If you only have a week to tour Ireland, you’ll want to hit all the high points, yet have time to relax and enjoy the Emerald Isle’s breathtaking scenery and meet its friendly people. Relax. We’ve done the legwork for you.
Here’s a 7 day itinerary that gives you several options for each day for a magical week in Ireland—ones that you’ll long to return to again and again. It includes some of the nation’s top tourist attractions, as well as some hidden gems that will satisfy a variety of tastes.
With this itinerary, you can visit World Heritage sites, historical monuments, and museums. You’ll see stunning vistas on coastal drives, take some downtime in some of our lovely parks, or just stroll through a quaint village or two, making new friends, savouring the delicious local food, and enjoying traditional music.
Whatever you want to take in on your vacation, we have included a wide range of options for everyone to make sure you have an itinerary perfect for you.
Day 1 and Day 7: Dublin
Too much to see in a single day, we’ve earmarked two days for you to see the sights of the capital city, Dublin. Here are your options:
- Walking or Bus Tour: Stroll through the storied Dublin streets or take in the sights of the city from atop a bus with a number of tour bus options with knowledgeable guides, departing from various stops across the city.
- Guinness Storehouse Tour: Tour the legendary brewery, learn how to pull a perfect pint of the ‘black stuff’ from the experts and get a free pint for your trouble. Learn about the history and making of your favourite brew, and get 360 views of Dublin, whilst enjoying your pint, from their rooftop Gravity Bar.
- Trinity College and the Book of Kells: A famed institution of higher learning founded in the 16th century, take in Trinity College’s sprawling grounds and beautiful buildings. The main attraction, Trinity College houses one of Ireland’s most important cultural treasures, the Book of Kells, an illuminated ninth-century manuscript of the four Gospels.
- The GPO (General Post Office): Tour the historic site that became the headquarters for the historic 1916 Easter Rising. At the heart of Ireland’s struggle for independence, it still operates as the city’s central post office.
- Christ Church Cathedral: The oldest building in the city, Christ Church has stood as an anchor of faith for nearly 1,000 years. Its exquisite tile floors and gorgeous architecture make it a must-see, not to mention its Viking rich history, being the original Viking church in the city. Dublinia, one of Dublin’s best museums is located in part of the Cathedral and provides a great insight into the Viking and Medieval history of the city; well worth a visit!
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Come for its more than 800 years of history, the soaring 43-metre spire and other architectural features, the services, or the music, this building’s meditative ambience will charm and uplift.
- Stephen’s Green: An iconic space in the city, relax in this nine-hectare park filled with greenery, waterfalls, a lake, a playground, and more. Grab some takeaway food nearby, make it a picnic and watch the world go by!
- The Phoenix Park: Something for everyone in this beautiful, historic park: Dublin Zoo, walking trails, sport courts, Victorian flower gardens, or partake in some deer watching in the largest enclosed public park in Europe.
- Dublin Castle: Built in 1204 as a defensive fort against a Norman invasion, this prominent site has held many roles, including naming the city of Dublin and is central to Ireland’s history in the fight for independence. A beautiful building, it has been lovingly restored and now holds Irish government offices.
- Kilmainham Jail: Opened in 1796, this former jail housed inmates from common criminals jailed for stealing a loaf of bread to murders and many famous rebellion leaders during the 1916 Rising and the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921). A fascinating tour steeped in significance in Ireland’s history.
- National Gallery of Ireland: Recently restored to its former glory, this exquisite building houses a magnificent collection of art that spans over eight centuries; it is a must-see for art lovers. With many different exhibitions throughout the year, get your creative mind flowing.
- National Museum of Ireland: Home of all things Irish, this museum houses important artefacts from history, art, culture, and natural history. With over a million visitors a year, this popular site also has different exhibitions through the year on Archaeology, Decorative Arts, History and more.
- The Ha’penny Bridge: For years, this bridge served as the only pedestrian bridge in the city, a low-cost alternative to ferries or traffic-crowded bridges. An iconic site separating the north and south of the city, the photo worthy attraction is a must see!
Day 2: Cork
A leading European cultural city, Cork is a beautiful spot in the south west of Ireland and a must see when touring the south of the country. Choose your adventure from these Cork visitor favourites:
- Cork City: Experience the sights and sounds of Ireland’s third-largest city, from the English Market to Blackrock Castle.
- Blarney Castle: A medieval castle in its heyday, it’s now more famous for the Blarney Stone, a rock that, if kissed, gives you the ‘gift of the gab’, that is skill or eloquence at flattery. After you have been blessed with the skill of flattery, tour the lovely gardens and the castle itself.
- Cobh Heritage Centre: History buffs or those of Irish descent can learn about Ireland’s rich history or study their own ancestry here.
- Kinsale (40 mins from Cork City): A historic fishing village, Kinsale still retains its unique charm. Wander the streets, make some new friends, enjoy fresh seafood, or shop its colourful streets.
- Desmond Castle: While you’re in Kinsale, stop by this late medieval masterpiece, originally constructed for a customs house.
- Charles Fort: Another must see if you’re visiting Kinsale (only a 10 minute drive), this star-shaped fort on the harbour’s edge is as stunningly beautiful as it is historically significant.
- Cork’s Pubs and Restaurants: Get to know the real Ireland at Cork’s favourite pubs and casual eateries. You’ll have a rousing good time and meet a new friend or two.
From beaches to windswept headlands, the gorgeous Cork landscape will stay in your memory forever.
Day 3: Killarney and County Kerry
Known as ‘The Kingdom’, Kerry is renowned for its stunning beauty, historic sites, great food and friendly people. Take in the sights and sounds of these Kerry spots.
- Killarney Town: Known as the ‘Town in the Park’, Killarney is known for its scenery but don’t forget to explore its lakeside mansion and other historical sites as well.
- Ross Castle: Where the O’Donoghue clan calls home, this 15th-century fortress marked the last stand of the locals as they stood against Oliver Cromwell and his armies.
- Lakes of Killarney: Take a boat tour of these three serene lakes that mark this magical land. Or just sit by the lake and watch the wildlife go by. Relaxation: guaranteed.
- Killarney National Park and Muckross House: Enjoy the wonders of nature at Killarney National Park, and then tour Muckross House, a magnificent 19th-century mansion, tucked between the mountains and woods; Traditional working farms, a shop, and gardens transport you back in time.
- Ring of Kerry for the Day: A leisurely and ‘breath-taking views packed’ three-and-a-half-hour drive, this scenic route winds past history as you enjoy nature’s majestic creations. Stop and savour the beauty for one of the most memorable days of your tour!
Day 4: Dingle, County Kerry
A small port town on the Dingle Peninsula in the southwest of Ireland, Dingle is a highlight on any tour of Ireland. Known for its sandy beaches, rugged scenery, its sea life (a wild bottlenose Dolphin, named Fungie, being its most famous visitor) and its people, it is a perfect example of the wonders Ireland has to offer.
- Dingle Peninsula: Touring the stunning coastline of the Dingle Peninsula will take your breath away. From rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, towering cliffs and mountains and endless sea views, you will want to capture as much of this stunning scenery as you can.
- Self-Guided Walking Tour: Wander the small streets of Dingle and try the delicious local food, especially their pride and joy: Murphy’s Ice-Cream–handmade in Dingle—and oh, so splurge-worthy!
- Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium: Explore the depths of the ocean as you wind your way through the walk-through aquarium, filled with wildlife from the sea.
- Dick Mack’s Pub: For a taste of tradition, head for Dick Mack’s—the quintessential Irish pub—and one of Dingle’s most famous.
- O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub: The one place you don’t want to miss if traditional Irish music sessions are your thing. O’Sullivan’s is equally well-known for its fine craft beers.
- The Gallarus Oratory: This simple stone chapel is beautifully preserved. Done in Celtic beehive style, its simplicity evokes awe. Perhaps an early Christian church, maybe a travellers’ chapel, this so-far undateable artefact is one you won’t want to miss.
Day 5: Clare
Clare is a county located in the West of Ireland, that at every turn will highlight its stunning landscapes, with a wealth of famous and World Heritage sites calling the county home. You will no doubt enjoy these amazing nature adventures:
- Cliffs of Moher: Top of the list for many sightseers and for a good reason, this World Heritage site is a special Irish attraction. Spectacular cliffs drop down into the sea for awe-inspiring views that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
- The Burren: A significant region in Ireland’s history, the majestic Burren is a wide ranging rugged yet fragile limestone landscape. Rock formations that look as if they were plucked from a sci-fi movie blend with sweeping naturescapes to create untold beauty.
- Bunratty Castle: Step back in time yet again with this historical theme park where you can tour a fully restored medieval castle, experience medieval banquets, and watch costumed actors re-enact life as it was lived in the 19th century in nearby Bunratty Folk Park.
- Surf at Lahinch: Indulge your inner beach boy or girl and try your hand at surfing at this internationally renowned surf spot. Patient instructors will help even beginners learn their way around this thrilling sport.
- Aillwee Caves: Explore the underbelly of the earth in one of the oldest—and most beautiful caves in all of Ireland.
Day 6: Galway
A harbour city on the west coast of Ireland, Galway is synonymous with a beautiful coastline, friendly people and a lively and welcoming city where having fun and an enjoyable time is unavoidable. Experience the beauty of Ireland up-close and personal with a visit to these destinations:
- Eyre Square, Galway: The place where everyone in Galway meets, Eyre Square has something for everyone: greenspace, shopping, nearby pubs, and restaurants. You’ll be sure to meet a new friend or two here.
- Salthill, Galway: A seaside paradise on Galway Bay’s northern shore, Salthill has gorgeous beaches and Salthill Promenade, where you can enjoy views of Galway City and the Aran Islands.
- Shop Street and Quay Street: Experience the hustle and bustle of Irish life on these Galway streets, studded with popular bars, great food spots, and wonderful ‘craic’ (fun in Irish) to be had by all.
- Spanish Arch: Built in 1584 to protect the city against looters, this historic arch is remarkably well-preserved, standing where the river meets the sea. Inside, a museum displays artefacts from the area’s history.
- Aran Islands: If you have time, explore these history-rich isles. The largest island, Inishmore, is home to the prehistoric fort of Dún Aonghasa, perched on top of a high cliff, and beautiful beaches with turquoise waters. Rent bikes to see the best of the Island.
- Roisin Dubh Pub and other Famous Galway Pubs and Restaurants: Home to fabulous music and comedy acts, the Roisin Dubh is the place to go in Galway for entertainment. Once you’ve whetted your appetite for fun, go on a pub tour and meet some new friends you’ll remember for a lifetime!
Day 7: Back to Dublin
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Wrap up your 7 days in Ireland with a few extras you didn’t have a chance to see on your first day in Dublin. Or revisit some of your favourites. Either way, take stock of all the wonderful memories made on this week-long trip of a lifetime, that you can take home with you as you end your visit in this—one of the earth’s most beautiful destinations.
If you want to time your trip for one of Ireland’s many festivals, check out these summer favourites:
- Sea Sessions, Bundoran, 22-24 June
- Buncrana Music Festival, 29-30 June
- Summer Solstice, 21 June (Hill of Tara)
- A Taste of Donegal, 24-26 August
- Kilkenny Arts Festival, 09-19 August
Even if you only have 7 days to spare, Ireland’s a fabulous destination in which to spend it. Book your trip today and embark on your Irish adventure!
At Love Irish Tours, we have guided visitors around Ireland for years, travelling the whole island and making sure people have the most enjoyable experience, seeing memorable sites and attractions on this trip of a lifetime.
We are very passionate about our home country and our enthusiastic team can’t wait to show you the best that Ireland has to offer!