Dublin hails as being the first place many people visit in Ireland. Sure enough, on my first visit, we spent a day in Dublin before flying back to London. A day didn’t feel nearly long enough to see the city, but I also knew there was so much more beyond Dublin that I wanted to experience.
When friends from the States planned a road trip around Ireland and invited me to join, I jumped at the chance.
Over the course of seven days, we saw more of Dublin and drove around the Irish countryside. Ireland’s small towns didn’t disappoint- colorful homes, thatched roofs, narrow winding streets, and pubs packed with friendly locals, it was all so perfect.
We only scraped the surface of what Ireland has to offer, but these towns were my favourite stops, in addition to Dublin and Galway.
Kinsale, A Happy Habour Town
Kinsale is cute, colourful with a scenic harbour that seems endless. Narrow streets wind throughout the town, there are so many shops and restaurants to explore. No matter how much time you have in Kinsale, it’s hard not to love this gem of an Irish town.
Thatched Homes in Adare
The pretty village of Adare is located in County Limerick. It’s a designated heritage town, famous for its thatched cottages. The cottages have survived for hundreds of years. Today, some of them are restaurants or shops, but some are still privately owned.
Seaside Charm & Music in Doolin
The unofficial capital of Irish traditional music, Doolin is a small, single street with only a few pubs and restaurants, but was one of my favourite places we visited on our road trip around Ireland. It’s a picture perfect village, winding roads where the Irish countryside meets the Atlantic sea. We spent a night in Doolin because it’s the perfect place to visit Cliffs of Moher from- only a 15-20 minute drive from town. My favourite part of our time in Doolin though was the night where a pub owner drove us home after learning our taxi wouldn’t be able to come pick us up. Spectacular Irish hospitality. 🙂
Cobh, a Charming Coastal Town
Last port of call for the Titanic, Cobh is a beautiful town in the south of Ireland to spend an afternoon in. Known for its cathedral, the tallest in the country, Cobh is full of other surprises- like it’s colourful deck of cards homes, similar to San Francisco’s pained ladies. We only spent a few hours in Cobh, but enjoyed wandering the seaside and picnicing along the waterfront.
Pints and Castles in Kilkenny
Kilkenny, an Irish city where medieval meets modern. Albeit bigger than the other villages on this list, it’s a place that stole my heart in a way Dublin and Galway didn’t even come close to doing. With its roots as a medieval city, Kilkenny has no shortage of cobblestone streets. The High Street is even known as Medieval Mile for its narrow lanes and historic buildings. Although our time in Kilkenny was short, it was an Irish town I found hard to leave. Without question, one of my favourite stops on our trip.
Have you ever driven around Ireland? Which towns were your favourite stops?