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The Best of Ireland

9 Days & 8 Nights 4.7 Read 11 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 Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Drive & Hike | Enjoy the best of a large region by car and on foot. Day hikes in the best places. Itinerary usually inn to inn, with mapping provided. No bag transfer. Car hire offered as an option or included.

This trip is suitable for:

Families, Multi-Generational, First Timers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Historical Journeys
  • Coastal & Island
  • National Parks & Trails

Grade & Terrain

This tour is graded easy to moderate and is suitable for fit travellers. The walks are all optional, therefore you can choose how much or little you wish to do each day.

Navigation

Most of the route and walks are not way marked however we will provide you with detailled maps and route notes meaning you should have no problem following the route each day.

Accommodation Information

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the B&B’s and guesthouses to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.

Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, we may have to accommodate you at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere we will advise you of this before confirming your booking.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested, and a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable (as some costs are not shared). 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 café. Dinner is available in pubs or restaurants close to your accommodation.

Included
  • 8 Nights bed and breakfast accommodation in en suite rooms wherever possible.
  • A detailed info pack, guide book, road atlas and route notes.
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of any issues.
Excluded
  • Travel to/from Dublin.
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport.
  • Car hire (available as optional extra).
  • Entry fees/boat trips/optional excursions.
Extras
  • Additional nights
  • Car Hire

When To Go

This trip is available from Mid-March to Mid-October.

Ireland's weather may be changeable but it's not extreme. Summer is sunniest and July and August (high season) are the warmest months. Early in the season (March, April) or late in the season (October) the conditions will be colder and a bit wetter. Some may prefer early or late in the season as the roads and attractions will be quieter and less crowded.

For a nice compromise between weather and crowds, visit in the shoulder seasons of either spring or fall.

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.

There are multiple carriers that fly between North America and Dublin, including: American Airlines—Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, New York, Austin; Aer Lingus—Orlando, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston; Delta—Atlanta; United Airlines- Dallas; Delta—Atlanta, US Airways—Philadelphia, Charlotte,; Air Canada—Toronto.

From the airport there is a good bus service into Dublin city centre.

Getting from the End

You will also need to return from Dublin and you can simply use the same information as Getting to the Start but in reverse.

General Information

The distances and descents / ascents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necesssary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/ cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

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?
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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Dublin Day 2 Drive Dublin to Kilkenny. Fairy Castle Walk on the Wicklow Way 6 miles / 10 km Day 3 Rock of Cashel and Blarney Castle. Drive to Killarney Day 4 Drive the Ring of Kerry Day 5 Muckross House and Torc Waterfall Walk OR Windy Gap Walk OR Optional Skelligs Boat Trip 7 miles / 11 km Day 6 Cliffs of Moher and the Burren Walk. Drive to Galway 6 miles / 10 km Day 7 Connemara: Máméan walk OR Aran Boat Trip 6 miles / 10 km Day 8 Drive via Clonmacnoise and Newgrange to Dublin Day 9 Onward Travel

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