How Many Days to Spend in Ireland: A Local’s Advice

How many days to spend in Ireland

You could spend a lifetime in Ireland and never see everything the country has to offer. While you may need to plan ahead if you only have a couple of days, Ireland is a great place to spend any amount of time.

As a general rule, travelers should allow between 1-2 weeks to explore a single region of Ireland. 1-3 nights per location is usually sufficient, with larger cities like Dublin taking more time to explore. For stays in Ireland shorter than 5 days, focus on one location with the potential for day trips.

Many people I speak to at the end of their trip feel they have only scratched the surface of the places they visit by doing too much in a couple of days. It is possible to see a huge amount of Ireland in that time, but there is so much on offer that you will never see it all. Let’s make the most of your time here…

How Many Days to Spend in Ireland

The River Liffey in Dublin

For a trip to Ireland, you should usually allow between 5 days and 4 weeks. I know that moving to Ireland is not an option for everyone, so most people will have to pick and choose what they can do for each visit to the country.

Spending at least a week in Ireland will allow you to explore more than just one location and really get a feel for it. Most people who visit Ireland will tend to focus on a few of the major national sights and you will be able to see many of them in a week.

For example, if you wanted to explore Dublin, Galway and a few other sights like the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Howth, you would need about a week. Though you can pack an itinerary like this into a shorter amount of time, it will be tough for most people.

By allowing an extra week, you would be able to get another part of the country like Cork, Killarney and some amazing places along the west coast like Dingle and parts of the Wild Atlantic Way.

One of the best parts about a visit to Ireland is the things you will stumble upon along the way and the local people you will meet. Make sure not to have too much booked so as not to miss out!

Recently, while giving a walking tour of Dublin, I met an English couple who converted a camper van while on lockdown. They spent over a month in Ireland and in that time, they barely explored a fraction of the coast of county Cork! While not every traveler to Ireland can do that, I believe that they had the right idea.

How Many Days Should You Spend in Dublin

Bailey Lighthouse
The Bailey Lighthouse at Howth

Between 3 to 5 days is a good amount of time to spend in Dublin, including both arrival and departure days. This will allow you to explore some of the main sights and attractions, while still giving you the opportunity to go on a day trip outside the city.

When exploring Dublin, many people want to see major attractions like the Book of Kells and the Guinness Storehouse. These are definitely worth checking out, but also make sure to leave yourself enough time to experience the city like the locals do, even if only for a night or two!

There are too many great things to experience in Dublin for me to list them all here, so make sure to have a look at my recommendations for the city through this link hereOpens in a new tab..

When it comes to day trips outside the city, there are many amazing places that you can see beautiful Irish countryside right next to Dublin.

One of my favourite places to explore outside of the city is HowthOpens in a new tab.. This peninsula, is located just north of the city and is accessible by public transport. It boasts gorgeous cliffs and hiking trails as well as a fishing village with some amazing seafood.

I go into much more detail on how long to spend in Dublin in this article here.Opens in a new tab.

5 Days in Ireland

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara

5 days is the minimum for an itinerary in Ireland. It is just enough time to explore a handful of destinations, focusing on a particular region. By starting somewhere with good transport links, like Dublin, you will be able to see one or two major locations, like the Ring of Kerry, and some surrounding sights.

There are many 5-day itineraries of Ireland out there, so I won’t list them here. When you only have that amount of time, you should make sure to manage your expectations so you don’t feel overwhelmed during your trip and/ or disappointed when its over.

You will not be able to see the entire west coast of Ireland in less than a week, but you will be able to see some of the main attractions along the way. An example of a 5-day itinerary of Ireland would be below:

  • Day 1: Travel into Dublin and stay overnight.
  • Day 2: Travel to Galway city and explore the town.
  • Day 3: See the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.
  • Day 4: Explore the Aran Islands and Doolin.
  • Day 5: Visit Connemara National Park and the scenic Gaeltacht coast.
  • Day 6: Travel back to Dublin and fly home.

2 Days in Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway, North of Belfast

2 days is too short to explore Ireland, but it is an ideal amount of time for a city break to somewhere like Dublin or Belfast. In 2 days, you will be able to explore many of the main highlights of these cities and you should have a better idea of what you want to see when you have more time.

In 2 days, you will be able to visit a couple of museums/ tours and maybe visit a few restaurants and pubs. While visiting many of these main tourist attractions can be a great experience, it will be difficult to meet any locals or experience many of the lesser known attractions that locals and visitors alike adore.

If you want to check out my 2-day itinerary of Dublin, please click hereOpens in a new tab..

Also, if you want to click my 2-day itinerary of Belfast, please click hereOpens in a new tab..

Jack

Jack Redmond has been a tour guide in Ireland for the past decade. Having received a national guiding qualification, he has brought thousands of travelers all over the island of Ireland.

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