Sofia's Kaleidoscope - Favicon
Sofia Ps.
6 mins read

A 7 Day Road Trip in Ireland

Have you ever had a feeling of longing and nostalgia about a place that you’ve never been? This is exactly how I’ve always felt about Ireland for reasons I can’t explain. I’ve always wanted to visit, to experience the culture, to listen to the music, to enjoy Irish Ale in a pub.

The time finally came, when a couple of friends and I decided to take a road trip to Ireland. The problem was that we were all very busy with work, so we only had one week. Nevertheless, we were determent. Our plan was to rent a car and drive around the whole island staying in a different city every night! This is the diary of one of the most amazing weeks in my life.

Day 1

We arrived in Dublin and from the airport, we drove straight southwest. Our first stop was Kilkenny, a charming city with interesting history, which became the capital of Ireland in the 13th century. We also visited the castle and its gardens, right next to River Nore, which was ideal for a relaxing stroll and coffee.

Our next stop was Cashel! Seeing the Rock of Cashel, a magnificent medieval stronghold, was something I was looking forward to doing. I really like Gothic architecture, a style quite uncommon in Greece. I was so excited just to be there, that in half of my pictures I look like a mad woman with a permanent grin on my face! If you’re interested in history, you should also visit the small museum where you can find the original St Patrick’s Cross –the carving on the east face is said to be St Patrick’s. The one standing in front of the Cathedral is a copy.

We continued west and spent the night at Killorglin, a small town near Killarney. Unfortunately, we were there a few days after the Puck Fair, where they crown a goat King Puck – that would be fun to see! – but we did try the surprisingly good King Puck Irish Ale! If you are ever in town, make sure you try it!

Woman reading a book inside the Cathedral of the Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel; Happily reading the history of the Cathedral.

Day 2

Our second day started with a drive around the Ring of Kerry. The scenery was stunning as it changed constantly between mountain and coastal views! There was something special about driving there, enjoying nature, stopping for pictures and brief hikes. We really didn’t want to leave and promised to return one day and spend a whole week just cycling and hiking around. But we had to leave the Ring of Kerry behind us and drive north for a very exciting night!

The Medieval Banquet in Bunratty Castle was our next stop. I can’t explain how thrilled I was about this one! Remember, I’m a history nerd and I like castles.

Woman sitting in front of Durty Nelly's The Original Irish pub, with the Bunratty Castle in the background
Bunratty Castle at night.

Bunratty is a beautiful castle, built in the 15th century, which has been renovated and you can visit it! We read about this and have booked tickets online in advance – we even found tickets with discount coupons, so that was cool. No matter the price, however, I would pay anything again.

The experience was very unique and truly marvellous! We visited the castle at night, drank wine in the Great Hall, and dined while watching a delightful performance. There were moments it really felt like time-travelling. I strongly recommend this if you haven’t experienced something similar before! For me, it was among the top 5 things I did in Ireland.

Day 3

The next day we visited Bunratty Folk Park, which is adjacent to the Castle and has a complete village recreating Irish rural life of the 19th century. We visited houses and shops, had tea and cake, met people of the village (there were actors in costumes and they were a delight to talk to) and explored the magical Fairy Village.

Woman exploring the Fairy Village at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and searching for fairies
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

After that, we drove northwest, through the Burren, which comes from the Gaelic word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place. It’s a very strange region, where the landscape is dominated by a vast limestone pavement with deep crevices. It was a pity we didn’t have enough time to stop and visit the Burren National Park, but we wanted to spend more time at our next destination, which was the Cliffs of Moher.

We started with a cruise from Doolin to view the cliffs from the sea. I’m not sure it was worth it, because walking right next to the Cliffs was amazing on its own, however, it was not crazy expensive and we also had the chance to see a filming location from Harry Potter! (The scene where Harry and Dumbledore appear standing on a rock which is moving towards a sea cave in the Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince was filmed there.)

View of the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher!

After the cruise, it was finally time to see the Cliffs of Moher and walk there ourselves! We started at the Visitors Centre, went to O’ Brien’s Tower, which was a very brief walk, and then started to hike south way further from the protected trail. I have no words to describe this experience. Really. I don’t. It was breathtaking. Literally. The sheer size of the Cliffs, the magnificence of the scenery, the vastness of the ocean below and the captivating beauty of nature all around me, made this one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I remember walking and walking and never getting tired because it was so wonderful just to be there.

Woman happily Hiking at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Best. Day. Ever.

Day 4

The next day was a bit more relaxing. We left the Shannon and drove north towards Galway. The drive in the countryside was though the greenest sceneries I’ve ever seen, so we were stopping all the time to take pictures of green hills and fields, fluffy sheep and the occasional old castle. Galway is a lovely city to walk, enjoy local music, have tea and cake, and of course, a good place to buy a Claddagh ring, an Irish ring which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. I don’t often buy jewellery for a souvenir; however, a Claddagh ring has an interesting story behind it, which is closely connected to the city. So, you know… when in Galway!

Day 5

On day five, we crossed to Northern Ireland to visit the Causeway Coast. On the way, we stopped at the Dark Hedges in County Antrim (You have to check it out if you’re a Game of Thrones fan.) These very beautiful and very old beech trees are worth seeing if you’re in the area.

Woman happily Hiking at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Dark Hedges

Our main destination however was the Coast. First, after a brief hike, we crossed the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to go to the island where the local fishermen would go to check on their salmon nets. If you’re not fear of heights that’s actually a very fun walk! After that, we went to the Giant’s Causeway. I know it will sound silly, but this was one of my dream destinations as a child because I’ve seen pictures of it in a magazine and it just seemed out of this world! Needless to say, I was so thrilled to go there and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Giant’s Causeway is a massive area with about 40000 bizarre-looking basalt columns. According to legend, the columns were laid by Finn MacCool, a giant who wanted to create a path to Scotland to meet and fight a rival giant. Although the formation is a result of a volcanic eruption that happened millions of years ago and erosion from ice and seawater, I prefer the version with the giants.

Woman standing on a basalt hexagon at the Giant’s Causeway
I was SO excited to see the Giant’s Causeway!

We spent 2-3 hours walking, exploring, reading about the myths, taking pictures and stayed there until the breathtaking sunset. If you’re visiting keep in mind that you don’t have to go via the visitors’ centre, which charges you because the access to the Causeway is free.

Photograpehers at the Giant’s Causeway at sunset
Giant’s Causeway; The colours of the sunset were incredible...

Day 6

We spent the day in Belfast exploring the city and especially its fascinating history. My favourite thing was definitely Titanic Belfast, an amazing attraction at the slipway of Titanic. You can learn all about the ship’s construction, maiden journey, sinking and recovery through a very interesting, interactive exhibition. Make sure you also visit the Nomadic nearby, the last remaining vessel of the White Star Line.

Four people standing inside the letters of the Entrance of Titanic Belfast
Titanic Belfast

Day 7

By the end of the week, we were a bit tired, so we decided to take it easy. We visited Trinity College because I really wanted to go to the old library and see the Book of Kells, a richly decorated medieval manuscript. However, after that we’ve just spent time exploring the city, eating delicious food and drinking ale.

That night I found myself in a pub, with a beer in my hand, listening to amazing music, singing along to “Seven Drunken Nights” and chatting merrily with locals about life. What a perfect way to finish this adventure!

Is Ireland now my favourite place in Europe? Probably.

Was a week enough? No way.

Am I ever going back? Definitely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also like

Vietnamese Women's Museum
Sofia's Kaleidoscope - Favicon
Sofia Ps.
2 mins read
In the heart of Hanoi, there’s the Vietnamese Women's Museum, an extraordinary museum which narrates fascinating stories about amazing women. You should definitely visit it if you’re ever in the capital of Vietnam. It was one of my top things to do in Hanoi.
Angkor Temples
Sofia's Kaleidoscope - Favicon
Sofia Ps.
3 mins read
Angkor Temples, located in the heart of beautiful Cambodia, are among the most impressive sites in the world...
Traveller, not a tourist. Cat Cat Village, Sapa Vietnam
Sofia's Kaleidoscope - Favicon
Sofia Ps.
5 mins read
“Travel like a local”, “don’t have a bucket list”, “don’t be a tourist, be a traveller” are phrases that I’ve heard many times. Today more than ever, people don’t want to go to “touristy” destinations, they want to experience the authentic and be like locals. I’d love to travel like that too. However, is it realistic?
Jordan Desert
Sofia's Kaleidoscope - Favicon
Sofia Ps.
3 mins read
Once upon a time I’ve spent a month excavating in the middle of nowhere in the desert of Jordan. These are some of my memories.