A complete six-day Ireland itinerary with budget analysis

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Planning a trip to a new country can be hard. Planning a six-day trip and trying to cram an entire country is even more difficult. Everyone has different goals when traveling, and this itinerary is by no means all inclusive. It is certainly not a budget, foodie, outdoors, city slicker or extravagant itinerary; however, it is a starting point for a potential plan for when you head to the stunning Emerald Isle. Bear with me here while I go into super specific details in order to give you an honest picture of what we did while in Ireland for the first time.

Good planning info:

 In order to avoid hordes of people, my husband and I opted to purchase head to toe warm waterproof gear and brave the elements in November, rather than visit during the summer. This was a fantastic idea, and it only rained for one day! There were hardly any people on the roads and at tourist attractions.

After doing a good bit of traveling around Europe for the past year, Ireland definitely takes the cake for the best place to visit. Friendly people, lots of fluffy sheep, amazing food and castles galore are just a few reasons to get on a plane and head for Dublin ASAP. But don’t stay in the city. Rent a car and get a true taste of the Irish countryside.

Don’t forget that driving is on the other side of the road here. This means that if you get a manual rental car, which most are, you will have to shift with the opposite hand and potentially parallel park. Are you ready for that kind of commitment? We were not, so we opted for an automatic car. The roads are incredibly narrow and not very well maintained. At times there will be centimeters between a stone wall, your car and a tour bus barreling in the other direction. Be careful!

After six fun-filled days in Ireland in November, I can honestly say that I’m ready to go back. With the signs all in English, the incredible hospitality and the delicious food, I can tell you that it wasn’t my last visit to the Emerald Isle. Read on for a detailed itinerary and budget analysis.

Day 1

Grab a quick breakfast on the go. Depart from  at 8:25 a.m. and arrive in Dublin at 9:55 a.m. (this timeline is from the Munich airport).Buy Leap visitor card at the Dublin airport for unlimited public transportation for 72 hours in Dublin (this will come in handy later). Pick up automatic rental car and drive to Rock of Cashel, Jameson Distillery and hotel.

What to see:

Rock of Cashel is an iconic landmark and home to buildings from the 12th and 13th centuries, representative of Hiberno-Romanesque and Germanic architectural influences. Seated high on a hill, the ancient fortifications rise from the greenery and grace the landscape with a constant reminder of rulers from bygone days. The oldest standing building on site is the round tower, which dates back to 1100 (16 euros to tour)!

Jameson Distillery in Midleton gives an eye-opening look at the back-breaking work that used to go into making the whiskey people know and love today. See countless barrels of whiskey while listening to a tale that covers over 200 years of Jameson history. Leave room in your checked bag for all the bottles of whiskey you’re sure to bring home (65 euros for two Jameson Experience Tours with one that included a tasting).

Where to eat: Ferrit & Lee in Midleton has fantastic burgers and fish and chips. This cozy restaurant was right outside the distillery and served food from local suppliers. Make sure your car isn’t parked inside the Distillery gates after closing time or you won’t be going anywhere (55.90 euros).

Where to stay: Cork Airport Hotel for 87.40 euros a night. This location was perhaps a bit far from the distillery, but was decent for a single night. Breakfast is 10 euros per person.  

Day 2

Leave your hotel early in the morning after breakfast and drive along the winding roads to the following places on your way to the Dingle Peninsula.

What to see:

Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. At almost 600 years old, this castle attracts millions of visitors. Perhaps the biggest draw to this area is the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eloquence. However, don’t miss the opportunity to see the rest of the magnificent castle and the magical gardens that cover over 60 acres (36 euros).

Killarney National Park is a stunning mountainous area with lakes, woods, and waterfalls covering over 26,000 acres. Great place for a long hike or two and it’s free!

Where to eat: After a long day of breathing in the fresh air and wondering at the beauty of the natural surroundings, head straight to the hotel below and have dinner there (65.35 euros).

Where to stay: Dingle Peninsula Hotel is located just 10 minutes outside of the town of Dingle. If you like getting away from it all and staying in a secluded area, this is the place for you with friendly staff, a large parking lot and incredibly scenic, green, rolling fields for miles. Breakfast is included.

Day 3

What to see:

Mount Brandon is great if you’re in pretty good shape and love a good hike, consider doing the Mount Brandon Pilgrimage Hike. You’ll snake up Ireland’s ninth tallest mountain for a total of 5.28 miles, but it’s worth it. At the top you’ll have breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding mountains. It takes an estimated four to five hours, but we did it in three and a half with minimal breaks (free).

Dingle is a cute little port town is full of restaurants, shops and sandy beaches. Wander up and down the streets for trinkets and souvenirs.

Where to eat:

For lunch: Murphy’s Pub. Try some traditional Irish stew (33.45 euros).

For a quick dinner:  Harrington’s Restaurant & Snack Bar. Great fish and chips (28.10 euros)!

Where to stay: Dingle Peninsula Hotel 151.30 euros for two nights, breakfast included.  

Day 4

After breakfast at the hotel, get on the road early and head to Galway. We decided not to stop and see the Cliffs of Moher because we wanted to get to Galway. In our opinion, this was a mistake. Galway is certainly cute but not worth skipping the cliffs over.

What to see:

In Galway, wander along the artsy shops and in and out of the shopping centers. Here you’ll find lots of souvenirs, trinkets and even high end clothing. There was even a tiny Christmas market set up. After you’ve shopped, head to the cathedral.

Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas is a Roman Catholic cathedral and a mouthful to say. Construction on the building began in 1958 and was completed in 1965. The dome that towers over the skyline is 145 feet tall and a reflection of Renaissance style. Inside is home to beautiful rose-shaped stained-glass windows and mosaic (2 euros donation requested per person).

Where to eat:

For lunch: The Dough Bros has excellent pizzas (18 euros).

For dinner: BoTown has amazing burgers served with way too many fries and fantastic dipping sauces (30 euros).

For drinks: Caribou. Grab some brie bites and enjoy two for one Tom Collins here. If you’re longing for a taste of home, they have Left Hand Brewery beer, which is brewed in Longmont, CO (20 euros).

Where to stay: Harbour Hotel, Galway was 124 euros for one night and 8 euros for parking. This hotel couldn’t be in a more convenient location; right next to the harbor and the main downtown area. No need to drive anywhere, and your car is in a covered garage. The beds are incredibly comfortable and the breakfast is delicious and included.

Day 5

Get on the road early and return rental car at Dublin airport. Traffic was pretty bad once you get close to Dublin. Take taxi (26 euros) from the airport to Clontarf Castle Hotel (otherwise you would have to take a bus from the airport to the city center, then from the city center to the hotel). After checking in at the hotel, get on bus with the aforementioned Leap visitor card, which is good for 72 hours.

What to see:

Trinity College in Dublin, founded by Queen Elizabeth I, is over 400 years old and home to the Book of Kells, a 9th century decorated copy of the four gospels. Walk down the center aisle at the library and marvel at thousands of leather bound books (28 euros).

Grafton Street is a great place to do some window shopping. With one of the most prestigious department stores in Dublin, Brown Thomas, located here, you’re sure to drool over the beautiful luxury items inside. The store windows alone are something truly special! Weir & Sons, a jewelry and antique shop just across from Brown Thomas, is also worth a look around with their expensive watches and antique crystal decanters (free until you just can’t put that Chanel bag down or your hubby insists on buying a new Rolex).

Where to eat:

For lunch: Krüst Bakery. Not only will you get to experience cronuts here (croissant donuts), but you can also get coffee and other sandwiches. I’d recommend getting your daily sugar intake out of the way here. (13 euros)

For first dinner: Umi Falafel. Get the haloumi cheese with tomatoes and basil pesto. You won’t regret it! And don’t forget the falafel stuffed with mozzarella… it is a falafel restaurant, after all. (11 euros) 

For second dinner (there’s so many options!): Pho Viet. Get a piping hot bowl of pho and some spring rolls for a taste of authentic Vietnamese food. Pro tip- do not drop your phone into the pho while attempting to take an Instagram picture. It will smell for the rest of your trip. (26.50 euros)

For drinks: Alfies. Head upstairs for moderately priced cocktails. (15 euros)

Where to stay: Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin. What’s a trip to Ireland without staying a few nights in a castle? It is about a 20 minute bus ride from the main area back and forth to the hotel. However, it’s totally worth it! The castle is beautiful, quiet and just the right amount of ritzy.

Day 6

Sleep in after several days of getting up at the crack of dawn and then eat a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Hop on the bus and head to the downtown area to wander aimlessly for a good while and stop at a few attractions.  

What to see:
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland and was founded in 1191. It takes the award for both tallest and largest cathedral in Ireland (14 euros).

St. Stephen’s Green, the city center park, has a lovely 22 acre Victorian layout with walking trails, sculptures, a children’s playground, waterfall, Pulham rock work and an ornamental lake. Please note that if you are as terrified of birds as I am, this is absolutely not the place for you (Free, panic attack included).

Dublin Castle is at the heart of Dublin and was built in the 13th century. It now serves as a government complex and tourist attraction. We only walked around this area and opted not to do the tour, which was 10 euros per person.

What to eat:

For lunch:  The Bank on College Green. This surprisingly affordable restaurant features chandeliers, piano music and an intricately decorated ceiling that is sure to charm you. It is housed in the old Belfast Bank, which was designed with Victorian splendor. Don’t forget to make a reservation (25 euros).

For mid-day drinks: The Library Bar at Central Hotel “combines the charm and elegance of a bygone age with the most modern facilities and services.” This cozy area was laid back, moderately quiet, and has fireplaces emitting the perfect amount of heat on a dreary day(11.85 euros).

For dinner: Monty’s of Kathmandu is a traditional Nepalese restaurant with fantastic butter chicken, naan bread and drinks. They use raw ingredients and a charcoal tandoor to make the food taste exceptional. Open since 1997, this restaurant is not to be missed! Once again, be sure to make a reservation (50 euros).  

Where to stay: Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin (258 euros for two nights). Be advised, breakfast is an additional 20 euros per person for a total of 80 euros after two nights.  

Day 7

Take Uber (24 euros) from hotel to airport. Depart from Dublin airport at 10:40 a.m. and arrive in Munich at 1:55 p.m. Get on the airport shuttle back to car park, drive home and pass out after putting a load of laundry into the washer.

Budget analysis for two people:

Parking - 67.50 euros with Park Vogel at Munich airport.

Airfare - 277. 26 euros including one checked bag with Lufthansa.

Car rental - 278 euros for five days.

Diesel - 20 euros

Tolls - 12 euros

Leap visitor cards - 39 euros

Taxi - 50 euros

Food - 490.05 euros

Hotels - 628.70 euros  

Attractions/tours -159 euros

Memories we’ll have for a lifetime – PRICELESS!

Grand total = 2,021.51 euros

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