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Get to know the neighbours with this epic two-week trip around the Emerald Isle. Combine iconic locations such as the Giant’s Causeway and the cities of Dublin, Galway and Belfast, with areas of real natural beauty to fully appreciate the wonders that Ireland has to offer.
Start the trip off with the ferry over to Dublin. Check out the famous Guinness factory and experience the city’s vibrant nightlife to kick off your trip. After a day there, it’s time to make the most of the stunning Irish countryside with visits to Glendalough, Kilkenny and Killarney. With some beautiful walking areas and quaint country pubs, this is an amazing opportunity to get a taste of the real Ireland.
Next up is a trip up to Galway, broken up with a night on the iconic Cliffs of Moher. Take in the vibrant Galway city and combine it with a trip to the famous Aran Islands. Next up is a trip to Game of Thrones country, crossing the border into Northern Ireland. A couple of nights in Portrush will give you a chance to see the impressive Giant’s Causeway before heading down to Belfast. The last stop in Ireland won’t disappoint. Whether it’s city life or peaceful country walks you’re looking for, Belfast has a bit of something for everyone.
A night in North Wales will break up your journey home, but really, this trip is all about experiencing Ireland and all its beauty.
GOAT Roadtrip Leeds Depot (58 Commercial Road, LS5 3AQ)
Pick-up in the afternoon on the first day and drop-off in the morning on the last day (specific timings depend on the vehicle – see here). To extend your stay by adding more nights, please specify in your enquiry.
Dublin (1 Night) Glendalough (2 Nights) Kilkenny (2 Nights) Killarney (2 Nights) Cliffs of Moher (1 Night) Galway (2 Nights) Port Rush (2 Nights) Belfast (2 Nights) Colwyn Bay (1 Night)
Leave your car securely parked at our depot in Leeds or have it delivered locally for an extra fee.
From Leeds, you’ll need to head pretty quickly to Holyhead to catch the ferry. The drive to Holyhead should take just under 2 hours if you take the M62 out of Leeds and then pick up the coastal road through North Wales. The ferry takes roughly three hours, but it will give you a chance to get off and stretch your legs.
Spend the first day of the trip exploring Ireland’s capital. Spend your first night exploring the local nightlife in Temple Bar before checking out the Guinness factory the next day (as long as you’re not driving). You should have enough time to have a wander through St. Stephen’s green and explore Dublin Castle before heading out of the city down to Glendalough. The journey shouldn’t take more than an hour and passes through some pleasant rural areas.
Any road trip to Ireland should include a visit to the stunning Glendalough. Take a couple of days to explore the rolling hills and beautiful lakes. Take a hike along the banks of Lough Dan before heading up Luggala mountain for incredible views of Lough Tay, or Guinness Lake. With a couple more hours walking, it’s easy to add the Varty reservoir to your walk. Glendalough is also famous for its whiskey. The Glendalough distillery offer tours showing you how the whiskey is made first-hand and includes several samples of the whisky, gin and poitin (Irish moonshine) brewed in-house.
The journey on to Kilkenny doesn’t take too long, just over an hour and a half if you take the fastest route. We would recommend a 15-minute detour though, going via Sally Gap to travel on one of Ireland’s most beautiful stretches of road.
Next up is Kilkenny, one of the most historic areas of Ireland. Explore the stunning 12th century Kilkenny Castle and the beautiful grounds surrounding it, or the ancient ruins at Kells priory. Spend the afternoon exploring one of Kilkenny’s wonderful walking trails along the banks of the river Nore. For those of you looking for something a bit different, check out Castlecombe Discovery Park for a wide range of outdoor activities such as climbing, boating and ziplining. With only a day there, you won’t get bored in Kilkenny.
There are a couple of routes that get you to Killarney from Killkenny, and there’s only a couple of minutes difference between them. We would recommend taking the more southern route, along the N76, which will take you through some prettier areas of countryside.
The picturesque countryside in Killarney has made it one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Ireland. If you didn’t make it to Kilkenny Castle, make sure you find time to get to the impressive Ross Castle in Killarney, a 15th century fortress overlooking Lough Leane. Whilst you’re at Lough Leane, take a boat across to Innisfallen island. With beautiful scenery, pleasant walks around the island and the ruins of an old abbey, there’s something there for everyone. The boats from Ross Castle take about an hour and a half each way, so the two of them combined make for a great day out. Hiking trails to either Torc Waterfall or the meeting of the waters are perfect ways to spend any spare time.
Your journey up to the Cliffs of Moher should take just under 3 hours if you don’t stop. Again, the drive is quite a pleasant one and you’ll pass through Limerick halfway through your journey. If you’d prefer the coastal route, going via Spanish point, then it will add about 30 minutes to your journey but will also include a ferry across the Shannon Estuary.
One of the most incredible attractions in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher attract around 1.5 million visitors each year. The stunning cliffs stand 155 metres above the sea with views stretching as far as Galway and the Aran Islands. If you arrive early enough you should have time to take a ferry over to the Island of Inisheer and explore many of its ruined forts. Spend the evening in one of the cosy country pubs back on the mainland in the quaint town of Doolin.
The quickest way to Galway takes just over half an hour, but we’d recommend sticking to the coastal road known as the Wild Atlantic way, as this is known as the most impressive road in Ireland. This will only add 10 or 15 minutes to your trip, but it’s definitely not to be missed. If you need to stretch your legs, Dunguaire Castel makes a great place for a break.
One of Ireland’s most vibrant cities, Galway offers a great mixture of city life and scenic countryside. Spend a day exploring the city, surrounded by a city wall, and spend some time in the Latin Quarter and Quay Street, some of Galway’s most lively areas. On your second day there, take the ferry to the Arran Islands. With medieval villages scattered among quaint towns, the islands are a throwback to a bygone era, so much so that Gaelic is still the first language spoken here. Take an evening walk along Salthill promenade, a long beachfront lined with, restaurants, bars and cafes.
Next is the longest journey on this trip heading across the border into Northern Ireland. It will take you just under 5 hours in total, and we’d recommend breaking that journey up with a stop in Sligo which is roughly halfway through your journey. The coastal roads after that are very scenic and once you’re over the border, Derry would make a good stop.
A key point on any road trip around Ireland, Portrush is Northern Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction due to its close proximity to the Giant’s Causeway. This stunning rock formation is one of the most famous sites in the country, so make it your first port of call on your first day in Portrush. Afterwards, a short trip down the coast will take you to Dunluce Castle. This stunning medieval castle, perched on a cliff edge, was used as the House of Greyjoy in the filming of Game of Thrones and is a must visit whilst in the area.
Next up is a trip down to your last stop in Ireland and Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast. The fastest route will take you just over an hour, but if you’d prefer a more scenic drive, stick to the coast as far as Larne. It will add about an hour to your journey, but it will make it a more enjoyable drive.
The last stop in Ireland won’t disappoint! If you’re looking to explore the city, head down to Titanic Belfast, where this famous cruise liner was constructed. The surrounding area, known as the Titanic Quarter, is the best place to head for some bougie bars and restaurants. For those of you looking for a last bit of countryside, Cave Hill is a must-see, offering a stunning panoramic view of the whole of Belfast. Afterwards, a 20 minute drive will take you down to Lamh Derag where you can park before making your way up to the stunning Glenside Waterfall. Whether it’s outdoors or city you’re looking for, a visit to Belfast’s peace wall, outlining the region’s recent history, should be on your itinerary.
After a couple of days exploring Belfast and the surrounding area, it’s time to head back to Dublin to catch the ferry home. The journey to Dublin port should take less than two hours and we’d recommend heading straight there so you’ll have plenty of time too make the ferry. Again, the ferry is around 3 hours, and once you arrive in Holyhead it’s about a 50-minute journey to Colwyn Bay.
The North Welsh coastline between Colwyn Bay and Llandudno has been popular with tourists for years. The long promenades stretching along the beach fronts are lined with quaint cafés and traditional fish & chip shops, making them lovely places to wander. Depending on time, a walk along the Great Orme headway would also be a great way to spend an afternoon and is easily accessible from Llandudno.
The quickest route from Colwyn Bay back to Leeds should take roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes. If you missed it on the way to Snowdonia though, we’d recommend taking the route cutting through the top of the Peak District. Again, this will only add an extra half an hour to your journey.