By Jessica Russo
A road trip through Ireland is a once in a lifetime experience. Whip past sparkling seas, meander through stone cottages and castles, and roll through hilly greenery. (Okay, you may have to wait for a herd of sheep to pass, but that's part of the experience!) While all of Ireland is beautiful, here are our all-time favorite driving routes in the Emerald Isle.
Sheep's Head to Mizen Head (County Cork)
Ah, West Cork. Known for its extraordinary beauty and warm hospitality, this area is perfect for exploring by car. Drive from one peninsula to the next and journey through herds of sheep, stone cottages, and tiny villages. As you cruise by the coast, admire the stark contrast between the grassy greenery and the bright blue sea. If you get hungry, stop in the charming seaside town of Schull for lunch!
The Sally Gap (County Wicklow)
Staying in Dublin? This drive is only about an hour from the capital city, however, the scenery makes it feel like worlds away. Gawk at sky-high mountains and glistening lakes, then discover an ancient monastery in the Glendalough Valley. Stop off for a picnic and enjoy a meal with a view.
Connemara's Sky Road (County Galway)
It's no secret that Connemara is filled with natural beauty and whimsical wonder. Overlooking Clifden Bay and its offshore islands, Sky Road is famous for its rugged coastlines and sweeping views. After a day filled with "oohs," "ahhs," and photo-ops, head to the lovely town of Clifden for a well-deserved pint.
The Burren (County Clare)
Starting and ending in the charming coastal village of Ballyvaughan, this drive is an absolute spectacle. Depending on what you want to see, you'll have the option of continuing on the "east loop" or the "west loop." We recommend the "east loop," as it'll take you along the coast, past the Cliffs of Moher! Hop out of the car and check off that iconic Irish bucket-list attraction.
The Ring of Kerry (County Kerry)
Whiz through spectacular countryside, sparkling seascapes, quaint villages, and historical sites on this oh-so-popular driving route. Pass through Killarney National Park, Molly's Gap, the Muckross House, Torc Waterfall, Ross Castle, and many other points of interest. Stop for lunch in colorful Kenmare, then take tons of photos at Ladies View, a scenic spot along the N71.
The Causeway Coastal Route (County Antrim)
Venture up to Northern Ireland for a true travel adventure! Ranging from Belfast to Derry, this bucket-list driving route is an Irish dream-come-true. Feast your eyes on dramatic scenery, explore the legendary Giant's Causeway, and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the area! With cute towns and cozy pubs along the way, a drive down the Causeway Coastal Route will make you feel like you're starring in your very own movie.
Inishowen 100 (County Donegal)
This 100-mile stretch offers some of the most postcard-worthy views in all of Ireland. Nestled on the northern tip of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Inishowen 100 passes by blue flag beaches, rugged coastlines, and vast green hills. This stunning area is adjacent to Northern Ireland, and is filled with castles, Irish-speaking villages, and pristine forests.
Slea Head Drive (Dingle Peninsula)
Follow the sparkling sea along a circular route past ancient sites, green hills, and Gaelic-speaking villages. The Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula is the Ireland you've pictured from movies and postcards: sheeps grazing, tiny cottages, and inviting local pubs. When in Ireland, Dingle is a must-do.
Copper Coast (County Waterford)
Okay, the Wild Atlantic Way may be the longest and most well-known driving route in Ireland, but that doesn't mean there aren't other beauties! The Copper Coast in Waterford boasts some of the most superb scenery in Ireland. Drive past 100 miles of rugged clifftops, secret coves, UNESCO-recognized sites, and historical wonders. The Copper Coast is way more than just a pretty beach. Ready, set, see for yourself!