Ireland Road Trip: Dublin and Natural Wonders

Difficulty

1007 km

Distance

7 - 12

Recom. Days

Nature

Trip type

Hannah is a frequent traveller and road trip enthusiast from the UK that works as a freelance journalist at Indie Campers.
Hannah Hilton

Freelance travel writer and road trip enthusiast based in York, UK. When Hannah isn’t climbing mountains or hopping overseas on an adventure, you can find her at home with her crazy puppy Red.

Ireland Road Trip Itinerary: Dublin Round-Trip

Ireland is home to a number of glorious natural attractions from epic coastlines to rugged and remote islands used as shoot locations for Star Wars (that’s right, pack your lightsaber) and this Ireland road trip takes you to each one and back again.

Enjoy hiking in Wicklow Mountains National Park, swimming in Coumshingaun Lake, and sightseeing on the scenic Ring of Kerry — get ready for every twist of the road to lead to promising horizons, and for every Irish pub to lead to a Guinness or seven.

This road trip itinerary then heads north to the Cliffs of Moher before ending in Dublin, a city famous for producing a promising mix of boy bands and frothy stout. 

A person standing at an a breathtaking viewpoint on a Ireland Road Trip

Pick-up in
Dublin Depot
1

Take a Hike in the Wicklow Mountains

Climb aboard your campervan and head just over an hour’s drive south of Dublin to find yourself surrounded by the glorious Wicklow Mountains, the largest upland area in Ireland and a protected National Park.

There are over 20,000 hectares of rolling landscape to be explored here so tighten up your walking boots and get ready for a mountain based adventure!

Wicklow from the top, a destination on your Ireland Road Trip

There’s plenty of hiking trails inside the National Park to suit all abilities, and a number of mountains to be summited too.

For a challenging climb tackle Lugnaquilla, the largest mountain in the National Park or if you’ve knocked back one too many Guinnesses in the capital, you might want to take it easy and blow the cobwebs off at Powerscourt Waterfall, the country’s highest waterfall.

Visiting

Wicklow Mountains National Park

2

Recom. Days

Main route

45 km

from the Dublin depot

1h

drive from the depot

Visit

Great Sugar Loaf

Steep mountain, scenic views, Cambria quartz

Glendalough Upper Lake

Glacial lake, hiking routes, scenic spot

Eat at

Roundwood Inn

€€€

Cosy pub, traditional dishes, hearty meals

Parking

Roadside Parking

Park at the base of the mountains

Stay at

Roundwood Caravan Park

€€

Pubs in walking distance, onsite shop

2

Brace for a Dip in Coumshingaun Lake

The Ireland road trip continues to the Comeragh mountains, home to one of the finest examples of a corrie lake in Europe: Coumshingaun Lake. Of the nine lakes in the Comeragh mountains, Coumshingaun has to be the most spectacular.

To get here your Dublin itinerary heads through the medieval town of Kilkenny, which is well worth a lunch stop if you’ve got the time. Kinsale and Cork are two other noteworthy towns en route.

Person on a rock standing at Coumshingaun Lake, a stop on the Ireland Road Trip

Getting to Coumshingaun Lake is challenging in itself, but it’s worth the trek. The circular walk starts from Kilclooney Woods and takes around four hours total - make sure you wear comfortable walking boots and layer up in case the weather changes drastically mid-hike. 

Once at the lake you’ll be met by glorious mountain views and a shimmering body of water worth jumping in. We’d only recommend taking a dip in the height of summer, or you might be a tad cold on the trek back to the camper.

Visiting

Coumshingaun Lake

3

Recom. Days

Main route

160 km

from Wicklow Mountains National Park

2h

drive from Wicklow Mountains National Park

Visit

The Magic Road

Tilted road, optical illusion, natural attraction

Mahon Falls

Beautiful waterfalls, scenic lookout, walking route

Eat at

Hanoras Cottage

€€€

10 min drive from campsite, traditional dishes

Parking

Roadside Parking

Park campervan in laybys

Stay at

Powers the Pot Camping and Caravan Park

€€€

Family-run, lots of walking trails

3

Take the Scenic Route on the Ring of Kerry

Next on this Ireland road trip is the Ring of Kerry. This 179-km-long circular forms part of the Wild Atlantic Way and can be driven in 3.5 hours without stopping. Of course, you’ll be stopping since there’s plenty of things to stop for, including a National Park and three remote islands!

This particular route is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike thanks to the endless wildlife and outdoor pursuits on offer.

Road in Ring of Kerry, a Ireland Road Trip destination

Start the route in Killarney National Park, home to numerous walking trails, Ross Castle and the shimmering Lough Leane. Other Rings of Kerry highlights include Rossbeigh Beach (yes, a soft sand beach… in Ireland), the Gap of Dunloe, and Torc Waterfall.

Head to the western end of the Ring of Kerry, and you’ll find Portmagee, from here catch a ferry over to Skellig Island; an uninhabited rocky islet (and Star Wars filming location) home to puffins, a Christian monetary, and ancient stone huts.

Visiting

Ring of Kerry

3

Recom. Days

Main route

218 km

from Coumshingaun Lake

3h30m

drive from Coumshingaun Lake

Visit

Killarney National Park

Spectacular landscape, UNESCO, red deer

Lough Leane

Large lake, scenic views, walking trails

Eat at

Bricin Restaurant

€€€

Killarney centre, Irish pub

Parking

Roadside Parking

Park campervan in laybys

Stay at

Killarney Flesk Caravan & Camping Park

€€

Close to the NP, start of the Kerry Way

4

Coastal Views at the Cliffs of Moher

Onwards and upwards now on your Ireland road trip as you drive north through Limerick to reach the mighty Cliffs of Moher. These outstanding sea cliffs are listed as a UNESCO Global Geopark (a rare title if any), run along 14 km of pristine coastline, and are home to a number of migratory seabirds.

If you’re after an overly dramatic vista, then look no further.

Person wearing a yellow coat looking at the Cliffs of Moher on the Ireland Road Trip

The cliffs can be viewed from three separate viewing platforms, each of which offers a different perspective of this mighty rock formation but its O’Brien’s Tower that provides the most impressive lookout of all.

Once you’ve finished exploring the cliffs and Ireland’s west coast, you could always extend your Ireland road trip by heading further north to Galway, a colourful harbour town and the cultural heart of Ireland (get your fiddles at the ready). 

Visiting

Cliffs of Moher

3

Recom. Days

Main route

233 km

from Ring of Kerry

3h30m

from Ring of Kerry

Visit

O’Brien’s Tower

Highest point of the cliffs, great views

Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark

UNESCO, unique landscape, geological heritage

Eat at

Gus O’Connor’s Pub

€€€

Irish food, lively bar, music scene

Parking

Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre

€€€

Cliff entrance car park

Stay at

Nagels Camping & Caravan Park

€€€

100m from Doolin Pier, close to cliffs

Drop-off in
Dublin Depot

290 km

from the Cliffs of Moher

3h30m

drive