Trip idea: around Ireland by caravan

Conor Pass, County Kerry
Driving Driving
1,773 Kilometres
12 days

Ireland was made for slow travel, so chase winding roads and find breathtaking views wherever you go when you tour Ireland by caravan

Starting in Dublin, every day of this caravan tour around the island of Ireland is packed with a dizzying selection of things to see and do. Explore at your own pace along quiet country lanes or thrilling coastal routes, and get ready to be dazzled by the sights of Ireland.  

Caravan tour around Ireland

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Day One

Start your adventure in bustling Dublin city. See the sights and uncover this famously friendly city.

A driving 50 mins
St Patrick's Cathedral

Discover Dublin

When you arrive in Ireland, the first thing to do is park up and settle in your campsite, Camac Valley, just north of the city centre. But don't dash away from Dublin, take a bus back into the city where there’s plenty for you to explore. Admire the architectural beauty of Trinity College Dublin as you stroll through the campus, and visit the Long Room Library where you can find one of Ireland’s greatest treasures: the Book of Kells. Take a short walk to St Patrick’s Cathedral, which was built in honour of Ireland's patron saint, St Patrick, in the 13th century. The tour here is great for getting an insight into the history of the cathedral, including the beautifully restored Lady Chapel, dating from 1270. 

If you have more time

Head to the Chester Beatty Library, where you’ll find a treasure trove of artefacts and masterpieces from across the world displayed here. 

Slane Castle, County Meath

Where 5,000 years of history comes to life

Now your journey takes you back in time to the majestic Boyne Valley in County Meath. Visit the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre to discover one of Ireland’s ancient sites: Newgrange, a Neolithic passage tomb that dates back to over 5,000 years ago! Your guide will reveal the inside of the tomb with its beautiful carvings and artwork, as well as the long history and the myths that surround this site. Even today, experts are still puzzling over the reason for its design, as it remains a mystery to us to this day...

If you have more time

Pay a visit to Slane Castle, the grounds of which U2, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and many other musical legends have rocked. Wander around the stunning grounds and take a tour of Slane Irish Whiskey Distillery to explore the heritage room, maturation warehouse and more.

Day Two

Head north to discover delicacies in Belfast city, before "walking on water" along the Gobbins Cliff Path.

C driving 25 mins
Titantic Belfast, County Antrim

Titanic tales from Belfast city

It's a joy to explore lively Belfast city, a city full of stories, warm welcomes and the soul of the Titanic. Discover the city's maritime past at Titanic Belfast, an incredible interactive museum where history comes to life before your very eyes. Get ready to sample new flavours, as there’s also a buzzing food scene thriving in Belfast. From its fresh local produce to the famous Ulster Fry, there’s something for every palette in this city.

If you have more time

Take time to smell the roses at the Botanic Gardens. Located just south of the city, this verdant paradise is popular with tourists and locals alike. Marvel at the Victorian architecture of the beautiful Palm House, which houses a stunning array of tropical plants. 

The Gobbins Cliff Path, County Antrim

Pulse-pounding adventure on the Gobbins Cliff Path

Get your pulse racing as you discover the thrilling Gobbins Cliff Path on the Causeway Coastal Route. To start your journey, step through Wise's Eye, the narrow entrance named for the path's creator, Berkeley Deanne Wise. Here you can witness the crashing waves and the wildlife that populate the area, and find yourself "walking on water" as you get to the iconic tubular bridge set only 10m above the choppy sea! Bring your hiking boots as you need good support for this coastline adventure. Afterwards, find your campsite for the night at Dundonald Touring Caravan Park.

If you have more time

For more than 800 years, Carrickfergus Castle has stood the test of time, having been besieged by the Scots, Irish, English and French. Take the tour around this medieval site, where you can find 17th century cannons, dungeons and a fascinating insight into the history surrounding the castle.

Day Three

After you've seen the jaw-dropping sights of the Causeway Coastal Route, make your way along the coast before heading to the super-lively Walled City.

Bogside Murals

The Walled City of wonders

Stand on the city walls and you’ll feel the history of the city beneath your feet. This is the Walled city of Derry~Londonderry, the only remaining fully walled city on the island of Ireland. Walk the walls and see the sights from above, or pound the pavements to get to the heart of the action. You can’t miss the distinctive Guildhall with its bright-red bricks and neo-Gothic architecture. To understand this city’s complex history, take a tour to see the Bogside murals, a poignant reminder of Derry~Londonderry's recent history, where local artists have adorned the walls with depictions of the city’s turbulent past.

Information for caravans and campervans

You’ll have to head over to County Donegal to find your campsite tonight. Head to Casey’s Caravan Park, where you’ll be treated to beachside views of Sheephaven Bay.  

Day Four

You’re now cruising along the Wild Atlantic Way. Expect dramatic sea-cliffs, wild waves and spellbinding views as you venture down the coastline. 

F driving 90 mins
Slieve League, County Donegal

Stand on the edge of the world

In County Donegal you’ll find some of the most spectacular sights of Ireland. Among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, Slieve League is almost three times the height of the Cliffs of Moher, in County Clare. Before your hike, nip into the Slieve League Cliff Centre, the lovely little café here is a perfect place to enjoy some homemade cakes and treats. Try a solo hike or follow one of the helpful tour guides that are available from the Centre to lead you and your group to the cliffs. Along the way, they will tell you all about the wildlife and views that are here in abundance. The journey may be long, but it will be worth it for the breathtaking views at the top. 

Information for caravans and campervans

You are able to park your caravan in the Slieve League car park, but be careful as there may be issues with vehicles turning when the cark park is busy. 

Tullan Strand © Alison Crummy

Surf’s up at Bundoran

Stay active as you make your way to Bundoran, the surfing capital of Ireland. There are spots all along this coastline that are perfect for both beginners and more experienced surfers. Beginners should head to Rosses Point, where you can experience the gentle swell of the waves as you get used to the water. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try The Peak, Ireland's most famous wave, which is only for experienced surfers. Park your caravan at Boortree Touring tonight for a well-deserved rest! 

Day Five

Sink your toes into golden sands on Achill Island and admire a landscape that never fails to inspire.

Keem Bay, County Mayo

Sea, sand and surf on Achill Island

It may be a long drive to Achill Island from Bundoran, but when the views out of the window are this spectacular it’s a journey you're sure to enjoy. Spend today exploring this beautiful island as you make your way to Keem Bay, one of the most picturesque and tranquil beaches in Ireland. On your way, stop at Geilty’s Bar and Restaurant. Known as the most westerly pub in Europe, it's a great place to stop off for lunch. When you arrive at the bay, slip your shoes off and walk along the inviting sandy beach. If you caught the surfing bug in Bundoran, you'll be glad to know that Keem Bay makes a good place for a spot of surfing too. Otherwise just jump into the cool waters for a refreshing swim.

Information for caravans and campervans

Stop for the night at Keel Sandybanks Caravan & Camping Park, just a 15-minute drive away from Keem Bay. Overlooking Keel beach, the campsite is the perfect place to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean.

Day Six

Delve into the west coast hub of Westport before you venture to the hushed beauty of Connemara National Park. 

I driving 60 mins
Westport, County Mayo

The wild charm of Westport

It’s time to relax in the bustling hub of Westport. Full of colourful shop fronts, streets that buzz with buskers who sing from the soul and artisan food that the Wild Atlantic Way is famous for, this is a town that is far too easy to fall in love with. On the edge of town, you’ll find Westport House, built on the grounds of the castle from which Grace O’Malley, fearsome pirate queen, reigned. Tour the exquisite estate or even take part in a hawk walk to learn all about the birds of prey at the Centre. Afterwards, head to McGing’s where you’ll find “great craic, great Guinness and great trad music.” 

Diamond Hill, County Galway

The majesty of Connemara

When you enter Connemara National Park, it will feel like you’ve arrived in another world. With over 2,000 hectares of moors, heaths and incredible mountain views, you’ll find a vast natural playground to explore. If you’re up for the challenge, hike up Diamond Hill, where at the summit you’ll be rewarded with the unforgettable views of the surrounding landscape and magnificent coast. It's easy to feel close to nature in this wildlife paradise, which an abundance of animals call home. If you’re lucky you may even spy the pure-bred Connemara ponies! 

Information for caravans and campervans

Barely 20km away, stop at Renvyle Beach Caravan and Camping Park before heading to Connemara National Park. The journey costs only a few euros by taxi.

Day Seven

Feel the power of nature as you travel through the spirited City of Tribes to the incredible lunar landscape of The Burren National Park.

K driving 90 mins
Ard Bia at Nimmos, County Galway

Experience the dynamic culture in Galway city

Start today in vibrant Galway city, famous for its culture, "craic" and laidback bohemian vibes. Perfect for exploring by foot, take a walking tour around this university town to discover local stories and the fascinating history of the City of Tribes. Try the Galway City Museum where you can find relics from the prehistoric era. There will always be a soundtrack to accompany you as you walk along the cobbled streets, as the buskers sing their tunes outside the colourful shop fronts. Grab a bite to eat in Ard Bia at Nimmos, a popular spot with locals, and then soak up the atmosphere in Tig Cóilí where the trad sessions run late into the night. 

The Burren National Park, County Clare

Unravel the aeons of history at The Burren National Park

When you reach The Burren National Park after the buzzing Galway city, the first thing that hits you is the silence. Experience the karst region up close with a number of walking trails suitable for all abilities, and admire the lunar-like surface as you wander over the craggy grey stones. Close by are the Cliffs of Moher, where you can feel inspired as you gaze upon one of Ireland’s famous natural wonders. Feel the magic as you walk along the Doolin Cliff Path that leads you along the well-worn 20km trail to the cliffs themselves. Nothing beats the humbling view of the Wild Atlantic Way when you trek across this magnificent cliff-top.  

Information for caravans and campervans

Set up camp at O’Connor’s Riverside Camping & Caravan Park in Doolin and settle in to this Irish folk music hub, where you can visit pubs mad for trad. Have your singing voice ready for a spontaneous session!

Day Eight

Whisk yourself away from County Clare and head to the Kingdom of County Kerry.

Kikee Cliffs, County Clare

Seaside fun at Kilkee

It’s time to experience the mighty Loop Head peninsula, and the pretty seaside resort of Kilkee is the best place to start. A popular spot since the Victorian era, this town has retained its 19th century charm so you’ll feel like you’ve stepped away from the real world as soon as you arrive. Start your day off right with the bracing Kilkee cliff walk, where you’re treated to panoramic views of the Atlantic ocean and the outstanding coastline of County Clare. Work up an appetite and head to Murphy’s Black, where you can try their locally sourced fresh ingredients from the surrounding area. 

If you have more time

Drive down the spectacular Loop Head Peninsula, which Star Wars fans may recognise as one of the filming locations for The Last Jedi!

Day Nine

Get ready for epic views and mega adventure in Killarney National Park and find yourself in the kind of landscape that Ireland is famous for on the majestic Ring of Kerry.

N driving 75 mins
Killarney National Park

Feel the power of nature at Killarney National Park

It's a long drive from Kilkee to Killarney National Park, but this spectacular nature reserve is probably unlike any other in Europe. With its lake and forest landscapes, waterfalls and ancient trees, it's the jewel in Kerry’s crown. Along the way, if you're lucky, you'll be able to spy the numerous animals that call this beautiful place home including falcons, bats and the last surviving indigenous herd of red deer!  

Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

Around the Ring of Kerry

Starting in Killarney, the Ring of Kerry is one of the highlights of every visitor’s trip. This scene-stealing route on the Iveragh Peninsula has tourists from all around the world cycling, driving and walking this well-worn route. Every stop on the way is an adventure in itself, as every town and village has its own unique personality. Just look at Waterville – this was one of Charlie Chaplin’s favourite holiday destinations and is part of the International Dark Sky Reserve. Spot the Milky Way or the Andromeda Galaxy as you make your way to your campsite for the night: Wave Crest Caravan Park.

Day Ten

A feast for your eyes as well as your stomach, relish the incredible landscapes of County Cork...

P driving 40 mins
Kinsale, County Cork

The wild world of Kinsale

The signposts on the Wild Atlantic Way will keep you on track as you leave County Kerry for West Cork, a nature-lover’s delight. The waters around here are home to a thrilling range of marine wildlife, including porpoises, dolphins, seals, minke, fin and humpback whales, and even an occasional basking shark. Follow the Wild Atlantic Way until you reach the coastal foreland of the Old Head of Kinsale. Take a deep breath as you gaze at the sheer cliffs and their iconic striped lighthouse. During your stay, experience the gourmet getaway of Kinsale where chefs make the most of the fresh produce that is right on their doorstep.

Come at festival time

Discover Kinsale’s passion for food at the Gourmet Food Festival in October. Expect fine wines and exciting flavours at every restaurant you visit. 

Q driving 40 mins
Blarney Castle, County Cork

The gift of Blarney

If you arrive early enough at Blarney Castle in County Cork, you can park in its huge car park and start exploring. First up, kiss the Blarney Stone – legend has it you'll be bestowed with the gift of eloquence if you do! Next head for nearby Cork, a harbour city with a cosmopolitan flavour. Built around centuries of trade, you can feel this history at the English Market, a bustling covered arcade packed with fresh fish, meat, fruit, spices, chocolate and endless local artisanal goodies. Stop here for a spot of lunch, and then head to the nearby St Anne's Church and ring the Shandon Bells, to pay homage to this beautiful city. 

Cobh, County Cork

Titanic experiences at Cobh

Cobh took its place in Ireland's history not only because it was an emigration port, but because it was from here that the Titanic set sail on its fateful journey. Those who have visited Titanic Belfast will want to see the exhibition's counterpart, the Titanic Experience. These days, the idyllic town of Cobh is an appealing summer resort and the southern entry and exit point of the Wild Atlantic Way. Tomorrow is the start of your travels in Ireland’s Ancient East, but for now, your evening belongs to this little Cork gem and its cosy pubs. 

Information for caravans and campervans

Ideally situated just outside of Cobh, stay at Jasmine Villa Caravan & Camping Park for your final night in County Cork.  

Day Eleven

Architectural brilliance, bloody brawls and the legend of St Patrick can be found in the ancient wonders of counties Tipperary and Kilkenny.  

S driving 50 mins
Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

History comes to life

Venture to Tipperary and the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland's most famous historic sites. The "rock" is actually an incredible collection of ancient fortifications, including a 13th century Gothic cathedral, round tower and 15th century castle at the summit. Tales of 17th century massacres and 20th century lightning strikes surround the rock, but it is undoubtedly most famous for being the place where St Patrick converted the King of Munster to Christianity. At the foot of the Rock of Cashel you'll find Brú Ború, the cultural centre for traditional music and Irish dancing. Be sure to stop by when there is a performance as the productions are simply thrilling. 

© Smithwick's Experience, County Kilkenny

The Kilkenny Experience

After lunch, a drive to Kilkenny is a must. Surrounded by a network of maze-like alleyways and lanes, the architectural brilliance of Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on the River Nore, dominating the city’s skyline. Experience the beauty of historic St Canice's Cathedral, pick up a hurling stick and play like a local at The Ultimate Hurling Experience, and have a taste of the oldest ale in the land at the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny. The city is also known for its buzzing music scene at places such as Matt the Millers and the Kyteler's Inn – which was once owned by Dame Alice Kyteler, the first person in Ireland to be accused of witchcraft. Stay the night at Tree Grove where you’ll be surrounded by the stunning Nore Valley countryside. 

Come at festival time

Visit the Kilkenny Arts Festival, where musicians, writers and artists all gather in the heart of this medieval city every August. 

Day Twelve

It may be the last day of your trip but there's plenty of ancient wonders left to see in Counties Wexford and Wicklow. 

U driving
Kilmore Quay

The sunny southeast

The last day of this tour means you’re heading back to our starting point of Dublin or back to the UK via the ferry terminal at Rosslare. If your ferry isn’t until later, stay in lovely Wexford and take your pick from Kilmore Quay’s fresh seafood restaurants, or pop into the Thomas Moore Tavern, Wexford town's oldest pub and the place where seafarers have refuelled since the 13th century. When you’ve had your fill, take a tour around the Saltee Islands with Kilmore Angling, but book ahead as this tour is very popular. 

Glendalough, County Wicklow

The garden of Glendalough

If you’re making your way to Dublin, try to find time to see Glendalough. You'll sense the rich history as soon as you enter and catch sight of the 6th century monastery that presides over the valley. The twin lakes, glassy under the sun, provide the backdrop as you walk the trails of Wicklow's National Park. Finish up with a mug of hot chocolate at the nearby Glendalough Hotel, or head to Wicklow town to enjoy a feast at The Lighthouse Restaurant on the South Quay.

Information for caravans and campervans

The fastest way to Dublin from Kilkenny would be via the M9. To get to Glendalough, we recommend exiting on the R756. 

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