Ireland is a dream destination that asks for at least four days of your time to provide you with the ultimate island itinerary. Impressive in natural beauty and cultural traditions, the Emerald Isle keeps surprising you beyond any measures. The question though remains if four days is enough for a perfect Ireland itinerary.
The Ultimate 4-Day Ireland Itinerary
When I first started planning my trip to Ireland, there was no question of exploring the country beyond Dublin. With my intention to travel slower and immerse deeper in a new culture, this extensive 4-day Ireland itinerary didn’t seem possible at first. Dublin was going to be the main and only focus of my first trip to Ireland. However, when I learned how small the city was, a glimmer of hope for the ultimate Ireland itinerary was born. Moreover, the ease of moving around the island finalized my travel plans. And here I came to share my ultimate four-day Ireland itinerary. You can use it as it is or modify it according to your interests and preferences. And above all, have fun exploring the beautiful island of Ireland.
HERE IS THE ULTIMATE 4-DAY IRELAND ITINERARY:
The Best Time to Go
The weather in Ireland is pretty naughty. You can expect winds and rain all year round. Therefore, regardless of the time you plan to make this 4-day itinerary a part of your own adventures in Ireland, pack lots of layers.
On the other hand. The mild climate enables you to visit the island all year round. Summer is the warmest and driest season when the average daytime temperature reaches approximately 18°C (64°F). Moreover, with almost 18 hours of daylight, summer allows you to pack a lot in your four-day Ireland itinerary.
With the beginning of fall, it rains more frequently. However, this season adds beautiful autumn colors to your Ireland itinerary. And the temperature doesn’t drop dramatically until the end of the season, when it stays below 10 °C (50°F).
Your Ireland itinerary should include more indoor places such as pubs, cafes, and museums in winter. Situation slowly changes with the approach of spring and the warmer weather.
Where to Stay
I based myself in Dublin and was exploring Ireland by taking day trips to see different parts of the island. I found it relieving to be able to come home away from home at the end of the day. There were even a few short moments when I longed for the familiarity of my hotel room, a place where this Ireland itinerary had been slightly readjusted every day.
Booking hotel I had a few things in mind. First, I needed something to let me stay on a budget. Second, it had to be within a walking distance from the city center. Thus, I picked Maples House Hotel. Located within a thirty-minute walk from the major attractions in Dublin, it worked perfectly. Additionally, the price was reasonable considering that Ireland is the fourth most expensive country in the EU.
Your First Night
On arrival, I’d recommend to relax and get familiar with your hotel. There is a good chance that it’ll be raining on your first day in Ireland. It does rain a lot here. So, use this time to unpack and go over your Ireland itinerary one more time. Additionally, you might want to add some other interesting places to your travel list based on recommendations from your hotel staff.
Day One of the Ultimate Four-Day Ireland Itinerary: Explore Dublin
Dublin is an ultimate destination during any visit to Ireland. As the capital and the largest city in the country, it offers Irish traditional vibes with modern twist. The city is very compact and walkable. One day is a reasonable amount of time to explore Dublin.
The best way to get to know a new place including Dublin is to explore early. You can never underestimate this tip when trying to beat the crowds. As my hotel wasn’t located in the city center, I started my Ireland itinerary with a morning walk to the 150-meter tall Spire of Dublin on O’Connell Street. I had to pick up my ticket for next day trip from Dublin at one of the local tourist offices there. And it actually set up the mood and flow for the day.
After admiring beautiful monuments on O’Connell Street, it’s time to walk across historical Ha’penny Bridge. The next destination on you Ireland itinerary is one of the most iconic places in Dublin. Temple Bar is also one of the busiest neighborhoods in the city (now you really appreciate your decision to start the day early). The place is known for traditional Irish pubs, restaurants, and shops. If you drink beer, you certainly should get a pint of traditional Irish drink here.
Dublin is very relaxing city. Even if it’s not your nature, you automatically follow the flow and find yourself taking a slow walk, admiring old-style buildings. Without even planning it, you end up walking past the Molly Malone Statue and listening to buskers on Grafton Street. And since you already wander near Trinity College, make it your next stop before immersing in history of the city.
Tip: Once you made to Trinity College, you must see its Old Library and the ancient Book of Kells. However, if your visit happens on Friday or weekend, don’t waste your time waiting in line. Come back another time giving the fact that you have more than one day of your Ireland itinerary for Dublin.
Lunch and Afternoon Adventures
I usually eat my lunch late when exploring a new place. I exhaust all my energy and only then grab something to eat to replenish it. Thus, before looking for a place to eat, I made a quick stop at Dublin Castle and took some pictures near Christ Church Cathedral. The visit to the cathedral was planned for the day four of this ultimate 4-day Ireland itinerary.
Finally, after soaking up the sun in the park behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I had a vegan feast at Blazing Salads. Never mentioned on my initial Ireland itinerary, this place became an essential part of it. And I had to return here again before leaving the county.
I had two more stops in the heart of the city. First, you can’t visit the capital of Ireland without adding to St. Stephen’s Green Park and Iveagh Gardens to your itinerary.
Then there was another quick stop at Butlers Chocolate Café to grab vegan hot chocolate. Finally, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse ended the first day of my ultimate four-day Ireland itinerary. As I don’t like beer, I limited this visit to just exploring the outside of the store along with its neighborhood.
- Top 16 Things to Do in Dublin
- Vegan in Dublin: The Best Places to Eat and Drink
- Everything You Need to Know before Visiting Dublin for the First Time
- Dublin Travel Guide: From Top Attractions to Places to Eat and Stay
Day Two of the Ultimate Four-Day Ireland Itinerary: The Cliffs of Moher
The second day of my four-day Ireland itinerary started with a taxi ride to the Molly Malone Statue on Suffolk Street. ( I prefer to walk rather than take a taxi, but try to avoid walking in dark hours as much as I can even in one of the safest countries in the world.) From here a tour bus would take me along with other fifty people across the island to the Cliffs of Moher. I usually reject exploring new places as a member of a large group. But renting a car in Ireland intimidated me a bit (driving on the left side of the road is something I yet need to try). Taking a tour and still being able to see Ireland this way seemed very reasonable.
The bus left Dublin around 7:00 a.m. And by noon we already were able to explore the Cliffs of Moher, the second most visited attraction in Ireland. Although not the highest point in the country, the place surprises with incredible views and the strongest winds you’ve ever experienced. So make sure to bring extra layers with you. If your visit to the Cliffs of Moher is part of your late fall or winter Ireland itinerary, warm jackets, scarfs, hats, and gloves are a must.
Lunch and Afternoon Trip
For lunch we stops in Doolin Village. A small Irish village is located a short drive away from the Cliffs of Moher. It’s known for its traditional Irish music and often serves as a gateways to the Aran Islands.
The tour was resumed around 2:00 p.m. And the next stop on this short one-day Ireland itinerary was the Burren. One of six national parks, the place is like nothing else in Ireland. It’s known as one of the largest exposed limestone regions in the country. Moreover, it’s hard not to notice its unique landscapes, resembling the surface of the Moon.
The final stop for the day was in Galway City, famous for its arty vibes, brightly pained pubs, and live music. We were back in Dublin by 8:00 p.m. and ready for day three of the four-day Ireland Itinerary.
Day Three of the Ultimate Four-Day Ireland Itinerary: Wicklow and Glendalough
Just like the previous day, make sure to grab something to eat in the morning the night before. It saves time and avoids frustration when you look for a place to grab breakfast, and majority of them are still closed.
Unable to drive myself (not yet), I took another guided tour to explore County Wicklow. Since the place is located nor far away from Dublin, the day started much later. The departure time was at 8:30 a.m. Accompanied by bus driver’s narration, we traveled past the Blessington Lakes and made our first stop at Baltinglass. Here we spend some time exploring the 12th-century Baltinglass Abbey and the center of the town.
The next stop was less glamorous (because of the smell), but very inspiring and interesting. In attempt to support local farmers in Ireland, the tour company added a visit to Keadeen Mountain Farm to their itinerary. I personally believe that raising animals for meat doesn’t benefit anybody. Moreover, according to farm owner, Ed, it’s getting harder and harder to keep this type of farms afloat. However, this quick stop shows you a different and integral part of Irish culture.
Lunch and Afternoon Hike
At noon we had lunch in Laragh. Wether the cold weather or outstanding cooking skills of the chef were a reason, but I had never eaten tastier pumpkin soup before.
The rest of the day we spent in Glendalough. Our itinerary included exploring Glendalough monastic site, hiking to Glendalough Upper Lake and the Poulanass Waterfall to admire incredible beauty of Ireland. The highlight of the tip was enjoying the views of Lough Tay, better known as the Guinness Lake.
- 17 Things to Know before Visiting Ireland for the First Time
- Forty Shades of Green: Ireland Photo Diary
- How to Visit Wicklow Mountains National Park
Day Four of the Four-Day Ireland Itinerary: Back in Dublin
Morning in the Old Library
I skipped stepping inside the Old Library of Trinity College on my first day in Dublin. However, the middle of the week works perfectly to add a visit to the library to your Ireland itinerary. There is little to none crowds. But don’t expect to have the place all to yourself.
Lunch at Blazing Salads
I couldn’t leave Dublin without having another meal from Blazing Salads. The places is located on Drury Street and offers some of the best vegan and vegetarian dishes in the city.
Afternoon inside Christ Church Cathedral
For rainy days make sure to add to your itinerary places that let you stay inside. I was lucky to almost avoid any rain during my visit to Ireland except for the last day. In truth, it wasn’t even raining, more like drizzling. But I used this weather as an excuse to spend the rest of the day exploring crypt of Christ Church Cathedral.
To end the day, grab dinner at Umi Falafel. Now it’s about the time to put your itinerary aside, head back to your hotel, pack your stuff, and say goodbye to Ireland.
After spending four days in Ireland, you definitely feel that you need to plan another adventure with an itinerary that includes no less than seven days.