When I started planning our western Ireland road trip, I quickly discovered one thing–Ireland will leave you spoiled for choice! There is so much to see. Where to even start?
We found cheap tickets to Shannon, but it was way cheaper to fly back to Budapest from Dublin, so I tried to plan our itinerary around that (which technically means this isn’t a fully “Western” trip). Of course, we ended up flying into Dublin anyway since we kept getting our flights canceled/shifted (and had to drive to Shannon to get our bags…but that’s a long, not-so-fun story…to read or write!).
Ultimately, we decided to play it by ear, to some extent (for someone who is Type A when it comes to travel, this is almost impossible to do fully). We wanted some flexibility in our plans, which was good, since most of our plans had to go awry when we got delayed two extra days in America.
Here’s our itinerary for the six days we ended up having in Ireland. We did end up booking spontaneously, not necessarily something I would recommend in August (ahem, high season, I clearly did my research), but it we always had a place to stay, and along the way we saw some incredible places, and stayed in some quintessential Irish B&Bs.
**Disclaimer: A side-effect of an Irish trip will always leave you wanting more. You’ve been warned!
Dublin–Shannon via Bruff
We stayed in the really tiny village of Bruff, where we were immediately struck with the tidiness of the place and the legendary friendliness of the locals (for example, we got lost, and the people who helped us had us follow them in their car way out of their way–then called the inn to make sure we’d actually made it inside! And we never even officially met them!!)
Bruff–Dingle via Adare and Conor Pass
The next day, we drove through the little town of Adare, routinely voted cutest town in the universe (or something like that) and of thatched-cottage fame.
From there, we hot-footed it over Conor Pass (um, glorious) to spend a night in my beloved Dingle.
Dingle–Ballinskelligs via the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry
We drove the entire Wild Atlantic Way in one day (again, not necessarily something I recommend, but it was still worth the drive!), including this stop at Dunquin Pier. It was freezing and cold and still so picturesque.
Ballinskelligs–Waterville via the Skellig Ring Road
We ended our drive on the Ring of Kerry to stay two nights in Ballinskelligs, at the Seaside B&B, our favorite nights of the trip. The inn is in walking distance to the beach and Ballinskelligs Castle, plus it’s so comfortable and cute.
We ended up running out of cash, and the closest ATM was in Waterville–an unplanned stop but a lovely one.
We’d planned to take the boats out to Skellig Michael (I’ve always wanted to…and then my husband saw Star Wars and decided he needed to go, too). Of course, the weather was so terrible they weren’t planning on going out for at least a week–well after we’d be back in BP.
So, we drove around the Skellig Ring Road instead, stopping at the random (yet delicious) Skellig Chocolate, planning to stop at the Kerry Cliffs but being deterred by the icy sleet.
Ballinskelligs–Kinsale via Killarney & Killarney National Park
The next day, we drove to Kinsale via Killarney.
I was expecting to love Kinsale and admittedly, it was my least favorite spot of the trip. Not that it was more touristy than Dingle, but it felt more like it. Does that make sense? It’s still a really cute town, right on a harbor and full of Irish charm.
Kinsale–Wexford (Duncannon) via Ardmore
The next day, we drove to Duncannon in Wexford via Ardmore. We stayed at this little Airbnb that I adored.
Wexford–Kilkenny via the Hook Peninsula
On our last full day, we drove down to Hook Lighthouse–the whole point of going to Wexford–and finally had a gorgeously sunny day–followed by a perfectly beautiful (except for a small incident with a bee in the car…I’m not proud of my reaction to this) drive up to Kilkenny, our last stop. Perhaps the highlight of the lighthouse tour was when our guide said I was more Irish than him with my last name. Totally false, but whatever ;).
Kilkenny Castle, you guys! I didn’t actually go in–I was happy with the views–but man it was awesome.
The town of Kilkenny itself was so fun. We heard at least three live bands in one night while we went pub hopping–and had some last Bailey’s before heading out.
Have you been to Ireland? Which of these places would you most like to see?