Visiting Ireland in 7 days is a bit of a stretch. I think you could spend a month in the Republic of Ireland and still find somewhere new to explore, a new adventure. But this perfect Ireland road trip gives you a sampling of Ireland and all that it has to offer and it gives you ideas for what to see in Ireland in 7 days. Hopefully this guide will easily help you plan a trip to Ireland and give you a sense of what this amazing country has to offer. This guide includes both touristy spots and some towns that are a bit less travelled, all great photo spots. It’s my favorite way to tour a country and I find it nice to have a mixture of the two.
IRELAND ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: IRELAND IN 7 DAYS
DUBLIN – 1 night
Start off your Ireland road trip with Dublin (easy to do since you can fly into Dublin). While you could spend a few days in Dublin touring every square inch of the city, one day is enough to get a feel for the city before embarking on your tour of Ireland. It goes without saying that one day is not enough time to visit Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse, St Patrick’s Cathedral or any of the museums – you would need more like 3 or 4 days to fully grasp all the historical must-dos. What I would recommend is forgetting all those tourist spots and using this day to relax and enjoy Dublin’s vibes. Wander around old town and stop at a few pubs along the way. If it’s sunny out, make sure you take a stroll at St. Stephen’s Green, a flowery park in downtown.
Tip: Unless you’re brave enough to drive in Dublin, make sure you rent the car for your 7 day road trip after your stay in Dublin.
Related: Best Europe Itineraries for 2 weeks
Where to stay The Shelbourne Dublin is the perfect option for lodging for your night in Dublin. It’s an absolutely gorgeous and historic five star hotel located a few short steps from Grafton Street. Rich in history and fame (you’ll be amazed at how many celebrities have stayed here), the Shelbourne not only serves a fantastic breakfast but also offers excellent spa services. This hotel is about a 25-30 euro taxi ride from Dublin’s airport.
Where to eat Dublin is a foodie haven. I don’t know that you can go wrong anywhere you eat but be sure to have dinner at The Hairy Lemon, stop by for a Guinness at charming and quaint The Brazen Head aka the Ireland’s oldest pub, and enjoy a coffee and sandwich at Bewley’s Cafe.
CORK/KINSALE/COBH – 2 nights
Glendalough…your next stop on your Ireland road trip. If you leave Dublin early enough, you will have time to swing by Glendalough on your way over to Cork. Glendalough is an ancient site where old ruins of a medieval monastery are located. The surrounding area looks like it came straight out of Robin Hood and if you don’t have more than 2 hours to spare, make sure you visit the monastery, walk down the path in the woods a bit and explore the area. If you have more than a few hours to spare (meaning you left Dublin 9am), then make sure you hike part of the 11 mile trail that takes you to various ruins throughout the site. You can check with the local Glendalough tourism office for route maps. We arrived at Glendalough too late so we were unable to spend more than 2 hours in the area.
After Glendalough, you’ll arrive in Cork in time for dinner. IMO Cork is a city and like Dublin, you need more than a day here. So I’d opt out of touring Cork for this trip and instead savor the surrounding (and more charming towns). I highly recommend having dinner here, especially if you’re fortunate enough to experience good weather and a sunset. Day two is split between Kinsale and Cobh (pronounced “cove”). Head to Kinsale early in the morning and park along the street as soon as you hit town (it’s nearly impossible to find a spot further in). Wander the colorful streets for a bit, stop at a coffee shop for something sweet and then head over to Cobh. You can park in the free lot right behind the famous cathedral. Make your way down to the harbor by foot and enjoy all the colorful buildings downtown.
Where to stay The Maryborough Spa is the best option for lodging in the Cork area. Not only does this upscale and stunning hotel offer every amenity known to man (spa services, conference rooms, internet, full service restaurant, you name it), it has a prime location for discovering Cork and the surrounding areas. The rooms are gorgeous and their restaurant served one of the best dinners we had the entire trip in Ireland. *Suite pictured below
Where to eat If you’re arriving to your hotel late and you take my suggestion above and stay at the Maryborough Spa, then I’d suggest dining at the Maryborough your first night. They have a seasonal menu that is absolutely to die for and it makes dinner decisions easy that first night. Make sure you enjoy a coffee and cake at Poet’s Corner in Kinsale and try Quinlan’s Seafood in Cork.
DINGLE/BEARA PENINSULA – 1 night
Leave the Cork area early, right after breakfast and head towards the Beara Peninsula, driving along the Ring of Beara (the lesser known scenic ring). If you left early enough, you should be able to drive most of it: Glengariff – Castletown/Bearhaven – Eyeries. However, if you left Cork around noon, then you have enough time to follow this route: Glengariff – Adrigole – Lauragh – Kenmare and then head towards Dingle. You’ll arrive in Dingle around evening. Spend the following day driving around the Dingle Peninsula and exploring the town of Dingle.
Where to stay My recommendation is Heaton’s Guesthouse. The breakfast there is out of this world, the rooms are clean and it’s in town.
Where to eat Be sure to stop by Jim’s Coffee House in Glengarriff on the way from Cork to the Beara Peninsula. Their sandwiches are delicious; make sure you try their coconut macaroons! Grab an ice cream from Murphy’s in Dingle.
KILLARNEY – 1 night
Killarney is only about an hour drive from Dingle so you can head over once you feel like you’ve had your fill of Dingle. Arrive in Killarney for an evening about the town. Stroll around the old town and then head to dinner. The following day head over to Killarney National Park and choose between Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle or Torc Waterfall. Conversely, you can opt to see Gap of Dunloe on the west side of Lough Leane.
Where to stay There are plenty of hotels downtown with great reviews so I would choose one of those. We stayed on the outskirts and I would’ve preferred a more central location.
Where to eat Go to Cronins Restaurant for burgers and a cozy Irish vibe!
CLIFFS OF MOHER/GALWAY/CONNEMARA – 3 nights
Leave Killarney around noon and head over to the thatched roof village of Adare. Walk around, have lunch and snap a few photos of the homes left remaining with thatched roofs. Every Ireland itinerary needs to include The Cliffs of Moher so afterwards drive to the Cliffs. You’ll appreciate the views especially if it’s a sunny day. Continue driving to Galway; your arrival time in Galway will be around evening. This is where your Ireland road trip will come to an end. Enjoy dinner there and remember that the party only begins at 11pm 😉 Head to Connemara the following day. Use a map to help pick a route – Connemara will be beautiful anywhere you go so pick a loop and drive it. You can opt to spend the evening in Galway city (recommended) or you can spend more time in Connemara National Park. Spend the last day in Galway city; if you’re feel energetic, walk to Salthill and back.
Related Ireland post: What to do in Galway
Where to stay Though not luxurious, I recommend Jury’s Inn based on its location alone. Jury’s Inn sits in the best part of Galway, on Quay Street. However, rent the room alone sans breakfast (Galway has way too many delicious breakfast spots to choose from).
Where to eat Lunch at Sean Collins & Sons Bar in Adare. You MUST try the goat cheese salad – hands down best goat cheese I have ever had in my entire life. In Galway, Quay Street Kitchen serves up a delicious mushroom coconut soup and lamb shank while The Kings Head is the perfect pub to spend an evening drinking beer and listening to live music (skip the food). Above all, you must try Ard Bia. Try breakfast there and return for a spectacular dinner. It’s adorable on the inside and the food is even better. Best coffee shops: Esquires Coffee and Cafe Express (great for people watching).
PIN FOR LATER!
Thanks to the Shelbourne & Maryborough for hosting us. This post does contain affiliate links.