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How much time should I spend in Ireland?

Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
Kilkenny Castle a 12th-century castle in Ireland

If you are planning a trip to Ireland, you are probably wondering how many days to spend in Ireland. Despite being a small country, Ireland has many beautiful cities, towns, and villages worth exploring. If you only have a few days to spare, stick to the east coast sights, such as Dublin and Kilkenny. However, if you are planning a vacation longer than one week, you can cast your net further afield and include highlights along with the western and northern parts of the isle, with stops in destinations like Galway and Westport. We highly recommend spending at least a week in Ireland to experience more than just the cities.

Ireland in 5 days or less

Cityscape of the medieval Kilkenny at sunset with River Nore
The River Nore is one of the main rivers in South-East Ireland

You will have a jam-packed itinerary if you are looking forward to spending around five days in Ireland. Spend a day or two taking in Dublin. Check out the intriguing Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison that is a bridge between Ireland of the present and Ireland of the past. In the evening, party with the locals at the Temple Bar like there is no tomorrow. For the next leg of the trip, take a short drive south to Wicklow Mountains National Park and spend some time enjoying lakes, forests, and fresh air. If you are interested in some history and mystery, head towards Glendalough Monastic Site. The duration will allow you some time to spend in Kilkenny. Check out its famous castle as well as Canice's Cathedral before visiting a pub for a hearty lunch.

For those looking for something relaxing, try spending your days in one of the many charming villages such as Kilmacthomas and cycle along Waterford Greenway. Admire countryside views and soak up the tranquil atmosphere along the way. Another village to choose is Bennettsbridge; take in the sights and sounds and go on a hike along the banks of the River Nore.

For inspiration, check out our 5-day Ireland trips.

Ireland in a week

King John's castle reflected on the River Shannon, Limerick, Ireland
Limerick is home to the famous King John’s Castle as well as the 12th century Saint Mary’s Cathedral

Seven days will give you enough time to cover most of Ireland’s must-see sites. Once you have explored Dublin and nearby sites, it is time to look for other highlights. Leave for Galway, Ireland’s festival capital. Be part of Galway’s gleeful atmosphere and learn more about local music and dance traditions. You can continue to Limerick, home to the famous King John’s Castle as well as the 12th century Saint Mary’s Cathedral. To the northwest of this city is one of the country's most famous natural landmarks, the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, which stand 214m above sea level. Head south after soaking up the sight and go on a driving trip through the Ring of Kerry, a 179-kilometer-long road full of rugged coastal landscapes and rural seaside villages.

You can read our blog "One Week in Ireland" for more insight. 

Ireland in 10 days

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara mountains, Ireland
Connemara is a 7,000-acre national park abundant with mountains and wildlife situated at the west of Galway

Take Ireland at your own pace and spend longer in each destination during a ten-day trip. Start out by adding a few more stops to a seven-day itinerary. To the west of Galway, you will find Connemara, a 7,000-acre national park abundant with mountains and wildlife. Take a walk through its meadows or go for a hike if you feel energetic.

Head for Waterford after that, stopping by at the medieval Blarney Castle, an ancient fort set among lush green gardens. Spend a day learning more about glassmaking in the city of Waterford. Continue north, stopping off in the town of Knock, before moving onward to Sligo. Visit the ruins of Sligo Abbey, then sip a pint of Guinness by the harbor before heading back to Dublin.

More ideas in our list of 10-day Ireland trips and tours.

Ireland in 14 days

Giants Causeway, an area of hexagonal basalt stones, created by ancient vol
There are many natural wonders scattered along the Antrim Coast, including Giant's Causeway, an area full of interlocking basalt columns created by volcanic eruptions

With two weeks available, you can easily top the above ten-day itinerary with a couple more destinations. Since you have a fair bit of time, we suggest that you check out some hidden gems, like Wexford, known for its endless stretches of golden sand, and Cork, Ireland’s foodie paradise. Then cross the border into Northern Ireland and drive along the Antrim Coast. There are many natural wonders scattered along the coast, with the Giant's Causeway, an area full of interlocking basalt columns created by a volcanic eruption, being just one.

With 2 weeks, you can also pair Ireland with other neighboring countries in the UK like Scotland and England.

Planning a trip to Ireland?

For a customized trip, get in touch with one of our travel experts in Ireland. If you’d like to book a package trip or join a group, check out our tours in Ireland.

Ireland Tours
Published by Lucas Toft, updated on October 17, 2023

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