Wandering around the charming streets of Cork, seeing the cheerfulness coming from Dublin’s pubs filled with people, discovering the mysteries of the Blarney castle and breathing in fresh air in the port town of Cobh made me feel that Ireland is actually one of these countries where I would gladly live. If that’s the feeling I got after my 5 days Ireland Road Trip Itinerary, then it means it had to be a wonderful experience. It combined 6 cities and towns (one day combines two of them) and all of the different types of attractions, from walking on Irish cliffs, through visiting a real whiskey distillery, as well as a museum of… my cruise readers will find it exciting… Titanic! So if you want to see how my 5 days Ireland Road Trip Itinerary was planned, keep reading!
NOTE: The most convenient way for me to fly to Ireland was to get to the Dublin Airport, so both the starting point and the ending point for me was Dublin city.
DAY 1 – Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
On day 1 I have arrived to Dublin in the afternoon. The tiredness from the flight didn’t stop me from going out and exploring the beauty of this extremely cheerful city! The walk to the city centre was already full of incredible sights, starting from crossing the O’Connell Bridge, where I took a moment to admire the beauty of the Liffey river floating underneath it.
💡 Interesting fact:
The Liffey River is actually very often mentioned in literature and songs. It was even referenced in a modern song by Radiohead called “How to Disappear Completely”:
“That there, that’s not me
I go where I please
I walk through walls, I float down the Liffey
I’m not there, this isn’t happening”
I also took my time to explore the wonders of the St Stephen’s Green gardens, where the green lungs of the city seem to be powering the inner happiness of its inhabitants. Some people think that visiting a park on a trip abroad might be a waste of time, since parks can be found everywhere, but to me, indulging in the real life of people who live in my travel destination is essential. I want to know where they spend the time, what motivates them, how do they see the places that surround them on a daily basis. That’s just the way I discover their culture. So visiting the famous park or gardens in the middle of the capital, to me, is not a waste of time – I would even say the opposite – it makes me feel more connected to its citizens.
I have also taken this opportunity to visit some of the gorgeous architectural gems of the Dublin city. One of them was the Christ Church of Dublin, which interestingly has been used as set for TV dramas such as Reign and The Tudors. It’s just wonderful to see these big-screen settings in real life!
Also related to The Tudors, but also to many other films including Barry Lyndon, Michael Collins, Becoming Jane & The Medallion, I have had the chance to take a look at the magnificent Dublin Castle in its wholeness. To be fair, I would dare to say that all of the Irish corners are just the perfect settings for the most incredible stories. Who knows, maybe one of my novels will be set exactly there? 😉
There are countless of architectural gems on the map of Dublin, and to be honest, if you walk by the main streets you will find them at every step. Buildings like the great General Post Office, with its high columns showing off the proudness of “being Irish”, will let you stop there for a minute and give you an urge to get closer and discover them, one by one.
DAY 2 – Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
The morning of the second day was designated by the movement from Dublin to Cork, which became my base for the following 3 nights. Cork is a charming city on the other side of the island (and actually the 2nd largest city in Ireland in all). The journey in between the 2 cities takes approximately 3 hours, so it’s important to calculate that for the transportation.
Cork hosts the National University of Ireland, Cork (UCC), which really amused me when I’ve seen it. The building looks like it was taken away from a middle-aged novel and placed there, just like that. On a campus like this, it feels like I would start speaking the old-English only and behave like a real lady. Well, it probably wouldn’t happen, but let the woman dream.
I have also had the chance to visit the Crawford Art Gallery, which has managed to amuse me with all the wonderful art pieces that could be found there. I wouldn’t place it in my top 5 museums I have ever visited, but still, I think it’s worth giving it a try and exploring it – at the end of the day, we all have different tastes when it comes to art.
One of the most amusing European cathedrals I have visited though, was the Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, which for some reason has completely taken over my spiritual side as I entered it. The gothic architectonic style it was constructed in gives it the kind of feeling that makes it maybe a little mysterious, maybe unique in some sense, and the gargoyle sculptures might even make it appear a little creepy in some sense. One way or the other, I would say that this sacral monument is a must-see building on the map of Cork, independently on your faith or religion.
However, the most majestic and impressive landmark of Cork will still remain the incredible City Hall. Stretched in front of The River Lee, the classical monument serves for civil purposes, but the exterior architecture of the place is just so unique that it needs to be seen.
DAY 3 – Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
Probably the most packed and full of interesting activities, we have started day 3 by paying a visit to the Fota Wildlife Park. For those who enjoy diving into more natural experiences and getting closer to the wildlife, I would definitely recommend this out-of-ordinary place. It’s completely different than going to an average zoo – they have plants and animals from all over the world, including even kangaroos, and you can (if you’re careful) get to pet the giraffes, who will extend their long necks in your direction.
But the park visit was only the beginning of this exciting day. From there we drove directly to… Cobh, and that’s where things get really interesting for those of you who love cruises, just like me. Cobh houses the original White Star Line ticket office, dating back to the 19th century! If you carefully followed the story of Jack & Rose in the cinematic representation of the first and last sailing of Titanic, you would know that Titanic was operated by White Star Line! The original ticket office where passengers were able to purchase their ticket for the tragic cruise has been transformed into the Titanic Experience, where you can learn more about the history of the ship, but also the passengers who were on board. It wasn’t made with the intention of being just a typical museum, but more of an immersive experience where you follow the story of one of the 123 Titanic’s passengers who unfortunately boarded the cursed ship.
But Cobh, as a port town, is charming on its own as well. We took a walk around its main areas and the picturesque landscapes made me stop and snap more than one picture, some of which still being my favorites to this day.
To finish this full of emotions journey, we went on to walk on the Garryvoe beach, a place where the panorama really takes your breath away. For someone who loves the beach and the sea the way I do, it was the perfect ending summarizing the day.
DAY 4 – Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
On day 4 we took a completely different, more mysterious route: first we went to visit the oldest Irish Jameson whiskey distillery in Midleton! The actual complex has been transformed into a museum, where it’s possible to find out everything there is to know about how the whiskey is made – as well as check out the machinery that still produces whiskey to this day. It was quite interesting, since it’s not something that we actually get to see on a normal day!
Yet the real treat for a castle lover like me was the Blarney Castle. The story of Blarney Castle is very rich and impossible to even attempt summarizing it in 2-3 sentences, so I invite you to check out more information HERE. But what’s interesting is that we got to kiss the Stone of Eloquence, which, as the title suggests, is meant to give you the gift of eloquence. Whether I got it or not… it’s hard to say 😀 But hanging upside down over a sheer drop was definitely an experience I will never forget.
DAY 5 – Ireland Road Trip Itinerary
The last, final day of the Ireland Road Trip included a packed itinerary as well. First, we visited the Kinsale Yacht Club, full of wonderful boats that can really catch the eye.
Then, we moved to the maybe most important landmark and highlight of the entire road trip – the southern Ireland’s cliffs! The views there were just marvelous, even though you need to take into consideration that whatever the season is, it can get really, really windy. You also need to be very careful not to slip anywhere or get to close to the edge – because from this height and the amount of rocks around, you can experience quite a painful death if you loose your focus.
But Kinsale has so much to offer – aside from the yacht club marina & the cliffs, you can also see the incredible Charles Fort, a medieval bastion fort . Nowadays a National Monument of Ireland, Charles Fort is a great place for those who like to dive a little into history and see how the fort’s architecture has been developing throughout centuries.
Speaking of landmarks stretched over various centuries, we have then moved on to visit the Old Head of Kinsale, the peak of the Irish hard sandstone formed by natural erosion of earth. There you can find a (quite creepy if you ask me) lighthouse from the 17th century. An interesting fact is that it’s actually the nearest land point to where the RMS Lusitania ship was sunk in 1915. Could it get any more mysterious?
In the afternoon, we took a walk on the Garrettstown Beach, in order to take some deep breaths after diving into history and dangerous cliffs – quite an intense day.
Over the way back to Dublin, we have also stopped for a short visit to the small Irish towns of Ballinspittle & Inishannon, which are both colorful, climatic and charming – but too small to spend more than 1-2 hours in.
Our flight back to Poland was somewhere in the early morning/deep night hours (around 4 AM), which has left us with quite a lot of time to spare. Of course, that time couldn’t be left unused – thus we decided to take a little Dublin by night bus ride, where we were able to see picturesque places such as Dublinia, Dublin Bay and many many more in the nighttime lights ornamentally shading sparkles on the sleeping city.
And that’s how we have reached the end of this crazy, packed 5-days Ireland Road Trip Itinerary! It certainly wasn’t one of those trips where I got to relax, because I was more focused on visiting a lot of landmarks, both architectural and natural – and I couldn’t be more happy with how many wonderful things we visited to squeeze into this limited timeframe. I hope I made you experience just a little bit of Ireland through this personal journey and inspired you to visit this colorful, filled with a soul of its own country.
Itinerary at glance
* O’Connell Bridge
* Liffey River
* St. Stephen’s Green gardens
* Christ Church of Dublin
* Dublin Castle
* General Post Office
* National University of Ireland, Cork
* Crawford Art Gallery
* Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral
* City Hall
* River Lee
* Fota Wildlife Park
* Titanic Experience Cobh
* Cobh Port Town
* Garryvoe beach
* Jameson whiskey distillery in Midleton
* Blarney Castle
* Kinsale Yacht Club
* Southern Ireland’s cliffs
* Charles Fort
* Old Head of Kinsale
* Garrettstown Beach
Dublin by night
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