Ireland 10 Day Self Drive Dublin to Shannon

Ireland has it all. From the haunting beauty of the pure, unspoiled landscapes and the drama of the coastline, to the urban buzz of the country's dynamic cities mixed with the magic of thousands of years' worth of culture and history, Ireland is a country that never fails to surprise.

10 Day Southern Ireland Self Drive: Dublin to Shannon

Departing the U.S.

Day 1: Arrival in Dublin

Airport / Hotel Transfers - One-Way:

For Illustration Purposes; Vehicles Vary

Airport Transfers - One-Way (Airport to Downtown Dublin: Car 1-3 pax) Multi-SeaterTaxi - One Way - A Professional Drivers will meet you in person and take you to your destination on arrival in Ireland

Accommodations: 2 nights Lodging

2 nights lodging incl. tax at the 3-Star or 4-Star Dublin City Hotel

Day 1 - 2: Dublin

Excursion: Hop On Hop Off City Bus Tour (2 Day), Hop On Hop Off - 2 Day Pass

The Hop on Hop off tours offers a unique and enjoyable way of learning about and savoring everything that Dublin, Ireland has to offer at your own pace. Hop off anywhere along the route and stay as long as you like. When you are ready hop back on again!

Buses start at 9am daily, and arrive at each stop every 10-15 minutes. You’ll enjoy live commentary from the Fáilte Ireland trained drivers, all native Dubliners, who will charm and entertain you.

Explore the City in Style with City Sightseeing Dublin. Enjoy our open top hop on hop off bus tour of Dublin and stop at all of Dublin city’s great Attractions. Explore the city on our open top buses with your your 48 hour ticket and visit our 28 stops on 3 amazing routes. Join in on our FREE Walking Tour! Visit All of Dublin’s free Museums & Galleries or just relax and enjoy the view. City Sightseeing makes it easy to discover the best that Dublin has to offer.

Red Route: Our original and most popular route takes in all of Dublin’s must see attractions! Hop on board to visit Europe’s number one attraction The Guinness Storehouse, see Georgian Dublin, and visit Kilmainham Goal and the Phoenix Park. The red route also visits Smithfield, home to the old Jameson Disillery and Parnell Square, home to the Hugh Lane Gallery and the Irish Writers Museum. The full route takes about 2 hours to complete. Make sure to Hop on and Hop off at any stop of your choice and enjoy discounts at many of the attractions along the way.

Blue Route: The City Sightseeing Dublin blue route celebrates Dublin’s northside, while taking in some of the most popular city centre attractions. Departing from O’Connell Street every 30 minutes the blue route heads towards Dublin’s newest quarter, the Docklands where you can visit two great attractions – EPIC, the story of the Irish diaspora and the Jeanie Johnson Famine ship. Enjoy the vistas over the Liffey and the architectural masterpieces of the Samuel Beckett Bridge and Dublin’s Convention Centre before heading back towards the city to join the red route. From Smithfield, the Blue route heads north towards Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum. Dublin’s largest Cemetery and on to Croke Park Stadium, home to Ireland’s traditional sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling. The route takes about 2hrs 30 minutes to complete. Hop on and off at any stop you wish.

Free Walking Tour: The 1916 Historic Tour: Relive the events of the Irish Rebels fighting for independence. Visit the historical sites that defined the Rebellion! Departs from Dublin Visitor Centre 17 Lower O’Connell Street at 12pm Daily

Dublin Highlights:

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • The Book of Kells
  • Temple Bar
  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Old Jameson Distillery
  • National Museum
  • Christchurch Cathedral
  • Kilmainham Jail:D

Day 2: The Irish House Party

Unlike any other traditional Irish music night in the city of Dublin, the Irish House Party is organized and hosted by All-Ireland Champion musicians and dancers. Upon arrival you'll be welcomed by your host for an evening of traditional Irish music, a delicious Irish dinner and Irish dancing that will both entertain and educate. You can take part, or simply sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Day 3: 8 Day Car Rental

Opel Astra or similar)

Car rental includes all compulsory insurance: Collision Damage Waiver insurance (CDW) and Super CDW, reducing your liability/deductible to 100 Euro for most rentals, 250 Euro for Intermediate & large vehicle rentals and automatics, theft protection insurance (TP), VAT sales tax, unlimited free mileage, third party liability insurance, Airport Surcharge, and a free road map of Ireland. One-Way Drop off fee will be paid on location when collecting a vehicle.

**NOTE: You MUST have a valid credit card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express) in the name of the driver of the vehicle. Please contact us if your driver is under 25-years old. Fuel for rental vehicles is not included. Rental is based on a 24-hour period from pickup. Extra charges may apply for a late return.** **A security deposit will be taken at time of pick-up and refunded when the vehicle is returned in good condition.****

Lodging: 4 nights BnB

4 nights lodging incl. tax at the B&B Ireland Vouchers. Selected up booking. Breakfast daily, unless otherwise noted on your voucher.

Experience the warmth and friendly welcome of the Irish people first hand! With a network of over 1,000 B&Bs across Ireland and Northern Ireland, there are plenty of places to stay. B&Bs vary from traditional Irish homes and farmhouses, to Historic Houses, to more modern bungalows. Take advantage of the local knowledge of your hosts and get up close to the true Irish culture. You are assured the best quality and service in these homes as they are all inspected and approved by the Irish Tourist Board, Failte Ireland. B&B Ireland has a classification system ratings. Regardless of what level voucher you have, you can book and stay at any property. For a higher rated property then what is listed on your vouchers, there will be a small surcharge paid on location directly to the B&B when you arrive. The B&B Voucher program may charge additional supplement for high demand locations. If applicable, fees will be noted on their website available for pre-booking homes, and is paid on location directly to the B&B upon arrival.

Day 3

Kilkenny; Ireland's finest medieval town.

Kilkenny (Cill Chainnigh) is the Ireland of many visitors' imaginations. Its majestic riverside castle, tangle of 17th-century passageways, rows of colorful, old-fashioned shop fronts and centuries-old pubs with traditional live music all have a timeless appeal, as does its splendid medieval cathedral. But Kilkenny is also famed for its contemporary restaurants and rich cultural life.

Kilkenny's architectural charm owes a huge debt to the Middle Ages, when the city was a seat of political power. It's also known as the 'marble city' after the local black limestone, which resembles a slate-colored marble and is used on floors and in decorative trim throughout town.

Kilkenny Castle

Entrance Included

Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles.

The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke (c.1146-1219) during the first decade of the thirteenth century. Kilkenny Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. The Butler ownership began when James (c.1360-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in c.1391, and lasted until 1967 when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50.

Suggested:

St. Canice’s Cathedral

St Canice’s Cathedral is one of the most prominent sights in Kilkenny, which was once a splendid Medieval city. Many believe the construction of the massive Gothic cathedral began in the 1250s and was completed in 1285, but the religious roots of the site extend back to the 6th Century, when the Church of St Canice stood here. Over the years, the cathedral has maintained many of its 13th Century features despite the collapse of the central tower in 1332 and the overtaking of the property by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1650.

Visitors will delight in seeing the round headed stained glass windows, unique marble floors in the sanctuary and parish chapel and a number of fascinating tombstones from the 17th Century. Inside the cathedral, they can view the original font, or baptism receptacle, as well as St Kieran’s Chair, an ancient stone seat thought to contain part of the 5th Century bishop’s throne. The cathedral also houses the Great War Memorial List, a record of the names of Irishmen who lost their lives in the First World War.

The round tower, thought to have been built in the 9th Century, is the oldest standing structure in modern day Kilkenny City. It is a testament to the ecclesiastical significance of the location, as such towers were constructed to protect people and treasures at major religious sites. It is also one of only two round towers in all of Ireland that visitors are allowed to climb, weather permitting. From the top of the 30 meters tower, people can take in wonderful views of Kilkenny and the surrounding countryside.

Walking to the cathedral from Parliament St leads you over Irishtown Bridge and up St Canice's Steps, which date from 1614; the wall at the top contains fragmentary medieval carvings.

Rothe House and Gardens

Ireland's best surviving example of a 16th-century merchant's house is the Tudor Rothe House. Built around a series of courtyards, it now houses a museum with local artefacts including a well-used Viking sword found nearby and a grinning head sculpted from a stone by a Celtic artist. The king-post roof of the 2nd floor is a meticulous reconstruction. Recent changes include new exhibits about the Rothe family and the delightful walled garden, divided into fruit, vegetable and herbs and a traditional orchard: the only aesthetic downside is the adjacent multi story carpark. There is also a genealogical service available (€30-90); inquire at the ticket office.

Day 4:

Cashel: a thought-provoking early Christian site crowning the Plain of Tipperary

Rock of Cashel - Entrance Included

Cashel is home to the iconic Rock of Cashel. One of the most spectacular tourist attractions in Ireland and one of the most visited. Cashel’s rich history is reflected in its built heritage, from prehistoric raths to medieval monasteries and fortified town houses, a Georgian Cathedral and a 21st century Library (which holds regular exhibitions, workshops and concerts). The Georgian quarter also boasts the Bolton Library where you can find the smallest book in Ireland. Victorian town center is a thriving retail zone, with excellent clothes shops, lively cafes, charming gift shops, pubs oozing with old charm and food retailers offering delicious artisan fare.

It's huge, it's complex, it's iconic, there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world and it's right here in Cashel at the heart of Tipperary. The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig), more formally St. Patrick's Rock, it is also known as Cashel of the Kings. Reputedly the site of the conversion of Aenghus the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century AD. Long before the Norman invasion The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. The buildings represent both Hiberno-Romanseque and Germanic influences in their architecture.

To quote from the WIKI entry "The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe." The Rock is the setting of the fictional "Sister Fidelma Mysteries" mediaeval whodunits from Peter Tremayne. Located just 500 meters from the center of Cashel Town, County Tipperary, the site includes an audio-visual show and exhibitions.

Cashel to Waterford

House of Waterford Factory Tour

Take a tour of the world-famous House of Waterford Crystal. You'll get a unique behind-the-scene look at how master craftsmen create some of the world's most exquisite crystal objects. You’ll also have time to explore Waterford’s retail shop!

The House of Waterford Crystal Tour is more than a factory visit. We take you on a journey into the world of crystal. You’ll see each stage of the process that goes into making these pieces of art. We start in the history room, tracing Waterford Crystal from its birth. This part of the site features detailed exhibits of the firm’s development, and you’ll see some of their great antique pieces on display. You’ll then proceed to the mold room, where wooden molds and hand tools are still used by master blowers to shape the molten crystal. From here we move on to the blowing room, where you’ll watch as craftsmen transform glowing balls of molten crystal into elegant shapes. In the cutting department, master craftsmen use industrial diamond-tipped wheels to cut the crystal. The diamond wheel ensures a high quality cut to the crystal. The last two stages of the process involve sculpting and engraving, and are arguably the most precision-based stages in the creation of a piece of Waterford Crystal. Your tour ends with a visit to the retail shop, where you’ll see the largest display of Waterford Crystal in the world.

Suggested:

Copper Coast European: Tour the Copper Coast

The area has a wealth of beautiful, secluded coves and beaches, each with a story to tell. It took more than 460 million years to create the Copper Coast, so take your time to visit and explore it! The Copper Coast Geopark is an outdoor museum of geological records; it stretches along the coast from Kilfarassy Beach, near Fenor in the east to Ballyvoile Beach near Stradbally to the west. Volcanoes, oceans, deserts and ice sheets all combined to create the rocks which provide the physical foundation of the natural and cultural landscapes of the area. Follow the self-guided "Copper Coast" trail and walking cards available from the Copper Coast Geopark Centre in Bunmahon.

Day 5 - Cork: Blarney Castle

There are those that come seeking the stone but leaving understanding the stone is only part of the story. Legend has it that the Blarney Stone--the legendary Stone of Eloquence--found at the top of the castle tower guarantees anyone that kisses it never again to be lost for words. (Kissing the Blarney Stone requires narrow stairs and heights.) The castle originally dates from before 1200. Surrounding the castle are extensive gardens. Blarney House, also open to the public, is a Scottish baronial-style mansion that was built on the grounds in 1874.

There are numerous woodland walks on the grounds of the Blarney Castle estate, through which winds the River Martin. In the arboretum you will find colorful displays of copper beach, ornamental pear, southern beech, nothafagus and evergreen oaks. Adjacent to the arboretum, one finds the Belgian Beds planted with hybrid azaleas, and a western red cedar tree from BritISH Columbia. Don’t miss the poison garden.

The Rock Close is laid out on a pre-historic Druids site with the remains of huge boulders, rocks, a dolmen (a megalithic tomb with a large flat stone laid on uprights), a sacrificial altar and a witches kitchen. You will also find Japanese bamboo trees, magnolias, Siberian dogwood and weeping willows and a stream which can be crossed via a small pedestrian bridge.

Suggested:

Cork-Cobh Queenstown Story Tour

Start out by visiting St Colman’s cathedral, where you can see the architecture of Pugin and Ashlin in splendid detail, then take a relaxing drive by Cobh Harbor, (the Titanic Trail) and end at the Queenstown story at Cobh heritage center. From 1848 - 1950 over 2.5 million people departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration. Located outside the Cobh Heritage Center is the statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers. Annie Moore became the first ever emigrant to be processed in Ellis Island when it officially opened on 1st January 1892. A similar statue of Annie can be found in Ellis Island, New York. Following this tour take a scenic harbor Train ride from Cobh heritage center to Fota Wildlife Park Fota Wildlife Park is set on 70 acres on the scenic Fota Island. The park is not like an ordinary zoo; here you can come face to face with free roaming animals & birds from all parts of the world. So whether it's a kangaroo that hops in front of you or a ring tailed lemur which jumps down from a tree, each visit is sure to bring its own fantastic memories.

English Market (a personal favorite of mine) in Cork City

If this stop appeals to you, schedule it first before heading up the road to Blarney.

A mix of traditional Cork fare and exciting new foods from afar, along with longstanding family-run stalls and newcomers from outside, all contribute to its unique appeal, which is celebrated widely, especially by visitors to the city...

Cork picnickers are a fortunate bunch. The wonderful market is a self-caterer's paradise with so many tasty delicacies to choose from it's hard to show restraint. The emphasis is on local produce, with cheeses, ham, buttered eggs, sausages, bread and smoked salmon on offer, but there are some imports such as olives and wine too. If you have cooking facilities, the fresh-fish sellers will tell you exactly what to buy and how to cook it. Otherwise, perch at stall-side counters or take your lunch to Bishop Lucey Park, a popular alfresco eating spot.

Highlights:

  • Blarney Castle
  • Blarney Woollen Mills
  • Cobh Heritage Centre
  • Cork City
  • Kinsale fishing town
  • Old Midleton Whiskey Distillery

Hotel 2 Night Stay: Killarney Royal Hotel

The Killarney Royal Hotel has welcomed a century of travelers from around the world to Killarney. Offering a warm and cozy respite the boutique 4 star hotel, awarded IGTOA Boutique Hotel of the Year 2012, it is centrally located in the heart of Killarney Town, with all the majestic beauty of Killarney and Kerry outside our door. The Scally family, have proudly held the mantle of caring for guests over three generations. Committed to delivering gracious hospitality & creating lasting memories, delivering the friendly personal service and true Irish hospitality synonymous with Killarney Royal Hotel. The Killarney Royal offer guests luxurious hotel accommodation, exceptional and innovative cuisine and the ideal abode to return to after a day spent enjoying all that Killarney has to offer.

So many things to do in Killarney!

Muckross Friary, Muckross House Gardens and Farm, Ross Castle, Killarney National Park and Lakes, the Gap of Dunloe

Highlights:

  • Killarney National Park
  • Muckross House & Gardens
  • Killarney’s Traditional Music Pubs
  • Dingle
  • Ross Castle
  • The Gap of Dunloe
  • Jaunting Carts

Offering the best Killarney nightlife, Killarney Grand is a party pub designed to appeal to people of all ages.

Day 7- Ring of Kerry self-drive – southwest route Full Day of scenic driving.

Leave by 8:00 am. The Ring, lassoed by a winding coastal road through a mountainous, lake-splattered region, is undeniably scenic. Visitors since Victorian times have been drawn to this evocative chunk of the Emerald Isle, where mysterious ancient ring forts stand sentinel on mossy hillsides. Stop where inspiration strikes! I would suggest doing a little research and picking out just a few places for a brief stop if you are to get to the Cliffs in the same day. There are plenty of places along the way to stop and grab a tea, coffee and scone and soak up the scenery. If you are a chocolate fan and would like to treat yourself, watch out for Skelligs Chocolate Factory! Many have said it was a must stop. Or if preferred, you can skip the ring and take the more direct route, leaving you more coastal time.

Day 8: Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher - Entrance Included

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year.

Day 9:

Dromoland Castle Hotel; Newmarket-on-Fergus, 8 miles from Shannon

A Stunning 16th Century Ireland Castle Hotel

Savor Ireland the way it was intended to be experienced with a royal stay at the Dromoland Castle Hotel. Built in the family palace of the Dromoland O’Briens, Kings of Thomond with lineage tied back thousands of years to Brian Boru, the only High King of Ireland, the Dromoland Castle is a quintessential landmark of Ireland tradition, culture, and class. The repurposed castle boasts elegant 5th Century relics, such as sparkling vintage chandeliers, mysterious castle corridors and lavishly decorated common areas.

Spend the afternoon gazing over the property’s enchanting lake or take a stroll through the breath-taking Walled Garden. Enjoy an afternoon golfing on the widely-regarded Dromoland Golf & Country Club or invigorate the body and soul at the hotel’s full-service spa. Savor the relaxing atmosphere of the 100 stately guest quarters or relish a gourmet six-course meal at the Earl of Thomond Restaurant. For guests looking to experience old world Ireland with the convenience of modern day amenities, Dromoland Castle Hotel is an obvious choice.

Day 10 - Head to Shannon Airport to bid a fond farewell to Ireland

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