Holiday Ideas
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions

Ireland Road trip of the northwest Coast

  • Off the beaten track
Discover the uniqueness of the North-West Irish coast in this 8 day & 7 night self-driven tour! This tour will bring you along the North-western counties of Donegal, Sligo, and Mayo; home to such wonders as the Slieve League Cliffs and Achill Island. You will then travel through Galway, passing through the unmissable Connemara region, and end your stay in the Irish capital. Filled with unique ...

Discover the uniqueness of the North-West Irish coast in this 8 day & 7 night self-driven tour! This tour will bring you along the North-western counties of Donegal, Sligo, and Mayo; home to such wonders as the Slieve League Cliffs and Achill Island. You will then travel through Galway, passing through the unmissable Connemara region, and end your stay in the Irish capital. Filled with unique photo opportunities to share with all of your friends and family at home, you are sure to find respite and relaxation at locations you won’t find on guidebooks - the REAL Ireland. Experience some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe as well as visiting tombs and historical sites older than the ancient pyramids of Egypt!

See more
Tour itinerary includes
  • City
    City
  • Countryside
    Countryside
  • Food and drink
    Food and drink
  • Local cuisine
    Local cuisine
  • Local culture
    Local culture

Customisable trip itinerary

This tour idea is fully customisable

The itinerary has been created by our local agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Exploring the famous Boyne Valley and Trim Castle

Today, visit the famous Boyne Valley, one of the most interesting areas in Ireland to visit. The massive megalithic tombs and passage graves at Newgrange, Dowth, Knowth and Loughcrew, the Royal site at the Hill of Tara, Tailteann, the site of the Great Aonach which continued tri-annually for over 3,000 years, monastic houses at Trim and Bective, 16th and 17th Century great houses, are all vivid reminders of a glorious past. 


You will also have the opportunity to visit Newgrange. This megalithic site is known for its sculptures in the stone and its tomb of 85m diameter which is more than 5000 years old. This incredible site precedes the Roman civilization, the Stonehenge era and even the one pyramids in Egypt. The most impressive is a gigantic tumulus consisting of an open corridor at the end which is a mortuary chamber. More than 200,000 tons of stones were transported to build the mound. 

Then visit Trim Castle which is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Hugh from Lacy started building the castle in 1172 but the central tower - the dungeon - was completed only in 1220. The outdoor curtain with posterns and several towers surrounds a vast green space dominated by the impressive dungeon, which contains two large rooms and rooms above.

Visited:
Boyne Valley, Bru na Boinne, Trim Castle, County Cavan
Accomodation
Night at Slieve Russell Hotel (County Cavan)

Day 2: Discover the sumptuous Lissan house and Demesne

Discover the sumptuous Fermanagh Lakelands, from where you will be able to appreciate very beautiful excursions. In the same area, you have Enniskillen Castle. Until the 18th century, Enniskillen Castle stood on an island. Today, it's on the other side that you have the best perspective, with the famous water gate, which is reflected in Erne. Originally, it was a fortress of the powerful clan Maguire, rulers of Fermanagh in the 15th century as a strategic route between Ulster and Connaught. The castle houses exhibitions on the region and its often turbulent past. Take the opportunity to visit Lissan House & Demesne. Lissan is a charming country house located in the heart of 267 hectares and an excellent location in the Valley of Lissan Water. This house is only 2.5 km away north of Cookstown at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains in the County Tyrone. 

If you have time, do not miss the monastic site of Devinish Island, site founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise, and who suffered several raids of Vikings, burned but who eventually prospered. There are ruins of different periods, the oldest dating back to the time of Saint Molaise and a 12th century tower and a second tower of the 13th century.

Also visit the Belleek Pottery, one of the oldest attractions Northern Ireland. Established in 1857 Belleek pottery keeps a place very important in the cultural and commercial heritage of Fermanagh County. You then take part in a tour and discover the secrets of the success of Irish craftsmanship. Take the opportunity to admire one of the most beautiful pieces made by Belleek: The International Center Piece. 

Visited:
County Cavan, Fermanagh Lakelands, Belleek, Donegal
Accomodation
Bay view (Donegal)

Day 3: Visit the replicas of traditional rural Irish villages

Visit Glencolmcille where there are replicas of traditional rural Irish villages from the 18th, 19th, 20th centuries. You will be able take a walk or participate in a guided tour by a local expert. Through this village, discover the way of life of the Irish ancestors and the development of traditions such as music and dance Irish. 
Go through Malinbeg, where you will find the Silver Strand Beach. Formed like a horseshoe, this bay, accessible after many steps, has remains of fortifications behind which you can observe Rathlinn Island. For an even more magical experience, you should go here for either sunrise or sunset … you won’t regret it! 

Next point of interest is Ardara (surprisingly pronounced Ar-drah). This small town is well know for its famous Tweed weaver; Eddie Doherty - be sure to go into his shop! After this, get ready to have your breath taken from you along the cliffs of Slieve League. With their 600m of rock diving into the Atlantic, these cliffs are the tallest and some of the most beautiful Europe. Not as busy as the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League’s cliffs are THREE times the height of the busy Cliffs of Moher!!

Visited:
Donegal, Glencolmcille, Malin Beg, Slieve League
Accomodation
Bay view (Donegal)

Day 4: Learn everything about the Spanish Armada at Sligo Sea Trails

Today, discover Sligo. Take a guided tour with Sligo Sea Trails to learn everything about the Spanish Armada and the adventures of Captain De Cuellar. Night in Sligo Discover the manor of Lissadell House in taking part in a guided tour, from room to room to discover as much as possible about the Bore-Booth and the history of Ireland. The rooms in the basement will remind you of the Downton Abbey series. After this tour, you can take in the fabulous gardens, masterfully perched above the Atlantic! 


Make a stop in Sligo to visit Sligo Abbey. On the right bank of the Garavogue, the ruins mark the site of a former Dominican monastery, destroyed by fire in 1414. Once restored, the buildings of 1416 are spared by Queen Elizabeth on condition that the monks become members of the secular clergy. The monastery is set on fire deliberately this time, in 1641, by the leader of the troops Parliamentarians Fredrick Hamilton.

Visited:
Donegal, Sligo
Accomodation
Diamond Coast (Sligo)

Day 5: Enjoying the flight of the eagles and achill island

This morning, before venturing out to Achill Island, do not miss the Eagles Flying Experience in Ballymote. Located in Green Hill south of Sligo, it is the largest sanctuary of raptors and owls from Ireland. The centre occupies 27 hectares of nature; there are currently over 450 birds and nearly of 100 different species (owls, eagles, hawks, vultures etc.). 


Then head south and to the most western point in Ireland in Achill Island. The dazzling landscapes of Achill island and its rich history offer to visitors a complete panel of tourist attractions; the beauty of this secluded area is not to be missed. With no less than 5 blue flag beaches, Achill offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. This includes the sand of Keem Bay, a beautiful valley lost on the western tip of the island. Annagh is a place yet more isolated with a beautiful beach and a creek at the lake the deepest part of Ireland, accessible only by hikers and sailors. On top of all this, it has the highest sea cliffs in Ireland - 3rd highest in Europe here. The Croaghaun Sea Cliffs rise 688 metres over the Atlantic and create the most amazing sight on top!

Visited:
Sligo, Ballymote, Achill Island, Mayo
Accomodation
The Newport (Mayo)

Day 6: Walk through Connemara and visit Killary sheep farm

Today, before you travel through the Connemara region, you should take the opportunity to admire Croagh Patrick mountain. Night in Galway Connemara is a beautiful region, wilderness populated mainly by sheep and dotted by hundreds of small lakes. Discover the tiny stone-walled and thatchroofed farmhouses and the heather hills that are delimited by the marine coast and its calm sandy beaches. Many inhabitants of this region still speak Gaelic and ancient Celtic customs and traditions have been preserved.


Walk through Connemara and head to Killary Fjord. This long arm of 15km, which criss-crosses peacefully the region, is the only fjord in Ireland. It is anchored in an amazing setting and offers some of the most beautiful landscapes of the country. If you wish, you can enjoy a boat ride on its tranquil waters. Then you can go to Killary Sheep Farm, a traditional mountain farm and still in activity. She owns about 200 sheep and sheep black, more adapted to harsh mountain winters. The visitors can enjoy dog demonstrations from flock, shearing sheep and mowing peat. (It is advisable to book your visit in advance). 

Stop at Kylemore Abbey, on the shores of Lough Pollacappull, a castle from the Victorian era and Tudor style beautifully located on the edges of a lake and surrounded by the Twelve Bens, a chain of impressive mountains. Today it is the only remaining monastic dwelling of the Benedictine nuns in Ireland who have also restored the Victorian gardens which are also worth the visit.

Visited:
Mayo, Connemara, Killary, Kylemore Abbey, Galway
Accomodation
Night at Nox Hotel Galway (County Galway)

Day 7: Return to Dublin

This morning, take the time to visit Galway, a city full of life. The city is an ancient medieval city with a multitude of things to do and see (pubs, restaurants, arts, crafts, culture ...) and people to meet. You can visit Eyre Square, The Court House, Salmon Weir Bridge and Cathedral. A must-see monument of this city is The Spanish Arch. It was built in 1584 and is located on the bank of the Corrib. She is best known by Ceann na Bhalla (The head of the wall). It was originally the extension famous walls of the city, created to protect the quays. In the past she was known like the blinding arch. It now houses the city museum. 


Why not visit Claddagh Village. It is originally a fishing village on the western edges of Galway, along the river. The community of Claddagh had his own king who led the fishing fleet and was in responsible for major decisions. The fishermen sailed on a very particular boat named "Hooker" and were talking about Irish language. They sold their booty to the Stop at St Nicholas’ Church. A medieval church founded in 1320 and dedicated to St Nicholas of Myra, the protector of sailors. The church played an important role for the city of Galway. Because it was for a long time a place of political rally (elections, town hall councils etc.). 


On the road to Dublin you will pass by the Kilbeggan distillery, the last example of a small distillery, also the oldest of the country. Although it stopped working in 1957, visitors are now invited to discover the restored machines and discover the 200-year history of the triple distillation of Kilbeggan whiskey. 

Visited:
Galway, Dublin
Accomodation
Night at Cassidys (Dublin)

Day 8: Depart from Dublin

Today visit the city centre of Dublin to see the Georgian neighbourhood which is made up of many streets, 18th century parks and monuments with its gates entrance features in various colours. The Irish Parliament and many other monuments are located in this neighbourhood. Dublin is ranked as the 43rd most visited city in the world – just ahead of Florence in 44th – this isn’t a coincidence and is only growing in popularity. If you have any interest in literature, it’s the home of a plethora of famed writers, including the less well-known Stam Broker (creator of Dracula). There is so much to do and see in the ‘Fair City’; it encapsulates a rich history from having worse slums than Calcutta, to being one of the world’s most in-demand places to see. Even if you want to ‘avoid the crowd’ - it’s well worth spending time wandering Dublin’s streets!


Return and depart from Dublin Airport.  

Visited:
Dublin

Boyne Valley Bru na Boinne Trim Castle County Cavan Fermanagh Lakelands Belleek Donegal Glencolmcille Malin Beg Slieve League Sligo Ballymote Achill Island Mayo Connemara Killary Kylemore Abbey Galway Dublin

Price details

This tour idea is fully customisable

The price reflects this specific tour itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

For 2 Adults
Season Price Per Adult
Prices Starting From
January 2020 to December 2020 £640

Included in price:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • In-trip ground transportation
  • Activities according to your customized trip
  • 24/7 local agency support
  • Airport transfers
  • Trip creation with an expert local agent

Not included in price:

  • Arrival and departure flights
  • Meals and beverages not indicated
  • Personal expenses
  • Service gratuities
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
Book your flights to Ireland
International flights are not included in this trip. Thanks to our partnership with Option Way, you can take advantage of booking your flights directly with your local agent.
Check out the many benefits:
  • Competitive rates
  • All-inclusive prices with no hidden fees
  • Beth, in Ireland will inform you of any changes to your flights
For more information or to book your flights directly, head to our partner site.

Itinerary not quite right for you?

Create your tailor-made trip Browse all tour ideas in Ireland (17)

Other tour ideas

Tour ideas by activity, interest, or seasonality