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In 10 minutes or less you will learn all you need to know to plan the perfect Ireland vacation. What kind of tour, when to go, where to visit, what to do and how to save some money doing it. OK, let’s get started.

Get Started on Planning Your Ireland Vacation

Where to go – An Introduction to Ireland

Ireland is an island (the Emerald Isle!). It is home to two countries, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but for the visitor it will seem as one. There is no border any more, but there are two currencies; the Euro in the south and the British pound in the north, though many northern businesses now accept the Euro.

How to get here

There are four main international airports (Dublin, Shannon, Belfast and Cork), though there are no transatlantic flights to Cork. We recommend flying into Dublin and out of Shannon on the west coast, but only if you want to see Dublin. If not, you should fly in and out of Shannon – it’s a small airport and is much easier to drive into/out of.

How much of Ireland can I expect to see?

Ireland is approx 480km (300 miles) long and 270km (170 miles) wide so you would think it would be possible to whip around the island in a week and see everything there is to be seen. In fact, you would need at least three weeks to do a complete coastal circuit. Why?

  • To see the best of Ireland you need to hug the coast. The west coast is very indented thanks to the constant pounding of the Atlantic Ocean; this results in a coastline almost 2,000 miles long.
  • Remote rural roads are not built for speed.
  • There’s far too much to see.

So, please, don’t try and do too much. Days on end in the car, changing accommodation every night will wear you down pretty fast.

Where to go

Almost one-third of the population live in Dublin or its suburbs.  This means that the rest of Ireland is comfortably populated, each area retaining its own distinct personality. The county of Kerry in the Southwest is a must for any first or subsequent trip. The landscape is truly stunning. The Cliffs of Moher and Burren in County Clare are also not to be missed. After that it depends on how much time you have but we also heartily recommend Connemara, Mayo, West Cork, Wicklow, Donegal and the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland, quite possibly in that order.

The best towns to overnight in (clockwise from Dublin) are Kilkenny, Kinsale, Kenmare, Killarney, Dingle, Doolin, Galway, Clifden, Westport, Sligo, Letterkenny, Bushmills, Belfast, Carlingford and finally Dublin itself.

Next steps:
- Discover Ireland: the regions of Ireland

Go to next Section:
Why go – Choose an Irish Travel Theme

Authentic Ireland
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