top of page

The Ultimate 10-day Ireland Road Trip around the Ring of Kerry

Ireland has become a popular destination this past year and for a good reason. The country has tons of beautiful rolling green hills and landscapes. It is incredibly safe and the people are some of the warmest and kindest you'll meet in the world.

Don't have time to read? Check out Google Maps Below

Day 1: Dublin, Ireland

It's definitely recommended to spend more than a day in Dublin, but since our flight got us to Dublin very early in the morning, we felt like we had enough time to cover the parts of Dublin we wanted to see. We started our day around the ha'penny bridge and sat down for a coffee and a full Irish breakfast! We then made our way past the Temple bar (come back here for late night music and eats!) for some classic Dublin pictures, and then headed to the Dublin Castle. Next you can check out Molly Malone statue and the Book of Kells. You can reserve tickets for all 3 with this guided tour; I love booking with Viator because you can cancel for a full refund if your plans change!

After lunch, we used our reserved tickets to attend our guided tours for the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson distillery. These are a must for Dublin, even if you don't drink you can enjoy the history and pick up a gift for a family member or friend back home! Make sure you eat plenty ahead of time because the drinks can be strong. We had a very hardy brunch beforehand and some fish n chips after!

Day 2: Trim Castle, Belfast, The Dark Hedges, Kinbane Castle

Where to Stay in Ballycastle: Glass Island Boutique, Luxury Glamping, Private Pod

We started our day early in the morning by driving to Trim Castle, the oldest castle remaining in Ireland. It's easily accessible by the highway and you can walk around the park surrounding the castle. We saw a few other people with their dogs enjoying the sunshine. I took the chance to fly my drone since the weather was nice! Make sure to check out my guide on flying your drone in Ireland before you go!

After we spent some time there, we made our way north into the United Kingdom and stopped in Belfast for lunch. You can rent a bike near the water and follow the water down to some additional sites. It's a great way to get around the city!

Once we finished up in Belfast, we continued north and stopped at the dark hedges for a quick stroll. The path down the trees is somewhat overrated because of Game of Thrones, but it's worth stopping by if it's on your route! I could imagine these being a really cool spot for a photoshoot if you plan ahead of time and get some nice lighting! I always enjoyed a nicely framed shot.

We stayed close to the water and were able to walk down to the Kinbane castle site. There was no one else there, so we enjoyed taking in the views at what felt like our own private site. It's a short hike down to the water and along the rugged rocks, but honestly it was so beautiful at sunset! Highly recommend.

Day 3 - National Trust Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, Giant's Causeway, Londonderry

Stay in: Londonderry, United Kingdom: City Hotel, Bishop's Gate, Holiday Inn

The Northern coast of Ireland is arguably as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are breathtaking and you can really get down and explore them. The rope suspension bridge was a classic experience to do on our journey to Derry. Dunseverick Castle is also a quick stop right before you reach the Giant Causeways. It was really cool because the castle ruins overlook the sea.

The Giant's Causeway was one of my favorite experiences up along the northern coast. It was a really unique landscape; it has 40,000+ large polygonal columns of basalt lined horizontally along the water. It was formed 50 million of years ago by volcanic action. It's absolutely something you should try and see while you're there!

If you're into history, then a visit to Londonderry is definitely worth stopping for. It is certainly a different vibe and feel in Northern Ireland since it is technically the United Kingdom. We were somewhat taken aback by the descriptive political murals painted throughout the city wall's border. The civil war wasn't too long ago in Ireland and the city is a place where you can visibly see and feel the aftermath effects of that conflict. It's an important part of Irish history and current struggles that provide you with a sense of realism and understanding of what their country has gone through. Check out the Free Derry corner as well while you're there! I've seen binged Derry girls on netflix, so if you love that show too, you should check out the Derry girls mural in downtown!

Day 4 - Sligo, Connemara National Park, Clifden

Stay in: Clifden, Ireland: Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden Station House

The next day starts with heading south back into Ireland. You can stop by other things along the way or try to make time by going straight to Connemara. We made a stop for tea and biscuits at Grappa in the small town of Sligo. You can park your car on the street and walk around the city for lunch; it's a fairly small town, so you don't need a ton of time to explore. After you've freshened up and are full, head straight to Connemara National Park. There are plenty of pullover spots for pictures as Connemara has lots of beautiful landscapes (see below for some castle sightings!)

Once you get to Connemara National Park (navigate to the park entrance), you can start your ascent up the mountain. We went all the way to the top of the peak, Diamond Hill, but don't be fooled by the name, it is far from a "hill". It can be a strenuous climb if you're not in shape, but we were able to climb it in around an hour and a half and we jogged our way down.

After your hike, check-in to your castle hotel; there are several in the region, but we stayed at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel which was so much fun! We chose to stay here due to affordability and convenience. Relax, get a bottle of wine, and live like a queen for the night!

Day 5 - Cycling on The Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Lahinch Beach

Stay in: Lahinch, Ireland: Falls Hotel Spa, Lahinch Coast Hotel

If you're staying in Clifden, you shouldn't be too far from the Ros a Mhil ferry. We booked our tickets in advance, and i'm glad we did since it was very crowded! The ferry is around 30-40 minutes, but it's a smooth, comfortable ride with plenty of seats and refreshments. As soon as we got off the boat, we walked over to rent a bike, but there was a line! Skip the line and book in advance here for your self-guided tour. We enjoyed the freedom of exploring the islands on our own. Cycling is probably the cheapest way to get around, other than walking, but Inis Mor is too large to explore just by walking. They also have carriage ride and cars for transport. There are maps on the island you can pick up and follow to see all the sites. We just made our way around the entire route and island, stopping to see the beautiful cliffs, Dun Aengus, which is actually where the famous end scene from Leap Year was filmed! It took about 3 hours to circle the entire island, the hills are no joke though, so prepare to sweat! After your bike ride, reward yourself with some fish n' chips and sangria! The food we had at the restaurant was some of the best from our entire trip.

After you arrive back at the Ros a Mhil port, you can start your journey towards Cliffs of Moher. Galway is an optional stop along the way for lunch, but we decided to just drive through it since we didn't have much we wanted to see there. Sunset is the perfect time for Cliffs of Moher because the sun is over the ocean and shining onto the face of the cliff, highlighting the shadows perfectly. If you're into photography, this is a good time to go. Also, since it was after hours, there were only about 5 other people at the entire site! (crazy, right?!), so we had plenty of space and time to take our pictures.

Day 6: Killarney National Park, Killarney town

Stay in: Killarney, Ireland: Tater Jack, Arbutus Hotel

We finally got to experience some Irish rainfall! We managed to avoid it for most of our trip, but it caught up to us in Killarney. The Killarney National Park is gorgeous and the Ring of Kerry goes through the park, so you can drive to lookout points and explore it that way. You can see lots of wildlife here, so keep an eye out!

Downtown Killarney also really surprised me. There were so many people, shops, and restaurants. I expected it to be more of a quaint small town, but the bars were lively and the streets were full of things to do. Of course my partner had to get a Guinesss beer. and i got my Magners cider!

Day 7: Kerry Cliffs, Portmagee

Stay in: Portmagee, Ireland: Moorings Guesthouse

Time to make your way down to small, coastal town of Portmagee! This town is so quaint and truly so lovely. You really feel time slowing down and it'll make you fall in love with Ireland even more.

Before your Skellig tour, you can explore the rest of the sites conveniently located around the area. I definitely recommend the Kerry Cliffs for more incredible views as well as driving over to Valentia island for some of the viewing points (about ~5 mins of driving).

If you're staying in Portmagee, you definitely should stay at the Moorings Guesthouse and get the two night package deal! This is also where the Star Wars cast members stayed while they filmed scenes for Skellig Michael in the movie! The restaurant is also fun and crowded at night, providing more traditional Irish music and bar experiences. Also explore around! We stumbled upon a cozy cafe for a quick coffee and some local art!

Day 8 -Portmagee, Skellig Michael Islands

There are plenty of ways to plan your trip to Skellig Michael. My advice would be to schedule your Skellig Michael tour for late morning, in case the weather is bad, and then you can have the possibility of joining one of the other tours in the day if it gets cancelled to due any weather conditions.

Day 9 - Blarney Stone, Cahir Castle, Rock of Cashel, Cork

Stay in: Cork, Ireland: River Lee Hotel, Isaac Hotel, Imperial Hotel

If you saw everything you wanted to see in Portmagee, then it's time to make your way back towards Dublin, but not without a stop in Cork! Cork is a booming city with tons of bars and young adults. The city felt fast-paced and modern compared to many of the cities we visited. Luckily, we could get our culture fix a little bit outside the city by visited Blarney Castle and Gardens and Rock of Cashel. We kissed the stone, of course, and explored the grounds.

Day 10: Dublin, Flight home

The last day of your trip is completely dependent on the time of your departure flight. If you have all day to see more of Dublin, then take the time to get food and explore some more. We had an early flight, so made our way to the airport after breakfast at our B&B.

If you're flying back to the states, be sure to arrive very early for your flight because they do U.S. customs in Ireland as opposed to when you land in the states, like you're probably used to doing. This takes a long time and requires you to arrive early. I already miss everything about Ireland.


Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

Let me help you plan your next trip!

  • Instagram
bottom of page