10 Of Ireland's Best Road Trip Routes You Need To Do This Weekend
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There's no better feeling than the sense of adventure you get when you pack your car full with your best mates, an amazing playlist and edible treats, and set off on a road trip to explore the country.
You don't need to travel far for spectacular views and new experiences, as one of the joys of living on a small island is that it is so, so easy to cover a lot of different areas in a short-ish amount of time.
Our stunning Emerald Isle is a great place to quench your wanderlust, with a variety of different driving routes available all over the country.
Here's 10 of our favourite road trip routes, taking in everything that's great about Irish scenery, from mountains to lakes to the wild Atlantic ocean.
Drive non-stop, or take regular breaks along the way, the choice is all yours. Which, of course, is the true beauty about the freedom of road trips.
1. Wexford to Waterford via Hook Head (95km)
Wexford, the old Viking town of Ireland is a pretty great place to start at trip from as you park your car nearby the world's oldest working lighthouse, 13th Century Hook Lighthouse.
Cross over by car-ferry from Ballyhack to quaint village Passage East, and carry on driving until you get to Waterford where you can relax with a pint in one of the city's many pubs.
2. Dublin to Portlaoise via the Wicklow Mountains (138km)
Start your trip in the capital city and watch as the grey turns to green and rural countryside as you get closer to the Wicklow Mountains.
Take a picnic stop at Powerscourt Waterfall, stretch your legs for the view at Sally Gap's pass and have a coffee in the cute village of Laragh. St Kevin's monastery is the perfect stop off before reaching Portlaoise.
3. The Burren Loop (160km)
Cruise around the Burren National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the most dramatic and unique landscapes in the world.
This huge limestone landscape in County Clare is a place full of wonder, interesting places to visit and a wide range of flora and fauna that are an Instagram delight. Stop off for lunch in nearby Ennis town.
4. Galway to Westport via the Doolough Valley (160km)
Explore the rugged West as you drive through sheep-flecked Connemara, making sure you stop in the seaside village of Clifden for tea before taking the famous 'Sky Road' for ultimate scenic views.
Continue past Killary Harbour and through the haunting Doolough Valley, filled with hillsides and lakes. Keep your eyes peeled for Westport's beautiful beaches as the valley ends!
5. Yeats County and Lough Gill Scenic Loop (185km)
Starting and ending in central Sligo, this dreamy route gives you the best of beaches, seafood, mountains and more, all dosed in Irish mythical history and the beauty from the poems of W.B Yeats.
Begin in spooky Sligo Abbey and drive on towards Knocknarea Mountain, where we recommend you hike an hour to the top to see Queen Maeve's Cairn. Admire the famous Isle of Inisfree and coast past the table-top like Benbulben mountain. Fresh seafood in Mullagmore village is a must.
6. Boyne Valley Scenic Loop (190km)
This journey through the Royal County is packed with ancient monuments and glorious green views. If you start in the historic town of Drogheda, check out St. Peters Church which contains the real head of Oliver Plunket, an Irish saint from the 1600s.
Other top stops along the route include Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth burial mounds from the Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre, the Battle of The Boyne site, The Hill of Tara, Trim Castle (of Braveheart fame) and Slane Castle. The bonus is you will drive through plenty of lovely towns along the trip should you feel like taking a treat break.
7. The Comeragh Mountains via Cashel and Vee pass (240km)
This scenic dream drive known as the Munster Vales, covers Tipperary, Waterford, Cork and Limerick.
Taking a week to fully complete all stops, you get to check out the Comeragh Mountains, the banks of the River Suir, the ancient walled town of Fethard, the world famous Rock of Cashel, The Vee scenic mountain pass, the heritage town of Lismore and the seaside town of Dungarvan, where you can unpack your car and enjoy the sunset.
8. Belfast to Derry via the Causeway Coast (250km)
Drive along the ancient coastline of Northern Ireland from Belfast to Derry on this bucket-list drive of the Giant's Causeway. Hit-the-brakes sights include the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge to Carrick Island and the ruins of medieval Dunluce Castle.
Take a breather at the cascading waterfalls in the lush Glenariff Forest Park, and look out over the steering wheel at limestone cliffs on White Rocks Beach.
9. Ring Of Kerry & Skellig Drive (262km)
Beginning and ending in Killarney, the Ring of Kerry drive is one of Ireland's most magical. A perfect combination of ocean, islands, mountains towns and villages makes it an exciting journey with new sights around every corner.
See the Star Wars setting of Skellig Michael, splash your feet at a blue flag beach in Derrynane and enjoy a hot whiskey (only for the passengers, of course) in the heritage town of Kenmare. Bliss.
10. Glengesh Pass to Cliffs of Moher (302km)
With incredible sights at both the beginning and end of this drive, start off in Donegal and drive the winding roads through the striking valley of Glengesh Pass. If it's not too baltic out try your hand at sea-stack climbing for a real once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Dry off in the car as you spin through Sligo and Galway, getting out to stretch your legs in Father Ted's house near the match-making village of Lisdoonvarna before you arrive at your destination: the majestic Cliffs of Moher.