When our son was a two-year-old traveling toddler, we took an epic Ireland road trip along the southwestern Wild Atlantic Way, touring some of the most delightful sights in that part of the country. For the first time, today I’m compiling an itinerary of the whole trip so you can draw inspiration for your own Ireland travel planning!
The first half of this post has the Ireland road trip vacation plan in visual form, and the second displays all the details, typed out. Special thanks to Tourism Ireland for the destination ideas. Click any link here go through to my more detailed articles on each spot, and know that some hotel links go to affiliates. Enjoy!
Details of the Ireland Road Trip Itinerary:
Day 1: Bunratty Castle
- Arrive at Shannon Airport and pick up rental car. (Ours came with a child car seat and GPS.)
- Visit Bunratty Folk Park and Bunratty Castle, which was built in 1425, and is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland!
- Stay overnight at Bunratty Manor Hotel.
Day 2: Cliffs of Moher and Galway
- Depart for the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most iconic, must-see natural attractions. The cliffs stand at over 700 feet high, and stretch for 5 miles along the Clare Atlantic Coast.
- After ogling the ancient portal stones at The Burren, drive to Galway city, a bohemian, friendly small city.
- Stay outside Galway in the Twelve in Barna: a super foodie hotel.
Day 3: Connemara and Kylemore
- Visit Brigit’s Garden to see the four gardens representing the Celtic Cycle of the Seasons, then tour the Connemara Heritage Museum where you’ll learn Irish migration history, eat soda bread, and see turf cutting.
- Enjoy Kylemore Abbey, one of the most photographic abbeys in the world: now an international boarding school, but also a thriving tourism attraction with gardens, trails, and a lovely restaurant.
- Stay overnight at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel (so much character!) or Rosleague Manor in Clifden.
Day 4: Westport, County Mayo
- Explore Westport, Ireland, including Westport House, a very child-friendly historic house from the 18th century, and cycle part of the Greenway (bikes available with baby seats), an award winning cycle trail along a disused railway line from Westport to Achill.
- Stay overnight in Knockranny Hotel, Westport.
Day 5: Ashford Castle and Falconry
- Try your hand at Falconry in Ireland’s School of Falconry on the grounds of famed Ashford Castle.
- Overnight and dinner at the Lodge at Ashford Castle.
Day 6: Limerick, Ireland
- Visit King John’s Castle, in Limerick, Ireland (yes, the home of Limericks!) to learn about the history of the castle and the city of Limerick. The recently re-opened exhibition brings to life over 800 years of history. Visit the Hunt Museum, Ireland’s largest private collection of art and antiquities.
- Stay overnight at No. 1 Pery Square Hotel to catch the flight home at Shannon airport the next morning (Day 7)!
Thoughts on this Ireland Road Trip Plan?
So what do you think about this week-long Ireland road trip itinerary? If you’ve done some or all of the attractions, which did you love best? What’s missing from this list that you recommend? If you haven’t done this trip yet, does it appeal to you? Do share!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!