your suitcase, it’s comfortable and flattering for photos, and–most importantly–it’s completely effective at keeping you dry.

Jeremy opted not to bring one and definitely had plenty of regrets whenever the rain started pouring! This one is a great choice for men.

Kate Storm in a yellow raincoat on the ferry from Inisheer to Doolin. You can see the Cliffs of Moher far off in the distance.

Money Belt — This is up to you: we no longer use a money belt, but if you’re more comfortable having your passports on your person while on your Ireland road trip, you can consider bringing one. We used to use this one and had no complaints. These days, we prefer just to leave valuables in our Pacsafe during the day.

Binoculars — Coastal regions in Ireland are home to all sorts of delightful creatures, including a wide variety of birds (like puffins!) and beautiful dolphins. Binoculars are an inexpensive & easy-to-pack item for your Ireland packing list, and they’ll greatly enhance your trip to the coast!

9 Fun Things to Do on Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Ireland’s Smallest Aran Island

Sea Bands & Non-Drowsy Dramamine — Tend toward getting seasick but think that a boat tour or ferry might end up looking like fun during your trip to Ireland?

Definitely plan ahead and pack these as precautions! I’m always so glad to have it along, including on our recent ferry to Inisheer in Ireland.

Travel Journal — If you want to keep a travel journal during your 10 days in Ireland but don’t want to commit to lots of writing, I can’t recommend the One Line a Day Journal enough–I’ve been using it for more than two years now and absolutely love it.

Photo of Dunluce Castle. Black text on a white background reads "The Ultimate Ireland Road Trip Guide"
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

24 thoughts on “The Ultimate 10 Day Ireland Itinerary: Ireland Road Trip Extravaganza”

  1. Kate, thank you so much for this detailed review! My daughter and I are planning to visit Ireland next spring for her college graduation gift and I’ve been so overwhelmed. This is exactly what I needed. We’re going to follow most of your itinerary and I’m bookmarking your blog now!

    • Thank you, Melisssa! I’m so glad you found our itinerary helpful. Hope you and your daughter have an amazing trip to Ireland, and tell her congratulations on her graduation from us!

  2. Love your blog! And this is a perfect itinerary! My mom and I did a similar route 2 years ago – only 7 days but started in Shannon (flights & car rentals are MUCH cheaper than to Dublin) and skipped N. Ireland. All of your suggestions are exactly what I would recommend as well – definitely worth a few days on Ring of Kerry. We wandered off the main hwy a couple times when we saw an interesting road sign and found some hidden gems in cemeteries, abbeys, etc. Driving was definitely an adventure and I feel the speed limits were set as a personal challenge vs a maximum speed – makes for some great videos of the narrow roads vs oncoming traffic.

    • Thanks so much, Marianne! Those roads sure did make for some great videos. We loved Ireland too–fingers crossed we get to go back before too long!

  3. This is a fount of knowledge I truly needed! Thank you! Do you have an area on your blog that details lodging recommendations at all of the locations? Thank you for letting us all live vicariously through y’all!

    • Thanks, Onni!

      I don’t have any separate posts on where to stay, but we have suggested B&Bs under each location on this itinerary!

  4. Hi Kate, thanks for your review! The pictures are lovely!! Would you share how much would it cost in average for a couple 10 days there?

  5. My daughter and I plan on going to Ireland June of 2023!! This sounds just what we were looking for. So excited to plan our trip! Thank u so much!!! Kathy

  6. Kathy, thankyou for a detailed descriptions and beautiful pictures. We are planning to use your itinerary when we go in September for 13 days. We are thinking of doing both the ROK and the Slea head Peninsula. Also spending one day exploring the Killarney park. May be spend a day in London Derry. Do you think this will be too much?


    • Hi Sandy,

      So glad it was helpful!

      With 13 days, you’ll probably want to cut a few things from our itinerary to work in Slea Head Drive, Ring of Kerry, and Londonderry, but you can definitley reach all of your most important spots in that timeframe!

  7. Hi!
    I can’t tell in your 10 day itinerary how many different cities you stayed/slept in and how many nights in each . Do you have this written anywhere ? I may have missed it ! Thanks !

    • Hi Andi!

      I listed the places we stayed under the day where the sightseeing is closest–so the place we stayed in Dingle is listed that day, etc. We’ve loved everywhere we stayed in Ireland!

      How many nights you spend where is a bit flexible in Ireland and the drive times are often pretty short for a road trip. Some people prefer to move almost every night to avoid doubling back on driving, and others would rather drive another couple of hours a day and pack/unpack fewer times.

      If you want to complete the itinerary without doubling back, you’ll move every 1-2 nights.

      This itinerary is a cut down, optimized version of our roughly one month spend in Ireland over 2 trips, so we spent a bit longer in each place (and visited some places that didn’t make the cut).

  8. Kate:
    Thanks for this great information. I am planning to go to Ireland for approx. 9 days and wanted to see if I could fit most of these items for my trip to travel most of the island. Is there anything that you would suggest skipping to maximize my time? Please advise. Thanks!

    • Hi April!

      That’s really just down to personal preference–whichever bits and pieces fall in, say, the bottom 10% of what you want to do, I’d trim it–especially if it’s out of the way. Spots like the Slieve League Cliffs and the Hook Peninsula probably aren’t ideal if you’re wanting to condense the route (though both are wonderful, of course).

      Hope you have a wonderful time!

  9. Hi Kate!

    I came to find your blog and it’s so interesting ✨
    I lived in Ireland back in 2006 for a couple of months, and went back to Dublin for a weekend 8 years ago. I love this country. I’m planning to go on a road trip in May/June with my best friend. I was just wondering, haven’t you been to Connemara or Wicklow Mountains National Park? One question, I’d love to spend a night or two in a cute little cottage somewhere. Any suggestions? 🙂

    • Hi Nora,

      Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to visit either Connemara or Wicklow yet, but they’re both earmarked for our future trips to Ireland! We hope to visit many, many more times. 🙂

      We’ve opted for bed and breakfasts instead of cottages for most of our trips, but we did stay in Danloes Thatched Cottage outside of Kenmare and loved it!

  10. Hello and thank you for the 10 day road trip itinerary suggestions. Would you recommend reversing the route and starting out from Dublin, touring the city for two days then heading to Belfast first?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Monica,

      There’s no reason why that can’t work! Just keep in mind that with limited exceptions (like Giant’s Causeway), you’ll mostly spend your trip starting in less-crowded areas and end up in progressively more popular/crowded ones by the end, so be prepared for the shift!

  11. Hi Kate
    Really appreciated your blog-just the right amount of information-comprehensive without becoming too overwhelming. Thank you!
    One question: If you had to choose between using Killarney or Dingle as a hub, which would you choose?

    • Thanks so much, Rob!

      Personally, we’d opt for Dingle–the Dingle Peninsula is one of our absolute favorite places in Ireland! You really can’t go wrong, though, both are wonderful in their own way.

  12. I am using all of your advise and will follow a lot of your itinerary.
    I am having trouble scrolling up and down this blog. Can you please list the towns you stayed over night at and the places you stayed?

    For a 10 day trip , how many diff hotels should I be at ?

    I am looking to do a 10 day trip but going from Dublin to the Wicklow Mountain Nat Park – do some hikes but then going on your route to the south and then over to the west seeing the Blarney stone the Ring of Kerry and Dingle . But also doing some hike in that national park and up to the Cliffs of Moore. Then would drive back over to Dublin.

    I know the places I want to see but am not sure how many hotels/ overnight spots to stay at??

    • Hi Kathy,

      This is a distillation of about a month worth of traveling in Ireland for us, so our exact itinerary was a bit different. For this route, though, I included overnight stops in Dublin (2 nights), the Ancient East (we stayed in New Ross, but anywhere in County Waterford or Wexford works) OR in the Cork/Cobh area (we stayed at the FindUs Farmhouse in Macroom when in that area), Killarney and either the Ring of Kerry, Ring of Beara, or Dingle Peninsula (our personal favorite of the 3), Doolin/the Cliffs of Moher, and the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland with a final stop in Belfast.

      Of course, this is just one option of many–part of why this itinerary is one of the longest we’ve published is because there are so many wonderful options within a short drive in Ireland.

      Your route sounds extremely doable in 10 days, and I’d spend at least one night in Wicklow, Cobh or Cork, and the Dingle Peninsula. Depending on how fast you want to move, you can make a day of driving from the Cork area to the Ring of Kerry, exploring that drive, and then heading to Dingle to spend the night and start your next day of travel.

      Personally we like to spend at least 2 nights in each place in Ireland, which is actually a bit faster than we travel in other places–but it gives you time to appreciate each area (and each B&B’s breakfasts, a big highlight of Ireland road trips for us).


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