Trying to craft that perfect itinerary for 7 days in Ireland?
I’ve got you covered with a foolproof, “everything-done-for-you” 7 day itinerary which will satisfy even the most picky traveler!
While there are a lot of things to see in Ireland, a week is the perfect amount of time to cover the highlights of Ireland and get a good taste for the Emerald Isle.
Though I’m usually not a fan of uber-popular travel destinations , I have to admit I’ve fallen in love with Ireland.
And I want to help you fall in love to!
So let’s get planning your trip with this ideal Irish itinerary:
Why Ireland is Perfect for a Week
Ireland is a land of fascinating history, famous hospitality, and lush, stunning scenery.
Plus, Ireland is relatively compact, making it possible to explore Ireland in 7 days.
And thanks to an abundance of transportation options, it’s relatively easy to get around quickly and affordably (road trip anyone?).
What’s more, while Ireland is certainly not a traditional budget travel destination, I found the country to be more affordable than its neighbors.
You might want to bookmark this post, because I’ll cover a lot of essential things to know about traveling Ireland, including:
- What to see in Ireland in 7 days
- Where to find accommodation that isn’t terrible or overpriced
- How to get around Ireland without losing your mind
- And how to save some money doing it all
Alright, ready to get planning your Irish itinerary?
My Foolproof 7 Day Ireland Itinerary
In 7 days in Ireland, you’ll have time to craft an itinerary that lets you comfortably see a good amount of the country.
My 7 day Ireland itinerary takes you to three strategically-situated bases for exploring the country.
You’ll spend a couple nights in each place, so that you aren’t changing hotels every single night, but still get to see more of Ireland than just Dublin.
Originally based off suggestions from my Irish Facebook followers, I personally followed this itinerary when I visited Ireland. And, wow, it was just the perfect route for exploring Ireland!
Though I loved it and highly recommend this itinerary, as always, I encourage travelers to forge their own path. That’s why at the end I’ll give you suggestions for other stops you could swap out on your Irish itinerary.
Day 1 – Arrive in Galway
You probably thought you were going to start in Dublin right?
Relax, you’ll get there!
But I think Galway is the better introduction to Ireland because its strategic position means it’s a great base for day trips to two of Ireland’s stunning national parks, plus you’ll save time by avoiding going in and out of Dublin traffic upon landing!
If you arrive in time, take a drive to visit Connemara National Park. Admission into this stunning national park is free and it is filled with trails that take you through mountains, forests, bogs, coastline, and more.
Alternatively, wander the city streets and soak in the festive atmosphere of Galway. Meander down Quay Street, around the Latin Quarter, and take a walk towards the Spanish Arch.
If you need more activities to keep you busy in Galway, check out this helpful article.
In the evening, have a traditional Irish dinner at The Quay Street Kitchen and then grab a pint at O Connel’s Bar.
Getting to Galway
Option 1: Rent a Car at the Airport – If you are up for a road trip, Ireland is perfect for it! The drive is stunning and car rentals can be really cheap if you compare prices through Discover Car Hire.
Option 2: Take the Airport Bus – A 3-hour direct bus runs straight from Dublin Airport to Galway. If the timing of your flight is right, you can use it to head straight west upon landing in Ireland.
Where To Stay in Galway
Pro tip: hotels in Ireland fill up fast, but you can take advantage of Booking.com‘s generous cancellation policies to lock in a great hotel now even if you’re not 100% sure of your exact itinerary.
- Top Choice: The Connacht Hotel
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Clayton Hotel Galway
- Best Budget Option: Crossriver Bed and Breakfast
- Best Hostel: Kinlay House Hostel
Day 2 – Daytrip to Cliffs of Moher
On day 2, let’s take a day trip to the Cliff of Moher!
These enormous cliffs are Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction. And, despite the growing crowds, they are truly incredible.
You can visit on your own if you have a rental car, or otherwise the best way to do it is as part of an organized day tour.
If going by tour, this is definitely the best one to choose as it is pretty affordable and it will break up the journey to the Cliffs of Moher by stopping at the incredible 500 year old Dunguaire Castle, the gorgeous rolling hills of The Burren, and the Celtic Crosses at Kilfenora.
After your tour, return to Galway and dine at the Michelin-starred Aniar Restaurant or, if you’re in the mood for pub grub, at The Front Door on Cross Street.
Alternatively, if you rented a car, you can save a bit of travel time by continuing on directly from the Cliffs of Moher to our next stop …
Day 3 – Killarney National Park, Ballybunion
From Galway, drive or hop the 3 hour bus to Killarney (via a change in Limerick), where you’ll be greeted by a charming town whose main street is lined with pubs, restaurants, and an assortment of uniquely Irish shops.
The first thing you should do is visit Killarney National Park, a gorgeous park that is free and accessible simply by walking from the Old Town (or you can go cycling and hiking in Killarney National Park).
The highlight of the park is definitely the gorgeous Ross Castle on the southern end.
If you have time on Day 3 of your Ireland itinerary, consider a side trip to the quaint seaside town of Ballybunion. An hour or so away from Killarney lies this charming outpost on the Wild Atlantic Way, where you can spend the day hiking along stunning cliff walks. If the weather is right, you might even be able to catch some rays on the dramatically-situated beach. And when you tire yourself out, you can simply walk into town, grab a seat at a pub, and order up a pint or shepherds pie.
Back in Killarney for the evening, grab a table at local favorite Treyvaud’s Restaurant.
If you still have energy afterwards, saddle up to a bar stool for a pint at The Laurels Pub.
Where To Stay in Killarney
- Top Choice: Eviston House Hotel
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Gleann Fia Country House
- Best Budget Option: Lios Na Manach Farmhouse B&B
- Best Hostels: Neptune’s Hostel or Black Sheep Hostel
Day 4 – Ring of Kerry
The iconic 179 kilometer long Ring of Kerry loop takes you through green fields, panoramic lookouts, coastal cliffs, villages, and tons of ancient history.
Even if you didn’t rent a car for your entire Ireland 7 day itinerary, this is definitely the one day that it’s worth taking a road trip!
Be sure to check Discover Car Hire, my favorite rental car search engine, now to make sure you lock in your vehicle for the epic road trip.
Now some of you may be thinking: that’s all good Nate, but no way I’m driving!
Alright, fine. It’s probably not quite the same, but you definitely can do the Ring of Kerry via tour.
Popular stops along the Ring of Kerry include:
- Skellig Rocks – a UNESCO protected monastery ruin on some dramatic jagged-rock islands.
- Portmagee – a seaside village with bright and gorgeous buildings.
- Torc Waterfall – one of the many popular waterfalls along the route.
- Kenmare – an adorably picturesque town with bright colored buildings.
- Staigue Fort – a very old stone fort where the rocks have managed to lock together for ages without mortar or any kind of binding.
See this article for a full listing of what to see along the Ring of Kerry.
Pro tip: If driving the Ring of Kerry, go counterclockwise to avoid the tour buses along the road.
In the evening, return to Killarney and go out and enjoy the antique dining room at Bricín Restaurant before checking out Murphy’s Bar Killarney.
Day 5 – The Dingle Peninsula
On your fifth day in Ireland, you’re going to it’s westernmost part – the Dingle Peninsula.
The Dingle Peninsula is one of the more stunning spots along the Wild Atlantic Way, where gorgeous green fields top jagged cliffs guarding wild beaches.
From Killarney, Dingle is about an hour drive.
Alternatively, you can join this highly-rated tour from Killarney.
The tour will take you to Inch Beach, a stretch of golden sand made famous in several movies, including Playboy of the Western World. You’ll also tour Slea Head, arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of Ireland’s coast line, before ending in the fishing town of Dingle.
The coolest thing about Dingle?
It’s the home port for a dolphin named Fungi who is known to actively seek out human friends.
Maybe if you luck out, you’ll be Fungi’s latest friend!
At night, return back to Killarney or consider staying a night in Dingle if you fancy a little small-town stopover.
Where to Stay in Dingle
- Top Choice: Fab View Guesthouse
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Oceanview B&B
- Best Budget Option: Shamrock House B&B
- Best Hostel: The Seafront Inn @ Inch Beach
Day 6 – Dublin
On Day 6, drive or take the train from Killarney to Dublin. If driving, along the way see the Rock of Cashel on your way to see a historic 12th century tower and fortress.
Settle into your Dublin hotel (you definitely want to reserve asap for Dublin, by the way, as the good hotels fill up fast), then join a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour to quickly take in the top sites of Dublin.
Don’t miss the Trinity College Library. Nestled in the middle of the city, Trinity College is a retreat from the bustle of Dublin proper, and the iconic Trinity College library is a popular spot to snap those Instagram photos.
In the evening, grab a drink at The Temple Bar. This popular bar is undeniably a bit of a tourist trap. But it’s so popular that the entire surrounding nightlife district bears its name. So join the other travel lemmings for a pint or four and see where the night takes you.
Pro tip: If you like group tours, this is a good listing of the most popular ones in Dublin.
Where To Stay in Dublin
- Top Choice: InterContinental Dublin
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Castle Hotel
- Best Budget Option: Liberty Townhouses
- Best Hostels: Barnacles Temple Bar Hostel
Day 7 – Dublin
End your Ireland 7 day itinerary with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse.
Probably the most popular thing to do in Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse is a multi-level exhibition dedicated to the dark stout which is so heavily ingrained in Ireland’s culture.
The self-guided tour concludes with the chance to learn to pour a perfect pint of Guinness at the Guinness Academy. Note that tickets, which cost 26 euros for an adult, can be bought online in advance if you want to skip the line.
In the evening, take this excellent and affordable walking tour that explores the spooky and haunted side of Dublin.
For your last dinner in town, if you have the budget, book a table for a night of fine dining at the posh Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
Other Options to Extend Your Ireland Itinerary from 7 to 10 Days
While I think that the above 7 day Ireland itinerary gives a good sampling of what Ireland has to offer, you certainly don’t have to do what I did and there is a lot more to explore in Ireland if you want to craft your own adventure.
If you have a little more time, there are more things to see in Ireland in 10 days (or longer).
Some other popular destinations in Ireland include:
- Doolin and The Aran Islands – A tiny village near the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin was one of my favorite places in Ireland. You can hike the cliffs from here, or use it as a base for visiting the Aran Islands, windswept islands off the coast where you can get around by pony cart.
- Belfast, Northern Ireland – Take a detour up to Northern Ireland. Known as the home of the Titanic (an odd distinction, but one the city claims nonetheless), Belfast can be used as a base to visit many Game of Thrones filming locations, as well as the beautiful Giant’s Causeway. Foodies will also love the many excellent Belfast restaurants to choose from.
- Cork – A relatively large city by Irish standards, Cork sits along a gorgeous waterfront. From here, you can take a day trip to kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle.
Bucketlist Items to See in Ireland in 7 Days
However you exactly structure your Irish 7 day itinerary, you’re going to want to make sure that you take in the following essential Ireland experiences one way or another:
Lush Greenery in the Irish Countryside
They don’t call it the Emerald Island for nothing. The entire island is covered is dozens of shades of green, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a corner of Ireland that’s not Instagram-ready — it’s just that pretty of a country!
If you’re wondering what to see in Ireland in 7 days, look no further than out your window!
Castles and History
Ireland has been inhabited for thousands of years, and has the history to prove it. History buffs will be spoiled in Ireland’s Ancient East, while those who dream of past lives as princes or princesses will feel at home in Ireland’s many majestic castles.
Pub Culture and Hospitality
The Irish people are famed for their warmth, their cheer, and their joviality (you’ve probably heard of a little holiday called St Patrick’s Day). You’ll feel right at home in Ireland’s welcoming culture, whether it’s watching a traditional dance to Irish music, listening to a storyteller regale an audience with centuries-old fables, or just saddling up to a bar stool for that perfect pint of Guinness (or Ireland’s other stout – Murphy’s!).
Incredible Coastal Walks and Hikes
Ireland is surrounded by three thousand kilometers of jagged coastline, giving visitors access to gorgeous and often empty beaches, popular surfing spots, and plenty of walking trails above and around dramatic cliffs.
How to Get Around Ireland (Transportation Guide)
- Rent a car – Renting a car in Ireland is shockingly cheap – check out Discover Car Hire to compare various rental agencies. But if you can split it with someone, it’s a great way to give you the freedom to explore the gorgeous countryside by yourself. If you do rent a car, here’s a guide to what to know before driving in Ireland.
- Train – Ireland’s trains are really excellent in quality, but the network unfortunately doesn’t go quite everywhere you might need. A train from Killarney to Dublin ran me 33 euros.
- Bus – For routes where the train doesn’t run, this is the only option for those without a car. There are decent buses between most destinations, however. I paid 20 euros to go from the Dublin Airport direct to Galway, and 19 euros to go from Galway to Killarney (with a change in Limerick).
Practical Tips for Traveling Ireland
- Money: Ireland uses the Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted, though some places operate on a cash-only basis.
- Language: English is the dominant language, though Irish (or Gaelic) is sometimes used as a written language — though it will almost always be paired with English writing as well.
- Weather: All that green grass has to come from somewhere. So you should always have a raincoat or an umbrella handy (read our review of the best travel umbrellas for recommendations!). And if visiting the Wild Atlantic Way, be prepared for high winds along the cliffs (they don’t call it “Wild” for nothing!). Still, if you can handle some rain and a little chill, Ireland is one of those European destinations that can be visited year round.
- Getting to Ireland: Dublin and Shannon airport have frequent flights to Europe and North America. Irish budget carrier Aer Lingus has recently begun heavily expanding it’s direct routes to the United States, meaning that round trip flights can often be found for $500 USD or less.
- Ireland Guidebooks: If you want more detailed information on other options for what to see in Ireland in 7 days, use this trick to get a free copy of Lonely Planet’s Ireland guide.
- Communication: Wifi is ubiquitous in Ireland. If you have an unlocked cell phone, you can purchase a local SIM card to get cellular data. Or if you are a T-Mobile customer, the included free international data works decently well (although at 2G speeds).
- “Enjoy the Craic!”: You’ll hear the Irish use the word “craic” frequently, often saying something like “enjoy the craic.” For the un-initiated, the word roughly means “fun,” “party,” or “atmosphere.”
How Much Should You Budget for 7 Days in Ireland?
As with any destination, how much you spend in Ireland depends a lot on your travel style. You could splash out drop hundreds of euros a night on a super posh castle hotel like this one, or you could get away with spending 12 euros a night on a hostel dorm bed.
With that said, here are some rough guidelines for how much it costs to travel Ireland:
- Bed in hostel dorm room: 15-20 euros/night (more in Dublin on a weekend)
- Private room, shared AirBnB, or budget hotel: 40-60 euros/night
- Airbnb (entire house): 80-200 euros/night
- Luxury hotel: 200+ euros/night
Food and Dining
Figure 15-20 euros/day if eating at supermarkets, fast food places (try SuperMacs – the Irish version of McDonald’s) and street vendors, 30 euros or more if eating at restaurants.
4-6 euros for a pint of Guinness, 6+ euros for a cocktail at a bar
20-30 euros for bus or train ticket between cities, though with prices starting at just 30 euros per day, renting a car may be competitive economically (pro tip: use Discover Car Hire to compare costs at various rental agencies).
There are many free or affordable options, including coastal walks, public performances, and more.
Entrances fees for castles and sites typically range from 2 to 15 euros.
Travel Insurance for Ireland
One place you definitely don’t want to skimp on is travel insurance. I used World Nomads, though you can also use this site to compare hundreds of companies and find the best travel insurance provider for you.
Pro tip for saving money: The first thing you need to realize when planning to tour Ireland on a budget is that Dublin is significantly more expensive than the rest of the country.
While hardly any traveler is going to want to skip Dublin altogether, you can save money by limiting your time there. So be sure to save your euros and end your trip with a bang by exploring this exciting city.
That’s it for this mega itinerary guide to Ireland!
Didn’t get to absorb everything here?
Be sure to bookmark this page for later.
Enjoy your trip! And if you have other ideas for what to see in Ireland in 7 days, just let me know in the comments!
Oh, and before traveling to Ireland (or anywhere else!), be sure to grab your free copy of my e-book, 99 Tips for Traveling the World Like a Pro!