Beginning in Dublin, set off on a South Ireland road trip that takes in the very best of the region — which happens to be some of the very best of Ireland.
Explore Dublin’s lively streets where modern Ireland is in full display yet ancient traditions, from world-renowned whiskey to rambunctious folk music, remain fit as fiddles — with the emphasis firmly on the fiddle.
Then head on to Dublin’s cousin and rival, riverside Cork, with its cosmopolitan vibe and medley of attractions, from museums to magical stones.
Then trade city lights for the vast seas and skies of the Dingle Peninsula, before heading to your final stop, Lough Derg, with its scenic drives and the simple pleasures of lakeside living.
The first stop on your South Ireland road trip is a city small in size but huge in personality. Dublin wears its history on its sleeve yet retains a youthful energy.
The 18th-century masterpieces of Merrion Square, medieval castles, and Norman cathedrals find perfect complement in the city’s cheeky charm, where the Millennium Spire is also referred to as “the stiffy by the Liffey” — which says it all, really.
Dive into Ireland’s past at the National Museum, while literature lovers should visit the homes of Yeats, Wilde, and Beckett. Check out the performers on Grafton Street — and get an obligatory pic with Molly Malone.
Take a tour of the iconic Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield. Sample local produce at Temple Bar’s weekend markets — and stay on for the evening partying. Or catch a show at the prestigious Abbey Theatre then tap along to some traditional folk music in a cosy waterfront pub.
from Dublin depot
Abandoned prison with fascinating history.
The National Leprechaun Museum
Irish folklore, legends, and myths.
The Sally Gap
Epic pass through the Wicklow mountains.
Michelin-starred, showcasing the best of Irish dining.
Fade Street Social
Lively venue, Irish-style tapas.
Pub and restaurant, whiskey, Sunday jazz.
near the beach with restaurant on site
Camac Valley Tourist Caravan and Camping Park
Near bus into Dublin centre.
Locals refer to Cork as “the real capital of Ireland”. Head on to the next stop on your South Ireland road trip to see if they’re right.
This is a down-to-earth and welcoming city with no airs and graces despite the sophisticated Georgian terraces of its city centre.
Full of spirit, Cork is rapidly sprucing itself up — hence all those artisan coffee bars calling out to the secret hipster inside you. But there’s also plenty of tradition. By which we mean pubs. Lots of them.
Wander the city centre, set on an island in the River Lee. Check out the English market with its vaulted ceilings and array of local produce. Enjoy a pint of Murphey’s or Beamish, the city’s own version of stout.
Indulge your inner hoarder at The Village Hall, a treasure trove of vintage clothing, records, and knick-knacks. And in the evening, there’s the Cork Opera House. But if arias leave you cold, don’t panic — it also hosts stand-up comedy.
Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral
Spectacular Victorian Gothic construction.
Kiss this magical stone to acquire the gift of the gab.
Rocky cove and refuge for pirates and smugglers.
Local produce served in the English Market.
Fish and steaks in Art Deco venue.
Franciscan Well Brewery
Celebrated pub and wood fired pizza.
North Cathedral Parking
15 minute walk from central Cork.
Blarney Caravan and Camping Park
Near Blarney Castle and bus ride from Cork.
Next on this South Ireland road trip, join part of the epic and iconic Wild Atlantic Way heading on to Dingle. The Dingle Peninsula is the Irish mainland’s most westerly point.
This ancient landscape is home to prehistoric forts and beehive huts, early Christian chapels, haunting holy wells, and some seriously spectacular beaches. Vast sandy shores pounded by Atlantic waves alternate with picturesque coves. And then, looming over it all, the majestic Mount Brandon.
This part of your South Ireland itinerary is all about nature. The Slea Head Drive takes in some of Ireland’s most bewitching scenery as it winds along the rocky coast. Or there’s Connor Pass, Ireland’s highest mountain pass — if you can handle its twists and turns, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views.
Surfers and windsurfers should head to Castlegregory and Inch while swimmers will enjoy the calmer waters of Ventry and Smerwick Harbour. And look out for Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who has been living in Dingle harbour since 1985.
The Gallarus Oratory
Early Christian stone church.
Dunbeg Fort Iron
Age fort overlooking Dingle Bay.
Ireland’s 9th highest mountain, steeped in myth.
Gormans Clifftop House
Smazing views, local seafood.
Out of the Blue
Fishing shack serving spectacular seafood.
Global Village Restaurant
International cuisine using regional produce.
Anchor Caravan Park
Close to beach and pub in Castlegregory.
The final destination on your South Ireland road trip is the largest lake on Ireland’s River Shannon.
Lough Derg is home to a scenic drive of the same name. It is a spectacular 78-mile journey hugging the shores of the lake, through picturesque villages like Mountshannon, where you might spot White Tailed Eagles, to places like Portumna Forest and its castle.
Don’t miss out on the villages of Tipperary on the lake’s eastern shores, and the most dramatic stretch, around Portroe and Garrykennedy. Sound like fun?
Begin with the lake itself, where you can canoe, waterski, kayak, paddle boarding, and even go diving. Venture across the waters to Inis Cealtra — Irish for ‘Holy Island’ - a pilgrimage site with ghostly ruins.
Hike along the East Clare Way, or climb — or attempt to climb — Tountinna, the highest point on the Arra mountains. Then head to the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most impressive historic sites, where ancient ruins perch on a rocky outcrop — a true trip through time.
from Dingle Peninsula
Cliffs of Moher
Towering cliffs looking out on the Atlantic.
Nenagh Castle Norman
Castle with panoramic views.
Jacobean-style mansion with intriguing geometric gardens.
Rustic pub with roaring fires.
Wood and Bell
Run by former international rugby player, Keith Woods.
Hearty food and trad music.
Close to shores of lake and a pub.
from Lough Derg