Dublin is the capital and a real highlight of your trip! More than 525,000 people live in Dublin, whose translation from Gaelic means “town of the ford of the hurdles”. Dublin is located on the east coast and is on average 20 meters above sea level.
The capital has a maritime climate, meaning that winters are mild and summer rather cool.
It is quite convenient to explore the city center on foot. There are many sights that you should not miss, such as the Christ Church Cathedral, the city’s oldest building, or the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is the largest church in the city.
The Dublin Castle, the hearth of Irish history, is considered another great highlight. The Trinity College is another important sight, since it is worth walking around the university campus and visit the exhibition of the Book of Kells in the old library. There, you can also find the so-called Long Room, which is really beautiful.
Of course, Dublin offers some great museums that are worth visiting, such as the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Dublin Writers Museum. A visit is not only worthwhile when the weather is bad.
If the sun shines, you have plenty of great options in Dublin. For instance, you can spend time in Phoenix Park, which is the largest city park in the world, where you can also see tame deer. The park is also the residence of the American ambassador and the Irish president… who would have ever imagined that?
Dublin is versatile and you will surely like it! You can stay overnight at one of the city’s hostels and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €27 a night.
Wicklow National Park
After having spent time in the capital, you will immerse yourself in nature. Rent a car in Dublin and drive from there to the Wicklow Mountain National Park.
The Wicklow Mountains National Park is located in the eastern part of the island, and it is one of the six national parks present in Ireland. It is about 200 km2 in size, and it has earned the status of national park only in 1991.
Next to the Wicklow Mountains, near Glendalough, which translated from Gaelic means “valley of the two lakes”, you can admire the ruins of a 6th-century monastery.
Another important sight of the National Park is said to be the megalithic structures in the northwestern part, which are located around Seefin Mountain and Sorrel Hill. The hills have a 10-meter diameter and are about three meters high.
On the southeastern shore of the Upper Lake, it is possible to find in the woodland the remains of the Reefert Church. The name of the church, which dates back to the 11th century, derives from the Irish world for kings’ graves.
The archaeological monument Daher is also worth seeing. The stony ring fort has a dry-stone wall with a diameter of about 20 meters, which, today, is still about one-meter high.
You can get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €32 a night at one of the local hostels.
From Wicklow Mountain National Park, continue your journey by car. Next stop: Killarney.
Killarney, located in the southwestern part of Ireland, counts approximately 14,500 inhabitants. It borders the northern end of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain in Ireland. Moreover, the lake Lough Lane, which belongs to the Killarney National Park, is really close.
The national park is of course worth seeing, as well as Ross island and Ross Castle. The Torc waterfall is beautiful and the stone circle of Lissyviggeen is interesting and exciting. Killarney is altogether famous for the seemingly deserted lake and the picturesque mountains of Killarney National Park.
If you wish to discover something more than nature and history, you can also go to a Gaelic Football match. Gaelic Football is the Irish national sport and Killarney has a long football tradition, meaning you are in the right place to learn about this interesting sport!
Otherwise, if you want to relax or go swimming, we can recommend the recreational center which includes a sauna. It is called Aura and it is not too far away from the city center.
A particularly nice experience, which is highly suggested, is a boat trip over one of the lakes in Killarney.
Here, you’ll spend the night at a hostel and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €27 a night.
Your next stop will be Dingle, which you will reach with your rental car. The Dingle Peninsula is located in Kerry County, in the western area of Ireland. It is 50 km long and 9 km wide.
The peninsula is hilly and, here, you can discover many prehistoric monuments, especially in the western part. The Gallarus Oratory, a rustic corbel vault construction from the early Christian period, was built using dry-stone walling techniques and is a stunning sight.
The flat sandy beach on the Inch spit, as well as the western coastal road called Slea Head Drive, are absolutely worth seeing. Moreover, you can do different hikes on the Dingle, for example, to Mount Brandon or Sliabh Mis.
A boat trip to Blasket Islands is also a must. To explore the area you can go on a bike tour, hike, or ride a horse.
You can sleep at one of the city’s hostels and get a bed in a dorm for €18 a night.
From Dingle, you’ll reach your last destination: Galway. Galway is also the capital of the County. The city, which counts approximately 80,000 inhabitants, is located on the western Irish coast on the northernmost shore of Galway Bay.
Summer months are the warmest here, with an average temperature of 19°C in July and August.
Galway is also called the “city of the tribes” because the city was dominated by 14 merchant families, indeed “tribes”, since the 15th century. These families built many castles all over the Galway County, which means many well known corners and streets bear names that recall these “tribes”.
Lynch’s Castle, as well as the Galway City Museum, are beautiful and worth seeing. The Spanish Arch is located at the southwest end of the city and it is one of the few remaining that once used to protect the city. You should also take a look at the archway. Here, you will spend the night at a local hostel and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €25 a night.
After having seen all corners of Ireland, discovered the vibrant capital and enjoyed the calm nature in the National Park, now it’s time to go back home. Drive back to Dublin to catch your flight back home.