Day 1: Australia – – Ireland
Make your way to the airport and catch a flight headed to Dublin in Ireland!
Day 2: Dublin
Touch down in the capital of Ireland, Dublin! Head to the car rental kiosks to pick up your hire car and drive to your Dublin accommodation to check in.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Dublin (B)
Today is spent diving into the culture and history of Dublin. Following breakfast at the hotel, head out into the city and wander around its streets on foot. Take in one or all five of the city’s elegant Georgian Squares; meander the paths of Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe; move between the boutiques lining either side of bustling Grafton Street; sit down to a meal in a pub or eatery in Temple Bar; learn about the history of Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland that was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. Those that peer into the university will have opportunity to see the Book of Kells. This manuscript dates back to the 9th century and contains the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is one of Ireland’s most important historical and cultural treasures.
Your time in Dublin also includes a trip to the Guinness Storehouse, where you will learn about one of Ireland’s most famous beverages. Brush up on the history of Guinness and the unique brewing process during this tour, and cap off the experience by enjoying a pint in the Gravity Bar as you take in the sweeping city views.
Day 4: Dublin – Belfast (B)
Depart Dublin after breakfast as you set out on your first day of driving through Ireland. Today’s route is taking you towards Northern Ireland and its capital, Belfast. This city was the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, and has a fascinating – and sometimes chequered – legacy to uncover. There is also a rich industrial history to learn about. One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Titanic Belfast experience, a monument to the doomed vessel that documents that ship’s construction, launch and story through interactive galleries and displays. Tonight is spent in Belfast and the evening is at your leisure.
Day 5: Belfast (B)
Make a day trip from Belfast to Ballycastle. This small town in Country Antrim sits on the north-easternmost tip of Northern Ireland and marks the eastern end of the Causeway Coast. Take a walk along the promenade to cast your gaze out to Rathlin Island and explore the charms of this quaint town. Then make the drive to Giant’s Causeway, one of Northern Ireland’s most recognisable natural landmarks. This geological formation is made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that date back 60 million years. Spend however long you like at this UNESCO World Heritage Site before making the return drive to Belfast.
Day 6: Belfast – Lough Neagh – Londonderry (B)
Your destination today is Londonderry. Leave Belfast after breakfast and weave your way through this beautiful countryside – making any stops you see fit along the way – to Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles. The area surrounding the lake is rich with local folklore, castle ruins, historic gardens and nature reserves. Have your camera at the ready to snap photos of secluded bays, pristine scenery and any wildlife you’re lucky enough to spot. Continue to Londonderry – or simply called Derry – at your leisure and use whatever time you have to soak in the city’s sights. Visit sites that played a role in the Siege of Derry, Bloody Sunday or Battle of the Bogside, or explore the string of museums, galleries and theatres sprinkled around the city.
Day 7: Malin Head – Donegal Town (B)
Say goodbye to Northern Ireland today. Uncover the scenery and landscapes of the Northern Headlands of the Wild Atlantic Way Route as you drive through Malin Head, Donegal Town and to Erris. Choose to make a pitstop at Glenveagh National Park, the second-largest park in Ireland, or drive straight into the county of Donegal. There are treasures for every type of traveller in Donegal, no matter if you’re a nature-lover, foodie or history buff. All visitors however will find it hard to dispute the beauty of this northern region. Follow the Surf Coast to Erris, passing through Sligo and perhaps stopping to stretch your legs and take a bite to eat, before overnighting in County Galway.
Day 8: Erris – Galway Bay (B)
Look forward to spending an entire day traversing the Bay Coast. This stretch of coast is lined with untouched beaches, impressive bays and rugged wilderness. The largest bay of the area is Clew Bay, home to a supposed 365 islands and islets – one for every day of the year. You can also head to Connemara, whose name translates to ‘inlets of the sea’; a district with a strong Irish culture and a string of tiny fishing villages, coves and bays. One of Connemara’s most popular to-dos is Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Garden. The Abbey was originally built to be a castle but now acts as Benedictine monastery. Other possible pursuits for today include cycling sections of the Great Western Greenway, walking parts of the Twelves Bens range or Croagh Patrick mountain, or finding a quiet beach for a peaceful strong along the sand.
Day 9: Galway – Ballybunion (B)
Undertake the section of Cliff Coast between Galway and Ballybunion today. In between clifftop photo stops or visits to local pubs, travellers may see rainbows at Loop Head Drive; frolicking dolphins at the mouth of the River Shannon; and spectacular mountain views from Kerry’s Cliffs of Dooneen. One of the most popular stops for any visitor to Ireland is the famed Cliffs of Moher. These sea cliffs stretch for 14 kilometres in County Clare, promising unrivalled vantage points, sightings of puffin colonies and other birdlife, and a breathtaking landscape dotted with wildflowers and coastal flora. Those with some extra time up their sleeve may also be able to visit Kilkee and Loop Head Peninsula to see its lighthouse. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and be rewarded with postcard-perfect panoramas of County Kerry.
Day 10: South Kerry – West Cork (B)
Explore the Southern Peninsulas today as you move through South Kerry to West Cork. This region of Ireland makes for particularly scenic walks and trails, so there is ample reason to regularly hop out of the car, stretch your legs and savour the crisp country air. The area itself is made up of five main peninsulas, and opportunities for visitors include everything from visiting abandoned copper mines, to paddle-boarding and star-gazing. The drive today also takes travellers through the charming towns of Tralee and Dingle before wrapping up in the Killarney area.
Day 11: Killarney National Park – Ross Castle – Kenmare (B)
Enjoy a whole day moving about County Cork. Perhaps begin in Killarney National Park to tick off sights including the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks (the highest mountain range in Ireland), as well as Muckross House and Gardens, Muckross Abbey, Torc Waterfalls and Ross Castle. Swap Mother Nature for the streetscapes of Kenmare in the afternoon, one of the main towns in the Ring of Kerry, and amble between its small shops and cosy cafes. The town is also famous for its neighbouring golf courses should you like to take to the green.
Day 12: Kenmare – Bantry – Kinsale (B)
Head to points along the Haven Coast, the southernmost section of the Wild Atlantic Way that curves and winds its way between Bantry, Skibbereen and Kinsale. Take your time stopping wherever you choose to relax, snap photos or sit down for a snack or coffee. Once you arrive in Kinsale you have a wealth of artisan shops, cool bars, excellent restaurants and waterfront walks to revel in. Return to County Cork for overnight.
Day 13: Dungarvan – Waterford (B)
Depart after breakfast and set your sights on County Waterford, stopping through the harbourside city of Dungarvan enroute. You then arrive in Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland. It is also the home of the world-famous eponymous crystal and you can visit the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre. Join a guided tour at the centre to learn about the factory’s founding by George and William Penrose in 1783 and discover how these glittering pieces are manufactured and perfected. Continue your discovery of the region at Lismore Castle, a Gothic-style pile built in the 13th century by King John. The castle’s position on the River Blackwater is particularly striking – and makes for especially beautiful photographs. Stroll through the castle grounds and gardens afterwards.
Day 14: Waterford and Kilkenny (B)
There is no set driving itinerary today. Take today as a rest day to leave the car parked and explore Kilkenny on foot, opting to see its grand 12th-century castle, Black Abbey or Rothe House and Garden. Book onto a local brewery tour, meander between displays at the Medieval Mile Museum, or continue wandering the streets of Waterford to discover more of this pretty city.
Day 15: Waterford – Wicklow Mountains National Park – Dublin (B)
Begin the return drive towards Dublin this morning. Enroute you may pass through Wicklow Mountains National Park and can see the Glendalough Cathedral. This site was founded by St. Kevin in the early 6th century and is one of the most popular things to see for visitors to the park. Admire the ruins and the surrounding park landscape before hopping back into the car bound for Dublin.
Arrive in Dublin for your final night in Ireland. You farewell your Irish adventure in spectacular style by attending a Celtic evening at the Arlington Hotel. These festivities include a three-course meal and a dance and music show!
Day 16: Dublin – – Australia (B)
It is time to drop your rental car back off at the airport and catch your return flight to Australia.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 17: Australia
Arrive back in Australia today.