Discover Ireland Itinerary for Self Drive Tour of Ireland

Ireland has been our bucket list for many years.  We finally were able to travel Ireland on a self-driving tour around the country with a travel mate from England and my husband's sister.

Tips for Where to Stay and What to see on a Self-Driving Tour of  Ireland

country road in Ireland

Ireland Driving Itinerary

Arrive Dublin Airport

Make your way to Dublin City Centre (30 minutes), where we recommend that you  check into the 5* Fitzwilliam Hotel*

The Fitzwilliam Hotel is ideally situated in Central Dublin, overlooking St Stephen’s Green. The Fitzwilliam is known for its contemporary style and its warm Irish welcome.

The city of Dublin is filled with places to explore. You may wish to give yourself an overview of the city by taking one of the Dublin Bus hop-on-and-off tours that will take you to all the main landmarks. Among the many highlights are the homes where the Duke of Wellington and Oscar Wilde were born, as well as the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Molly Malone statue, and Dublin Castle. Things to see and do in Dublin

Useful contacts:
The Fitzwilliam Hotel, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: 353 1 478 7000 Overnight at the Fitzwilliam Hotel

More about Dublin, Ireland

Enroute to Belfast stop at:

Malahide Castle tour, gardens and cafe

Howth the Seafood Capital of Ireland


Rent a car and head north. If you drive 2 hours north to Belfast, visit Howth and Malahide Castle as you leave Dublin. Once in Belfast check-into the Merchant Hotel.

Titanic Museum Belfast ireland
Titanic Museum in Belfast

The Merchant Hotel is a 5-star hotel and is a harmonious blend of Victorian grandeur and Art Deco modernity, situated in the heart of Belfast city center’s historic Cathedral Quarter.

Overnight at the Merchant Hotel

Useful contacts: Merchant Hotel, 16 Skipper St, Belfast, Co. Antrim Tel: 44 28 9023 4888
Hertz City Centre Depot, 151 South Circular Road Dublin 8, Ireland
TEL: 353 (1) 709 3060

Explore Belfast. You may wish to take the Black Taxi Tour (view the political murals of the Falls and the Shankill tell their own graphic story of what has been called "The Troubles" in Ireland's recent history. See the infamous Peaceline, a wall built to keep Nationalists and Loyalists apart and in the process divided the communities.

Go golfing, drive 40 minutes to Ardglass, Co Down, where you can golf at Ardglass GC .  Ardglass really is a course to savor with some outstanding holes. The 161yd Par 3 2nd, the 480yd Par 5 11th and the 181yd Par 3 12th each require a carry across the coastline and cliffs tops of the Irish Sea and rank among the best holes in Ireland. The view from the elevated 12th tee, with the backdrop of the Irish Sea and the Mourne Mountains, is to die for.

Useful contacts:
Ardglass Golf Club, Castle Place, Ardglass, Northern Ireland, BT30 7TP. Tel: +44 (0)28 44 841219

Northern Coastline

Carrick-a-Rede rope  Bridge Northern coastline Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
Next, drive north to visit Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge along the Causeway Coastal route. Later in the day proceed to Portrush and check into the Ramada Hotel Portrush
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Ramada Hotel Portrush is a 5-minute drive from the famous Royal Portrush Golf Club. The hotel features a traditional restaurant, free Wi-Fi throughout, and a 24-hour front desk. The bright and airy bedrooms each have a cozy seating area and a private modern bathroom with a hairdryer. All rooms have tea/coffee facilities

Morea bout Ireland's Northern Coastline

Useful contacts:
Ramada Portrush Hotel, 73 Main St, Co. Antrim, Portrush Ireland Tel: 44 (0) 28 7082 6100

Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way Ireland coastline

Continue your tour by driving north-west to The Workhouse, Dunfanaghy then 20 minutes south to Glenveagh Castle and a last 1-hour journey south to Donegal. In Donegal check into the Abbey Hotel.

The Abbey Hotel is one of the longest established hotels in the northwest, renowned for its unique setting in the center of Donegal Town with idyllic views of Donegal Bay in the background. The Abbey Hotel is a premier venue for music events, activity breaks, and best value accommodation rates in Donegal. The Abbey Hotel is located near beautiful coastal drives and signature discovery points of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Useful contacts:

Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal, Ireland Tel: 353 (0) 74 97 21014

Tour Donegal Castle, Muckish Mountain, Lough Eske and the Abbey of the Four Masters.

Go golfing at the Donegal Golf Club, Murvagh, Laghey, Co. Donegal, Ireland Tel: 353 (0) 74 97 34054

Donegal Golf Club or Murvagh as it is commonly known, is a magnificent par-73, measuring 6,753 meters true test of golf. It is a testament to the late Eddie Hackett’s ability to design spectacular links courses. After completing Waterville and Connemara he was given an opportunity to flex his muscles on a promontory in Donegal Bay. He recalled with great modesty "The greens are natural sites: only the level of some them were adjusted by hand. All I had to do was develop the course with what nature provided". One of the feature holes is 174 meters 5th to a plateau green with Donegal Bay in the background and no bale-out front or sides, a truly magnificent hole.

More about Donegal, Ireland


Westport Ireland
Westport, Ireland

Continue your journey by driving south taking in the sights of Sligo Town, Ballina and Castlebar ending the day in Westport where we suggest you check into the Wyatt Hotel.

The Wyatt Hotel, one of the finest Mayo hotels, known as a gem in the heart of Westport. Our boutique property prides itself on our scenic location as well as our warm Westport welcome, professional service, top-class accommodation, and fantastic food. We are located in the center of town at The Octagon monument. The Wyatt Hotel is the perfect base to explore and enjoy the magnificent beauty of the surrounding areas. Westport is nestled between the peaks of Croagh Patrick and the deep blue seas of Clew Bay and has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in Co Mayo. Offering something for everyone from walking, cycling, sightseeing, music, arts, adventure, and leisure activities through shopping, vibrant nightlife, and gourmet food, Westport really has it all. Westport was voted the best place to live in 2012 by the Irish Times.

More  about Westport, Ireland

Useful contacts:
Wyatt Hotel, The Octagon, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland Tel: 353 (0) 74 98 25027
Next, continue driving south taking the coastal route, stopping at Kylemore Abbey, until arriving at Galway where we recommend that you check into the Hotel Metric.


Galway Ireland Boats
Galway waterfront

The 4 star Hotel Meyrick has been Galway’s leading destination for over 160 years. Overlooking Eyre Square, Hotel Meyrick is one of the most elegant 4-star city centre Galway hotels. Hotel Meyrick combines a stunning Victorian hotel with a superbly convenient location. The delights of the city are right on your doorstep; with many shops to explore, theatres to delight, restaurants to sample and nightlife to enjoy, all a short walk

Useful contacts:
Hotel Meyrick, Eyre Square, Galway Ireland Tel: 353 (0) 91 56 4041
In Galway visit Spanish Arch, Galway Cathedral, Lynch’s Castle and St Nicholas’ Church plus the many music and theatre venues of Galway City

Cliffs of Mohr

Next drive south, stopping to explore Poulnabrone Dolmen, Ailwee Caves, Dunguaire Castle, and the Cliffs of Mohr. Reach your final destination for the day at the town of Doolin where you can check into the Hotel Doolin.

Set in the heart of Doolin, famous for its traditional Irish music, this contemporary hotel has spacious, modern rooms. It features outdoor terraces, a restaurant, and two bars and cafes. The boutique-style Hotel Doolin features elegant bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, TVs and free Wi-Fi. 24-hour room service is also available. The lively Fitzpatrick bar is famed for its live music. Doolin is set on the edges of the Burren National Park, and the 213 meter-high Cliffs of Moher from the hotel's backdrop, making it an ideal location for exploring the local landscape.
Useful contacts:

Hotel Doolin, Doolin, Co. Clare Ireland Tel: 353 (0) 65 70 74111

Aran Islands

Aran islands Ireland

Take a day trip to the Aran Islands. You can take a ferry to one of the Aran Islands, Inisoirr, Inismeain, Inismor with Doolin 2 Aran Ferries. Upon your return enjoy an evening meal in Fitzpatrick's Bar.

Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry

After breakfast, the next day, drive south to Killarney, with a side trip to visit the Burren, Bunratty Castle, and the Rock of Cashel. On arrival in Killarney, where we suggest you check into the Killarney Park Hotel

The five stars Killarney Park Hotel is wonderfully situated in the picturesque town of Killarney, celebrated throughout the world for its magnificent scenery and welcoming people.

The hotel offers guests the ultimate in luxury rooms overlooking the hotel gardens or the town of Killarney. The award-winning Park Restaurant is one of Kerry's most notable dining rooms and the hotel's Spa is Ireland's only member of 'The Leading Spas of the World'. Killarney is Ireland’s best-known tourist destination and probably the most written-about and sung-about place in the land. The town is colorful with craft shops, galleries, museums, cafes, and restaurants. It also has a highly developed range of guided tours – including the traditional horse-drawn jaunting cars

Killarney Park Hotel, Town Centre, Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)64 35555

Next, drive 1 hour west to the village of Dingle and tour the Dingle Penninsula.
Return to the  Killarney Park Hotel that night.

Then tour the Ring of Kerry. The Kerry Way Road takes you through Kenmare, Cathersiveen, Rossbeig, Ross Castle, Waterville, Derrynane and Molls Gap. This is an all-day trip
Return to the Killarney Park Hotel


Old Bridge Waterford

The next day, drive east stopping for lunch in Cork and then on to Ardmore before staying the night in Waterford, where we recommend that you check into the Waterford Castle Hotel. Situated on its own private Island on the River Suir, Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf  Resort offers Luxury Castle Accommodation nestled in the suburbs of Waterford City.

Feel yourself travel through time as you make the magical journey by our Car Ferry (2 minutes) to the 310 acre Island Resort. With an amazing history stretching back to the 6th century, wake up in Waterford Castle Hotel after a peaceful night’s sleep to the picturesque and enchanting scenes and sounds the island has to offer. Enjoy gourmet food served in our award-winning Munster room restaurant and Fitzgerald Bar or simply relax by the large open fire in 16th Century surroundings.

Useful contacts: 

Waterford Castle Hotel, The Island, Ballinakill, Waterford, Co. Waterford, Ireland Tel: 353 (0) 51 878 203

Go golfing at the Waterford Castle Golf Club for the ultimate golfing experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Waterford Castle truly is an island dream! The unique Golf Club is Ireland’s only true island golf resort. Designed by Des Smyth, former Ryder Cup player, and opened in 1992, this 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course, complete with a luxurious clubhouse, leads you through mature woodland and parkland. The course itself runs to 6,814 yards, off the medal tees, and covers an area of over 200 acres

Visit the House of Waterford Crystal, The Mall, Waterford City, Ireland Tel: 353 (0)51 317000
Time to head home, drive north to Dublin, where you can check into the Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel. Drop-off  your rental the vehicle

Hilton Dublin Airport Hotel, Northern Cross, Malahide Rd, Dublin 17, Ireland Tel: 353 (0) 1 866 1800

Our self drive Ireland Itinerary made it a perfect Trip!

Tips for travel and tours in Ireland:


Average temperatures in May/June are in the high 50’s/low 60s (13-17 C), however, the weather can be unpredictable. Accordingly, we strongly suggest you prepare for all conditions by bringing the following:
  •   Trousers and sweaters
  •   Waterproof rain suit
  •   Hat
  •   Rain Gloves
  •   Turtleneck(s)
  •   Long underwear
  •   Golf shoes
  • For more information on the weather in Ireland, please visit:


The currency in Northern Ireland is British Pounds while the Republic of Ireland uses the Euro. ATM machines at most Irish banks will allow you to withdraw cash directly from your North American checking or savings account, through various networking arrangements (Cirrus, Plus, Maestro). Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most restaurants, pubs and retails locations

Restaurants and Pubs

In most pubs, you will be asked to order food and pay at the bar prior to your meal. It is rare to have servers come to your table unless you are eating at a restaurant. Tipping is not required when ordering drinks at a pub however a 10% tip is expected (after the meal only) if food is served. Servers will come to your table at a restaurant and a 10%-15% tip is also expected.


Bucket List Ideas

Come roam with us as we search for the best places to travel after retirement.

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