If you’re here, you’re already probably interested in renting a car and making your way around the lovely island of Ireland. And you’re right to be building your Ireland road trip plan! I’m so glad I listened to all the bloggers out there who recommended just renting a car and doing a 10 day driving tour of Ireland vs. staying in Dublin. You get to see SO much more of the country doing an Ireland road trip vs. just staying in one spot the whole time. It was seriously great and road tripping Ireland is SO beautiful. So here is the 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary we followed, and then I’ll break down each location and my actual feelings/recommendations.
The Short Version of My 10 Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
- 2 days in Dublin
- 1 night in Derry (driving from Dublin to stop by some of the key stops in Northern Ireland)
- 2 days in Galway
- 2 days in Dingle
- 1 night in Cork
- 1 night back in Dublin
- Leave on the 10th day
The Long Version of my 10 Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
Considering this is a 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary, you’re going to need a car. I highly recommend booking ahead and not trying to count on anyone having extra cars available for you when you land in Dublin, because an Ireland road trip is a very popular way to explore the country.
Pick your rental up in Dublin and get on the road with this 10 day Ireland itinerary!
The first city on any 10 day Ireland itinerary is obviously Dublin, and for good reason. It’s a beautiful city with so much to offer. However, I was surprised when people told me to cut down time on Dublin (originally we had like 4 or 5 days in the schedule) and I’m so glad we did. Though I thoroughly enjoyed Dublin, visiting the rest of the country via road trip vs. individual tours was SO much more authentically Ireland.
KEEP IT, BUT; only for 2 days max, and check out the following spots:
- Trinity College – explore the campus grounds but particularly, you’ve got to visit The Long Room
- Guinness Tour – absolutely go to the Gravity Bar on the rooftop
- Whiskey Tour – whether it’s the Jameson tour or the little Dublin Whiskey Tour that explores more famous Irish whiskeys, you’ll have a good time
- Dublin Castle – this was definitely a cool spot, particularly if you like history and/or architecture
- Nightlife – The Temple Bar is famous for a reason; it’s incredible
More Dublin Tours to Consider for Your 10 Day Ireland Itinerary:
Where to Stay in Dublin
Derry (or Londonderry depending on who you ask) is in Northern Ireland. We used this cute city as a quick stopover into Northern Ireland during our 10 day Ireland road trip, which is INCREDIBLY worth it (check out my Northern Ireland blog to see why). We left Dublin around 7am and got to Derry around 6pm. We crammed a lot into this day but it didn’t really feel like too much. However, when we got to Derry, we got ready for dinner and headed out around 8pm. EVERYTHING was closed for food. I’m not kidding. There was one restaurant open in the whole town – a Chinese restaurant – which we ate at.
SKIP IT: find another town in Northern Ireland to stay the night in but still do absolutely explore Northern Ireland (again, check out my blog for what to see). Derry specifically was cute but not worth it so feel free to strike it from your 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary. We would have stayed in Belfast if we were to plan it again.
HOWEVER, on our drive from Derry to Galway, we stopped in Sligo for the afternoon which was very worth it. Super cute town with lots in the area to see and do. I would definitely add that to my 10 day Ireland itinerary if I were redoing it.
Another city on every Ireland itinerary; Galway. I think I will have an unpopular opinion here, but Galway was a little overrated to me. Now, nightlife was great and I had a blast at the pubs, but overall it’s very much a shopping town and though it was cute, it wasn’t my favorite we stayed in. I did like it however more as a home base during this part of my trip. We used it as a base to travel to some nearby beauty that I consider must-sees for any 10 day driving tour of Ireland.
KEEP IT, BUT; maybe spend one of the days in the Aran Islands instead. My recommendations in Galway that we did do though are:
- Cliffs of Moher – THIS IS A MUST FOR ANY AND EVERY 10 DAY IRELAND ITINERARY – road trip or otherwise – they are amazing and I recommend you get there as early as possible
- Galway Cathedral – even if you aren’t religious, the architecture and design of this is magnificent and worth a quick visit
- Pie Maker – this is the tiniest restaurant I’ve ever been to but it’s a must
- The Quays and Roísín Dubh – you can enjoy a wild night at either of these spots but both are a blast so if you’ve got the time, definitely check them both out
Galway Tours to Add to Your 10 Day Ireland Itinerary:
Where to Stay in Galway
This was without a doubt my favorite town we visited during our entire 10 day driving tour of Ireland. I loved Dingle. It’s this adorable little fishing village that also somehow is a destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties? It’s confusing and magical, and somehow doesn’t ruin the authenticity of the town. It had the best food from our trip and it was absolutely adorable. To me, this is an absolute must for your 10 day Ireland road trip itinerary.
100% KEEP IT; also consider adding the Dingle Peninsula to your Ireland road trip itinerary. We happened to be too hungover to do it (wasn’t kidding about that Dingle nightlife!), but if I went back I would do it! The things we did get to do and that I’d totally recommend are as follows:
- Ring of Kerry – this is probably on every Ireland road trip itinerary because it’s absolutely magnificent
- Start in Killarney
- Absolutely stop at Ballinskelligs Castle and the Kerry Cliffs
- Foxy John’s Bar – so much fun with live music and a great crowd
- Wander Around Town – it’s literally just so cute, definitely wander around and explore
Like I mentioned, some of the best food I had in Ireland was in Dingle. Check out how I ate around Ireland and make sure to mark those spots down too and get them added to your 10 day Ireland itinerary.
Dingle Excursions to Consider:
Where to Stay in Dingle During Your 10 Day Ireland Itinerary
Cork was another stopover town for us because we spent the day driving the Ring of Kerry from Dingle. There’s probably nothing wrong with Cork, but it was similar to Dublin in that it didn’t feel like the cute little Ireland we had grown so fond of during our Ireland road trip.
SKIP CORK; feel free to remove this from your 10 day driving tour of Ireland if you have to choose between Cork and another stop. As far as other stops go, I 100% recommend going to Cobh instead! Such an adorable little town with a lot to offer. I mean look at these pictures how cute are they?! In Cobh, I highly recommend doing the following:
- Titanic Museum – this was INCREDIBLE; Cobh was the last stop before the ship set sail and it was a truly memorable experience
This was another stopover we made on our way back to Dublin to end our 10 day driving tour of Ireland that I’m glad we stopped at. The Waterford Crystal Factory was super cool. I highly recommend stopping there and doing an official tour so you can watch these artists make these amazing crystal pieces. Additionally, you can buy amazing gifts for family and friends and even ship them back to wherever you’re traveling from.
What I Wish We Would Have Added To Our 10 Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
Other things we would have done if we had the time that we weren’t able to do are:
- Wicklow Mountains
- Aran Islands
- Skellig Michael
- Dingle Peninsula
- Slieve League Cliffs
Now, get to planning your Ireland road trip and if you have any questions or anything, holler my way. Feel free to check out my Ireland Story Highlights on Instagram and check out what you’re getting into on this road trip. And VERY IMPORTANT… enjoy the food. It’s delicious and I’ve got restaurant recommendations for each stop along the way.