With 2 weeks, your visit to Ireland will be much more relaxed. You can stretch out a bit more in your travels, heading to less crowded counties, with more time to meet the locals. In your second week, head up to Galway, Mayo, and Donegal, taking time to smell the heather along the way.
Follow the Best of Ireland in 1 Week itinerary here.
After spending Day 7 exploring County Clare, you’ll discover that you need more time to explore this region. If you didn’t make it to the Burren, perhaps head there for the day. Otherwise, you could visit some of the county’s great medieval buildings such as Knappogue Castle, the exquisite ruins of Corcomroe Abbey, or the historical theme park of Bunratty Castle. Lovers of live music will want to spend the evening in the pubs of Doolin, one of the very best places in Ireland for proper traditional music.
Day 9 & 10: County Galway
Start the day with a drive up to Galway City (it will take around an hour), your base for Day 9. You could spend a relaxing day walking the delightful streets of this artsy, vibrant town, take a cruise out to the misty Aran Islands, or, if you’ve got kids to keep amused, take them to the fabulous Galway Atlantaquaria. On the following day, you can go either east or west. Go west to explore Connemara National Park, where it’s time to get out from behind the wheel, and maybe even see this lovely park by horseback if you’re feeling brave. If you head east, you’ll be going inland for a whistle-stop tour of the Irish Midlands. Either return to your Galway City hotel or pick a B&B in the countryside.
Day 11: County Mayo
Drive up from Galway through spectacular scenery, where the rocky shoreline plunges into the cobalt sea in glorious fashion. The south Mayo town of Westport, sitting at the edge of a picturesque river, is a delightful place to wander. Probably depending on whether or not you’re traveling with youngsters, you could either spend a couple of hours at Westport House and Pirate Adventure Park or visit the National Museum of Ireland: Country Life near Castlebar. Ancient-history buffs may want to press on to a hotel in County Sligo (see below), but if it’s a quiet retreat you’re after, drive across the strangely empty flatlands to Achill Island. The route along the coast and out across the bridge to the island is slow and windy, but the views are fantastic. If you do make it out to Achill, consider an overnight stay at the Bervie, where the sea is right outside the door.
Day 12: County Sligo
Day 13: North to Donegal
You’re really entering the wilds of Ireland now. Head up the coast past Donegal Town, then follow the N15 road around the breathtaking coastline to the busy hill town of Ballyshannon, an excellent spot for crafts shops and glorious hilltop views. The adventurous can explore the Catsby Cave, a picturesque grotto at the edge of the Abbey River. But here the drive is really the thing, so head on to the darling town of Glencolumbkille. The excellent folk park here is well worth an hour of your time before you head on to the stone-cut town of Ardara at the foot of a steep hill—it’s wall-to-wall arts-and-crafts shops and a pleasure to explore. Art lovers won’t want to miss the revelatory gallery at Glebe House. You’ve spent a lot of time in the car today, but if you can face another 40 minutes or so, head for the wonderful Rathmullan House, an elegant seaside retreat waiting for you on your last night.
Day 14: Heading Home
If your flight leaves late, you could rise early and spend the morning driving up to Malin Head, the northernmost tip of Ireland. It’s a wild and wooly place just a couple of hours’ drive from Rathmullan. From there, expect the journey to the airport to take at least 4 hours, but allow plenty of time in case of traffic backups around Dublin—they’re virtually constant.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.