Planning a trip to Ireland and wondering where to start? Whether you’re curious about the weather or how to get around, this is everything you need to know about how to plan a trip to the Emerald Isle. Not sure where to spend your time? Learn more about what to see and do in Dublin, the top sites around Galways (the Cliffs of Moher are a must-see), and the best counties to visit for nature lovers.
Use Troupe to suggest and vote on different places to stop and stay, track your itinerary and budget, and get your whole group involved in planning your Ireland trip.
Weather in Ireland
When planning a trip to Ireland, it’s important to understand the climate so you can know when you want to visit.
The weather in Ireland is a bit unpredictable and can cycle through all temperatures in a single day. Still, there are some patterns to consider when booking your trip.
December through January tend to be the rainiest months, with April being the driest. The sunniest weather is in the summer between May and August, and the days are nice and long, with the light remaining till 10 p.m.
Here’s a rough guideline of the range of average temperatures by month across Ireland:
Getting to and around Ireland
Flights to Ireland
Ireland has four major airports, Dublin (DUB), Shannon (SNN), Cork (ORK), and Knock (NOC). Nearby, Northern Ireland is home to Belfast City Airport. With 28 operating airlines, Dublin will likely have the best prices and options for direct flights. When planning a trip to Ireland from the United States, be sure to check all airports.
Car rentals, trains, and buses in Ireland
Rental cars (a.k.a. car hires) will give you the freedom to explore on your own timetable. For a 10-day trip, the cost to rent a small car could be about €200, plus gas, toll fees, and parking on top of that.
The Irish Rail (or Iarnród Éireann) is another great option, with service between many cities. Fares between Dublin and Galway, a 2.5-hour trip, for instance, are around €16, with young adult discounts and family rates available.
Bus travel is another affordable and convenient way to travel between cities, with fares between Dublin and Galway around €13.
- Explore car and van hires via Carhire.ie
- Plan a train trip via Irish Rail (and download the app for your trip)
- Plan a bus trip via Irish CityLink
- Get a Visitor Leap Card for train and bus travel (Leap Cards can be purchased at Ticket Vending Machines in stations within the Short Hop Zone or online.)
Ireland train travel
Distances & Fares Between Cities: A Rough Guide
There are countless beautiful counties in Ireland which can make planning a trip to Ireland a daunting endeavor. Here we’ve compiled a possible loop starting and ending in Dublin, adjustable according to your interests and timeframe.
|From||To||Train Distance||By Train|
|Dublin||Galway||2 hours 30 mins||€15|
|Galway||Ennis||1 hour 15 mins||€8|
|Ennis||Limerick||1 hour 15 mins||€7 – €13|
|Limerick||Tralee (near Dingle)||2.5 hours||€18 – €21|
|Killarney||Cork||1 hour 30 mins||€13 – €25|
|Cork||Waterford||4 hours 30 mins||€12 – €15|
|Waterford||Dublin||2 hours 15 mins||€14 – €15|
Find more timetables and online tickets here.
Planning a trip to Ireland: Where to go
Ireland is divided into 32 counties within 4 provinces. When planning a trip to Ireland, you can’t go wrong visiting any of them—this list is meant to give you a starting point for a route to see and experience some of Ireland’s most beautiful views and charm. This list includes stops in the following counties:
- County Dublin (Dublin)
- County Galway (Galway)
- County Clare (Ennis, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, and Aran Islands)
- County Limerick (Limerick)
- County Kerry (Dingle, Skellig Michael)
- County Cork (Cork)
- County Waterford (Waterford)
Start your exploration in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city and a UNESCO City of Literature, famously home to James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Sally Rooney, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, Maeve Binchy, George Bernard Shaw, Dorothy Macardle, and more legendary writers.
River Liffey runs through Dublin, with many beautiful bridges that are sites in and of themselves. Bordered by the Wicklow Mountain range, Dublin’s geography, history, literature, and cozy, welcoming pubs inspire locals and visitors alike. Check out upcoming events, tours of street art, pubs, and favorite spots of famous Dubliners at visitdublin.com.
Discover the top 3 things to see, top 3 places to eat, and the 3 best bars in Dublin.
The trip from Dublin to Galway will likely bring you through several counties not on our list, including Kildare, Laois (briefly), Offaly, Westmeath (briefly), and Roscommon, so this might be a good trip to look out the window. Galway city is another UNESCO site, the fifth city in the world to become a UNESCO City of Film. It has also been named a European Capital of Culture.
With laid-back, bohemian vibes, Galway bustles with mellow notes, hangs out in cozy nooks, and smells of creativity in hip kitchens. It’s the perfect setting for a vibrant film scene and is home to many a festival. Beyond Galway city, the county is home to gorgeous coastlines, castles, gardens, and national parks. Some highlights are the glorious town of Clifden, Connemara National Park, and Kylemore Abbey. Check out some of County Galway’s top activities.
Ennis is a small town on the River Fergus, known for being an access point to the Wild Atlantic Way, which stretches over 1600 miles through 9 counties along Ireland’s western coast, beginning at the top in County Leitrim and ending at the bottom in County Cork. Ennis is a Gaelic medieval town, built around 1240, so it’s full of history and charm.
From Ennis, you can head to the famous Cliffs of Moher (add to the must-see column when planning a trip to Ireland). ou can also visit picturesque Doolin where you can take a boat to the tranquil Aran Islands, among other stunning sights. Learn more about the top places to visit in County Clare.
Limerick city is an ancient town right on the River Shannon. You can see the history of 17th-century sieges in the streets, and you can feel the stories and secrets and music running through it. It’s quirky, with a rich art and literature scene, and a certain special something.
Limerick is also known as the sporting capital of Ireland, home to Thomond Park, the home stadium of the famous rugby club Munster, along with other advanced sports facilities. Stop by Limerick city to break up the journey between Ennis and Tralee, or immerse for a while. See city highlights.
Tralee is the charming capital of County Kerry with spectacular views of the Slieve Mish and Stack’s Mountains. From Tralee, head about 50 minutes by bus (€9) down to the jaw-dropping cliffs and trails of Dingle, and sail to Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage site (and Jedi refuge in Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
Tralee is a good landmark for train and bus travelers to kick off their stay in Kerry, but if you have a car you might prefer to head straight for the edge of the peninsula and post up in Dingle.
Traveling with little ones? Check out these 5 must-have baby travel essentials.
Killarney is an access point to a nature lover’s dream at the Ring of Kerry. Situated at the foot of Ireland’s highest mountain range, McGillycuddy Reeks, Killarney National Park is a hub for adventurers, with cycling, mountain climbing, hiking, kayaking, horse riding, fishing, and more adventure sports on the menu. Kenmare, a tranquil, outdoorsy town about 40 minutes south of Killarney by bus (€9), is a great option to stay in while exploring the stunning Ring of Kerry. When planning a trip to Ireland, Killarney should be on the list for all outdoorsy travelers.
Cork city is a feel-good, breezy city that locals adore. A cosmopolitan city with cool coffee shops and art galleries, artsy pubs, and museums, Cork still somehow manages to have a towny feel with a quick wit and a mellow feel. One of the most fun cities in Ireland, Cork has a historic food market and rich culinary traditions, beautiful harbors, farmers markets, and is home to the famous Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle. See city highlights.
Learn about Waterford City’s Viking and medieval roots through a tour of the Viking Triangle, cycle along the Waterford Greenway (46 beautiful kilometers winding around the Comeragh Mountains), and stop by the picturesque harbor town of Dungarvan. Check out more great County Waterford activities.
And with one last train, car, or bus journey, that brings us back to Dublin, where you can finish off any exploring you didn’t get to at the beginning of the journey.