Two Weeks in Ireland
When most people think of Ireland, they envision lush green fields, thatched cottages, pubs and herds of sheep grazing along the side of the road. Ireland has all of that and much more: Some of its regions are so magnificent that they look like postcards.
Ireland has a long history, dating back 9000 years ago, when hunters and gatherers first arrived on the island. It also holds a remarkable recent past that divided its North and South into two different countries. Ireland was mostly a Gaelic-Speaking nation until the 16th century and even though the use of the language has declined since, its culture still remains strong. This is true especially in the Republic, where the language is considered its national.
Our trip to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has easily become one of our most memorable. The landscape is outstanding, the culture is overwhelming and most importantly, the people are welcoming and humorous!
Our trip took 2 weeks and it was completed in a loop where we started and ended in Dublin. We visited two countries: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and spent most of our days driving through the Republic, making our way to the northern part towards the end.
The best part of Ireland is its stunning landscapes, so we mixed up a few big cities and concentrated on exploring its countryside - we visited small villages, port towns and also took a boat to a Monastic island in the Atlantic Ocean.
Click on each separate day for more information on what to do and where to go:
Dublin: Arrival/Half Day
Dublin: Full Day
Dublin: Day Trip to Boyne Valley
Dublin - Drive to Kilkenny
Kilkenny - Drive to Kinsale
Kinsale - The Ring of Kerry Part I - Kenmare
Kenmare - The Ring Part II - Portmagee
Portmagee - The Island of Skellig Michael – Dingle
Dingle: Full Day
Dingle - Drive Through County Claire - Oranmore/Galway
Oranmore: Day Trip to Aran Islands
Oranmore: Full Day in Connemara
Oranmore - Galway City - Portrush, Northern Ireland
Portrush: Full Day
Portrush - Drive through the Scenic Coastal Causeway - Dublin International Airport (depart following day)
Tips to Consider Before You Head Out the Door
Consider renting a car in Ireland, outside of the bigger cities public transportation can become quite scarce. Not to say that smaller towns and the countryside cannot be visited without a car, but you will need to arrange a mix of public transportation alongside day tours.
A great aspect about Ireland is that it offers a plethora of cozy B&Bs to choose from. They are very affordable, usually charge per person and provide the iconic hearty Irish breakfast (small buffet alongside a variation of eggs, Irish bacon, sausage and blood pudding). Believe me, they serve a lot of food! You will end up having a late lunch or almost dinner.
I should mention the usual wet Irish weather even though when we went in September, it did not rain a single day during our whole two weeks!! Before going, I would ask my Irish friends about the best time for traveling and they would always say: it does not matter… it is going to rain! So we took a cheap poncho for longer walks, water resistant shoes, umbrella and a heavy impermeable jacket . The temperature fluctuated a lot, with days going from high 70’s (28 C) to sometimes dropping to the mid 40’s (8 C).
Our time there was during an unusual dry spell; everyone we met would tell us how surprised they were, not only with the lack of rain, but with the unusual high temperatures in September. So the only thing I can recommend is to go prepared and to bring a jacket, since the heavy winds in the countryside can really alter the temperature.