Dublin to Dublin
Distance – 1627km
Recommended duration – 10 days
- By car
|1||Dublin to Tramore||190km|
|2||Tramore to Cork||117km|
|3||Cork to Killarney||151km|
|4||Killarney to Galway||251km|
|5||Galway to Westport||138km|
|6||Westport to Donegal||194km|
|7||Donegal to Londonderry||167km|
|8||Londonderry to Belfast||117km|
|9||Belfast to Newry||194km|
|10||Newry to Dublin||108km|
Day One – Dublin to Tramore
- Travel south out of Dublin, past the ferryport of Dun Laoghaire, towards the Wicklow Mountains and the pretty hillside village of Enniskerry.
- Just past Enniskerry lies the elegant Powerscourt Estate with its gardens, deer herd and the highest waterfall in Ireland.
- Travel on to the early Christian settlement of Glendalough set at the head of a lake in a scenic glen surrounded by the imposing Wicklow Mountains. Explore the extensive ruins of the 6th-century Irish monastery of St Kevin.
- Continue your journey south through Avoca, and the sea and holiday resort of Arklow, towards Enniscorthy.
- Either travel the twisting lanes to New Ross with its Dutch-style houses or head further south to Wexford and across the Barrow River by the Ballyhack/Passage East car ferry, north of Rosslare.
- Ahead lies the historic city of Waterford, a name now synonymous with crystal and the sandy beaches of Tramore.
Day two – Tramore to Cork
- In the morning, spend some time in Waterford with its splendid wide bridge and mile-long quay fronting the medieval centre. Waterford was a Viking stronghold, and later a Norman town second only to Dublin in importance.
- Heading east from Tramore, there are turn-offs around Dungarvan that give access to more lovely beaches, notably at Stradbally and the An Rinn peninsula, where Irish is spoken.
- On now to Youghal, an ancient walled seaport town that provided the location in 1954 for the harbour scenes in Moby Dick. An Elizabethan mansion inside the walls was home to Sir Walter Raleigh, the town’s mayor from 1585 to 1597.
- Cork City beckons, but first turn to Cobh, a pretty town on a hill above the harbour and the doomed Titanic’s last port of call in April 1912.
Day Three – Cork to Killarney
- Travel the short distance outside Cork to Blarney Castle with its famous stone, said to impart the gift of eloquence on all who kiss it.
- Travel through Macroom on to the beautiful holiday resort of Glengarriff from where you can take a boat and visit Garinish Island.
- Drive north to the beautiful village of Kenmare, known for its excellent restaurants.
- From Kenmare either go into Killarney, circling the mountainous Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Carrauntoohil, the highest point in Ireland, spending the rest of the day in Killarney. Or else drive around the breathtaking Iveragh Peninsula, better known as the ‘Ring of Kerry’, travelling through Sneem, Waterville, Cahirciveen and Killorglin, towards Killarney.
Day Four – Killarney to Galway
- Drive north to the historic city of Limerick with King John’s Castle, the famous Treaty Stone and St Mary’s Cathedral. Attractions close to Limerick include Bunratty Castle and Knappogue Castle.
- Continue through Ennis with its old abbey and the seaside resort of Lahinch.
- Travel along the coast past the breathtaking 200m-high Cliffs of Moher and enjoy Ireland’s premier spa town of Lisdoonvarna, before driving through the bare limestone hills of the Burren to Galway, where tradition holds that Columbus prayed before sailing to America.
Day Five – Galway to Westport
Day Six – Westport to Donegal
- Head north through Castlebar, Ballina and Inniscrone, to Sligo and its 13th-century Franciscan friary.
- Drive on to Drumcliffe, burial place of poet W B Yeats
- Travel further up the Atlantic Coast through Ballyshannon to Donegal, visiting the imposing Franciscan friary in Rossnowlagh and Donegal Castle en route.
Day Seven – Donegal to Londonderry
- Drive north through the villages of Dunkineely, Ardara and Glenties, famed for their cottage industries and the production of Donegal tweed.
- Continue along the coast to Dunfanaghy, nestling on a cosy inlet of Sheephaven Bay.
- Head south to Donegal’s chief town Letterkenny. From here you can extend your drive by taking a tour of the scenic Inishowen Peninsula. Travel through Buncrana, and Malin Head, the most northerly point on mainland Ireland, to Moville.
- Continue on to Londonderry and walk around its ancient encircling walls, still intact and perfect, before visiting the award-winning Tower Museum.
Day Eight – Londonderry to Belfast
- Travel eastwards through Limavady to Downhill and its small Mussenden Temple.
- Drive through Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush to the dramatic ruin of Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway, home to the legendary giant Finn McCool, and take a short detour to Bushmills Distillery.
- Continue along the Causeway Coastal Route through Ballycastle to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.
- Travel through the Glens of Antrim through Cushendall and Carnlough towards Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland.
Day Nine – Belfast to Newry
- Enjoy a relaxing morning exploring Belfast and the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, then drive from Bangor along the Ards breezy coast road.
- At Ballywalter turn inland to Greyabbey for a sheltered drive to Portaferry.
- Cross Strangford Lough by car ferry towards Downpatrick to visit St Patrick’s Grave on Cathedral Hill.
- Drive to Newcastle, where the Mournes “sweep down to the sea”, on past the lively fishing port of Kilkeel and through Rostrevor and Warrenpoint towards Newry.
Day Ten – Newry to Dublin
- From Newry travel south towards Dublin, through Dundalk to the historic town of Drogheda. Visit the prehistoric tombs at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
- Complete your tour of the Boyne Valley at Slane, where St Patrick lit the first paschal fire on the hill in 434AD as a challenge to King Laoghaire’s fire on the nearby Hill of Tara, before returning to Dublin.
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