The Ultimate 10-Day Irish Adventure

A stunning woman exudes grace in front of a castle
Curated By

Jaycee Moore

Icon Share

SHARE

  • Nature Escapes

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Ireland

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Sightseeing

An aerial view of the city at daytime.
Curator’s statement

Ireland, often referred to as the Emerald Isle, is a captivating country known for its enchanting landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. From the rugged beauty of the Cliffs of Moher to the vibrant streets of Dublin, Ireland offers a diverse range of experiences. Explore ancient castles, roam through lush green countryside dotted with sheep, and immerse yourself in the vibrant traditional music scene in cozy pubs. Whether you're captivated by its stunning natural wonders, intrigued by its ancient myths and legends, or simply charmed by the welcoming nature of its people, Ireland is a destination that will leave a lasting impression on your heart.

The Fora Difference

Book with Jaycee to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

[object Object]
Killer perks

Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you

[object Object]
Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

[object Object]
Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay

Ashford Castle

Fairytale castle on the shores of Lough Corrib in County Mayo, known for superlative service and award-winning cuisine.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Adare Manor

Sitting on 840 acres of pristine parkland, Adare Manor embodies Irish hospitality, as well as hosts a Michelin-starred restaurant, golf course and spa.

Fora Perks
  • Afternoon Tea for two.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & late check-out whenever possible.

Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa

The Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa is a luxury five-star hotel with elegant suites, pampering spa services and unparalleled views of the world-famous Lakes of Killarney and the magnificent MacGillycuddy's Reeks mountain range.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Icon [object Object]

Unlock perks by contacting Jaycee to book your trip.

Day 1: Dublin

old-building-ireland-travel-guide

After arriving at Dublin airport, head straight into the city, check into your hotel and get ready for one of the funniest trips of your life!

Start your exploration at Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university. Inside, marvel at the intricate details of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript dating back to the 9th century, and be inspired by the vastness of the Long Room Library. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance!

Just a short walk away, Dublin Castle offers a glimpse into Ireland's rich history. Tour the opulent State Apartments, explore the serene Dublin Gardens and admire the stunning Chapel Royal.

Head to the majestic St. Patrick's Cathedral, where the soaring Gothic architecture and tranquil surroundings provide a moment of reflection. Admire the beautiful stained glass windows and learn about the cathedral's historical significance.

Continue your journey to Temple Bar Pub, a quintessential Irish pub known for its lively atmosphere and traditional music sessions. It's a great place to soak up the local culture and enjoy a pint of Guinness.

Wrap up your half-day adventure with a visit to Grafton Street, Dublin's premier shopping district. Stroll along this bustling street, where you can shop for souvenirs and listen to street musicians.

Spend the night in one of the many great luxury hotels in the city like The Shelbourne or The Merrion.

Day 2: Wicklow Co.

cemetery-ireland-travel-guide

Say goodbye to Dublin and hello to the fabulous Irish countryside.

Begin your day with a visit to the enchanting Glendalough Graveyard, nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains. Explore the ancient ruins of St. Kevin's Monastic City and wander through the historic graveyard.

From Glendalough, embark on a picturesque drive to Lough Tay, often called the "Guinness Lake" due to its dark, peaty waters and the contrasting white sands along its shoreline. The picturesque setting is a great spot for a picnic or leisurely walk along the lake's edge.

Your next destination is the magnificent Powerscourt Gardens, located within the famous Powerscourt Estate. Explore the exquisite Italian and Japanese gardens, brimming with colorful flowers, ornate fountains and sculpted hedges. Take in the splendid views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain from the terraces.

Continue your journey within the Powerscourt Estate to the Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Ireland. A scenic stroll or short drive leads you to this natural marvel, set amid enchanting woodlands. Fun fact: many movies and TV shows have been filmed at this location.

Stay the night at the luxurious Powerscourt Hotel, a magnificent retreat within the Powerscourt Estate.

Day 3: Kilkenny & Cashel

old-castle-ireland-travel-guide

Start your day at the magnificent Kilkenny Castle. Explore the castle's grand rooms, lush gardens, and learn about its rich history. Don't forget to stroll along the serene River Nore that flows beside the castle.

Head to the iconic Rock of Cashel, a short drive away. Explore this ancient fortress that rises dramatically from the lush Tipperary plains. Admire the remarkable collection of medieval buildings, including the breathtaking Cormac's Chapel. Be sure to visit Hore Abbey too, a short walk away from the Rock of Cashel.

Journey to the picturesque town of Cobh, which boasts a deep maritime history and is famously known as the last port of call for the Titanic. Explore the town's colorful streets, visit the Titanic Experience Cobh, and uncover the compelling stories of Irish emigration and maritime tragedies.

Wrap up your day in Cobh with a short ferry ride to Spike Island, once a monastic settlement and later a military prison. Explore its intriguing history, from monastic beginnings to its role as "Ireland's Alcatraz." The guided tour will provide you with a captivating insight into its past.

Stay the night at the Castle martyr Resort, a serene retreat nestled in the Irish countryside.

Day 4: Killarney

Valley-ireland-travel-guide

Your first stop today is the iconic Blarney Castle, home to the legendary Blarney Stone. Explore the castle's medieval architecture, lush gardens and don't forget to kiss the Blarney Stone to receive the "gift of the gab."

Next, head to the vibrant town of Killarney, known for its lively atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings. While the afternoon is free for you to decide, consider checking out the following:

The Gap of Dunloe is a breathtaking glacial valley nestled in the Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountain range. Explore this natural wonder by foot, bicycle, or traditional horse-drawn jaunting car. Be captivated by the rugged landscapes, pristine lakes and towering mountains.

Ross Castle is a striking fortress located on the shores of Lough Leane. Explore its rich history and enjoy the serene lakeside surroundings. Close by is the Muckross House, a Victorian mansion set amid stunning scenery. Wander through the elegant interiors and explore the beautiful gardens.

Stay the night in one of the many five-star hotels such as Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa, The Europe or The Dunloe.

Day 5: Ring of Kerry

Coastal-view-ireland-travel-guide

Rise early to embark on your journey around the Ring of Kerry!

Your first stop is the charming town of Killorglin. Nestled alongside the scenic River Laune, Killorglin offers a delightful introduction to Irish small-town life. Stroll through its quaint streets, where you might come across traditional shops, inviting cafes and friendly locals. If you're lucky enough to visit in August, you might catch the famous Puck Fair, one of Ireland's oldest and quirkiest festivals.

Continue your journey to Glenbeigh, a coastal village with the stunning backdrop of Rossbeigh Beach. Take a leisurely walk along the sandy shore, breathe in the fresh sea air and admire the breathtaking coastal scenery.

Head to Cahersiveen for a delightful lunch break. This coastal town offers a range of dining options, from seafood restaurants serving the catch of the day to traditional Irish pubs serving hearty, locally sourced dishes.

Travel to Portmagee, a picturesque fishing village known for its vibrant atmosphere and colorful houses. Stroll along the charming harbor, where you can watch fishing boats and absorb the coastal charm.

Explore the rugged beauty of the Skellig Ring, an area known for its dramatic landscapes. If you've made prior arrangements and the weather permits, consider taking a boat tour to Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can delve into the history of the ancient monastic settlement and marvel at the breathtaking cliffs. And for all you Star Wars fans, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were both filmed here.

Cross the bridge to Valentia Island, a place teeming with natural beauty and historical intrigue. Visit the Valentia Island Lighthouse for sweeping views of the vast Atlantic Ocean and explore the Valentia Island Tetrapod Trackway, a unique geological phenomenon that tells a captivating story of evolution.

As your journey continues, visit the Kerry Cliffs, a mesmerizing coastal wonder where rugged cliffs plunge dramatically into the Atlantic Ocean. This is a fantastic spot to witness the raw power and beauty of the Irish coastline, with breathtaking panoramic views that stretch as far as the eye can see.

On your way back to Killarney, be sure to stop at the Boathouse Bistro, a hidden gem with the best fish and chips you'll ever eat. You can thank me later.

Day 6: Dingle Peninsula

Coastal-view-ireland-travel-guide

Today you're in for another full day of driving. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time because I promise you'll be stopping every five minutes to take pictures.

Your first stop is Inch Beach, a stunning stretch of golden sand with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore or simply enjoy the serene beauty of this picturesque spot.

Next head to Dingle, a vibrant coastal village with colorful streets and a rich cultural scene. You can visit the local shops, art galleries and cafés, or even take a boat tour to see Fungie, the resident bottlenose dolphin.

Venture westward to Coumeenoole Beach, a dramatic coastal gem celebrated for its rugged beauty and its starring role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Stroll along the sandy shores and take in the awe-inspiring vistas that made this location a cinematic marvel.

Continue your journey to Dunmore Head, the westernmost point of mainland Ireland. Here, the majestic cliffs plunge dramatically into the Atlantic, providing panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

Visit Dunquin Pier, where traditional Irish life meets cinematic history. This picturesque location served as the gateway to the Blasket Islands and a backdrop for Star Wars.

Explore Ceann Sraithe, a viewpoint that offers stunning vistas of the rugged coastline and the site where scenes from Star Wars: The Last Jedi were filmed.

Journey to Clogher Strand, a hidden gem known for its wild and untamed beauty. As you stroll along the peaceful shoreline, the melodious sound of waves crashing on the rugged coastline will provide a soothing backdrop to your reflections.

Next, visit the Gallarus Oratory, an ancient stone chapel dating back centuries. Its well-preserved dry-stone construction is a testament to early Irish craftsmanship.

Conclude your remarkable day of exploration by checking into the magnificent Adare Manor. This grand estate, set amid lush parkland, offers a warm welcome and the promise of a regal stay.

Day 7: Cliffs of Moher

coastal-view-ireland-travel-guide

Start your day with a leisurely morning at Adare Manor. Enjoy an amazing breakfast in the Manor dining room. Take some time to explore the estate's stunning gardens, admire its architecture or indulge in a spa treatment to start your day feeling refreshed.

Venture into the picturesque village of Adare, often referred to as Ireland's prettiest village. Stroll through its quaint streets, adorned with thatched cottages and historic architecture. Visit the Adare Heritage Centre to gain insights into the village's rich history and enjoy some shopping at its boutique stores.

Now, depart for the world-famous Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most iconic natural wonders. Arriving in the late afternoon allows you to experience these breathtaking cliffs with fewer crowds. Take a leisurely walk along the cliff paths and marvel at the dramatic cliffs plunging into the Atlantic Ocean.

After your exploration of the Cliffs of Moher, make your way to Ashford Castle, nestled on the shores of Lough Corrib. Check in and immerse yourself in the luxury and charm of this historic castle.

Day 8: Ashford Castle

old-castles-ireland-travel-guide

Spend the day as you wish at Ashford Castle. Spend some time at the spa, exploring the grounds or try your hand at a few of their outdoor activities such as falconry or archery. There is an endless number of activities available to make your stay incredible.

Day 9: Connemara

landscape-valley-ireland-travel-guide

Your last day of exploration begins with a scenic drive from Ashford Castle through the captivating Connemara region. En route, the ever-changing Irish landscape will provide a delightful backdrop.

As you journey through Connemara, make a stop at Maam Cross. This picturesque crossroads is often considered the gateway to the Connemara region. Stretch your legs and take in the surroundings.

Your next destination is Connemara National Park, a wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes and bogs. Explore the park's walking trails, which offer varying levels of difficulty. Consider a hike to Diamond Hill for panoramic views of the region.

Arrive at the enchanting Kylemore Abbey, one of Ireland's most iconic landmarks. Explore the abbey's stunning neo-Gothic architecture and the tranquil Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden. The abbey's history, set against the backdrop of the Pollacapall Lough and the Connemara mountains, is beautiful.

As you leave Kylemore Abbey, take the scenic route through Kylemore Pass. This winding road offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Be sure to stop and capture the awe-inspiring scenery.

After a day of exploration in Connemara, make your way back to Ashford Castle. Enjoy your last night in Ireland.

Day 10: Departure

castle-ireland-travel-guide

Say goodbye to Ireland and soak up as much of the Emerald Isle as you can as you leave for the airport. Depending on your flight, you will either fly out of Shannon or Dublin, so be sure to make the necessary arrangements ahead of time.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Utah Unleashed: An Epic Road Trip Exploring the Mighty 5.

A stunning woman exudes grace in front of a castle

Travel Advisor

Jaycee Moore

Get in touch with Jaycee

Did you like this guide? Reach out to customize and book your own experience. Or, just to chat about travel in general.

You can normally expect a response from Jaycee within a business day or so. You’ll also be subscribed to our travel newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Ireland.