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The Best of Ireland

9 Days & 8 Nights 4.8 Read 12 reviews
  • The freedom of the open road combined with stops to enjoy great suggested walks
  • Driving the famed Ring of Kerry and exploring Killarney National Park
  • Following Ireland’s classic national trails—the Wicklow, Kerry and Burren Ways
  • Listening to live music and chatting with the locals in traditional Irish pubs
  • The opportunity to take optional boat trips to Skellig Michael and the Aran Islands
  • Visiting cultural and historic gems—Glendalough, Newgrange, Blarney Castle, Clonmacnoise
Discover the best of Ireland on a rewarding circular drive and hike tour from Dublin through the counties of Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, and Galway. See countless castles and historic highlights, unspoilt lakes and mountains, and meet friendly locals. With some great suggested walks, there’s time built-in to stretch your legs and explore on foot. This fast-paced itinerary really does offer the chance to take in some of Ireland’s top highlights. Since there is so much to see and do here you’ll need to pick your choices wisely! As well as Dublin’s extensive delights, you’ll experience iconic Cashel Rock, Blarney Castle, the Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher, with the opportunity to take boat trips out to the magical Skellig and Aran Islands. Plus you’ll be walking along some of the Emerald Isle’s beloved national trails—the Wicklow Way, Kerry Way and Burren Way. Our Best of Ireland drive & hike tour includes 8 nights hand-picked accommodation in high-quality bed and breakfasts and guesthouses whose hosts always go the extra mile to share their top tips and recommendations. We also include a road map, guide book and walking route notes so you’re all set for your Ireland adventure! Car hire is not included as standard, but just let us know if you’d like us to book it for you as an optional extra (pick-up/drop-off Dublin).
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What To Expect

This fast-paced self-drive tour checks off multiple historic, cultural and natural icons that you won’t want to miss, combined with some great walks and suggested excursions —you don’t want to spend all your time behind the wheel after all! Covering the best of Dublin and south west Ireland, you’ve the freedom and flexibility of the open road—a perfect drive-hike combination.

Trip Type:

Discovery | Discovery

Activity:

Drive and Hike | Exploration of picturesque and remarkable destinations by car combined with walks that highlight the best of a country or region.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Grade & Terrain

This trip is graded easy to moderate overall, although the walking does vary a lot from one day to the next. Please view the itinerary for an overview of the suggested walks for each day. You can generally choose between easier and more difficult walks; some days have 1 or 2 options whilst others may only have 1. The trails follow footpaths, bridleways, coastal trails, open fields, and some minor country roads.

The walks may involve some relatively steep ascents and descents should you choose to take the more difficult walks. Please remember that all walks are of course optional, and you can choose to explore by car instead if you wish. The beauty of this itinerary is that you have the flexibility to fill your days exactly how you want to! We recommend having a general plan, so you are prepared.

Navigation

All walks are available in the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app. Download the walks for offline use, then you can simply set off and follow the blue dot. Most of the walks have turn-by-turn walking directions, and just a few have GPS tracks only because they can be easily navigated this way. If you follow the little blue dot, it is difficult to get lost.

Accommodation Information

This is a multi-centre Discovery tour as you will stay in multiple locations exploring the most iconic regions of Ireland by car and on foot! You will stay in Dublin for two nights conveniently at the start and at the end of your trip. You will spend one night in Kilkenny, three nights in Killarney, and two nights in Galway. We carefully select family-run B&B’s, small hotels, and quirky guesthouses where a warm welcome is guaranteed as well as traditional Irish hospitality and a delicious breakfast.

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested this trip is also available to solo walkers. Please note that singles may not be of the same standard as twins/doubles.

Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, you can buy lunch at local shops or stop in a cafe. Dinner is available in pubs or restaurants close to your accommodation.

Included
  • 8 Nights in B&B’s, small hotels, and guesthouses
  • 8 Breakfasts
  • Detailed Trip Information Pack
  • The Lonely Planet Ireland guidebook and OS Ireland Road Atlas
  • Access to maps, GPX tracks, and daily route information via the Macs Adventure navigation app
  • 24/7 telephone support in the event of an emergency
Excluded
  • Travel to/from Dublin
  • Car hire (available to book)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Taxi transfers or public transport
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Boat trips and other optional excursions or entrance fees
Extras
  • Additional nights
  • Car Hire

When To Go

This tour is available between mid-March and Mid-October.

In our opinion, one of the most beautiful times to visit this region is in spring when colourful wildflowers burst through the cracks of the landscape, forming a beautiful contrast. Travel between May and June to be in the best chance of seeing puffins on the Cliffs of Moher. Puffin nesting season is from late May to Mid-July when they return to shore. July and August are the busiest months and accommodations tend to fill up fast. Clonmacnoise and Newgrange are busy tourist attractions, particularly during the summer months when visitor numbers peak. For a quieter experience, the ideal months are May/June and September. We recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, especially when travelling in a group.

Weather and Climate

Irish weather is typically unpredictable year-round so be prepared for any conditions and you will be pleasantly surprised. At the start and towards the end of the season the conditions may be wet and windy. The saying “'there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes” has never been truer. Please make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen too to protect your skin against harmful sun rays and make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Relevant safety information for each walk can be found in the Macs Adventure navigation app.

Getting to the Start

Dublin Airport is easily accessible from the UK with several low-cost airlines covering the route as well as scheduled international carriers. Irish Ferries also operate from Holyhead to Dublin which might be useful if you are planning to take your car from the UK.

From Dublin Airport there is a frequent bus service (line 747) into Dublin city centre. Find out more about the service timetables and ticket prices at DublinBus.

There are multiple carriers that fly between North America and Dublin too, Skyscanner and Rome2Rio are helpful tools when searching for flights or planning your journey.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance to cover cancellation or curtailment of your trip.

Can I book car hire?
Should I add extra nights to my tour?
How fit do I need to be?
What personal equipment do I need?

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Dublin Day 2 Fairy Castle Walk on the Wicklow Way 6 miles / 10 km Day 3 Rock of Cashel & Blarney Castle Day 4 Drive the Ring of Kerry Day 5 Choice of walks or visit the Skellig Islands 7 miles / 11 km Day 6 The Cliffs of Moher, the Burren & Galway 6 miles / 10 km Day 7 Connemara & The Aran Islands 6 miles / 10 km Day 8 Drive to Dublin via Clonmacnoise & Newgrange Day 9 Onward Travel

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