Road Trippin’ – Ireland

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that my family recently took a trip to Ireland! And let me tell you, it was a dream! We spent an amazing 10 days traveling all around Ireland and Northern Ireland and got to see and do so many incredible things! Ireland has always been on my bucket list, so the fact that we were able to go and see everything that I could have ever dreamed, is just surreal! In this post I am going to highlight all of our favorite things that we did during our stay!

The real reason we traveled to Ireland is because my sister got married!!! Her and her (now) husband actually live in Dublin, but decided to have their wedding ceremony just outside of Dublin, in Celbridge.

I am not going to be sharing information about their wedding on this blog post due to two reasons: one being, I am writing this post for all of those interested in taking a trip to Ireland wanting some recommendations and ideas of what to do. Odds are, you will not need wedding information if you plan a trip to Ireland. And if you do, I am the wrong person to ask because I did not plan their wedding! Ha! And the second reason is, I really do not have many pictures of their wedding! We were so busy enjoying the day and enjoying our family all together, that I completely left my phone in our hotel the whole day! (Which is the way I wanted it to be) So I would have nothing to show. So, for now, I am waiting for them to get their professional pictures back and then maybe I can write up a post about it?! (What do you think, Kristin? Want to collab?!)

But back to the point of this post…

My whole family came to celebrate their big day with them! While planning our trip for the wedding we figured, well, if we are already going to be there, we might as well take a few extra days to explore all around!

And at that moment, an epic road trip outline was born!

I am a firm believer in “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”, which is why you probably see that whenever I travel anywhere I always make it a road trip! (Hence the “road trippin’” blog name.) I find that yes, there are so many beautiful things to be seen in one spot, but there are so many more beautiful things to stumble upon when traveling between the main landmarks/tourist spots. It is so amazing to be able to see the whole landscape and familiarize yourself with so much more than the “popular spots” on a trip.

Whereas, (like I said) I do a road trip on almost any vacation I go on, this particular trip we spent most of our time in the car! But I am not upset about that at all! If we would have taken our time and leisurely explored Ireland we would have hit maybe half of the locations that we got to go to (if that!). With this trip, we got to see nearly the ENTIRE Island (both Ireland and Northern Ireland), which I am so grateful for! There is so much to be seen, and each location offers such diversity, the fact that we got to see (almost) it all makes my heart so happy!

Even though we had a total of 10 days altogether in Ireland, we really only had around 6 days to travel and explore. For this blog post I am going to solely focus on our travel days to show you where we went and what we did. So you can go yourself!!


1. DUBLIN

Dublin is the capital of Ireland. With a population of 1,904,806 (for the whole greater Dublin area) it is also the largest city in Ireland. It sits on the bay of the east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey. Surrounded on the south by the Dublin Mountains (which is a section of Wicklow Mountain range).

Dublin is chock full of fun things to do! Whether you want to walk around and explore, visit museums or just go for a pint at the local pub, it is the perfect spot! Some of our favorite things we did were:

  • Guinness Storehouse– When you think of Ireland, you think of Guinness. And a trip to Dublin is incomplete without a tour of the home of Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse is actually the most popular tourist attraction in not only Dublin, but all of Ireland! When visiting, you get to experience Guinness like nowhere else! Within the 7 story building, you learn all about what all goes into making the beer, about how and when it was founded, about all the different advertisements they have used over the years (that was my favorite part of the tour), you get to taste test Guinness, and end the tour enjoying a pint in their “Gravity Bar” with outstanding panoramic views of the city of Dublin that you are not going to get anywhere else! (admission from €18.50)
  • Temple Bar District– If you assumed that Temple Bar was just a bar, you wouldn’t be alone! Don’t get me wrong, there is “The Temple Bar” which was founded in 1840 and is one of the most famous bars in Dublin. But Temple Bar is actually a district! The entire area was developed in 1656 by Sir John Temple after a sea wall was built around the River Liffey. The area then became known as “Temple Barr” (A ‘Barr’ was a raised estuary sandbank often used for walking on). Temple Bar continued to expand and now is full of bars, restaurants, live music and shops. Temple Bar is a must-see spot when visiting in Ireland! Just walk the cobblestone streets, enjoy a pint of Guinness and learn all about Irish culture.
  • Touring the City–  As I mentioned before, most of our time in Dublin was spent preparing for my sister’s wedding and just generally spending time together as a family, so we were not able to do all of the touristy things that most people like to do when visiting. But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t see a lot of things! By taking buses, trains and just walking around the city we were able to see and learn so many cool things! Some of the things we saw were:
    • River Liffey– The river that runs through the center of Dublin connecting to the Irish Sea.
    • The Spire– is a large, stainless steel, pin-like monument 390 ft tall sitting on O’Connell street.
    • St. Patrick’s Cathedral– As the largest cathedral and one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s has been at the heart of Dublin and Ireland’s history and culture for over 800 years. (admission €6)
    • Christ Church Cathedral– Christ Church Cathedral, more formally The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is the cathedral of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and the cathedral of the ecclesiastical province of the United Provinces of Dublin and Cashel in the Church of Ireland. (admission €6.75)
    • Trinity College– Trinity College, officially the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, a research university located in Dublin, Ireland.

Where we stayed: We stayed a bit outside of the city to save money, but I definitely think that if I were to ever go back I would splurge a little on a closer place. The taxi and train prices to get back into the city really add up. But we stayed at this Airbnb, which was super nice and plenty of room for our group.

2. ROCK OF CASHEL + COBH + KINSALE

After our time in Dublin (and after the wedding), we decided to start our road trip by heading south toward Cashel, Cobh and Kinsale. Due to the fact that we had a lot of driving to do, we knew we would not be able to spend a lot of time in each of these towns. But altogether, I am very pleased with what we got to see and do in the short amount of time that we had!

  • Cashel– Cashel is a small town in the south of Ireland. It’s known for the striking Rock of Cashel, a medieval complex on a hilltop overlooking the town.  Besides the castle ruins, Cashel boasts other fun things to do like visiting the museums and shopping in the village. We knew that we had quite a while beyond Cashel to travel for the night, so we decided to only stay long enough to visit the Rock of Cashel.
    • Rock of Cashel– The Rock of Cashel is an ancient royal site of the kings of Munster and first attained importance as a fortress. Its origins as a centre of power go back to the 4th or 5th centuries. Two of the most famous people of Irish legend and history are associated with the Rock of Cashel. They are St. Patrick whom according to legend, arrived in Cashel in AD 432 and baptized King Aengus who became Ireland’s first Christian ruler. The second was Brian Boru, he was crowned High King here in 990. He is the only king who was able to unite all of Ireland under one ruler for any significant period of time.* (admission €6) It was so cool to walk around the premises and see the ruins. There is also a guided tour for an additional fee.
    • Cashel Heritage Museum– The award winning Heritage Centre and Tourist Office located on the Main Street should be your first stop in Cashel. A large scale model of the town in the 1640’s highlights the lesser known treasures of the town. Audio commentary is in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Irish and English.
    • Cashel Folk Village– The no. 1 museum in Co. Tipperary every year since the first year it was ranked on Tripadvisor. Cashel Folk Village is a multi-award winning museum, containing an incredible, vast collection of original memorabilia relating to many different periods of Irish history, and we welcome all visitors on what we hope will prove to be a very interesting, educational, and inspiring journey to the real, unadulterated history of Ireland.* (admission €7)
  • Cobh– (pronounced “cove”) This colorful southern town is located on an island in Cork city’s harbour. Cobh is such a fun, quirky, beautiful town full of stunning views, lots of restaurants and shops. The Titanic actually set sail from Cobh on it’s maiden voyage, and the steeple on St. Colman’s Cathedral is the last thing on land that the victims of the Titanic saw before their unfortunate demise. Cobh has a museum dedicated to the Titanic.
    • St. Colman’s Cathedral– usually known as Cobh Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral. It is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cloyne. It overlooks Cork harbour from a prominent position. It is free admission to get inside and see the beautiful interior.
    • Deck of Cards” Houses– These colorful homes are stacked up on a hill in a row overlooking the town. Having been to both “Rainbow Row” in Charleston and the “Painted Ladies” in San Francisco, I knew that this was a must see! With St. Colman’s sitting right behind the homes, it makes for a pretty incredible view.
    • Titanic Experience Museum– Like I mentioned, due to Cobh’s history with the Titanic, they have a museum dedicated to the Titanic. They even have an interactive element to help put yourself in the shoes of those who boarded the Titanic that may or may not have survived. Unfortunately, we did not have time to make it to the museum before it closed, so we missed out on this stop. (admission €10)
  • Kinsale– is a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, which also has significant military history. Located approximately 25 km south of Cork City on the southeast coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it is located at the mouth of the River Brandon. Kinsale has sooo many things to offer, and I was upset that we were unable to do any of them. But the fact that we at least got to see it and walk around a bit made it up to me! Though, I would love to go back one day and explore more!

Where we stayed: We stayed in the most incredible and magical Airbnb! Our host was so accommodating and we could not believe how beautiful the home was! I would definitely love to stay there again next time I am in Kinsale!

3. KILARNEY + RING OF KERRY

From Kinsale, we decided to head toward the west coast! The coolest part about this leg of the trip is that a majority of our focus was on enjoying the views while we drove. And we had A LOT of driving to do this day!

  • Killarney– Killarney is a town on the shores of Lough Leane in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry. It’s a stop on the Ring of Kerry scenic drive, and the start and finishing point of the 200-km Kerry Way walking trail. The town’s 19th-century buildings include St. Mary’s Cathedral. Across the bridge from the cathedral is Killarney National Park. Victorian mansion Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms sits in the park. *
    • Killarney National Park– near the town of Killarney, County Kerry, was the first national park in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish Free State in 1932. The National Park spans over nearly 26,000 acres and offers lots of hiking, boating and other scenic adventures, such as a trip to the waterfalls and the Castle.
      • Muckross House– This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park. The house stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney’s three lakes, famed world wide for their splendour and beauty. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape.
      • Torc Waterfall– This waterfall is a little over a mile hike from the Muckross House and is approximately 20 meters in height. You can either walk to the falls from the home or take a horse-drawn carriage. Either way, it’s a must do in Killarney!
      • Ross Castle– a 15th-century tower house and keep on the edge of Lough Leane, in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland. It is the ancestral home of the O’Donoghue clan, later associated with the Brownes of Killarney.
  • Ring of Kerry– The ring of Kerry is not one location, but actually a scenic loop in the south-western border of Ireland, around the Iveragh Peninsula. It is full of completely breath-taking views where you will have to pull over to get a picture! It is considered one of the best scenic drives in all of Ireland.
    • Kerry Cliffs– offer spectacular views of the Skellig Islands and Puffin Island, over 1,000 feet (305 meters) high. The cliffs were formed over 400 million years ago. Located just 3km from Portmagee village, high above the wave lashed cliffs of Kerry Head at the most westerly point of the headland once stood two stone build forts, today all that survives is a stone wall a few feet high is with sheer 60ft cliffs behind them and acres of wild wind blow bog land in front.
    • Staigue Stone Fort– Staigue or Staig is a ruined stone ringfort three miles west of Sneem, on the Iveragh peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. The fort is thought to have been built during the late Iron Age, probably somewhere between 300 and 400 AD, as a defensive stronghold for a local lord or king

Where we stayed: As if we didn’t have enough to drive already, we decided to drive a little further toward the Dingle Peninsula to stay for the night. We knew we wanted to start the next day in Dingle, so we figured we might as well drive a little more so we can start exploring early in the morning! We stayed at this Airbnb.

4. DINGLE PENINSULA + CLIFFS OF MOHER + BALLYCURRIN

We started the morning bright and early venturing out to different locations around Dingle before we took another long drive north toward the Cliffs of Moher. Again, we knew that the drive was going to be long, but very beautiful! So we allotted a little bit of extra time to be able to pull over and take in all the views!

  • Dingle Peninsula– this small port town on southwest Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula is known for its rugged scenery, trails and sandy beaches.  The peninsula itself is fairly large, offering lots of breathtaking views and fun things to do with your family!
    • Inch Beach– Inch beach located on the spectacular Dingle Peninsula is a wondrous place to visit. Soaked in the history of this historical and wild landscape you are immersed in everything Irish, it is possible to say that this is a spiritual experience of Ireland, you are completely exposed to nature and the wild Irish Coast. * We did not really spend much time at this beach, as it is located right when you enter the Dingle Peninsula. By the time that we saw the beach it was getting dark out and we still had a ways to get to our Airbnb. So, we stopped, breathed the fresh air, admired it’s beauty and then headed back on the open road.
    • Dingle Town– The town is full of lots of live music, pubs, shops and restaurants to enjoy.
    • Slea Head– This is another scenic drive along the coast on the Dingle Peninsula. The Slea Head Loop from Dingle town is the most famous drive in the area and definitely should not be missed.
    • Dunquin Harbour– Dunquin Pier, famous for its narrow winding pathway which snakes down to the sea, is located in the village of Dunquin, or Dún Chaoin as you might spot on the Irish road signs! Dunquin is the most westerly settlement in Ireland and is surrounded by dramatic coastline and jutting rocks. The stunning setting results in Dunquin Pier being one of the most photogenic spots in Ireland. Dunquin Pier is often referred to as Ireland’s Sheep Highway, likely due to an iconic Irish postcard image depicting the pier filled with sheep as they were transported from the Blasket Islands to the mainland. It’s rare these days but, if you get really lucky, you might see some sheep arrive and file slowly up the pier as they reach the mainland! * We definitely got lost while trying to find this picturesque peer, but that just means that we got more opportunities to explore around Dingle!
  • Cliffs of Moher– You simply cannot travel to Ireland without paying a visit to Ireland’s top tourist attraction, the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, situated in County Clare along the wild Atlantic Way. The Cliffs of Moher have majestically faced the Atlantic for over 350 million years and their beauty is incomparable – it is Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction and when you visit you will understand why. But be careful because in several parts of the cliffs there is no railing at all! (admission €6)
    • Cruise Tour– Rather than standing above the cliffs looking down at the Atlantic, you could be in the Atlantic looking up at the cliffs! This boat takes you to the base of the cliffs and lets you get a view from the bottom. You may even get to see a Puffin or two! We did not actually take this tour, but some members from our large group did, and they said it was well worth it! (admission €15)
  • Ballycurrin Lighthouse– Right outside of the home we stayed in that night was a lighthouse! It is claimed to be the only inland lighthouse of it’s kind in Europe. It was old, and falling apart, so there was no way in hell that I was going up it! (I have a phobia of open stairs as well) But boy was it beautiful!

Where we stayed: We stayed in THE COOLEST Airbnb called the “Ballycurrin House”. Ballycurrin House is located in the grounds of the 12th century Ballycurrin Castle. This fine Georgian House is on the shores of Lough Corrib, set in four acres of beautiful woodland and gardens with one of Ireland’s onshore lighthouse’s a stroll away. 

5. SLIGO + DERRY

This was another day filled mostly with driving to our next destination. Although we of course did not miss any sites to pull off and admire! This was probably our least eventful day, but that’s okay! I mean it’s vacation! We need to relax at some point! After we traveled into Northern Ireland we did a little shopping, ate dinner and just relaxed for the night.

  • Sligo– in the north of Ireland, straddles the Garavogue River where it meets Sligo Bay. It’s known for its literary heritage and rugged countryside. Ruined medieval Sligo Abbey has carved tombs and a 15th-century altar.
    • Cullenamore Beach– While we were in Ireland, they were having a “heat wave” of 75 degrees F and sunny (so you mean a perfect day in the U.S.?!), so we decided to take a little pit stop along our drive up north at the Cullenamore Beach. The water was so shallow that you could basically walk out into the middle of the lake and the water would only be up to your knees. But it was nice to get a little beach time on vacation!
  • Derry/Londonderry– Derry, also known as Londonderry, is a city on the River Foyle in Northern Ireland. It’s known for the intact 17th-century Derry’s Walls with 7 gates. Within the walls, spired St. Columb’s Cathedral displays artefacts from the 1688–9 Siege of Derry. Near the Peace Bridge, the Tower Museum has city views and historical exhibits. Huge stained-glass windows adorn the neo-Gothic red sandstone Guildhall. You may wonder, why is it called Derry or Londonderry? “The London prefix was added to Derry when the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I in 1613. Previous attempts for an official name change have failed. In 1984 the council changed its name from Londonderry to Derry but the city continued to officially be called Londonderry. In 2007, after a judicial review was brought by what was then known as Derry City Council, a High Court judge ruled that Northern Ireland’s second city should remain as Londonderry.*
  • Shopping- Right in the city center are lots of different shops including a mall.
    • Peace Bridge– a cycle and foot bridge across the River Foyle. It opened in 2011, connecting Ebrington Square with the rest of the city centre.  The Peace Bridge “bridges” a 400 year old physical and political gap between two sides of a once, bitterly divided community.
    • Derry Walls– This is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The Walls were built during the period 1613-1618 by the honorable, the Irish Society as defences for early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland.

Where we stayed: We stayed right in the city center this night! It was super convenient to walk around and explore, but was a pain to park! But I guess that’s what is to expect from an Airbnb in the city. The home was beautiful and so unique though!

6. DUNLUCE CASTLE + GIANTS CAUSEWAY + CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE + DARK HEDGES

This day was a bit different compared to our past few days. Rather than just traveling to general areas to explore, we had a list of specific sights we wanted to see and they were all so close to each other! Instead of driving hours in between! So that was kind of a nice break. Although, when we were finished we had to drive all the way back to Dublin that same night. But it’s okay, by then our adventure buckets were full for the day!

  • Dunluce Castle– This absolutely beautiful medieval castle was built in the 1500s, and although now-ruined, it gives it so much more charm! It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim, and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. You get to walk the grounds and explore the findings of archaeological digs within the cobbled streets and stone merchants’ houses of the long-abandoned Dunluce Town. It’s difficult to say which is more beautiful, the castle ruins or the coastal views it sits among. (admission £5.50)
  • Giants Causeway– Probably one, if not the, most popular tourist attraction in all of Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. Located by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. The rare pentagon-shaped columns really makes you wonder how it got there. Was it created from volcanoes, or was it created by Giants? Take a trip there to find out for yourself! There is a welcome center full of information, souvenirs and other goodies. (admission £12.50)
  • Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge– famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below. The bridge was such a thrill (or terrifying?) to cross! Luckily, it made me feel a lot better knowing that it is regularly maintained by the National Trust. (admission £9.00)
  • Dark Hedges– One thing I am obsessed with are trees with gnarly, twisted branches. So when I saw that there was a road lined with them I knew I needed to go! Oh, and apparently it was in the Game of Thrones?

We made our way from Dark Hedges to Belfast, and took it straight through until Dublin. When we got back to Dublin some of the group decided to spend one more night down town, and others got in a little more family time before departing the next morning. ❤ Traveling is absolutely wonderful, but there is really nothing quite like having our whole family together again.


It is just unreal how much beauty we got to see/experience in just 6 short days! There are a few places I would love to go back and spend more time in, but all-in-all, I am very pleased with how our road trip panned out! Yeah, it was scary having to drive on the opposite side of the road, down those tiny little lanes, but it was so worth it to get to see Ireland in all it’s glory!

It really is as beautiful and as charming as it looks in movies, folks!

I can’t wait to see the next beautiful place we get to explore! But for now, I will just be daydreaming about Ireland and trying to hitch-hike my way back!

Photography by Auburn Artisan

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