When I am asked to plan a perfect two week trip to Ireland, I recommend Dublin as a base for the majority of sightseeing, with side trips to Killarney, Waterford, Howth, and Limerick, along with tours of the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Newgrange. I recommend at least four days in Dublin to include Dublin Castle, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Stephen’s Green, the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, and the Temple Bar entertainment district for traditional Irish food and music.
Below is a sample two week Ireland itinerary with suggested don’t miss sights in Dublin with Ireland side trips, along with suggestions for changes if you don’t have a full two weeks. I have included tips with website links for saving time and money. I do not receive any commission based on any recommendations. If you would like more information about any of the sights, check out my new Amazon paperback or Kindle/ebook titled, “Dublin 2018 Travel Guide with Ireland Side Trips,” or listen to my free podcast by clicking on the audio bar at the end of this article.
Day 1 of 14 – Dublin Arrival and Overview
As soon as possible after you check in to your hotel, begin your sightseeing with an overview tour of Dublin to get to know the city and to decide what looks best to you for upcoming days. So, check in to your hotel, and if necessary, check your bags with the hotel desk if you cannot get into your room. Put on comfortable shoes, and make your way to Trinity College in time to arrive before the 11:00 am walking tour begins. Buy your tickets for the tour from the guide in front of the arched wooden doors inside the fencing of Trinity College facing Grafton Street at College Green.
11:00 am (also offered at 3:00 pm in May through September)
Take the recommended two-hour overview walking tour of Dublin’s highlights with Historical Walking Tours of Dublin. Dublin’s longest established walking tour operator, since 1986, offers regularly scheduled overview tours twice daily from May through September, daily at 11:00 am in April and October, and at 11:00 am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday year-round. The tours are conducted by graduates of Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland.
As you walk through the streets of central Dublin, you will learn about Irish history, including Dublin’s development, the influence of the American and French Revolutions, the Potato Famine, the Great War and the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, the Northern conflict, and Ireland today. Sights included on the tour are Trinity College, the Old Parliament House, the Temple Bar entertainment area, City Hall, Dublin Castle, St. Stephen’s Green, Christ Church Cathedral and more. Note: Some tours can run a bit longer than two hours. For more information, updates, changes, group bookings, specialized tour inquires, or if you wish to book online (12 Euros), check the official website: http://historicaltours.ie.
Morning or Afternoon
Take Dublin’s famous DoDublin green Hop-on, Hop-off tour bus. Since 1988, Fáilte Ireland trained drivers, all native Dubliners, provide entertaining, live commentary as they make 33 stops throughout the day.
The first buses begin each day at 9 am from the DoDublin office at Stop 1 on O’Connell Street, across from the intersection with Cathedral Street, and stop every 15 minutes throughout the day until at least 5 pm. Ticket options include the following:
24-hour Regular Priced Adult Tickets – 19 Euros with discounts for booking online, for children, students, and for senior citizen. There are significant discounts for 48-hour and 72-hour tickets.
For more information, to check for updates, to review other tours offered by DoDublin, or to buy tickets on-line, check the official website:
Check the map of Hop-on, Hop-off tour stops here:
City Sightseeing Dublin, offers similar Hop-on, Hop-off options with two routes around the city. For information, maps, and pricing, check the official website:
One option to consider might be to purchase a multi-day Hop-on, Hop-off tour ticket. On day one, stay on the bus for the overview. Then, on future day(s), use the ticket to reach Kilmainham Gaol other/or sights on the north side of the River Liffey.
Late afternoon/early evening
Return to the hotel, and rest for an hour or so. Check in to your room if it was not ready earlier in the day. Get ready for dinner, and then make your way to the Temple Bar entertainment area.
Have dinner and enjoy some live Irish music in the Temple Bar entertainment district, a fun area enjoyed by locals and visitors. Two recommended pubs/restaurants are:
The Temple Bar pub, located at the intersection of Temple Bar and Temple Lane, takes its name from the name of the entire district. The famous bar and restaurant date to the year 1840, and many consider it to be the best for Irish music. Menu items include cheese plates, oysters, and traditional Irish dishes. Expect plenty of tourists, music throughout the day and evening, and a large crowd in this sprawling establishment that includes a souvenir shop and a distillery store.
47-48 Temple Bar
Website for information and updates:
Yet another famous pub and restaurant, The Auld Dubliner, is located near the intersection of Temple Bar (after it becomes Fleet Street) with Bedford Row (where it changes names to Anglesea Street). Here you will find a mix of locals with the many tourists, great music, traditional Irish dishes, and some contemporary dishes, as well.
24-25 Temple Bar
Website for music times, information, and updates:
Day 2 of 14 – Central Dublin Highlights and Guinness Storehouse:
Begin the day with the first guided tour of Dublin Castle. Be sure to book in advance. The castle was erected in the early thirteenth century on the site of a Viking settlement. Dublin Castle served for centuries as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland.
Despite a fire in 1684, visitors can still explore parts of the medieval and Viking structures. After the fire, much of the castle was transformed in the late-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries into a Georgian palace. The new building included a suite of grand reception rooms for the Viceroy known as the State Apartments.
In the early 1800’s the Chapel Royal in the Lower Castle Yard was added. This Gothic Revival structure, with pinnacles on the outside and ornamental features inside, provided a place of worship for the royal household. It is considered one of the architectural highlights of Georgian Dublin today.
The castle is open seven days a week from 9:45 am to 5:45 pm. The last admission is at 5:15 pm. Guided tours take about 70 minutes, and include the State Apartments, the Viking excavation, Chapel Royal and exhibitions. Self-guided visits allow access only to the State Apartments and exhibitions.
Guided tour prices are:
Current regular adult price: 10 Euros
Current price for ages 12-17: 4 Euros
Under 12: Free
Self-guided visit prices are:
Current regular adult price: 7 Euros
Current price for ages 12-17: 3 Euros
Under 12: Free
Tickets cannot be purchased more than 28 days in advance. Tickets can be purchased on site at the Castle’s visitor reception desk in the State Apartments (upper courtyard). For more information, updates, and to purchase tickets for guided tours or self-guided visits, check the official Dublin Castle website:
Late morning and lunch
Visit the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle to see the oldest writings from the Bible and other world religions.
Chester Beatty Library
Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle overlooks the castle’s courtyard. It was Europe’s Museum of the Year in 2002, and its collections have only grown since then. The library contains some of the oldest writings of the Bible, including the earliest known book containing all four Gospels, the earliest copy of the letters of St. Paul, and the earliest individual copy of St. John’s Book of Revelation. And, it is free to visit!
I had the opportunity recently to interview the Curator of Western Collections for my podcast. Check out that post and podcast about the Chester Beatty Library here:
The museum’s Silk Road Café is a nice lunch option. The menu includes a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Chester Beatty Museum Hours:
Monday* through Friday 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 11 am – 5 pm
Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm
*Closed Monday in winter (November through February)
Closed Good Friday, December 24-26, January 1, and Public Holiday Mondays
Website for updates, tours, and special event information: www.cbl.ie
Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and, if time allows, Marsh’s Library. So, walk 10 minutes (one-half mile) to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Directions from the Chester Beatty Library to St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Exit the Chester Beatty Library to the left, with Dubh Linn Garden (castle courtyard) on the right. Turn left at the corner onto Ship Street Little. Turn left on Bride Street and right onto Bull Alley Street. Turn left on Patrick Street and left on St. Patrick’s Close. The entrance to the cathedral is on St. Patrick’s Close.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s was founded in 1191. It is named for the patron saint of Ireland, a missionary given credited with converting Ireland to Christianity around 400 AD. It is believed that the church is built on the site where St. Patrick baptized many Irish into Christianity. After the Reformation, Henry VIII seized the church from the Catholics and converted it to an Anglican church of the Church of Ireland. It remains the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. It is the largest and tallest church in Ireland. The cost to visit is 7.00 Euros per regular adult admission. Check the website for updates.
Continue to walk for about one minute along St. Patrick’s Close, and you will see the entrance to Marsh’s Library on the left. The library was founded in the early 1700’s by Dublin’s Archbishop Narcissus Marsh of the Church of Ireland.
Many of the library’s valuable books are still kept on the shelves allocated to them by Marsh. Notice the “cages” at the back of the library where scholars were locked in to study to prevent them from walking away with the precious books after a number of books were stolen by book thieves.
The library is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day except Tuesday and Sunday. The cost of regular adult admission is 3 Euros. Check the website for more information and updates:
Visit Christ Church and, if time allows, see the site of the first performance of Handel’s “Messiah”.
Directions from Marsh’s Library to Christ Church Cathedral:
From Marsh’s Library, walk about 10 minutes (about ½ mile) to Christ Church Cathedral. To get there, walk back to Patrick Street and turn right. After Patrick Street becomes Nicholas Street, Christ Church Cathedral will be ahead of you at the intersection with Christchurch Place.
Christ Church Cathedral
The first church on this site was a Viking church founded in 1030. It was incorporated into the Irish church in the mid-1100’s. In the 1500’s, when Henry VIII broke from Rome, the church became an Anglican Church of Ireland cathedral. The church is open daily. It is 7 Euros to visit, except during worship services when it is free for those who wish to attend the services. Check the official website for updates and information:
Location of the First Performance of Handel’s Messiah
If time allows take another five minutes to continue walking on Christchurch Place with the cathedral on the left, and turn left on Fishamble Street. On the right, on Fishamble Street, look for Handel’s Hotel. This was the original location of a music hall where the first performance of Handel’s Messiah was performed. The Messiah was sung jointly by the choirs of Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1742.
Visit St. Audeon’s church. Tour the Guinness Storehouse.
Directions to St. Audoen’s Church of Ireland
Turn around and walk back toward Christ Church Cathedral. On your right, you will see Dublinia, a tourist attraction about Viking and medieval Dublin. Continue walking as Christchurch Place becomes High Street past the large, newer, columned church of St. Audoen’s Catholic Church, and on the right will be St. Audoen’s Church of Ireland.
St. Audoen’s Church of Ireland
St. Audoen’s Church of Ireland is the oldest parish church in Ireland, established to serve medieval Dublin. It is now an Anglican church, and it continues to serve the parish of Dublin. The church is open daily from 9:30 am until 4:45 pm. If you have time, take a few minutes to walk inside. Admission is free.
Inside, look for the early Celtic gravestone known as the Lucky Stone that has been kept here since around 1300 AD. It is said to have strange properties, and merchants and traders used to rub it for luck.
Next, walk about 15 minutes (about 0.75 mile) from St. Audeon’s Church of Ireland to the Guinness Storehouse. To reach the Storehouse from St. Audeon’s Church, turn right as you exit the church, away from Christ Church Cathedral. Walk for about 10 minutes on High Street/Cornmarkt/Thomas Street. Turn left on Crane Street. Turn right at the second street on the right at Bellevue/Market Street to reach the Guinness Storehouse.
Dublin Bus Number 123 also travels from the St. Audeon’s at Bus Stop 2001 to the Guinness Storehouse. If you take the bus, get off at the Echlin Street Stop.
The Guinness Storehouse is the most visited paid attraction in all of Dublin and, in fact, in all of Ireland. It covers seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness.
The Guinness Storehouse is open 7 days a week except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Stephen’s Day. Visitors tour the storehouse during opening hours: 9:30 am until 7 pm (last admission at 5 pm), except 8 pm in July and August (last admission at 6 pm). Tickets begin at 17.50 Euros.
The tour ends at the Gravity Bar on top of the Guinness Storehouse for a 360-degree view of Dublin as you enjoy a pint of Guinness. This may well be the highlight of your visit!
Book in advance to assure the date, time, and tour of your choice at the official website:
St. James Gate, Dublin 8
Enjoy dinner and Irish music in Temple Bar.
Day 3 of 10 – Southeast Central Dublin Highlights:
Tour Trinity College. Visit the Long Room at Old Library and see the Book of Kells.
Begin the day at Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university. Founded in 1592, the college was established in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland.
Tour of Trinity College
The best way to learn about Trinity College is by taking the 35-minute tour of the university with a Trinity College student through the official college touring service, Authenticity Tours, for only 6 Euros per person, or 4 Euros per person if you show your Book of Kells ticket. You will learn about the history, traditions and student life at Trinity College as you visit the four major squares of the university.
Tours run daily. Dates, times and updates can be found at the official tour website:
Library of Trinity College – Long Room at the Old Library with Book of Kells
Either before or after your tour of Trinity College, see the Library of Trinity with its highlight, the Book of Kells. The Library of Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over six million printed volumes and manuscripts.
The library’s most celebrated book is the Book of Kells. Christian monks created the intricately decorated book of the four Gospels in their monastery on the Isle of Iona in Scotland around 800 AD. To see the library and the Book of Kells, and to avoid long lines, book online tickets in advance through the official Trinity College ticketing website or arrive early in the day.
The Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition – Ticket Information:
Enjoy lunch and shopping on and near Grafton Street.
A must-see sight of Dublin is shopping along Grafton Street. Flower stalls, Irish fashion shops, specialty shops, and department stores line this pedestrian shopping street. Nearby, Powerscourt Centre offers a unique shopping experience in an architectural delight of a Georgian townhome. And, don’t miss seeing the Molly Malone Statue.
If you visited Trinity College and the Book of Kells in the morning, walk across from the wooden arched doors of the college at the intersection of College Green and Grafton Street. Turn left on Grafton Street, facing away from Trinity College. On your right, you will pass the Irish Whiskey Museum, the Dublin Visitors Centre, and the Aran Sweater Market. Each of these might be worth stepping inside, depending on your interest.
O’Neill’s Pub and Kitchen
Turn right from Grafton Street onto Suffolk Street, and walk one block to the corner at 2 Suffolk Street. Have lunch at O’Neill’s Pub and Kitchen. Since 1713, this sprawling pub has been serving traditional Irish food, drink, and music. Lunch and dinner daily menus of meat, fish and vegetables are sourced from fine Irish producers.
Molly Malone Statue
Walk across the street from O’Neill’s Pub and Kitchen to see the famous bronze Molly Malone statue. Molly Malone is a fictional fishmonger and the star of a well-known Irish song. After taking a picture, walk back toward Grafton Street.
You may want to step inside Carrolls Irish Gifts at 23 Suffolk Street. Carrolls has been in business for over 30 years, selling traditional Irish clothing, gifts, and souvenirs.
Turn right off of Suffolk Street, away from Trinity College, to continue along Grafton Street. Brown Thomas Department Store will be to the right, and Marks and Spencer Department Store will be to the left on Grafton Street.
Powerscourt Townhouse/Powerscourt Centre
Turn right on Johnson’s Court and walk two minutes down the narrow street to the Clarendon Street entrance of Powerscourt Centre. This specialty shopping center is set in an elegant Georgian house that was home to Richard Wingfield, 3rd Viscount Powerscourt and his wife Lady Amelia in the 1700s. They bought the townhouse to entertain guests during Parliament season. Over the years, the property was expanded with three groups of buildings around the courtyard. Today, there are over 40 shops and restaurants in the center, including specialty shops selling fashionable clothing, jewelry, and antiques. The main entrance is at 59 South William Street. For additional information, check the official website:
St. Stephen’s Green
Exit the Williams Street main entrance of Powerscourt Centre, and turn left. Williams Street will become Johnson Street. Take the first left at King Street and walk one block to St. Stephen’s Green where you will see the large Fusiliers’ Arch at the park entrance erected in 1907 to honor the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died at war.
Walk through the arch to enter St. Stephen’s Green. The 22-acre park was restricted to local residents until 1877 when Parliament passed an Act to open it to the public at the initiative of Sir Arthur A. Guinness (Lord Ardilaun), a member of the brewing family. The Office of Pubic Works of the Irish State now operates the park. It houses many statues and memorials to Irish artists, soldiers, and patriots. For current information about the park, check the official website:
Other Area Attractions:
The National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
Open since 1890, this museum covers the history of Ireland from the Stone Age to the Late Middle Ages. The Treasury has recently opened after a major refurbishments. It features Celtic and Medieval art, including the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch, and the Lismore Crozier. The Viking Age exhibition explores the impact of the Viking civilization on Ireland through surviving artifacts from Viking graves of the 9th and 10th centuries and from settlement sites of the 10th through 12th centuries.
Another newly opened exhibit, Kingship and Sacrifice, contains the amazingly preserved Iron Age bog bodies that were only discovered in 2003 in County Meath. The exhibition is based around the theory that human sacrifice and the deposition of the victims in bogs along tribal boundaries is related to sovereignty and kingship rituals during the Iron Age. It is believed that these bodies were ritualistically sacrificed.
About half way between St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College at 2 Kildare Street
Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, and Good Friday
There is a Museum shop and a café that are open during Museum opening times.
Cost: Free admission
National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland houses the national collection of Irish and European art. In addition to the collection of Irish paintings, the gallery is known for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masters paintings, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. There are also works by American artist John Singer Sargent, as well as works by the dominant British portrait artist of the 18th century, Thomas Gainsborough.
The Gallery is less than a 10-minute walk from St. Stephen’s Green, Grafton Street or Trinity College.
The Millennium Wing Entrance is located on Clare Street and the Merrion Square Entrance is located at Merrion Square West.
Monday through Saturday 9:15 am to 5:30 pm (except open until 8:30 pm on Thursdays)
Sunday 11:00 am to 5:30 pm
Cost: Free admission for viewing permanent exhibits
Shanahan’s on the Green
For a special evening, have dinner facing St. Stephen’s Green at Shanahan’s on the Green. To get here, walk three blocks from Fusiliers’ Arch with the park to your left to reach this Georgian-styled building housing an American style steakhouse. It is consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Ireland. Menu items, including broiled Galway “Oysters Rockefeller” and chilled Irish lump crab salad complement steaks in a fusion of American and Irish cultures. Don’t miss the restaurant’s downstairs bar, The Oval Office, with original historical documents and artifacts from each of America’s Presidents of Irish heritage. Shanahan’s on the Green founder, John M. Shanahan, is an American entrepreneur of Irish heritage who maintains dual citizenship in Ireland and the United States. For reservations, current opening times, and menus, including a pre-theatre menu option, check the official website:
This would be a great night to attend a performance at Dublin’s famous Gaiety Theatre. To reach the theatre, walk back to Fusiliers’ Arch, and walk left for one block on King Street. For 146 years performances here have featured opera, musicals, drama, revues, comedy, concerts, dance, and festivals. Famous performers here have included Joan Rivers and Julie Andrews. Bronze handprints of those who have performed here are set into the pavement in front the theatre, including those of Luciano Pavarotti. So, even if you do not attend a performance, take a short walk from St. Stephen’s Green to see the iconic theatre. For the current performance calendar and to purchase tickets, check the official website:
Day 4 of 14 – Day Trip to Howth:
Be sure to take a day or part of a day to visit the town of Howth on the Irish Sea. If possible, pick a day with sunshine and little wind, so you can take the ferry around the island, Ireland’s Eye. In the town, visit the ruins of a medieval abbey, walk inside a defensive tower built to watch for potential invaders from Napoleon’s army that is now a vintage radio museum, and see Howth Castle, still inhabited by descendants of the original Lord who arrived in Howth in 1177 AD. Near the sea, watch as fishing nets are made, walk out to the original Howth lighthouse at the end of the pier, and enjoy fresh seafood as you look out over the harbor.
Getting to Howth
Begin by taking the DART suburban train directly from the center of Dublin just 25 minutes to Howth (rhymes with “growth”), a quaint town facing the Irish Sea. Buy tickets at the DART Station. Tickets are about 12 Euros for a full day of travel between Dublin and Howth.
For details of this trip, including a self-guided walking tour of Howth, click on this link for my post (with podcast link) about taking a day-trip to Howth from Dublin:
Day 5 of 14 – Other Dublin Highlights
On Day 5 of 14, select from other Dublin highlights just outside of the city center as well as on the north side of the River Liffey. Kilmainham’s Gaol is slightly outside of the center of the city, but worth the time if you want to learn more about the history of Ireland since the late 1700s. Highlights on the north side of the River Liffey are St. Michan’s Church, Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum, and Jameson’s Distillery.
This former prison, open from 1796 to 1924, houses a museum that literally tells the history of Irish nationalism through guided tours of the building. Most Irish nationalist leaders were imprisoned and executed here as well as thousands of Irish, especially during the Great Famine when many were imprisoned here for stealing food. Visiting the prison is a great way to learn about the history of Ireland. The only way to visit is through guided tours. Since tours often sell out in advance, be sure to book tickets online to be assured that you will be able to visit on the date and time of your choice. Plan on about 90 minutes for the visit.
Kilmainham Gaol Museum is open daily, except December 24th through 26th. From October 1 through May 31, the museum is open from 9:30 am until 5:30 pm, with the last tour at 4:15 pm. From June 1 through September 30, the museum is open from 9:00am until 6:45pm, with the last tour at 5:30pm.
About two miles outside of central Dublin on Inchicore Road, enter through the Visitor Centre at the Kilmainham Courthouse
Dublin Bus routes: no. 69, 79 from Aston Quay, Dublin 2; no. 13 & 40 from O’Connell St, Dublin 1, or College Green Dublin 2
Luas Tram: red line – nearest stop is Suir Road
Car Parking: Kilmainham Gaol has no car parking facilities. Parking is available at the nearby Irish Museum of Modern Art/Royal Hospital Kilmainham – access via East Gate, Military Road. The car park is a 5-minute walk to the Gaol via West Avenue and Richmond Gate.
Kilmainham Gaol is on Hop-on, Hop-off tour routes.
Cost: 8 Euros per adult, 4 Euros for children 12 – 17, free for children under 12
Website for updates and tickets:
At the Jameson Distillery, visitors can take a tour and whiskey tasting at the birthplace of Irish whiskey in Dublin. It was here, in 1780, where John Jameson opened the doors of the Jameson Distillery Bow Street. In addition to the distillery tour and included whiskey tasting, other offers include a premium whiskey tasting experience, and classes in learning how to blend your own take-home whiskey and how to master the craft of whiskey cocktail making. Visitors can also draw whiskey straight from a Jameson cask here in Dublin’s only live maturation warehouse.
Various tours are offered daily from 10 am until 6 pm. Book online in advance to assure availability.
40 minute distillery tour – 20 Euros
About three blocks north of the River Liffey on Bow Street near Church Street and Hammond Lane
St. Michan’s Church
St. Michan’s Church is an Anglican church that operated as a Catholic church until the Reformation. The first church was built in 1095 on the site of an early Viking chapel. The current church dates from 1686. Notably, Handel is said to have composed his Messiah on the church’s organ. St. Michan’s is most famous for it vaults containing limestone that has help preserved the mummified remains of a 400-year-old body of a nun, a six-and-a-half foot man believed to have been a crusader, a body with its feet and right hand severed, and the Sheares brothers—Henry and John—who took part in the 1798 rebellion. The church and vaults are open to tours on Saturdays, and seasonally on some weekdays.
About two blocks north of the River Liffey on Church Street
Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum
Visit the graves of those who shaped the course of Irish history from the world of the arts, the church and politics, including Michael Collins and Daniel O’Connell. Take an excellent tour from about 10 Euros and up, depending on the tour, or visit on your own for free. The monuments on the graves are works of art, featuring carvings of saints and beautiful crosses of all types, including the Celtic cross.
About 2 miles on the north side of the River Liffey on Finglas Road
Walking directions from St. Michan’s Church to Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum:
Continue walking on Church Street away from the River Liffey. Merge onto Finglas Road. The museum and cemetery will be ahead of you on Finglas Road.
Dublin’s Bus Number 83 runs regularly between central Dublin on the south side of the River Liffey to St. Michan’s Church and to the Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum.
The Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum are open from 8 am until 6:30 pm. Check for tour tickets and updates at the official website:
You may be interested in reviewing my earlier post and podcast of Dublin’s Christian highlights with walking tour here:
Days 6 (and 7) of 14 – Day Trip (or 2-Day Trip) to Waterford
Get to know Ireland’s history by spending a day or more seeing the sights in Waterford, Ireland, an easy 2-hour trip from Dublin via train or car. Many people know about Waterford’s world-class crystal factory and store by the same name, but there is much more to this city. For example, did you know that Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city with a rich history from its Viking founders? Did you know the Irish tricolour flag was first raised in Waterford by Thomas Meagher (pronounced “Mawr”)? And that Thomas Meagher went on to become the first Governor of Montana?
Perhaps the best way to get to know the city is to take the one-hour Waterford City Walking Tour with Jack Burtchaell. At only 7 Euros per person, this will be the highlight of your trip. The tour operates from mid-March through mid-October daily. Jack leaves from the Waterford Tourist Office at 11:45 am and 1:45 pm daily or from the Granville Hotel at noon and 2:00 pm daily. There is no need to make a reservation. Just show up at either location to begin the tour.
If you decide to stay overnight in the center of Waterford, the Granville Hotel is the place to be. The hotel has an excellent reasonably priced restaurant, a selection of rooms in a variety of price ranges, and is located right on the river affording nice views for the rooms facing the water. The hotel does not have air conditioning, but this should not be needed most of the year in Ireland. Room prices range from about 100 Euros per night for a standard room to about 150 Euros per night for a water view room during the lower priced seasons of the year and are slightly higher in summer and at holiday times. Check the official website for more information, updates, and to make reservations:
Granville Hotel address:
To reach the Granville Hotel from the train station, walk across the bridge over the river and turn left. The Granville will be on your right facing the water. If arriving by car, park in the large public parking lot directly across the street from the Granville on the waterfront.
Read about Waterford, including the all of the highlights of the walking tour in my post (with podcast link) here:
Cliff House Hotel and Spa
For a special experience, take the train or drive from Dublin to Waterford, tour Waterford, and then spend the weekend (or longer) nestled above the Irish Sea at the luxurious 5-Star Cliff House Hotel and Spa in Ardmore, about 45 minutes from Waterford City.
If you are taking the train, the Cliff House Hotel can arrange for driver Sean Willoughby’s luxury car service to transfer you to the Cliff House Hotel from Waterford. Costs from 125 Euros.
Have dinner at the gourmet Michelin-starred restaurant, pamper yourself in the indoor/outdoor spa, and take walks along the sea cliffs.
The hotel can arrange for private walks with local guides for nature walks and for historical walks. Prices start from 50 Euros per person for a two-hour walk.
Room prices begin at about 300 Euros per night for the least expensive rooms. Add a gourmet meal and spa treatment for two guests for packages beginning at about 550 Euros per night.
Day 8 of 14 – Day Trip to Newgrange
Take the Mary Gibbons bus/coach tour to visit Newgrange, located only 32 miles/50 km from Dublin, but thousands of years in the past. Newgrange is a Neolithic Ritual Centre and Passage Tomb, completely intact since the Stone Age. At 5,200 years old, it is older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids. It is the oldest astronomical observatory in the world. The large, circular mound is 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high with a 19 meter (21 yard) stone passageway and chambers inside. It is ringed by 97 large stones, some engraved with symbols called megalithic art.
The Mary Gibbons tour includes skip-the-line entrance to the mound at Newgrange. The full-day tour also drives through the Georgian village of Slane and stops at the Hill of Tara. The tour runs daily and offers a number of convenient pickup points in Dublin. The cost is 40 Euros for adults and 35 Euros for students. See the tour website for more information:
Day 9 of 14 – Day Trip to Limerick
Limerick is about 2 ½ hours from Dublin via train, bus or car. It also makes a nice stop before continuing on your way to the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Killarney, or other destinations in the west of Ireland. Have a reasonably priced meal in one of Ireland’s top 100 restaurants, The Curragower. Spend a couple of hours and tour the 13th century King John’s Castle. Stroll along the banks of the River Shannon and see some of the other sights of Limerick as you learn a bit about the history of Ireland’s third largest city, founded as the westernmost settlement of the Vikings in all of Europe.
Check out the details of visiting Limerick, including a self-guided walking tour (with podcast) in my previous post here:
Note: If you are driving to the beginning of this walk, there is free parking in the King John’s Castle Visitors Car Park at the corner of Church Street and Castle Street.
Days 10 and 11 of 14: Two Perfect Days in Killarney
Killarney, a town on the Ring of Kerry Road makes a great base for visiting the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. If you have the time, try to spend two full days exploring the town of Killarney.
Killarney National Park
On your first day, take a walk or a horse and buggy ride through Killarney National Park. See the ruins of a medieval abbey, majestic Torc waterfall, and the historic Muckross House, once owned by brewing magnate Arthur Guinness. Have dinner looking out over the ruins of a castle along the edge of the lake.
Highlights of Killarney
On the second day, walk through the gardens of Killarney House and take the free tour of the newly opened home. Visit the medieval Ross Castle. Take a one-hour boat tour on the largest lake in Killarney. See the only remaining indigenous species to Ireland, the Red Deer, in their natural habitat. Stop and have tea at a thatched-roof lodge on the edge of the park. Visit St. Mary’s Cathedral. Spend some time in the shops of quaint Killarney town. Enjoy world-famous Murphy’s Ice Cream. Perhaps have dinner at The Flesk Steak and Seafood Restaurant. End the day listening to Irish music at Murphy’s Bar.
Check out the details of the two days in Killarney in my earlier post and podcast here:
Recommended Killarney Hotels
Four recommended hotel options, listed in order of most to least expensive, are the Killarney Park Hotel, the Lake Hotel Killarney, The Brehon, and The Gleneagle Hotel and Apartments. Check their websites for current prices and more information:
Killarney Park Hotel website:
Lake Hotel Killarney website:
The Brehorn website:
The Gleneagle Hotel and Apartments website:
Days 12 (and 13) of 14 – Day Tours to the Ring of Kerry and/or the Dingle Peninsula from Killarney or Dublin
To avoid driving or even train travel outside of Dublin, but to still be able to see some of the world-class highlights of Ireland, consider taking the recommended Paddy Wagon Tour below to get an overview of the Ring of Kerry, Killarney, and the Dingle Peninsula. Or, stay in Killarney and take Paddy Wagon tours from Killarney to the Ring of Kerry and/or to the Dingle Peninsula from Killarney.
Kerry Day Trip from Dublin with Paddywagon Tours:
This tour combines highlights of the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula and Killarney. It stops in Adare, one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages with its thatched-roof cottages. In Killarney, visit Killarney National Park where you can visit the Torc Waterfall and Muckross House. Then, pass along part of the famous “Ring of Kerry” driving route, and enjoy the scenic drive along parts of the famous Dingle Peninsula. The tour stops for photos of Dingle Bay, Skellig rocks, Inch beach, and much more before returning to Dublin.
The tour operates most weekends on Saturday and/or Sunday. The cost begins at about 65 Euros per person. There are three central Dublin pick-up and drop-off locations.
For more information, dates of availability, and to book tickets, check the official website:
Day 14 – Return home from Shannon Airport, nearest airport to Killarney, or from the Dublin airport.
I hope this suggested itinerary provides some ideas for visiting Dublin and some side trips to highlights in Ireland. Please feel free to email me if you have particular questions at email@example.com.
Remember to listen to my accompanying podcast at the end of this post. Until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect!