One Week in Ireland: the perfect Western Ireland itinerary for one week
Spending one week in Ireland means you have time to dedicate a few days to Dublin and a few to the surrounding areas or even for traveling around taking in the beauty of the Emerald Isle. With a week in Ireland at your disposal, it’s possible to follow different itineraries: you may decide to stay in Dublin and visit the surrounding region or move around choosing between North, South, and West.
In this travel guide I set out a simple itinerary for a week in Ireland which starts in Dublin and ends in the West of Ireland visiting some of the most beautiful areas which first time visitors to the country simply must see: it’s not a tiring itinerary and doesn’t jump around from place to place but instead allows you to enjoy each location, giving you the excuse to return and see other sites.
At the end of the page, there is a detailed map of all the places mentioned and useful advice on how to successfully plan your holiday in Ireland.
Before starting, let me clarify: we know how to give you these tips on Ireland, as real experts of the place, and of which we write often (more here) because we have moved to Dublin for a long time and we work in the tourism industry, helping tourists who want to organize a trip to Ireland. So, ours are not guides on Ireland based on a holiday but based on knowledge and experience. If you need more information please contact us by email and we will be happy to answer your questions and help you if you want to come to Ireland and are looking for personalized tours, travel ideas or just tips. You can also find us on social media: on Instagram (Veru and Giuseppe), Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
One Week in Ireland: itinerary and things to do on the West Coast of Ireland in one week
Day 1: Dublin
Arrival in Dublin and have a first look at the city. You can plan your activities based on your accommodation and arrival time. Choose what to do by taking a look at
I suggest the following places where to stay but beware: prices in Dublin are extremely high so my advice is to book in advance which allows you to choose comfortable accommodation at a reasonable price. I recommend choosing central or fairly central zones that allow you to get around on foot otherwise you risk spending too much on taxis, relying too much on public transport or having to walk too far.
Where to eat and have a pint of beer in Dublin: The best advice for you
DAY TWO: DUBLIN
Travel around the city on foot or on one of the city’s double-decker hop on hop off buses which allow you to get off whenever you like. Set off from your accommodation and aim to arrive at the Guinness Storehouse before closing time: plan your visit to the Guinness factory so as to arrive on the top floor in time for the start of the sunset or, in any case, at the end of the day when there are fewer people and you can enjoy a pint of Guinness in (relative) peace. You can find more information on the Guinness Storehouse here.
DAY 3: CLIFFS OF MOHER & GALWAY
Rent a car in Dublin and drive to the Cliffs of Moher in the West of Ireland which is famous all over the world. Parking in the official parking lot costs 6 euros per person; the price per person includes parking, entrance to the Cliffs and a donation which goes towards protecting the area.
You can also park outside a few kilometers away which will save you a little, although I have to say that usually, no one checks if you have a ticket, however, it’s also true that there are attendants everywhere and not paying could mean you incur a fine. Once you reach the Cliffs, make time for a walk and, if you are brave enough, go beyond the “safe” zone: a sign warns you that you are leaving the protected area at your own risk. Only do it if you feel safe as the height is considerable, there isn’t a barrier and the wind is strong; above all, do it carefully like the many people who do it each day. From the Cliffs of Moher, it takes an hour and a half to get to Galway where I recommend you spend the evening strolling through the beautiful city streets, stopping along the way to listen to traditional music.
Where to eat in Galway: Aniar | Oscar’s Seafood Bistro | Dock 1 | McDonagh’s
Best pubs in Galway: O’Connor’s Famous Pub | Kings Head | The Crane
Not to be missed: Thomas Dillons/Fallers/Claddagh Jewelers where you can buy the famous Irish Claddagh ring
More information about Galway can be found in English on the tourist office website.
DAY 4: CONNEMARA NATIONAL PARK
Devote the whole day to Connemara. Set off from Galway, stop at Clifden and make your way to the castle on foot, soaking up the magical atmosphere before you arrive at the Connemara National Park. Here you can walk up to the top of Diamond Hill, from where you can admire Connemara and also Donegal, the Aran islands and all the valleys and surrounding sea; in Connemara National Park don’t miss out on a visit to the very famous Kylemore Abbey but remember that there is an entrance fee and you’ll need to check the opening hours.
If you’re not a fan of walking and want to see something else, I recommend a day visiting the Aran Islands: you can choose one of the three and spend the whole day there before returning to the mainland. Inis Mór is the biggest and can be seen by bike or other methods of transport that can be hired on the island, Inis Meáin is the most deserted and Inis Oírr is the smallest, which you can walk around on foot and has interesting things to see including a shipwreck. Travel to the islands is by ferry from Doolin or Ros a’ Mhíl.
DAY 5: CONNEMARA + GALWAY
Another day in Connemara: set off for the Connemara Loop with frequent stops at all the beaches along the way, the fantastic Killary Fjord and the beautiful Renvyle peninsula. You’ll notice that all the signs are written in Irish because Connemara is a Gaeltacht, one of the areas in Ireland where the Irish language is spoken. Plan a detour to Cong, a typical Irish village made famous as the location of the John Wayne film “The Quiet Man”: Cong isn’t in Connemara but County Mayo, also known as Joyce Country. It’s worth visiting the park with its river where you can fish for salmon and walk along the 10km circular route. Last stop: Galway, head for Salthill and the promenade and don’t miss out on a walk to Mutton Island (closed to visitors) and enjoy the fresh air of Galway and the bay, stopping to admire the surrounding view if you have time.
Eating in Cong: Danagher’s Hotel Bar Restaurant | The Hungry Monk Cafe
Staying in Galway: St Judes B&B
DAY 6: GALWAY-DUBLIN
From Galway set off back to Dublin: if you’re not in a rush and don’t have plans I recommend the following stops
- Clonmacnoise Monastery in County Offaly on the banks of the Shannon River (have a look at my video by clicking here);
- the village of Shannonbridge.
On reaching Dublin you can spend the evening in the city center Templebar area even if my advice as a local is to avoid this area and choose quieter and less frequented pubs outside the city center.
Staying in Dublin:
- Luxury Rental Dublin Sir John Rogerson’s Quay
- Maldron Hotel Pearse Street
- Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House
- Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane
DAY 6: DUBLIN
On your last day in Dublin I recommend you start with a visit to O’Connell Street and the General Post Office (a beautiful and historic building) and then pass the time travelling a short way outside the center to visit Kilmainham Gaol, the former Dublin prison where many rebels were detained and killed in 1916: before visiting the prison my advice is to study a little Irish history in order to understand what happened because Kilmainham Gaol is so important. From Kilmainham Gaol it’s just a few minutes to Phoenix Park: you can relax on the grass, take a walk and if you have time you could also visit the zoo. Spend your last evening in Dublin in Smithfield in local pubs and typical restaurants.
DAY 7: DEPARTURE
Depending on your departure time you can choose what to do and if you leave in the afternoon you won’t have to rush. Weather permitting I recommend a walk to Poolbeg to the lighthouse, returning via Sandymount: a great way to end your week in Ireland.
ONE WEEK IN IRELAND: USEFUL ADVICE
Remember that Ireland has its own weather and you can encounter 4 seasons in just one day: it’s best to wear layers and waterproof shoes and take a scarf and waterproof jacket/coat all year round. In the West, it’s often windier than other parts.
Book your hotel as soon as possible, especially if you’re visiting Ireland for a week in high season: prices are high in Dublin, less so in low season for medium and high-level accommodation but demand is high all the same;
If you decide to visit Ireland and follow this itinerary using public transport, I recommend looking at the BusEireann website where you’ll find timetables and connections for every destination. Remember that it can be difficult getting to certain places only using public transport and that a car is the best means of transport for traveling around Ireland. Car hire in Ireland is a common practice and for this reason, it is good to organize on time, avoiding to find little choice and high prices. Find more information on car hire in Ireland by clicking here.
One week in Ireland: the map with the full itinerary
Your One Week itinerary in Ireland is ready: you just have to book your flight and start organizing your trip but if you’re looking for other useful information do not hesitate to contact us and
[All pics are copyright by Giuseppe Milo]