Consider yourself lucky cause you’ve just struck the pot of gold by landing on my one-week in Ireland guide! The moody yet incredibly warm country is a favourite among many travellers due to its spectacular nature, unique culture, and sense of humour that can’t be found in any other nation.
I have travelled to Ireland a few times, and each experience was even more special than the last. That said, I have gathered all the best places to visit in Ireland, including superb accommodations and restaurants, ensuring you get the most from your upcoming trip!
Given the size of the island, visiting the entirety of Ireland in only seven days is practically impossible. But don’t get discouraged just yet – you’ll have a reason to return! Regardless of the time frames, Ireland is Europe’s lush gem, ultimately receiving the Emerald Isle title.
Our full guide covers:
- Basic Introduction
- Where to stay in Ireland
- How to get around
- What to see in Ireland
- Things to do in Ireland
- Tickets you have to buy before – must read
- Food and Restaurants
- Day Trips from Ireland
- Itinerary for Ireland
- Packing List
- City Map
Whether you’re a restless traveller with an undying thirst for adventure or someone who likes to kick back and spend their vacation in the most relaxing atmosphere, the island has something for everyone’s taste. Knowing that, enjoy my one week in Ireland itinerary and prepare for a journey like never before.
1. Basic Introduction
These are things you need to know before you spend one week in Ireland.
Currency: EUR (€)
Language Spoken: English, Irish (Gaelic), and Hiberno-English (standard English with Irish grammar)
Population: 5.033 million (2021)
Known for: Lush nature, dramatic sights, home of literary legends such as Oscar Wilde, rich cultural heritage, and Guinness beer. Speaking of beer, due to the abundance of pubs, Ireland is the ideal destination for nightlife lovers who can party all night long!
Accommodation: From cozy family-run bed & breakfasts to luxurious 5-star hotels, you can easily find accommodation per your liking.
Find more details in our where to stay in Ireland section below.
Public Transport: Trains, trams, and busses. The best thing about the trains is they’re entirely overground, meaning you will witness endless natural treasures as you travel.
More under how to get around.
Safety: Generally safe, ranked the seventh safest in Europe. Still, crimes such as pickpocketing occur in major cities like Dublin and Belfast, as well as alcohol or drug-induced fights in the nightlife areas.
City name: Dublin
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug). Remember to pack your travel plug adapter.
2. Where to stay in Ireland
The Emerald Isle is filled with beautiful cities with their inimitable character and style. For instance, if you want to discover the traditional side of the country, all roads will lead you toward Galway. Alternatively, those planning a romantic trip for two will be charmed by Sligo – a modest, quaint town with an intimate vibe.
In addition to these two locations, here’s where to stay in Ireland:
With that, all of these Irish cities feature excellent accommodations ranging from exclusive 5-star hotels to budget apartments and even centuries-old castles! The best way to determine which city and accommodation is perfect for you is to pre-determine what you expect from your one week in Ireland.
Do you want to explore the country’s diverse nature, or are you looking for something more low-key? Once established, you can start making your itinerary based on your travel type and budget.
To make the process easier for you, I will provide you with two accommodation options for each of the above-mentioned cities, promising comfort and great service. However, I also recommend exploring the areas around these places, as many unique establishments are tucked away on the outskirts and will make your trip even more exciting!
2.1 Where to stay in Dublin
Although capital cities are known to be quite pricey, that’s not the case with Ireland! Dublin is the perfect option for budget travellers due to the abundance of free activities you can do in the city. For instance, you can explore various castles without paying entrance fees, and you can even partake in cheap day trips thanks to the city’s locations.
For a more detailed guide, check out our Where to stay in Dublin.
Furthermore, the accommodations in Dublin are as diverse as the city itself, so you won’t have any problems finding the right one for you. Here are some of my recommendations:
The Shelbourne, Stephen’s Green
This 5-star Dublin hotel is located in Stephen’s Green, one of Dublin’s more high-end areas. In addition to the sophisticated feel of The Shelbourne, its central location gives you the opportunity to discover the city’s main attractions with ease since they’re practically all around the hotel.
Arlington Hotel O’Connell Bridge, O’Connell Bridge
The Arlington Hotel, located on O’Connell’s Street, is a great option for spending one week in Ireland. Apart from its central location, the hotel frequently organizes live shows, showcasing the uniqueness of Irish culture.
2.2 Where to stay in Galway
You’ve probably heard about Galway before from Ed Sheeran’s hit single ‘Galway Girl’, and if you watched the music video, you already have an idea of what you can expect! If you haven’t, allow me to paint you a picture.
Galway is one of my favourite Irish cities because you can experience what Ireland is all about! Here, the traditional vibes of the country reign supreme – the city is called the Cultural Heart of Ireland for a reason! Lastly, Galway features a lot of castles, so checking them out is a must when it comes to things to do in Ireland.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, here are my favourite establishments:
The Hardiman, Galway Centre
Located in the heart of Galway City, The Hardiman is the ideal hotel if you want a bit more sophistication from your accommodations. Along with its great location, the hotel also offers a relaxing hot tub on the rooftop, overlooking the outstanding Galway cityscape.
The Nest Boutique Hostel, Salthill
The Nest is undoubtedly one of the best boutique hostels in Galway, ideal for design travellers who want their one week in Ireland to be spent in style. As soon as you step inside, you’ll fall in love with its interiors instantly.
2.3 Where to stay in Cork
Locals call Cork the real capital of Ireland. It’s more livelier compared to other Irish cities, but it also has a relaxing vibe to it. Modernity is at its peak here, meaning you can find all sorts of trendy bars, restaurants, and clubs that will keep you entertained for hours. Also, this part of Ireland is noted for its gastronomic pleasures, so try to indulge in various delicacies, some of which I’ll mention very shortly!
My accommodation suggestions for Cork are:
Imperial Hotel Cork City, Cork City Centre
The Imperial Hotel is a beautiful 4-star hotel in downtown Cork, boasting an excellent location with a lot of shops in the area. In addition, many hip bars are a stone’s throw away so it might get noisy during the night. That said, make sure not to forget your earplugs!
Metropole Hotel Cork, Victorian Quarter
Positioned in the Victorian Quarter of Cork, a well-suited neighbourhood for solo travellers and history buffs, the Metropole Hotel Cork is over 120 years old, yet its interiors are the definition of modernism.
2.4 Where to stay in Sligo
As previously mentioned, Sligo is the ultimate destination for lovebirds going on a romantic getaway. While this charming town features many attractions, hikers and lovers of the outdoors will find great pleasure here. There are many scenic hiking trails and historical spots, some of which date from Paleolithic times.
Thinking about where to stay in Ireland? Here’s something you might like:
The Glasshouse, Swan Point
Colourful and extremely social, the Glasshouse is one of the best hotels in Sligo. Since the town boasts a romantic allure, head to the Manhattan-styled bar for a date night with the most spectacular view of the river.
Teapot Lane Glamping – Adults Only, Castegal
If you’re not spending one week in Ireland with your beau but rather your friends, why not opt for a unique glamping experience at Teapot Lane? This is an adults-only establishment, so relaxation is guaranteed!
2.5 Where to stay in Limerick
Limerick is exemplary of what Ireland looked like during the Medieval ages. Although history buffs will love this town, it is also suited for families and larger groups who are looking for an escape from the bustling cities. If you’re in Limerick just for a day, visiting King John’s Castle is a must!
The Old Quarter Townhouse, Limerick Centre
Cozy, comfortable, and really stylish, the Old Quarter Townhouse is a great starting point to discover the intricacies of Limerick on foot.
3. How to get around
The transportation system in Ireland is extensive and well-developed, though it comes with a set of flaws that are standard for most European countries. Of course, renting a car might seem like the most plausible solution, but that’s not really the case in Ireland.
Namely, the country has many narrow one-way roads, which, at times, can be hard to navigate. On top of that, you’ll have to drive on the left side of the road, which takes some time to adjust to. However, by renting a car, you’ll have a lot more opportunities to discover the things to do in Ireland, so it all falls down to personal choice.
Here are the highlights regarding Ireland’s transport:
Best Bus Tour to Explore Dublin: Uncover the charms of Dublin at your own speed using a 24-hour or 48-hour ticket for a hop-on-hop-off tour bus. With designated stops at major attractions across the city, this tour offers an ideal opportunity to delve into Dublin’s wonders at a pace that suits you
Public Transport: The railway system is the most reliable and the fastest way to get around in the country. As previously mentioned, all the trains are above ground, so expect to see awesome scenery as you travel. Still, fare tickets can sometimes get expensive, especially if you plan to visit multiple cities during your one week in Ireland. For that reason, it’s best that you make your bookings ahead of time to save some money.
Additionally, buses can take you to nearly every town in Ireland, but if you’re aiming for remote locations and villages, some of them may be infrequent. Compared to trains, they’re more affordable, but bus travel is rather slow.
Bikes: Cycling in Ireland is pretty manageable as most cities are bike-friendly. You can rent bikes for about 20 euros per day (80 for the entire week), and you can easily store them in your hotel. Keep in mind, though, that the country has many hills, and it can sometimes get rather windy. Although this won’t be a problem in major cities if you plan to explore the Irish landscapes, be prepared for a challenging ride.
Walking: Major cities are very easily walkable and are quite exciting to explore due to the abundance of shops, squares, and landmarks. The same applies to rural areas, but some might not be very accessible by foot.
Taxi: Major ride-sharing services such as Uber operate regularly in Ireland and are not considered that expensive. “Regular” taxis, on the other hand, can burn a hole in your pocket, so I advise you to stray away from them. Instead, you can use buses or trains.
4. What to see in Ireland- The Must-Do’s
Looking for the things to see during your one week in Ireland? Here are my suggestions!
- The Cliffs Of Moher
- Grafton Street (Dublin)
- The Ring of Kerry
- The Rock of Cashel
- Blarney Castle and Stone
- Kinsale (Cork)
- St. Stephen’s Green (Dublin)
- National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin)
- Kilkenny Castle
- The Aran Islands
5. Things to do in Ireland
I’ve gathered the best things to do in Ireland, ensuring your trip is filled with excitement and unique activities!
Grab a pint in the oldest bar in the world
When you’re thinking about what to do in Ireland for a week, visiting a pub and grabbing a pint of beer is a must. But not just any pub – Sean’s Bar, the oldest bar in the world! Located in Athlone, this lively place has been serving alcohol to locals for over a thousand years.
Given its popularity, grabbing a seat may require some waiting, but know that it’s absolutely worth it!
See a Riverdance show
Irish culture is unlike anything else in the world! To see it in action, I recommend visiting Galway, but if you’re settled in major cities like Dublin, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a show. One such performance is the Riverdance, made popular by Michael Flatley in the late 1990s.
As you’re exploring Dublin, keep an eye out for tickets or search online to see whether there’s a show nearby.
Although I mentioned The Cliffs of Moher in the must-see sights, such natural treasure deserves all the recognition! This location is visited by millions annually, and you have to be one of them.
To catch the most impressive sights, visit The Cliffs on a clear day – you’ll be able to see Aran Islands and Galway Bay in all of its glory. Also, make sure to capture a lot of photos here; your Insta game will be lit!
Here are some more ideas on things to do in Ireland:
- Glendalough (Wicklow)
- The Giant’s Causeway (Antrim)
- Dingle (Kerry)
- The Old Bushmills Distillery (Antrim)
- Guinness Storehouse (Dublin)
- Kilmainham Gaol (Dublin)
6. Tickets you have to buy before (Must Read)
To have the most enjoyable one week in Ireland, you should plan your itinerary ahead of time so you can hit all of the places on your bucket list. As you know, some places require tickets, so you should book them before you travel.
- Renting a Car (if you’re planning on using one, here’s a guide on how to do that)
- Public transport tickets (Leap card can score discounts)
7. Food & Restaurants
Along with gorgeous sights, and trendy pubs, Ireland also boasts an amazing culinary scene. Below, you’ll find some of the most popular dishes, along with restaurant suggestions where you can try them.
- Irish Stew
- Irish Soda Bread
- Colcannon and Champ
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Smoked Salmon
- Black and White Pudding
The best restaurants in Ireland are:
- The Wollen Mills Eating House (Dublin)
- Kai’s Cafe and Restaurant (Galway)
- Farmgate Cafe (Cork)
- 1826 Adare (Limerick)
- Mourne Seafood Bar (Belfast)
8. Day Trips from Ireland
How to do the day trips? There are 3 options:
I suggest you go out and explore as many sights as possible during your one week in Ireland. With that in mind, here are my suggestions for day trips you can partake in!
- Titanic Belfast
- Skellig Michael
- Muckross House
- Wild Atlantic Way
9. Itinerary for 7 days
As previously mentioned, the country is too large to be fully experienced in one week, but you’re more than welcome to come back anytime you want. To have the most exciting journey, I created this one-week in Ireland itinerary for which you need a car, but it can be altered for public transport as well.
If you’re going for the latter option, some remote places may be hard to access via bus or train, so you’ll have to research organized trips, and luckily, there are many of them!
You’ll begin your one week in Ireland in Dublin – use the time to explore the city’s most popular landmarks. Then, head to Donegal to visit some locations like the Dark Hedges that are featured in TV shows and movies, such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars. From Donegal, continue to Galway to experience the traditional side of the country, and on the following day, drive up to Killarney to see King John’s Castle, among other landmarks.
On the 5th day of this one-week in Ireland itinerary, you’ll visit Cork from Kerry, where you can see Ross Castle and the Muckross Abbey and Gardens. Consider visiting the Jameson Distillery as well, especially if you enjoy a good glass of whiskey.
The following day is fully reserved for Dublin once again, so you can experience what makes the city special before you head home.
10. Packing List
There is a few things we recommend for your packing list Ireland.
- Travel plug adapter
- Reusable water bottle
- Hikers backpack (if you’re planning to visit rural areas)
- Wollen Socks
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Conversation guide in Ireland
- Portable Charger
This is everything you need to know for your one week in Ireland – all that’s left is to pack for an adventure of a lifetime! If you require additional information, don’t hesitate to get in contact!
Optional but always useful:
11. Printed Guides & Map
These guides are best for the ones looking for a printed version.
Once you come to Ireland, you will also receive a paper map of the city.
- Lonely Planet Guide for Ireland
- The Everything Travel Guide to Ireland
- DK Eyewitness Ireland (Travel Guide)
Here is again our map of Ireland with the recommended hotels and neighborhoods.
Questions? Contact us
I tried to make this guide as useful and complete as possible. However, chances are you still have questions left.
Therefore, any questions? Anything not clear?
Please get in touch with us, I would be very happy to help. I want to make this guide as useful as possible for you.
You see, your question actually helps me as well.
Do not be shy and send me an email.