When booking a trip to Ireland, one of the biggest questions people have is how long should they go for. While any time spent there is amazing, I think 7 days in Ireland is ideal for most visitors so you can see a good portion of the country during your vacation.
I usually spend a minimum of seven days in Ireland each time I take a trip there. The journey always starts in Dublin, but then I expand either to the north section and visit Donegal or go southwest to explore new cities. You really can’t go wrong, no matter which route you decide to take when you’re planning your trip there.
This article will give you some travel tips to consider before you go, list what to see in Ireland in 7 days, and offer suggested accommodations, so you don’t have to do any of the research.
Tips for Spending 7 Days in Ireland
Here are some questions to help you with your 7 day Ireland itinerary.
How many days should you spend in Ireland?
While I know everyone has different amounts of time available for a vacation, I think seeing Ireland in 7 days is the perfect amount of time. You’re able to settle in, get over jet lag a bit, and then hit the road and start exploring most of the major cities.
Can you visit all of Ireland in a week?
Yes, I’ve done this trip many times and have easily seen a good portion of the country on a 7 day Ireland road trip. Some people choose just to see the big cities such as Dublin, Galway, and Belfast, while others might choose to spend their days in smaller towns.
Do I need a car when seeing Ireland in 7 days?
I highly recommend renting a car so you can go to all of the recommendations in this article as well as add anything you might see on the way. If you’re nervous about driving, my tips for driving in Ireland article should help you out with any questions you may have.
It’s not as hard as it seems (and that’s coming from someone who is self-taught!). However, if you’re still uncomfortable, you can see how to get around Ireland without a car.
What should you bring on a 7 day trip to Ireland?
I have a complete packing list for Ireland, but here are a few essentials for your 7 days in Ireland:
- A raincoat is essential any time of the year because even the summer tends to get quick bursts of rain.
- Surprisingly, sunglasses are also crucial because it can get really bright out once the rain passes, especially the glare on the road.
- I always use a travel backpack when I’m on the road because it helps me organize my gear.
Itinerary for Ireland in 7 Days
Feel free to pick and choose what you want to see on your Ireland travel itinerary for 7 days, but these are my recommended cities and attractions.
Day 1: Dublin
Dublin is the perfect starting point for your Ireland trip — its airport is close to all amenities, attractions, and sights. After all, this is the nation’s capital city, so you can expect a lot of activity here. While I don’t recommend spending a ton of time here, I always love to start my trips in Dublin exploring the restaurants, pubs, and shops before moving on.
Home to the Guinness stout, you can’t beat Dublin’s best pubs for a good or a “pint of gat,” as it’s affectionately known by the Irish. Dublin has much more to offer than its smooth drinks. The friendly city is also the country’s financial hub and cultural center, with plenty of recreational activities and attractions for tourists and locals.
Note: Use this City Sightseeing Dublin Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour to get around, and you’ll be able to get to each of the top attractions without having to worry about transport.
Let’s take a look at some exciting things to do in Dublin in one day:
Famous for hosting presidential inaugurations and state events, Dublin Castle is overflowing with history and plenty of fun facts about Dublin. King John of England built it in the 13th century, and this castle hosted the English Administration that ruled over Ireland for 700 years. On this guided tour, you’ll be enriched with the castle’s history and the times long gone.
Dublin Castle is worth putting on your 7 day Ireland itinerary and is easily accessible on foot, though you can travel here by other means.
As a visitor, you’ll be able to access various places, such as its state apartments and chapel royal, which offer you a unique perspective on Irish leadership and history, as well as religious and gothic imagery, respectively.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
If you’re looking for a little divine inspiration or wish to soak up its history and stunning architecture, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one place that’s sure to fill your cup with peace and love.
That cathedral, which is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, is also famous for its accomplished choir. It hosts several events performed by its choir, such as Christmas Eve and Day Eucharists, as well as performances by various artists throughout the year.
Apart from being a place of worship and a host of various events, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also where people come to learn and connect with others, and you’ll discover this when you pay a visit.
In my opinion, one of the best things to see in Ireland in 7 days is the Guinness Storehouse. I did this the first time I came to the country and loved it, as I always enjoy learning facts about Ireland.
Enjoy the quality brew of Guinness stout (you’ll get to make a pint of your own!) after touring the factory and learning about the brand and its rich history. As you cross the seven floors of the legendary building, you’ll discover all there is to Guinness’s brand story.
Guinness Storehouse also has several experiences to partake in. Their Taste Experience on the second floor offers stout tasting and a feast for your senses with all the flavors that make up their stout.
On the other hand, the Guinness Academy is where you’ll learn how to pour the perfect pint of stout, counting 119.5 seconds as you watch the glorious surge of the foam and its eventual settling in the glass.
These are just two iconic experiences that Guinness Storehouse offers you, and you won’t find them elsewhere, so make sure to put them on your Ireland itinerary for 7 days. This is also part of the Go City pass, which will save you money on multiple attractions.
Feeling like getting in your steps? Check out these Dublin hiking trails nearby.
Resources for Day 1
I have a comprehensive guide to where to stay in Dublin, but here’s a quick look at a few fantastic properties:
- Ashling Hotel Dublin is close to Heuston Station and the Luas tram, so staying here is convenient as it makes it easy for you to get around. Rates start at $188/night.
- Riu Plaza The Gresham is a 4-star hotel in the heart of Dublin’s City Center, making it an excellent location. Plus, it’s just 6.21 miles (10km) from Dublin International Airport. Rates start at $167/night.
- The Address Connoly is an excellent choice for those who appreciate modern comforts, such as a fully equipped gym with power showers and a sauna wherein you can relieve muscle tension afterward. Rates start at $170/night.
Remember to book your hotel before arriving in Dublin, so you won’t have to scramble for a place to stay.
Day 2: Galway
Located in western Ireland, Galway is famous for its celebrated festivals, vibrant atmosphere, and breathtaking scenery. This, plus its rich history with many buildings dating back to medieval times, makes it a popular tourist destination, and many people spend one day in Galway on their trip.
The city also offers many activities during your Ireland road trip for 7 days, such as walking tours, enlightening museums, concerts, and fun festivals. Galway is only a two-hour drive from Dublin’s city center. But, once you arrive, ditch the car because the best way to get around Galway is on foot or by bicycle.
Tip: Book this highly-rated Cliffs of Moher Tour that includes the Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City from Dublin.
Visit Galway Racecourse
Also known as the Galway Races, the Galway Racecourse is just ten minutes away (via car) from the hotel and hosts the country’s largest and most popular racing festival. The horse racing venue was established in 1864 and has been the home of Irish National Hunt racing.
Galway Races is the ideal location for a day at the races with friends. The open-air environment, crowds in suspense, and everyone dressed to the nines make for an exciting day out.
Tip: Ensure you arrive early as it gets packed relatively quickly, and there can be long queues for meals and drinks.
Explore Eyre Square on Foot
From stall to stall, you can hop from one coffee spot to the next and try out delicious food from Ireland from the vendors. Plus, it doubles as a park, making it ideal for an afternoon stroll while window shopping.
The Quays Restaurant is your best bet if you’re looking for great food and excellent service from the waitstaff. Its vibrant atmosphere with equally impressive live performances over hearty meals will keep you coming back for more.
Other notable spots include Rooster’s Café & Farmshop serves up excellent meals made from locally sourced produce with freshly brewed coffee on the side. You’ll also have plenty of pubs in Galway to choose from for a pint or two.
Enrich Yourself at Galway City Museum
You can take an eight-minute drive or a fourteen-minute stroll to the museum from the Galmont Hotel & Spa. With free admission and a café on the ground floor, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to view the exhibitions here and gain insight into Irish history?
Tip: Sign up for this Galway City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour. Your 48-hour ticket gives you enough time to explore Eyre Square and Galway City Museum on foot and catch a cab or Uber to Galway Races afterward.
Resources for Day 2
There are plenty of charming bed and breakfasts in Galway as well as hotels in Galway, but here are some additional options:
- Galmont Hotel & Spa is a hotel that should be on anyone’s list for Galway accommodation. This eco-friendly hotel overlooks Galway Bay and offers you peace and quiet while still being close to the city center. Rates start at $204/night.
- Maldron Hotel Sandy Road Galway is a warmly decorated hotel conveniently located near the city center but away from its hustle and bustle. Enjoy fun activities, such as horse riding and fishing in the area. Rates start at $117/night.
- Ash Grove House is a delightfully quaint hotel in a quiet suburban area. Parking is about 10 minutes from the city center, making it the perfect little spot to stay. Rates start at $95/night.
Day 3: Clare
Located some 45 miles (73.3km) from Galway, Clare County inhabits an area of about 575 square miles (1,489 square kilometers) and features significant geographical features like Lough Derg’s stunning shoreline and Shannon Estuary, Ireland’s longest river.
Clare County’s natural beauty will mesmerize and enchant you, along with its serene stillness. The “banner county” is also home to stunning natural attractions worth stopping to appreciate while on an Ireland road trip.
Visit the Cliffs of Moher
Take in the rugged splendor of the Cliffs of Moher, arguably the most well-known landmark in the county. Situated on the west coast of Ireland, these jagged cliffs reach 702ft (214m) at their highest point, stretching for 5 miles (8km) along the coast. No wonder this geological wonder was named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2011.
You can also take a tour to learn more about the area if you don’t want to do a self-guided tour during your 7 day driving tour of Ireland. While I know this is a tourist site, I do recommend going at least once if you’ve ever been. It was inspiring to see the massive cliffs in person during my first visit.
Explore Bunratty Castle
Noted as Ireland’s most complete castle, this legendary fortress was home to lords and ladies. From the security of Bunratty Castle’s fortress, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Clare’s countryside.
Tour Doolin Cave
With over 350 million years in the making, Doolin Cave is 200 ft (60.96m) underground. Once you’ve made your way down intricate passages and pathways, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Great Stalactite, which reflects captivating colors and details when it catches the light that stretches beneath the surface.
Among its breathtaking scenery and rolling countryside, Clare County has some unique and impressive hotels, one of which is the 5-star Dromoland Castle. But we’ll focus on
Resources for Day 3
- Treacys Oakwood Hotel is an impressive hotel that allows you to explore the Wild Atlantic Way from its premises easily. With contemporary-styled rooms and equally inspired Sophie’s Bar, you’ll have unlimited access to relaxing spots to unwind in this hotel. Rates start at $191/night.
- Killaloe Hotel & Spa is a scenic Ireland hotel on sprawling green lawns that appear straight out of a fairytale. Unlike a fairytale, you won’t have to imagine being treated at their spa. Rates start at $117/night.
- Doolin Inn is a laidback 3-star hotel located in Doolin, Ireland, which is known for being at the start of the Cliffs of Moher walk. Rates start at $187/night.
Note: If you’re here to splurge, look at the best castle hotels in Ireland — you can spend the night in a few of them.
Day 4: Killarney
Known as one of Ireland’s most scenic cities, Killarney is located in the southwest region of Ireland (in Kerry) and is surrounded by statuesque mountains. Killarney has lots to offer you as a tourist during your 7 days in Ireland.
From Killarney National Park’s Muckross Abbey to its Ross Castle, the city’s national park boasts several popular sites for locals and visitors alike. With all Killarney has to offer you, it makes sense to spend your first day in County Kerry exploring Killarney National Park.
Visit Muckross Abbey
Formerly the Franciscan friary of Irrelagh, Muckross Abbey features a church, square tower, and graveyard in surrounding grounds. It’s a unique place to visit and learn about religion and visit the burial ground of accomplished Gaelic poets.
There are three parts, so to speak, of Muckross Abbey. Firstly is its Abbey itself, which is rather compact. Close by, you’ll notice a dormitory wherein the friars slept with partial wall paintings depicting religious artwork. You’ll also come across the chancel, which is finely preserved and embodies an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
Muckross Abbey’s graveyard is the third and final part of the attraction. Although graveyards are typically thought of as somber, the grounds here contain a sort of eerie tranquility you won’t find elsewhere.
Learning about the impressive Muckross Abbey is fascinating, and it’s also free. The site is open 24/7 all year round for pedestrians, but vehicles can only enter from 8.15 am to 6 pm.
Explore Ross Castle
Steeped in Irish lore, this well-preserved castle is open to the public during summertime (August is a great time to visit) and has an extensive history dating back to the 15th century. It is believed that O’Donoghue Mór, an Irish chieftain, an Irish chieftain who ruled his clan in Loch Lein, built the historic Castle.
As you step into the castle, you’ll notice that its interior strikes a unique balance of being bare yet homely. Neatly yet naturally arranged pieces of 16th- and 17th-century furniture in its quaint rooms.
Ross Castle’s exterior is also nothing short of magnificent. It is right on the edge of a picturesque lake, offering gorgeous mountain views.
Interestingly, there’s a myth that if you catch a glimpse of O’Donoghue’s ghost, the person who built the castle, you’d have good fortune for the rest of your days. Why not visit Ross Castle and see it (or him) for yourself?
Take In the Beauty of Torc Waterfall
The beautiful Torc Waterfall is the perfect location for those who wish to immerse themselves in County Kerry’s staggering beauty and hear the sounds of water running down the stream. The height of the waterfall is about 70ft (20m), and it is a beautiful site to witness flowing down the natural boulders along its slopes.
As if this natural beauty is not enough, taking a short hike of about 650ft (200m) will give you news of the waterfall from the viewing platform. Continue walking along the mossy path, and you’ll arrive at the second platform. This platform offers you breathtaking views of Muckross Lake.
Resources for Day 4
Since I’ve recommended many locations to visit in a tour of Killarney National Park, why not stay close to the action?
- Killarney Avenue Hotel is one place where you should not let the price deceive you. The natural light that shines through its large windows further enhances the warm and inviting atmosphere it welcomes you with. The tastefully decorated hotel is close to Killarney National Park and is under a 5-minutes walk away. Rates start at $127/night.
- Killarney Oaks Hotel is a charming 4-star hotel that’s a stone’s throw away from Killarney National Park, which makes it incredibly convenient for a visitor. Known for its uber-comfortable and spacious beds, Killarney Oaks Hotel is the perfect play to rest in. Rates start at $248/night.
- The Ross is an effortlessly chic boutique hotel with stunning modern finishes while surrounded by Ireland’s lush greenery. Rates start at $192/night.
Tip: Remember to book any of these hotels in Killarney for 2 nights, as you’ll spend 2 days in County Kerry if you follow this itinerary.
Day 5: Kerry
This fairytale-like landscape is filled with rolling hills and lush green pastures dotted with adorable sheep and cattle. Its landscape is reminiscent of “old Ireland”—a rural Ireland that captivates you with its charm and beauty.
In Kerry, you can find plenty of beaches for surfing, swimming, fishing, and other water sports; mountains for hiking; and lakes for fishing or sailing on a boat. There are also several attractions for you to explore, including Dingle Castle, which dates back to the 15th century. There are also many things to do in Dingle while you’re there.
Drive Along the Ring of Kerry
Go on one of Ireland’s most scenic drives during your 7 days in Ireland, about 120 miles (193.12km). You can complete this as a round trip or an out-and-back trip from Killarney. Beginning at Kenmare and going around the Iveragh Peninsula, the drive passes through small Irish towns, taking you through rolling hills with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and islands.
This is one of my favorite drives in the country, and my only regret was not taking enough pictures when I was here because I was constantly staring out the window in awe instead.
Visit Molly Gallivan’s Cottage & Traditional Farm
Step into this 200-year-old cottage and take a step back in time as you savor traditionally baked scones or apple crumble and tea. Plus, you’ll discover how rural Ireland lived before electricity and the modern advancements we enjoy.
Visit Skellig Michael
Take a boat out to this picturesque island and trek up this historic site. Off the coast of County Kerry, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the earliest Christian monasteries in Europe.
Resources for Day 5
If you opt to spend just one night in Killarney, you can spend your second day in County Kerry in Kenmare, which is about 45 minutes away.
- Kenmare Bay Hotel & Resort is a refreshingly laid-back hotel with friendly and helpful staff. Don’t let its affordable pricing fool you—this hotel boasts all the amenities you could hope for a pleasant stay. Rates start at $94/night.
- Sheen Falls Lodge is a stunning 5-star hotel in an equally scenic location. This hotel is the epitome of luxury as it sits on a sprawling 300 acres property with lush greenery and beautifully still, blue waters. Rates start at $254/night.
- Lansdowne Kenmare is a charming 3-star hotel that offers you warm service thanks to its professional yet friendly staff. You’ll also enjoy the stylish décor amidst the relaxing atmosphere at this hotel. Rates start at $165/night.
Day 6: Cork
County Cork is famous for its rich agricultural production, which includes dairy, beef, and cereal crops. The county is also home to many small family-owned farms. Cork is also known as Ireland’s Foodie capital, and people flock to their English Market for culinary delights.
Visit Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park is a 100-acre wildlife park on the upscale Fota Island. Their tour options allow you to interact with and learn more about their animal residents. From Asiatic lions to pretty flamingos, you’ll find them all here.
The renowned wildlife park, which opened in 1983, is home to around 30 animal species as well as 50 different varieties of birds. With the aim of establishing a center for conservation and education, Fota Wildlife Park is a fun and entertaining place to spend your time in Ireland.
Explore Blarney Castle & Gardens
Blarney Castle is a medieval castle located in the village of Blarney in County Cork. Apart from its well-preserved stone castle, you’ll notice that the grounds here are equally impressive, with some of the largest specimen trees you’ll witness in Ireland.
The castle was originally built as a stronghold for feudal lords who controlled much of northwestern Ireland, so you’ll want to visit it during your 7 days in Ireland.
Resources for Day 6
- Fota Island Hotel and Spa is for those who appreciate ultimate luxury and appreciate staying at 5-star hotels. You’ll enjoy the effortless elegance and stylishly decorated hotel and its furnishings. Additionally, its comfortable rooms offer you breathtaking countryside views and upscale bathrooms. Located close to Fota Wildlife Park, you’ll enjoy exploring the diverse wildlife nearby. Rates start at $201/night.
- Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa is a tranquil hotel that offers spectacular views of the surroundings. Having been twice named a leading spa resort in Ireland, it’s the ideal hotel for those looking for rest and reprieve after a busy itinerary. Rates start at $244/night.
- Maldron Hotel South Mall Cork City is ideally situated in the city center, making it close to other worthwhile attractions. You’ll also enjoy going on a taste adventure with international cuisine served in their Grain & Grill Restaurant in the evenings. Rates start at $155/night.
- I also have an in-depth article on the best places to stay in Cork for alternative options.
Day 7: Back to Dublin (and Back Home)
Once you’ve rounded up your glorious week in Ireland, the last journey of your itinerary is to pack your bags and make your way to Dublin International Airport. If you want to go about it in a roundabout way, you can catch a connecting flight to Dublin via London at Cork Airport, which is around 5 miles (8km) near Cork’s City Center. This option will take you 5 hours (there are no direct flights from Cork to Dublin).
You can always use your rental car to take a scenic three-hour drive back to Dublin if you’re not fond of flying back. Plus, you’ll get to squeeze in extra places to visit along the way.
Take In The Titanic Experience Cobh
While the Titanic was built in Belfast, you can visit the Titanic Experience Cobh in Cork (before your flight) and learn what it was like aboard the iconic ship. Many of the interactive displays here will make you feel like you are aboard the actual ship—even if it is just for an hour.
It was at the White Star Line Building that the last passengers of the ill-fated voyage departed. You’ll learn about the different Irish families, such as Margaret Rice and her young children who embarked on the Titanic but sadly passed away.
Visit the Rock of Cashel
This is about halfway between Cork and Dublin, so a great pitstop to stretch your legs and explore a bit more of the Emerald Isle.
The Rock of Cashel is a large, ancient stone stronghold that’s over 1000 years old and is the last stop on this linked tour. The historic fortress is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s easy to see why—the views from the summit are stunning, offering you views of Tipperary’s lush, green landscape.
Prior to the Norman invasion, the Rock of Cashel had been the customary seat of the Kings of Munster for hundreds of years. It provides you with a unique insight into Irish history you won’t find anywhere else.
If you want to extend this trip, you can go on a road trip around Northern Ireland as well. Either way, you’ll love your 7 days in Ireland exploring this beautiful country!