Drive from Bangor near Belfast along the A2 coast road to the seaside town of Ballywater, head west to Greyabbey, then south on the A20 to Portaferry. Take the car ferry over Strangford Lough to Downpatrick to visit St Patrick’s grave on Cathedral Hill.
Drive through Clough and on to Newcastle where the Mournes ‘sweep down to the sea’, then on to the fishing port of Kilkeel. Follow the A2 along the coast to Rostrevor, Warrenpoint and along to Newry. From Newry, travel south toward Dublin, through Dundalk and stopping off at Drogheda to see the prehistoric tombs at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. You can see where St Patrick lit the first paschal fire at Slane before returning on to Dublin.
Discover the beauty and charm of the northernmost peninsula in Ireland. Begin your self-drive tour at Buncrana with its long sandy beach and ruins of Buncrana Castle that dates back to the 16th Century as well as Doherty Castle. Head north along the R238 to Mamore Gap and take in the magnificent view of the steep, northerly coastline, and onto the seaside town of Dunaff. Here you can see the Fort Dunree Military Museum that overlooks Lough Swilly, as well as the Old Fort Hospital. Driving east, you’ll see fantastic beaches, and stunning scenery as you travel through Clonmany and Ballyliffin, where there is a unique outdoor museum showcasing life in the area from 1840-1970.
Further on the R238 you’ll come to reach Carndonagh with its great ancient monuments, including the 10 arch stone bridge that crosses Trawbrega Bay in Malin. Stand on Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head, and further east you’ll find the Wee House of Malin, a hermit’s rock cell cut into a cliff beside a cottage ruin. Drive further south-east to the resort village of Culdaff, and enjoy the seascape as you head along down to Greencastle, home to the Inishowen Maritime Museum and Planetarium. Follow the R241 onto Moville, then through Redcastle, Muff and down to the walled city of Londonderry.
Take the Navan Road out of Dublin and head northwest for Tara, the site of a former royal acropolis in an area that is rich in ancient monuments. Continue north to Navan and Slane, and visit the Bronze Age cemeteries of Bru na Boinne, Kings William Glen, Melifont Abbey and Monasterboice. Drive through Drogheda to Dunleer and Dundalk, where you can explore the surrounding countryside. Head further north and drive a loop along the rugged Carlingford Peninsular around Omeath, Carlingford and Ballymascanlon, and back down to Dundalk.
Head back south, through Castlebellingham, Clogher and Baltray, with a great beach and golf course, and on to Drogheda on the River Boyne. Follow the coast road and enjoy a pleasant drive through Balbriggan, Skerries, Rush, Lusk, and detour to Newbridge House in Donabate. Stop by at Howthe and take in the magnificent views from the rocky Hill of Howthe. Drive back to Dublin via Sutton.
Head south from Dublin toward the Wicklow Mountains, and stop at the pretty village of Enniskerry. See the highest waterfall in Ireland at the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens. Drive through the Sally Gap towards Glendalough, one of the most picturesque valleys in county Wicklow, then through Rathdrum and Avoca towards the resort town of Arklow. From here, head north towards the town of Wicklow where you can enjoy great views of the bay, then stop by at Mount Usher Gardens near Ashford just north of Wicklow. Drive on to Greystones and Bray and through the rugged Devils Glen and the Great Sugar Loaf Mountain. On your return into Dublin, drive through Kilkee and Dalkey to enjoy the views of Dublin Bay and the city beyond.
Begin your tour from Galway city toward Connemara on R336 West, driving through towns of Spiddal, Inverin, Costello Cana and Clifden. From there, head north on N59 to Leenaun in Co. Mayo at the head of the Killary harbour and the Fjord. Enjoy the mountains, Doolough Lake, and the Delphi Valley as you head further north to the town of Louisburgh. On the road east to Westport, make sure you stop at Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain and place of Christian pilgrimage.
From Westport you can take a trip out to Achill Island by driving through Newport then Keel and then up to Dooagh. After you’ve explored the island, head back towards Mulranny and drive north to Bangor Erris to visit Ballycroy National Park. Visit the picturesque Erris peninsula in the Mayo Gaeltacht.
Take the coastal road R314 towards Ballycastle and admire in the wild coastal views to Sligo and Donegal. Visit the Céide Fields in Co. Mayo, a five-thousand-year-old farm settlement. On the return trip, drive through the towns of Castlebar, Claremorris, and Tuam, and enjoy the views over Lough Conn.
Delve deep into Ireland’s history and Saint Patrick. Begin the tour in the city of Armagh, and see both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic St Patrick’s Cathedrals, the County Museum and Saint Patrick’s Trian. Take the Darkley Road through ‘the Fews’ and scenic woodlands of Keady and Newtownhamilton to Newry, where you can visit Bagenal’s Castle, the Killevy Old Churches founded in 517AD and Kilnasaggart Stone.
Follow the Newry Road through Rathfriland, Castlewellan, and Clough, through to the town of Downpatrick. Here you’ll find the Struell Wells, the first holy wells in Ireland, the remains of the Inch Abbey that date back to 1180, the Saul Church, Down Cathedral and St Patrick’s grave. Head to Strangford and take the car ferry to Portaferry, then follow the Portaferry Road to Greyabbey where you’ll find the splendid ruins of a Cistercian Abbey. Heading north drive on to Newtownards and see the Movilla Abbey, then follow the N21 for Bangor where you can visit the north Down Museum and Bangor Abbey.
This circular route is Ireland’s most popular and scenic drives. Beginning at Killarney, take the N70 to Killorglin along the banks of the River Glenbeigh. Follow this cliff section of road, offering unmatched views of the Dingle Peninsular, to the town of Cahersiveen, where you can see the Old Barracks Heritage Centre. Further on, head to Renard where in summer you can take the ferry to Valentia Island, or continue along the way to the magnificent gardens at Glanleam. Take the coastal road to Portmagee, and from here you can take a boat trip and tour to discover the World Heritage listed Skelligs Islands. You can enjoy the panoramic view of the Skelligs from Baile an Sceilge at the top of Coomanaspig.
Start heading east on the R567 to the lovely village of Waterville, which is home to one of Ireland’s top 5 golf courses. Stop off at the Coomakesta Pass for brilliant views of Kenmare Rover, Scariff and Deenish Islands. Further east on the N70, drive through the Derrynane National Park and Staigue Fort, the remains of a circular stone fort that remains within the national park. Stop at the picturesque village of Sneem, and further along to the Heritage town of Kenmare. On the final leg of the Ring of Kerry, keep driving north, via Moll’s Gap and Ladies View for great vistas of the Lakes of Killarney, and at the sixty foot Torc waterfall, before returning to Killarney.
This route will take you along the beautiful coastline south of Wexford and into the marvellous countryside of Carlow. Begin at Wexford, the town that was originally founded by Vikings in the 800 AD. Here you will see Johnstown Castle, Wexford Bullring and the Selskar Abbey. Drive north along R741 coastal road to the beaches at Curracloe and Courtown, and then on to Gorey. From there, head back south toward Enniscorthy on the banks of the River Slaney, where you’ll find The Enniscorthy Castle, St Aidan’s Cathedral and the National 1798 visitor centre.
Return 8km back to take the N80 to the market town of Bunclody. Drive on to Kiltealy and the Georgian city of Borris, then east along to Graiguenamanagh at the foot of Brandon Hill in the beautiful Barrow Valley, and home to the 13th Century Duiske Abbey. Continue through St Mullins to the port town of New Ross, where you can see the Dunbrody Famine Ship, and the Hook Lighthouse, that has been a beacon as early as the 5th Century. From New Ross, head back to Wexford via the N25.
To see the best historic houses, castles and religious foundations Dublin has to offer, travel from Dublin along the M4 to the beautiful university town of Maynooth. Continue onwards on the M4 to Mullingar where you can visit Belvedere House and Gardens.
Join the N80 to Tullamore and visit the home of the famous Whiskey Tullamore Dew. Drive along the N80 to Moate, then continue on the M6 and travel further on to the bustling town of Athlone on the banks of the River Shannon. Visit the ancient Celtic foundations of Clonmacnoise, and see interesting ruins from the 13th Century. Head south along the N62 to the heritage town of Birr and visit its enchanting castle and then stop off at the castle in Kinnitty. Drive through the Slieve Bloom Mountains onto the gorgeous town Portlaoise where you can see an 800 year old castle at Dunamase. Finally, visit the Irish National Stud and Gardens on the return to Dublin via the N8.