Do you have two weeks to spare, and do you want to see some of the best of Ireland? Maybe concentrating on the southern half of the island? Then this article is for you - a travel itinerary for those who are able to spend two whole weeks in Ireland. And still want to see a lot of the best Irish sights.
Day One - Arriving in Dublin
After a transatlantic flight you are likely to arrive in Dublin during the morning. Make the most of your day by taking your luggage to your accommodation and then joining either a bus tour or undertaking a self-guided walk around the city center. There is no need for a rental car today. You will spend three nights in Dublin so sample the excellent restaurants, the traditional pubs and some of the nightlife at your leisure.
Days Two and Three - Exploring Dublin and Environs
Take the second day to explore Dublin in depth, visit a museum or take the DART out to Howth. The choice is yours. In the evening take a bus to the airport (the local service is slow but cheap and will give you a taste of the suburbs, else take the quick direct buses) and pick up your rental car. On Day Three drive out into the Wicklow Mountains to visit Glendalough or drive north to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. Either of these tours will take the better part of the day and should not be rushed.
Day Four - via Clonmacnoise to Galway
This day will take you right across Ireland into the West. Stop at the monastic site of Clonmacnoise near Athlone, and then drive on to Galway, where you will stay for the night. Explore the small, but lively, city in the afternoon and evening.
Day Five - the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, the Shannon, and Tralee
From Galway head to the South-West and drive through the bizarre Burren, making a longer stop at the stunning Cliffs of Moher. Press on southwards and cross the Shannon on the ferry near Kilrush, finally arriving in Tralee for an overnight stay. The town has a very good folk theatre worth visiting in the evening.
Day Six - The Dingle Peninsula and Killorglin
Make an early start and head westwards, taking the Connor Pass to Dingle. Enjoy good pub-food in this small fishing harbour and try to spot the tame dolphin "Fungie" in the bay. Then carry on to Killorglin and spend the night there - the local pubs will keep you entertained as long as you like!
Days Seven and Eight - the Ring of Kerry and Killarney
From Killorglin, the road will lead you into the West and onto the Ring of Kerry. Follow this splendid tourist route and take your time to take in the magnificent coastal scenery. With several stops and breaks you will arrive in Killarney by late afternoon or early evening - plan to spend two nights here. Day Eight will give your rental car a well-earned rest. Take a "jaunting car" for a tour of the Muckross Estate and environs, take a boat trip on the lakes (leaving from Ross Castle) or simply walk the picturesque streets of Killarney.
Days Nine and Ten - Cork and Environs
From Killarney drive towards Cork and visit Blarney Castle on the way. Then stay for two nights in or near Cork. Explore the City of Cork or drive out to Cobh, last port of call for the Titanic, and last resting place of many Lusitania passengers. Or enjoy the spacious Fota Wildlife Park ... especially if you have children with you.
Days Eleven and Twelve - via Cashel Back to Dublin ... and Good-Bye!
On Day Eleven drive back towards Dublin and stop over at the Rock of Cashel, a glorious pile of ruins in a stunning setting. You will arrive in Dublin during the afternoon and a booking at a hotel or B&B near the airport is advisable. You might drop your rental car now, arrange for a taxi in the morning and then hit the Dublin nightlife one more time. Day Twelve will see you leaving Ireland - maybe after buying some fresh salmon at the airport outlets.