Ireland: The Isle O’ Dreams - Part One

Suzy Rhodes Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:23
Treasured Memories: 

21 Days in Ireland 


I’ve been studying Ireland for months now because we would love to have a three week adventure in Ireland one day – to just rent a car and go and explore, how exciting is that?  The more I study, plan and prepare the more I fall in love with Ireland, the history, its culture and of course the deep luscious green countryside, it has me mesmerized.   Anyway, coming up with an itinerary for this little island is actually quite easy, you simple just do a loop around; the tricky part is knowing how much time to stay in one place.  

With all my scribbled notes on paper and travel books, outlined maps, and searching through copious amounts of photos on the internet, I prioritized my favorite places to help with shorter trips to Ireland as well.  But I still like the idea of really soaking in the country and taking my sweet time – 21 days is my goal.  We shall see! 


I personally would like to spend a good three days in Dublin because I used to live there when I was a little girl.  I think I would spend some time searching for the house we used to live in and the school and church we attended and try to imagine what it was like for my parents who had four children and another one on the way!  Of course, I will also be thoroughly absorbed in the beautiful Irish city that is so rich in history and culture; I think it will keep us busy for days.

Here are some sightseeing priorities – just in my opinion, but what do I know?  I look forward to giving a full report one day!

Sightseeing priorities for Ireland:

3 Days: Dublin

5 Days add:  Dingle Peninsula

9 Days add: Kinsale, Kenmare/Ring of Kerry

11 Days add: Galway, County Clare/Burren

13 Days add:  Aran Islands, Kilkenny/Cashel

15 Days add: Belfast, Antrim Coast

19 Days add: Derry, Connemara, Wicklow Mountains/Valley of the Boyne

21 Days add: Waterford, Donegal 

-This seems to be the best itinerary for a three week trip by car and it covers just about everything that Ireland has to offer.

Photo: Rick Steves tour Ireland map

Irish Map

After having my head buried in research for weeks, I actually found a lot of my notes were almost the same as Rick Steves itinerary for Ireland.  Well, I couldn’t go too wrong; it really is just a loop around the island

Daily Plan:                                                        Sleep in:

Day 1       Fly into Dublin                                  Dublin             

Day 2       Dublin                                              Dublin

Day 3       Dublin                                              Dublin

Day 4       Rent Car – Glendalough                    Kilkenny

Day 5       Cashel                                              Waterford

Day 6       Waterford                                         Waterford

Day 7       Explore County Wexford, Cobh         Kinsale

Day 8       Kinsale       (Blarney Castle)              Kinsale

Day 9       Muckross House and Farms             Kenmare

Day 10     Ring of Kerry                                   Dingle

Day 11     Dingle Peninsula Loop                     Dingle

Day 12     Blasket Island, Dingle town             Dingle

Day 13     Cliffs of Moher, the Burren,              Galway

                Dunguaire Castle banquet

Day 14     Aran Islands                                   Galway

Day 15     Explore Connemara                        Westport

Day 16     Drive to Northern Ireland                Derry

Day 17     Explore Derry                                 Portrush

Day 18     Explore Antrim coast                      Portrush

Day 19     Belfast                                            Belfast

Day 20     Drive to Valley of the Boyne sights      Trim

Day 21     Return car and fly home from Dublin


ONE:  Book hotels and car rental before your trip to Ireland. This trip is doable without a car too, there are trains and bus tours that can help you get around Ireland.  This itinerary though is for a car, but I’ll try and add in some help with tours if I can.

TWO: If you’re coming from the airport, (only two terminals) there are two buses that run from Dublin’s airport to the city – Airlink - €6.90 and Aircoach - €8.50. You can buy a ticket at the airport TI.  Both pick up from the street directly from airport arrivals.  Ask the driver which stop is closest to your hotel. The City Bus is the cheapest way to get downtown but you do need the exact change, no change is given. Cost - €2.50.  A taxi will run you around €25.  (Bring around  €200 euros with you or buy some at the airport ATM).

THREE:  Approximate daily cost: $125 a day per person for room and board.  This allows $20 for lunch $30 for dinner $65 - $75 for lodgings.  This is for two people splitting a $130 double room that includes breakfast.  Food could be cheaper some days by buying a picnic lunch from a grocery store or bakery and looking around for cheap dinners – ie: fish and chips.

FOUR:  You’ll still need to budget for entertainment, sightseeing, bus tours, shopping/souvenirs.  ($2 postcards/ice cream/ $6 pint of beer….etc.)

FIVE: The River Liffy cuts the town in two.  The Southern half is where most of your sightseeing will take place and it’s all pretty much clustered together into a triangle form.  There’s no need to rent a car until you leave Dublin, take the bus, taxi or walk.  Parking will cost you at least €20 a day and driving is like any other chaotic city –and driving is on the left.

SIX: Hop-on/hop off bus tours are the best way to see a busy, unfamiliar city, it makes your sightseeing very efficient and the routes are geared around tourists so you can jump off at any given time at the touristy stops.  There are two companies in Dublin – CITY SIGHTSEEING DUBLIN and DUBLIN BUS TOUR.  Both pretty much have the same route which runs for one and half hours with around 20 stops.  But with all the stops you make it could take a good part of your day.  €19.00 for two days.  Runs from 9am – 5pm/6:30pm for DBT. With your ticket, you will receive a map of the city and some discounts for some of Dublin’s sights. So take a bus tour before you do your sightseeing to take advantage of discounts. 

(Remember to check out our RHODESIDE TRAVEL TIPS on the side bar too, it will help with packing tips/money matters/ electricity etc.)

Here are a few photos of some of the areas on this itinerary.


Photo: de.

Dublin Ireland


Glendalough Ireland



Kilkenny Castle



Rock of Cashel



Waterford Ireland



Cobh Ireland


Kinsale Ireland



Blarney Castle



Ring of Kerry Ireland


Photo: en.wikipedia

Dingle Peninsula Ireland



Dingle Town Ireland

GALWAY - Dunguaire Castle


Dunguaire Castle Ireland


Antrim Coast Ireland


Belfast Castle Northern Ireland

Be on the lookout for PART TWO for a more detailed itinerary for 21 days in Ireland - Places to sleep and eat and things to do.


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