If you’re looking for the perfect destination to plan a road trip, I’m going to suggest you put Ireland at the very top of your list.
I recently spent a week driving the circumference of the island, and it was one of the most scenic journeys I have ever undertaken. The Emerald Isle lived up to every single expectation I had in mind prior to arriving – rolling hills in every shade of green, stray sheep munching by the side of the road, and narrow lanes that crisscrossed the tiniest of villages.
To say it was picturesque would be an understatement, so instead I’ll try to show you the journey through a few select pictures:
The adventure began in Dublin where we picked up a rental car and did our best to explore the city in a short amount of time. Highlights included a meal at the oldest pub in Ireland (The Brazen Head), wandering down the colourful city centre in spite of the stormy skies, and experiencing the city’s legendary nightlife in Temple Bar.
After leaving Dublin behind, our first destination was Glendalough, a glacial valley located in County Wicklow. Glendalough is home to an early medieval monastic settlement that was settled in the 6th century and visitors can freely wander through the ruins.
Next up we continued towards the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, which is an imposing stone fortress on a hill. Within the walls you’ll find a group of buildings including a round tower, a cathedral, a castle, a chapel, as well as the remains of tombstones and ancient buildings.
Just a few hundred meters down from the Rock of Cashel, we spotted the ruins of Hore Abbey. Whereas the Rock of Cashel was full of visitors, when we reached the abbey we discovered there wasn’t another soul to be found – proof that sometimes it’s worth going the extra distance!
I wouldn’t be painting an honest portrait of the Irish countryside if I didn’t include at least one photo of sheep grazing and bahhh-ing in a field.
Like a patchwork quilt stitched in every shade of green. These are the rolling hills in the Glen of Aherlow.
If your itinerary allows it, I would recommend driving at least a small stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way. This route hugs Ireland’s western coast and it will take you through some of the most breathtaking stretches of land you have ever encountered.
Northern Ireland’s beaches may not be world renowned for their warm temperatures, but they certainly make for great leisurely walks – just don’t forget a windbreaker and some rain boots!
The Causeway Coastal Route is another incredible drive that sticks to Northern Ireland’s shores as it leads you from Londonderry to Belfast. The drive is lined with attractions like Dunluce Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and many others. Here are some more ideas of places you won’t want to miss in Northern Ireland.
Giant’s Causeway is a natural marvel made up of over 40,000 basalt columns that were the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, but legend has it that this bridge was built by an Irish giant looking to fight a Scottish giant just across the North Channel.
The Dark Hedges is the name given to an impressive avenue that was lined with beech trees back in the eighteenth century. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may recognize this as one of the show’s filming locations, but even if you don’t follow the program, it’s still worth a detour to see it with your own eyes.
And that’s just a little sneak peek at what you can expect from a road trip through Ireland. For more ideas on places to go and attractions to visit, you can check out this one week itinerary through Ireland and Northern Ireland. Enjoy the road trip!
Have you been to Ireland?
What were some of your favourite destinations?