The Emerald Route 7-Day Self-Drive Tour

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Book with Confidence

  • Guaranteed Departures
  • 5 Star Rated on TripAdvisor
  • Small Groups
  • Local Irish Guides

Self Drive Tours

  • Expertly Designed Itineraries
  • Support Concierge Service
  • Overland Ireland Virtual Tour Guide
  • Fully Comprehensive Insurance

  • Self-Drive
  • 7 Days

an expertly planned 7-day road-trip to the best places in ireland.

We promise that your 7-day Emerald Route self-drive tour of Ireland will bring you on an unforgettable journey, encapsulating and exploring Ireland with a diverse range of scenery, castles, adventure, history, heritage, culture and wildlife along the way. Enjoy some exciting experiences, yet feel as though you’re gliding through the days at a smooth pace.

You’ll begin by leaving the busy streets of Dublin for the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way where you will cover over 1,100 km of rugged Irish coastline from Connemara to Kinsale.

Expert local guides and planners will guarantee you have a memorable experience on your Overland Ireland self-drive tour, exploring everything our country has to offer. This route takes in some of the breath-taking sights on the Ring of Kerry, to visiting amazing hidden gems, such as Moll’s GapTorc Waterfall and Killarney National Park you will have it all. A guest favourite is the option of kayaking Dingle Bay with the local celebrity – Fungie the Dolphin.

Visit Ireland’s most famous landmark: The Cliffs of Moher. Fall in love with the bustling bohemian city of Galway and discover the ancient charm of the Aran Islands. Let us plan your journey from start to finish and leave you to create memories to last a lifetime.

Book with Confidence

  • Expertly Designed Itineraries
  • Support Concierge Service
  • Overland Ireland Virtual Tour Guide
  • Fully Comprehensive Insurance

Paddy - The Pocket Pilot

Paddy the Pocket Pilot App

Every Self-Drive Tour booked with Overland Ireland comes with exceptional service, guided itinerary and extras, such as our Paddy the Pocket Pilot App, as standard. So, if you’re looking for an independent way to see Ireland with all the benefits and surprises of a guided tour with pre-booked “tried & loved” accommodation, you’re in good hands. But don’t take our word for it, check out our tour group reviews here.

What is included and excluded in your tour?

We are one of the only tour companies to include as much as we can into your tour price. We aim to have no hidden surprises or unexpected charges on your tour.

Our quest is to keep costs down and experiences up! We have worked really hard to get you the best deals up and down the country for you.

Included

  • Paddy the Pocket Pilot App
  • Top class accommodation in carefully chosen locally run guesthouses. We also have options of hotels and castle experiences
  • Car rental
  • A hearty breakfast each morning to set you up for the day
  • Detailed and easy to follow daily itineraries
  • Simple maps and instructions on how to navigate your way around our beautiful country
  • All entrance fees to all national parks on your itinerary
  • Tour support throughout your journey. We are always available for a chat should you need us
  • Daily hidden gem locations revealed by our expert guides
  • Daily food and entertainment recommendations
  • Kylemore Abbey
  • Aran Island Ferry
  • Aran Island Bike Hire
  • Galway Walking Tour
  • Sheepdog Demonstration
  • Dingle Kayaking
  • Dingle Distillery
  • Kinsale Walking Tour
  • Blarney Castle

Excluded

  • Parking and motorway toll fees
  • Fuel - for you car and of course your body! Petrol, lunch and dinner are on your own!
  • Clonmacnoise
  • Dún Aonghasa
  • Shannon ferry
  • Ross Castle
  • Rock of Cashel
  • A driver guide (check out our fully-guided tours)
  • The self-control to leave stunning locations and be brave enough to discover all the other wonderful places on your itinerary
  • Some suggested activities and experiencesWe can arrange these for you, but you may be making payment directly to the activity/experience provider i.e. horse-riding, jaunting (horse drawn carriage)
  • Airfare to Ireland
  • Tips and gratuities

Tripadvisor Reviews

Map

The Emerald Route 7-Day Tour of Ireland

Itinerary

The-Ultimate-Tour-of-Ireland-Unique-Experiences-Off-the-Beaten-Path

Day 1Clonmacnoise – Connemara

Switch on Paddy the Pocket Pilot app and start your expertly planned self-drive tour, leaving Dublin for the beauty and surroundings of the 6th century monastery at Clonmacnoise, located on the banks of the River Shannon. The monastery was a centre of excellence for learning and scholars created the finest of Celtic art and illuminated manuscripts over 600 years.

With a whetted appetite, you will cross the country into County Galway. Your next stop is Kylemore Abbey in the heart of Connemara. The rugged landscape of Connemara come hail rain or shine is guaranteed to take your breath away. Spend time roaming the abbey and Victorian walled garden on this 1000 acre estate overlooking Kylemore Lake and the majestic Connemara National Park.

At the end of a busy day, stay in Clifden surrounded by the Twelve Bens mountain range. Discover some great bars, restaurants, nightly music and have a chat with the locals over a pint of the Black Stuff!

We have added the option of staying in an exquisite castle so you can embrace your inner Prince(ss)!

Total driving distance & time: 310km – 4 hours 10 minutes, excluding stops

Day 2The Aran Islands

After a short drive cross country to Rossaveal Pier on Galway bay, board the ferry to the Aran Islands. You’ll land on rugged Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands. Explore the Island by bicycle or by special request jaunting cart all pre-booked and arranged for you by the team at Overland.

The route will take in the stone fort of Dún Aonghasa, which lies 100m over the ocean before making your way back to the mainland. While you are there you might pick up a few words of “Gaelic” from the locals and maybe treat yourself to an original Aran Sweater!

Your departure from Rossaveal is the start of our Galway adventure. Hug the coastline all the way into bustling bohemian Galway. Expect a great atmosphere, entertaining street performers and plenty of craic in this much celebrated town.

Total driving distance & time: 100km – 1 hour 40 minutes, excluding stops

Day 3Galway – The Cliffs of Moher

Galway is a city that has its Medieval history at its very heart. Our local guide will take you down the narrow streets where you can duck in and out of brightly coloured shops.

Try on Claddagh Rings, Galway Shawls and pass through The Spanish Arch to take in the famous Claddagh fishing village.

This day just keeps on giving. You will now travel south west towards The Burren National Park and the jaw-dropping Cliffs of Moher. On this adventure you will visit Corcomroe Abbey, a 13th century Cistercian Monstary and the 16th century Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara.

The cliffs experience will take you by foot across its stunning natural features with the powerful Atlantic Ocean waves crashing in below. The cliffs are one of the most spectacular natural features in Ireland and are sure to leave you lost for words. The evening is spent in the hometown of traditional Irish music – Doolin.

Total driving distance & time: 90km – 1 hour 45 minutes, excluding stops

Day 4Doolin to Dingle

A trip to Ireland is not complete without seeing all the ancient structures. Drive to the most famous Dolmen at Poulnabrone. These Neolithic monuments are scattered throughout the country marking burial sites and passage ways dating back to 3000 BC.

A short journey from the Dolmen, the farmers at Caherconnell will treat you to a spectacular sheep dog trial. Prepared to be awestruck by the skill of the farmer and his furry friend as they gather up their flock of sheep. Cross the border by ferry to County Kerry and leave the west behind. It is time to get excited about your next destination – Dingle.

This evening is yours to absorb the atmosphere in Dingle’s famous quirky pubs and fantastic restaurants. Why not sit in Foxy John’s hardware store, order yourself a drink and strike up a conversation with a friendly local! Rest your head at your fantastic guesthouse handpicked by our team.

Total driving distance & time: 240km – 3 hours 30 minutes, excluding stops

Day 5The Dingle Peninsula

Today your morning begins exploring caves and inlets on Dingle Bay by kayak and meet county Kerry’s biggest celebrity – Fungie the Dolphin.

If kayaking isn’t your thing you can take a moderate paced hike up Mount Brandon where you will be rewarded with 360-degree panoramic views of Dingle Bay and Castlegregory.

Perhaps you just want to stroll around this colourful village full of cute craft shops and cafes. Take today at your own pace. It’s your holiday – Do it your way.

This afternoon, jump in the car and take an impressive trip along one of Ireland’s most scenic roads – The Slea Head Drive before stopping at the famous Dingle Whiskey Distillery (Park your car first!) to sample their award-winning whiskey and gin and get an education on the history of whiskey production around the world. You spend another night in the buzzing town of Dingle – relax and enjoy.

Total driving distance & time: 50km – 2 hour 30 minutes, excluding stops

Day 6Sites on the Ring of Kerry

Say a fond farewell to Dingle and journey towards the Ring of Kerry. The first stop takes you to Killarney. The Ring of Kerry is the very definition of the word scenic and you will discover many hidden gems including Moll’s GapTorc Waterfall and Ross Castle in Killarney National Park. We will arrange a guided tour of Ross Castle where you will learn what life was really like behind the stone walls.

Stop for some shopping and lunch in the beautiful heritage town of Kenmare. For your last night on tour we are excited to send you to coastal Kinsale which is famed for its culinary culture, delivered by its many award winning restaurants. The town also has a great tradition of poetry, silver, gold and glassware manufacturing which can be seen throughout its local shops and galleries – boasting local talented artists.

Total driving distance & time: 200km – 3 hours 30 minutes, excluding stops

Day 7Cork – Kiss the Blarney Stone

Wake up refreshed and ready to be taken on a guided walking tour through the narrow streets of Kinsale with one of Ireland’s greatest guides, Barry.

Your self-drive App Paddy will lead you on to Blarney because you simply cannot leave Cork without visiting Blarney Castle and Gardens and giving the Blarney Stone a big fat kiss!

Your final stop before driving back to Dublin is the Rock of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel is over 1000 years old and you will get to see its medieval round tower, chapel, cathedral and castle. A fantastic end to your trip.

It is now time to turn off your engine, dry your tears and to sit back and soak up all that you have experienced over the last 7 days. If you have any time left before leaving the Emerald Isle we will give you plenty of amazing recommendations for things to do, eat and entertain you in Dublin’s fair city. Or why not link up with another self-drive itinerary? The possibilities are endless at Overland!

Total driving distance & time: 320km – 3 hours 30 minutes, excluding stops