Figuring out how long to spend in a country as diverse and captivating as Ireland can be tough. There’s just so much to see, from historic cities like Dublin to the lush countryside in Donegal. However, 6 days in Ireland offers a sweet spot, giving you a chance to explore some of the country’s major cities and attractions without feeling too rushed.
I’ve road-tripped around Ireland more times than I can count, and I’ve seen new spots on each journey. Whether it’s the scenic beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, the vibrant culture in Galway, or the rugged landscapes of Donegal, I’m including my must-see places on this detailed 6-day Ireland itinerary that you’ll want to copy.
From joining the locals in a traditional Irish pub to standing at the edge of towering sea cliffs, the experiences you’ll have are as rich and varied as the Irish landscape itself. And who knows? This 6-day journey might just be the beginning of a lifelong love affair with Ireland (I know that’s what happened with me!), tempting you to return again and again.
So, as the Irish say, “Céad Míle Fáilte,” or a hundred thousand welcomes. Your Irish adventure awaits, so let’s dive into how you can make the most of your six days in Ireland.
Day 1: Dublin
Dublin is the easiest spot to start your Irish road trip, as you’ll likely be flying into this city. The airport is fairly close, and there are multiple ways to get to the Dublin City Center from the Dublin Airport.
It might not be a very large city compared to other European cities, but Ireland’s capital city does have a fun vibe. With plenty of museums, attractions, and stunning Georgian architecture, you’ll have a great time exploring the city.
If you have the time, I recommend spending at least 2 to 3 days in Dublin, if not longer. It’s helpful to take the first day just to relax and rest after your flight gets in at Dublin Airport. After that, get out and explore Dublin with these recommendations.
However, you can easily see plenty of places in Dublin in one day before moving on to the rest of your trip.
Wander Through Temple Bar
You can’t visit Ireland and not stop by some of its most iconic bars. Temple Bar has been around since 1840 and is one of the most visited sites in Dublin. Its red exterior and its unique atmosphere make it a fun place to stop during your 6 days around Ireland.
However, I will note it’s quite touristy in case you’re not into that, but Temple Bar is worth at least one pint’s worth of your time if you’ve never seen it before when in Dublin City.
If you’re here during a holiday, even better; a Dublin St. Patrick’s celebration is a blast here, as are Halloween activities in Dublin and even Christmas events in Dublin, when they participate in the famous “12 Pubs of Christmas.”
Make sure to book your car rental in advance! I love using Discover Cars when I travel.
Experience the Guinness Storehouse Factory Tour
Alcohol and Ireland have always gone hand-in-hand. You can explore the wondrous past of Irish drinks with a tour of this massive brewery in the heart of St. James’ Gate Brewery. The inside of the building is shaped like a pint of Guinness and holds a world record for being the largest pint in the entire world. You’ll get a chance to pour your own pint and enjoy another one at the top with a view of Dublin.
I thought this would be a quick tour, but it’s actually stories upon stories of exhibits teaching you all about the Guinness family and how the brand came to be, so I recommend taking your time. I learned a lot and then enjoyed having a pint at the very top of this.
Book your Guinness tour ticket in advance.
Explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is a true embodiment of Ireland’s history, architecture, and spirituality. Built in the 12th century, this awe-inspiring gothic edifice serves multiple roles: a functioning church, a tourist magnet, and a cultural hub hosting concerts and exhibitions. It’s also the final resting place of Jonathan Swift, the author of “Gulliver’s Travels.”
Whether you’re inside admiring the intricate arches and memorial stones or outside enjoying the adjacent park’s view of the cathedral’s towering spire, the experience is deeply moving. This isn’t just a quick photo stop; it’s a dive into the layers of Dublin’s identity and a key addition to any Ireland itinerary.
While you’re there, make sure to check out the Jonathan Swift exhibit. Yes, the same Swift who wrote “Gulliver’s Travels” was the Dean of St. Patrick’s and is buried here.
Book a self-guided tour to save time and money.
Discover Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle isn’t just another castle; it’s a cornerstone of Irish history and heritage. With its roots tracing back over 800 years, this magnificent structure has stood as a witness to countless pivotal moments in the nation’s timeline. But it’s not just the age that makes it fascinating; the castle even has connections to prehistoric Ireland, adding another layer to its deep historical significance.
As you wander through its opulent rooms and sprawling courtyards, you’ll get a tangible sense of the past. From serving as a fortress to becoming a royal residence and later a government complex, Dublin Castle’s multifaceted role over the centuries offers a comprehensive look into Irish history. It’s not just a castle; it’s a living, breathing chronicle of Ireland itself.
You’ll love this fast-track Dublin Castle and Book of Kells tour.
Roam Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is so much more than just a patch of green in Dublin; it’s a sprawling oasis that serves as the city’s playground. With its vast expanse covering 1,752 acres, it’s one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces in any European capital. It’s also home to the Dublin Zoo, various sports fields, and the towering Wellington Monument.
You can even go for a bike ride or engage in some friendly sports activities on one of its many fields. Once you’ve had a taste of this urban Eden, you’ll find yourself planning return visits just to carve out some time to relax.
Save up to 50% off attractions with the Go City Pass! It’s a great way to save money if you plan on visiting multiple sights in Dublin.
Where to Stay in Dublin
There are plenty of places to stay in Dublin, but here are a few I recommend.
- Kingfisher Townhouse: I love this hotel because you’ll find yourself a quick drive away from iconic spots like Croke Park, the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle, and Trinity College. The property is also just a 2-minute walk from Dominick Tram Stop and 3 minutes from Parnell Tram Stop, and it features its own restaurant serving Irish cuisine for all meals.
- Leonardo Hotel Dublin Parnell Street: Located just around the corner from O’Connell Street, Leonardo Hotel Dublin Parnell Street has en-suite rooms equipped with Dream beds and modern amenities. The hotel is within a 10-minute walk of key attractions like Dublin Castle and Trinity College and has a restaurant serving Irish and international cuisine and a coffee bar.
Day 2: Limerick
Distance from Dublin: 203 km (2 hours, 15 minutes)
From being Ireland’s City of Culture to the many rugby legends hailing from it, Limerick is a unique city to visit. It’s a great choice as a second destination on your 6-day Irish road trip.
Conquer King John’s Castle
Ireland’s history is a whirlwind, and this 13th-century castle is like a living textbook. With its roots stretching back through medieval battles, sieges, and shifting politics, the walls themselves definitely have stories to tell. The castle’s recent upgrades add interactive displays and guided tours, and I loved spending a few hours here on my last trip.
While it’s fun to explore the inside of the castle that’s open, don’t forget about the outside, as you’ll have an amazing view of the River Shannon. This is an especially great activity during winter in Ireland if you’re looking to stay dry.
Score Big at Thomond Park
No Ireland itinerary is complete without a visit to Munster’s home rugby field. Munster represents the southern province of Ireland, and it’s where they play most of their games. It’s a smartly built modern stadium that sometimes hosts other gigs and unique events.
It’s an essential stop if you want your 6 days in Ireland to be as authentic as possible. I’m lucky enough to have friends who live outside of Limerick and insisted I go to a game when I last visited, and it was well worth it. The energy of the crowd riles you up, even if you don’t know the game.
Discover the Elegance of Saint Mary’s Cathedral
Much of Limerick has grown around Saint Mary’s Cathedral. This is the oldest building in the city, and it has stood in that location since the 12th century. One of two cathedrals, it’s ripe with history and stories behind every stone. When you’re visiting the west door, make sure to notice the scratch marks from when the city’s defenders sharpened their swords.
Savor Local Flavors at The Milk Market
One of the things Limerick is most known for is its locally-produced food. In recent years, such food has seen an increased surge in popularity, which makes Limerick a great destination for a foodie. The Milk Market is the center of it, and it’s one of Ireland’s most popular markets in general. Make sure to visit on a Saturday, as the market is usually liveliest then.
Marvel at the Cliffs of Moher
When you’re in Ireland, visiting the Cliffs of Moher is an absolute must on your six day Ireland itinerary. Seriously, standing on those cliffs is like standing at the edge of the Earth, staring out into the infinite Atlantic Ocean. There’s nothing like that salty sea air whipping around you to make you feel totally alive and connected to Ireland’s rugged landscape.
The cliffs are more than just a cool photo op, though. Wander along the trails that snake beside the cliffs, and you’ll catch some different—and equally amazing—views. If you’re into birdwatching, you’re in luck. The cliffs are a prime spot for spotting puffins and other sea birds hanging out on the rocky faces.
I also thought this was another famous spot in Ireland that I’d quickly visit, but I loved exploring the exhibits inside, and I was surprised there was even a cafe to have lunch at.
Where to Stay in Limerick
Here are a few Limerick hotels to consider for your Irish road trip:
- Castletroy Park Hotel: Experience unmatched luxury at Castletroy Park Hotel, where plush beds and panoramic city views await in every room. I stayed here and loved being close to the heart of Limerick’s lively pubs, eateries, and shops. On nights you’d rather stay in, relish gourmet dining right on site.
- Radisson BLU Hotel and Spa: Elevate your stay at this hotel with exquisitely designed rooms and a state-of-the-art spa for ultimate relaxation. Its prime location offers easy foot access to the city’s iconic attractions. You’ll love going on a culinary journey without leaving the hotel at the in-house restaurant.
Day 3: Dingle
Distance from Limerick: 149 km (2 hours)
Dingle is a little bohemian town with unforgettable vibes, and it should definitely be on every 6 day Ireland itinerary. This little seaside town has often been called one of the most beautiful places on Earth by many people.
Stroll Along Inch Beach
Dramatic beauty is inherent in Ireland. Although it’s called Inch Beach, it’s actually one of the longest Irish beaches. It’s even made an appearance in a few movies in the past, so you’ll want to stop here during your 6 days in Ireland.
Inch Beach is an uninterrupted sand beach with surrounding dunes, and it’s great for all sorts of activities. Walk along the shoreline, and you’ve got the Atlantic wind and waves as your backdrop. Time your visit with the tides for a whole different vibe each time you go.
Explore the Blasket Islands
You might be tempted to overlook the Blasket Islands when staring out from the coast, but you’ll want to get a closer look. Once you do, you’ll find they offer an intriguing mix of natural beauty and local history. Take Great Blasket Island, the largest of the bunch, as an example.
People actually lived there until 1953, when they had to abandon the island due to a lack of basic services like medical care. That history makes a visit here feel like stepping back in time.
Getting to the islands is a breeze these days. Just hop on a ferry from Dingle’s marina, and you’re set for a day of exploration. Once you arrive, there’s a lot to take in, and you’ll quickly see why it’s one of the most unique things to do in Dingle.
For starters, the island has some of the best hiking trails that offer incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean. The sandy beaches are ideal for a relaxing afternoon, and don’t forget to look out for seals, which are often spotted lounging on the shore.
This tour often sells out, so buy your tickets in advance.
Hike Through Killarney National Park
While there are some stunning hikes around Dublin, you’ll love all the hiking at Killarney National Park. The area has a range of hiking experiences for both beginners and those who love longer trails, like myself.
Whether you’re following the trails around Muckross Lake or challenging yourself with the more strenuous routes up Torc Mountain, you’ll be amazed at everything you see in Killarney National Park. Verdant forests, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic vistas of the park’s famed lakes await you at every turn.
But it’s not just the trails that make this park special; it’s also the sheer variety of landscapes you’ll traverse. One moment you’re in a mystical yew and oak woodland, and the next, you’re crossing open moorland with views stretching as far as the eye can see.
And let’s not forget the wildlife! Keep an eye out for native red deer roaming the fields or an eagle soaring in the sky above. Whether you’re here for the physical challenge or the connection with nature, hiking in Killarney National Park is worth putting on your Ireland road trip itinerary.
This Killarney National Park tour will show you the best parts of the area.
Shop and Sip at Foxy John’s Hardware
In the heart of Dingle, Foxy John’s is not just another pub—it’s also a functioning hardware store. Yes, you read that right! Step inside to find locals casually discussing home repairs over a pint of Guinness.
Whether you’re in the mood to shop for a screwdriver or simply sip one (or a Guinness), Foxy John’s offers a truly unique Irish experience.
I stumbled upon this during my trip to Dingle and thought it was such a fun concept. The bartender also told me numerous tales of men who came here early in the morning to buy a tool but became distracted by the bar and had their wives call to see if they were there.
Where to Stay in Dingle
Looking for a place to stay in Dingle? Check out these hotels.
- Dingle Bay Hotel: Discover the enchanting allure of Dingle Bay Hotel, where each room serves as a serene retreat with breathtaking sea views. Nestled in the heart of Dingle, the hotel positions you within easy walking distance of the town’s charming attractions.
- Dingle Benners Hotel: Step back in time at Dingle Benners Hotel, an opulent Georgian manor brimming with timeless elegance and Dingle’s oldest hotel. You’ll love the comfortable rooms and visiting Mrs. Benner’s Bar for bar food and a cozy fireplace.
Day 4: Galway
Distance from Dingle: 254 km (3 hours)
Continue north on the Wild Atlantic Way to Galway, one of the most picturesque cities on your six days around Ireland. It’s a vibrant city that’s always filled with music and students, and the bright shopfronts are a joy to peruse. If you’re looking for the most comfortable atmosphere in your 6 days in Ireland, then this is the best spot.
Step Back in Time at the Spanish Arches
Long ago, Galway used to have a wall. Now only two arches remain, and they’re one of the most popular spots in the city. Hanging out and having a drink in the warm weather is something that everyone likes doing there.
You won’t want to miss the Spanish Arches, even with only one day exploring Galway; it’s like a quick journey back in time right in the heart of the city. Local artists often set up shop here, adding a modern twist to the historical setting.
Get Lost in the Shelves at Charlie Byner’s Bookshop
If you’re a bookworm, then Charlie Byner’s is your haven. Imagine rows upon rows of books, from the classics to the obscure. Don’t be surprised if you spend a couple of hours, at the minimum.
This bookshop has won the title of best bookshop in Ireland, and it’s one of the most well-known independent bookshops in the country. They have over 100,000 available books, too, so I promise you’ll find something you want to read.
Catch a Gig at Roisin Dubh
Live gigs and unique events are something you don’t want to miss when visiting Galway. The Roisin Dubh is an excellent venue with fantastic events, and you can find anything from standup comedy to headphone discos.
From local acts to well-known artists, the vibe here is electric. The crowd’s always up for a good time, and you can really feel Galway’s love for music when you stop here during your 6 day trip to Ireland.
Feel the Drama at The Town Hall Theatre
Its original name is An Taibhdhearc Gaillimhe, which means Galway Theatre, and this is the place to visit for those with an interest in Irish drama. This National Irish Language Theatre is built on the remains of an old friary from the Middle Ages, and it’s a unique mix of old and new.
Whether it’s a drama or a comedy, you’ll find it at The Galway Theatre. The venue is intimate, and the productions are top-notch. It’s like Broadway, but with that unique Galway touch.
Marvel at the Galway Cathedral
Although it’s not as old as other parts of the city, this is considered a classic stop in Galway. Completed in 1965, it was built on the site of an old prison and is one of the most imposing buildings in Galway. Sometimes you may even hear choirs rehearsing when you’re in the vicinity.
Explore on Foot with a Walking Tour
There is no better way to learn more about a city than sampling its food and drink. Galway is Ireland’s cultural capital, so it’s only natural that you’ll find some of the country’s best food here. I loved joining a Galway food tour to go to places I probably would have missed otherwise.
There is so much to see in Galway, but sometimes you just don’t want to rush it. The best way to explore the city is at your own pace, especially if you have the option to use the tour bus as much as you want in 48 hours.
Where to Stay in Galway
Here are a few suggestions for Galway hotels:
- Salthill Hotel: Experience unmatched views of Galway Bay here, located just minutes from Galway city center and scenic Connemara routes. Indulge in amenities like a 25-yard swimming pool and whirlpool, along with multiple dining options featuring locally sourced produce. Enjoy the convenience of free parking and easy access to local attractions like Galway Golf Club.
- Twelve Hotel Galway: Discover luxury at this 4-star boutique hotel nestled in the seaside village of Bearna, just 4 miles from Galway. Indulge in opulent rooms featuring large beds and free Wi-Fi while savoring gourmet dining at The Pins Bar Bistro and West Restaurant. With spa treatments, free parking, and a coveted location, it’s the perfect romantic getaway.
Day 5: Donegal
Distance from Galway: 201 km (2 hours, 30 minutes)
Donegal is my favorite county in all of Ireland, yet it’s probably the least visited on this list. I’m also biased because this part of the Irish countryside is the area my grandfather is from, so it holds a special meaning to me being able to visit the house he grew up in and go to the local bars my relatives used to go to.
While it is farther away from your starting point of Dublin than the other cities, it’s definitely worth putting on your 6 day tour of Ireland.
Explore the Charms of Donegal Town
Donegal Town is the kind of place that has something for everyone. If you’re a foodie, you can’t miss grabbing a meal at Dom’s Pier 1, especially their fish and chips. A local recommended this spot to me when I was walking around, and not only was the food amazing, but you’ll have a waterfront view as well.
After lunch, consider checking out Magee of Donegal for some shopping. This iconic store is a go-to for authentic Irish crafts like handwoven tweeds and knits.
Once you’ve got your shopping out of the way, it’s time to take in the natural beauty of the area. A leisurely walk by the Donegal Bay waterfront is also relaxing when looking for things to do in Donegal. It’s the perfect setting to just take a moment and soak it all in.
Uncover the History of Donegal Castle
While wandering through Donegal Town, you might stumble upon something unexpected—a bona fide castle. Donegal Castle, with its roots dating back to the 15th century, has a dramatic history that feels like it’s ripped straight out of a novel.
Originally owned by the O’Donnell clan, this fortress was intentionally burnt down by the family in 1600 just to keep it out of English hands. Talk about a drastic move, right?
Over the years, the castle has been reclaimed and refurbished multiple times, each restoration adding a new chapter to its already complex history. Today, it’s fully open to the public, letting visitors like you and me peek into the lives of those who once called it home.
Reach Ireland’s Northernmost Point at Malin Head
Malin Head is about 2 hours north of Donegal town, but very much worth the drive. This is the most northern point of Ireland, and the views are stunning. It’s quite high up, which means it’s very windy and cold, so dress accordingly. Luckily (and surprisingly), there’s a mobile coffee stand that sells warm coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks up there.
While I literally felt like I was going to be blown away, it was pretty cool to say I’ve been to the northernmost point of Ireland.
When you’re done, I highly recommend stopping at Farren’s Bar, which has the claim to fame of being the northernmost pub in Ireland. Many locals were there playing pool and enjoying pints when I stopped by, and I was pleased with their pizza menu, as I was starving at the time.
Ascend the Majestic Slieve League Cliffs
If you’ve got half a day to spare, consider heading to these spectacular cliffs, about a 1.5-hour drive from Donegal Town. The journey there is its own kind of adventure, involving a steep, winding road that you’ll need to drive slowly for, but the reward at the top makes it all worthwhile.
On a clear day, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, making you feel as if you’ve reached the world’s end. As you can see above, I had a very foggy day when I was there, but I thought that made it all the more mysterious.
Before you head back, make a point to visit the local shops near the cliffs. These spots offer unique, handmade crafts by local artisans, providing you with the perfect Irish keepsake. It’s a great way to take a tangible piece of Ireland home with you.
Where to Stay in Donegal
Here are a few ideal Donegal hotels to stay at:
- The Abbey Hotel Donegal: Nestled in the heart of Donegal’s main square, this 3-star hotel has prime access to Donegal Castle and stunning views of Donegal Bay and the River Eske. Relish cozy bedrooms equipped with modern amenities, and savor exquisite Irish cuisine at The Market House restaurant.
- The Highlands Hotel: Situated in the charming town of Glenties, The Highlands Hotel serves as an ideal base for outdoor enthusiasts, just 8 miles from Narin & Portnoo Golf Club and close to popular hiking and cycling trails. Unwind in rooms designed for comfort, complete with modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, and tea-making facilities.
Day 6: Belfast
Distance from Donegal: 176 km (2 hours)
From old architecture to beautiful murals, Belfast is a great destination to end your 6 day Ireland road trip. It’s a great city to visit, and if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you’ll definitely love it here, as there are many nearby filming locations. Belfast is a different type of city than others in Ireland, but you’ll love exploring it.
Walk Along the Peace Walls
The Peace Walls in Belfast are towering relics from a bygone era, originally erected to separate Catholic and Protestant communities. Although plans are underway to remove them, they currently serve as a unique and emotionally charged stop on any Belfast tour.
Covered in murals and graffiti, these walls offer a poignant look into the city’s past conflicts and ongoing efforts toward unity. It’s a can’t-miss experience that adds a layer of depth to your understanding of Belfast’s complex history.
If you like this, you’ll love the Belfast murals tour.
Catch a Show at SSE Arena
The Belfast Giants bring a thrilling dose of sports excitement to the city, with their home turf being the bustling SSE Arena. If your trip timing during your 6 days in Ireland aligns with their game schedule, securing tickets is a must.
Watching the Giants play isn’t just about the game; it’s about immersing yourself in local culture. The arena itself is a modern entertainment hub, and the crowd is electric, giving you a glimpse into the camaraderie and spirit of Belfast.
Dive into Titanic History at Titanic Belfast
I initially thought I’d breeze through the Titanic Belfast museum in no time, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The place captivated me so much that I ended up spending around four hours there. This museum is far from just a quick stop—it’s a deep dive into the history of the iconic ship that famously sank a century ago.
Situated in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, where the Titanic was built, the museum features a compelling range of authentic artifacts recovered from the vessel. Each exhibit tells a gripping story, from the ship’s construction to its ill-fated voyage, making it hard to pull yourself away.
You’ll want to allocate a good chunk of your day to fully appreciate everything this extraordinary museum has to offer. It’s also an ideal Belfast activity with kids, as older ones will love seeing old artifacts.
Marvel at Belfast City Hall’s Architecture
Built in the early 1900s, Belfast City Hall is more than just a striking Edwardian building. It’s filled with intricate designs and artwork of renowned figures, from Queen Victoria to President Clinton.
However, it’s not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a snapshot of Belfast’s rich history and civic spirit. Don’t miss out on this key piece of the city’s cultural puzzle.
Embark on a Belfast Tour
It’s impossible to see everything the country has to offer on your 6 day trip around Ireland. However, with a Northern Highlights tour, you can easily see the highlights like Antrim’s Coast and Glenariff Nature Reserve. I loved doing this drive so much and can’t wait to go on it again next time.
To fully understand the Troubles—the conflicted period in Northern Ireland—consider going on a tour of Belfast with someone who has firsthand experience. The Black Taxi Tour lets you explore Loyalist and Republican areas, view influential political murals, and hear stories about daily life during those difficult times.
Where to Stay in Belfast
Here are a few Belfast hotels I recommend during your Ireland road trip:
- House Hotel Belfast: This boutique hotel is right next to Belfast’s bustling city center and steps away from The Waterfront Hall. Set on the scenic Botanic Avenue in the heart of the Queen’s Quarter, the hotel offers both a relaxed bistro and a lively nightclub, making it a versatile choice for travelers.
- The 1852 Hotel: Just a short walk from Queens University and cultural attractions like the Botanical Gardens, this hotel features the award-winning Town Square Café and places you within minutes of the city’s vibrant nightlife.
Hopefully, this 6 days in Ireland itinerary gave you plenty of ideas to start planning your trip.