Ireland Itinerary: The Perfect 6 Day Vacation 2023

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Searching for the perfect Ireland itinerary? Here’s your guide to spending six days exploring the beautiful country of Ireland. 

From the bustling cities of Dublin, Cork, and Galway to the rolling hills in County Wicklow, you’ll have a chance to experience a true overview of Ireland’s greatest hits. In fact, you won’t have to choose to visit Cork or Dublin because you’ll have a full day in both cities, in addition to a day in Galway. 

Those who love to get outside will enjoy full days of hiking in both the Wicklow Mountains and along the Cliffs of Moher, two of the most incredible spots in Ireland. End your trip with great food and traditional music in Galway. 

Ireland Itinerary: Trip Overview

Pub in Temple Bar in Dublin
Image Credit: AmberEverywhere.com

This Ireland itinerary takes you around the country of Ireland in six days, offering a whirlwind tour of some of the most famous places in the country.

Ireland Itinerary Day One: Explore Dublin and Temple Bar

Kings Head Pub in Galway
Image Credit: AmberEverywhere.com

Start your visit to Ireland with a day exploring the capital of Dublin. You’ll see many of the most famous attractions in Dublin and have a chance to try poitín, a traditional Irish spirit.  

Morning

Grab breakfast at one of the hip spots in town, ideally a full Irish breakfast. One Society or Brother Hubbard are both great restaurant options near Temple Bar. 

Then, set off to explore Temple Bar. Note that, in Dublin, Temple Bar is the name for the area in the city center, though there is also a pub called the Temple Bar. 

Make your way to Trinity College, where you can see the incredible Trinity College Dublin Library and the Book of Kells. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as they’re likely to sell out. Then, wander in and out of the shops along Wicklow Street, a fabulous area in the Temple Bar.

Afternoon

For a little greenery, check out St Stephen’s Green – one of the most popular parks in Dublin. You can grab a donut from the Rolling Donut and people watch in the park, a great pastime on a sunny day. 

Then, swing by Stephen’s Green Shopping Center to admire the architecture. The building was designed like a greenhouse, with lots of natural light and beautiful steelwork.

Finally, walk up and down Grafton Street. There are typically performers playing live music on the street on weekends.

Evening

Finally, grab dinner at a local pub and wind your way towards Bar 1661. This little spot near Temple Bar is one of the most popular cocktail bars in the country. Their signature cocktail is the Belfast Coffee, a play on the classic Irish Coffee but made with poitín, a traditional Irish spirit.

If traveling with children, you can instead stroll along the River Liffey and take in some of the more popular statues. The Famine Memorial and Molly Malone Statue are worth seeing, and only about 15 minutes apart on foot. 

A few steps past the Molly Malone Statue is Murphy’s Ice Cream, a local creamery with inventive and exciting Irish flavors. Try classic flavors or something more adventurous, like Irish brown bread or Dingle sea salt. 

Ireland Itinerary Day Two: Hike in the Beautiful Wicklow Mountains

Glendalough in County Wicklow
Image Credit: AmberEverywhere.com

The second day of your Irish road trip will be focused on hiking and exploring the beautiful Wicklow Mountains. 

Morning

Start your day by exploring Glendalough, a glacial lake with incredible views. Hikers can complete the 6-mile Spinc Trail loop around the lake, or walkers may prefer to walk along the flat, wooded portion of the trail. 

Afternoon

Grab lunch at the nearby Wicklow Heather, a traditional pub with an outdoor patio and fun, vintage decor. Then, make your way to one of the nearby gardens.

You could stroll through the glossy and beautiful Powerscourt Estate, complete with expansive gardens representing different areas of the world. Or, for a more unique experience, visit Victor’s Way, with enormous granite statues that are designed to be thought-provoking and challenging. 

Evening

For dinner, visit the seaside city of Bray. There are a number of great restaurants to choose from, but Daata is a local favorite. After dinner, take a quick walk along the seaside, where you may even find people swimming or sailing in the Irish Sea. 

Ireland Itinerary Day Three: Drive Along Ireland’s Ancient East to Cork 

Sunset over the Atlantic in County Kerry
Image Credit: AmberEverywhere.com

Morning

After a hearty breakfast, start making your way towards Cork City. If you’re feeling comfortable driving on the Irish roads, you can take the incredibly scenic route through the Wicklow Gap. The windy roads offer picturesque views of the Wicklow Mountains. 

After you pass the Wicklow Gap, the route will take you along country roads surrounded by lush, rolling hills. You’ll pass charming small Irish towns along the drive, where you can stop for a break or a few essentials if you’d like.

Afternoon

Take a detour and stop for a few hours in Tramore, a small coastal town in County Waterford. There’s a boardwalk with rides that kids will enjoy, a beach, and Seagull Bakery, one of the only sourdough bakeries in Ireland. If you arrive when the tide is out, kids can play in the tide pools that form in the rocks.

Evening

Finish the drive into Cork and check into your hotel. From there, you can head into town and check out the action on Oliver Plunkett Street. This lively area is home to a collection of pubs and restaurants. 

Have dinner at Market Lane, a spot with great food and a large menu that can accommodate most dietary restrictions. The space is larger than most in Cork, so it’s usually easy to get a table even without a reservation. 

If you still have some energy and want to go out on the town, visit the Shelbourne Bar for Irish whiskey or Sin é, a local pub known for having live music. 

Ireland Itinerary Day Four: Explore Cork

View from Elizabeth Fort - Cork
Image Credit: AmberEverywhere.com

On your fourth day in Ireland, explore Cork, Ireland’s Rebel City. Start off with breakfast at one of the best local restaurants, then take a walking tour of the city and visit Blarney Castle. In the evening, explore Cork’s nightlife in the city center or Victorian Quarter. 

Morning

Start your day with a coffee and breakfast at one of the best restaurants in Cork, the Good Day Deli. Set on the beautiful grounds of Nano Nagle Place, this little cafe offers a small menu of tasty brunch options like smoked beetroot eggs benedict or Turkish eggs. 

Get the lay of the land with a walking tour of Cork, where you can see most of the city’s landmarks and learn about its history. There are tours that cater to many types of groups, including one specifically designed for young children. 

Afternoon

Have lunch at Izz Cafe, Gusto, or another quick spot in town. Then, spend the rest of the afternoon at Blarney Castle, a 20-minute drive outside of the city. You can explore the stunning castle grounds and kiss the infamous Blarney Stone, said to bestow people with the “gift of the gab.” 

Evening

Have dinner at another local spot in Cork’s city center, like Sonflour (reservation recommended), or in the Victorian Quarter. Son of a Bun is a great budget-friendly option with burgers, or you could go to Cask for tapas and a great outdoor seating area. 

Ireland Itinerary Day Five: Hike Along the Cliffs of Moher 

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Image Credit: AmberEverywhere.com

The Cliffs of Moher are a UNESCO Geopark, renowned for their striking beauty and wildness. Many visitors only make it to the Visitors Center, skipping the incredible hike along the tops of the cliffs. 

Morning

Drive 2.5 hours to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. 

Serious hikers can start the hike at Hag’s Head and travel towards the Visitors Center, a hike that will take a few hours. For almost the entire hike, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the cliffs and the open Atlantic Ocean. 

If you’re not sure that you can complete the entire hike along the Cliffs, just park at the Visitor’s Center and hike as far as you’d like towards Hag’s Head. The views are essentially the same, but you’ll have a little more control over how long you’re on the trail. 

Afternoon

You can bring lunch with you, or there’s a cafe in the Visitor’s Center. An even better option would be to grab lunch at one of the food trucks along the trail, but they’re seasonal and have unpredictable hours, so it’s best not to rely on them. 

Finish your hike and head towards your hotel for the evening. Even though the Cliffs of Moher hike is flat, the trail is long, and the weather can be cold, so it’s a big activity for kids. 

Evening

You can stay the night in the nearby town of Doolin or find a hotel in Limerick or Galway. There are a few small pubs in Doolin, perfect for a cozy dinner with a distinctly local feel. Otherwise, both Limerick and Galway have a number of restaurants to choose from. 

Ireland Itinerary Day Six: Listen to Trad Music in Galway

Galway City in Ireland
Image Credit: AmberEverywhere.com

Your final full day in Ireland is the perfect time to visit the city of Galway. The city is known for its traditional “trad” music sessions and bustling Latin Quarter. 

Morning

Make your way to Galway after breakfast, where you can explore the city on foot. Start your day at Eyre Square, then walk along High Street for shopping, live music, and plenty of restaurants. 

Coffeewerk + Press is a fabulous coffee shop with great espresso drinks and an adorable, eclectic gift shop. They have a selection of gifts that will delight Wes Anderson lovers and anyone with an eye for Scandinavian design. 

Afternoon

Visit a few of the landmarks in Galway, like the Galway Cathedral and the Spanish Arch. You can also pay a visit to the Galway City Museum, where the free exhibits offer insight into the history and cultural significance of the area. 

Continue your walk across the Wolfe Tone Bridge and explore Galway’s Westend. This area is more popular with locals, so you’ll see fewer tourists, but there are still plenty of shops and restaurants. 

Evening

Have dinner at a spot on High Street, then set off in search of some live music. Taafe’s Bar and the Daíl Bar are great spots to see live traditional music sessions, also known as “trad” sessions. 

For something a little different, you can also visit the King’s Head Pub. This pub is over 800 years old, making a living piece of history. They even carry an exclusive beer, the Blood Red Ale, from Galway Hooker, a local brewery. 

If you want to stay overnight, consider Wooduay Hostel in Galway. You’ll find a wide range of mixed, female & private dorms in this cozy, quirky, original Galway townhouse nestled in the Woodquay area of the city.

Visiting Ireland: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Ireland. 

How Many Days Do You Need in Ireland?

You’ll need at least five days to experience Ireland, though 7-10 days is ideal. No matter how many days you have in Ireland, spend at least a few of them exploring areas outside of Dublin. 

What Is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?

Summer is the best time to visit Ireland. Try to plan your trip between May and September for the warmest weather and best chances of having sunshine. 

Remember, there are no guarantees when it comes to Irish weather. Always pack warm clothes and lots of layers to stay comfortable, even if the temperatures drop. 

What Is the Cheapest Month to Go to Ireland?

Winter is the cheapest time to visit Ireland. You can expect to see price drops from November through February when the days are short, and the weather is quite chilly. 

Final Thoughts: Ireland Itinerary

After six days exploring Ireland, you’ll have a great overview of many of the country’s top landmarks. From the capital of Dublin to the coveted Wicklow Mountains, you’ll have a chance to explore some of Ireland’s Ancient East. Then, you’ll see the Rebel City of Cork, the Food Capital of Ireland, and even kiss the Blarney Stone. 

Spend your final two days in the West of Ireland, seeing both the incredible Cliffs of Moher and the lively city of Galway. 

This article was written by AmberEverywhere.com and published by Our Woven Journey.

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Amber Haggerty runs Amber Everywhere, a site dedicated to encouraging others to travel. The mission of Amber Everywhere is to help people feel the sort of belonging, purpose, empathy, and expansiveness that travel can offer, especially if approached with the right mindset. Amber is originally from Colorado and now she now lives in Europe and writes about her experiences traveling and living abroad.