16 Day Best of North & Southern Ireland Itinerary
16 Day Irish Tour Itinerary Summary
Get ready for the ultimate adventure through the heart of Ireland! Our 16-day itinerary takes you on a journey to discover the best of North and South Ireland. From the wild and dramatic Cliffs of Moher to the charming and historic streets of Dublin, this tour is packed with breathtaking landscapes, fascinating landmarks, and charming towns and villages.
Immerse yourself in the mystical landscapes of the Wicklow Mountains, discover ancient ruins and uncover the rich culture and tradition of the Emerald Isle. With something for everyone, whether you’re an adventurous nature lover, a history buff or just looking for fun and entertainment, this itinerary is guaranteed to be a trip of a lifetime.
Day 1: Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin, founded in 1592, is one of the oldest universities in Ireland and home to the famous Book of Kells.
Along with your private guide, explore the historic campus, including the main square, which is surrounded by elegant 18th-century buildings.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the Long Room Library, which houses over 200,000 of the college’s oldest books, including the famous Book of Kells.
The tour also includes a visit to the Old Library Exhibition, which displays the history of the college and its manuscripts. The tour concludes with a visit to the Campanile, which offers panoramic views of Dublin city.
Dublin Vintage Bus Tour
The Dublin Vintage Tea Bus Tour is a unique and delightful way to explore the city, taking visitors on a journey through Dublin in a beautifully restored vintage bus.
The tour includes a stop for afternoon tea, served on board the bus, accompanied by a selection of traditional sandwiches, scones, and pastries. The bus will also drive through the city’s most famous landmarks, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Phoenix Park. It is a great way to take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Dublin while enjoying a delightful tea experience.
At the Guinness Storehouse, visitors can delve into the history and culture of Ireland’s most iconic beer.
The storehouse, which was once the fermentation plant of the brewery, offers an immersive experience that explores the past, present, and future of St. James’s Gate.
Visitors can learn about the ingredients, history, and culture that make up the Guinness story. The tour ends in the Gravity Bar, where visitors can sample the famous Guinness beer, sample some food, and receive a souvenir gift.
Temple Bar is a popular neighborhood in Dublin known for its vibrant nightlife, historic architecture, and cultural scene. Visitors to the area love it for its charming cobblestone streets, lively pubs, and quaint restaurants.
The neighborhood is also known for its abundance of street performers, such as musicians, poets, and comedians, which gives the area a lively and festive atmosphere.
Additionally, Temple Bar is home to many cultural institutions such as the Irish Film Institute, the Irish Photography Centre, and the Irish Music Centre. This neighborhood is also home to many art galleries, museums, and craft shops.
Moreover, it’s a great place for a night out, with a wide variety of bars and pubs to choose from, offering a mix of traditional and modern Irish music!
Drop off at Dublin accommodation
Day 2: Exploring Northern Ireland
Start your road trip towards Northern Ireland. Your first stop is the charming 12th-century Malahide Castle. You will take a visit to Newgrange, where you can see megalithic passage tombs which are believed to be older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt. This is one of Ireland’s most popular and fascinating attractions. Next, stop to admire the high crosses of Monasterboice, the historic ruins of a Christian settlement. Cross into Northern Ireland to reach the capital Belfast.
Malahide Castle is a stunning 12th-century castle located just outside of Dublin, Ireland. It is set on 260 acres of beautiful parkland, gardens, and lakes.
The tour of the castle begins with a walk through the castle’s grand entrance, where you will get a glimpse of the castle’s rich history and architecture. As you make your way through the castle, you will explore the staterooms, which are filled with beautiful paintings and antiques.
You will also learn about the castle’s past residents, including the Talbot family who lived in the castle for over 800 years. The tour also includes a visit to the castle’s beautiful gardens, which are home to a wide variety of plants and flowers.
After visiting the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, your tour will take you to the ancient site of Newgrange.
This prehistoric monument is estimated to be over 5,200 years old, predating both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids. Newgrange is a magnificent circular mound featuring a stone passageway that leads to a cross-shaped chamber with a corbelled roof.
It is considered a true architectural and historical wonder, having served as a place of spiritual, religious, and ceremonial significance throughout history.
Also known for its astrological significance, Newgrange is truly a gem in Ireland’s history and a must-see destination for any history buff.
Your driver-guide will take you to the historic site of Monasterboice, an ancient monastic settlement that dates back to the late 5th century.
Founded by Saint Buite, this tranquil location holds a wealth of history and culture. You will see an impressive round tower and two high crosses that are a testament to the early Christian faith in Ireland.
Monasterboice was an important religious center until the arrival of the Cistercians at Mellifont Abbey in 1142. The site also has a rich history of conflict, having been captured by Vikings in 968 AD, and later liberated by the Irish High King of Tara.
On your visit to Monasterboice, you will have the opportunity to explore an old graveyard, two churches, and a sundial. However, the highlight of the site are the spectacular high crosses.
The most famous of these is the Muiredach’s High Cross, featuring carvings from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and standing at 5.5 meters tall and is considered to be the finest high cross in all of Ireland.
The crosses are located in the shadow of a towering round tower, which stands at around 35 meters high and was divided into four stories. The tower was used as a watchtower and refuge during Viking attacks. Unfortunately, the tower was damaged in a fire in 1097, and many valuable manuscripts were destroyed.
Game of Thrones Studio Tour
The Game of Thrones Studio Tour offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of the hit TV series.
The tour is held at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, which served as the authentic filming location for the show. Visitors will have the chance to explore behind the scenes of The Seven Kingdoms and beyond, and discover the magic behind how one of the world’s most iconic TV series was made.
This is a one-of-a-kind chance to experience the world of Game of Thrones in a way you never have before.
Drop off at Belfast accommodation
Day 3: Belfast Highlights
The Titanic Museum Belfast offers a guided tour that takes visitors on a journey through the history of the famous ship.
Begins with an introduction to the history of the Titanic and the city of Belfast, where the ship was built. As you make your way through the museum, you’ll discover the stories of the shipbuilders, the passengers, and the crew, and learn about the ship’s construction and launch.
You’ll also see some of the artifacts recovered from the shipwreck, including personal items belonging to passengers and crew members, as well as a replica of a cabin. The tour also includes a visit to the dry dock where the Titanic was built, as well as a multi-media presentation that brings the ship’s history to life.
Belfast Game of Thrones Stain-Glass Windows
To commemorate a decade of filming in Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland has created six giant stained-glass windows featuring iconic scenes from the hit TV series Game of Thrones.
These windows, known as the Glass of Thrones, are part of a permanent walking trail and were unveiled to coincide with the final season of the show. Each window represents a different house or legacy from the series, including the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Targaryens, White Walkers, and the Iron Throne.
The designs are based on the most popular scenes from the first seven seasons, as determined by fans’ online searches. This unique walking trail is a must-see for Game of Thrones fans and art lovers alike.
The next destination on day 3 is the grand Belfast Castle, located in Cave Hill Country Park.
Built in 1862, the castle sits on a prominent spot in the park and was originally part of the deer park belonging to the third Marquis of Donegall. The castle boasts a Scottish baronial style architecture and offers breathtaking views of the Lough and the city from its balconies and gardens.
Crumlin Road Gaol
The Crumlin Road Gaol is a historic prison that offers visitors the opportunity to explore all aspects of prison life in the 19th and through to the 20th century before finally closing it’s doors in 1996.
The tour includes the tunnel connecting the prison to the courthouse, the hanging cell, the Governor’s office, the hospital, and the graveyard.
The prison first opened its doors in 1846 and was in operation for 150 years. It has a rich history, having housed murderers, suffragettes, and political prisoners. The prison has also seen births, deaths, marriages, executions, escapes, hunger strikes, and riots.
Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is located in Cultra, Northern Ireland, just 11 kilometers east of Belfast.
It is made up of two distinct museums: the Folk Museum and the Transport Museum. The Folk Museum aims to showcase the traditional way of life and customs of the people of Northern Ireland, both past and present, while the Transport Museum focuses on showcasing the evolution of transportation by land, sea, and air.
The museum is a popular attraction and has been recognized as a former Irish Museum of the Year. It is also one of the four museums that are part of National Museums Northern Ireland.
Drop off at Belfast accommodation
Day 4: Causeway Coast Tour
Explore the beautiful Antrim Coast. First, pass by the atmospheric Dark Hedges, a Game of Thrones filming location. Then, enjoy a scenic coastal walk at Carrick-a-Rede to cross its rope bridge swaying 30m above the sea and providing stunning views of the cliffs below. The highlight of the day is the jewel of Northern Ireland and the World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway, with its iconic basalt columns. Nearby, visit Bushmills Distillery the world’s oldest whiskey distillery. We also recommend stopping for a view of the breathtaking, medieval ruins of Dunluce Castle, located by dramatic coastal cliffs.
The Dark Hedges
Your first stop on the tour today is the iconic Dark Hedges, a popular spot for photography and Game of Thrones fans.
The avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century as a grand entrance to their home, Gracehill House, located at the top of the road.
The Dark Hedges has become one of the most photographed locations in Northern Ireland and attract visitors from all over the world. The location was also featured in the second season of Game of Thrones, as the Kingsroad, where Arya Stark, Yoren, Gendry, and Hot Pie traveled on a cart as new recruits for the Night’s Watch.
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
Your next stop on the Causeway Coast tour is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The name “Carrick-a-Rede” comes from the Scottish Gaelic and means “The Rock in the Road”.
The rope bridge was first built in 1755 for the fishermen. In the 19th century, more than 100 people were employed catching up to 300 salmon a day here, but as the salmon population decreased, so did the number of fishermen, and by the 1960s, the fishing industry on the island had come to an end.
Now the bridge is a popular tourist attraction that provides a unique opportunity to cross over to Carrick-a-Rede Island and enjoy the beautiful scenery and views.
Your next stop is the Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site and the ultimate site on the Causeway Coast. It is considered one of the most important places on the planet and has been ranked alongside Mount Everest and the Giant Redwoods of California.
The Causeway is made up of around 40,000 mostly hexagonal basalt columns that lead gently into the sea. The formation of the columns is a subject of debate, with some believing it was formed by an underwater volcano’s geological actions, while others attribute it to the work of an Irish giant named Finn McCool who lived and battled along the north Antrim Coast.
Regardless of its origins, the Giants Causeway is a unique and unforgettable natural wonder sure to be a highlight of your tour.
Old Bushmills Distillery
Your driver-guide will take you to the world-famous whiskey distillery, Bushmills, which is home to the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.
Records of whiskey production in Bushmills date back to 1608 when the area was granted a license to distill. For over 400 years, the tradition of whiskey-making has been passed down from generation to generation and is still alive today.
The water used in the production process is sourced from the River Bush, which flows over beds of basalt rock and local barley, both of which contribute to the unique character of the whiskey.
The guided tour will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the copper pot stills and the production process of their triple-distilled whiskey, as well as an opportunity to explore the landscape and terrain that contribute to its flavor, meet the experts, and taste the whiskey.
Drop off at Donegal accommodation.
Day 5: Start of Wild Atlantic Way
Today, you will get your first taste of the iconic Wild Atlantic Way route, a journey past soaring cliffs, buzzing towns, epic bays, and hidden beaches. Your first stop is Glenveagh National Park where you’ll explore towering mountains, lakes, valleys, and woodlands. Drive past the imposing Mount Errigal and over the winding Glengesh Pass to Glencolumbkille, one of Ireland’s best living-history museums. Then experience breathtaking views at the imposing cliffs of Slieve League, which, at 600m, are some of the highest marine cliffs in Europe.
Glenveagh National Park
Your next stop on your tour of County Donegal’s natural beauty is Glenveagh National Park and Castle, located in the shadow of Errigal mountain in the Derryveagh Mountains.
The 16,000-hectare park is a sanctuary for wildlife, and visitors should keep an eye out for the large herd of red deer that inhabits the area. The park encompasses a diverse range of landscapes, including mountains, lakes, valleys, and woods.
Glencolumbkille Folk Village
The next stop on the tour is the Glencolumbcille Folk Village, a unique and interactive experience that allows visitors to step back in time and explore the way of life of the local people from three different centuries: the 18th, 19th, and 20th.
The village is made up of exact replicas of traditional dwellings from each of these eras, each one fully furnished with artifacts and utensils from the corresponding period. This is an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the local community in an engaging and hands-on way.
After enjoying some traditional Irish cuisine, the next stop on the tour is Sliabh Liag, the Emerald Isle’s highest sea cliffs.
Standing at an impressive 2000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, these cliffs offer a breathtaking view of the horizon. The cliffs offer a unique and awe-inspiring perspective on the vastness of the ocean and the rugged beauty of the Irish coastline.
This is a must-see destination for those who want to experience the natural beauty of Ireland and get a sense of the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean.
Drop off at Donegal accommodation
Day 6: Wild Atlantic Way Continued
This morning we will drive past Ben Bulben, perhaps one of Ireland’s most recognizable mountains. Visit the small fishing village of Mullaghmore with its lovely sandy beach. Here, you’ll find Mullaghmore Head, one of the signature discovery points along the Wild Atlantic Way. We also recommend a visit to the atmospheric Carrowmore, Ireland’s largest Stone Age cemetery where you can roam around megalithic tombs and stone circles. Continue your drive to Downpatrick Head to enjoy a walk along the majestic sea cliffs and take in the vast views of the rugged coastline.
Popularly known as “Table Mountain” in Ireland, the Ben Bulben is a rocky ridge that forms part of the Dartry Mountains in the Sligo County of Ireland.
It is protected by the Sligo County Council and is believed to be a formation that dates back to 320 million years ago, when much of the Earth, including Ireland, was covered by glaciers. The Ben Bulben is a jaw-shaped ridge, its name in Irish, Gulban’s Peak. It stands at a height of 500 meters above sea level and its shape is believed to have been formed by the movement of glaciers.
The ridge is composed of layers of limestone on mudstone, with lower parts containing deposits of shale, known as the Ben Bulben Shale formation. The mountain is known for its fossils, mostly sea shells, and some containing corals.
There are number of holes on the plane surface of Ben Bulben which have unknown depths. If one listens carefully, the sound of the ocean tides can be heard from the rocks, indicating its proximity, just 3-4 miles away.
Mullaghmore, which translates to “the great summit” in Irish, is a picturesque village located on the Mullaghmore peninsula in County Sligo.
The village is a popular holiday destination known for its stunning ocean views and the striking presence of the monolithic Ben Bulben mountain in the skyline. Mullaghmore is situated in the Carbury barony and Ahamlish parish and offers visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty and serenity of the Irish countryside.
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
Carrowmore is a unique and historic site located just southwest of Sligo town and known for its rich prehistoric significance.
It is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland, featuring over 30 stone tombs, many of which are still visible. The tombs include passage tombs and boulder circles, as well as various forts and standing stones in the area.
These monuments date back to prehistory, with the oldest among them being nearly 6,000 years old. Visitors can explore the site with the help of a restored cottage that houses an informative exhibition.
Be prepared for a hike across rugged terrain to fully experience the ancient history and natural beauty of Carrowmore.
Downpatrick Head is a stunning coastal destination where you can explore the rugged cliffs and sea stacks, take in the beautiful Atlantic Ocean views, and discover the rich history of the area including the ancient monastic site and a shipwreck from the 1800s. It is a great spot for photography and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors should be prepared for a hike to reach the headland and to wear appropriate footwear as the path can be rocky.
Drop off at Westport accommodation
Day 7: Westport & Achill Island
This morning we will tour the charming town of Westport, visit the Georgian mansion Westport House and stroll around the beautiful gardens. After lunch, we will visit the remote and beautiful Achill Island. Connected to the mainland by a bridge, you can follow the Wild Atlantic Way around the island. Admire the views from the top of Minaun Heights and stop at the beautiful bays of Keel and Keem with their white sandy beaches and clear waters.
Westport is a unique and historic town in Ireland, known for its well-planned design and designated as a heritage town. The town is characterized by its tree-lined boulevard, The Mall, which is situated along the Carrowbeg River. This morning’s tour will take you through Westport, where you will have the opportunity to explore the town’s history and architecture and learn more about its unique design and development.
Your next stop in Westport will be the iconic Westport House, a beloved heritage attraction known for its stunning beauty and rich history. This grand house has a 300-year legacy, and visitors can explore the house and its 400-acre grounds.
Your last stop on day 7 is Achill Island, which is accessible via a swing bridge. The island is renowned for its natural beauty, including rugged mountains, peat bogs, towering sea cliffs, and pristine beaches. Visitors can experience the island’s unique landscapes and seascapes while they explore.
Drop off at Westport accommodation
Day 8: Connemara & Kylemore Abbey
Today we will visit the striking region of Connemara with its landscapes characterized by rugged mountains, white sand beaches, picturesque lakes, and heathlands. . We will then go to Kylemore Abbey where you can admire the spectacular Gothic architecture and take a stroll in the Victorian Walled garden, we will then make our way to Galway taking a scenic route along the way.
Connemara National Park
Experience the breathtaking scenery of a rugged mountain landscape spanning 3,000 hectares, featuring scenic mountains, expansive bogs, lush grasslands, and enchanting woodlands. Observe local wildlife such as Connemara ponies, red deer, and various bird species including peregrine falcons. Begin your journey at the park’s Visitor Centre where guides will be available to provide information on the park’s wildlife, trails, and points of interest.
Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden
Up next is the renowned Kylemore Abbey. Constructed in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry, a wealthy businessman, and liberal politician, built the estate as a tribute to his wife Margaret and his vision for Ireland, incorporating all the latest technological advancements of the time.
Today, it is owned and operated by the Benedictine community who have resided there since 1920.
Drop off at Galway accommodation
Day 9: Tour of the Aran Islands
This morning after breakfast we will explore Galway city before taking a ferry to the Aran Islands. These three windswept islands are one of the few places where the Gaelic language, culture, and music still truly thrive. At the island of Inis Mór, opt for a traditional horse & carriage tour, the most popular way to get around the island.
They are part of the barony of Aran in County Galway. The islands are Inishmore, which is the largest; Inishmaan, the second-largest; and Inisheer, the smallest.
The population of 1,200 primarily speaks Irish, which is also the language used in local place names. However, most islanders are also proficient in English.
Drop off at Galway accommodation
Day 10: Cliffs of Moher Day Trip
Your driver will collect you after breakfast and our first stop will be Dunguaire Castle. Sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking Galway Bay, it is one of the most photographed castles in Ireland. Further ahead, explore the unique, lunar-like landscape of The Burren. Here you can visit the iconic portal tomb Poulnabrone Dolmen, one of Ireland’s oldest megalithic monuments.
The next stop is the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s top tourist attraction, showcasing some of the country’s most iconic coastal scenery. On a sunny day, the views are expansive, but even a stormy day can be exhilarating with the powerful Atlantic below.
Dunguaire Castle is a 16th-century tower house located on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay in County Galway, Ireland, close to Kinvarra. The name is derived from the Dun of King Guaire, a legendary king of Connacht. The 75-foot (23 m) tower and defensive wall have been restored and the grounds are open for tourists to visit during the summer season.
Your tour continues with a visit to The Burren, a region that is internationally renowned for its unique landscape and diverse flora. Much of The Burren is designated as a Special Area of Conservation to protect its singular habitat of Limestone Pavement, Calcareous Grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/Hazel Woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying Springs, Cliffs, and Fen.
The name “Burren” comes from the Irish word “Boíreann”, meaning rocky place. An invading Army Officer once said of the region, “here there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury one”.
The Poulnabrone dolmen, meaning “the hole of the sorrows,” is a haunting and mysterious structure located on one of the highest and most desolate points of the region. The three standing stones support a heavy capstone and date back to the Neolithic period. What remains today is only the “stone skeleton” of the original monument built millennia ago.
When excavated in the late 1980s, a number of items were found inside the tomb, including human remains, a polished stone axe, stone disc beads, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, and pottery items. These burial artifacts date back to between 3800 BC and 3200 BC.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are a natural wonder that cannot be fully captured through words or pictures.
Rising over 200 meters high and extending for 8 kilometers along the rugged Atlantic coast, the cliffs offer breathtaking views of the Aran Islands with the ocean crashing below. Your driver-guide will provide information about the folklore and myths associated with this awe-inspiring testament to the beauty of nature.
It’s not only the setting of the cliffs that will amaze you but also the wildlife and bird-watching opportunities. You can spend hours observing Puffins, razorbills, Kittiwakes, and even the occasional peregrine Falcon that call the area home.
Take a break and savor a traditional Irish meal in the quaint coastal village of Doolin. The village is known for preserving tradition, so you won’t find any chain restaurants or contemporary coffee shops. Your guide will recommend the best places to dine.
Drop off at Doolin accommodation.
Day 11: Bunratty & Killarney
After breakfast your driver will collect you and take you to Bunratty Castle. Here you’ll also find the Bunratty Folk Park, where you can experience Irish rural life from the 1800s.
We then recommend stopping at Adare, one of Ireland’s prettiest villages with its thatched cottages housing craft shops and restaurants. In the afternoon we will explore Killarney National Park set beneath Ireland’s highest mountains. Here, you can visit the 19th-century mansion of Muckross House, take an optional Jaunting Car tour of the park, or a boat trip on the peaceful Lough Leane, departing from the medieval Ross Castle.
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Your driver will then take you to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The Castle, built in the 15th century, is the most intact and authentic castle in Ireland. The site where Bunratty Castle stands was originally a Viking trading camp in 970. The current structure is the last of four castles built on the site. You’ll take a tour of the iconic fortress, learn about the lifestyle of the lords and ladies who lived there, hear stories of battles and valor, and enjoy panoramic views of the picturesque Clare countryside.
The Folk Park, set on 26 acres of unspoiled Clare countryside, is a treat for people of all ages and features over 30 buildings in a “living” village in a rural setting. Farmhouses, village shops, and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have been at “that time” according to their social standing, from the poorest one-roomed dwelling to Bunratty House, a fine example of a Georgian residence that was home to the Studdarts, the last family to occupy the Castle.
Adare is a picturesque village located in the Mid-West of Ireland. Your driver-guide will take you on a journey to discover the mysterious ruins and churches that surround the village and speak of its rich history.
The village is also home to antique shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes. Be sure to take the time to explore this enchanting village, stop in a cozy pub for a well-deserved pint, sample the local food and see why “a hundred thousand welcomes” is an understatement when it comes to Adare.
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park spans along the banks of Lough Leane and Muckross Lake and covers an area of 102.89 km2.
It was the first national park to be established in Ireland in 1932 and is a popular tourist destination known for its diverse nature and breathtaking scenery. The park is of high ecological significance due to the quality, diversity, and extent of its habitats and the variety of species that they support, including some that are rare. In 1981, it was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The park features a vast expanse of rugged mountainous terrain, including MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland.
Muckross House, a 19th-century Victorian mansion, is set amidst the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park and is fully furnished and decorated with artifacts from the period. As a central attraction within the park, it serves as the perfect starting point from which to explore the surrounding landscape.
Drop off at Killarney accommodation.
Day 12: Ring of Kerry Driving Route
This morning after breakfast, your driver will collect you and take you to see the magic of the Ring of Kerry, a classic “must do” scenic drive of the Irish countryside, we will stop at Kells Bay House, to see its primeval forest of planted giant ferns.
Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a scenic road that follows the coastal contours of Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula. It is one of Ireland’s most renowned routes, renowned not only for its picturesque driving experience but also for the rich history it holds.
Starting and ending in Killarney, the Ring of Kerry takes in popular sights such as Moll’s Gap, the Torc Waterfall, and the Gap of Dunloe. However, the journey is more than just these attractions. Each turn on the 179km road reveals new natural wonders such as lakes, rivers, waterfalls, grand houses, and castles. Enjoy the fresh Kerry air and take in the breathtaking views.
Alongside the Ring of Kerry driving route, there is also an established walking path called The Kerry Way and a signposted cycling path that uses quieter roads. The Kerry Way roughly follows the scenic driving route of the Ring of Kerry.
Drop off at Killarney accommodation
Day 13: Dingle Peninsula & Slea Head
Today we will explore the rugged Dingle Peninsula, characterized by mountains and stunning coastal scenery. Visit the charming town of Dingle, a lively and colorful fishing port. We will then do the Slea Head Drive, one of the most spectacular routes in Ireland. Along the way, we can make stops at Coumeenoole beach, the picturesque Dunquin harbor, and the Blasket Centre, which tells the story of the Blasket Islanders.
Dingle Bay, located in County Kerry in western Ireland, is a bay that sits at the westernmost point of mainland Ireland.
The town of Dingle, which is a harbor town, is situated on the northern side of the bay and is part of the Dingle Peninsula.
Blasket Islands Visitor Centre
Visiting the Blasket Islands Visitor Centre in Ireland is an opportunity to learn about the unique culture and way of life of the islanders who lived on the Blasket Islands.
The Centre features exhibits and audio-visual displays that give visitors an insight into the islanders’ daily lives.
Visiting Dunquin in Ireland is a chance to experience the natural beauty and traditional culture of the Dingle Peninsula.
The small village of Dunquin is known for its picturesque harbor and stunning views of the Blasket Islands. Visitors can also explore the local history by visiting the Blasket Islands Centre or Dunquin Castle. Additionally, the village offers several traditional pubs and restaurants where one can enjoy a pint of Guinness and a plate of seafood.
Drop off at Dingle hotel
Day 14: Dingle to Cork
Today, we will travel over the scenic, winding Caha Pass to the colorful village of Glengarriff. From here, we will take a short boat trip, with the opportunity to spot a seal colony on the way, to Garnish Island, which features a world-renowned garden.
You could also visit the 18th-century Bantry House. Later, we will travel via Kinsale, a popular resort town with its picturesque yachting harbor and historic forts. We will finish up the day in Cork, a buzzing city with a vibrant cultural scene.
Garnish Island, also known as Ilnacullin, is a popular tourist attraction located in Glengarriff harbor, Bantry Bay in southwest Ireland.
The island is maintained by the Office of Public Works, which takes care of its gardens. The name Ilnacullin is used to distinguish it from another island called Garinish Island which is located in County Cork, Ireland. Ilnacullin means ‘island of holly’ in Irish.
Glengarriff is a coastal village located on the Ring of Beara in Ireland, surrounded by high rugged mountains and old peat bogs.
The village offers a variety of tourist attractions including the Italian Gardens on Garnish Island, which can be accessed by boat trip. The island also features a Martello Tower, built to guard against a potential Napoleonic invasion, that offers a broad view of the surrounding area. Glengarriff Forest, which gives the village its name, is nearby and contains some of the oldest and most extensive oak and birch groves in Ireland.
Visitors can also enjoy the Bamboo Park, Blue Pool lagoon, Barley Lake, and the historic Eccles Hotel. The area offers extensive walking trails, kayaking on the bay, and live music at local pubs, particularly during the tourist season.
Bantry House & Garden
A guided tour of Bantry House & Garden is a chance to explore the history and beauty of one of Ireland’s most historic estates.
The tour starts in the main house, where visitors can learn about the history of the house and its inhabitants, including the White family who has lived there for over 300 years. The house is adorned with artwork, antiques, and furnishings that reflect the taste and style of the White family.
The tour then moves on to the gardens, which have been carefully restored to their original 18th-century design. The garden features a variety of plants and flowers, including a beautiful walled garden, a lake, and a fountain.
The tour concludes with a visit to the stable yard, where visitors can learn about the estate’s agricultural heritage.
Spend the night in the Cork area.
Day 15: Blarney Castle & Rock of Cashel
Today after breakfast we will visit Blarney Castle, a legendary medieval stronghold that houses the Blarney Stone, surrounded by many myths and tales. We will then visit the spectacular Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most visited attractions. The historic site is a fantastic collection of medieval buildings that span over 1000 years of history. We will finish the day in Kilkenny.
Blarney Castle, located in Ireland, is a historic and iconic landmark that has been attracting visitors for centuries.
It was built nearly 600 years ago by Cormac MacCarthy, one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains. The castle has been rebuilt twice on the same site, the first one was a wooden structure and the second was a stone structure that had an entrance about twenty feet above the ground.
The castle is famous for the Blarney Stone, a legendary stone that is believed to endow the kisser with eloquence. Millions of people have visited Blarney Castle over the years, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.
Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel, also known as Carraig Phádraig or St. Patrick’s Rock, is a historic site in Ireland. It is reputedly the location of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century AD.
The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster and it is known as Cashel of the Kings. The majority of the buildings on the current site date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when the rock was gifted to the Church. The Rock is considered one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture in Europe, and it has a unique character. A visit to the Rock of Cashel is not to be missed, it is an unforgettable experience.
Kilkenny is a city located in the southeastern region of Ireland, known as the “Sunny South East”.
It is considered the medieval capital of Ireland, and it is a place where you can find a combination of rich cultural heritage, stunning streetscapes, a lively nightlife, and great shopping options.
The River Nore flows through the city dividing it in two, with most of the tourist attractions situated on the west side of the river. Kilkenny is the county town and main center of County Kilkenny. With a population of 26,000, it is the size of a big town but holds the official status of a city, which was granted by King James I of England in 1609.
Drop off at Kilkenny accommodation
Day 16: Wicklow Mountains Tour
After breakfast we will take a drive through the scenic Wicklow Mountains to take in the beautiful views. In the area, we will visit Glendalough, a 6th-century monastic settlement, and the Powerscourt Estate, featuring the restored mansion Powerscourt House.
On the estate, you will find Ireland’s highest waterfall as well as magnificent gardens. Back in Dublin, enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure, perhaps with a fine Irish dinner to top off your amazing journey.
Powerscourt House & Gardens
Begin your journey south to Wicklow and visit the renowned Powerscourt Estate, which boasts a beautiful house, garden, and waterfall. Recognized as one of the world’s top houses and mansions by Lonely Planet, Powerscourt offers spectacular views, including a panorama of the stunning Sugarloaf Mountain.
Glendalough, meaning “The Valley of the two lakes” in Irish, is a picturesque glacial valley in County Wicklow, Ireland, known for its Early Medieval monastic settlement established by St Kevin in the 6th century.
The valley’s breathtaking scenery, rich history, archaeology, and diverse wildlife have attracted visitors for thousands of years, and now it is your turn to experience its splendor. The valley is truly a special place that will bring peace to your mind, inspiration to your heart, and fulfillment to your soul.
Vale of Avoca
Your next destination is the Vale of Avoca, a stunning valley in County Wicklow known for its dense forest and the convergence of the Rivers Avonbeg and Avonmore to form the River Avoca, also known as the Meeting of the Waters.
The location was popularized by Thomas Moore’s 1808 poem of the same name. Along the banks of the Avoca River, you will find Avoca Village, a unique location dating back to 1723.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
For millennia, the glacial valley of the two lakes has attracted visitors for its mesmerizing scenery, rich history, and archaeology.
Located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, the valley offers a plethora of attractions to captivate, delight, and inspire you, from the renowned Monastic Site and Round Tower to its picturesque lakes and valleys.
It is truly a remarkable place that will bring tranquility to your mind, inspiration to your heart, and fulfillment to your soul.
Drop off at Dublin accommodation
Contact Prestige About A Customized Ireland Itinerary
This 16-day itinerary provides a comprehensive exploration of the best that North and South Ireland has to offer. From the rugged beauty of the Cliffs of Moher to the charming streets of Dublin, the ancient ruins of Newgrange to the stunning landscapes of Wicklow, this itinerary offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers to enjoy.
If you’re interested in customizing this itinerary to suit your individual preferences and travel style, contact our team at Prestige Tours Ireland. Our specialists are ready to help you plan your dream trip to Ireland and make sure that you have an unforgettable experience.