• Meghan Bartok

Eight day Ireland girls trip: intro + itinerary

Updated: Apr 11

Ireland. Just the name makes you think of misty green hills, sheep, and leprechauns. While the first two are true (and the last is much debated), there is so much more to this beautiful country! Thanks to the new direct flight from Hamilton, Ontario to Dublin on Norwegian Air, we scored plane tickets for $366 round trip! At the end of May, my mom, sister, and I set off on our much-awaited annual girls trip to explore the Emerald Isle for eight days.


At the end of the trip, we felt that eight days was a wonderful amount of time to see some of the highlights of Ireland, although we each have a list started of what we want to see on our next visit (because don’t you worry, there will definitely be another visit!). Here is an overview of our itinerary – check out the links for more detailed posts about each of the places we visited, as well as what you can expect to spend in eight days in Ireland.

Days one, two, and three – Dublin

We spent our first three days exploring Dublin and one of its suburbs, Dun Laoghaire. I had been to Dublin previously, back in January of 2015, but this was the first visit for my mom and sister, and I was excited to both show them around, and see some new sights myself! While we were there, we checked out some museums, including the Guinness Storehouse, ate some very yummy food, and walked around the charming streets. Two and a half days in Dublin was the perfect amount of time to scratch the surface and see what the city has to offer! As a city, it’s fairly small, which makes it easy to see a good amount of things in a small amount of time. While you could spend as much time as you wanted to explore, I feel that the real charm of Ireland lays in the smaller towns and countryside, so after a couple of days in Dublin, head to a different part of the country for the more idyllic and typical Ireland experience.

If you want to learn more about what to see, do, and eat in Dublin, click here and here!


Classic view of St. Colman's Cathedral

Days four and five – Cork, Cobh, and Blarney Castle

Cork is Ireland’s second-largest city after Dublin, and lies on the central south coast, about a 2h30m train ride or drive from Dublin. While I do think that hiring a car is the best way to see Ireland, we relied on public transportation during our trip, which was both dependable and affordable. We used Cork as a base for two mini day trips – one for me, and one for Allison. My choice was Cobh, a quaint seaside town with strong links to the Titanic and immigration, as well as the cathedral that EVERYONE has seen on Instagram. Allison’s choice was Blarney Castle, where she made me kiss the famous Blarney Stone (so if I suddenly seem much more eloquent, that’s why!) and we explored the many acres of beautiful gardens. In the evenings, we came back and walked around Cork, which is a compact city with great options for shopping and food. We also stayed in the CUTEST Airbnb, which I would highly recommend, and will talk about more in Cork’s post here!


Days six, seven, and eight  – Galway, and day trips to the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara

After seeing some of the sites in Cork County, we hopped on a train headed up to Galway, which lays northwest of the city of Cork. Galway is a university city on the sea, which gave me fond memories of going to uni in Portsmouth. We spent our first day there seeing the sites and going to a wonderful Irish music and dancing show called Trad on the Prom. This is the one thing that my mom really wanted to do, but we all ended up loving it, and I would highly recommend it to anyone coming to Galway. Our next two days there were spent on two-day trips. The first was to the Cliffs of Moher, probably the number one day trip in Ireland. Unfortunately, it was rainy and foggy all day, but thanks to Galway Tour Company and our amazing tour guide, Dave, we still had a great time and got to see so many sights. We used GTC again the next day for our trip to Kylemore Abbey and Connemara, which was another great experience. We booked this trip very spontaneously because we had such a good time on the first day trip, and we were not disappointed.

Budget

While Ireland is not necessarily considered a budget destination, it is considerably cheaper than Great Britain and comparable with places like Paris and Barcelona. We ended up spending about $950 for everything (plus $366 for our plane tickets) for the eight-day trip, which I thought wasn’t bad! This included eating out for most meals, and staying in midrange hotels/Airbnbs. If you’re working with more of a backpacker budget and staying in hostels/eating more affordably, you could easily shave $250+ off of this cost.

Check out a more detailed breakdown of what we spent here!

As a bonus, check out my list of top things to see and do in Dublin to get some inspiration for your next trip!


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