Ireland is an incredibly rich country to visit, in history, the landscape, people and pubs. We travelled over 2000km by car starting from Dublin, heading South West, up the West coast, into Northern Ireland, and back down through Belfast. It's a lot to do and see in 10 days but definitely a doable and rewarding trip. And my first travels packing the Fuji XT2!
I'll try to share some of our experiences in less than a short novel.
Dublin is a beautiful city with lots to see, I suggest staying in the city for at least 2 nights. We didn't see the Guinness distillery or Jameson, but would have with more time (and money). Trinity College, Temple Bar and the Brazen Head are staples and high on my suggested list. The Brazen Head is said to be Ireland's oldest pub. We're talking 800 years old. Iveagh Gardens is a nice place to nap on a warmer day, smaller with more locals. Definitely buy a donut (or ten) from The Rolling Donut or Off Beat. And if you get a spontaneous tattoo like we did say hello to the Ink Factory for us (tattoo pictured below). Thanks Tete for that!
Off to the country. We decided to pass on Cork to save time. Kilkenny and Cashel on the way to a night in Dingle was our first day. Kilkenny has a lovely castle that's been restored beautifully, with lots of boutiques in town. Cashel was by far more worth it to me, amazing for the ruins; and at no charge!
Dingle is a great little town. Stop at Inch beach, the view is stunning. If you can, take a day to drive the Ring of Kerry. It's over 4 hours but give yourself at least 8 because you will be making stops. The Killarny National Park should be one of them.
Galway, a must city to visit. The liveliest outside of Dublin, full of pubs, music, tourists and students. I was referred to great stops by a friend who lived there; O'Connells for a pint of Guinness, Murphy's ice cream for their gin flavour, sit on the Quay at sunset (if you're lucky to get sun), and live music at The Quay's, which is a bar. Charcoal Grill for a late night burger (thanks for the recommendation Carlee!)
Barna Woods is a small trail outside of Galway. I wouldn't schedule a stop just for it but if you're nearby and need to stretch your legs it's a lovely old forest with plenty of local dog walkers.
We took the ferry to Inishmore and rented bikes to the cliffs. The Cliffs of Moher from Doolin is spectacular, much higher than Inishmore, absolutely terrifying, but with some courage it's much easier and safer to sit on the edge of the cliffs on Inishmore since the rock face is more solid and shelf-like.
Sligo is a nice town to stop at if heading straight to the tip of Northern Ireland from Galway. Once in Coleraine we had plenty to see for the two days we were there. Giant's causeway has magnificent naturally formed volcanic rocks. Dunluce castle, on the top of a cliff by the beach is breathtaking.
Belfast is a nice city to visit, we regret not seeing the Titanic Museum which is raved about, or the peace wall, though we're happy to have made this stop before finishing our trip back to Dublin.
See as much as you're able to, and budget plenty of time for Guinness stops!