Slieve League Sea Cliffs, County Donegal

What can you see in Ireland in 7 days?

A week long Irish adventure

Ireland, being a relatively small county that's packed full of world-famous attractions means that it's the ideal destination to explore if you've only got a week to do so. The road network throughout Ireland offers picturesque views and stunning landscapes, even along the highways from one city to the next. In other European countries the highways can be rather industrial looking and monotonous, Ireland's are (for the most part) scenic and very easy on the eye.

If you're planning on going off the main highways and onto the smaller rural roads of Ireland, it is worth allocating more time to your journey. Some of these roads can be potholed and are subject to various livestock crossings.

The Irish Coastline

Ireland in a week

More Bang for Your Buck!

A seven day trip around Ireland is the very definition of 'more bang for your buck'. Take, for example, the UK – which is three times the size of Ireland – there are, arguably, the same amount of 'must-see' attractions spread across the two countries. That's three times less travelling in Ireland to get from one destination to the next!

Cultural Diversity

The variety of cultures, within such a small space, is also something that's pretty unique to Ireland. Hearing a drastic change in accents over the space of a mile is something visitors are always struck by. Growing up in Cork City, with its own slang and distinct accent, I find it easy to know the exact birthplace of a fellow Corkonian, within the nearest half a mile. This is true of all counties in Ireland. If you were to pick a spot in, for example, Dublin city and walk a 10 minutes in any direction, the change in accent, of the locals, is amazing. To the outsider, at the beginning, it can sound similar but the more time you spend in a given place, the more you will start to notice the 'accents within the accent'.

In County Cork, there is a delicately known as Spiced Beef, a cured and salted joint of rump beef. In County Waterford, you can go into any bakery and order a 'Blaa', which is a doughy, white bread bun. Boxty, a potato pancake, is usually only found in County Fermanagh. Dulse, essentially red seaweed, is used in the making of soda bread, but only on the Causeway Coast of County Antrim. All these areas are relatively near one another, yet to ask for one outside of its place of origin would be like speaking a different language.

At any given location in Ireland, you are never too far from a local who will gladly tell you the history of their culture, or at least the version of it they want you to hear.

Accommodation in Ireland

Choosing your accommodation

Go Hub & Spoke

A Hub & Spoke or Loop the Loop tour focuses on staying in as few different accommodations as possible. For example, if you took a hotel in County Limerick as the 'Hub' for a four night stay, you could visit the neighbouring counties of Kerry, Cork and Clare for a whole day each. A traditional tour would see you check out from the hotel in Limerick, travel the short distance to Kerry, check-in and get comfortable in a new hotel... and so on, throughout your destinations. With a bit of pre-planning and using only, for example, two or three individual hotels during your week in Ireland, you can spend more time doing the things you like and less time having to check-in and out, packing and unpacking. Ireland is a small country and you'll be amazed how quickly the journeys to and from your 'hub' will feel.

Hotels

Hotels in Ireland range from the extravagant castle hotels (Ballynahinch Castle in Galway, Adare Manor in Limerick, Dromoland Castle in Clare), to mid-range specialists (Clarion, Maldron) to Stop & Drop no-frills stays (Travelodge, Holiday Inn).

B&Bs

B&Bs are an ideal accommodation choice for anyone looking for a more personal touch to their stay. Staying, usually, in the house of the owners, it's not uncommon to enjoy a drink with them in the evening and join them for breakfast the next morning, all while swapping travel tips and tricks with the other guests. B&Bs in Ireland come in at around the same price as mid-range hotels.

Hostels

Hostels can be found in all the cities in Ireland and a few of the larger towns. While they are a great way to save money when compared to hotels and B&Bs, they might be more suited to a younger crowd. The major downside, for some people, is that you will be sharing a room with strangers. Hostels are great for socialising and swapping travelling stories, but not so great if you just want to get your head down and get some shuteye.

Farm Stays

An Irish Farm Stay offers all the benfits of a bed and breakfast with the added bonus of living on a working farm. Enjoy the fresh country air, see the processes that go into running a farm and enjoy the freshest produce. A Farm Stay will usually cost a little more than a stay in a standard B&B.

Alternative Accommodation

House swapping, Airand, CouchSurfing and campsites are also options for your week long stay in Ireland. For more information on these as well as prices for all different accommodation type, please click here.

Tour Itineraries of Ireland

Sample 7-Day Itineraries of Ireland

The Classic

The Classic is a seven-day itinerary of Ireland that fits in the greatest hits and the must-see destinations. If you don't want to arrive back home and have to explain why you didn't see 'insert World-Famous-Irish-Attraction here, the one that your friends and cousins and neighbours and work colleagues will definitely ask you about!', then this is the week-long trip for you.

The South West and South East

The South West and South East starts in a different location from most Ireland tours, Shannon Airport in County Clare. On this itinerary, you can spread your time across the south-western counties of Cork and Kerry and the south-eastern counties of Waterford and Wexford.

The Northern

The Northern is a seven-day itinerary of Ireland and Northern Ireland that might be more suitable to returners. But, if you've already seen Blarney Castle, the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry this could be your ideal week-long vacation. The North of Ireland is as stunningly beautiful as the South and for anyone with an interest in the outdoors, especially surfing and camping, then the rugged coastline of Ireland's Northwest is worth the trip alone. Visit the birthplace of the RMS Titanic and the filming locations of Game of Thrones in the resurgent Northern Ireland.

Prices in Ireland

How much does a 7-day trip to Ireland cost?

Like most holiday destinations, the overall cost of your tour of Ireland will all come down to how much you want to spend. Ireland can be ideal for sticking to a planned budget, spending wisely or just going wild and spending like there's no tomorrow! It all comes down to your own personal tastes and expectations.

Here's a look at what you can expect in terms of costs of Accommodation, Food & Drink, Travel and Attractions across Ireland for your week-long stay:

Accommodation Costs (2021 Prices) Average Price (2 night stay) Average Price (6 night stay)
Hotel€220€660
B&B€170€510
Hostel (Public dorm)€36€108
Hostel (Private double room)€100€300
Dining Out (2021 Prices)

Data source

Average Price
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant€15.00
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course€60.00
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)€8.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)€5.00
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)€5.00
Cappuccino (regular)€3.22
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)€1.78
Water (0.33 liter bottle)€1.39
Grocery Shopping (2021 Prices)

Data source

Average Price
Milk (regular), (1 liter)€1.01
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)€1.48
Rice (white), (1kg)&euro1.38
Eggs (regular) (12)€2.89
Local Cheese (1kg)€7.75
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg)€8.09
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)€9.64
Apples (1kg)€2.19
Banana (1kg)€1.76
Water (1.5 liter bottle)€1.34
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)€10.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)€2.43
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)€2.62
Travel (2021 Prices)

Data source

Average Price
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)€2.60
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)€100
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)€4.00
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)€1.45
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)€24.00
Gasoline (1 liter)€1.40
Train from City to City (one-way)€25
Bus from City to City (one-way)€15
Small Car Rental (per day)€30
Saloon Car Rental (per day)€37
SUV Rental (per day)€45
Sample Attractions (2021 Prices) Adult Child Senior
Guinness Storehouse (Dublin)€18.50€16€18.50
Trinity College (Dublin)€15€14€14
Christ Church Cathedral (Dublin)€7€2.50€5.50
Giant's Causeway (Antrim)€11€5.50€11
Cliffs of Moher (Clare)€8Free€5
Jameson Experience Tour (Cork)€22€11€18
Blarney Castle (Cork)€16€7€13
Waterford Crystal (Waterford)€13€6.50€12.50
  • Tips for saving money

    Find cheap accommodation

    By staying in hostels instead of hotels or B&B's you can cut back on a huge chunk of your overall spending. The thought of sharing a room with strangers might be more suitable for younger traveller. Most hostels in Ireland also have private rooms, they are a little more expensive than the dorm rooms, but still less than hotels and B&Bs. You can also try alternative accommodation options like Airbnb or, for the very adventurous, Couch Surfing (an online community that allows you to stay on the couch/spare bed of fellow members who own property in the area that you're visiting).

    Eat where the locals eat

    This is pretty universal for any city in the world, so once you get the hang of it you should be able to apply it anywhere, like for example, Dublin. There is no way that the locals are going to eat in Temple Bar, where a burger costs 10 euro. They are much more likely to head out of the tourist areas and pick up a burger for much less. They have already done the research, you may as well follow in their path. Even asking a local this very tactic would be appreciated by them. Don't get me wrong, there are amazing burger places in Temple Bar, but take a short walk outside it, in any direction, and you'll find numerous establishments with similar offerings, at a fraction of the price.

    Visit the 'cheaper' supermarkers

    The German discount supermarket chains of Aldi and Lidl are very popular in Ireland and really came to prominence during the last recession, when everyone was hunting for a bargain. People went there for the deals but kept returning because the produce is equal, if not superior, to some of the more 'upmarket' shops. There's no-frills with there stacking and packaging but their meats, fruit & veg, confectionaries, dairy etc are all top class. Most large towns in Ireland and all major cities have an Aldi or a Lidl. The only real difference between the two is that Lidl usually have an in-store bakery... And it is out of this world! Pretzels, soda bread, donuts, cheese sticks, apple turnovers, sticky toffee buns! Ok, enough, time to move on.

    Check for discounts and deals in all supermarkets

    Nearly all supermarkets in Ireland have a display of stock that is about to reach its sell-by-date. These items are usually put on display the day before, or the day of expiration and the discounts offered are huge.

    Travel outside of the tourist season

    Ireland's peak tourist season is during the warmer months of June, July and August and the weeks on either side of St. Patrick's Day (in March). Flights, accommodation, and pretty much most tourist specific items will cost less outside of these times. Plus, there will be less time spent queueing at attractions/checking-in at hotels etc.

    Rent a smaller car

    Generally cheaper to rent than their larger counterparts, a small car also means less money spent on fuel, easier parking and less stress on Ireland's narrow country roads.

    Claim Tax Back

    Check out the Tax Back Scheme for visitors to Ireland.

    Use public transport

    Instead of booking taxis to get around in a given city or town, you can use public transport. There are relatively cheap bus services and bike rental services in most Irish cities. Dublin City also has the options of the LUAS (tram service) and the DART (train service).

    Eat a Full Irish Breakfast

    Ireland is famous for its Full Irish Breakfast. Should you start your day with this meal, it is unlikely you will need to eat again until at least dinnertime. The classic Full Irish Breakfast is made up of any combination of the following: sausages, bacon (aka rashers), eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and fried potatoes. On the side, you can expect lots of tea and toast. If you were to buy these in the local supermarket and cook them yourself, it comes in as a relatively cheap, very delicious start to the day.

    Get Free Entertainment

    The Irish pub scene is a great place for free entertainment. Bands, table quizzes and good old chat can be found in most Irish pubs. Bands and table quizzes are usually held on certain nights of the week, depending on what pub you're visiting. Check out their schedule online before you arrive or just pop in for a chat when you get there. There are also endless free attractions and things to do around Ireland such as museums, art galleries, gardens, nature walks, parks and play centres.

  • Practical tips for a first trip to Ireland

    Prices and budgeting

    To give you some idea of costs a lunch of soup and sandwich with tea/coffee would be about €8-10 per person.

    A pint of Guinness will range from about €5.50 in Dublin to about €4.50 in Cork/Kerry. A Gin & Tonic in a bar/pub would be about €7.00.

    Souvenirs range from as little as €2.00 for a postcard to €20.00 for a Plate with Irish Blessing.

    Gratuities and Tipping

    Ireland does not have a strong tipping culture. We only tip in restaurants, taxis and for personal services. All tips are at your discretion and are around 10%

    Our escorted tours: At the end of the tour, if you are extremely happy with your tour guide (also your driver) — which we know you will be — then a gratuity of 10.00 Euro to 15.00 Euro per person, per day, would be considered an excellent tip.

    Banks

    Banks are typically open between 10.00am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some banks also open on Saturday mornings, usually from 10a.m to noon. There are ATM (cash) machines outside most banks in Ireland.

    Airports and flights

    The Main Transatlantic airports are Dublin and Shannon. There are also Airports in Belfast, Cork, Kerry and Knock (Ireland West Airport). The Irish National Carrier is Aer Lingus, though many international airlines do transatlantic flights into Ireland. For European flights then Ryanair and Aer Lingus are the main two, though again there are countless other airlines doing flights from Ireland to the rest of Europe.

    Travelling alone

    Ireland is a great destination for solo travellers. North and south, it is a very safe place to visit and you will find most people to be friendly and welcoming. Statistically, it is among Europe's safest travel destinations. Click here to find out more about travelling solo in Ireland.

    A great way to keep an eye on any tricksters that might try to take advantage of your uncertainty in a new country is to check in with the guys at TravelScams (Ireland page).

    Language

    English is the main language spoken, but you will see some road signs and place names written in Irish Gaelic. There are many Irish speaking areas in the west of Ireland, but everyone who has Irish as a first language also speaks English.

    Time zone

    Ireland is part of the same time zone as London. During the winter, the time is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). From last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October, Ireland moves its clocks forward from GMT by one hour (GMT+1). Smartphones and similar devices will usually detect the correct time zone when they connect to WiFi. Your airline will also tell you the local time when you land.

    Driving in Ireland

    Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland drive on the left. The legal age to drive in Ireland is 16 yrs old.

    There are plenty of locations to hire cars in Ireland, including at all the airports. It is also often possible to hire the car from one location and return it to a different one.

    From Dublin, all the other major cities (Cork, Galway, Limerick & Belfast) are within a few hours' drive, so Ireland is an easy country to self-drive.

    Please note: if you are used to North American roads, you may find our Irish roads rather narrow and windy!

    Smoking in Ireland

    The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have introduced a complete ban on smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants, in an effort to protect public health. While there are a small number of hotels that allow smoking in designated bedrooms, smoking is prohibited in every other part of a hotel in Ireland.

    This law was introduced on March 29th, 2004 in the Republic of Ireland and on July 1st, 2007 in Northern Ireland.

    Making Calls

    Calling home from Ireland

    The international prefix used when dialling somewhere outside of Ireland is 00. To call a US phone number from Ireland, the phone number should begin 001. For Australia the number should begin 00 11. See here for a full list of Country Calling Codes.

    Calling Ireland from home

    The Irish country code is +353. To call an Irish number from United States/Canada the number would be 011 353. To call an Irish number from Europe the number would be 00 353. ​To call an Irish number from Australia the number would be 0011 353​. T​o call My Ireland Tour offices you would dial​:

    • From United States/Canada​:
    • 011 353 ​21 4376600​ / 011 353 21 4373624
    • F​rom Europe:
    • 00 353 ​21 4376600​ / ​00 353 ​21​ ​4373624
    • F​rom Australia:
    • 0011 353​ ​21 4376600​ / ​0011 353​ ​21​ ​4373624​

    Clothing

    Bring a good rain jacket. There can be rain showers on the Atlantic coast. The average temperature is 50 F. Not too hot and not too cold. Weather can be changeable but it's rarely extreme. For up to date weather forecasts please see met.ie

    During the day as you tour around casual clothing is the order of the day. In the evenings in the hotel dining rooms and bars, smart casual would be the norm. (If you wish to step it up a bit further for example in 5 Star Lough Eske Castle and 4-Star Ballynahinch Castle you would not look out of place)

Glencar Wterfall in County Leitrim

What do I miss out on by not staying longer?

Variety of accommodation

A longer stay in Ireland will allow you to experience a greater variety of accommodation. Hotels and hostels are ideal places to get in and out of quickly and get back on the road, which in turn makes them ideal for a week long stay in Ireland. The likes of B&Bs and Farm Houses have a more laid back environment and are a bit more suited to taking your time, chatting with other guests and the owners. A stay of, for example, 10 days in Ireland gives you the chance to either mix and match your accommodation or go entirely with the relaxed options.

Less time on the road

With a longer stay you will also have more time to just 'chill out' and soak in the atmosphere of Ireland. You can plan your stays in a given destination with a little more 'sit back and relax' time added, which means that you will spend a less proportion of your time on the road. While Ireland has an excellent road network, the lasting memories of your tour will made at the destinations and attractions. Keeping the road to attractions ratio low is always a plus!

Less busy attractions

Without the pressure of time, you can also explore the less busy attractions of Ireland. The big-hitters like the Cliffs of Moher and the Guinness Storehouse can remain on your checklist, but with a longer tour of Ireland you can also pop open your map and take a trip to the less crowded, more 'easy-going' attractions.