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Visiting Ireland : The Complete List

Visiting Ireland? Where do I start?

It is ideal to plan ahead and book your accommodation & transport options, planning ahead before travelling will give you to stress free holiday in Ireland. By choosing to rent a car, this gives you flexibility with your travel planning - no waiting on public transport; walking to train stations or bus stops for your next destination.

We have compiled a guide on visiting Ireland which we hope you will find useful, here you will be able to find information on Ireland car rental, recommendations of places to visit and hotels at your convenience. For a complete guidelines on Renting a Car in Ireland, and download a free checklist.

How to plan the best trip to Ireland

A 3d graphic of Ireland map and locations

Have an idea of what kind of trip you are after; knowing this will help you to narrow down the places and activities Ireland offers.

Do research on where to travel in Ireland; buy a destination guide book or read online guides. There are many websites that provides information such as TripAdvisor, Discoverireland.com and Ireland.com.

Book your accommodation; it’s always to ideal to have this booked prior arriving knowing where you will stay for comfort and also this will free up time for exploring Ireland.

Plan transport ahead of time, knowing this information before you arrive will help you have a better experience when visiting in Ireland. If you plan on hiring a car, please make sure you know what to bring.

Check the weather; this will prepare you what to pack and always bring a rain jacket!

When is a great time to visit Ireland for the first time?

Have an idea of what kind of trip you are after; knowing this will help you to narrow down the places and activities Ireland offers. Popular season is between July and August, visiting in May/June or September will allow you to visit without the high season rates. If you are planning to do the Ring of Kerry, you might prefer to do this outside the high season.

Autumn in Ireland Autumn in Ireland. Image thanks to ©Fáilte Ireland

What is the best way to get to Ireland?

Ireland is well covered to serve international & local passengers with 12 airports; the main airports are Dublin Airport, Cork Airport, Shannon Airport, Kerry Airport and Knock Airport. Belfast also has city and International airport.

Getting to Ireland by Ferry via Dublin Port or Rosslare, often on the ferry websites they give you information on how to get to the specific departure points. Dublin Port is located 3km away from Dublin City and 12km from Dublin Airport, there is no car hire Dublin Port however vehicles can be rented at nearby offices in the City or Airport even.

How to get around Ireland like locals?

Travel around Ireland offers a lot of transport options from using public transport to renting a personal car. There is a comprehensive bus network in the main cities and travelling between cities can be done by train however it does not serve everywhere.

If you are planning to visit the Wild Atlantic Way, Cliffs of Moher and places outside main cities, hiring a car is advised by TripAdvisor. The flexibility of having a car will give you more time to visit places wherever you go and sometimes can be cheaper than public transport.

  • Visit Irish Rail to see their network in Ireland.

Where to rent a car?

There are many car rental companies that offers car & van service in Republic of Ireland. Irish Car Rentals has 15 locations from the main & international airports, City pick up locations in Dublin, Galway, Cork and regional locations in Navan, Portlaoise, Athlone, Waterford City, Cavan, Drogheda and Naas.

Irish Car Rentals is a registered member of Car Rental Council of Ireland; renting from a company listed under CCI means you are using a company committed to providing a high quality car rental service.

Read for information on car rental cover and excess.

Rental car with hands out of windows

The best holiday destinations in Ireland

Ireland offers a diverse landscapes, bustling cities and adventures to be done. There is something for everyone from Dublin city breaks to Donegal beach holidays. There are theme trails which you can avail of, food trails in Cork, historical trails and natural Wild Atlantic Way trails. Ireland has recently featured in Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries to visit and best winter trip in National Geographic.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has also filmed Ireland’s dramatic landscape at Skellig Michael in 2015!

Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland's first and only long distance driving route stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork, an approximate 2,500km track. Wild Atlantic Way offers a stunning drive through Ireland experiencing the Irish culture and landscape. This is a popular destination for our customers visiting Ireland.

Ireland’s Ancient East
The main allure of this part of Ireland is the historic Boyne Valley. Here you'll find historic sites that stretch back over 5000 years. This area is peppered with ancient meeting places, megalithic tombs, large castles, and a variety of religious sites. The main attraction in the area is Newgrange, an incredibly well restored megalithic tomb that predates Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids. This impressive structure awes all that visit due to its engineering feats such as the intricately designed sun box that illuminates the entire inner chambers of the tomb once a year at dawns light on the winter solstice.

Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry map is an 179km picturesque circular road trip around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry. The route takes in rugged coastal landscapes and rural seaside villages. Skellig Michael, an abandoned 7th-century Christian monastery is a popular attraction with boats from Portmagee making the 12km crossing during the summer months.

The coast view of Ring of Kerry Ring of Kerry. Image thanks to ©Fáilte Ireland


Scenic driving routes : One of the best ways to explore Ireland is by taking road trips, we have complied a couple Ireland's Great Drives to get you started!

  • Sky Road - "The Capital of Connemara", County Galway
  • Slea Head - Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
  • Healy Pass - The Healy Pass is a winding mountain road between Adrigole in Co. Cork and Lauragh in Co. Kerry
  • Ring of Beara - Located on the Beara Peninsula, Co. Kerry and Co. Cork with 137km driving route
  • Causeway Coastal Route - The Causeway Coastal Route offers an epic tour of the Northern Ireland coast
  • Lough Inagh Drive - 165 km of the Galway coast
  • Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland’s first and only 2,500km driving route, which will stretch along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork.

Dublin Guide : Visitor's guide on Dublin City, what to see and do, where to stay and popular places to visit. Read more about visiting Dublin and car hire Dublin is available through Irish Car Rentals.

Recommended Islands : Ireland has a lot of islands around the Emerald Ireland. Read more on 9 top islands to visit.

Ad to book a car rental for Ireland

Visiting Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland also offers a stunning scenic landscapes and busy cities. It is possible to pick up a car rental Northen Ireland and visit lots of places. Giant's Causeway is a popular attraction and highly recommended, read more about visiting Northern Ireland.

What to do in Ireland

Ireland is so versatile that it caters for everybody’s requirements and depending on your interests & length of stay in Ireland; these are some of the must see sites when visiting Ireland.

Visiting Connemara region and Ireland’s number one attraction; Visiting Cliffs of Moher, green, rocky headlands rise some 600 feet over the surface of the sea, offering spectacular views and hosting dozens of species of exotic birds.

Giant Causeway and the Burren in Northern Ireland is a great trip out with a long walkway between rocks.

Ireland’s Ancient East and Boyne Valley would be a good place to visit and read the history with impressive builds. Blarney Castle, Kilkenny and Dublin offer plenty of historical attractions to visit.

Hiking and walks is one of the best activities to do in Ireland with countless trails all over the country from Cliffs of Moher clifftop walk to Wicklow Mountains. On the west coast, we have Gap of Dunloe, Dingle and Aran island, all offering impressive views.

Golfers are well accommodated in Ireland with some of the best golf courses in the world to choose from. Other activities available to do in Ireland; surfing, horse riding, Trad music watching even!

Cliffs of Moher Cliffs of Moher

This infographic showcases the top 10 attractions in South West Ireland

Top sights in West Ireland

(Click infographic to enlarge.)

Recommended places to visit

What to visit in Ireland

Skellig Michael, an UNESCO World Heritage site which recently have been featured in Star Wars film; The Force Awakens. Skellig Islands is 714ft above the sea level and is a couple hours on the boat from Portmagee. Not only the rugged wild views you see, wildlife is abundant on and around the island from gannet birds to seals.

The Guinness Storehouse; Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction with well over a million visitors each year. The storehouse visitor centre is part of the larger St James Gate Brewery and the tour ends with a trip up to Gravity Bar, which stands 60 metres above the ground and offers fantastic panoramic views over Dublin.

Malin Head; Ireland’s most northern point and the end point of Wild Atlantic Way route. Malin head is located on the Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal. The views here on a clear day is stunning, well worth a visit.

Achill Island in County Mayo is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, and is situated off the west coast along the Wild Atlantic Way. A drive or walk even around the islands offers beautiful backdrops and old cottages that give the real Irish culture. Kilkenny; a lovely medieval town in southeast Ireland situated a couple hours outside Dublin. The Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 by Norman occupiers. The town has well-preserved churches and monasteries, including imposing St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey Dominican priory. A lovely place to visit and explore the winding alleys.

What to see in Dublin

Dublin is the capital and largest city in Ireland, located on Ireland’s east coast. The largest international airport in Ireland in located north of Dublin with approx. 23 million passengers travelled through the airport in 2015. On-site car hire Dublin Airport is available from Irish Car Rentals and vehichles are provided by Europcar.

There is something for everybody whether it's sporting events, shopping, architecture buildings, guided walks and historical landmarks. There are no shortages of tourist attractions in Dublin and surrounding areas;

Kilmainham Gaol

Synonymous with Irish independence, this notorious prison is one of the most compelling attractions in Ireland. Built in the late 18th century, Kilmainham Gaol imprisoned dozens of Irish leaders until it closed in the 1920s.

The Book of Kells
Half a million visitors pay a visit to this artful work of medieval literature. It’s on display in Trinity College’s Old Library, and viewing it requires purchasing a ticket. Entrance is free for holders of the Dublin Pass.

Read more about visiting Dublin.

Exterior of Chapel Royale, Dublin Exterior of Chapel Royale, Dublin. Image thanks to ©Rob Durston Photographer

Accommodation in Ireland

Ireland offers a wide range of accommodation from castles, hotels, guesthouses to farms. Choose how you want to experience Ireland! Look for accommodation in Ireland using the map below. You will find we have listed accommodations by Counties or by hotel type for i.e. B&B, Hotels, 4 Star hotels and more…

  • Search the accommodation map for a great selection of Irish Hotels and Guest houses.

  • If you prefer to stay in hotels near Dublin Airport to ensure you catch your early flights or settle down quickly after landing in Dublin late evening; we have collected a list of accommodations that are in and around the airport.

  • For Bed & Breakfast options, visit Bed & Breakfast nationwide.

Recommended tourist boards and authorities

  • Mayo Tourism website specialises in North Mayo county and nearby areas.

  • Destination Westport - Experience it your way, their website offers vast information on Westport area.

  • My Ireland Tour - An online visitors travel guide to the best attractions in Ireland.

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