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How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

This September we visited both Ireland and London in one trip, a total of 11 days. In about 6 days we were able to check off bucket list items in Ireland, visiting everywhere from Dublin, Northern Ireland, to Galway.

Ireland is a very small sized country, with 5 million people. To put the size of Ireland in perspective, you can literally reach one side of the country from the other in just 3 hours, making it a perfect country to visit in a shorter period of time.

The Overview

Currency in Ireland: 

The currency in Ireland is euros and I encourage bringing euros with you just in case. But, everywhere we went in Ireland took credit card so don’t feel that you have to bring a lot of euro’s with you.

Language in Ireland:

The primary language in Ireland is English.

Best Time To Visit Ireland:

When planning a visit to Ireland you will definitely want to take into consideration the season you’re going, but note that Ireland is known to rain all year round – even in the summer. It tends to be very gloomy and cloudy all year and every single local has a rain jacket and umbrella in their hands. 

So with that being said, it’s important to consider when you want to visit and set your expectations ahead of time. We visited in September and had very cool, fluctuating weather with 50 and 60 degree days and on and off rain. We got very lucky with sunny days during all of our excursions.

For the best weather it is suggested to visit Ireland between June – August but, it is highly recommended to visit on the shoulder seasons in May, September or October for far less crowds. Be sure to bring a strong umbrella and rain jacket with you everywhere. 

Shop rain jackets!

Safety In Ireland:

During our visit to Ireland our group felt very safe especially in Northern Ireland and Galway. Dublin additionally felt relatively safe, especially for the large number of people that are always out and about. But, Dublin city definitely has its spots to be more cautious and aware of. So as always, be self aware and keep your purses and backpacks in front of you.

How To Get To Ireland:

Depending on where you are going to be mainly staying there are a few major airports in all of Ireland. Your best bet will be flying into Dublin since there are a bunch of places to check off your list in the city before heading out to other areas in Ireland. 

Five international airports in Ireland: Shannon International Airport, Dublin Airport, Kerry Airport, Ireland West Airport Knock and Cork Airport

Northern Ireland: Belfast International Airport

Transportation In Ireland:

Before your trip you’re going to have to book in advance your transportation to and from the major cities and excursions you will be taking. The itinerary below is solely based on if you will be booking a rental car and driving yourself around. 

Thankfully, there are many forms of transportation for tourists to get to and from your excursions such as the bus, private drivers, taxi, train and tour guides

Below I have linked a few guides that provide transportation to these sites if that is an option you prefer:

Renting a Car In Ireland:

On our trip I was traveling with three additional people. Due to our small group size and our desire to have full flexibility to our days we decided to rent a car. The most affordable rental car option we could find that would fit all of us and our luggage’s in Dublin was through Avis at the Dublin International Airport.

My boyfriend, Tim, has never driven on the left side of the road before so this was his first time ever experiencing something like this. He did great! He said that right away it’s definitely an adjustment but you get used to it fairly quickly. The most difficult part was the roundabouts. Ireland has huge roundabouts with multiple exits on each. Let’s just say we took a handful of wrong exits the first few times but made it to our destination nonetheless!

If you have a small group, are open to learning driving on the left and looking to not be held back by bus schedules or guides I highly recommend renting a car. It was the best decision we made on the trip. We could change our plans when we wanted, stay as long as we wanted at a site or add a new one that we learned along the way. The flexibility was amazing.

Fun Fact

You only need a legal US driver's license to drive in Ireland! Also, check your credit cards because most include rental car insurance so you don’t have to pay extra at checkout the day of. 

Your Ireland Itinerary

In this itinerary we will be laying out a great travel guide for your trip so you can see the best places to visit in Ireland in a week! Let’s break down your Ireland itinerary below.

Day 1: Discover Dublin & Jameson Whiskey

Hopefully during your red eye flight you were able to sleep through the plane ride. If that’s not the case I strongly encourage you to give yourself a little bit of time to take a short nap to help with the jetlag so you can enjoy the rest of your day. With that being said, once you’re checked into your hotel, start your walk down O’Connell Street to check out local pubs, shopping and more.

Wrap up your day at the Jameson Bow St. Distillery for a tour experience you won’t forget! We personally loved this tour because of how in depth our tour guide went into the history of Jameson and the entire flow of the tour was so well presented and very personal. We purchased the, “45 minute Bow St. Experience Tour and were very happy with the experience. The tour included a full history of Jameson by an incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide as well as a flight tasting of all their whiskeys. And, you received a free drink after the tasting to enjoy at the bar in their beautiful distillery.

Here’s what your day could look like:

  • Fly in & arrive in the AM (majority of flights into Dublin were red eyes) 
  • Explore Downtown Dublin starting with O’Connell Street & grab a bite to eat
  • Jameson Bow St. Distillery Tour 
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Day 2: Experience The Old Library at The Trinity College Of Dublin

The Trinity College in Dublin is home to the famous Old Library, which is a beautiful, historical library that holds the “Book Of Kells” exhibition. The cobbled stone grounds of Trinity College Dublin date back to the 18th century. Inside the library is where you’ll find the Book of Kells – a 9th-century gospel manuscript famous throughout the world. 

During your time on the campus visit the Old Library, take a look through the Library Shop and walk along the beautiful cobblestone courtyard of the campus. During your time in the library, you will be able to visit the beautiful Long Room which holds 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books in its oak bookcases.  

Grafton Street is a great walk to enjoy after seeing the Trinity College of Dublin since it is just a 15 minute walk away and one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre — the other being Henry Street. Take a stroll down the street and enjoy shopping, grab a pint at a local pub and more.

Here’s what your day could look like:

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Day 3: Northern Ireland Day Trip!

Pack up your rental car for a day of exploring! Today you’ll be heading to Northern Ireland, property of the UK. There are so many beautiful sites to see in Northern Ireland that you’ll want to start your day nice and early. 

For a full Northern Ireland day trip itinerary and what to expect, check out my blog, The Ultimate Northern Ireland Day Trip.

Here’s what your day could look like: 

Head out of Dublin and start your drive to The Peach Maze:

One of your first stops along the way will be at Peace Maze. Peace Maze is roughly an hour and 45 minutes away from Dublin and Europe’s largest permanent hedge maze. Enjoy a stroll through the maze and see if you can find your way to the bridge above to overlook the maze and the town of Castlewellan. 

*The Peace Maze is free to enter. 

The Ultimate Day Trip To Northern Ireland -Mindful Living Company

Stop in Belfast city for lunch:

For your next stop you can drive through Belfast city to stretch your legs, enjoy a plate of fish and chips and if you have time stop into the Titanic Museum!

Visit Dunluce Castle:

It’s time to see a castle! Make your way to Dunluce Castle, a beautiful, well preserved castle along the coast of Northern Ireland. This castle is directly next to Giants of Causeway so don’t feel rushed while exploring. 

*Tickets are available for purchase only in person at the castle.

The Ultimate Day Trip To Northern Ireland -Mindful Living Company

See the Giants of Causeway for sunset:

The time has come! Park your rental car at the parking lot at the Visitors Entrance near the start of the Giants of Causeway trail entrance and walk down to the site.

The mountains surrounding the Giants of Causeway are stunning. The sun setting along the coast is unbelievable and such a sight to see. As you walk down you’ll end at the unique rocks that make The Giants Of Causeway.

Drive back to Dublin (3 hour drive)

The Ultimate Day Trip To Northern Ireland -Mindful Living Company
The Ultimate Day Trip To Northern Ireland -Mindful Living Company
The Ultimate Day Trip To Northern Ireland -Mindful Living Company
The Ultimate Day Trip To Northern Ireland -Mindful Living Company

Day 4: Check Out Galway

One of our regrets during our trip was not allowing more time in Galway. The city is beautiful! It’s quaint, lively, safe, and all around a great scene. Many locals told us to check out Galway for a few days but at the time our schedule didn’t allow it. If you feel The Trinity Library in Dublin may not be for you, I strongly suggest skipping that and giving yourself an extra day in Galway. Or, if you are able to add a day to your trip I encourage you to add additional time in Galway!

Here’s what your day could look like:

  • Leave Dublin and start your drive to Galway in the early morning (Dublin to Galway is 3 Hours)
  • Make a few stops along the way if your schedule allows it!
    1. Malahide Castle
    2. Sean’s Bar (Oldest Bar in Ireland!)
  • Arrive in Galway & check into your hotel
  • Explore Galway!
  • Dinner at Dough Bros

Where To Stay In Galway?

Depends on what you’re looking for. Galway has a handful of budget friendly options as well as hotels that come at a higher cost. 

Be aware that Eyre Square is the “center city” and popular hub in Galway with a few affordable options that line the park, but, with the affordable price comes a high volume level from the local bars and clubs. For example, Skeffington Arms Hotel is a very affordable option but is built above the Skeff Late Bar & Kitchen and connected via a side door so it is extremely loud all night long. 

Other hotel options nearby:

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Day 5: Explore The Cliffs Of Moher

The moment you’ve been waiting for! The bucket list visit – The Cliffs Of Moher. The entire experience at the Cliffs of Moher was truly breathtaking every step of the way. As you arrive closer to the cliffs you’ll be engulfed by rolling green hills, small towns and homes, farm animals and tight winding roads. Once you arrive, you will be able to check in and park at the Visitor Center where you can also grab a quick snack, use the restroom and shop for memorabilia. 

They say the Cliffs of Moher can take roughly 4.5 hours to walk from start to finish, a total of 12.4 miles. We decided to walk the entire south side of the cliff and we felt it was a very enjoyable walk with beautiful views of all angles of the cliffs. 

If it has rained be aware that the path will be extremely muddy and wet. Bring comfortable sneakers or hiking boots and a rain jacket. As you make your way along the cliff you’ll see breathtaking views, local horses and cows, and an experience you will never forget.

Do keep in mind that it rains daily in Ireland so if your forecast says rain, be mindful that the cliffs will be extremely windy and the clouds or rain fog may cover your view of the cliffs. We were extremely lucky during our visit, it abruptly rained 2-3 times during our walk along the cliff and then completely cleared up with sun shining on us the rest of the way. 

Here’s what your day could look like:

  • Early morning breakfast at a local bakery 
  • Checkout of your Galway hotel
  • Start driving!
  • Visit the Cliffs of Moher 
  • If there’s time, make a stop at the town of Limerick for a bite to eat 
  • Start making your drive back to Dublin

Day 6: Guinness Storehouse Tour

Enjoy a pint of Guinness during the popular Guinness Tour in the Guinness Storehouse! 

The building offers guided and self guided tours, informative displays, a Guinness merchandise store, and an option to get your face printed on the foam of your own Guinness pint! Plus there’s nothing like enjoying a pint of Guinness served from the Guinness Storehouse itself. This experience is a huge tourist attraction and not as personal of a tour that we felt we received with Jameson, but it is perfect for those who prefer to go at their own pace.

Before heading out be sure to go to the rooftop Gravity Bar for another pint and beautiful 360 degree views of Dublin.

Restaurant Options In Ireland

Dublin:

The Church Cafe & Restaurant Bar – 

The Church Cafe & Restaurant Bar is an all in one place serving you great food and a fun time all inside a massive church built in the 18th century. The restaurant is huge, with a stage near the front where an Irish band and dancers play every Sunday thru Wednesday night during your meal. It has a huge bar and an upstairs level. Now, normally with a large size restaurant you may wonder how quality the food is, well, The Church Cafe was one of our favorite fish and chips we had on our trip. A perfectly flakey breading and fresh cod, it was amazing. 

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Dash Burger – 

We had found Dash Burger on TikTok where they had described it as the “best burger in Ireland” so naturally, we had to try it. Dash Burger did not disappoint. Being a tiny restaurant with only about 4-5 tables, you may have to wait a bit for a seat but in the meantime you can watch the chef cooking the smash burger right in front of you.

Sprezzatura – 

If you’re craving Italian you must go here! Sprezzatura is known for their fresh pastas and everyone we ordered we loved. Each pasta dish comes as a smaller serving so you can try a bunch and share with friends. Our favorites were the Cecio E Pepe and the Rigatoni Tomato Basil.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Bread 41 Eatery – 

A must stop at bakery in Dublin. Bread 41 is an organic bakery that bakes fresh pastries and bread by hand every day. It was the perfect quick breakfast for us to enjoy in the bakery or take on the road with us.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Galway:

Dough Bros –

We heard from everyone to try Dough Bros for the best pizza. This neapolitan style pizza was amazing. We absolutely loved it. Tasty sauce, perfect crust and tons of topping combinations to pick from that everyone in your group will be satisfied here.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Athlone:

Savoury Fare – 

If you’re driving through Athlone (possibly to check out Ireland’s oldest bar, Seans Bar!) and need a bite to eat you should make a stop into Savoury Fare for an authentic classic Irish meal. With fresh breakfast, hand made desserts and tea served in the kettle right at your table, this restaurant was quaint, authentic, homey and exactly what we needed for a bite to eat.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Belfast:

Fish City –

We stopped in Belfast for a bit to eat while we were exploring Northern Ireland. While checking out the Belfast City Centre we walked past Fish City and the sign out front saying “The National Fish & Chips Award Winner” instantly caught our eye. We decided to check it out and glad we did! The fish & chips were amazing, light breading, quality cod, and tasty wedge fries on the side. Fish City won the Seafish Regional award for Fish and Chip Shop of the Year in 2015 and was recognised as the UK’s Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year and Environment and Sustainability Champion in 2023.

The Ultimate Day Trip To Northern Ireland -Mindful Living Company

Pub Options In Ireland

The Temple Bar – 

The Temple Bar is one of the most iconic bars in Dublin. The outside of the building is decked out in florals making it beautiful, welcoming and a can’t miss pub. The bar plays live music 24/7 and serves Irish and international craft beers.

Slattery’s Bar – 

One of the few pubs in Ireland with a license to open at 7am on weekends with a pub grub menu! This is a great stop to make on your way through Dublin.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

T.P. Smiths

Another great Irish bar in Dublin to enjoy a pint and watch a rugby game. Head to the 2nd floor for a more private experience and 2nd bar.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Oliver St. Johns Gogarty’s – 

We absolutely loved this bar in Dublin! The bar experience felt very authentic to Ireland with live traditional music, great energy and service. It was one we wished we’d gone back to.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Bad Ass – 

This is a great bar to end the night at in Dublin if you’re looking for a spot to dance at with endless fun, live music. The upbeat energy here was so much fun that we had to stay until bar close.

Sean’s Bar – Ireland’s Oldest Pub! 

If you’re traveling through the middle of Ireland I highly suggest checking out this historic bar! Sean’s Bar is located in the small city of Athlone, directly in the center of Ireland. The bar is dated back to 900 AD and you can absolutely tell when you walk in. The bar is fairly small and covered in ancient artifacts. Take a step inside this awesome time machine for a truly rare experience. Plus, you can ask the bartenders to show you how to correctly pour a pint of Guinness and share with you all about the history of the bar.

How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company
How To Explore Ireland In 6 Days - Mindful Living Company

Our time in Ireland was an absolute dream! Truly an unforgettable trip with amazing memories made, great food, even better pints and stunning views. This Ireland travel itinerary packs some of the best spots in Ireland in a short and sweet trip that you will remember for a lifetime. 

-Kat

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Katerina Haros - Mindful Living Company - Professional Photography

ABOUT KAT

You can call me Kat! I'm a Milwaukee native, always looking for something new to check out, whether that be in MKE or across the world. Follow my blog and social for all things travel, inspiration, lifestyle and living mindfully.

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