6 days in Ireland by car. Ireland itinerary 6 days including Dublin, Cork, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher, and Belfast (from €50 per day excluding camper rental).
When I thought about traveling to Ireland, I knew there was only one way I wanted to do it – an epic road trip!
There are so many sites to visit and although it is possible to take tours from Dublin, I wanted to get off the “tourist trail”. Having a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. And better yet – a camper provides the ultimate independence with a bed, kitchenette, table, and chairs.
For my 6 days in Ireland, I had the company of my friend Tamara and our “Aces” 2-Seater Camper from Wicked Campers Europe. I was excited to try traveling in a camper, and what better way than in a black and red Motorhead van called Lemmy. He definitely turned a few heads!
Here are my 6 days in Ireland itinerary, including distances between stops and budget breakdown.
6 days in Ireland itinerary by car
Day 1 – Dublin to Cork
Before setting off on your Irish road trip, I definitely recommend a couple of days in Dublin. This is an international city with many ex-pats and visitors, however, it still maintains it’s Irish culture.
Have an obligatory Irish coffee in the Temple Bar area but for a real Irish pub experience, our walking tour guide recommended O’Donoghue’s on Baggot St. It is a lot bigger than it initially looks and has live Irish music.
Glendalough (67.7 km / 42 miles from Dublin)
Going south from Dublin, skip the longer coastal road and head inland through Wicklow County. This will be the beginning of stunning scenery during your road trip.
Our first stop is at the Glendalough Monastic Site to explore the church ruins and hauntingly beautiful cemetery.
Cork (258 km / 160 miles from Dublin)
Cork is the third-largest city in Ireland and, in my opinion, the most charming (I might be a little biased as my father’s family came from Cork). This is a great place to stop for the night and stock up on groceries for the trip.
When the sun starts to set, try dinner at Gallagher’s Gastro Pub, then head to Crane Lane for a drink and a dance.
Day 2 – Cork to Kenmare
It is easy to spend half a day here and the city is very walkable. Take a stroll down Oliver Plunkett Street, stop for a coffee in the English Market, continue on for views from University College Cork (UCC), and end up in Fitzgerald’s Park for a picnic by the fountain. If you are in Cork and don’t have a car, you can take a Blarney and Cobh 5-Hour Tour from Cork.
Blarney Castle (9.3 km / 5.7 miles from Dublin)
In the afternoon, it’s back in the van but the next stop isn’t far. Just 20 minutes outside of Cork is the infamous Blarney Castle. If you haven’t heard the tale, those who kiss the Blarney Stone receive the “gift of the gab”. This basically means that you are instantly transformed into a smooth talker. I kissed it and I am still waiting.
One thing I didn’t realize is that they hang you upside down to kiss the stone. Don’t worry, it is totally safe with a full-time employee there to hold onto you. Also, there are bars below so it’s not possible to fall.
The grounds also have a manor, waterfall, and Ireland’s only poison garden.
Kenmare (87.7 km / 54 miles from Blarney Castle)
Kenmare is located southwest, right near the Ring of Kerry. We stopped overnight to visit a friend that we made in Dublin. I love how “small town” it is. There are only a few main streets and two general stores – right across from each other! But don’t worry, there are plenty of pubs.
Day 3 – Kenmare to Dingle
Killarney National Park (12.7 km / 7.8 miles from Kenmare)
After grabbing your Barry’s Tea to-go, get ready for the Ring of Kerry! The entire route can take a full day on its own – so if you have time, go for it. We just had a few hours but still enjoyed every minute of it. If you don’t have a car or would prefer to go with a guide, check out Ring of Kerry Full-Day Guided Tour from Cork.
From Kenmare, you can drive along a portion of the Ring of Kerry to Killarney National Park. There is no cost to enter unless you want to take a horse and cart ride from the characters out front. Otherwise, you can visit the Abby ruins, cemetery, and see the lake in less than half an hour on foot.
Inch Beach (39 km / 24 miles from Killarney National Park)
It’s time to see some of that rugged Irish west coast, starting with Inch Beach. This is a nice place to grab a tea or coffee (I basically spent my entire road trip with Barry’s Tea in my hand) and have a picnic from the back of your camper.
Dingle (23 km / 14 miles from Blarney Castle)
Dingle was a highlight of our road trip for so many reasons. It’s a bit out of the way on the peninsula, but worth the extra time driving. For the perfect night out, have a pint in Dick Macks Pub, head to the Marina Inn Hotel for cheap Irish stew, and Tom Crean beer, then end the night at An Droichead Beag (The Small Bridge in Irish) for the best Irish music in Dingle.
Day 4 – Dingle to Cliffs of Moher
Limerick (148 km / 91 miles from Dingle)
When you are driving from Dingle to Cliffs of Moher, there are many different towns to stop at along the way. However, there is nowhere else like Limerick. After being surrounded by green fields and quaint towns, Limerick is a shock to the senses with its industrial feel and vibrant residents. Visiting in Limerick will definitely provide a contrast to the other destinations on your road trip.
We parked close to the Milk Market and had delicious tea and scones at a place called Ma’s. Be aware that parking here isn’t free and you will need to buy a parking ticket from one of the nearby stores (they have them at Ma’s). It’s an interesting system where you scratch off the date and time on the ticket and then place in your car window.
Cliffs of Moher (78 km / 48 miles from Limerick)
I would recommend arriving at the Cliffs of Moher before sunset. These 320 million-year-old cliffs are notorious for being too foggy to get a good photo. When we visited in the evening, it was windy and chilly but we could see the cliffs and water. The next morning, we returned but you couldn’t see a meter in front of you. That’s why it’s good to go the day before, sleep nearby, and plan to return the next day. You will increase your chances of seeing these beauties.
Day 5 – Cliffs of Moher to Belfast
Mullingar (195 km / 121 miles from Cliffs of Moher)
After a huge Irish breakfast at Cliffs of Moher Hotel (see current rates for accommodation), it’s a big drive to get to Belfast.
For a lunchtime stop, check out Mullingar. A great place to buy more groceries if you need them, or to chill out in one of the many cafes or restaurants. See if you can spot the Banksy Tribute and County Infirmary building on your way out of town.
Belfast (181 km / 112 miles from Cliffs of Moher)
Crossing the border from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland is almost unnoticeable, apart from the small welcome sign and change of line color on the roads. What you will quickly notice is that the speed signs are now in miles (not kilometers) and the currency is pounds (not euros).
Day 6 – Belfast to Dublin
Outside of Belfast, you can find parks to stop and have a picnic lunch. We spent time in Belvoir Park Forest to relax before driving into the city.
There are a few different free walking tours in Belfast, however, for something more substantial, I would recommend a political tour. On a one hour Black Cab Tour, our guide gave us the condensed history on how Ireland split into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as the divide between the Protestants and Catholic communities.
Apart from some basic understanding of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), I was amazed to realize how much I didn’t know about the conflict (referred to “The Troubles”) which is still apparent today. It is very eye-opening to see a giant “Peace Wall” separating two parts of the city and street art propaganda on opposing sides.
Bellinghamcastle (98 km / 61 miles from Belfast)
If you haven’t had enough small Irish towns or castles, stop in at Bellingcastle on your way back to Dublin. The town seems to have been built around the castle, aptly named Castle Bellingham.
Dublin (71 km / 44 miles from Bellinghamcastle)
And it’s back to Dublin, where we dropped Lemmy off at the Wicked Campers depot and took cheesy tourist photos that we will cherish as much as the memories of this incredible trip!
Location: 37 Cherry Orchard Industrial Estate, Ballyfermot Dublin 10, Ireland
Wicked Campers are all about cheap travel in wicked style while letting loose and having fun. If you have a fondness for freedom, an appetite for adventure, and a good sense of humor, then traveling in a Wicked Camper is definitely for you. This no-fuss method of travel gives you the ability to create and change your itinerary on a whim. Basically, you are a self-sufficient turtle with your home on your back – but even better because you don’t have to walk everywhere.
Wicked Campers Europe has depots in The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, UK, and Ireland. Their vehicle fleeting includes 2 Seater Campervans, Minicamper 3-Sleepers, Safari 5-Sleeper Campers, and Premium Campers. All vehicles have space for sleep, so you never need to worry about or pay extra for accommodation.
My friend and I got to cruise around Ireland in a Wicked 2-Seater Camper. This camper comes with everything you need to have a fun and affordable road trip, including a large comfy bed, kitchenette, camp table, and stools. The van includes plenty of storage for your bags, while also converting into a table and chairs.
The back compartment of our van included a cooler (esky), gas cooker, saucepan, pot, bowls, plates, cups, cutlery, outdoor table, and chairs. We were able to save money on food by buying groceries and storing them at the back. Many times during our trip, we would pull over for lunch and make sandwiches from out the back of Lemmy.
My travel budget for Ireland and Northern Ireland
All costs are quoted for two people and in the local currencies (EUR for Republic of Ireland and GBP for Northern Ireland). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to USD and AUD. I always try to find and negotiate the best prices to share with my readers. If you know of a better deal, tell me about it in the comments below.
Accommodation: We slept in our 2-Seater Camper from Wicked Campers Europe. To hire your own cheap campervan, check out Bookings & Quotes.
Food: We purchased groceries for snacks (fruit, protein bars, etc) and some lunches (bread, peanut butter, and strawberry jam). I also purchase a bottle of soy milk which I would then use for my teas and coffees if we stopped in places that did not have dairy milk alternatives.
Day 1 – Sandwich, soup and coffee from a service/gas station (€7), groceries (€12), Irish Tapas and a pot of tea in Gallagher’s Gastro Pub (€10).
Day 2 – Ham and cheese toastie and coffee in Fitzgerald Park (€8), coffee at Farmgate in the English Market (€3.2), tea from a service/gas station (€2.50), a burger at Horseshoe in Kenmare (€12), 2 bottles of wine to share (€17.50).
Day 3 – Groceries (€15), tea (€1.50), a glass of wine at Dick Macs in Dingle (€5.50), Irish stew and Tom Crean beer at the Marina Inn Hotel (€8.50), drinks at An Droichead Beag (€13).
Day 4 – Ham and cheese toastie and coffee at Strandhouse Cafe (€8.95), tea and a scone at Ma’s Kitchen in Limerick (€4.60), pea soup, lobster risotto and wine at Vaughan’s Anchor Inn (€25.90).
Day 5 – Irish breakfast at Cliffs of Moher Hotel (€9.95), ham and cheese toastie and soup at Cafe Bazaar in Mulligan (€5.95), coffee and scone (€4.60), groceries (€10).
Day 6 – Cup of tea and cookie from Costa Coffee (£3), sandwich and yogurt from a service/gas station (€6).
Activities: Entrance to Blarney Castle (€15), Black Cabs Political Tour (£10).
Transport: Fuel for 6 days split between two (€85.69).
Average daily spend: €50.38 each ($54.32 USD and $70.37 AUD as of 22 March 2017) excluding the 2-Seater Camper. This daily amount could be reduced by eating out and drinking less.
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