The World Was Here First

8 Best Stops On A Dublin To Galway Drive

Last Updated on January 10, 2024

by Maggie Turansky

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places to visit between dublin and galway

The Dublin to Galway drive along the main motorway will only take around two and a half hours if you don’t divert from the route. However, there’s a lot to see between the east and west coast of Ireland and it’s very much worth venturing away from the typical route and seeing a few places along the way.

Many visitors to the Emerald Isle tend to ignore the pastoral charms of Central Ireland in lieu of its dramatic shores and the inimitable Wild Atlantic Way . While most tourists tend to route their Ireland itineraries south from Dublin, it can be just as rewarding to explore the scenic centre of the country.

So take your time and enjoy a beautiful part of Ireland that many foreign tourists tend to overlook.

Table of Contents

Planning a Dublin to Galway Road Trip

Though Ireland is a small country and the drive from Dublin isn’t necessarily a long one, you do need to keep a few things in mind before you take off on this beautiful, scenic drive. The most important of which is a rental car!

Obviously, you’re going to need a car when driving from Dublin and if you want to find a great deal on a car hire, we highly recommend using . This platform compares prices across many available car rental companies to ensure that you can save on your overall Ireland trip cost .

Keep in mind that they do drive on the left side of the road in the Republic of Ireland, much like they do in the UK , Malta and Cyprus .

While it may seem daunting at first if you’re used to driving on the right, it is easy to get used to so long as you remember that, as the driver, you need to stay in the middle of the road.

Driving in Ireland besides getting used to another side isn’t all that difficult and there aren’t any other precautions that you need to take that you wouldn’t elsewhere in the world.

Finally, before setting off, have you considered taking out a travel insurance policy? World Nomads offers flexible and simple travel insurance policies with coverage for more than 150 activities that you can buy or extend while on the road.

Clonmacnoise Monestary

How Far is Dublin to Galway?

The drive along the M6 is only about 129 miles (208 kilometres) and will take around 2.5 hours if you don’t divert from the motorway. However, if I could give any tip for the drive, it would be to stray from the motorway as much as possible!

While many of the stops in this list are directly accessible from just a short detour from the M6, you’ll miss much of the bucolic beauty that this scenic route has to offer if you stay on the motorway the majority of the journey.

If you stick to the M6, all the scenery you’re likely to experience is the seemingly endless expanse of dual carriageway and the occasional Guinness transport lorry (Ireland may well be the only country that transports its beer in oil tankers). While the distance from Dublin to Galway is certainly shorter along the M6, it is well worth going on the country roads instead.

If you stray from the motorway and venture onto the winding country roads, your total journey time will definitely be longer as the distance between the two cities depends on the road you take, but it will also be infinitely more scenic and enjoyable.

Also, if you’re travelling in spring, you’ll see literally hundreds of adorable baby lambs. They’re the cutest, fluffy little creatures and they don’t really hang out on the side of the M4. Honestly, it’s worth straying from the motorway just for that.

Beautiful scenary near Roscommon

Dublin to Galway Drive Stops

1. kildare village.

About an hour outside of Dublin lies the charming village of Kildare, which is one of the best stops on the drive.

Located about 60 kilometres southwest of Dublin, Kildare Village is easy to access via the N7 to M7. Despite its diminutive size, there are several tourist attractions and points of interest in this small and beautiful town.

Perhaps the biggest tourist attraction in Kildare is the Irish National Stud and Gardens . This is a working Thoroughbred horse farm and breeder and is also surrounded by stunning gardens, including an excellently kept Japanese garden, and a restaurant.

Other attractions in Kildare Village include St. Brigid’s Cathedral and Grounds, St. Brigid’s Well, and the ruined Kildare Castle.

Red Bridge at the Irish National Stud

2. Tullamore DEW Distillery

While whiskey was once Ireland’s biggest export, those days have long since come to pass and international appreciation for this local spirit began to dwindle.

However, Irish whiskey has seen something of a resurgence in recent years and there is much more to it than what you know of Jameson and Bushmills.

Located about 45 minutes west of Kildare Village just outside the town of Tullamore is the notable Tullamore DEW Whiskey Distillery, a great place to visit if you want to sample or learn about Irish whiskey, how it is made, or simply sample a bit in the visitor centre (only for those not driving, that is!).

The distillery offers tasting tours, but there is also a restaurant and pub on-site for those who don’t want a tour.

3. Kilbeggan Distillery

Rejoining the M6 just north of Tullamore, visiting the Kilbeggan Distillery is another option if you want to learn about Irish whiskey and how the production differs from, say, Scotch whisky.

The most basic experience includes a detailed tour of the facilities and a description of how the whiskey is made along with a tasting masterclass with three drams of Kilbeggan.

Designated drivers need not worry, however, as they do provide a non-alcoholic beverage at the end for those not wishing to drink.

Located on the border of counties Westmeath and Roscommon lies the small city of Athlone, which is located almost completely in the geographic centre of Ireland.

Only a short detour from the M6,  it is probably the biggest urban centre on the route with a population of over 20,000, which means that there are many tourist attractions on this Dublin to Galway stop.

These include the Church of St. Peter & Paul, the bronze bust of Count John McCormack, and some stunning architecture on the streets of the town.

If you’re wondering what to do in Athlone, the most famous and interesting tourist attraction would have to be the Athlone Castle , which has existed, in one form or another, for almost 5,000 years.

Today, it is in its own excellently preserved 13th-century state and sits on the banks of the River Shannon.

Looking for a unique place to spend the night in Athlone? Check out this rustic lakeside cottage .

Athlone bridge

5. Clonmacnoise Monastery

Located about a thirty-minute drive due south from Athlone, the incredibly well-preserved 6th Century monastic site at Clonmacnoise is one of the best stops on the route from Dublin to Galway.

Considered to be the best monastic site in Ireland, it includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches, two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian gravestones in Western Europe.

The Clonmacnoise Monastery site is open daily all year round (excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when it is closed to the public) and it’s an excellent place to learn about very early Irish history.

 Clonmacnoise Monastery

6. Roscommon

If you’re looking for a charming small Irish town to stop in on your road trip from Dublin, look no further than Roscommon. This small town in central Ireland is located just north of Athlone and about 90 kilometres east of Galway , making it the perfect place last stop on your drive from Dublin.

The town itself is incredibly picturesque and it can be worth it to have a wander around its charming small town streets. There are also several historical ruins that are worth seeing, notably the ruins of both the Roscommon Castle and Roscommon Abbey.

Roscommon is also a great place to stop for a bit to eat, which many cosy, pastoral pubs to choose from. Regan’s Gastropub is one of the best options for a meal as their menu is extensive beyond typical greasy pub fare and it is very good.

7. Birr Castle

If you choose to stay south of the M6 rather than venture north to Athlone and Roscommon when driving to Galway, then consider a stop at the beautiful Birr Castle . At over 400 years old and still home to the 7th Earl of Rosse, this traditional estate is wonderful to visit.

Not only can you tour the castle itself and see some of its stately rooms and learn about its history, but also make sure to spend time in the exquisite gardens and grounds.

The gardens are impeccable and there are also plenty of walking trails through the lush grounds – perfect for stretching your legs and getting a bit active on your road trip.

Birr Castle

8. Portumna

Just a bit west of Birr Castle and another excellent stop is the lovely market town of Portumna, which is home to the beautiful Portumna Castle – perfect for those after another beautiful estate to visit while travelling through the centre of Ireland.

The caste dates to the 17th Century and boasts beautiful landscaped gardens to explore. You can also tour the interior of the castle if this is something that interests you.

In the town itself, you could also opt to visit the Irish Workhouse Centre , a harrowing yet informative heritage museum that educates visitors on the conditions that those who were too poor to support themselves in the mid-19th Century (including vulnerable people such as the elderly, sick and orphans) were subjected to.

For those who want a bit of a pick-me-up after such a heavy museum, consider driving a further 45 minutes before arriving in Galway to visit the Coole Park Nature Reserve and take in some pristine Irish scenery.

Portumna Castle

Where To Stay On The Drive from Dublin To Galway

If you’re looking for an accommodation option in Dublin, I would highly recommend staying at the Kilronan House , which is a comfortable, well-located B&B in Dublin’s Georgian quarter.

Although the drive to Galway can easily be done in one day, if you want to take advantage of all of the great stops along the way, I would recommend spending the night at the Shannonside House B&B in Athlone, which is a great halfway point.

Alternatively, the Wineport Lodge located just a few kilometres north of Athlone on the banks of Lough Ree offers a luxurious escape for those looking to add a bit of romance and pamper themselves on their trips.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Galway City, I can highly recommend The Stop B&B . It is located in a quiet neighbourhood in the Claddagh District but is within ten minute’s walking distance to all of the main sites of Galway City. The breakfast is also fantastic.

A private rental is also a great option throughout Ireland, particularly on this drive. There are countless properties available — like this rustic lakeside cottage near Athlone.

The drive from Dublin to Galway doesn’t have to be a boring slog along seemingly endless stretches of concrete and asphalt. If you take the time to make some detours, you will see a side of Ireland that many visitors tend to overlook.

Are you planning this drive? Have any questions about the route? Let us know in the comments!

places to visit between dublin and galway

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About Maggie Turansky

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

Hi Maggie. I will be taking 10 days to do a road trip in October 2024 driving from Dublin to Kilkenny to Cork, onto Ennis and then to Galway and then back to Dublin through Roscommon as my ancestors are from this area. Can you recommend a place to stay in Roscommon, either a hotel or B&B? Thanks for your great Post!

Hi Tom, happy you’ve found this helpful. The Coachman’s Inn is a well-reviewed B&B in Roscommon 🙂

Hi Maggie, love your suggestions! My husband and I are looking at doing a 16 day trip to Ireland in April/May 2023. We are basing our plans on more Southern Ireland starting in Dublin and cutting back there from Galway. Any suggestions for areas best to stay in for doing day hops to sightsee?

Any chance you have an idea of what the driving time would be on this route? Obviously not including stops, as those are different for everyone depending on what they want to see, but just the actual drive going this route vs highway?? I am a travel agent trying to book a retirement trip for the sweetest couple and this has been on their bucket list for over 10 years so I want it all to be perfect

Thanks so much for your suggestions on the page. We saw both the National Stud Farm (where the gardens really outshine the horses, hard to believe) and Clonmacnoise and enjoyed both very much.

hi i am coming from India. will be landing in to Dublin airport. I would like to see Galway and a few places around. Is there a local bus service which I can hop onto to take me around from one place to another? i have about 6 days in total. what all should i definitely visit? please do advice. thank you.

Hi Reshma, unfortunately, I don’t know much about the bus system in Ireland, but I do know that you should be able to find fairly frequent connections between major cities. Six days is a great amount of time to spend for your trip – I’m sure you will have a lovely time! If you want some suggestions, have a look at our Ireland itinerary, which you can obviously tweak to your own needs:

We are going in the opposite direction: Flying into Shannon Airport, touring Galway and then going up to Connemara to see cousins for a couple days before driving to Dublin.

I plan to go right across the middle.

Silly question, but any changes if we are driving west to east? We’ll have about two days after leaving Connemara to get to Dublin.

Hi James, I don’t think there are any changes in the drive going from east to west 🙂 Hope you enjoy your trip!

Hi Everyone , this is a great page , I am glad I found it . I am Dublin born and bred and live in Sydney . My best advice when visiting Ireland for the first time is , especially if your time is limited – less is more – A lot of American tourists try to fit everything in and miss the real beauty of Ireland , the slower pace , taking it easy , enjoying the view and watching the world go by . Pick one or two bases ie Dublin or Galway , and do day trips . There are great train trips out of Dublin to pretty much everywhere including Belfast . Do one or two of these day or overnight escorted trips to the tourist sites – let the professionals do the driving , and leave a few days to do your own touring or driving at your pace . For example there is loads to see and do in and around Dublin and beautiful beaches and coastal walks 30 mins from the city that when you show your holiday snaps to your friends you could tell them that you made it to the west of Ireland even though you were in Howth in Dublin . The views and the scenery are just as spectacular and you have not had to drive half way round the country / Just a suburban train ( The Dart ) out to Howth , with plenty of time left over for a few pints at The Abbey Tavern and some great food . Enjoy and have fun and see you their in April !

Great tips, Roy! Thanks for commenting 🙂

Hi Maggie, We are planning to travel from dublin and end with base in Dingle for 4 nights. We would like to fit in Skelling, killarney nat’l park, galway, The Cliffs and kinsale if possible. We arrive early on a saturday and plan to fly out the following sunday. Trying to decide what should be day trips from our base and whether we should plan overnight stop on the way to Dingle. Does this seem feasible and how would you arrange your drive? Kind regards,

We did this Jan 2020. On the way to Galway, we stopped for the night in Tullamore, and had a wonderful stay at the Bridge hotel. We stayed the next night at the Galway Bay hotel, what a wonderful view! Took a taxi into town for the pubs. On the way back to Dublin, we spent a night in Athlone. Much enjoyed the castle, and also Sean’s Pub. The trick is to set the GPS to avoid highways – and to travel during the off season.

Sounds like you had a great trip! 🙂

Hello – we are starting to plan a visit for next summer and planning a drive with a private tour driver/guide from Dublin to Galway. Our plan is to stop and visit Kilbeggan Distillery, Athlone Castle, Sean’s Pub in Athlone and a visit to Clonmacnoise. Is that feasible? How long should we allow ourselves? Besides Sean’s Pub [a must :-)], what would be your suggested priority if we can’t do it all.

Thank you in advance.

Love the tips. We will be driving from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher and back to Dublin in 1 day. Want to do a few stops along the way. Do you think this is possible?

Hi John, if you leave Dublin early enough I think you can definitely fit in at least a couple of these stops along the way! Hope you a great trip 🙂

This is one of the most informative sites I’ve found for planning a trip to Ireland. I am hoping to come in July. Do you know if restrictions have affected the sites you’ve recommended between Dublin and Galway. My destination near Galway is Thoor Ballylee and Coole Park — yes Ireland has been on my bucket list since I read William Butler Yeats in college. Any other advice would be welcomed.

Thanks for your comment and kind words, Maria! I’m so happy you’ve found our information helpful in planning your trip. I’m not entirely sure about what the restrictions will be when you go — everything is subject to change so it can be hard to plan too far in advance, unfortunately. Hope you’re able to have an amazing trip, though!

Hi I would love to do this drive. I will be staying in Howth and wanted to know if I would have to drive through Dublin City to do this. I’m ok on back roads. Thanks Deirdre

Hi Dierdre, no need to drive through Dublin City to do this route! Hope you have a lovely time 🙂

I love the suggestion of taking the scenic roads instead of the highway. How do you do that? What I mean is, if you put in Galway from Dublin into the GPS won’t it automatically load the fastest route possible and give you directions via the highway?

Hi Mimi, you could look at the map and take the surface roads instead of the highway or you could change your settings on the GPS to avoid highways. Or you could direct yourself toward some of the stops on this list which will also divert you from the main motorway.

Hello, We have a group of 13 traveling to Ireland in July. We fly into Dublin and only have three days. Would you say its worth it to travel to the other side of the island or best to stay close to Dublin for the time we have. I want to see as much as I can for our short stay.

Seeing as you have a large group and only a short period of time, I would suggest basing yourself in Dublin and doing some day trips from there. You will still be able to see a lot of the country without having to spend too much time in the car or packing/unpacking all of your things 🙂


Hey Wallace, yes, the attractions should be open for your trip if you plan to visit during their normal operating hours. If you’re concerned, maybe it’s best to check with them directly before you plan to go. Hope you have a great trip 🙂

Hi, I am planning a family vacation to Ireland in August and am thinking about driving from Dublin to Galway. The stop in Kildare Village is the only location mentioned in the Rick Steves Ireland 2016 book I borrowed from my sister-in-law. Are there any sights or activities along the drive that would be particularlly interesting to my 12 and 14 year old kids? What are the road conditions like? Thanks,

Hi Fatimah, thanks for your comment! Any of the stops between Dublin and Galway on this list I think would be fun for you 12 and 14-year-olds just depending on where their interests lie! Also, the road conditions tend to be quite good, though some of the smaller country roads may be a bit narrow. Most everything you will encounter will be well-paved, however, and drivers are courteous. Hope you have a great trip!

Hi there, look into the National Stud and the Japanese Gardens near Kildare Village.

Thanks for the tips, Lizzie!

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places to visit between dublin and galway

30 Best Stops Between Dublin and Galway

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How long is the drive from Dublin to Galway?

The direct drive from Dublin to Galway is 129 mi (207 km) , and should have a drive time of 2 hrs 4 mins in normal traffic.

If you’re going on a road trip from Dublin to Galway, we did the research for you and compiled some great stops along the way — with top places to visit like Kilmainham Gaol and Phoenix Park, or the ever-popular Dublin Zoo.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Best stops along Dublin to Galway drive

places to visit between dublin and galway

Kilmainham Gaol

places to visit between dublin and galway

Phoenix Park

Wicklow mountains, emerald park, brú na bóinne, russborough house, clonfert pet farm, trim castle, irish national stud & gardens, michael kors outlet, loughcrew cairns, cavan county museum, rock of dunamase, belvedere house gardens & park, kilbeggan distillery visitor centre, tullamore d.e.w. distillery visitor experience, birr castle demesne, athlone tourist information centre, clonmacnoise, the national famine museum, strokestown park, portumna castle & gardens, irish workhouse centre, killaloe river cruises, turoe pet farm, coole park nature reserve, quin friary, dromoland castle hotel, dunguaire castle, top searches in galway, other popular road trips from dublin, explore nearby places.

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Galway throughout the year

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Looking for day-by-day itineraries in Galway?

Get inspired for your trip to Galway with our curated itineraries that are jam-packed with popular attractions everyday! Check them out here:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can i drive from dublin to galway.

Yes! You can drive from Dublin to Galway.

How far is Galway from Dublin by car?

The drive from Dublin to Galway is 129 miles (207 km).

How long does it take to drive from Dublin to Galway?

Driving from Dublin to Galway should take you 2 hrs 4 mins in normal traffic.

How much would gas cost from Dublin to Galway?

Gas from Dublin to Galway would cost around $11 to $26 , depending on your vehicle's fuel efficiency.

Where should I stop on the way from Dublin to Galway?

You could check out Kilmainham Gaol and Phoenix Park, or the always popular Dublin Zoo!

What's the weather like in Dublin?

It depends on when you visit! We've compiled data from NASA for each month of the year: see the links below for more information.

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What are some other road trips from Dublin?

There are plenty! Below you'll find links to all the road trips we've assembled for Dublin.

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Five Places to See Between Dublin and Galway

Ireland's central heartland, stretching between Dublin  and Galway , is a treasure trove of history, natural beauty, and charming towns. While you could easily spend days exploring this often-overlooked region, sometimes a quick detour off the motorway is all you need for a memorable Irish experience. Here are five must-see places between Dublin and Galway that offer a delightful taste of the Midlands:

Killbeggan Distillery

Located in the town of Kilbeggan, this old distillery, founded in 1757, still produces limited batches of whiskey.  The Kilbeggan Experience Tour takes you through the old distillery, no longer in use, and once powered by the water wheel along the river Brosna.  The newer half of the distillery is where the limited production happens and includes the oldest, still working, single pot still in Ireland.  Of course, the tour concludes with a tasting experience and there is also a shop to purchase some of the “water of life” to take home with you.

Kilbeggan Distillery

Belvedere House and Gardens

Situated on the shores of Lough Ennell just outside of Mullingar, Belvedere House and Gardens   is a fully restored Georgian villa and during the spring and summer months, the walled gardens themselves are worth the visit.  There is quite the story of the “Wicked Earl” and a tale of jealousy with one result being the building of the Jealous Wall to hide the view of a brother’s much larger house, along with many other follies constructed around the grounds.  An entire day could be spent here, although a few hours visiting the house and gardens makes a great stop along the way between Dublin and Galway.

Tours of Ireland Belvedere Mansion

And if you have more time, rent a boat and explore the islands and crannogs of Lough Ennell , rich with history and legend of the high kings of Royal Meath.

Tours Near Mullingar

Hill of Uisneach

Beltane Fire Festival

The Hill of Uisneach , not previously on many visitor’s lists is becoming more popular each year.  Unlike the Hill of Tara, where the high kings of Ireland are said to have been crowned, Uisneach was the royal residence and there remain today the faint remnants of a road which once connected Uisneach and Tara, as well as ancient roadways leading to other royal and sacred sites throughout Ireland.  Uisneach has long been considered the sacred center of Ireland and has a vast number of solar and lunar alignments with other sacred places throughout Ireland, including the royal sites of the four provinces.  It was here at Uisneach that Ireland got her modern name of Éire after the Tuatha Dé Danann goddess, Ériu, as is told in the “Lebor Gabála Érenn’” or “Book of Invasions.”  The site is on private land and during the season, offers daily tours. Private ours can be arranged in advance any time of year.  If visiting during the first week of May, Uisneach is a must-see as the ancient fire festival of Bealtaine is celebrated on the hill attracting over 2000 participants with food, music, crafts, workshops, well-being, and children's activities.

Druid Women on Bealtaine at Uisneach

If you find yourself in the charming town of Athlone, Ireland, be sure to add Dead Centre Brewing to your itinerary. This award-winning brewpub offers a vibrant atmosphere right on the banks of the River Shannon. Their handcrafted beers are a delightful celebration of Irish brewing innovation, with options ranging from classic IPAs to truly unique and experimental flavors. You can even take a tour of the brewery for a behind-the-scenes look at their process. With gourmet pizzas and a lively environment, Dead Centre Brewing is a true taste of Athlone's hospitality and brewing excellence.

Round Tower


Just south of Athlone, you will find Clonmacnoise , a 6 th century, early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán.  The site is quite popular and has the largest collection of early Christian grave slabs in western Europe, as well as the ruins of a cathedral, several churches, round towers and high crosses.


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The Drive from Dublin to Galway: Timing It Right with Side Attractions

places to visit between dublin and galway

Planning your drive from Dublin to Galway and wondering how long it takes and which stops to consider making along the way? You’re not alone.

This journey is one of the most popular road trips in Ireland for those arriving in Dublin and heading to the West of Ireland. How long it takes and what potential stops to make along the way can be quite perplexing if you’re not familiar with the lay of the land.

As locals who have made this journey countless times, we are here to help you unlock the best route, estimate your travel time, and uncover Ireland’s hidden gems along the way that might turn it from a day trip into a two or even three day journey!

This blog post is your trusty roadmap, tailored to all our lovely cousins’ journeying from Dublin to Galway by car. Let’s embark on this Irish adventure together, creating not only a route but a lifetime of memories! Buckle up and let’s hit the road.

Drive from Dublin to Galway – The Details

Many people heading to the West of Ireland will travel from Dublin to Galway by car. If visitors are arriving at Dublin Airport and they are starting their exploration in that part of the Emerald Isle, the easiest and most logical thing for them to do is drive from Dublin to Galway direct.

In this section, we are discussing traveling from Dublin to Galway by car, the distance between these two great cities in Ireland, and some ideas on the best route to take.

Distance from Dublin to Galway and how to get there

How far is galway from dublin.

One of the first things we are often asked by our Irish Cousins is “what is the distance between Dublin and Galway?”. We have outlined the distance between Galway and Dublin below via the most direct route from the centre of Dublin to the centre of Galway:

  • Distance from Dublin to Galway in miles = 137
  • Distance from Dublin to Galway in kilometres = 221

Note that Ireland uses kilometres for distance and driving speeds.

We have a great guide for the most important Irish rules of the road visitors to the Emerald Isle need to know before they arrive.

How to get from Dublin to Galway, Ireland

The best way to get to Galway from Dublin is by using the M4 and M6 motorways which run from the M50 all the way to Galway (junction 19). The M6 motorway becomes the N6 national road which will lead you to city roads into the centre of Galway.

When looking for directions from Dublin to Galway, insert your starting point and destination into your navigation app (Google Maps/Apple Maps/Waze), and then follow it for the most direct route if you want to get to Galway via the fastest route.

How long is the drive from Dublin to Galway?

The next question we are often asked is “how long does it take to drive from Dublin to Galway?”.

Well, the driving time from Dublin to Galway depends on the route you take, when you leave Dublin, and whether you make any stops along the way.

The most direct route from Dublin City Centre to the centre of Galway City takes an average of two and a half hours, without traffic and without any stops, along the M4 and M6 motorways.

Factoring in stops and breaks, or taking a more scenic drive from Dublin to Galway will add to your journey time.

Best way to get to Galway from Dublin

The best way to get from Dublin to Galway depends on a few things.

  • How fast you want to reach Galway.
  • Whether you want to avoid toll roads or not.
  • Whether you want to take a more scenic route.

There is no right or wrong route for getting to Galway if you don’t mind tolls, speed or scenery. Let’s look at the most direct route and an option for a more scenic drive.

The Dublin to Galway motorway

The best way to travel from Dublin to Galway if you want to get there quickly is to travel along the M4 and M6.

The M4/M6 motorway roads from Dublin to Galway are the quickest way to Galway.

Leaving from the centre of Dublin, you will travel towards the M50, typically via the M50/Dublin Port Tunnel, or along the quays on the R148. At the M50, you will pass through the Palmerstown/Lucan Junction 7 and onto the M4 until Kinnegad where you will join the M6 towards Galway.

Are there tolls from Dublin to Galway

You should be aware that taking the M4/M6 route, you will encounter two tolls between Dublin and Galway.

The first toll is between Kinnegad/Enfield and Kilcock on the M4, while the second is on the M6 between Ballinasloe and Loughrea.

The M4 toll operates via a toll plaza that accepts electronic toll tags, cash, and cards (Visa Debit and Mastercard), while the M6 also operates via a toll plaza, accepting the same forms of payment as the M4 toll.

There is a way to avoid the tolls on this motorway route by doing the following:

  • Exit the M4 at junction 8 for Clane/Kilcock and driving along the R148/R446/R400.
  • Rejoin the M6 at junction 3 for Galway/Athlone.
  • Exit the M6 at junction 15 towards Ballinasloe (West)/Portumna and drive along the R446/N65.
  • Rejoin the M6 at junction 16 for Galway.

Scenic drive from Dublin to Galway

places to visit between dublin and galway

You can avoid the motorway and tolls by taking the scenic route from Dublin to Galway. This will be a longer journey, averaging 4 hours but will travel through far nicer scenery and landscapes, and gives visitors the opportunity to make interesting stops along the way.

There are 3 options for this:

  • Via R402 – Travel along the N4 until junction 5 and take the exit for Celbridge/Leixlip and turn left. You will continue towards Barberstown, then Timahoe, Edenderry, Daingean, Tullamore, Cloghan, Banagher, Killimor, Loughrea, and Galway.
  • Via R446 – Travel along the R810 and past the Red Cow roundabout onto the N7. Continue along the N7 until Nass, where you will turn off to avoid joining the M7. You will join the R409 and continue towards Rathangan, Tullamore, and Cloghan, before following the rest of Route 1 towards Galway.
  • Via R148 and R446 – Travel along the N4 until junction 5 and take the exit for Celbridge/Leixlip and turn right. You will continue towards Maynooth, then Kilcock, Enfield, Kinnegad, Rochfortbridge, Kilbeggan, and Cloghan before following the rest of Route 1 towards Galway. This route follows what was the old Galway Road prior to the construction of the M4 and M6 motorways.

You could make a full day of your trip, or stop overnight, by taking one of the following options which have interesting stops along the way:

  • Visit the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre, travel on to see the Curragh Racecourse. Drop into the Irish National Stud before heading for the Tullamore DEW whiskey distillery (make sure you have a designated driver or plan to stay in Tullamore overnight if everyone is sampling the whiskey). From Tullamore you could travel to Birr to visit Birr Castle, stop in Portumna to see the castle and the Forest Park. Lough Derg Blueway and Coole Park Nature Reserve are also stops to consider once you leave Portumna. Estimated driving time = 4-5 hours.
  • Visit Emerald Park (formerly Tayto Park) before visiting the historic Hill of Tara and Trim Castle. From Trim Castle, head to the Clara Bog Nature Reserve, Clonmacnoise, Carrownagappul Bog and then on to Galway. Estimated driving time = 4.5-5.5 hours.

These two options for a more scenic route from Dublin to Galway mostly avoids motorways and do not pass through any toll plazas.

Best time to go on a road trip from Dublin to Galway

The best time to travel between Dublin and Galway by car is during the summer when the weather will be more pleasant. That said, summer is Ireland’s peak tourist season, so you might find the volume of traffic on motorways a little heavier and more visitors at tourist attractions.

Summer sees average temperatures between lows of 10˚C and highs of 20˚C (50-68F), and a high chance of rain in Galway since it is in one of the wettest parts of the country. There is plenty to see and do in Galway in summer.

Winter is the quietest time of the year for tourists, but average temperature is between 3˚C and 9˚C (37-48F). Wind and rain are frequent but if you visit in December, you can enjoy the Galway Christmas markets.

Spring and Autumn are great ‘shoulder’ seasons to travel between Dublin and Galway. Average temperatures lie between 5˚C and 17˚C (41-62F). These seasons are cheaper times of the year to visit with cheaper accommodation available. Consider doing this trip in September when the Galway International Oyster Festival takes place.

Driving from Dublin to Galway – The best stops to make along the way

So, now that you know how to get to Galway from Dublin, the routes you can take, and the best time to go, you are probably wondering are there any stops worth considering along the Dublin to Galway drive.

Well, there are plenty of thing to see between Dublin and Galway.

There are a few castles between Dublin and Galway you could visit, there are some towns along the route from Dublin to Galway that you could stop at overnight to enjoy some real Irish cuisine, and there are other sights between Dublin and Galway you should consider including in your itinerary.

While we’ve shared some of these in the two scenic routes above, in this section we are sharing with you some ideas for stops while driving from Dublin to Galway.

Travelling from Dublin to Galway – Stop 1: Tullamore

places to visit between dublin and galway

A great option for a half-way point stop along the Dublin to Galway road is Tullamore. Located in County Offaly, it lies along the Grand Canal (which runs all the way to Dublin), and as a result is great for enjoying the Grand Canal Greenway.

This midlands town is also home to the Tullamore DEW whiskey distillery, a great one to visit while travelling between Dublin and Galway. The distillery offers tours and tasting, and experiences. Just make sure that you either stay overnight if you are all going to partake in the tasting or have a designated driver if it is a short pit stop enroute to Galway.

On the edge of town, you will find the Charleville Estate with its castle and large parklands, perfect for stretching your legs.

There are also several churches to visit in the town and boglands to see just outside of the town.

Getting from Dublin to Galway – Stop 2: Clonmacnoise

places to visit between dublin and galway

Another place to visit while travelling to Galway from Dublin is the ruined monastic site of Clonmacnoise.

Founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6 th century, the site was world-famous for learning and scholastic teachings, particularly between the 8 th and 12 th centuries. It was attacked many times over the centuries by Vikings and Normans alike and rebuilt each time.

It began to decline towards the end of the 12 th century and finally fell into ruin after a final looting by British forces in the mid-16 th century.

Clonmacnoise is a historically important site and a must-visit for anyone looking to stop somewhere between Dublin and Galway as they make their way westwards.

The site is home to many chapels, two round towers, a ruined cathedral, and three important High Crosses which are housed in the Visitor Centre to protect them from both the weather and humans. Where they once stood in the grounds you will find replicas.

If you are interested in Irish history and are looking to stop along your Dublin to Galway drive, we highly recommend Clonmacnoise.

What to see between Dublin and Galway – Stop 3: Athlone

places to visit between dublin and galway

Another popular place to stop while driving from Dublin to Galway is the town of Athlone.

This border town sits on the River Shannon between Westmeath and Roscommon and offers visitors plenty of things to do as well as a good choice of accommodation.

As it is located on the River Shannon, visitors who chose to spend a few days in Athlone can enjoy river cruises along the Shannon.

Other things to do include visiting Athlone Castle, visiting the church of Saints Peter and Paul, enjoying a pint in Sean’s Bar, the oldest pub in Ireland, or immersing yourself in rural midlands life at the Derryglad Heritage and Visitor Centre.

If you want a great town to spend a night or two while heading to Galway from Dublin, choose to stay in Athlone. You can also visit Clonmacnoise (mentioned above) from the town.

The drive from Dublin to Galway is a relatively easy one, whether you choose to drive it in one go, or choose to stop along the way for a few hours or even a few days.

While the motorway is the quickest and easiest route, it comes with two tolls to pay. There are ways to avoid the tolls while using the motorway for most of the journey, or visitors can choose a more scenic route to Galway from Dublin.

No matter your route, there are plenty of stops you can make along the way to break up the drive and allow you to enjoy more of Ireland as you make your way West.

Frequently Asked Questions about the drive from Dublin to Galway

If you are wondering how far is it from Dublin to Galway, Galway lies 137 miles or 221 kilometres west of Dublin.

The mileage from Dublin to Galway is 137 miles along the quickest route while entails taking the M4 and M6 motorways.

Taking the quickest route to Galway from Dublin along the M4 and M6 motorways, it is 221 kilometres from Dublin to Galway.

Yes, absolutely. Having a rental car in Ireland is always worth it and it gives you the freedom to make stops along the way that trains and buses do not. As mentioned in this article, there are lots of places to stop along the way, whether it is for a few hours or a few days.

Travelling along the M4 and M6 motorways, which is the most direct and quickest route to Galway from Dublin, the journey will take an average of two and a half hours without stops or heavy traffic.

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Beautiful scenery of Menlo castle surrounded by a autumn colored trees and boat passing by in Corrib river at Galway, Ireland

Road Trip from Dublin to Galway

A road trip from Dublin to Galway takes you from Ireland's Ancient East, through its Hidden Heartlands and ends at the epic Wild Atlantic Way. Discover the unique culture and heritage of Ireland through its abundance of castles, stunning waterways and its inherent connection to the equine industry.

A 310 km road trip from Dublin to Galway will take about 5 hours to drive. You'll get to visit Trim Castle, Kildare, Tullamore, Charleville Castle, Portumna, Athlone, Roscommon, Wicklow National Park, Clonmacnoise Monastery and Belvedere House.

This road trip takes you directly across Ireland and offers a myriad of places to visit along the way. Keep reading to find our complete guide to this trip from route plans, things to see, places to stay and the best time to go.

How far is Galway from Dublin, and how long will the road trip take?

Both of our suggested routes are similar length and driving time, so your decision rests largely on the type of route you want to take.

The Fairyhill Route is our slightly longer option which will take 5 hours and 30 minutes to drive nonstop, covering 310 km. This route is jam-packed with hiking and biking opportunities, so it will likely take you longer as you enjoy these.

The Castle Route will take slightly shorter (though not in distance) to drive in 5 hours and 20 minutes. This route also spans 310 km and is filled with some of Ireland's most impressive historical castles.

Whichever one you choose, you'll need at least 2 -3 days to complete it so you can enjoy the landscape along the way.

Best road trip route from Dublin to Galway

Countless adventures await; our routes offer an endless number of activities from hiking, boating, cycling and horse riding. The history buffs among us will also be pleased with the excellent choice of old castles, historical landmarks and natural wonders that adorn these routes.

Our Fairyhill Route makes the most of the natural landscape it passes through as part of Ireland's Ancient East. Nature and outdoor enthusiasts will love this route as there are plenty of options for hiking, walking, biking and water sports.

Cattle grazing near some farms during springtime on a lush green prairie next to river Boyne near Newgrange and Drogheda, in the Ancient East of Ireland.

Ireland's longest river can be visited along the way, a great spot for some water-based activities. There aren't as many historical castles and landmarks on this route, it's more geared towards those who like the outdoors.

The Castle Route is for history buffs as it is adorned with famous castles and landmarks. It passes through Athlone, the heart of Ireland, which is on Lough Ree, a great spot for some water sports.

There aren't as many options for walking, hiking or outdoor pursuits compared to the other route.

The Fairyhill Route

Leave Dublin city centre heading south, following R115 past The Hell Fire Club and Ticknock Forest. Stay heading south, crossing the border into County Wicklow and head for the Wicklow Mountains National Park and stretch your legs among the luscious greenery.

From here, head northeast out of Wicklow and get on the N7 to Naas, County Kildare. Take the M7 from Naas to Newbridge, passing The Curragh Racecourse on your right.

Your next stop is Kildare Village, a great place for grabbing a designer bargain. Once you've done all your retail therapy, get back on the road towards Tullamore on the R420.

Drive southeast to Birr Castle, a nice spot to enjoy some Irish history. Continue east to Portumna in County Galway. Keep going east to Coole Park, another great spot to stretch your legs and enjoy the local flora and fauna.

The last part of your route takes you north, past Cregganna Marsh Natural Heritage Area, through Oranmore and finally into Galway city.

The Castle Route

Head north out of Dublin, passing the famous Phoenix Park on your left. Take the M3 to Drumree before going slightly northeast to Trim Castle. Drive southeast for a short time before getting on the N4 to Mullingar.

Follow the N52 southeast to Belvedere House and Gardens on the shores of Lough Ennell. Continue on N52 through Kilbeggan and Tullamore before arriving at Charleville Castle. Take a break here to enjoy the castle and grounds and maybe grab a bit of lunch in Tullamore.

Charleville Castle, Co Offaly, Ireland

Drive east past the Clara Bog Nature Reserve to Clonmacnoise Monastery on the banks of the River Shannon. Retrace your steps for a short time before going north into Athlone, County Westmeath.

Take the N61 briefly north up to Roscommon, before returning southeast to Castlestrange Scribed Stone, Claregalway and then finally into Galway City.

Best places to stop between Dublin and Galway

While this drive can be done in one day, you are much better off enjoying it over several days and resting at overnight stops. Here are our top picks for excellent options for an overnight stay on each route.

Stay in a quaint Irish village in Tullamore

About three hours from Dublin on The Fairyhill Route is Tullamore, County Offaly. This typical Irish town is both a good halfway mark and a chance to spend some time in a quaint midland village.

An overnight stay allows you to do a tour and taste over 200 years of history at the famous Tullamore Dew Whiskey Distillery. If you fancy a nice walk, the Grand Canal Greenway runs through Tullamore.

This is a dedicated walking and cycling route along one of two canals that connect the River Shannon with Dublin. For history enthusiasts, Charleville Castle is nearby and is a fine example of gothic architecture from the 1700s.

The Tullamore Court Hotel is an excellent option for an overnight stay . It is in the centre of town, with on-site parking and easy access. The onsite pool, spa and fitness centre give you plenty of options for relaxing after a day's driving.

Sunrise at Bolands Lock in Tullamore, Co. Offaly

The on-site restaurant and bar mean you can get a good, hearty Irish meal from the comfort of your hotel. You will also find live music and evening entertainment which will give you a taste of some traditional and local Irish music.

It boasts an excellent location with Tullamore Dew Whiskey Distillery only a short walk away. The town centre is within walking distance (restaurants, bars and cafes can be found here) and Charleville Castle is a short drive away.

If you'd like a round of golf, several golf courses are nearby including the exclusive and prestigious K Club.

Action packed Athlone

3 hours and 30 minutes from Dublin on The Castle Route, you'll find Athlone, County Westmeath. Just over halfway through our road trip, this is a small but bustling town in the heart of Ireland and has plenty of attractions for all tastes including castles, heritage centres, outdoor activities and shopping.

Following an old railway line, the Athlone Greenway is open all year for cycling and walking. If you'd like to immerse yourself in some history while getting your steps in, climb to the top of the keep in Athlone Castle.

For something more adventurous, bounce and wobble your way through Ireland's largest inflatable waterpark and then whizz down the world's largest inflatable waterslide at Baysports.

Athlone town and Shannon river, county Westmeath, Ireland

With an excellent location in the centre of town, The Sheraton Athlone Hotel is a great option for a stopover. Free on-site parking, a pool, a full-service spa and a fitness centre make this hotel uniquely well-rounded to cater for all of your road trip needs.

There's also an onsite bar and restaurant serving traditional Irish and international cuisine if you don't feel like venturing out after driving and sightseeing.

Its central location is highly rated by guests. Athlone Castle and Burgess Park are a stone's throw away. Plenty of bars, restaurants, cafes and shops are within a short walk. River Shannon and its waterfront are close by, which is lovely for an evening stroll.

Where to stay when you reach Galway

Galway has an endless number of places to stay but The Hardiman stands above them all. Set in a historic old building with a beautiful facade, the interior decor is luxurious with a tasteful vintage twist.

Their onsite bars and restaurants serve Irish cuisine, so you won't have far to go to get a good meal. They have secure parking nearby for an additional charge.

Galway's main cobbled shopping street, Shop Street is very close by and Eyres Square is just minutes away. If you'd fancy some time by the coast, the Spanish Arch and seafront are within walking distance.

Things to see on a road trip from Dublin to Galway

Ireland's landscape is hard to resist, as is its abundance of historical landmarks. We've crammed as many of them as we can into our lists of things to see along these routes. There are plenty of opportunities for stretching your legs throughout this road trip.

  • Wicklow National Park - Take an offroad adventure on one of the many hiking trails found in the Wicklow National Park.
  • Glendalough Valley - Immerse yourself in nature and history in Glendalough. Climb to the top of The Spink or take a more leisurely stroll around the dedicated walking trails.
  • Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre - Explore the home of one of Ireland's most famous jewellery brands. Take a factory tour, enjoy some delicious food and indulge in some retail therapy - bring a piece of Ireland home with you!
  • The Curragh Racecourse - Check out the upcoming fixtures at The Curragh Racecourse and enjoy a day at the races. The first race took place here over 200 years ago.
  • The Irish National Stud and Gardens - Learn about Ireland's equine history and legacy that continues to be a key part of Irish culture. Book a tour or wander around the stud and gardens, where you can see horses and foals of all ages .
  • Kildare Village Outlet - Discover over 100 designer boutiques with fantastic discounts at this outdoor outlet .
  • Annaharvey Farm - If you'd like to get even closer to some Irish horses, consider booking a ride or a stay at Annaharvey farm. They cater for all levels of riders and even offer equestrian holidays.
  • Tullamore Dew Distillery - Take a tour and sample some excellent whiskey at Tullamores famous distillery .
  • The Grand Canal Greenway - Rent a bike or take a walk along the Grand Canal Greenway - a purpose built trail connecting Dublin and the River Shannon .
  • Birr Castle - Visit a 400-year-old castle and its award-winning gardens, jam-packed with rare flora, fauna, walking trails and history.
  • Portumna Forest Park - Bike or walk around Portumna Forest Park. Take a break to spot some local bird species and enjoy Lough Derg at the local marina.
  • Killaloe River Cruises - Take a short detour to Killaloe, where you can explore the River Shannon and Lough Derg on a boat tour. If you feel up to it, you can even rent a cruise boat and spend a few days boating up and down the river .
  • The Lough Derg Blueway - Another trail from Ireland's Blueway network. Walk or cycle along this recently opened trail to discover the wonders of River Shannon.
  • Coole Park Nature Reserve - Follow a marked trail through Coole Park Nature Reserve, a unique wetland, which includes underground rivers and turloughs (seasonal lakes).
  • Thoor Ballylee Tower - Climb the Thoor Ballylee Tower, which is closely linked to the famous poet W.B Yeats.

Panoramic ariel view of the beautiful lake in Portumna, Co. Galway, Ireland.

  • Tayto Park - Named after an iconic Irish crisp (chip), this amusement park has something for all the family from rollercoasters to crisp sandwiches!
  • Hill of Tara - The Hill of Tara brings you back in time - thousands of years back to a time of high kings, tombs and forts.
  • Trim Castle - Take a guided tour of Trim Castle, a medieval masterpiece.
  • Belvedere House, Gardens and Park - On the shores of Lough Ennell, this historic landmark is a great place to stretch your legs during the drive.
  • Charleville Castle - Explore this gothic-style castle built in the 1700s - visit the castle to learn all about its history, which includes some ghost stories!
  • Clara Bog Nature Reserve - Enjoy the natural bog and its wildlife from the looped boardwalk.
  • Clonmacnoise Monastery - Learn about the history and significance of this 6th-century monastery on the banks of the River Shannon.
  • Baysports Athlone - Bounce your way along Ireland's largest inflatable obstacle course and brave the world's largest inflatable waterslide!
  • Castlestrange Scribed Stone - This impressive carved boulder is from 200 BC and is on the grounds of Castlestrange House.
  • Roscommon Castle - Take a wander around the ruins of this castle and explore the adjacent Loughnaneane Park.
  • Carrownagappul Bog - Galway's living bog is one of the largest of its kind in Ireland. Recent restoration works have turned this into an excellent spot for a walk.
  • Connemara National Park - About 2 hours west of Galway is the beautiful and rugged landscape of Connemara. Famous for the pony of the same name, this area offers tonnes of opportunities for riding, hiking and biking.

Historic Trim Castle with foot bridge. Late day light, County Meath, Ireland

Best time to go on a road trip from Dublin to Galway

Thanks to its temperate climate, devoid of extreme differences in weather, Ireland really is a year-round destination. The west coast, where Galway is, tends to get the brunt of any harsh wind or rain, but when the sun shines, it is simply a glorious place to be.

Summer is the busiest time for tourism in Galway, with visitors flocking here from all over the world. Average temperatures are between 10 and 19 degrees Celsius which makes it very pleasant to visit in the summer.

However, Galway is known as one of the wettest parts of the country, with a high chance of rain throughout the year. Be sure to pack a good rain jacket and waterproof shoes.

Don't be put off by the prevalence of rain though, as it is very hard to escape in Ireland! As the locals say - “summer in Ireland means warmer rain”.

There is plenty to do in Galway in the summer; Trad on the Prom features the best of Irish music and dancers and runs from May to September. The Galway Sessions in June bring performers from all over the world to celebrate all things traditional Irish music.

Average winter temperatures are between 3 and 9 degrees Celsius, with a high chance of wind and rain most days. With some good outdoor clothing, however, it can still be a really enjoyable time to visit.

Street performer man playing the guitar in the Galway street. Ireland

There is nothing better than warming up by a turf fire, with a bowl of Irish stew and a pint of Guinness after a day of exploring. Galway's Christmas market with a 32m high Ferris wheel is on in November and December, which is another good reason to visit.

Spring and autumn can be great times to visit Galway. Spring brings the blooming of flowers and the first rays of the summer sun. As it is still in the low season, accommodation prices will remain cheaper.

Average temperatures are between 5 and 17 degrees so be sure to pack warm clothes and waterproofs. The Galway International Oyster Festival is one of the longest-running food festivals in Europe and the world's longest-running oyster festival. It is on in September every year.

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Not to miss stops on the drive from Dublin to Galway! Travel Ireland on a road trip and find the best things to do while enjoying the Emerald Island!

What To Do On The Drive From Dublin To Galway

Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, Tullamore! Have you heard about these places yet? I’m sure if you know just a bit of Whisky, you might know Tullamore Dew! But did you know that it’s only a short drive from Dublin? It’s not only perfect for a day trip! When you plan an Ireland road trip and want to drive from Dublin to Galway, it’s worth taking this slight detour and experiencing Tullamore, discovering ancient high crosses in Clonmacnoise, or taking a kayak tour on the river Shannon at Shannonbridge!

Do you have no clue where to start your vacation planning? Read my article How To Prepare A Road Trip ,  and you will get some answers!

*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. That means that I may receive a commission if you click on the link and purchase from the affiliate. I only recommend products and services that I know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not. 

Resources & Recommendations

  • FREEBIE   – Download your free and printable copy of the travel guide to “Ireland’s Best Attractions.”
  • Momondo * – Find the best prices on flights
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  • How to get from the Airport to the City Center
  • Dublin Pass * – Save up a bunch of money on the entrance and other fees while visiting Dublin’s attractions

A road trip through Ireland! The drive from Dublin to Galway, visiting Clonmacnoise, Tullamore, and Shannonbridge is the ideal route and a must do! Travel the Emerald Island and have the perfect dream vacation!

Where To Go On The Drive From Dublin To Galway

Dublin, Galway, Cork, Kilkenny, Dingle! I’m sure you’ve already heard about these places! When you travel to Ireland and have a chance to explore the Emerald Island on a road trip, these cities should be on your list! But what about Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, or Tullamore? Ever heard about those places?

No worries, before I started to plan my road trip, I didn’t know them either! Of course, I knew what a Tullamore Dew is, but I never expected that the name comes from the city where it’s distilled! And not that this city is in Ireland! Stupid me! But sometimes, I don’t think about such things!

places to visit between dublin and galway

So, I checked all possible maps, zoomed in and out, searched the internet where to go, and a super cool but still short detour! 

So come with me, and I will show you the places you shouldn’t miss when you drive from Dublin to Galway!

The fastest way from Dublin to Galway is the M6/M4. The only thing you need to do is follow this route.

But, as mentioned before, I did not want to start my vacation by driving only. I am here to discover, see, visit, and experience new things. Therefore, I chose a couple of places I would like to see. I left the M6 and followed the routes off of the highways to  Tullamore * . Located, more or less, 13 km south of the M6, it is a pretty and small town. If you like a little break from driving (at this time, you will be barely an hour on the road), you could stop here and have a walk through the town.


From Dublin to Galway


Tullamore d.e.w..

My personal favorite and probably the most popular attraction is the Tullamore D.E.W.  distillery. I would have loved to do a distillery tour and have a Whiskey tasting afterward, as I am a big Whiskey fan.

Unfortunately, I had to drive because my journey from Dublin to Galway wasn’t over yet, and I did not want to risk anything on this first day.

I was driving on the other side of the street, and then it used to make me freak out a bit.

Hence, I just had a look from the outside. It was challenging to find a parking lot anyway; I was not too disappointed to attend the tour. 


The next stop I had planned for this day was Clonmacnoise.

The easiest way to go to Clonmacnoise is to return to the M6. Take the direction to Galway and follow the signs. You can also stay off the highway, but make sure that you programmed your G.P.S. beforehand or check if it can find this location.

I did not do this, and when I left Tullamore, my G.P.S. could not find Clonmacnoise (who knows why?). I couldn’t ask Google without any internet, as I didn’t download any offline maps . So, I got lost (a little bit). But no worries, I already prepared it to find my way from Dublin to Galway, so I was not that lost 😉 

Lucky me, an Irish gentleman appeared from out of nowhere. He explained where I had to go to find my way again and continue my trip. Well, so I followed the signs as he told me and arrived at Clonmacnoise eventually.

Clonmacnoise is   “ An Early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the River Shannon’s eastern bank. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th  -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses, and the largest collection of Early Christian grave slabs in Western Europe.” (Heritage Ireland)

Ruins at Clonmacnoise! Find more things to do on a road trip through Ireland! Drive from Dublin to Galway and find these fascinating not to miss sites!

The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are displayed in the visitor center. You can find some information and details of the meaning and importance of this location in the past.

High Cross at Clonmacnoise! Find more things to do on a road trip through Ireland! Drive from Dublin to Galway and find these fascinating not to miss sites!

A step back into history. The best impression of historical and ancient Ireland and its culture. A unique atmosphere so that I got awestruck. I could almost feel how life was in these former times.

Not to miss stops on the drive from Dublin to Galway! Travel Ireland on a road trip and find the best things to do while enjoying the Emerald Island!


Not far from Clonmacnoise is Shannonbridge . It is named  after the bridge across the River Shannon, connecting County Offaly and County Roscommon. You cannot miss it, as it is the next town on the route when you head to Galway.

It was a charming little village with a historic bridge and one packed pub and no longer had free tables for lunch. Even for a single person, finding the smallest space was impossible. Too bad, the food looked delicious, and I was already starving.

From here, you could have a walk alongside the River Shannon, do some angling, or cross the river by the ferry. It’s also the right spot for kayak fans!

Shannonbridge, Ireland; one of the stops you shouldn't miss while driving from Dublin to Galway! Travel Ireland on a road trip and find the best things to do while enjoying the Emerald Island!

End Your Drive From Dublin In Galway

I continued my journey from Dublin to Galway, and I arrived in Galway in the afternoon. I checked into my room in a charming and beautiful house in Salthill , which I found at Airbnb.

Afterward, I had plenty of time to discover the close surroundings. I would recommend staying in Galway, for at least three nighIt’sIt’s an excellent period to explore Galway and its city center, Salthill, and have one more day trip to Connemara and the coastal areas.

By the way, I recommend using Airbnb at least once on your travels. It is an entirely different experience than staying in hotels only. If you like to try it and you are new to Airbnb, you can sign up using my referral link *, which will give you €30 off your first stay! And who doesn’t like getting discounts?!

I would also recommend having a delicious dinner at The Ardilaun Hotel * or staying there as an alternative to an Airbnb, especially if you like it a bit more luxurious! 

Driving to Galway brought many new experiences (historical facts and ancient ruins of Clonmacnoise). And in the end, I got myself a delicious dinner in Galway. It was a fantastic adventure and an excellent start to my road trip through Ireland!

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Ireland: A solo adventure from Dublin to Galway. Come with me on a road trip and find out which things to do you can find when driving from Dublin to Galway or back. #ireland #dublin #galway #clonmacnoise #travel #solo #roadtrip #thingstodo

Have you been to Ireland yet? What was/ is your favorite place? I am looking forward to learning more about your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment, and do not forget to sign up for my newsletter, so you never miss anything out.

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136 thoughts on “What To Do On The Drive From Dublin To Galway”

Keep on writing, great job!

Thank you, for stopping by. Glad you like my writing! Hope to see you soon on another blog post!

Wonderful travel blog. Really wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing such a informative and useful travel post.

Wow. Great experience. I myself want to go. Sounds very interesting. I adore your photographs!

I love the cultural aspect of Dublin! I want to totally immerse myself with the beliefs and tradition when I travel. Thank for sharing this amazing article. love this!!!

I have a dream that one day I will go to dublin,I learned a lot from reading your blog, highly informative article I have read.The pictures in your post in particular were very nice, specially Shannonbridge,Thank you.

Hi Sourav, thanks for stopping by, reading, and leaving a comment here. I´m glad you liked my article. Ireland is one of my favorite countries and I can highly recommend going there! So, follow your dream and go! 😀

Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

Howdy! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info you’ve got here on this post. I’ll be returning to your web site for more soon.

Marvelous, what a blog it is! This website presents useful information to us, keep it up.

Absolutely stunning! Thank you on a detailed impressive guide!

this is an amazing post about Ireland by pronouncing this word Ireland its not so cool to think that there would be some beautiful places but from this article i know it very well that it is the best place to travel in vacations.. i hope this post will be helpful for many people like me thanks for shearing this article..

Wow how little do I know about Ireland, marvellous photos. I would love to explore more, as I see even the restaurants are packed..

I love this! I’ve done the drive from Dublin to Galway (and then on to Connemara) more times than I can count, but we very rarely stopped off to see anything. I need to get my act together next time and stop a bit more!!

Ireland is on my bucket list! My siblings, a few cousins, and I were planning on going next year! (Hopefully the current epidemic blows over so that we can still go). Thanks for sharing, because I really love Ireland!

Really great read! We are planning our first trip to Ireland soon and this was so helpful. The photos are just incredible. I am intrigued! Thanks for sharing!

I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!!

I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…

Love this idea for a blog post – there’s so much to do in this part of Ireland!

I finally made it to Ireland last year and took the bus between Dublin and Galway, but I did wonder if we were missing out by doing that! We’d love to go back and road trip the whole country, so this is really useful! 🙂

I’m currently planning a trip with this route! Saving to help with my itinerary. Great list!

Looks so nice ! Can’t believe I have never been to Ireland, it looks so beautiful in all its nature!

Great ideas for the drive between Dublin and Galway. When I visited I didn’t have the benefit of a rental car, but I’m thinking next time I should get one! Clonmacnoise especially looks interesting to visit.

What a great post! I took the bus from Dublin to Galway, and it seems like I missed out on a lot of great sights! I’ll have to look into renting a car and taking a road trip next time I’m in Ireland. I’ll definitely be saving this post for later! Thank you for the information.

Ireland has so many cool places to visit. I feel like there are just little gems waiting around every corner for you to discover. I would love to visit Tullamore D.E.W. distillery. That sounds fabulous!

I have never been to Ireland but would love to. It seems I am missing out.

Oh wow how great, we just spent a weekend in Dublin this month and we are determined to come back for a 2 week road trip very soon! I´m saving this post for when that happens, thanks for sharing 🙂

Ireland! I’m heading there in the spring and we plan to drive a car around the country too. Thanks for the inspiration.

You´re very welcome, Katy! You´ll love it! Do you have plans where to go already?

Great post! I love Ireland so much. I loved your photos too – it makes me miss Ireland! 🙂 Krystianna @ Volumes and Voyages

Hi Krystianna, I miss it, too! It´s time to go back and enjoy more of this beautiful country!

What a great information. Thank you for providing these ideas.

You´re very welcome, Maria!

Such a detailed guide! Can’t wait to go back to Ireland!

I feel you, Rose! I miss Ireland as well and want to go back, soon!

Great post!! Would LOVE to go to Ireland on day!

Hi Merrie, Thanks for stopping by! You definitely should go! Ireland is such a beautiful country!

Great guide, I was in Dublin, but I never made it to Galway, now I know how!

Awesome! Dublin is soooo cool! And good for a first-time impression, but you also should discover more from the rest of the country if you have the chance! Any plans to visit again?

Great info on places to visit from Dublin to Galway! I’ve yet to visit Ireland but can’t wait to one day. I’ll save this for when I do! 😁

That´s great, Vanessa! Do you already have an idea when you want to visit? If you need any further recommendations, let me know!

How have I never been to Ireland? I’ve wanted to go for so long and actually thought this might be the year but unfortunately not. Still, posts like this will keep reminding me how much I need to visit

Hi Emma, why not making 2020 THE year for visiting Ireland? ;-D

Clonmacnoise is a wonderful site in Ireland. I’ll have to hit up Tullamore Dew next time. There’s a lot to do in the middle of Ireland that many folks overlook!

Agreed, Lynne! Before I went to these places, I didn´t know either! But it´s so worth to explore those sites, too!

I’ve only been to Dublin so far, but I’m totally doing this on my next trip to Ireland. Thanks for sharing!

Hi Tina, I´m happy that my post helped to inspire you for your next trip to Ireland!

I’m from Galway and you picked some wonderful places to suggest.

Thanks a lot, Nicola! Galway is also such a cool city and a good starting point to explore Connemara and Co.!

I’m headed to Ireland next year. I love doing things that other tourists don’t do, so I love this guide! So many unique places to visit!! Saving for my trip planning 🙂

That´s awesome Maggie! I love Ireland, it´s one of my favorite countries to travel to! I hope I can publish a few more posts at the beginning of next year! It´s time to extend my Ireland archive! There are so many different things to do and places to visit… Do you have any specific ideas of places to go yet?

My mom and I took an amazing tour of IRELAND just about 3 years ago, and Funny that we took a completely different route than yours, even though we started in Dublin and Galway was our halfway stop. Tullamore Dew would have been a nice stop for us since we enjoyed the Whiskey tasting of this town’s product while in Dublin. Love how much this country has to offer.

Hey Ari, I agree. Ireland has so much to offer. Although I´ve been there a couple of times, there is still so much left, which I´d like to see and visit. Every time, there is new stuff to discover. Thanks for stopping by.

Athlone is a beautiful place to stop and visit if traveling from Dublin to Galway.

Mallory, oh yes, that is also a good place to stop!

Heading to Ireland in the summer for a wedding and are planning on staying longer and doing a roadtrip with our camping gear. Loving all the great tips and am definitely using your blog post to help with our planning. Thanks so much!

Awww, that´s fantastic! I did a road trip last summer as well, two weeks overall. So feel free to stop by as there will be a few more blog posts about this trip.

fantastic information and a beautiful trip I love Ireland so much I moved back…lol

You moved back to Ireland? Why you moved away?:-D Ireland is one of the countries I can imagine to live one day.

Amazing guide!! I’ve been meaning to visit Ireland for so long, it’s so beautiful!

I agree completely so that I go back as often as possible. Can´t get enough of it!

Thank you very much for posting this. I have been a long time reader of your blog.

Thanks for the content. I folund this really interesting. I look forward to your next post.

Thanks for the blog. I found this informative. I look forward to your next upload.

Thanks for the upload. I found this solved my problem. I look forward to your next post.

Thanks for the post. I found this solved my problem. I look forward to your next upload.

Thanks, Andrea! So happy that you find it useful! 😀

thanks for your upload. I found this really interesting, and managed to sort out my issue with your post.

Thanks so much! I will share on Twitter.

Thank you, Rory! I´m glad that I could help you 😀

We had made plans to visit Dublin and weren’t able to make it while we were in Europe. I’ll definitely have to hold onto this article for when we go back (: Thanks for sharing!

Stay tuned, Lindsey, there will follow a few more articles, including a bit more about Dublin itself! I hope you had a great time in Europe! 🙂

Love Ireland, I am heading back for my third time at the end of the month. This time going to head to Newgrange to see Neolithic structures. Not been to the places you mentioned a part from Dublin so will need to organise another trip!

Oh, Lovely, I´ve been to Newgrange a couple of years ago. Impressive what people are able to build up even without any machines, which we have nowadays. Have a good trip! If you like to come back again or let me know how it was under [email protected]

This is such a great post!! I seriously LOVE Ireland. I’ve been twice and can’t wait to go back again!

Same here, I love it so much and definitely will go back. Don´t when but I will 🙂 I´m glad that you like the post

Looks amazing! I have only been to Cork and it was so beautiful. Can’t wait to go back and see Dublin and all these other places in Ireland 🙂

Oh, I love Ireland! x finja –

This seems like a perfect guide and a good itinerary to explore in and around Dublin. I like the views and the vibes of the place so much. Will soon plan a trip

Ireland seems to be a lovely travel destination… I heard that people are very friendly, the landscapes are breathtaking and the music is also great! This country always reminds me of Ed Sheeran’s song “Galway Girl”! 😉 Love your article & cool pictures!

You got it! All what you said is true… lovely and friendly people, breathtaking landscapes and awesome music…

Ireland looks pretty awesome! I need to get out of there soon!

I have been wanting to visit Dublin for so long now. These pictures beckon me to pay a visit soon. I like the way you said you’re here to experience different things. I guess that’s what really adds spark to the trip.

You´re so right. For me, that´s it about traveling. Of course, some hours to relax are also fine, but in the end I want to have the feeling that I saw/ did / ate something different, even if it´s for knowing how it is.

When my husband and I went to Ireland, I was pregnant and tried not to get nauseous with my husband driving on the other side of those narrow little roads. Good thing the car rental companies zip-tied the hubcaps on!

Amazing pictures ☺

Ireland seems so exotic, it’s more than just castles. Great post.

I definitely need to try this when I go to Dublin next time. 🙂

I was recently in Dublin and it wasn’t nearly enough time!! Next time I go I want to do a road trip — Galway would be a dream!

I love this post so much! Thanks for sharing 🙂

My ex-colleague was from Dublin and we spoke a lot about Ireland often. Do you guys actually drink a lot of Whiskey?.. :D…. I do hope to see around Ireland sometime in 2018-2019 and if possible do a road trip. I have pinned your post for reference.

Thank you for sharing my post! I hope you could make it to Ireland, it´s such a wonderful country and worth a visit

Sounds great, Ireland is in my “To visit” list 🙂

A Irish road trip looks divine! I did go to Ireland once, but it was very short and I honestly couldn’t remember much of it. I do have a friend who has settled there now so maybe one day I’ll visit her.

Take the chance to visit her. Having a friends at one place is a very good reason to visit this country 😉

Beautiful pictures and that’s some driving adventure you had there! Moments like these make us fall in love with the place even more and remember it distinctively. Lovely photos!

Thank you. I agree that the challenges make a lot of adventures unforgetable!

I find it very stressful to drive on the left side and I avoid it as much as I can. I feel like a lightning-struck every time I need to turn left or right and I usually take the turn on the wrong side of the road.

oh, after a couple of days everything was fine. In the ned it felt as I haven´t done anything else!

Wow. Amazing experience. I want to go too. Sounds so interesting. Love your photography!

Thank you so much, i´m happy that you like it! 😀

I’m a huge whiskey fan too! Tullamore sounds like my kinda place 🙂 Of course I would need to find a DD so I can enjoy it and not have to worry about driving.

yes, that was bad timing from my side. I would love to have a try. Maybe next time. 😀 I definitely want to go back

This sounds amazing.

I feel inspired and cant wait to go as it is on my bucketlist

Love the pictures! Especially love how the sky gave you a “dark and stormy” look! I loved love to go to Ireland. I just need to find buckets of money and time 🙂

Thank you, Tara! You´re right, I love this sky, too. I couldn´t get enough of it. I still have tons of pictures just because of the sky. And the green looks greener as is actually is, just because of the clouds.

I d love to make a road trip to Ireland once. Great location tips, thanks for sharing!

Thank you, Hanka! I just can recommend it

awesome post, i like to read this type of article.

Thank you so much!

Loved this post! Thank you for sharing your travels! So inspiring!

I´m happy that you like it, Erin. Thanks for stopping by!

Great article! I may check some of these out during my celtic travels next month!

Hope you will have a blast on your trip!!! 😀

Great tips – it’s been a while since I’ve been so I wouldn’t mind going back soon.

Thanks for sharing! Planning to go to Ireland visit my dad, definitely will see these places!

That´s awesome! Go and visit, your dad and those sites. I believe you will like it!

Wow! I am impressed! I think driving to and from and around as much as you can is the best way to explore any country and get off the beaten path!

Exactly, you are more independent from any train or bus schedules and can go to places where the bus routes don´t go. I love that.

I have a friend in Galway who keeps telling me I should visit. Maybe I should!

Sharon, you definitely should. Take the chance and visit your friend. With Galway as your basis, you can explore a lot of things, locations etc. And you are close to the sea as well!

Wonderful trip! Just beautiful, and I love your photos. The issue with driving on the left side of the road is the a big concern for me, going to Ireland. I think I might stick with train or public transit instead of braving it.

Megan, I was also worried about the driving thing. But after two more days, it was like my second nature.

I love this post. It has totally given me ideas for different places to explore and see in Ireland. I recently visited Belfast in Northern Ireland which was amazing so I’d love to see what Ireland has in store too!

If you like this one, you should come around again. I will post the next part of my journey, soon. Unfortunately, I haven´t make it to Northern Ireland.

It’s your third time and i think you can’t get enough of ireland. The view are beuatiful. Thanks for sharing ?

You´re right. I can´t get enough of it. 😀

I love the cultural aspect of Dublin! I want to totally immerse myself with the beliefs and tradition when I travel. Thank for posting this! 🙂

I´m glad that you like it. 🙂

wow! amazing photos! Im wanting to go to Ireland someday. 🙂

I am always fascinated by heritage and culture. Ireland looks beautiful and steeped in things that I like. Hope to visit the place soon.

Hi Amrita, there is so much to see. Castles, Abbeys, Graveyards, and more ancient places and sceneries.

Considering it’s just a short plane ride from where I live, I’ve never been to Ireland! It’s definitely on my list though, so thanks for the tips of things to do ?

You´re welcome! 😀 I´m sure that you won´t regret a trip to Ireland.

I’m going to Ireland for the first time at the end of September and I can’t wait! Your post and reading all about the places we’ll be seeing soon is making me even more excited! We aren’t driving, so luckily I don’t have to worry about driving on the wrong side of the road.

Haha, in the end driving on the other side was half as bad as expected, after a few days I got used to it and it was like I´ve never done it differently. 😀 I´m so happy for you, and I´m going to be excited, too, again. I love Ireland so much that I always get super euphoric when someone tells me that he or she was or will go there. You definitely will have an awesome time. I also hope that the weather will be good to you. Fingers crossed!

Ohh Ireland sound so exotic to me! Makes me think of fog, rain and ghost!? I really hope to get there one day!

Haha, yes, these are also attributes which I had in my mind. But also beautiful countryside, wild coasts, castles and a lot of sheep and cows! And the people are so lovely! I am sure you will love when you go one day!

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Dublin to Galway in Three Days: 8 Attractions You’ll Love

  • Post author: colette
  • Post published: February 21, 2020
  • Post category: Activities / Getting Around Ireland / Road Trips
  • Post comments: 0 Comments

Have you ever driven from Dublin to Galway in three days?

The journey, if done in one day, would typically take about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

But this one is intended to take much longer, allowing you to stop off at places along the way, most of them in a region of Ireland known as The Midlands .

To complete this journey, you'll need a rental car .

Most tourists to Ireland rent a car at either Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport .

Table of Contents

DAY #1: Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare

Leave Dublin early in the morning to get a head start on your Dublin to Galway in three days adventure.

The first stop is about a 28-minute drive from Dublin.

Off the M4 highway, take Exit 6 for Castletown House , an imposing Palladian estate located in the County Kildare countryside.

If it’s your first time in Ireland, this wonderful mansion, part of a 550-acre estate, is a great introduction to the kinds of period homes you’ll see throughout the country.

a large house Dublin to Galway in three days

They are a reminder of Ireland’s colonial past and a peek into the lives of its landed Anglo-Irish class.

Such homes sprung up all over Ireland from the late 16 th century onwards, with some of them eventually destroyed or attacked during the revolutionary period of the early 20 th century in defiance of British rule.

Castletown House, the largest of its kind in Ireland, was built between 1722 and 1729 for William Conolly, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.

It is currently under the management of the Office of Public Works.

The lavishness of this fine mansion will leave you in awe.

No expense was spared in the construction of Castletown House, which can be seen by guided tour only.

They run hourly from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on-site at the reception desk in the west wing near the cafe.

Groups of 8 or more must book in advance by emailing [email protected] .

Marvel at the grand entrance hall, which is two stories high, with a polished limestone floor and a marble fireplace made of Kilkenny marble.

The staircase, one of the largest cantilevered staircases in Ireland, has a solid brass balustrade, with opulent Rococo plasterwork and other decorative architectural features overhead.

Seventy-minute guided tours are available and include a walk through the spectacular entranceway, the ground-floor reception rooms, the first-floor Boudoir, the Long Gallery, and the Berkeley Costume Exhibition.

The house is open for tours from March through November. Tours start at 10 a.m. and are provided every hour on the hour. The last tour of the day is at 4:45 p.m.

The restored 18 th -century-designed parklands and river walks are open year-round.

Lunch: The Castletown Inn, Celbridge, Co. Kildare

A bright and airy pub , this is the perfect place for a bite to eat after a few hours exploring Castletown House.

A full Irish breakfast is available all day, as well as a variety of starters, salads, burgers, main courses, desserts, and more.

Tourist Attraction: Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre , Newbridge, Co. Kildare

No visit to County Kildare is complete without a visit to the beautiful Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre .

The center is a 30-minute drive south on the N7 from the Castletown Inn.

Before you feast your eyes on the beautiful gifts, including the exquisite Newbridge jewelry, be sure to see the Museum of Style Icons , which is housed within the center.

This is a treasure trove of beautiful garments and accessories worn by some of the world’s best-known celebrities.

The collection was started by the company’s CEO and it has grown since it was established in 2006.

Some of the items you’ll see on display include a Givenchy-designed dress worn by the late Princess Grace on her visit to Ireland in 1961 and during her visit to the White House that same year; the world’s largest collection of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe memorabilia; a satin wedding dress worn by Judy Garland in the movie, “The Pirate;” as well as a blouse worn by the late Princess Diana of Wales for her engagement portrait.

Take a factory tour and then browse the collection of gift items available in the Newbridge Silverware shop.

You can also look for gifts and jewelry online .

Explore Castles & Countryside in Ireland in 2024 with Aer Lingus Vacations

Tourist attraction: croghan hill, co. offaly.

From Newbridge, take the R419 to Croghan Hill, which is about a 35-minute drive.

Croghan Hill is basically the remains of an extinct volcano that rose from the Bog of Allen about 60 million years ago.

The real treat, however, is the commanding view of the surrounding countryside that you will get from the top.

While Ireland is not known for volcanic activity, there are several sites of interest that show the remains of such.

They include Slieve Gullion in County Armagh , Mount Slemish in County Antrim , Lambay Island off the coast of Dublin, and Loch na Fooey located in both Counties Mayo and Galway.

The mound at the summit of Croghan Hill is considered the remains of a Bronze Age burial place.

The area also has a strong association with both Saint Patrick (there’s a holy well to his name nearby that is signposted) and Saint Bridget , Ireland’s unofficial female patron saint as she was apparently born in the area.

The O’Connors of Offaly, the area’s local chieftains at one time, had a main residence here, and it was where their leaders were crowned.

the remains of a man Dublin to Galway in three days

This area is also where the perfectly preserved Iron Age body, “Old Croghan Man,” was found in 2003. Researchers believed he died between 362 BC and 175 BC.

You'll be fascinated to hear the whole story of Old Croghan Man on the Irish History Podcast .

Dinner: Sirroco’s Italian Restaurant, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

After a long day of touring, you deserve a top-class dining experience.

You’ll get that at the award-winning Sirroco's Italian restaurant in the heart of Tullamore, the most central of Ireland’s towns.

Tullamore is a 29-minute drive from Croghan Hill via the R420.

While Sirroco’s is Italian, it’s got a definite Irish flair to it. All of its food is locally sourced, including seafood from Co. Donegal and the best of Ireland’s beef.

DAY 2: Tullamore DEW Distillery, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

Whiskey tourism has taken on a life of its own these days as distilleries pop up all over the country and attract more and more international visitors.

Among the popular distilleries to visit on your Dublin to Galway in three days trip is Tullamore DEW , which is the second-largest selling brand of Irish whiskey on the market.

The distillery was established in 1829 by Michael Molloy.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Daniel E. Williams, who started his career as a stable boy in the 1870s and worked his way up to general manager, took over the running of the company.

It is where the acronym DEW, used in the whiskey’s brand name, comes from.

You can take guided tours of the distillery, where you will learn about the three-pronged process the distillery uses to create its unique flavors .

Choose from the “Curious Taster’s Journey,” the “Whiskey Wise Masterclass” or the “Ultimate Distillery Experience,” a behind-the-scenes tour and tutored tasting.

Lunch: Sean’s Pub, Main Street, Athlone

The 35-minute drive from Tullamore to Athone via the R420 and connecting to the M6 motorway will take you to Sean's Pub , the oldest pub in Ireland and indeed Europe, dating back to 900 AD.

You can grab a pint and a bite to eat at this friendly spot. Food is served in the bar’s Portside Restaurant .

Tourist Attraction: Viking Cruise from Athlone to Clonmacnoise

(Return to Athlone by bus) Take it slowly for part of the day and enjoy a Viking cruise along the shores of Lough Ree that will take you to the sacred monastic site, Clonmacnoise courtesy of Viking Tours .

Depart from Athlone Castle or Hodson Bay.

The cruise, voted number 1 on TripAdvisor , takes 90 minutes.

Sailings take place between Easter and Halloween each year. You can enjoy live commentary, as well as access to a snack shop and a bar.

a lake Dublin to Galway in three days

Tickets can be purchased on the ship or before you board on the website. Admission is €30 for adults, €15 for children, and €100 for a family of seven.

Clonmacnoise is a must-see on your Dublin to Galway in three days journey.

The mid-6 th century monastic site was founded by St. Ciaran.

It includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches, two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave slabs to be found anywhere else in Europe.

a Celtic cross Dublin to Galway in three days

You can see the slabs in the visitor center, as well as other exhibitions, including its centerpiece, the Cross of the Scriptures.

Clonmacnoise was a major center of religion and learning, with many written works created at the site.

round tower Dublin to Galway in three days

It flourished for at least 600 years and the monks who lived there created some of the most beautiful Celtic art and illuminated manuscripts in the world.

This is a truly awe-inspiring, peaceful place to fit into your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed.

Dinner: The Fatted Calf, Church Street, Athlone

The Fatted Calf is one of several great restaurants among Athlone’s burgeoning culinary scene.

food Dublin to Galway in three days

The food is stellar here and like so many other restaurants across Ireland these days, all food is sourced locally.

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DAY 3: Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co. Galway

The journey to this poignant place is about a 42-minute drive from Athlone via the M6 motorway and the R355 secondary road.

Expect to spend several hours at the Irish Workhouse Centre , which documents what life was like for local families during the Famine.

Between 1840 and 1858, there were 163 workhouses in Ireland. This was the largest building project the British established in Ireland to provide social relief to the poor and destitute.

a large building Dublin to Galway in three days

Visitors are guided through the original workhouse buildings, which opened in 1852, and are shown a short film on life in the workhouse.

a door opening up to a room Dublin to Galway in three days

You’ll begin your tour in the boardroom, where the Board of Guardians regularly met, then a guide will take you to the waiting room, where people stood to be admitted.

Women and men were separated as were children if they were old enough.

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It was a tragic end for many.

The center is open 7 days a week from March 1 st through Oct. 31. Admission is €12 for adults, €8 for seniors and students, and €25 for a family of four. Children under 7 are admitted free and kids between 7 and 12 are charged €6.

Tourist Attraction: Thoor Ballylee, Gort, Co. Galway

A visit to Thoor Ballylee , the summer home of William Butler Yeats , is a welcome transition from the somber surroundings of the workhouse in Portumna.

The late Seamus Heaney , also a celebrated Irish poet, once called this place the most important building in Ireland.

The 14 th -century Norman tower was once the home of Yeats, who paid £35 for the run-down property in 1917.

He lived there during the summer months only. Following his departure in 1929, the tower began to deteriorate again.

a castle Dublin to Galway in three days

Today, it has been tastefully restored inside in a way that is similar to the style of the early 20 th century.

Climb to the top of the tower and take in the surrounding South Galway countryside as well as the Burren in Co. Clare.

You can get to the top by climbing the winding staircase that inspired Yeats’ volume of poems titled “The Winding Stair.”

an archway Dublin to Galway in three days

An audio-visual presentation recounts the life and times of Yeats and is available in several languages.

Outside, you can take a walk along the river and explore the nearby mill.

Admission is $7 per adult. For groups of 10 or more, admission is €5 each. Thoor Ballylee is open from April through September only.

Tourist Attraction: Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, Co. Galway

Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Co. Galway is one of those tourist attractions you shouldn't miss while on your Dublin to Galway in three days tour.

The castle was built in 1520 by the Hynes clan, descendants of King Guaire of Connacht.

a castle Dublin to Galway in three days

The tower house was constructed on the grounds of Guaire's palace. Guaire served as king of the province (which includes the counties of Galway, Mayo, Sligo , Leitrim, and Roscommon) until his death in 663.

He is buried in Clonmacnoise, the attraction you'll have visited earlier in your journey.

An interesting side note is that the late Princess Diana of Wales and subsequently her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, are allegedly descendants of Guaire.

a stone fireplace Dublin to Galway in three days

The Hynes clan who originally owned it were in a bitter fight against the Normans and the English at the time.

Little is known about its construction, but 100 years later, it was gifted to Oliver Martyn, who had shown loyalty to the crown.

Martyn's son, Richard, later became mayor of Galway,

In 1924, it was bought and restored by the surgeon and writer Oliver St. Gogarty and became the place for the literary giants of the day to gather.

They included George Bernard Shaw, J.M. Synge, WB Yeats, Lady Gregory, and others.

In 1954, Christobel Lady Ampthill acquired the castle and made further improvements to it. Dunguaire Castle is now owned and managed by Shannon Heritage .

The castle does not usually open to the public until the end of March each year and closes at the end of September.

Guided tours are available that provide a history of this popular tourist attraction. Many who visit opt to stay for the medieval banquets that are also held in the historic building.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Lunch: Moran’s Oyster Cottage, Kilcolgan, Co. Galway

No visit to County Galway is complete without tasting the excellent oysters, brown soda bread, and other offerings at Moran’s Oyster Cottage in Kilcolgan.

a thatched cottage Dublin to Galway in three days

Moran’s Oyster Cottage is a family business that has been around since 1790 and is popular among locals and visitors alike, especially during Galway’s Oyster Festival .

Take a look at the menu here .

Have you driven from Dublin to Galway while vacationing in Ireland? If so, let me know the sights and sounds that you experienced on your journey.

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Road Tripping from Dublin to Galway

places to visit between dublin and galway

The Irish midlands is a charming region, yet it’s often overlooked by travellers who flock to the country’s many coastal wonders. That’s understandable considering how many of them there are! But if you’re planning a road trip through Ireland , we think that there are some other less-travelled routes that are worthy of your consideration as well. 

Dublin and Galway, two of Ireland’s most vibrant cities, sit conveniently opposite each other on the East and West coasts. They’re the perfect start and end points for a road trip that will allow you to explore some of Ireland’s best off the beaten track locations.

2 Day Dublin to Galway road trip itinerary

The good news is that Ireland is a relatively small country and that driving from Dublin to Galway takes just over two hours if you stick to the motorways. Of course, no good road trip is a simple straight shot. It’s all about taking the scenic route and stopping along the way to take in all that a place has to offer.

For this reason, we’ve planned a Dublin to Galway road trip that will keep you busy for a couple of days (excluding any time spent in Dublin and Galway themselves). It’s enough to turn an otherwise ordinary drive into a fascinating cross-country journey while still leaving you time to take in plenty of other highlights during your Irish vacation.

Day 1: Dublin - Athlone (98 mi / 158 km)

Driving time: 2 hours (1h morning & 1h afternoon) Morning: Once you’re ready to leave the delights of Dublin behind, you’ll set off towards the charming village of Kildare. It only takes an hour to get there from Dublin so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy all the options on offer once you arrive.

The most famous of these is the Irish National Stud and Gardens. This renowned thoroughbred breeding stable is surrounded by gorgeous gardens, including a wonderful Japanese garden that is considered the best of its kind in Europe and just about anywhere outside of Japan. You could easily spend the entire day meandering around the grounds absorbing the peace and tranquility they bestow upon all who visit.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Another attraction worth checking out in Kildare is St. Brigid’s Cathedral , a beautiful early Gothic style church steeped in history. If ruined castles pique your interest, and we assume they do if you’re planning a trip to Ireland, take a short detour on your way out of town to visit Kildare Castle.

The next stop on your tour is the Hill of Uisneach, the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland. It’s a place of great history, stunning natural beauty and powerful energy. It was the seat of the ancient High Kings of Ireland and is shrouded in myths and legends. It’s also the place where the four provinces of modern Ireland meet. The panoramic view from atop the hill allows you to take in no less than 20 counties!

It’s another hour’s drive to your next stop, and place of rest for the night, Athlone. If you’ve enough time left in the day check out Athlone Castle and in the evening you can grab a meal overlooking the river Shannon. Athlone is home to Sean’s Bar, the oldest pub in Ireland and the perfect spot for a nightcap (or two!).

Day 2: Athlone - Galway (100 mi / 160 km)

Driving time: 2h 45min (1h 45min morning & 1h afternoon) Morning: The first stop out of Athlone is actually a slight detour but it won’t set you back much and it’s well worth the effort. The 6th-century monastery of Clonmacnoise is considered Ireland’s most important monastic site. The ruins are extremely well preserved and include a cathedral, two round towers, three high crosses, nine churches and more than 700 early Christian grave slabs. It’s a hauntingly beautiful place that transports you back in time and leaves you with a sense of magic.

monastic site Clonmacnoise

Afternoon: From there, it's up to the picturesque town of Roscommon to enjoy an afternoon of delicious farm-fresh produce, artisan goods and the beguiling ruins of Roscommon Castle . The town itself is lovely to walk around and the surrounding areas are an archetype of the central Irish countryside.

If time permits, you could even head up towards Lough Key and the surrounding forest park. On one of the lake's 30 small islands you can see McDermott’s Castle, an overgrown ruin that looks like something straight out of a fantasy movie. Heading up this direction will add over an hour’s drive to your day but if you can make it work you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not in a rush it may even be worthwhile to spend a night in Roscommon so that you can dedicate an entire day to this area.

Once you’ve taken it all in, it’s time to head for Galway, the final stop of your 2 day road trip from Dublin. Galway city has plenty to offer, especially if you’re looking to do some shopping for typical Irish arts and crafts or chow down on some great food. We suggest exploring the Latin Quarter, Eyre Square and Quay street while you’re there.

Where to next?

For the next leg of your road trip through Ireland you can head either north or south to check out some of the amazing spots along the Wild Atlantic Way , Ireland’s most iconic coastal drive.  Less than two hours south of Galway you’ll find the Cliffs of Moher , one of the most beautiful views you’ll find anywhere in the world. Stop off at Dunguaire Castle on your way there for a look at one of the most picture-perfect ruins in the country. The Aran Islands and Connemara National Park are also highly noteworthy areas that are well within reach of a day trip from the city. To be honest, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to natural beauty whether you drive north or south from Galway.

For more ideas on great Irish road trip itineraries, check out our comprehensive guide on all the best routes you can take while exploring the country.  

Experience the Best of Dublin and Galway in One Week

Spending one week in Ireland is ample time to discover the beauty and charm that the Emerald Isle has to offer. When it comes to breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, Ireland never disappoints. 

From the vibrant city life of Dublin to the fascinating cultural scene of Galway, this week-long itinerary promises an unforgettable journey through two of Ireland’s most captivating cities. 

places to visit between dublin and galway

Get ready to explore ancient castles, revel in traditional music, and savor the finest Irish cuisine.

2 Days in Dublin

Two days in Dublin is just about the right length to explore the capital of Ireland. It’s a culturally rich city with numerous museums and tourist attractions to visit. And of course, it’s absolutely packed with countless bars and restaurants. 

Dublin Day 1 Itinerary

Take in the magnificence of Trinity College

places to visit between dublin and galway

A visit to Trinity College, Ireland’s most prestigious University is a great way to begin your trip to Dublin. Here you can go on a tour of the ‘Book of Kells’. This is a medieval religious manuscript considered to be one of the oldest books in the world. 

It is believed to have been crafted by Celtic monks back in a monastery on the Isle of Iona circa 800. The tour is a huge tourist attraction where you can learn all about the creation of the book in fine detail. 

And this tour also allows you access to the main chamber of the College’s Old Library, known as the: ‘Long Room’. This incredible 65-foot-long chamber is one of the most impressive libraries in the world and is simply a magnificent sight to behold. 

places to visit between dublin and galway

Although at the time of writing the Long Room is going through an expensive restoration process, so nearly all of the countless shelves are empty. But there are some books on display on the ground floor, along with the oldest harp in existence. 

Visit Oscar Wilde’s home

Not too far from Trinity College is another cultural and historical point of interest; Oscar Wilde’s childhood home. It’s possible to visit the interior of one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets and literary darlings of the 1800s for the price of 12 Euros. There’s also the option of a full guided tour that lasts 90 minutes and costs 20 Euros per person.

This is a fascinating opportunity to gain insight into Oscar Wilde’s upbringing firsthand. The house is of Georgian architecture and still features period furnishings from his time there. And directly opposite the house, you have Merrion Square Gardens. 

This is a lovely park to stroll around and you also have a famous sculpture of Oscar Wilde which is well worth seeing as well. 

By the way, if you’re fascinated by architecture and planning to visit Dublin, you won’t want to miss this complete Dublin Architecture Guide . 

Visit some Dublin museums

There are over 40 museums to discover in Dublin, which is a huge amount and it’s impossible to discover all of these in just two days of course. Many of these museums are free of charge as well.

Continuing with our day one itinerary of Dublin, let’s explore two of the most popular free museums within the city:

National Gallery of Ireland

Based just across the road from Merrion Square Gardens is the National Gallery of Ireland, which is well worth a visit if you like your art. The permanent collection is totally free to enter and features an extensive number of Irish and European paintings dating back to the Middle Ages. 

The building itself is a pleasure to walk around and the gallery is considered one of the best in all of Europe. It’s highly recommended to spend at least 1-2 hours here to appreciate all the great artwork on show. 

National Museum of Ireland-Decorative Arts & History

Next on our list is the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, located at Collins Barracks, a former military barracks. This is another totally free museum to enter, which focuses on historical and contemporary collections and gives a deeper insight into Ireland’s cultural heritage, military history, and more. 

There are numerous collections housed here which are really fascinating and you can easily spend a couple of hours appreciating the many antiques, costumes, and decorative items from Ireland’s past and present. 

Experience the many pubs of Dublin

After a busy first day experiencing the cultural highlights of Dublin, it’s time to end it with visiting one (or several) pubs that can be found in the city. 

Of course, no trip to Dublin is complete without savoring a pint of Guinness in one of Dublin’s many pubs. The idea of providing hospitality with a drink and a place of rest is deeply ingrained into Irish history. 

Drinking establishments really became fashionable in Dublin back in the 17th and 18th centuries and they’re still just as popular to this day. The city’s Temple Bar district is the liveliest place you could wish to discover, located on the south bank of the River Liffey. 

This area is full of traditional Irish pubs, most of which feature live Irish traditional music. The most famous of these pubs is of course Temple Bar, which always appears full and crammed with tourists enjoying a rather costly pint of the black stuff (around 9-10 Euros here!).

But there are a whole host of bars that are just as lively and entertaining and have cheaper Guinness (typically around 6 Euros). Getting some typical Irish food such as Irish stew and a drink in this district is a must!

Dublin Day 2 Itinerary

Dublin Castle

places to visit between dublin and galway

Day two in Dublin begins with a visit to Dublin Castle, a historic site with remarkable architecture and beautiful gardens. The castle is the highest point in all of Dublin and is based handily in the city center. 

It’s one of the most important sites in the city with a long, complex history dating all the way back to 1204. You can learn all about the castle on a self-guided tour here and tickets cost 12 Euros for adults. 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

places to visit between dublin and galway

After Dublin Castle, the next stop is a visit to the magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Based in the historical Liberties District of Dublin, the Cathedral was founded in 1191 and is famous for its daily choir and its stunning interior. 

There are daily, free guided tours of the Cathedral which you can request in advance via the Cathedral’s website, and entry is free if you have a Dublin Pass which you can purchase in advance as well. Otherwise, it costs 9 Euros to enter for adults, and around an hour should suffice to take in all of its glory. 

Guinness Storehouse Factory Tour

places to visit between dublin and galway

Following lunch, it’s time to enjoy a tipple or two of the black stuff at the famous Guinness Factory or Storehouse as it’s called these days. This place is one of the top tourist attractions in all of Dublin, as of course, Guinness is its most famous product that it’s given to the world. 

The storehouse consists of several floors full of history about the famous Irish beer, all within the factory that has been producing it for over 250 years. On the top floor is what’s called the Gravity Bar, which features amazing 360 views of Dublin. 

Tickets cost around 29 Euros which is a bit steep, but you do get a complimentary pint of Guinness upon reaching the Gravity Bar. 

Jameson Whisky Distillery Tour

And having experienced the Guinness Factory, you can follow that up with a tour of Dublin’s other favorite drink at the Jameson Distillery Whisky Factory. Founded in 1780, here you can learn all about this famous Irish spirit. Plus, you can learn how to make your own whisky and get to taste some of it as well!

Tickets cost 25 Euros per adult, which similar to the Guinness Factory price is certainly not cheap, but an enjoyable and fun experience nevertheless.

Traveling from Dublin to Galway

After two days in Dublin sampling all of its many delights (and probably recovering from those delights too!), it’s time to head over to the west coast of Ireland, to the beautiful city of Galway. 

Traveling from Dublin to Galway is relatively straightforward. The best option, if relying on public transport , is to catch a train from Heuston Station, which is situated just outside of the city center and certainly within walking distance. 

The train ride to Galway takes around three hours and is a pleasant journey, passing through a lot of Ireland’s glorious countryside and stopping off at several small towns. Tickets cost around 30 Euros and the train itself has comfortable seating with plenty of space. 

You can catch a bus to Galway which is cheaper but takes longer and the views are quite as aesthetically pleasing.

3 Days in Galway

So how does Galway compare to Dublin? It’s a much smaller city but still has a lot to offer. It reminded me a little bit of what Brighton is to London in England; it’s a different vibe, quirky yet historical as well. It feels more like traditional Ireland compared to Dublin, which of course is a major European city. 

3 days in Galway is a good length of time to discover all of the city’s many attractions. Let’s have a look at some of the many things that there are to do and see in this lively, coastal city. 

Galway Day 1 Itinerary

Galway City Museum

The best way to start your itinerary in any city in my opinion is to learn a bit about its history, and there’s no better way to do that in Galway than a visit to the Galway City Museum. This is a really good museum that has three floors of interesting exhibitions. 

These exhibitions delve into Galway’s past, with lots of fascinating artifacts and historical items. The exhibitions explain what life was like for the Gaelic people several hundred years ago, up to the past century, and the political revolutions that the city has experienced.

It also features Galway’s proud musical history and the many famous rock bands that have played here over the years. It’s free entry into the museum and you can easily spend 1-2 hours here educating yourself.

Visit the Magnificent Galway Cathedral

Galway Cathedral is probably the city’s most impressive building to visit. It’s a Roman Catholic Cathedral that used to be the city’s prison until it was converted in 1958. 

The interior of the Cathedral is truly a place of wonder. It’s a huge space inside with amazing brickwork and stained glass windows. Entry to the Cathedral is free, though donations are appreciated.

Enjoy the Atmosphere of the Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is undoubtedly the beating heart of Galway City. It is known for its vibrant, colorful streets, boutiques, and traditional Irish pubs, most of which have live music most nights.

This can be a surprisingly busy place, in the middle of August all the bars and restaurants were packed to capacity, with a lot of people queuing outside waiting for a table. I would go so far as to say it was busier than Dublin, with tourists from all over the world enjoying the Latin Quarter. 

It’s a lively old place with great nightlife, making for an enjoyable end to your first day in Galway. 

Galway Day 2 Itinerary

Go on the Long Walk of Galway

Moving on to day two of our Galway itinerary, and we’re starting it with some exercise on what’s known as the ‘long walk’ of Galway. You can begin the long walk by passing under the Spanish Arch; which was built in 1584 where goods were transferred from ships to the quays. 

After passing through the arch you can continue down the Lough Corrib, where you’ll pass by a row of traditional colourfully painted houses, with views of Galway’s harbour where you’ll see several fishing boats. 

If you’re still feeling energetic then you can continue across the harbour all the way to Mutton Island Causeway. Although you can’t actually enter Mutton Island, the causeway offers beautiful ocean views, with Salthill visible in the distance. 

Bask in the sun at Salthill Promenade

Good weather is not necessarily the first thing you think of when planning to visit Ireland, but you may be in for a surprise! If you visit Galway during the height of summer then it’s possible you may enjoy some good sunshine and beautiful blue skies if the weather Gods are kind to you. 

Visiting Ireland in Winter? Check this out

Don’t expect super high temperatures, but you may experience some nice days around 20-25 degrees Celsius. And if this is the case, then there’s no better place to soak up the rays than Salthill Promenade, located just outside of Galway. 

There are a few sandy beaches along the promenade, as well as shops, restaurants, and cafes. 

places to visit between dublin and galway

To finish off a full day of exercise, you can walk (or maybe bike) a nature trail that leads to Menlo Castle. This is a lovely, peaceful nature walk alongside the River Corrib and also passes several University campuses. 

After around 30 minutes of walking, you’ll see opposite the river the remains of Menlo Castle. Although it’s not possible to enter the castle as it’s just ruins, it’s still an impressive sight even from across the river. 

The castle dates back to the 16th Century and is a reminder of Galway’s rich history. It’s the perfect place to take in Galway’s lovely countryside as well, especially on a nice sunny day. 

Galway Day 3 Itinerary

A Day Tour to the Cliffs of Moher

places to visit between dublin and galway

The cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most famous natural attraction, and a visit there is the perfect ending on your last day in Galway. 

It is possible to travel there by public bus, but I’d highly recommend booking a day tour in advance. There are many tours to choose from and a lot of them include various tourist spots that you’ll visit on your way to the cliffs of Moher. 

My tour was an eight-hour round trip that left Galway at 10 a.m. The tour guide (who was also the bus driver) was very informative throughout the journey, giving info on the numerous villages that you drive through and the history behind them. 

Let’s look at some of the stops you can expect to make on your way to the cliffs:

Dunguaire Castle

places to visit between dublin and galway

This was the first stop on the tour and we were given around 20 minutes to explore the castle. Dunguaire Castle is one of the most famous castles in all of Ireland. It overlooks the shores of Galway Bay and dates back to 1520. 

There are a couple of gift shops inside the castle and you can pay to go up to the top level of the castle to have a better view of the shoreline.

Poulnabrone (Portal Tomb)

places to visit between dublin and galway

The second stop on the tour was Poulnabrone, a portal tomb that is the oldest megalithic monument in all of Ireland. It dates back to the dawn of man and is a fascinating site when you consider that’s it older than the Egyptian Pyramids!

What exactly is a portal tomb I hear you ask? Well, it’s a prehistoric stone chamber consisting of two upright slabs and a vertical slab on top, which resembles a table, kind of. They were used for several different reasons, with Poulnabrone being a burial site. 

That may not sound very interesting, but when you consider the ancient history of these portal tombs then it is quite an astonishing thing to behold. There are around 180 portal tombs scattered around Ireland as well and they are a unique glimpse into the country’s ancestral past. 

Lunch at a Traditional Irish Pub

After visiting Poulnabrone, it will be time for lunch. Included in my tour was a quick stop at a traditional Irish pub. Considering there were around 60 people on the tour, the staff at the pub we visited was extremely efficient and the food (and the Guinness) was very good too. The price of the lunch wasn’t included in the tour price however, which is worth keeping in mind. 

Cliffs of Moher

places to visit between dublin and galway

After lunch it is time for the main attraction; the iconic cliffs themselves. Expect dramatic and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, which really are breathtaking. There are two routes you can take at the cliffs; towards the right, you can head towards O’Brien Castle which has an observation tower if you really want the most spectacular views of the cliffs. 

I visited the cliffs in the middle of August and there were a lot of tourists there, which meant a long queue to access O’Brien Castle. The other route is over the main cliffs and stretches for several kilometers. 

It is possible to do this but bear in mind how much time you have to spend at Moher; our tour had two hours so not enough time to complete the hike over the cliffs. There’s also a cafe, gift shops, an information center, and even a small cinema that has been built into the cliffs. 

They really are awe-inspiring and spending a whole day to see them is totally worth doing and a strong recommendation. 

Looking to meet fellow travelers and stretch your budget for more adventures? Consider booking your stay at this Galway Hostel .

places to visit between dublin and galway

This one-week itinerary for exploring both Dublin and Galway provides a balanced blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and local experiences.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Ireland’s charm is truly captivating, and whether you’re wandering through the bustling streets of Dublin or embracing the artistic spirit of Galway, each day promises a new adventure and a deeper connection with this enchanting land. 

Keep reading:

  • Just have 2 days in Galway? Here’s a quick weekend guide to Galway
  • Looking for more inspiration and ideas for things to do in Ireland? Check out this comprehensive guide on the top things to do in Ireland
  • Discover the countless reasons why Ireland should be at the top of your travel list
  • 27 Pictures from our first Ireland trip , more than a decade ago.
  • Traveling with your little ones? Belfast is a very family-friendly destination
  • From the iconic Giant’s Causeway to the mesmerizing landscapes of the Mourne Mountains, discover the beauty and adventure that Northern Ireland has to offer
  • The landscapes and rich history of County Antrim in Northern Ireland

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19th Aug 2022

The best stop off points for a road trip from Galway to Dublin, according to Twitter

Katy Thornton

road trip galway dublin

No road trip is complete without a cheeky stop off here and there.

Doing a Galway to Dublin road trip soon, or find it’s something you have to do on the regular? Well thanks to Pól Ó Conghaile ( @poloconghaile ), travel editor for the Irish Independent, and the question he posed on Twitter, we have some stellar spots for you to try if you’re in need of a stop-off.

He took to Twitter with the below tweet, looking for places that would serve lunch or snacks on the M6 and M4 between Galway and Dublin, and the people of Twitter did not disappoint.

Where's a good place to split the drive from Galway to Dublin on M6 / M4 – lunch/snacks – without having to go too far offline? Ideally not a big service station. Have time for small detour 🙏 — @poloconghaile (@poloconghaile) August 18, 2022

Here were some of the spots recommended by the fellow Twitter community for a road trip from Galway to Dublin.

Fatted Calf, Athlone

This spot in the heart of Athlone 10 likes by the person who suggested it, along with a follow up message stating the food and service was good, so maybe one to check out next time you’re doing the trip between Galway and Dublin.

The Old Barracks, Athenry

Just five minutes off the motorway, The Old Barracks is considered a winner if you’re feeling peckish just out of Galway. They do a range of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options so there’ll be something to keep you going for the journey ahead.

Might be too close to Galway for you but The Old Barracks in Athenry is lovely. Five mins off the motorway. — Ruth Burnside (@RuthBurnside) August 18, 2022

Thyme, Athlone

Thyme has just won not one, not two, but four Irish Restaurant Awards 2022 . This, as well as appearing on the Michelin Guide should say it all for how good this Athlone restaurant is. Perhaps a little gourmet for a quick stop off, but look, sometimes you’ve just got to treat yourself.

An Granuaile, Kinnegad

Another spot that was recommended was An Granuaile in Kinnegad, Westmeath. The menu is simple but delicious, with very reasonable prices, and the portions look huge too.

Brown’s on the Green, Tyrrellspass

Brown’s On The Green received a few votes from the people of Twitter, and if everything on the menu is as huge as this burger, we can understand why.

Creggan Court Hotel, Athlone

For a carvery, Athlone’s Creggan Court Hotel popped up as a good spot off the motorway, and with decent parking options.

Furey’s, Moyvalley

For the lasagne and homemade chips alone, Furey’s is worth a feed according to Twitter user @AideenFinnegan. She was backed up by another commenter, and had several likes, so it’s definitely being added to the list.

Dead Centre Brew, Athlone

The perfect quick bite is a toastie in my eyes, and Dead Centre Brew does a particularly gooey looking one (in the best way). Dead Centre Brew even responded to the person who tagged them in agreement.

Magico Bakery, Athlone

One of my favourite activities pre road trip is picking up a coffee and a pastry, and if you’re doing the road trip between Galway and Dublin, and also love a good bakery, then stopping in at Magico is a no-brainer.

The Hungry Bookworm, Loughrea

For a full-on fry, The Hungry Bookworm in Loughrea will set you up nicely for the long drive to Dublin.

And of course you can never go wrong with a McDonalds. The one in Athlone to be specific.

McDonalds in Athlone🤣 — DeniseF (@Den1Fen) August 18, 2022

There were loads more options in response to Ó Conghaile’s question, which you can check out HERE . But we hope these suggestions will tide you over next time you’re doing a road trip from Galway to Dublin, or vice versa.

Header image via Instagram/athlone_cregan_court

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How to Travel From Dublin to Galway by Train, Bus, and Car.

places to visit between dublin and galway

TripSavvy /  Jiaqi Zhou  

Dublin, located on Ireland’s east coast, sits almost directly opposite the city of Galway on the west coast. Dublin and Galway are 129 miles apart (208 km). As the capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin is a compact but busy city filled with arts, culture, and great food. Galway is a smaller city that is known for its live music, medieval center, and young population.

The fastest option between Dublin and Galway is to self-drive by car, which takes just over 2 hours on average. The cheapest option is the bus depending on the time of day and the day of the week, though the train is slightly faster. Buses and trains run year-round but tend to sell out far in advance of major events like the Galway Races.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Dublin to Galway?

Taking the bus is the cheapest, and one of the most popular, way to travel between Dublin and Galway. There are several private coach bus companies that offer multiple daily services from Dublin to Galway. Some of these companies include GoBus . CityLink, and Bus Eireann . The route is very popular and buses leave every 30 to 60 minutes on average. Most buses run between Dublin’s central bus station and Galway’s main bus terminal, but it is also possible to take the bus directly from Dublin Airport to Galway. These airport buses are the best way to reach Galway without needing to actually go into the Dublin city center of the capital city. Public buses are operated only within individual cities, meaning that private coaches are the only buses available for intercity travel. Buying return, and particularly same-day return tickets, can cut the cost significantly but most companies charge around 12 euros for one-way tickets.

The buses leave regularly, have luggage storage, and are equipped with Wi-Fi, which sometimes makes them more comfortable than self-driving and eliminates the need to have a car while in Dublin. However, these routes can become very busy on weekends or when major events are taking place. If you plan to take the bus, arrive at the station early to purchase tickets and claim a space in line in order to ensure you get seats together with your traveling companions.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Dublin to Galway?

The fastest and most flexible way to travel between Dublin and Galway is to self-drive by car. The route takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes without traffic. The most direct route is to take the M4 to the M6, which are both well-maintained toll roads. Cars pay a toll of 2.90 euros on the M4 and 1.90 euros on the M6. There is also an additional toll on the M50 if driving directly from Dublin Airport. When approaching a toll point, follow the signs posted above each lane to identify which booths accept cash, and have small change on hand whenever possible to speed things up. Taking smaller side roads will significantly extend the journey time. Sticking to the main highways still offer plenty of opportunities to exit and stop along the way, including in Tullamore or Athlone. Remember that you will have to drive on the left side of the road and follow local laws, so be prepared with our complete guide to driving in Ireland.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

The train journey takes between 2 hours and 21 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes, and prices usually range between 18-22 euros each way. Trains run between Dublin and Galway every day and are operated by Irish Rail . Trains depart Heuston Station in Dublin bound for Galway every two hours. Heuston Station is located about 2 miles outside the Dublin city center, but the train terminal is well connected via LUAS for those planning to take public transportation . Luggage racks are available and the journey is airconditioned and comfortable.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Galway?

Given the large student population in Galway, Friday and Sunday tend to be the busiest days to travel between the two cities which means that fares on buses and trains may increase during peak hours.

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What Is There to Do in Galway?

Galway is a small but dynamic harbor city with a large student population. The best area to start exploring is the central Latin Quarter, which dates back to medieval times. This area of the city is widely pedestrianized and filled with tiny shops, local pubs , and great restaurants. The city is well known for its live Irish music sessions in the pubs every night, but you can find outdoor performers (called buskers) playing instruments as you wander through the city as well.

For a longer stroll, walk out to the waterfront area of Salthill and enjoy the beaches along Seapoint Promenade. The seaside area is relatively quiet, except during peak summer weekends. Though, if you do happen to find yourself in Galway in late July, you must make time for the annual event of the year: the Galway Races . The horse races are held around the August Bank Holiday and are the most famous in all of Ireland. The massive well-dressed crowds and convivial atmosphere are absolutely something that has to be experienced in person.

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Wanderlust & Life

Dublin vs Galway: Which Irish city is better

Are you planning a trip to Ireland and wondering if Dublin or Galway is the better city to visit? In this guide we do a side by side comparison on everything you need to know including costs, attractions, safety, and much more. So here is a complete guide to Dublin vs Galway.

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Dublin vs Galway: Some background

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Before we get into the whole Dublin vs Galway debate, here is some background on each city.

Dublin is the capital of the Republic or Ireland, and is also the largest city on the island of Ireland. The city is famous for it’s cultural scene, being the birthplace of many famous writers and entertainers. The population in the metropolitan area is around 1,270,000. On top of that you get about 5.9 million tourists in the city each year.

Are you wondering if  Dublin is worth visiting ? Here is a handy guide.

Galway is a much smaller city than Dublin. It’s located on the west coast of Ireland, and is a harbour city, where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. Galway is filled with cobbled streets, winding lanes and the remains of some medieval city walls. It is located in County Galway, which itself has 689 kilometres of coastline. This forms part of Ireland’s  Wild Atlantic Way .

Choosing your accommodation is an important part of any trip. Here we look at Dublin and Galway to determine which one has the better accommodation options.

There is no way to sugar coat this, so I will just say it. Accommodation in Dublin is expensive. Like ridiculously expensive. And that’s just on a normal day, add a public holiday or a festival on top of that and it’s worse.

To put things into perspective we paid €260 per night for a 4 star hotel in Dublin city centre. We booked the accommodation well in advance, and to be honest we were lucky to even get it at that price! The room was modern and clean, but really small.

On the plus side, with accommodation in Dublin you do get a lot of choice. From hostels to luxury hotels, there is something for everyone. If you want to be close to the action you should look at staying around Temple Bar, or Stephen’s Green. Otherwise if you want to save some money no matter how small, look at staying further out of the centre.

If you are planning to spend time in Galway you are best off staying close to the city centre. The best spots are the Latin Quarter, or the Docks. Both areas are close to lots of pubs and restaurants, and are also close to a number of tourist attractions.

Accommodation ranges between €180 and above for a 4 star hotel near the city centre. Just make sure you book early to get the best deals.


Dublin has a lot more choice when it comes to accommodation, but Galway in a lot cheaper.

If you are wondering if Dublin or Galway is better for attractions here are some of the top things to do in each location.

Here are our top picks for things to do in Dublin.

The Guinness Storehouse

Let’s face it Guinness is pretty synonymous with Dublin. For this reason the Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular tourist sites in Dublin and is great if you want to try a pint for yourself.

Trinity College

Trinity College is one of the top universities in Europe and kind of conjures up this mix of Hogwarts and Dead Poets Society vibe. It’s a beautiful place to visit if you like history and architecture.

places to visit between dublin and galway

The Book of Kells

And whilst we are discussing Trinity College, another really cool thing to do here is see the Book of Kells and Old College Library. It’s honestly a book lovers dream.

Sometimes known as Dublin’s cultural quarter is Temple Bar. It’s full of cobbled streets, and a number of atmospheric pubs and restaurants. One of the most visited places is of course the ‘Temple Bar’ pub. If you can find a seat it’s great for live music and pints. It’s also one of the  best photo spots in Dublin .

Kilmainham Gaol

History buffs will definitely be interested in visiting Kilmainham Gaol. It’s about 3.5 km out of Dublin centre, and such an important part of Irish history. Many Irish revolutionaries were imprisoned and executed here by order of the UK government. This is a great place to brush up on Irish history.

Phoenix Park

The park is a stones throw away from Dublin centre, and is essentially a 7km green space that has a zoo, wild deer, and some beautiful gardens.

Irish Whiskey Museum

Apart from Guinness, Ireland is of course very much known for its Whiskey. The museum will teach you all about how whiskey is made, but most importantly gives you the chance to do some tasting.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle until 1922 was the centre of UK government rule in Ireland. Since then it has become a major tourist attraction and is used for state dinners as well as the inauguration of presidents in Ireland.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Ha’penny Bridge

Built in 1816 over the River Liffey, this scenic bridge is not only a symbol of the city, but also one of the first pedestrian bridges over the River Liffey.

And here are some of the best things to do when visiting Galway.

Listen to the buskers

One of the must dos in Galway is visiting Quay Street. Here you will find lots of buskers playing different types of music. It’s one of the things that Galway is famous for so you have to stop by.

Aran Islands

The Aran Islands, whilst not technically in Galway, are one of the best day trips to do from the city. If you are travelling from  Galway to the Aran Islands , then you will need to make your way to Rosaveel which is just under an hour away from the centre of Galway. From Rosaveel you then need to hop on a ferry that will take you to Inis Mór.

places to visit between dublin and galway

The Galway Cathedral

The Galway Cathedral is one of the newer buildings in the city. It was built in 1965 and has since become one of the iconic parts of the city skyline.

Visit Salthill

Salthill is one of the lovely beach areas in Galway. I know that the country isn’t really famous for sunning yourself on the beach, but it does have some gorgeous coastal spots.

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park is located in the north western part of County Galway. It’s one of the most beautiful national parks in the country and there is so much to see and do. One of our favourite things though are the hiking trails with boardwalks that you can follow.

Dublin is the bigger city and therefore there is a lot more to see and do here.

You might be wondering if Dublin or Galway is the more picturesque place to visit. Here are our thoughts.

Dublin has its good and bad points when it comes to scenery. That being said you do get some lovely spaces like St Stephen’s Green, but the prettiest part of the city is around temple Bar. There are tons of bars and cobbled streets to explore, and the atmosphere is great too. The county itself does have some nice spots, particularly around Howth, but not as beautiful as other parts of the country.

If the words of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats are anything to go by then it is fair to say Galway is a beautiful place. He once described it as the ‘Venice of the West’ and while that might be a bold statement, it certainly does make you realise how picturesque it is.

The city itself is incredibly colourful, with a friendly atmosphere. It’s western seaboard location also makes it a prime spot for incredibly scenery and rugged landscapes.

Galway is definitely the prettier of the two places. Particularly if you venture out and explore County Galway with its national park, and stunning coastal areas.

Getting to a city will obviously play a large part in your decision to visit. But is Dublin or Galway easier to get to?

Dublin is an easy place to get to. It’s the gateway to Ireland, with several flights a day arriving from around the world. Ryanair is also headquartered in Dublin which means lots of cheap flights, and travel routes.

From the airport you can get a taxi into town, although this will set you back around €30. You also have the option of getting the  Aircoach . It departs every 15 minutes and takes you straight to the centre of Dublin for half the price of a taxi.

Galway doesn’t have it’s own airport, but you can fly into Knock or Shannon which are the closest. Galway is about an hours drive from both airports. You can also fly into Dublin and get the train over to Galway.

If you are coming from Dublin, then the best way to get to Galway is via train. There is a train that goes between Dublin and Galway that takes around 2.5 hours. It also takes a similar amount of time to  drive from Dublin to Galway .

Dublin is definitely the easiest city to get to. It’s well connected with various train, and ferry routes, as well as a major international airport.

Ease of getting around in a city is a big thing especially when it comes to choosing your next vacation spot. Here is a breakdown of Dublin and Galway in terms of getting around.

Public transport in Dublin is easy to use although you may not necessarily need to use it. A lot of the main tourist attractions are close to each other, but there are some a little out of the way.

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is ideal for getting out of the centre, and it is also one of the most beautiful public transport systems as it travels along the Irish Sea Coast for a lot of its journey.

For getting around in the city you also have the Luas, which is the tram service.

If you think you will be using a lot of public transport you can purchase a Leap Card, for about €10 for 1 day, and this will cover you for Luas services, and buses.

Galway is a small city, so you won’t need to worry about using public transport unless you head out further into the county. In which case there is a solid bus network taking you to places like Rosaveel for example, frequently.

Realistically if you are wanting to see more of County Galway, you will need a car, as public transport can take a long time to get from a to b.

Galway is a smaller place so in that sense it is easier to get around. On the flip side though Dublin is way more connected, and using public transport is efficient and easy.

Planning a beach holiday? You might then be wondering if Dublin or Galway is the better choice.

Let’s be honest Dublin isn’t really synonymous with beaches and sunbathing. But you might be surprised that it does have a bit of choice when it comes to seaside locations. Sunbathing might not be ideal, it is Ireland after all, but the beaches are definitely an option. Howth is one of the best beach spots, with fish and chips, and a beautiful cliff walk, you will quickly forget that you were even in the busy Dublin city centre.

Considering Galway has 689 kilometres of coastline it’s fair to say that it has some decent beaches. One of the closest beaches to the city is Salthill which is an incredibly popular tourist spot.

In summer you will find people strolling along the sand, or diving into the water. There is a promenade here that kind of reminds us a lot of an old school beach resort. There are lots of shops selling random knick knacks and some pretty good ice cream too.

places to visit between dublin and galway

While Dublin does have a few beach options, Galway is the better choice as the beaches are a lot more scenic.

If you love visiting a city for its food you might be wondering if you should choose Dublin or Galway.

In the last few years Dublin has well and truly surprised us when it comes to food. It used to be very pub food focussed but these days you will find lots of really great different places to eat.

If you are after traditional Irish food you can try one of our favourites The  Boxty House  in Temple Bar. Apart from this you have so many great places serving modern Irish and international food. And you have to try some Dublin Bay Prawns at one of the many seafood restaurants in the city.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Galway is a foodies paradise, and considering it is so close to the sea, it’s no surprise seafood is all the rage here.

If you want to make the most of your time in Galway we recommend doing  a food tour  which is a good idea for getting to grips with the culinary delights in the city.

If you don’t want to do a food tour our recommendations are the Quay Street Kitchen for some hearty meals at decent prices. Or if you are after seafood  McDonagh’s  is a good shout. It’s very casual and reasonably priced too.

places to visit between dublin and galway

We prefer Galway when it comes to food. There tends to be a bigger focus on seafood, and organic dishes which is always a good thing.

If you want to party until the sun comes up, you might be questioning if Dublin or Galway is better.

Dublin is a fantastic place to go for a night out. Temple Bar is the main part of the city that tourists flock to for a night out. The atmosphere is incredible, especially in the evenings. But there is so much more to nightlife in Dublin than just Temple Bar.

Dublin also has some really great cocktail bars and speakeasies, so if you aren’t into pubs there are a number of really cool bars you can explore. Some of our favourites are Vintage Cocktail Club and Bar 1661.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Galway has some amazing nightlife and honestly the real charm of this city is it’s thriving entertainment scene. The Latin Quarter is one of the best places to enjoy this. There are so many cool traditional type pubs in the area. A lot of them also have trad music sessions which is a real treat.

The Quays  is one of the best places to go especially for live music. The atmosphere is incredible, and it will give you a real taste of Irish culture. Or for something a little cosier try  Tig Cóilí  who do daily trad sessions.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Dublin and Galway both have a lot to offer when it comes to nightlife. We do prefer Dublin but that’s just because there are more cocktail bars. Galway is better if you want a traditional Irish pub experience, or if you are wanting to catch a trad session.

If you are a lover of culture, you might be wondering if Dublin or Galway is the better destination for you.

Dublin is a great place to go for Irish culture. You’ve got the world famous Guinness Factory here, as well as museums dedicated to writers, immigration, and so much more. Dublin also has a long history of being synonymous with Irish writers and poets.

Galway has often been referred to as the cultural centre of Ireland. Spend 5 minutes here and it is easy to understand why. The city has a number of festivals held here each year, and it’s located on the doorstep of the Irish speaking Aran Islands. You will also encounter a number of buskers and trad sessions across the city.

Dublin and Galway are both good spots for culture. Dublin is great for museums, and literature, but Galway is better for music.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Safety is of course an important factor to consider when visiting a new place. But is Dublin or Galway safer?

The first thing to keep in mind when discussing safety in Dublin is that it is a huge city. And like all European capitals there are things you need to be aware of. There are certain parts of Dublin that you may want to avoid particularly at night. One example is around Connolly Station. If in doubt get a taxi instead of walking.

Overall though despite what you may see on the news Dublin is relatively safe. We have never encountered any major problems and have never felt in danger either.

Crimes like petty theft and pickpocketing are common though. I had my phone stolen out of my handbag while enjoying a drink at Temple Bar, so I know firsthand how easy it can be to fall victim to this. Just keep an eye on your belongings, and take precautions.

Galway is a small city, and there are no major issues when it comes to safety. You should have your wits about you when you travel anywhere, but you don’t need to take excessive precautions in Galway.

Galway is a lot safer than Dublin. But do keep in mind it is a lot smaller.

If you are planning on travelling as a couple you might be wondering if Dublin or Galway is the better choice.

Dublin has some really great places to explore as a couple. For instance you can walk around the romantic setting of Trinity College, enjoy the parks, or stroll around Temple Bar. There are also some very cool cocktail lounges like the Vintage Cocktail Club and the Blind Pig where you can enjoy a romantic evening.

Galway has a very cosy and romantic atmosphere that is felt just by walking around the streets of the Latin Quarter. There are some great pubs and restaurants in the city that make for a great date night too.

Both cities are great for a couples break, it just depends if you want to spend time in a big city, or a quieter one.

Planning to travel alone? You might be wondering is Dublin or Galway better.

Dublin is a big city with so much to do particularly if you are travelling alone. There are also tons of tours you can join if you are wanting to do a pub crawl or if you are looking to interact with other travellers. It’s easy to get around Dublin too which is great if you are visiting by yourself.

Galway is a lot smaller than Dublin and there isn’t as much to see. That being said it’s a very safe city so you won’t have any issue walking around alone. You should definitely take precautions especially if you are walking around alone late at night, or planning to visit a pub alone.

Dublin is the better option for solo traveller just because there is a lot more to see and do.

Costs are a big deal when travelling, and so you might be wondering if Dublin or Galway is cheaper.

Dublin is known for being an expensive city. The city centre, and tourist spots are notorious for charging a fortune for things like food and drink. For instance the Temple Bar charges about €8 for a pint of Guinness from memory. If you want to save a bit of money, our advice is to avoid the tourist traps like Temple Bar and try and go where the locals do.

Because Galway is a smaller city, it tends to be a lot cheaper than Dublin. That pint of Guinness that costs €8 in Dublin will probably cost around €6 or €7 in Galway. The city centre, can still be costly but the smaller towns in county Galway are certainly a lot cheaper.

Ireland as a whole can be quite expensive, but Dublin is one of the more costly cities for sure. So if you want to save a bit of money Galway is a great option.

If you are planning to visit Dublin or Galway in the summer months you might be wondering which one is better.

Summer is peak travel time in Dublin. The weather is the best it can be with some sunshine and way less rain than winter. Temperatures are pretty mild though and range between 9 – 20 degrees Celsius.

It does get busy with tourists, and hotels are more expensive in the summer months than other times of the year. That being said there is a reason why people visit at this time of year. It’s really beautiful and you get a chance to explore the parks and gardens, especially if you are lucky enough to get a clear day.

Summer in Galway is a fantastic time to visit. The temperatures average at around 25°C during the day. Rain is common in the summer months, although you do get some lovely sunny days. The day are long, with the sunrising at around 4am and setting at around 10pm-11pm depending on the month. Summer is the best time to visit Galway to take advantage of the beaches and enjoy the outdoors. It’s also an excellent time to visit the Aran Islands too.

Personally we think Galway is the better option for summer especially if you are planning on enjoying a bit of nature. You have so many beautiful spots like the Aran Islands and Connemara National Park close by that you have to take advantage.

If winter is more your thing you might be wondering if Dublin or Galway is the better option.

Honestly Dublin and actually Ireland as a whole can be pretty miserable in the winter months. For starters daylight hours are limited, and temperatures range between 2°C and 10°C. Rain is common which again is a great excuse to tuck yourself into a pub and enjoy some comfort food and a drink. If you don’t mind the cold or if you plan to visit a lot of museums then winter in Dublin is manageable.

Winter in Galway averages between 3°C and 9°C. Snow is rare but rain in very common. Daylight hours are short. It’s usually light between 8.30am to 5pm. If you are visiting at this time of year you want to focus more on indoor activities like getting cosy in a pub or visiting a museum.

There is a lot more to do in Dublin during the winter months compared to Galway. That being said Galway does have a lot of pubs so you can definitely keep warm inside.

Are you planning on visiting Ireland in March ? Here is a helpful guide.

So you have made it to the end of this article and hopefully by now you have your own winner in the battle of Dublin vs Galway. But here is a final recap if not.

Dublin is exciting and vibrant. There is no shortage of things to see and do in Dublin. From the Guinness factory, to the book of Kells there is something for everyone here. It’s a really fun city, the people are welcoming, and you get a fantastic taste of what the country of Ireland has to offer.

Galway is a truly magical place to visit. It’s creative, vibrant, and so much fun. The food and drink scene here is very diverse, and the people are incredibly friendly. You will get a much more creative and authentically Irish experience here.

Dublin and Galway are both fantastic cities to visit. And honestly if you can visit both we highly recommend you do.

Dublin is great because there is so much to see and do. It’s a tourist favourite, and it is definitely one of the most vibrant cities in Ireland. If you want a busy city break, or to visit museums and the Guinness Factory head to Dublin.

Galway on the other hand is less touristy, so you get to mingle with the locals and experience the real Ireland. Galway is also great for nature, and there are so many beautiful places to visit in the County where you can experience this.

We hope that this guide to Dublin vs Galway has been useful for you. Don’t forget you can pin it for later below.

And if you are wondering if  Ireland is worth visiting  here is a useful guide.

Happy Travels!

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Wanderlust and Life is a blog for those that love to travel.

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The Irish Road Trip

Causeway Coastal Route Guide (Has A Google Map With Stops + Itinerary For 2024)

By Author Keith O'Hara

Posted on Last updated: April 8, 2024

Causeway Coastal Route Guide (Has A Google Map With Stops + Itinerary For 2024)

In this guide, you’ll find a Causeway Coastal Route map, the main stops (in order) and a  logical  itinerary to follow . 

Packed with scenery, historical sites and colourful coastal villages, the 185km/115-mile Antrim Coast Road packs a punch.

Home to the Glens of Antrim , the world-famous Giant’s Causeway and plenty of walks and hikes, there’s a reason this is one of the best things to do in Northern Ireland .

Below, you’ll find an interactive Antrim Coast map with the attractions plotted along with info on each of the stops.

Table of Contents

Some quick need-to-knows about the Causeway Coastal Route

Causeway Coastal Route map

Click here for a high res version

The now-famous Northern Ireland Coastal Route is fairly straightforward, once you have a clear idea of what you want to see and do. It’s worth taking a minute or so to look over our Causeway Coastal Route map above to get a sense of the route. Here are some quick need-to-knows to get us started:

1. Where it starts and ends

The Antrim Coast road starts in Belfast City and ends in Derry . It follows the coast road through the nine Glens of Antrim, peaking at the Giant’s Causeway before powering on through to its final destination – Derry (see our Causeway Coastal Route map above for reference).

The entire Antrim Coastal Route is 185km/115-mile  in length . You can tackle it all at once, or you can split it up into several visits, depending on how much time you have to play with.

3. How long you’ll need

I have driven the length of the Antrim Coast road in one day and stopped at the main attractions . However, if you want to explore it more in depth, you’ll want to allow at least two.

4. Where to stay

If you’re doing the drive over a weekend, we’d recommend creating a rough Causeway Coastal Route itinerary with a logical halfway point . You can use this as your base for night one and then continue along the route the following day (we’ve prepared a 1 and 2-day itinerary at the end of this guide).

A Causeway Coastal Route map with the attractions plotted out

The Causeway Coastal Route map above contains many of the various different things to see along the Antrim Coast road. If you scroll down further, you’ll find an overview of each place.

Further down you’ll find an easy-to-follow 2-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary. But first, here’s what each of the markers in the map above represents:

  • Orange markers : Beaches
  • Dark purple markers : Castles
  • Yellow markers : Main attractions
  • Green markers : Game of Thrones filming locations
  • Light purple markers : Unique attractions

The Antrim Coast Road attractions (in order, starting in Belfast and ending in Derry)

Dunluce Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

You’ll find a speedy overview of each of the Antrim Coast Road attractions below in order, starting in Belfast and ending in Derry.

Now, you don’t have to visit every single stop on the Northern Ireland coastal route – pick the ones you like and skip the ones you don’t!

Need an itinerary? We’ve prepared a map with a 1 and 2-day itinerary at the end of this guide

1. Belfast City

Belfast City Hall

So, the Antrim Coast Road drive officially kicks off in Belfast City. Now, as you can probably imagine, there are tonnes of things to do in Belfast .

Some of the unmissable ones are Crumlin Road Gaol , Belfast Castle and the brilliant Belfast Black Cab Tours .

If you’re in Belfast and you’re looking for organised Causeway Coastal Route tours, here’s a few to check out that have great reviews (affiliate links):

  • Giants Causeway Fully Guided Day Trip
  • Giants Causeway & Game of Thrones Locations Tour

2. Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle

Our first stop on the Antrim Coast road takes us to the mighty Carrickfergus Castle . You’ll find this impressive structure in the town of Carrickfergus on the shores of Belfast Lough.

It was constructed by John de Courcy, who used it as his headquarters, in 1177. De Courcy was an Anglo-Norman knight and he stayed in the castle until 1204.

He didn’t leave out of choice – he was evicted by another Norman named Hugh de Lacy. Over the years, Carrickfergus Castle saw its fair share of action, which you can learn about on the guided tour.

3. Whitehead Coastal Pass to Blackhead Lighthouse

Whitehead Coastal Path

Courtesy of Mid and East Antrim council @grafters media

Stop number two is the first of many strolls on the Northern Ireland Coastal route, and it’s just 13 minutes from Carrickfergus Castle.

This is a nice, short ramble that begins at Whitehead Car Park and that follows rugged coastline to Blackhead Lighthouse.

As you make your way along the 5km trail you’ll be treated to an eyeful of sea caves and, at times, dolphins.

Just keep in mind that there’s a good 100 steps to be conquered if you want to reach the lighthouse, which dates to 1902.

4. The Gobbins

The Gobbins

You’ll find one of the most unique Causeway Coastal Route attractions, the Gobbins Cliff Path , a 5-minute spin from our last stop, where it has been making visitors ‘ Ohh ‘ and ‘ Ahh ‘ for over 100 years.

Originally aimed at Edwardian ‘thrill-seekers’, the Gobbins Cliff Path walk now gives ordinary Joe Soaps like you and I the chance to experience a slice dramatic coastline up close and personal.

The path wraps its way around the basalt cliffs over County Antrim’s jagged coastline – an architectural marvel considering it was designed over 100 years ago in 1902.

5. Chaine Memorial Tower

Chaine Tower

Our next stop, Chaine Memorial Tower, is less than a 20-minute spin up along the Antrim Coast Road.

Known locally as “The Pencil”, Chaine Tower is an impressive, 27 metres tall, beacon made out of Irish Granite.

It celebrates the memory of the late James Chaine who represented Ireland in the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland from 1874 until 1885 and founded the sea route from Larne to mainland Scotland.

There’s a handy flat walk that’ll take you up to it, boasting breathtaking views out to sea.

6. The Black Arch

Black Arch

The unique Black Arch isn’t really a stop in itself. It’s actually just a short tunnel that you’ll drive through as you cruise along the Antrim Coast Road.

The road clings to the sea, with cliffs looming up on the other side.

As you approach Larne , about 5 minutes from Chaine Tower, the craggy cliffs cross over the road, which tunnels through.

It’s only short, but it looks pretty cool and is a popular spot for photographers.

7. Carnfunnock Country Park

Carnfunnock Country Park

Carnfunnock Country Park is a short, 5-minute spin from the Black Arch and it is, in our opinion, one of the more overlooked attractions on the Antrim Coastal Route.

The park boasts a whopping 191 hectares of woodland, finely manicured gardens, trails and coast, and it’s an excellent place to stretch the legs.

Now, if you’re looking for a one-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary, you’re probably best skipping this, but if you have time, it’s well worth a look.

8. Slemish Mountain

Slemish Mountain

Another place that often gets committed from many Causeway Coastal Route itinerary guides is the historic Slemish Mountain . It’s 30 minutes inland from Carnfunnock.

Saint Patrick is said to have worked as a Shepherd on the slopes of Slemish after he was captured by pirates at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland.

There is a lovely little walk on Slemish that should take between one and two hours to complete, depending on the weather and your pace. 

If you flick back to our Causeway Coastal Route map you’ll see that Slemish isn’t  too  much of a detour.

9. Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle

Glenarm is one of the most impressive castles along the Antrim Coast Road. It’s home to the McDonnell family – the Earls of Antrim.

The present castle at Glenarm was built by the first Earl of Antrim (Sir Randal MacDonnell) in 1636 and, while the castle and gardens are part of the private residence, there’s a popular tour on offer.

You can also explore the Walled Garden or tackle the relatively new Woodland Walk.

10. Cranny Falls

Cranny Falls

You’ll find one of the more unique Northern Ireland Coastal Route attractions a 10-minute drive from Glenarm – Cranny Falls.

There’s a car park ( here on Google Maps) at the start of the trail and then you’ll want to all 30 – 45 minutes to walk up to it (gentle ish  walk but a fair bit of incline).

Now, if you’re doing a 1-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary, skip this one. If you have a decent bit of time, it’s worth seeing!

11. Glenariff Forest Park

Glenariff Forest

Our next Antrim Coast Road stop is a 30-minute spin from Cranny Falls, and it takes you away from the coast and inland.

A morning spent in Glenariff Forest Park is one of my favourite things to do in Ireland .

It’s here that you’ll discover a gorgeous waterfall and one of the best walks in Northern Ireland.

If you fancy stretching the legs, the Glenariff Forest Park walk is a mighty, 8.9km circular trail that’ll take 2 – 3 hours.

12. Cushendall Beach


Cushendall Beach is a 15-minute drive from Glenariff and you’ll find it right in front of Cushendall Town where it stretches for around 250 metres along the coastline.

Cushendall is a handy little stop if you fancy a coffee or a bit of lunch.

It’s also a good base to use if you’re doing a 2-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary, as it makes a good half-way point.

13. Cushendun Caves and Beach

Cushendun Caves

Our next stop on the Antrim Coastal Route is Cushendun – a short 10-minute drive from Cushendall.

When you arrive, park up and head for a wander around the town. There are two main attractions here – the beach and the caves.

Cushendun Beach is a lovely sandy bay where you can wet your toes, if you fancy.

Cushendun Caves , which are one of several Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland , are reasonably easy to walk down to and are worth a look if you have the time.

14. Torr Head

torr head scenic route

Now, our next stop isn’t  really  a stop and it isn’t on the official Antrim Coast Road route.

The Torr Head Scenic Route is the ‘alternative route’ to Ballycastle and it clings to the coast, taking drivers along narrow roads and up steep hills high above the sea.

If you’re a nervous driver, or if you’re driving a large vehicle like a caravan or a mobile home, this route isn’t for you.

Aim for Torr Head, first – it’s a 20-minute spin from Cushendun. It’s about a 15-minute walk to the top and on a clear day you’ll see Scotland off in the distance.

Need to skip this one? If you scroll back to our Causeway Coastal Route map you’ll see that this is easily bypassed

15. Murlough Bay

Murlough Bay

When you’ve had your fill of Torr Head, hop back in the car and take the 20-minute drive to Murlough Bay .

Take the narrow track to the clifftop car park. From here, you can stop and stroll or you can take the track down to sea level and park and walk.

Now, as you could easily spend many hours at Murlough Bay, it’ll only suit those of you on a 2-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary.

It’s secluded, quiet and boasts an endless amount of raw coastal beauty.

16. Fair Head Cliffs

Fair Head Cliffs

The Fair Head Cliffs are 15 minutes from Murlough Bay and the rise an impressive 196km (643 feet) above the chill waters below.

There are several way-marked trails and they all kick-off from the car park. The longest is the 2.6 mile (4.2km) Perimeter Walk with Blue markers.

Many of these trails are close to the cliff edge so PLEASE take extreme care during windy weather or when visibility is poor.

17. Ballycastle


Ballycastle is one of the busier towns along the Northern Ireland Coastal Route.

While there’s plenty of things to do in Ballycastle , it’s a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat before you hit the final stretch of the road trip.

Ballycastle was once a Viking settlement and the original wall from their harbour can still be seen to this day.

18. Rathlin Island


Rathlin Island is another of the more overlooked attractions off the North Antrim Coast Road.

The reach the island, you can take a ferry from the harbour in Ballycastle. There are a good few crossings each day and the journey takes just 30 minutes.

When you reach the island, you can tackle one of the trails, explore by bike, visit the Seabird Centre or take a guided walk.

19. Kinbane Castle

Kinbane Castle

Kinbane Castle is one of the more uniquely located castles in Northern Ireland , a 5-minute drive from Ballycastle.

To say that the location of Kinbane Castle is dramatic and other-worldly would be doing it a fair aul injustice.

Built in 1547 on a small rock promontory called Kinbane Head which extends out into the sea, the scenery surrounding the castle is just breath-taking.

Isolated ruins, jagged cliffs and the powerful Atlantic Ocean combine to make this a place that’ll cement itself in your mind.

20. Carrick-a-Rede


Take the 10-minute spin from Kinbane and you’ll arrive at the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge . A ‘must’ for many Causeway Coastal Route itinerary guides.

For those afraid of heights, a quick heads up – the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge hangs 25 feet above the icy waters below.

The first rope bridge was erected between the mainland and Carrick-a-Rede Island way back in 1755, as the little island provided the perfect platform for local fishermen to cast their nets off into the Atlantic.

If you’re planning on crossing, fret not – the bridge in place today is made of sturdy wire.

21. Larrybane Quarry

Larrybane Quarry

Larrybane Quarry is right next to Carrick-a-rede and it’s one of several Antrim Coast Road attractions that was used during the filming of Game of Thrones.

It featured in season 2 in a scene where Catelyn Stark visit a camp to try and negotiate an alliance between King Stark and King Renly.

Apparently  (not confirmed) you can walk from the rope bridge down to the quarry. There’s also a big car park here, so you can easily spin down, too.

22. Ballintoy Harbour


Ballintoy Harbour is under 10 minutes from Larrybane and it’s another GoT filming location.

Now, if you’re visiting the Northern Ireland Coastal Route during summer, this place will likely be wedged and, as it has a tiny car park, it can be a bit chaotic.

The coast here has some unique features and it’s a fine spot for a gentle stroll if you’re looking to escape the car for a while.

The harbour is also popular with divers, as you can dive or snorkel from the beach, the rocky outcrops or from the ‘secret’ beach to the east. 

23. The Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges are one of the most overhyped attractions along the Causeway Coastal Route, in my opinion.

They shot to fame after appearing on Game of Thrones but 99.9% of photos that you see online aren’t accurate representations of how they look in real life.

They’re 20 minutes inland from the last stop, Ballintoy, but I’d recommend giving them a miss, unless you’re a big GoT fan.

There’s a car park a 2-minute walk from the Dark Hedges that you can pull into.

24. Whitepark Bay Beach

Whitepark Bay

Next up is Whitepark Bay Beach (a 15-minute spin from the Dark Hedges) – one of the best beaches in Ireland .

This beach sits between two headlands and it’s an impressive sight to take in from afar.

Whitepark is backed by sand dunes that are covered in wild flower during the mild summer months.

Flick off your socks and shoes and saunter along the sand. This is one of our favourite Northern Ireland Coastal Route beaches for good reason!

25. Dunseverick Castle

Dunseverick Castle

Another cliff-side ruin, Dunseverick Castle , is a 5-minute drive from Whitepark.

According to legend, Dunseverick was visited by the man himself, Saint Patrick, at some point during the 5th century.

It’s said that Ireland’s Patron Saint visited the castle in order to Baptise a local man who later went on to become the Bishop of Ireland.

If you fancy visiting Dunseverick Castle, park up in the little car park beside it and take the short ramble over to its ruins.

26. Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

Next on the list is a place where, according to legend , an Irish giant named Fionn MacCumhaill began his quest to defeat a cocky Scottish giant (it’s 10 minutes from the last stop).

An official Unesco World Heritage Site since 1986, the Giant’s Causeway was formed around 50 to 60 million years ago as a result of a volcanic eruption.

What emerged from the eruption led to the creation of a corner of the world so wonderfully unique that it has been nicknamed the 8th wonder of the world.

As you cast your eyes around you you’ll see some of the estimated 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that make up this natural masterpiece.

27. The Old Bushmills Distillery

Bushmills Distillery

Photos courtesy of Tourism Northern Ireland

The Old Bushmills Distillery is 10 minutes inland from the Giant’s Causeway.

The company that operates the Bushmills Distillery was formed in 1784 and it has been in constant operation since a fire in 1885 required the distillery to be rebuilt.

The distillery survived WW2 and changed hands several times before before bought by Diageo in 2005 for £200 million. They later traded it to Jose Cuervo, famous for tequila.

There’s an excellent tour here that lasts around 40 minutes and that offers an insight into the company’s past.

28. Dunluce Castle

The now-iconic ruins of  Dunluce Castle (8 minutes from Bushmills) are perched atop some craggy cliffs.

Like many castles in Ireland , Dunluce has a fine bit of legend attached to it. It’s said that on a stormy night back in 1639, part of the castle’s kitchen fell into the icy water below.

Apparently, only the kitchen boy survived, as he managed to tuck himself away in a corner of the room, which kept him safe.

You can take a tour of the castle or you can admire it from afar!

29. Portrush


Whiterocks Beach is located just off the Causeway Coastal Route in the busy town of Portrush (an 8-minute drive from Dunluce).

This is another handy stop-off point if you fancy a bite-to-eat and it also makes a good base to stay.

The stunning coastline here is dominated by limestone cliffs with hidden caves and bright turquoise waters.

30. Portstewart Strand

Portstewart Strand

It’s a 25-minute spin to one of the final stops along the Causeway Coastal Route – Portstewart Strand!

Arguably one of the best beaches in Northern Ireland, Portstewart Strand is the perfect spot for a long ramble without any inclines.

It’s also one of the few beaches that you can still drive onto.

31. Mussenden Temple

Mussenden Temple

Mussenden Temple is going to be the final coastal attraction on the Northern Ireland Coastal Route before you reach Derry City.

It’s an 8-minute drive from Portstewart and it looks like something from a Disney movie!

Located in the beautiful Downhill Demesne, Mussenden is perched dramatically on a 120-foot high cliff overlooking the sea and sand below.

It was constructed in 1785 and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.

32. Derry City

Peace Bridge

You’ve a 45-minute drive to the final stop on your Causeway Coastal Route itinerary – Derry.

As was the case with Belfast City, there are no end to the number of things to see and do in Derry City and out across the wider county.

If you hop into our guide to the best things to do in Derry , you’ll find over 20 things to do, from hikes and walks to tours and more.

And that is a wrap!

A 1 and 2-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary

We’ve prepared a tried-and-tested 1 and 2-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary for you below. Now, they both make the assumption that you’re beginning in Belfast.

If you don’t have access to a car, we’ve stuck some recommended Causeway Coastal Route tours from Belfast at the start of this guide.

If you only have 1 day

1 day causeway coast itinerary

Click to enlarge

So, the route above is the one that I have done most frequently over the years, both solo and with visiting tourists.

It’s straightforward and takes in all of the main stops, with the exception of the Bushmills Distillery.

If you have 2 days

2 day antrim coast itinerary

The 2-day Causeway Coastal Route itinerary requires you to stop halfway along the route for a night. There are a handful of good B&Bs or hotels in Cushendall to spend the night.

If you’re staying a second night in the area, Portrush is a great shout as it’s a lively little seaside town that’s home to plenty of pubs and places to eat. See our guide to the best  hotels in Portrush for suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Antrim Coast Road

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what is the best Causeway Coastal Route itinerary to where to find a Causeway Coastal Route map.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Where does the Causeway Coastal Route start and finish?

The Causeway Coastal Route starts in Belfast City and ends in Derry. It follows the coast road through the nine Glens of Antrim, peaking at the Giant’s Causeway before powering on through to its final destination.

How long does the Causeway Coastal Route take?

To drive the entire 185km/115-mile route, you’ll need 3-5 days to give yourself enough time to soak it all up. You can see a lot of it in 1 – 2 days (see our Causeway Coastal Route map above).

What are the best stops on the Antrim Coast road?

I’d argue that the Torr Head Scenic Route, Murlough Bay and the various beaches are the best stops (see our Causeway Coastal Route map above for all the stops).

places to visit between dublin and galway

Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 35 years and has spent most of the last 10 creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries . Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.

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Kath Schubach

Tuesday 26th of September 2023

Hi Keith Is it possible to do the Causeway coastal route from Derry to Belfast? We are planning a driving holiday and will be in Sligo before heading to Derry. We are looking to stay in Belfast for 2 nights.We are travelling in November this year. Thanks for your advice Kath

Keith O'Hara

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

Yep, starting the causeway coastal route from the Derry side is very doable, and you'll see some of the best beaches along the route at the Derry side!

Enjoy and safe spinning - Keith

Thursday 16th of February 2023

Thank you for all the information you have provided. We are hoping to possibly travel June or July, is the weather usually good for these months?

Holly Smith

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

This is by far the best travel guide I have found, and I have seen many! I am looking to do the tour this summer. We will be starting in Belfast (Traveling over from Liverpool). Do you have any tips on the way back journey, Derry to Belfast? We will be taking the ferry back from Belfast to Liverpool on the way home so need to do the trip back as well. Should we just follow the coastal route back or do across country?

Many thanks :)

Tuesday 13th of December 2022

We are planning to visit and drive the coast in 2 weeks in the Peak winter! How much of this route is bad weather friendly? Is a lot of it park and then walk to points or can some be accessed by car if really poor weather.

Planning to drive from Dublin to derry then drive the coast back to Belfast. Have 4 nights in total but want to spend a night or 2 in Belfast.

Then head to Dublin again to drop car and enjoy nye and few days in Dublin!

Great guide! Huge thanks

Alison Murphy

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Me & my partner plan to do as much of the causeway coast on motorbike with me as a passenger over 2 days with a 1 night stay maybe around the bush mill area. Is the Torr head scenic route ok for motorbikes ?

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Yep, but just be aware that it's a trecherous route when mist rolls in.

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100 Great Places to Stay in Ireland for 2023

From adults-only luxury to foodie havens to camping with the kids, ireland has it all. but with so much choice on offer, jennifer stevens, róisín healy and patrick hanlon are at hand to whittle down the options and help you find your perfect staycation.

The terrace at Parknasilla in Kerry

W hat are you looking for when you’re booking a break in Ireland? Presumably great accommodation, wonderful hosts, good food, stunning views and the ability to throw everything you need into the back of the car.

With no limits on luggage and the only delays caused by multiple coffee stops on the road, holidaying at home is the stress-free approach to getting away this summer.

The beauty of staying in Ireland is the variety of options available. Whether you’re looking for pure luxury, a quirky room with a view, a break with a culinary focus or an active family holiday for a bunch of sporty teens, there is something for everyone right here.

There is something very special about a break in Ireland and operators at all ends of the tourism scale here have spent the past few years elevating their offerings. Whether that’s to be more sustainable, to transform their menus or to bring world-class products to their spas, hotels, guesthouses and resorts in Ireland can compete on an international level.

Between them, Jennifer Stevens, Róisín Healy and Patrick Hanlon have been travelling the length and breadth of the country writing about travel, food and design for more than 20 years. Here they reveal their favourite places to book when holidaying in Ireland.


Campsites, boutique hotels, self-catering houses, castles, toddler-friendly pools, adult-only spa breaks, city stunners and fabulous food are covered in our ten-page special. All that’s left for you to do is book.

The stunning views from Breac House

Pick of the bunch

Bed down in a castle or escape to a stylish bolt hole — here’s our top ten spots for a few nights away.

1 Ashford Castle

The guest experience is unrivalled behind the walls of this 800-year-old castle, which marries historic charm and contemporary luxury. With an exceptional food offering, six restaurants to choose from and three atmospheric bars to lounge in, you will find yourself surrounded by stories, which the long-serving staff are only too happy to share. Once the home of the Guinness family, the hotel has benefited from no-expense-spared renovations. The spa is a must, offering premium, cutting-edge treatments, and it’s worth it for the relaxation room alone, with its pool, regal lounge chairs and intricate wall mural by the ceramic artist Jane du Rand. Cong, Co Mayo

2 Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway

Stylish, tranquil and sustainable, Drumhierny opened in 2022 and instantly captured the mood of travel post-lockdown. The cabins are A-rated, contemporary and minimalist in style, luxurious enough to coax any fan of the finer things to embrace a rural getaway. Double-height windows flood each space with light, the forest views alleviating any sense of cabin fever. To really switch off, the outdoor wellbeing sanctuary is a pretty space where you can sink into a seaweed bath or hot tub in the open air. This intimate oasis is hidden behind what was the original walled garden of the estate, with the oak tree canopy providing shelter and privacy. Drumhierny, Leitrim Village, Co Leitrim

3 Carton House

Carton House reopened in 2021 after an extensive refurbishment, transforming the 300-year-old manor house into the epitome of luxury. It’s the first and only hotel on the island managed by the luxury Fairmont brand, alongside iconic destinations such as the Plaza in New York and the Savoy in London. The scene is set for atmospheric fine dining and decadent afternoon tea in the Morrison room and Gold salon, with its opulent gilded walls, but insiders know to book a table at Kathleen’s Kitchen. The old servants’ kitchen has been reimagined into a contemporary dining room, with an enticing menu of plates to be shared and savoured, celebrating Irish provenance in an unfussy way. Carton Demesne, Maynooth, Co Kildare

4 Ballynahinch Castle

Secreted away in the depths of Connemara, there is a magic to Ballynahinch, a combination of the majestic landscape, the fascinating history of the property and the instantly relaxing atmosphere. It’s the perfect playground for anglers and hillwalkers — that’s if you can tear yourself away from the bliss of the bedrooms, where the views of the Owenmore River are hypnotically beautiful. The breakfast at Ballynahinch is one of the best in Ireland, not least because the centrepiece of the buffet is a full roast ham that guests can help themselves to. Yet another reason to visit? Its chef, Danni Barry, took up residence in late 2022, transforming the dining experience. Recess, Connemara, Co Galway

5 Breac House

To call this stylish bolt hole on the Donegal coast a bed and breakfast belies the style and atmosphere of this modern hideaway. Breakfast in bed is the standard, with a tray of local produce delivered silently each morning via a specially designed hatch. The garden is home to a rustic wood-fired sauna built for two. With an exemplary reverence for nature and a sense of place, the materials and items to hand throughout — from the plates and bowls to towels for the sauna — celebrate the best local Irish makers. Horn Head, Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal

6 Cashel Palace

Cashel Palace, a Relais & Chateaux property, turned heads when it opened last year. This renovated Palladian pile is enticing global travellers to deepest Tipperary with the promise of high-end hospitality and unparalleled grandeur. With one of Ireland’s best hotel restaurants, the Bishop’s Buttery, an exquisite spa offering luxury Bamford, Voya and Valmont treatments, and an intriguing art collection, guests have little need to venture beyond the estate walls. Even when you’re in the mood for a quiet pint, why would you go anywhere other than the Guinness bar, named for a one-time resident, Archbishop Arthur Price, the godfather of Arthur Guinness. Cashel, Co Tipperary

One of Ireland’s most exclusive places to stay, Ballyfin is an epic Regency property that boasts unabashed decadence and a classic sense of luxury. Eschewing the contemporary, the nine-year restoration of the property preserved the unique details, such as the intricate marquetry floors of the salon. With a small number of guests compared to other Irish hotels of this calibre and style, you’ll feel like you have its majesty all to yourself. Ballyfin, Co Laois

8 Dromquinna Manor

Your kingdom for a night, Dromquinna Manor is set on Kenmare Bay amid rolling 46-acre parkland along the stunning Ring of Kerry. The last word in luxury glamping, its lavish Indian tents boast verandas, decking and luxe-hotel touches. Also bookable are rooms in the 1890s manor house, the mews-like Potting Sheds and the self-catering Bolthole house, sleeping six. The Boathouse Bistro, led by the executive chef Mark Johnston, serves Wednesday to Sunday, midday until 9pm, with signature dishes such as the “famous” potted crab with pickled capers and crispy Baja fish tacos. Sneem Road, Kenmare, Co Kerry

9 Parknasilla Resort & Spa

Mention Kenmare and the image that springs to mind, postcard-perfect views of the mountains and sea, is instantly calming. Parknasilla offers the perfect vantage point over the bay, whether you’re relaxing on the balcony of your suite or soaking it all in from the seawater vitality pool or outdoor hot-tub deck. The hotel curates experiences for guests, such as sea kayaking or boat trips, but it’s blissful to explore the estate by foot, with mapped walking trails along the coastline. In the evenings, sit with a drink as you listen to the Doolittle bar’s resident pianist, before enjoying classic Irish fare in the Pygmalion restaurant. Sneem, Co Kerry

10 Kelly’s Resort & Spa

A stalwart of the Irish hospitality landscape, Kelly’s has a beautiful setting on the Wexford coast, and is a destination in its own right for its excellent spa and family-friendly reputation. This four-star hotel offers self-catering options too, and a daily programme of activities to suit all ages and activity levels. Taking its inspiration from its location, SeaSpa offers groundbreaking thalassotherapy, making the most of healing sea water and seaweed baths, and Espa treatments to make tension float away. Rosslare, Co Wexford

Mount Juliet Estate offers top-quality dining

Ten gourmet getaways to dine out on

From perfect pubs to grand estates, these are the places where working up an appetite will pay off.

Ballyvolane House

Holy cow! Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin put Ballyvolane House on the map for a whole new generation, with its complex botanical mix and weighty mouthfeel due to its whey base, inspired by — and named for — the world’s oldest cow. A visit to the on-site distillery is a must, as is dining like royalty (as King Charles III and Queen Camilla did in 2018) in the Manor House’s majestic, antique-dappled dining room with seasonal dishes from Sarah English. The family-run operation glides on air under Jenny and Justin Green’s tutelage, plus four-legged friends are welcome — see @dogs_ballyvolanehouse on Instagram. Four-course set dinner, 8pm nightly. Castlelyons, Fermoy, Co Cork

Wild Honey Inn

What makes a perfect Irish pub? A cosy, relaxed atmosphere and a warm welcome? Great pints with music and craic in abundance? Where might food factor in? In Lisdoonvarna, Kate and Aidan McGrath have reinvented the concept of the Irish pub as a modern dining destination. Having meticulously revived the 19th-century building in contemporary country chic, here the fine dining menu is devoutly unfussy and classic with razor-sharp vision. Having held a Michelin star since 2017, Aidan’s seasonal dishes celebrate Ireland’s natural larder while embracing the wilderness of land and sea. This is an unrivalled dining destination and Ireland’s premier dining pub. Kincora Road, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare

Dunmore House

Pedigree is important, and with the fourth generation of Barretts now at the helm, Dunmore House Hotel continues to enrich the guest experience as it elegantly evolves through the decades. What first began as a coastal family home in the 1930s is today a bustling cliffside escape with unbeatable views over Clonakilty Bay. Being of west Cork means some of the finest produce is within arm’s reach, not least a glorious bounty of organic ingredients from the ocean garden steps away, and showcased from breakfast to dinner on the plates of the destination restaurant Adrift. In summer, the sea terrace takes centre stage. Clonakilty, Co Cork

Ballymaloe House

The bucolic country retreat that needs no introduction. The late Myrtle Allen single-handedly made Ballymaloe the first word in Irish fine dining when she flung open the doors of her family home to guests 60 years ago. Undoubtedly her legacy lives on, but new names worth knowing continue to germinate those seeds: head chef Dervilla O’Flynn, pastry chef JR Ryall, head sommelier Samuel Chantoiseau and Myrtle’s daughter, Fern Allen, leading the ship. Dishes are unashamedly classic and elegantly ageless, like vintage couture. On Friday evenings starters are scrapped for a gargantuan table of hors d’oeuvres. Shanagarry, Co Cork

Station House Hotel

There’s a Boyne Valley welcome in person and on the plate in this family-run boutique gem. Soon to celebrate 40 years service, the Signal Restaurant is famed for its Boyne Valley dinners showcasing Wooded Pig charcuterie, Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese and produce from nearby Swainstown Farm. A former train junction dating back to 1862, the Station House promises an eclectic and historic stay in 12 acres of woodland. Choose between staying in a converted signal house, the grand Station Master’s suite or one of the cosy Carriage House cabins. Kilmessan, Co Meath

The excellent food at the Wild Honey Inn enhances its reputation as the perfect Irish pub

Mount Juliet Estate

In life, balance is an ultimate ambition, and Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny has unlocked equilibrium in its tale of two residences. One, a 260-year-old, 32-bedroom Georgian manor with its fine dining restaurant and River Nore views. The other, Hunter’s Yard, a cosy courtyard retreat of 93 rooms decked out in modern luxuries with the more casual Hound restaurant. That’s all before even mentioning the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. Mount Juliet does double duty fabulously. Lady Helen needs little introduction, holding a Michelin star for a decade under the watch of its executive chef, John Kelly. Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

Castlewood House

Dingle draws visitors like few other destination towns in Ireland with its incredible pubs, great seafood, a leading food festival and a real sense of close-knit community — and it’s even worth summiting the Connor Pass through a foggy storm to get there. Among the hotels and holiday homes sits charming Castlewood House, a four-star boutique guesthouse five minutes’ walk from town, run by Brian and Helen Heaton. The Heatons are not only welcoming but founts of information for Dingle peninsula explorers. The lavish breakfast is well-remarked as among the best in the land. The Wood, Dingle, Co Kerry

Ballinsheen House & Gardens

This bijou Burren bolt hole is worth basing an entire itinerary around. Michael and Mary Gardiner’s home and garden is picture-perfect and offers the most abundant breakfast. Slip into the light-soaked conservatory and drink in the view of the immaculately manicured gardens as you peruse the expansive, hand-written menu, which reads like love letter to local producers offering everything to order, from omelettes and brioche French toast to bagels loaded with St Tola goat’s cheese and Burren Smokehouse salmon. The country kitchen works overtime, producing breads, muffins, scones, cakes, granola and stewed seasonal fruits daily. Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare

The Mustard Seed

Surrounded by sleepy countryside, pretty, traditionally styled bedrooms, and the loveliest welcome, the Mustard Seed is the kind of place that amasses return customers with ease. This special hideaway holds the promise of peace and creature comforts, and long conversations over tea, the ideal weekend getaway. The head chef Angel Pirev’s refinement and flair in the kitchen assures that dinner here is the definition of relaxed luxury, with comforting, well-presented food in a beautiful country house setting. Ballingarry, Co Limerick

Blackrock House

Just three petite rooms appoint Nicola Neill’s renovated townhouse perched on the breathtaking Causeway Coast. Styled in coastal elegance with ample light, glass and plush nooks to relax in, it’s like Malibu, Co Antrim. Multi-award-winning and the first five-star B&B of its kind in the area, it’s Neill’s outstanding breakfast that’s the big draw.

Think locally smoked trout with homemade Guinness treacle wheaten bread and soft, slow-cooked Glenballyeamon scrambled eggs, the full Ulster fry cooked to perfection or go continental with local charcuterie, cheeses and chutneys. Dhu Varren, Portrush, Co Antrim

The K Club in Kildare is famous as a golf venue, but off the course there is luxury at every turn

For the last word in luxury

From the centre of Dublin to the wilds of Co Kerry, here are ten super-stylish stays.

The Merrion Hotel

A stunning restoration of four Georgian townhouses, the Merrion offers unrivalled historic detailing and a deep sense of luxury in Dublin’s city centre. Like stepping back in time, every detail reflects quality, complemented by the incredible private collection of 19th and 20th-century art, also by Paul Kelly’s beguilingly beautiful Art Afternoon Tea. Service is sublime and the spa is one of the finest you’ll find as centrally in the city. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, set alongside, offers a once-in-a-lifetime meal, having held a Michelin star for 35 years and two since 1996. Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2

The Westbury Hotel

Offering a slice of the city steps from Grafton Street, the Westbury sits at the centre of Dublin’s social and cultural riches. The best martini in the city is found at the art deco-styled the Sidecar while dining offers considered levels: casual, Parisian bistro fare at Balfes Bar & Brasserie, finer climes at the signature restaurant Wilde and a cosy afternoon tea in the Gallery. The best of Irish design is championed in the luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites — including brand new terrace suites with fully furnished, heated private terraces offering eagle-eye views over the city. Balfe Street, Dublin 2

Sheen Falls Lodge

The ultimate in luxury escapism, this 17th-century fishing lodge set deep in the wilds of Kerry is the epitome of five-star heaven. Set between river and mountains, overlooking the Sheen and Kenmare Bay on a sprawling 300-acre estate, the chic, cosy rooms and suites all boast views, while the thatched-roofed self-catering cottages and villas are like a vision from a fairytale. There’s a deep connection between nature, history and heritage here, with no shortage of outdoor exploits from falconry, archery, kayaking and horse riding to fishing trips, guided walks and horse and carriage rides. This is arguably Ireland’s most luxurious lodge. Kenmare, Co Kerry

Dromoland Castle

Positioning itself as “Ireland’s most magical address”, the ancestral home of the O’Briens of Dromoland has been welcoming guests since the 16th century. Leaning into the grandeur, the decor is lavish, the dining is decadent and the views are spectacular across the 450-acre estate. What more could you expect from a historic castle? Take hawk walks with the falconers, stroll or cycle the grounds, tee-off on the world-class golf course and academy, shop the Charlotte & Co boutique of keenly curated Irish designers on-site plus take a serene trip to the soon-launching lavish overhaul of the spa. Newmarket on Fergus, Co Clare

Nestled in 43 acres of woodland overlooked by the Blue Stacks and on the shores of Lough Eske, Lough Eske’s lineage is centuries older than the 15 years it has been in business. The 15th-century castle was almost entirely lost to a fire in 1939, but 60 years later, following a €40 million investment, it was stunningly restored in five-star style. A skip outside Donegal town, this is a peaceful escape that prompts guests to pamper themselves at the award-winning Cara Organic Beauty Spa and savour their stay at the two-AA rosette Cedars restaurant where the menu demonstrates classical French finesse with Irish ingredients. Lough Eske, Co Donegal

Anantara the Marker

Whether you go for a five-element aroma facial on check-in, sundowners on the roof terrace or a pre-theatre bite at the Brasserie before catching a show at the nearby Bord Gais Energy Theatre, in terms of city hotel experiences the Marker has it sewn up. “Where the unconventional meets the exceptional,” they say, and this property is perfectly placed in the rejuvenated Docklands area around Canal Square. Executive chef Gareth Mullins’s menus across the Brasserie, Marker Bar and the Rooftop Terrace help to seal its destination status. Designer rooms with high-tech amenities and floor-to-ceiling canalside views reflect the modern vibe of Silicon Docks. Grand Canal Quay, Docklands, Dublin

Adare Manor

Would “spellbinding” be an understatement? Perhaps applied to anywhere in the land except Adare Manor. The endlessly award-winning property in the postcard-perfect town of Adare really needs little introduction. Like Balmoral outside, Hogwarts inside, and lavishly decked out to rival Versailles, it’s an inescapable icon in five-star luxury in Ireland. As imposing and grand an estate as it is, it reveals itself gently in those quiet moments. The warm familiarity, the thoughtful suggestions, the endless detailing. Sure, it’s eye-wateringly expensive and for this it makes no apologies, but it remains a once-in-a-lifetime fairytale stay for most. Adare, Co Limerick

With a reputation for golfing excellence, you’d be forgiven for thinking the K Club was just another golf resort sitting on 500-plus acres. For those whose idea of R&R is being active, here — aside from teeing off — there’s no shortage of activities, from the serene solitude of fishing on the Liffey to the thrill of horse riding through the Kildare plains. Stroll the K-trail riverside walks or take to two wheels on Segway tours. Other experiences include falconry, clay pigeon shooting and archery. For foodies, you’re spoilt for choice with seven different food and drinks spaces, wine cellar tours and whiskey tastings. Straffan, Co Kildare

The Park Kenmare

Could there be a hotelier duo more recognisable than the Brennan brothers? Their TV turns may zone in on nitty-gritty areas of improvement in other hospitality businesses but they’re not afraid to point that same finger at themselves. In the early days of the pandemic they unveiled a refresh five years in the making with a bolder, art deco design that harks back to the turn-of-the-century origins of the hotel. Keeping the style country with a cosmopolitan, contemporary edge, the same old-school, on-point hospitality remains, as ever, at your service. Kenmare, Co Kerry

Castlemartyr Resort

This five star haven in East Cork just keeps outdoing itself. With an exquisite spa, beautiful rooms, and the jewel in the crown, the Michelin star Terre restaurant, Castlemartyr is somewhere that never disappoints. The beautifully maintained manor house is the heart of the hotel, yet the hotel still feels contemporary, offering an exquisite spa experience and excellent food at each of the restaurants. Castlemartyr Resort, Cork

Caoimhin Brosnan, the friendly gardener at Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel and Spa, will inform and entertain the kids

Kids included

There’s fun for all the family while letting parents still feel like grown-ups.

Center Parcs

Where should you start in Center Parcs? In the pool with its variety of slides and tunnels and wavy bits? On a motorised boat in the central lake? On a zip line? On a tiny off-road explorer? Swinging from tree to tree? People were incredulous that this famous resort was coming to a forest in Co Longford but there’s so much to do here that you can be kept busy from morning to night. The lodges mean that parents of small children can relax in the living room after bed time and it’s also the ideal place to go with bigger groups, many hands make lighter work. Longford Forest, Co Longford

Dunloe Hotel and Gardens

A great family hotel is one where the team knows that happy kids mean happy parents (and returning customers). There’s certainly lots to keep children happy here including a club for little ones aged three and up, an outdoor adventure playground, 64 acres of gardens and castle ruins to explore. There are fairy trails, meet-the-chef events for future culinary stars and more adventurous families can avail themselves of organised kayak trips along the River Luane. This, however, is not a hotel that has skimped on design and style because it caters to the smaller guest. The interiors here are classically elegant and it has all the amenities of a five-star hotel. Beaufort, Killarney

Delphi Resort

A selection of different types of accommodation at different price points, kids clubs to keep both younger and older children entertained, a really beautiful spa, an incredibly scenic restaurant and the perfect location for exploring Connemara make Delphi one of the best family resorts in Ireland. There are countless activities here including kayaking, surfing, archery, bog obstacles and orienteering. This is the perfect break for families that thrive on adventure and love to give it their all before retiring to a gorgeous hotel room for a solid night’s rest. Tawnyinlough, Leenaun, Co Galway

Fota Island Resort

If you asked a child what their ideal holiday would be, a hotel beside a zoo would definitely be near the top of the list. Fota Island Resort is one of those great family destinations. It has a five-star hotel and self-catering lodges on site and lots of excellent facilities for families — a wonderful pool, a playground, kids’ clubs (during school holidays), babysitting services and restaurants that will keep both adults and children happy. The wildlife park is undoubtedly a huge attraction for families but so too is its location that affords easy access to a whole range of day trips. Fota Island, Cork

Fitzwilliam Hotel

There’s something really lovely about bringing your children on a mini-break to Dublin. We often forget what a fun city our capital can be for kids, and the Fitzwilliam Hotel on St Stephen’s Green is a great base for exploration. A five-star hotel that’s family friendly, the Fitzwilliam has different types of rooms to suit your family’s needs and it includes children in everything. Perfectly situated to visit the Dead Zoo, the Little Museum of Dublin and the two most popular attractions for children — the Lego Store and the Disney Store — the hotel is within walking distance of all the city’s hotspots. St Stephen’s Green, Dublin

At the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny some of the residents have been about for millions of years

Killary Lodge

Sometimes only self-catering will do and Killary Lodge, just 150m from the waters of Killary fjord, is a truly stunning option in the heart of Connemara. The house sleeps 36 people across ten bedrooms and is the perfect place for a large group of friends or a big family get-together. The house is big but that doesn’t mean that they’ve compromised on style and it’s a beautiful place to really get away from it all. The bedrooms have adjustable configurations that make them ideal for families and some have bunk bed pods that will be a big hit with both little and big kids. There are excellent cooking facilities here and a utility room with a washer and dryer — essential for family breaks. The Lodge is located on the estate of Killary Adventure Company, which offers more than 20 adventure activities, and a water taxi that can drop off or pick up from local walking trails. All activities are available to book seven days a week. Leenane, Co Galway

Hodson Bay Hotel

One visit to the Hodson Bay Hotel and your children will be begging to go back year after year. There’s so much to do here to entertain every member of the family. There are 140 acres of meadows and woodlands right on the hotel’s doorstep and guests can enjoy forest walks, fairy trails and peaceful strolls with views over Lough Ree. Beyond the hotel property is a whole host of fun activities including Viking Mike boat tours, Glendeer pet farm, Lough Key Forest Park and the legendary Bay Sports. There’s a variety of dining options within the hotel to suit most tastes and age ranges and if you’re not tired enough already there’s a great pool and leisure centre. Roscommon Road, Athlone

The Regency Belfast

Belfast is buzzing and is a great place for a family break. Combining the luxury of a five-star hotel with the convenience of a self-catering property is the Regency. Impeccably designed, there are five, fully serviced one and two-bedroom apartments nestled on south Belfast’s Upper Crescent in the heart of the city’s Queen’s Quarter. Staff are available 24/7 and can provide cots and baby monitors on request. There is a full kitchen in each residence, which makes preparing children’s meals and bottles a breeze, and there are complimentary drinks downstairs each evening between 4pm and 7pm so parents can still feel like adults. 11&12 Upper Crescent Belfast theregency

Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel and Spa

Ask any family with young children where they recommend you go for a holiday in Ireland and you’ll definitely hear Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel and Spa in Adare mentioned. More than 40 years old, Woodlands began life as a B&B to supplement farming income and retains the feel of a small Irish hotel to this day. There is lots to do close by for families but it is the hotel itself that people come back to time after time. They really make children feel like special guests here and the hugely popular Woody’s kids’ club is a favourite of little ones and parents alike. There’s a playing field, a mini pet farm, an organic garden where you can chat to Caoimhin the friendly gardener, a fairy trail, a toddler pool and a 20m swimming pool. Timmy Macs Bistro has little ones in mind too and has a special menu that will delight even the tiniest (and fussiest) eaters. Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel and Spa Adare, Limerick

Newpark Hotel

Did you know that there’s a hotel in Kilkenny with its own dinosaur theme park? Well there is and it’s great. The Newpark in Kilkenny is an excellent hotel with a very good spa but its real draw for families has to be the collection of giant robotic dinosaurs. You’ll hear the roar of the tyrannosaurus, be terrified by the velociraptor and wrangle the ride-on baby T. rex . Alongside the prehistoric creatures are lots of lovely llamas, emus and more. The Newpark is also known for its excellent food, its wonderful pool and its proximity to the Marble City and all there is to see there. Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny

Cahernane House is in a quiet corner of the Killarney National Park and is a perfect blend of old and new, with fine dining in a tranquil setting

Beautiful boutique bolt holes

You don’t have to venture far off the beaten track to indulge in a little slice of luxury.

Cahernane House

Perched in a private corner of Killarney National Park, it’s not the busy N71 you’ll wake up to but gentle birdsong and lambs bleating. The approach under a canopy of greenery offers a picturesque welcome, while inside it’s a case of “something old, something new” in harmony: antique objects, original features and old-world charm in the Manor House, and bold wallpaper, quirky stylings, air con and freestanding baths in the newly converted coach house rooms. Having upped their gourmet credentials recently, you’re spoilt for choice with fine dining at Herbert’s, casual bites and drinks at the Cellar Bar and afternoon tea in the drawing room. Muckross Rd, Cahernane, Co Kerry

Bellinter House Hotel & Spa

A favourite for big days in the Boyne Valley, Bellinter House is a handsome Georgian mansion dating to the mid-18th century. Minutes from the M3, the hotel leans into its charm as a countryside retreat, complete with spa and its Boyne Valley menu at Preston’s Restaurant. Individually styled rooms have bold fabrics and pops of colour but also retain original features such as parquet floors. Situated in the heart of the ruins is the Bathhouse Spa, so-called for the seaweed baths, its signature treatment. A wide range of treatments are available and Voya products are used as standard. Ballinter, Navan, Co Meath

Supreme levels of chill are unlocked at Ballina’s Ice House where an escape is refreshingly out of the ordinary. The very definition of “check in to check out”, the recently re-imagined Chill Spa now offers five treatment rooms alongside an outdoor thermal area, a “Wellness Room” and additional couples’ treatments. Find everything from a hot tub and a barrel sauna to a eucalyptus steam room and cedar seaweed baths. Set by the Moy with spectacular riverside and woodland views throughout, the property confidently weaves design detail between Heritage and Riverside suites. The light-filled 54º 9º restaurant offers the Wild Atlantic Way on a plate. Quignalecka, Ballina, Co Mayo

Montenotte Hotel

Discerning guests can be difficult for larger hotels as a conundrum can crop up. Somewhere central, but away from the bustle. Fresh and modern but with characterful touches of heritage. Bold, eye-catching design but lofty, serene spaces. Relaxing spa break but all the trappings of a gourmet getaway. How do you please one and all? Cork’s recently revamped Montenotte Hotel does a clean sweep of that checklist, plus add in a rooftop cocktail bar and terrace with panoramic views over Cork city, boutique Bellevue Spa and even a luxury in-house Cameo cinema. Tick, tick, tick. Middle Glanmire Road, Montenotte, Cork

Harrison Chambers of Distinction

Designed with the intrepid traveller in mind, these 16 curious bedchambers date back to 1879 and have hosted “scoundrels and scholars” ever since. Set where the University Quarter meets the most affluent corners of south Belfast, it’s on the doorstep of some of the best bars, restaurants and live venues in the city. Eclectically styled with no two rooms the same, each chamber has its own personality. One might have a freestanding bath tub, lavish velvet curtains and chandeliers, another might boast an emperor-sized bed, huge bay windows and a balcony. Follow where your compass points. 45 Malone Road, Belfast

Giles Norman Townhouse

An extension of Ireland’s leading landscape photographer’s gallery, the Giles Norman Townhouse is where art springs to life. Opened in 2017 and adjoining the studio and gallery, Giles and his wife, Catherine, have created a modern, relaxing and contemporary townhouse in Kinsale. Each room’s style reflects the curation of Giles’ work from his many portfolios, all clean lines, lush textures and muted tones with a real eye for quality and detail. The Studio is the star suite, set in the spacious loft and boasting stunning Kinsale harbour views, rich fabrics and a freestanding bath. Don’t miss a booking for nearby Bastion or Saint Francis Provisions. Kinsale, Co Cork

The Twelve Hotel

Barna’s boutique residence the Twelve is deceptive. Blink and you might miss the stone façade of the hotel on a corner of Barna Road but inside you’ve stumbled upon treasure. The art is bold and expressive, the cocktail bar sleek and the fine-dining restaurant West, led by Nathan Hindmarsh, is a delicious wonder. Rooms have slight glitz with a modern edge and the enthusiastic, energetic team are welcoming to all, be their guests two or four-legged. Fergus O’Halloran, as both general manager and sommelier, has crafted one of the finest wine lists in all the land, which is a treat to delve into. Barna, Co Galway

Marlfield House

A tranquil oasis in Co Wexford, Marlfield House comprises 40 acres of woodland with ornamental lake and manicured rose gardens. Inside, find a treasure of period paintings and gleaming antiques. Daily menus showcase local Kilmore Quay fish and Wexford beef as well as many of the fresh fruit and vegetables harvested daily from the kitchen garden. Enjoy fine dining at the Conservatory, or for something more casual and relaxed opt for the Duck Terrace. The Sunday lunch is particularly intriguing. Dog-friendly, there are cats, dogs, ducks and ponies on-site, plus spot the resident peacock, George, too. Raheenagurren, Gorey, Co Wexford

Gregans Castle Hotel

What better location to feel rooted to the spot and immersed in the landscape than the Burren? In this 18th-century manor, pride of place is paramount with the Burren’s natural habitat and local history celebrated in all the details. Find considered touches throughout, such as no TVs and rooms individually decorated by its owners, Simon Haden and Frederieke McMurray. Robbie McCauley, the head chef, mixes cutting-edge and classic on a tasting menu that showcases the Burren’s bountiful produce. While here, take a three-hour guided walk with Shane Connolly, a local expert and neighbour. Gragan East, Co Clare

If the definition of spectacular is “beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way”, Liss Ard Estate fits the bill. Where else but west Cork? Of course. Fresh from a restorative, extensive year-long renovation, all 26 guest rooms — from the Manor to the adjacent Mews and Victorian Lake House — have been transformed in the mid-19th-century country manor. Surrounded by a massive 163 acres of nature, this includes a 40-acre private lake and the breathtaking Irish Sky Garden, an immersive art piece by the renowned James Turrell. With an added spa and the celebrated Garden fine-dining experience, Liss Ard continues to delight. Russagh, Skibbereen, Co Cork

Rock Farm Slane has a variety of eco-glamping options

Gather a group

Weekend breaks where there’s no excuse not to include friends and family.

Dunowen House

Ten years ago Stephen and Kela Hodgins left Dublin with their young children to restore and revive this fine late-18th-century country house located a whisper beyond Clonakilty. It’s a laid-back luxury hideaway with six opulent and richly styled en suite bedrooms (all with distinct individualism) and an adjoining orchard cottage within the walled garden, which combined can sleep up to 20 or so. It doesn’t shy away from its rock’n’roll heritage, celebrating the former owner Noel Redding (bass guitarist with the Jimi Hendrix Experience) in little musical nods throughout. It is self-catering as standard, but any stay is made richer by booking Kela’s incredible private catering. Ardfield, west Cork

Fiddle + Bow

What’s that sound? Follow the music to Doolin and rest your head at Fiddle + Bow, a distinctive and rich collection comprising a 12-bedroom hotel with a separate private loft and a range of cottages and lodges, named for the live music reputation of the coastal town. It opened in 2019, and groups as large as 50 could easily gather for a getaway. In terms of dining options, Russells Fish Bar — named after a famed local musical family — is well worth booking into for its sleek Scandi stylings and pretty dishes appointed with the catch of the day. Teergonean, Doolin, Co Clare

Queenies Lodge

Located near the picturesque village of Windgap, this lovingly restored old stone and red-brick barn, which dates back to the 1800s, sleeps six. Inside, a light, modern design with cutting-edge finishes has local hands across everything, from the cedar wood to the stonemasonry and the metalwork for the Crittall doors and windows in the arches. In warmer weather a private garden and patio comes into its own, complete with a barbecue and a pizza oven. There’s even a games room in an outbuilding and a wellness room with an infrared sauna. Don’t miss the private woodland walk — the beauty of the landscape is a main attraction here. Windgap, Co Kilkenny

Coopershill House is a stylish base in a rural setting for adventure- seekers looking to explore the wider Sligo area

Coopershill House

A mile-long avenue crossing the River Unshin leads you to this immaculately kept 18th-century Irish country mansion, home of the O’Hara family for 250 years. There’s wildlife aplenty on the 500-acre estate, so keep your eyes peeled for wild deer and otters. This rural idyll is also the perfect base for groups of adventure-seekers to explore the landscape of Co Sligo, where activities include kayaking to the island of Inishfree and climbing Benbulbin. The menu is big on estate produce with local suppliers featured too. Private hire is available for groups of up to 16 (across seven guestrooms) for a minimum two-night B&B stay. Riverstown, Co Sligo

Rock Farm Slane

Alex and Carina Conyngham of Slane Castle took a chance on an expanse of farmland more than a decade ago and turned it into a thriving ecotourism business. The idea is simple: “back-to-nature” experiences connecting people with the land in a non-intrusive way. On a vast permaculture farm committed to sustainability and closing the loop, guests will find luxury eco-glamping (yurts, bell tents, shepherd huts) set in a woodland glade as well as a double-occupancy Swallow’s Nest cabin and a six-bedroom Lime House ecolodge. Even if you didn’t secure tickets to Harry Styles, a trip to Slane is always worthwhile. Slane, Co Meath

Dolphin Beach House

Breathe in the sea air, stroll on a secluded beach, swim in the nearby cove and drink in the majesty of Connemara. At this pair of properties on Sky Road, ten minutes outside Clifden, groups of up to 18 people can enjoy luxury coastal styling and panoramic ocean views. Six en suite guestrooms sleep 12 and the lodge accommodates another six in three en suite guestrooms, all set in 14 acres of natural landscape. Don’t miss a table at the Sea Hare in Clifden. Sky Road, Clifden, Co Galway

Kilbaha Cottage

Steps from the Atlantic Ocean, with panoramic views, this peaceful cliffside retreat on Loop Head near the village of Kilbaha is resplendently remote. Online reviews are full of praise: “spectacular, incredible, beautiful, brilliant, exceptional”. Extensively renovated to take full advantage of the views while retaining heritage details, the styling is simple, tasteful and homely and the property sleeps six. When the weather isn’t co-operating, cosy up near the big wood-burning stove. Meanwhile the well-equipped kitchen is primed for seafood feasts. Kilbaha, Loop Head, Co Clare

Classic Links Cottages, Trump Doonbeg

Surely one of Ireland’s most scenic five-star resorts, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel also offers a neat collection of luxuriously appointed one, two, three and four-bedroom self-catering cottages, varying in size from 102 sq m to 260 sq m. Ideal for groups of golfers, families and special occasion getaways alike, each cottage is finished in almost presidential levels of quality, with French limestone, marble lining and rich fabrics. The kitchens are a particular stand-out. Doonbeg, Co Clare

Bishopstown House

A three-storey Georgian manor with a quirky and eclectic history, the little black book of US presidents, pop royalty and champion athletes who have escaped for a lavish stay at Bishopstown House makes for interesting reading. In a 465 sq m estate, the modestly styled, spacious property sleeps up to 30 and boasts two generous reception rooms, a huge round table for fabulous self-catered dinner parties, a private bar and a games room, and mixes unique art with eco-friendly features. Rosemount, Co Westmeath

Killyhevlin Lakeside & Woodland Lodges

Fourteen larch wood log-panelled Lakeside Lodges line the banks of Lough Erne adjacent to the Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel. Each one offers a unique self-catering opportunity to immerse in the Fermanagh lakelands, and together the lodges can cater for groups of up to 56 guests. Each two-bedroom open-plan lodge, finished to high standards, overlooks the lough with a private furnished deck. As it has jetty facilities, it’s an ideal and comfortable option for both boating and angling self-catering short breaks. Within a short stroll of the lodges are the three Killyhevlin dining options: fine dining at Kove, casual at Lakeside Grill and an afternoon tea service. Killyhevlin, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

Repurposed wood seating at Wren Urban Nest’s restaurant

Sustainable havens

Jo Linehan’s guide to eco-conscious hotels that still feel luxe.

There are loads of self-proclaimed “sustainable” hotels that could be included in this list, but if you’re going to use that term, you really need to be making serious strides in terms of carbon reduction, eliminating single-use toiletries and having internationally respected certifications, among other things. These five all have the legitimate credentials to truly be called sustainable.

Wren Urban Nest

As Ireland’s first net-carbon hotel, Wren Urban Nest has low-impact values at its core. The 137-room, nine-floor hotel uses the most advanced sustainable technologies to energy share across the property, eliminating the need for fossil fuels without purchasing carbon offsets. For those less tech-inclined, there are plenty of other eco-conscious features, from the zero-waste kitchen to the reception and restaurant decorated with repurposed wood. Sample a glass from its organic wine list or try its Bee Kind cocktail made with the hotel’s signature honey in collaboration with OpenHive beekeepers. St Andrew’s Lane, Dublin 2

Slow Cabins

Off-grid escapes are becoming a popular antidote to our technology-flooded lives. Cue Slow Cabins, a wi-fi and civilisation-free escape somewhere in the west of Ireland. Explicitly designed to help guests disconnect from their phones and reconnect with nature, the precise location of the self-sufficient cabin isn’t revealed until days before the trip. What it lacks in modern amenities, it makes up for in little treats. Luxe eco linen, a queen-sized bed, a wood-burning stove and a barbecue make for an elevated camping experience, complete with purified rainwater for eco-friendly showering. It’s a hardcore challenge for most, but ultimately one that will reset even the most stressed-out holidaymaker. Nr Kinvara, west of Ireland

Hotel Doolin

Located in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, Hotel Doolin holds the title of Ireland’s Greenest Hotel from the Gold Medal Awards and won Ireland’s Green Business of the Year at the Green Awards 2022 for its ten-year-long commitment to sustainability. Each of the 17 boutique rooms in the four-star hotel is single-use-plastic free, there are e-chargers on site and the hotel grows its own vegetables, which are used in the Glas restaurant. On track to become carbon negative this year, hospitality and eco-credentials are balanced beautifully here. Doolin, Co Clare

The Hendrick

When it comes to eco-innovation, the Hendrick is leading the way. Awarded the country’s first Leed Gold certification (a framework for carbon and cost-saving buildings), its lean water usage, energy efficiency and use of low-impact materials have helped it to set a new standard for sustainable commercial buildings in the country. Decorated in Irish artwork with the culturally rich boroughs of Smithfield and Stoneybatter on its doorstep, this hotel attracts a city-loving, cool crowd. Smithfield, Dublin 7

Inis Meáin Suites

This dreamlike retreat is the brainchild of Marie-Thérèse and Ruairí de Blacam, who wanted everyone to experience the majesty of the west coast island. Comprising five suites, each of which offers unparalleled views of the beach and rugged coastline, they are complemented by a Michelin Green star restaurant, awarded for its sustainable practices and emphasis on slow travel and environmental preservation. Inis Meáin Suites’s 70-acre working farm, with vegetable garden and biodiversity preservation, is an Irish Garden of Eden. Inis Meain island, Co Galway

Lough Key is situated in a fantastic woodland setting

Campsite retreats

Get closer to nature or just enjoy a lazy barbecue at one of these bucolic gems.

Keel Camping

Achill island is a gem along the Wild Atlantic Way, offering stunning scenery, a vibrant atmosphere in summer and, if you’re lucky, the chance to spot basking sharks in the crystal-clear waters. This campsite is a hit with regular campers, with an awe-inspiring backdrop between mountains and sea, direct access to the beach, friendly staff and clean facilities. It’s an ideal base for exploring all the island has to offer, and there’s a games room to retreat to on rainy days. And while camping holidays offer a chance to switch off, wi-fi is available when needs must. Whether you’re in a tent, camper or caravan, the site has plenty of pitches to choose from. Achill Island, Co Mayo

The Apple Farm

This small, family run site is full of character. Select your pitch by the peaceful orchard, and settle in with a bottle of apple juice. The spotlessly clean bathroom and kitchen facilities are located in one of the working sheds on site, so you’re close to the action on the apple farm. The shop is a treasure trove of produce, so you’ll want to keep space in the car for the jams, fruit and Con’s Irish cider. There is a great playground, a tennis court and a pool table. When you fancy a day trip, take a tour of Cahir Castle. Moorstown, Cahir, Co Tipperary

Lough Mardal Lodge

We had to sneak a glampsite onto the list, for those who just want to dip their toe in an off-grid escape. It’s a nature lover’s paradise on the banks of a lake, while the site itself is beautifully rustic with excellent facilities. The Lodge is a central hub, with a large kitchen that has everything you need, a cosy lounge with a fireplace and a record player, so you can chill out as you enjoy the views of the Donegal landscape. The Skydome Yurts have king-size beds and are decorated with upcycled furniture, and the shepherd hut sleeps two, with a stove to keep you toasty. Bradlieve, Ballintra, Co Donegal

Lough Key Forest Park

This caravan and campsite offers pitches with privacy and children can explore the surrounding woodlands safely. It’s a fantastic setting and there’ll be no complaints of boredom when kids have the whole activity park to explore, with zipwires and a tree-top trail. Balance that out with chilled days, lazy barbecues and relaxing walks along the lough. Boyle, Co Roscommon

Westport House

This campsite is in demand because it really does have it all. A great location near the bustling town of Westport, endless options for day trips along this stunning part of the Wild Atlantic Way and, for families, there’s an epic pirate adventure park situated on the estate. Mayo is such a beautiful county, with beaches, mountains and excellent hiking trails — all of which means that by the early evening, you will have earned a hearty feed and a few pints in the town. Westport House Demesne, Westport, Co Mayo

The pool at the recently renovated Johnstown Estate

Spa getaways

Want somewhere to unwind? Here are ten hotels that fit the bill. Just try not to drool.

The Shelbourne Hotel

There’s something really luxurious about taking time out on a city break to properly relax and indulge. All feelings of guilt will disappear as soon as you set foot in the Spa at the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The hotel is 199 years old, and a visit to the spa seamlessly combines the old and new elements of the hotel perfectly. The pièce de résistance is the relaxation room, which is like sitting in a Bridgerton salon in your (very nice) dressing gown. You can make an appointment in the Spa at any time but combined with a stay in the grande dame of Dublin hotels, it is the perfect treat. St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2

Galgorm Resort and Spa

Fans of a spa experience will absolutely love the Galgorm. A proper destination spa, the resort has a thermal village where others have but a suite. Featuring the riverside garden, the alpine garden, the walled garden, a snow cabin, a Celtic sauna infusion, a salt cave, and a variety of pools and hot tubs, among many other elements, it can take a full day to experience all that the village has to offer without even getting started on the treatment menu. The hotel is not to be missed either, and has a variety of bars and restaurants, with a particularly good cocktail bar and gin library. Fenaghy Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim

The moment you arrive at the gates of Monart in Enniscorthy you are transported to a dreamlike state. The epitome of relaxation, this has to be one of the most calming places in all of Ireland. You are encouraged to don your robe immediately and spend your time here in a cloud of pure bliss. An adult-only resort, you pass other guests on the corridor and smile knowingly at each other. This is not just a spa, however, the food, the decor and the service are five star, and whether you come for one night or three, you leave feeling fully restored. The Still, Co Wexford

The Europe Hotel and Resort

While excellent treatments are the hallmark of any great spa, it is the public areas that can make or break a stay. It is in these areas that the Europe in Kerry really excels. The indoor/outdoor pool is a thing of true beauty and there is nothing nicer than making your way outside to lean against the edge and stare at the Killarney lakes and amazing vistas beyond. It is stunning in the summer but there is something very special about lounging in the warm water while cool mist plays on the top of the mountains in front of you in spring. A five-star resort with a six-star spa. Fossa, Killarney, Co Kerry

Johnstown Estate

The spa at the Johnstown Estate was completely renovated and expanded in late 2020 and the result is nothing short of spectacular. If you’re looking for a spa break alone or with friends close to Dublin, this should be very near the top of your list. The thermal experience is one of the best this reviewer has visited and utilises cutting-edge technology including Gharieni psammotherapy and aqua beds, plasma and light-treatment technologies, and sound-wave therapies. There are 15 treatment rooms, an outdoor rooftop experience and a spa café. Book into the hotel and spend all your time in the spa. Johnstown, Enfield, Co Meath

Enjoy afternoon tea at the Muckross Park hotel and spa

Druids Glen Resort

You can tell a lot about how your spa experience will be by the products that they use and in the spa at Druids Glen, you’re in very good hands. They use Ground, the Irish products handmade in Cork using vegan ingredients, as well as the spa favourite Elemis. The relaxation room is dark and calm, the perfect place to sit quietly after your treatment or have a catnap before a swim. Close to the Wicklow hills, Druids Glen is set in 360 acres and feels like a true escape. Leabeg Upper, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow

Lough Erne Resort

Though you might be inclined to think of Lough Erne first and foremost as a golf resort, it’s also known for two other things, its excellent restaurant and the Thai spa. The spa is an unusual concept in Ireland and all the therapists are specially trained in Thai rituals. It is also the only spa in the northwest of the country to use Espa products. There are uniquely designed relaxation rooms and a truly beautiful pool. The culinary experience here is very good — the restaurant has three AA rosettes — and so a weekend of dining and relaxing is a special one indeed. Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

Powerscourt Hotel and Spa

The spa at the Powerscourt Hotel regularly wins awards and it’s easy to see why. There’s a decadence here and whether you’re building some spa time into your getaway or going specifically for a few days of indulgence, this is a spa that delivers on relaxation. Treatments use Espa products, therapists are highly trained and knowledgeable and the public spaces are beautifully designed. Where it excels, though, is in the differences. They recognise that while facials are important, what a lot of guests need now is a total switch-off. If that’s you, try the Gharieni Spa Wave System. It’s a computer-controlled acoustic and vibrational therapy that helps the brain to relax. Beautiful surroundings and treatments that work. Tinnehinch, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

Maryborough Hotel and Spa

If your goal is to combine a city break with a few hours of total relaxation the spa at the Maryborough Hotel is for you. A divine thermal suite makes it easy to let go of all your stresses as you sink into the vitality pool or take a deep breath in the rock sauna and steam room before feeling totally refreshed in the lifestyle showers. The treatment list here is extensive and the therapists second to none. The speciality maternity treatments are very popular among mums-to-be and whatever you opt for you’re actively encouraged to arrive early to ensure you reach that optimum blissed-out state. Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork

Muckross Park Hotel and Spa

Your breath will be taken away the first time you walk into the spa at Muckross Park. Understated it is not — you walk through the doors into a Roman bath on the edge of Killarney National Park. This is the perfect place to unwind after a day hiking, exploring all the town has to offer or recovering after a good night out — Killarney is fun! The spa here is an adult-only space so you don’t need to check what times the family swims are, and you’re guaranteed peace and tranquillity. This is a place built for lounging so give yourself as much time as you can to float in the pool and use the thermal suite. Rushing is forbidden. Muckross, Killarney, Co Kerry

Guests at tranquil Finn Lough can walk through Fermanagh forest and wild swim in the nearby lakes

Step off the beaten track

From forest bathing to sleeping in a dome under the stars, these stays will take you back to nature.

Go off-grid and disconnect from the everyday while reconnecting with nature at Wildlands. Set amid 20 acres of mature woodland overlooking Ballyquirke Lough in Moycullen, you will find a myriad of indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment for all ages. Compact studio-style wood cabins sleep up to two adults and two children. Ballyquirke, Moycullen, Co Galway

The Wicklow Escape

Lisa Wilkinson has staying power. Her Wicklow Escape lodge in Donard cleverly combines cosy solo comfort with close conviviality, centered on the food offering in the main dining cottage, with its long feast-worthy table. The lodge’s seven perfectly formed garden rooms show off the rustic luxury of Irish designers and are set against the stunning backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains. The lodge is available to book entirely for retreats, meetings, weddings and private parties. Ballinclea, Donard, Co Wicklow

Cabü By The Lakes

Deep within Killykeen Forest Park in Cavan, CABÜ is a unique woodland hideaway comprising detached one, two and three-bedroom log cabins and lake houses set around Lough Oughter. Don’t miss a forest bathing opportunity with an hour-long hot tub and catch-up at the alfresco sitooterie. A fabulously cosy escape, ideal for couples or small groups looking for self-catering stays immersed in nature. Killykeen Forest Park, Co Cavan

Mount Congreve Gate Lodge

A luxury two-bedroom sanctuary at the gateway to 70 acres of majestic and manicured gardens, the late 18th-century gate lodge is styled with grandeur. The decor weaves the historic with the contemporary, from original Louis XVI beds and antique furniture to Smeg appliances and a Frame smart TV. Enjoy the “keys to the gardens” and hop on the designer Elops bikes, or lounge out back on the secluded terrace with Buschbeck stone barbecue and hammock. Kilmeaden, Co Waterford

Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa

Some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery can be found in Clonakilty Bay, and Inchydoney, perched in its own expansive cove, has the ultimate vista. Being based on its own island, a deep connection to the water runs throughout, from the room stylings and the deep-sea delights on the menu to the seawater spa, with its thalassotherapy treatments. Inchydoney Island, Clonakilty, Co Cork

Armada Hotel

This cosy west Clare retreat has been keenly consistent for five decades, yet has also quietly continued to evolve with an enterprising spirit. One of its most recent and unique passion projects is the West Clare Explorer, the ultimate off-grid, mid-size camper. Bookable for two nights at weekends and three nights midweek, buckle up and hit the road to explore all that the banner county has to offer. Spanish Point, Co Clare

Wineport Lodge

A tranquil lodge on the banks of Lough Ree outside Athlone, Wineport Lodge is all about casual luxury — nothing overly showy or expensive for expensive’s sake, just proper cosy comforts with a touch of class. Relaxation is the real draw here, so the rooms and spa have all been designed with serious chill-ability in mind. Glasson, Co Westmeath

The rugged beauty of Connemara deserves to be immersed in, and on the Ashe family’s 150-acre organic farm, self-sufficiency and a respect for nature and landscape are evident at every turn. Choose between three eco-conscious couples’ retreats — Stilt House, Studio or Treehouse Dome — or for family or group seaside getaways opt for the Quay House and Quay Cottage in Roundstone, which sleep six and four respectively. Killymongaun, Clifden, Co Galway

Enniscoe House

On the shores of Lough Conn at the foot of Mount Nephin, the home of Susan Kellett, her son DJ and his young family dates from the 1790s, offering an insight into times gone by. Much of the produce served at breakfast and dinner comes from the organic kitchen gardens. Castlehill, Co Mayo

Sleeping under the stars in a bubble dome in a Fermanagh forest is probably one of the most unique ways to spend a night in Ireland. The inflated domes, half an hour outside Enniskillen are all the rage — as Instagrammable as they sound, and private, serene and special. Check out the Barn restaurant, which does small plates with big flavours. Letter Rd, Aghnablaney, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

Choose from apartments, rebuilt railway carriages, a boat and this roomy glamping tent at Corcreggan Mill

Budget stays

Be it glamping or a bohemian bolt hole, these hidden gems won’t break the bank.

Falls Hotel & Spa

Careful renovations have ensured that this hidden gem retains its romantic style yet still feels stylish and comfortable. It’s easy to while away time in the restaurant, enjoying great food as you take in views of the cascading Inagh River. Ennistymon, Co Clare

Further Space, Carrickreagh Bay

This intimate glamping site features cosy pods that allow you to gaze out over stunning Lough Erne day or night. Spend the day exploring the nearby Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark or relax by the fire pit after a swim in the lake. Lough Shore Road, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

The Stop B&B

From the impressive record collection in the breakfast room to the minimal, refined style of the bedrooms, the owners’ Russ Hart and Emer Fitzpatrick have created a bohemian bolt hole. 38 Father Griffin Road, Galway

Picin Cottage

Picin Cottage is a 200-year-old house that has been transformed into a romantic B&B for two, down the road from Cahernane Beach. The bedroom and lounge space are furnished with unique finds from around the world, but the highlight is the cosy bathroom, with a rolltop tub in the centre and a wood burning stove. Caherdaniel, Co Kerry

Corcreggan Mill

Just outside Dunfanaghy, you will find an array of fascinating accommodation, including pretty apartments, restored railway cabins and a converted fishing trawler. The result is a quirky festival atmosphere in high season, with fish and chips on site too. Castlebane, Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal

Celtic Ross Hotel

Having recently acquired its fourth star, this family-owned hotel in Rosscarbery is a jewel where a passionate team have created a welcoming getaway that combines great hospitality with strong local pride. Rosscarbery, west Cork

Zanzibar Locke

Looking for value, style and a convenient Dublin location? Aparthotel Zanzibar Locke in Dublin city centre, and its sister property Beckett Locke, tick all the boxes for modern travellers who need some flexibility. 34-37 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1

The Wilder is a beautiful boutique hotel close to St Stephen’s Green. The suites are not budget, but the compact “shoebox” rooms are ideal for shorter trips. This well-located spot is luxe at a lower price. 22 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2

Arnolds Hotel

We couldn’t resist another Dunfanaghy property, and this hotel is memorable for its warm welcome, cosy rooms and epic location. Scenic drives to Horn Head, Ards Forest Park and Marble Hill beach are all on your doorstep. Main Street, Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal

This hotel does exactly what it says on the tin, offering great value, compact rooms in an excellent location on one of Cork city’s busiest streets. With excellent bars and restaurants mere steps away, this is a great option for a city break with pals or your significant other. 55 MacCurtain Street, Cork

Marcie in Mommyland

12 Best Day Trips From Dublin by Train

Posted on Last updated: May 24, 2024

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12 Best Day Trips From Dublin by Train

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Are you visiting Dublin but might want to add some day trips to your Ireland itinerary? Check out these amazing day trips from Dublin by train that are totally worth the effort!

This list of day trips from dublin by train was written by family travel expert marcie cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, i may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog..

Ireland’s capital city is a fantastic place to visit for two to three days. But if you have four or five, there are plenty of other nearby Irish towns and cities worth visiting.

Better yet, there are lots of cool Irish towns and cities you can check out that are only a train ride from Dublin !

Of course, there are more day trips in Ireland by car that you can take. But that’s extra hassle, expense, and time away from exploring new places. There are also lots of great small-group excursions by bus, but that might not be your jam.

Some of the best day trips from Dublin by train are as close as 30 minutes away. Some are coastal towns, bustling cities, or deep in the Irish countryside.

Check out your options for an easy day trip from Dublin by train right here!

Dublin to Howth Day Trip

If you want to visit some charming, small Irish villages during your stay in Dublin then look no further than Howth. 

Image of Howth Harbor in Ireland

Howth is one of the most popular days out from Dublin. It’s close by, it’s on the beautiful eastern coastline, and there are a surprising number of things to do.

Visit Howth Castle and Howth Lighthouse. Stroll along part of the Howth Cliff Walk. It’s the best day trip from Dublin if you want to escape the city quickly!

How To Get From Dublin to Howth by Train

Distance: 17.6 km/10 miles

From Connolly Train Station in Dublin , hop on a direct Irish Rail DART service to Howth Station . It takes around 30 minutes and trains depart every 60 minutes so it really is one of the best short day trips from Dublin. Single train tickets cost around €3 – €6.

Note: DART stands for ‘Dublin Area Rapid Transit’ and it applies to all commuter trains in the greater Dublin area. Since Howth is one of the towns in Dublin County, it’s technically a commuter town.

Day Trip from Dublin to Cork

There are lots of lively cities in Ireland to visit. But as the second-largest in the country, Cork offers lots of activities for families, couples, and solo travelers!

Image of a turret at Blarney Castle in Cork Ireland

Blarney Castle (where you’ll find the stone that grants the ‘gift of the gab’ to those that pucker up) and Blackrock Castle Observatory are perfect places to visit for history lovers. It’s just one of the many places to see in Cork .

Cork City Gaol and Elizabeth Fort are two other centuries-old structures to visit in Cork. The latter offers great panoramic views across the city and the River Lee. Cork is the perfect addition to any 10-day Ireland itinerary .

How To Get From Dublin to Cork by Train

Distance: 260 km/161 miles

From Dublin Heuston Station , take a direct Irish Rail InterCity service to Cork (Kent) train station. These trains typically take two hours and 30 minutes and usually depart every hour on the hour from 5 am until 9 pm. The average cost of a single ticket is €13. 

You can also do a full-day tour from Dublin to Blarney Castle .

Dublin to Kilkenny Day Trip

Do you want to visit the closest city to Dublin? Kilkenny holds that title and it’s definitely one of the best day trips from Dublin by train.

Kilkenny Castle is a castle in Kilkenny, Ireland built in 1195, View from garden

It straddles the River Nore and boasts tons of cool, underrated attractions. Check out St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle, and St. Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum (try saying that five times fast).

How To Get From Dublin to Kilkenny by Train

Distance: 128 km/80 miles

From Dublin Heuston train station, catch a direct Irish Rail train to Kilkenny MacDonagh station. This journey takes between 90 – 75 minutes and services depart approximately every one to two hours. Single train tickets cost around €12 – €18.

There’s also a full-day tour from Dublin if you want to also see Wicklow and Glendalough.

Day Trip from Dublin to Belfast

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, so it’s one of the best Irish cities to visit. It’s also one of the most exciting day trips outside of Dublin because you can technically visit another country for a day!

Belfast Skyline in the Evening, Belfast City, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK).

Belfast is famous for its docks where the Titanic was built. Visit the Titanic Belfast Experience and take a Black Cab Mural Tour to find out more about the recent political turmoil here.

How To Get From Dublin to Belfast by Train

Distance: 168 km/104 miles

From Connolly Train Station in Dublin , hop on a direct Enterprise service to Belfast Lanyon Place Train Station . It takes just over two hours and there are roughly eight trains a day every two hours. Single Tickets cost around €17.

Dublin to Galway Day Trip

Another one of the best cities in Ireland to visit is Galway. It’s famous for live music (not just the Ed Sheeran song!) and Claddaugh jewelry.

Image of The Claddagh Galway in Galway, Ireland.

Head to the Latin Quarter where you will find the most colorful, centuries-old pubs. Jewelry shops line Quay Street, and you’ll find the Galway City Museum in the harbor.

It’s not one of the closest day trips from Dublin, Ireland by train, but it’s one of the most memorable!

How To Get From Dublin to Galway by Train

Distance: 201 km/125 miles

From Dublin Heuston train station, catch a direct Irish Rail service to Galway (Ceannt) train station. This journey takes around two hours and 30 minutes and runs every two hours. Return tickets for this journey cost around €18.

Day Trip from Dublin to Bray

As well as Howth, there are lots of other rural Ireland towns within easy reach of Dublin. 

Lots of people agree that a visit to County Wicklow (home to the Wicklow Mountain National Park) makes for one of the best day tours from Dublin. But you can also travel to the seaside town of Bray in County Wicklow easily.

Image of Bray Coastline, Co. Wicklow

Bray Bay Beach is a pebble beach so it’s not ideal for bathing, but the promenade is a great place for a stroll. Walk up Bray Head for incredible views across the coastline.

How To Get From Dublin to Bray by Train

Distance: 30 km/19 miles

From Tara Street station in Dublin , take a direct Irish Rail DART service to Bray Daly train station. It takes around 50 minutes and trains run every 10 minutes or so, sometimes less! Single tickets cost around €4 – €7.

Dublin to Waterford Day Trip

Waterford is often not considered when listing the top Ireland day trips from Dublin. But there are plenty of reasons why you’d visit this underrated city!

Reginald tower. City of Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland

First, it is the oldest Irish city and was founded by Vikings in 933 AD. You can still see some of the original city walls plus other historical buildings like Reginald’s Tower.

It’s also the birthplace of Waterford Crystal glassware for those hunting souvenirs. These are just some reasons why it’s one of the best cities to visit in Ireland for a day trip in Dublin, but you’ll no doubt find many more.

How To Get From Dublin to Waterford by Train

Distance: 171 km/106 miles

From Dublin Heuston train station, hop on a direct Irish Rail service to Waterford (Plunkett) station. This journey takes around two and a half hours and trains run approximately every 90 minutes. Single tickets cost around €14.

Day Trip from Dublin to Malahide

Since Malahide is one of the more well-to-do (read: wealthy) areas in the Dublin area, it’s one of the most beautiful towns to visit in Ireland.

Image of The malahide castle near dublin, ireland

This pretty village is home to a couple of pristine sandy beaches such as Malahide Beach and Portmarnock Beach. It’s also known for its golf clubs and you have to visit Malahide Castle & Gardens. 

It’s one of the easiest and best places to visit near Dublin even just for a stroll. Flowers and trees line every street!

How To Get From Dublin to Malahide by Train

Distance: 18 km/11 miles

From Tara Street station in Dublin , take a direct Irish Rail DART service to Malahide station. It takes around 30 minutes and services leave every 10 – 20 minutes. Single tickets cost around €3 – €6.

There’s also a full-day tour that includes Howth as well as Malahide Castle.

Dublin to Wexford Day Trip

If you’re looking for a surprising adventure on your day trip out of Dublin, look no further than the city of Wexford. It’s a medieval city with cobblestone lanes, but it also happens to be the location of Ireland’s National Opera House.

Image of Hook Lighthouse in Wexford.

There are many historic monuments like Wexford like the 12th-century Selskar Abbey and the 13th-century West Gate Heritage Tower. 

Since it’s on the southeast coast of Ireland, the journey down to Wexford is one of the best train trips from Dublin you can take. Just imagine the gorgeous coastal views!

How To Get From Dublin to Wexford by Train

Distance: 155 km/96 miles

From Tara Street station in Dublin , catch a direct Irish Rail service to Wexford (O Hanrahan) train station. This journey takes around two hours and 30 minutes and services run approximately every two hours. Single tickets cost around €13 – €20.

Day Trip from Dublin to Kildare

Kilare is only a small village, but it’s one of the best places near Dublin to visit in the countryside.

Image of a red bridge in a Japanese Garden in Kildare Ireland

St. Brigid’s Cathedral & Round Tower is a much, much bigger church than you’d expect in a town this size. You can also check out the ruins of the 13th-century Grey Abbey and the beautiful gardens of Tully.

How To Get From Dublin to Kildare by Train

Distance: 60 km/37 miles

From Dublin Heuston station, hop on a direct Irish Rail service to Kildare station. Or, choose a train with a short connection in Portarlington which will give you more options for day trips near Dublin.

This journey takes no more than 45 minutes and can take under 30 minutes with no connections. Trains leave every hour and single tickets cost around €6 – €9.

Dublin to Athlone Day Trip

Although it’s only famous for one reason, Athlone is one of the most famous Irish towns. Sean’s Bar holds the Guinness Book of Records for being the oldest bar in Ireland. 

Not only that, it could well be the oldest bar in the world!

Image of Athlone bridge and river at day time

Sean’s Bar in Athlone dates back to 900 AD. This pub alone makes it one of the best places to visit in Ireland near Dublin, but it’s also a pretty medieval city on the River Shannon. It also boasts ruins from early Christian churches from the 7th century.

How To Get From Dublin to Athlone by Train

Distance: 125 km/77 miles

From Dublin Heuston train station, take a direct Irish Rail service to Athlone station. These trains should take no longer than 90 minutes and depart approximately every 45 minutes. Single tickets cost around €12 – €18.

Dublin to Limerick Day Trip

All of these day trips from Dublin, Ireland by train can easily be achieved without taking any connections. Limerick is the only place on this list where you will have to change trains.

But it’s one of the best day trips in Ireland from Dublin, so it had to be included!

Image of St. John's Castle in Limerick Ireland.

Limerick is a beautiful city on the River Shannon nestled on Ireland’s wild west coast. Visit the 13th-century St. John’s Castle which sits on the banks of the river, and St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Old Town is a must-visit too.

How To Get From Dublin to Limerick by Train

Distance: 203 km/126 miles

From Dublin Heuston train station, hop on an Irish Rail InterCity service to Limerick Junction station. Then, change trains for a service to Limerick (Colbert) . 

These trains depart approximately once an hour and the journey shouldn’t take longer than two hours and 15 minutes. Single tickets cost around €22.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Best Day Trips from Dublin by Train Wrap-Up

Although enjoying a day trip from Dublin to Killarney or from Dublin to Dingle by train is not possible, you now know there are tons of other options.

The easiest places to visit in Ireland near Dublin are well-connected cities and east coast seaside towns. Sometimes, they are places you’ve never heard of before.

But in all likelihood, these make the best day trips from Dublin by train! They offer stress-free and easy adventure so you can see Ireland beyond the capital.

Looking for more Ireland travel resources? Check out 10 Best Dublin Hotels for Families Worth Booking , 13 Delightful Dublin Travel Tips for First Timers , Ireland in Summer: Tips  + Things to Do , How To Plan a Trip to Ireland: Step-by-Step Guide , Insider’s List of Things to Do in Cork with Kids , and 21 Most Spectacular Hidden Gems in Ireland !

places to visit between dublin and galway

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Galway have had a chronic case of flatness for nearly a year

Galway have had a chronic case of flatness for nearly a year

MUST WIN GAME: Galway manager Henry Shefflin along with his management and players need to quickly locate a remedy ahead of Dublin’s visit this Sunday. Pic: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

There were 42 minutes on the clock at Wexford Park. A brief stoppage to allow attention to the stricken Richie Lawlor. Henry Shefflin could not have been more animated along the sideline. Vexingly gesticulating. Gesturing at his players to “MOVE” for a Galway restart.

Shefflin’s frustration was not exclusive to the lack of options presenting themselves to goalkeeper Darach Fahy. His frustration was not exclusive to having lost the previous puck-out. His frustration was not exclusive to Jack Grealish carelessly turning over possession in the play previous to that and Wexford raising a white flag from it to move four in front.

His frustration was born from a campaign still stuck on the runway in the month of May. Having to issue such a basic instruction as “move” in year three of his tenure out west was a microcosm of such.

“It is hard to blame him,” Seamus Hickey said on GAAGO co-commentary of Shefflin's animated state. “After the good work that they did in Salthill matching up against Kilkenny, particularly on puck-outs, I feel they are very flat.” 

Flat is the operative word. Flat has been the theme for 2024. A so-far incurable case of flatness has been the diagnosis since the second half of last July’s All-Ireland semi-final.

Rewind to that All-Ireland semi-final. After 24 minutes, Galway led the champions 1-12 to 1-6.

Shefflin and his sideline team had come with a plan. They stretched Limerick. They avoided middle-third confrontation. They were efficient off set plays. They sent Brian Concannon back the field and into a playmaking role. They unsettled and caught Limerick unawares by shoving Cathal Mannion in the opposite direction.

When Limerick eventually figured it all out and shut it all down, Galway were without a Plan B. Being unable to tame or thwart a flowing Limerick is forgivable. Having no Plan B against a 14-man Wexford is not.

Padraic Mannion of Galway in action against Mikie Dwyer of Wexford. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

There were 59 minutes on the clock at Wexford Park three weeks ago when Pádraic Mannion lumped a long ball in on top of Jonathan Glynn. Behind by seven, but with a man extra and time still on their side, Hickey labelled the route-one approach “distressing”, “desperate”, and an aversion to “Galway’s style”.

Instead of playing through the lines, Galway defenders naively followed retreating Wexford forwards into the opposition half and left a prairie of space behind them which Wexford exploited upon each long ball turnover.

It was an unimaginative and ineffectual approach Shefflin, O'Shea, and Co. had to take responsibility for. Blame for the current malaise is not exclusive to those inside the whitewash.

Between them, management and players need to quickly locate a remedy ahead of Dublin’s visit this Sunday. Galway need a result to avoid a first round-robin elimination since 2019.

It was a Dublin defeat in the final round that did for Galway five years ago. It wound up being Micheál Donoghue's last game at the helm. He leads the opposition this Sunday.

Would another round-robin Dublin defeat signal the end for another Galway manager?

Former Galway boss John McIntyre followed the team to Corrigan Park last weekend, a game the visitors trailed 1-10 to 1-11 at half-time and were still trailing three minutes into the second period when Antrim centre-back Ryan McGarry was dismissed.

Eamon O'Shea with Galway manager Henry Shefflin before the Leinster SHC game against Carlow. Photo by Ray Ryan/Sportsfile

“They are still not moving with the expected fluency,” McIntyre wrote of Galway in Thursday’s Connacht Tribune. “Several players look to be lacking belief, while a couple of others didn’t dismiss concerns over their mobility.” 

So, that’s flatness, and a lack of belief, mobility, and movement thrown into the pot as to just why Galway have not sparked in 2024.

During the post-match conversation following the defeat to Wexford in Round 3, Richie Hogan tabled another root cause.

“There are five or six of those characters who went and won an All-Ireland in 2017, outstanding leaders. What’s happened is the younger guys haven’t pushed it on. The older guys, they just can’t be dependent on them any more.” 

Bar Gavin Lee - an All-Ireland minor winner in 2019 and the delayed 2020 season - no other new face has established themselves on Shefflin’s team this year.

The spine of Sunday’s team includes four players - Daithí Burke, Pádraic Mannion, David Burke, and Conor Cooney - serving at the coalface since 2014, 2015, 2010, and 2012 respectively. That’s not today or yesterday.

For all the county’s underage success of the past decade, recalling another 2012 debutant - Jonathan Glynn - spoke volumes about the county’s youthful options and management’s faith in them.

“I still believe there is serious potential in our team,” said 34-year-old David Burke after the win in Belfast.

Added his manager: “I know our performances probably haven’t been flowing as well as we’d like, but I think there are signs it is coming.” 

Flow, potential, and everything else needs to materialise come 2pm Sunday.

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places to visit between dublin and galway

Henry Shefflin under the microscope as he aims to solve Galway conundrum

places to visit between dublin and galway

Befuddlement generally ends up being the lot of a Galway hurling manager. It should be part of the job description. Henry Shefflin isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, to be found scratching his head on the sideline as his players fail to spark on a certain day. There’s no more puzzling team in Gaelic games than the stickmen from the West.

Even Micheál Donoghue, the only person to truly work out the riddle over the course of three decades, had plenty of days when his team were less than the sum of their parts.

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Story continues below.

Heading into the Corrigan Park dressing-room in west Belfast last weekend, Shefflin must have been at his most perplexed. They were trailing a spirited, but limited, Antrim team and nothing seemed to be working for Galway.

Galway manager Henry Shefflin before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

It was an unsettling experience until Ryan McGarry’s sending-off for the Saffrons a couple of minutes after the restart turned the tide. Galway kicked on but it wasn’t a performance to quell the growing restlessness among the natives in places like Turloughmore and Athenry, Those two points ensured Galway go into the final weekend of this Leinster Championship, where four teams can still reach the provincial decider, in reasonably good shape.

They entertain Dublin at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. They go into this encounter carrying the momentum of that decent second-half performance in Belfast and if it was any other team, you would say that a Leinster final beckons. But this is Galway.

Donoghue will know the dangers of Galway believing they already have one foot in a Leinster final. Going into the final round of Leinster Championship games back in 2019, the Tribesmen were firmly in the driving seat.

Donal Burke of Dublin, wearing a protective face covering, before the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Carlow and Dublin at Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow. Pic: Sportsfile

Only a loss to Dublin and a draw between Kilkenny and Wexford could knock them out of the Championship.

Which is exactly what transpired.

Conal Keaney and Chris Crummey inspired a late scoring surge in Parnell Park that saw the Dubs overturn a Galway side who were crowned All-Ireland champions just two summers earlier.

So, all maroon eyes and ears turned to Wexford Park where Lee Chin’s equalising free knocked the Tribesmen out of a Championship they were expected to be a central part of.

Galway players before the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match between Antrim and Galway at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Pic: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

If sporting history doesn’t always repeat itself, it often rhymes. We are hurtling towards a dramatic conclusion in both hurling provinces and in Pearse Stadium this Sunday, Donoghue will be on the sideline again for a Galway-Dublin Championship clash. But this time, he will be wearing blue and has the chance to do what Mattie Kenny did to him five years earlier – and maybe bring Shefflin’s tenure out west to an end.

This is Shefflin’s third season at the helm in Galway but everyone is still waiting for his stamp to reveal itself on the team. Some silverware may quieten down the rumblings of discontent in the county, but that will probably mean finding a way past his native county in a Leinster final – something that has been beyond Shefflin and his team in the previous two summers.

Galway’s systems failure in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Limerick caused Shefflin to shuffle his backroom team. He sought out one of the game’s deepest thinkers in Eamon O’Shea, the former Tipperary coach and manager who is a longtime resident in the City of the Tribes.

Galway manager Henry Shefflin before the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match between Antrim and Galway at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Pic: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

‘We know the last couple of years weren’t good enough and we are trying to get better as both management and players,’ Shefflin explained back in January of drafting in O’Shea. ‘He has a wealth of knowledge, experience and he’s a proven winner. He brings enthusiasm and freshness to the set-up.’

Despite the freshness in management, the sense is that Galway are still relying on the class of 2017 which Donoghue led to a first All-Ireland in 29 years. Even though Joe Canning has retired, David Burke, Dáithi Burke, Pádraic

Mannion and Conor Whelan remain central planks to the team. Seven of the starting team that were shocked by Dublin back in 2019 started last week’s win over Antrim, with three more coming off the bench – Johnny Glynn, Adrian Tuohey and Jason Flynn. It’s hard to escape the sense that they are still going back to the same old faces, even now seven years since lifting Liam MacCarthy.

It is unfair to suggest that Shefflin hasn’t given youth a chance.

Conor Cooney of Galway scores a goal during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Galway and Carlow at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Pic: Ray Ryan/Sportsfile

Gavin Lee scored a goal from wing-forward last week, Evan Niland registered five points. Donal O’Shea scored two points off the bench. These are the sort of young players that are the future in Galway. But the side are still depending on Conor Cooney and Whelan for the heavy lifting up front, especially when results need to be dug out.

When things are going well, Galway’s hurling can look irresistible. But the problem for the Tribesmen has never been when the machine is functioning smoothly. It is when they have to grind games out that they can be found wanting.

Or it is the all-too-common days when the team just doesn’t show up at all, like this year in Wexford Park or the first half in Belfast last week. There was a suggestion after the chastening defeat to Limerick last year that Shefflin might give up trying to figure out the Galway psyche.

Galway manager Henry Shefflin during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B match between Galway and Limerick at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Instead, he freshened up his backroom. But Sunday could be their sternest examination yet. Dublin will be hurting after yet another game where they had Kilkenny on the rack and failed to deliver the killer blow — the Cats stealing a win with a last-minute goal. It told you something of the character of the Cats – it’s what Shefflin typified during his playing days.

That was the character he was meant to bring west with him. But, like so many managers before, Shefflin has been left scratching his head in an attempt to find the magic formula which would harness the vast potential within the Tribesmen.

It was a defeat to Dublin that did it for Donoghue when he was at the Galway helm.

Five years on, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if history rhymes in Pearse Stadium this Sunday and Shefflin is left scratching his head on the sideline once more.

Galway vs Derry: Throw-in time, stream, and where to watch on TV

Ex-galway star claims benching shane walsh could be key to tribe success, provincial recap: wins for kerry and galway in munster and connacht finals, must read gaa.

places to visit between dublin and galway

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places to visit between dublin and galway

Galway v Dublin TV TV and stream information, throw-in time, betting odds and more

The sides clash this weekend in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.

  • 22:57, 23 MAY 2024
  • Updated 07:07, 24 MAY 2024

Pearse Stadium.

Galway take on Dublin today in the latest round of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.

Both sides are on five points from four games and can qualify for the Leinster final if results go their way.

A place in the All-Ireland series is also up for grabs, with both teams desperate to move a step closer to lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

READ MORE: GAAGO: The shouty nonsense and political opportunism of critics misses point but scheduling isn’t quite right

READ MORE: Dublin v Offaly U20 Leinster final recap

Here's what you need to know about this afternoon's game:

Where is the game being played?

Pearse Stadium hosts today's game.

What time is throw-in?

The game begins at 2pm.

Can I watch the game on TV?

RTE 2 will be showing today's game live.

Can I stream the game?

Streaming is available on the RTE Player.

Where can I get tickets?

Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.

Betting odds

Galway - 1/4

Draw - 11/1

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places to visit between dublin and galway


Blue Flags 2024: Beaches in Dublin, Wexford and Waterford lose out. Check how your local area fared

Beaches in sligo, meath and galway gain flags while rush south, tramore and ballymoney north lose awards due to deterioration of water quality.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Blug Flag awards 204: Inchydoney East beach in Co Cork was one of ten beaches awarded the blue flag and green coast award

A total of 94 Irish beaches and marinas have been awarded a blue flag for the 2024 bathing season by the environmental group An Taisce .

While 82 out of 85 beaches retained their blue flag from 2023, Rush South beach in Fingal, Co Dublin ; Ballymoney North beach, Co Wexford ; and Tramore, Co Waterford lost out.

The blue flag programme requires that beaches being awarded for the upcoming season have achieved “excellent” bathing water quality in the most recent annual classification.

Rush and Tramore failed because of a deterioration of water quality due to the presence of intestinal enterococci bacteria, while Ballymoney failed due to the presence of E.coli.

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Presence of bacteria is likely to have been caused by wastewater overflows; ‘misconnections’ – sewage going into surface water drains rather than sewers; agricultural run-off; faulty septic tanks or dog fouling.

The current annual classification of all three beaches, however, is “good”, the next best classification, based on analysis of results of in-season water samples taken between 2020 and 2023.

A record-breaking 70 beaches receive the green coast award for 2024. This award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Such sites are classified as exceptional places to visit and enjoy Ireland’s rich coastal heritage and diversity.

Three beaches not awarded blue flags in 2023 have been awarded them for the coming bathing season; Bettystown beach, Co Meath; Enniscrone Beach, Co Sligo; and Traught in Kinvara, Co Galway.

places to visit between dublin and galway

Blue Flag beaches and marinas 2024

Ten marinas were awarded a blue flag in 2023, and nine of these retained it for this year. Greencastle marina was withdrawn by Donegal County Council in July 2023 as construction works at the harbour on a breakwater necessitated closure of the seasonal marina there.

Ten beaches have been awarded both the blue flag and green coast award: Fountainstown and Inchydoney East beach in Co Cork; Balcarrick, Donabate in Fingal; Salthill and Silverstrand beaches in Galway City; Trá Inis Oírr (main beach) in Co Galway; Baile an Sceilg, in Co Kerry; Bettystown beach in Co Meath; and Enniscrone and Rosses Point beach in Sligo.

One of the world’s most recognised eco-labels, the blue flag programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats around the globe.

The green coast awards recognise the work of coastal groups, which are comprised of thousands of volunteers who participate in community clean-ups.

The green coast award is operated by An Taisce with support from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Fáilte Ireland.

The 2024 awards were presented by Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton at a ceremony held in Galway overlooking Salthill blue flag beach on Monday.

“As we get warmed up for the bathing and swimming season this year we are breaking the record with some 70 beaches receiving the green coast award. We all know just how lucky we are to have such beautiful water quality and natural beauty across our shores and this year’s recipients are testament to just how exceptional and rich in diversity that our beaches are,” she said.

Cathy Baxter, director of An Taisce’s environmental education unit, said the local authorities, marina operators and clean-coasts groups responsible for their management “have worked tirelessly to ensure that these sites meet the excellent standards required by the blue flag and green coast award”.

The green coast programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats around the world.

The beaches and marinas that have achieved this accolade must adhere to specific criteria on water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management for the duration of the bathing season.

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Kevin O'Sullivan

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Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times


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    Day 2: Tour the Rock of Cashel - Cork The Rock of Cashel was the historic seat of Ireland's High Kings. After breakfast, pick up your rental car in Dublin and travel south to Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. Along the way, you can make a stop at the Rock of Cashel.Once home to the High Kings of Ireland, this spectacular group of medieval buildings perched atop a rugged outcrop of limestone.

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    Hit the road and see the best of the Emerald Isle on this 5-day self-driving jaunt through Ireland. Walk the ancient streets of Dublin, kiss the Blarney Stone in Cork, visit the famous heritage town of Killarney, take in breathtaking views of the Cliffs of Moher, and revel in the energy of bohemian Galway. From windswept Atlantic coastlines to ...

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    He took to Twitter with the below tweet, looking for places that would serve lunch or snacks on the M6 and M4 between Galway and Dublin, and the people of Twitter did not disappoint. Where's a good place to split the drive from Galway to Dublin on M6 / M4 - lunch/snacks - without having to go too far offline? Ideally not a big service station.

  18. How to Get from Dublin to Galway

    Taking the bus is the cheapest, and one of the most popular, way to travel between Dublin and Galway. There are several private coach bus companies that offer multiple daily services from Dublin to Galway. Some of these companies include GoBus. CityLink, and Bus Eireann. The route is very popular and buses leave every 30 to 60 minutes on average.

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    Experience all that Ireland has to offer on this six-day road trip. Travel back to the medieval streets of Dublin, where you can see one of the world's oldest manuscripts, then head to Kilkenny to touch the cool stone walls of its famous castle. Drive the Ring of Kerry to marvel at breathtaking views, and sit down to a feast in Galway, the first place in Ireland to be designated a European ...

  20. Dublin vs Galway: Which Irish city is better

    There is a train that goes between Dublin and Galway that takes around 2.5 hours. ... Galway is a truly magical place to visit. It's creative, vibrant, and so much fun. The food and drink scene here is very diverse, and the people are incredibly friendly. You will get a much more creative and authentically Irish experience here.

  21. Causeway Coastal Route: Stops, Map + Itinerary (2024)

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  23. 100 Great Places to Stay in Ireland for 2023

    7 Ballyfin. One of Ireland's most exclusive places to stay, Ballyfin is an epic Regency property that boasts unabashed decadence and a classic sense of luxury. Eschewing the contemporary, the nine-year restoration of the property preserved the unique details, such as the intricate marquetry floors of the salon.

  24. 12 Best Day Trips From Dublin by Train

    How To Get From Dublin to Galway by Train. Distance: 201 km/125 miles. From Dublin Heuston train station, catch a direct Irish Rail service to Galway (Ceannt) train station. This journey takes around two hours and 30 minutes and runs every two hours. Return tickets for this journey cost around €18.

  25. Galway have had a chronic case of flatness for nearly a year

    Between them, management and players need to quickly locate a remedy ahead of Dublin's visit this Sunday. Galway need a result to avoid a first round-robin elimination since 2019.

  26. Ultimate Ireland Road Trip: Dublin, Galway & Belfast

    Day 3: Tour the Rock of Cashel, Cork The Rock of Cashel was the historic seat of Ireland's High Kings. After breakfast, pick up your rental car in Dublin and travel south to Cork, Ireland's second-largest city.Along the way, you can make a stop at the Rock of Cashel.Once home to the High Kings of Ireland, this spectacular group of medieval buildings is perched atop a rugged outcrop of limestone.

  27. Henry Shefflin under the microscope as he aims to solve Galway conundrum

    Galway manager Henry Shefflin before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile. It was an unsettling experience until Ryan McGarry's sending-off for the Saffrons a couple of minutes after the restart turned the tide.

  28. Paris Olympics: Near misses for Calum Bain and Irish swimmers at ...

    It was a night of near misses for Irish swimmers at the Olympic trials in Dublin. There was heartbreak for Cookstown's Calum Bain in the 50m freestyle as he missed out on Paris qualification by ...

  29. Galway v Dublin TV TV and stream information, throw-in time, betting

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