5-day tour around Ireland, part 1

or How to fall in love with a country in 5 days?

Yeldar Kurmangaliyev
6 min readJul 16, 2019

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In this July I decided to take a car tour from Dublin around the country. The main objectives were: Killarney National Park, major cities like Cork and Galway, and Wild Atlantic Way. It is a great experience to complete even a small portion of this gorgeous 2 600 km way along the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 1. Dublin — Glenbeigh (Co. Kerry)

The first hotel was booked in a small town of Glenbeigh. The route to Glenbeigh was planned along the eastern coast of Ireland, through Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford and Cork (on the left image).

There is an alternative route which you can consider and which lies through scenic cities Kilkenny and Cashel. As a bonus, it is almost 200 km shorter (on the right image).

Wicklow Mountains National Park

Just after leaving Dublin we diverted from M11 to pay a visit to Glendalough lake in Wicklow Mountains National Park.

The national park itself is worth a separate trip and it is located pretty close to Dublin. This is a popular filiming location, you could see in “P.S. I Love You”, “Braveheart”, “Michael Collins” or “Tudors”.

There is also a scenic lake called Lough Tay. It is also known as Guinness Lake, because it reminds a pint of Guinness with fresh foam.

Wicklow Town

In 40 km to the south of Dublin there is a Wicklow town. It is a cozy town with the population of 10 500 and 1 km in diameter, but even one full day is not enough to visit all sights.

Hook Lighthouse

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see Wexford and Waterford. There are trains and buses going to these cities from Dublin, so we can easily come back another time. That’s why we decided to head to Hook Lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built in 1172 and this is the second oldest active lighthouse in the world. If you come here on working days, you can get a guided tour:

We continued our way to the west through Ballyhack — Passage East ferry, which costs €8 per a car.


We made a service stop in Cork and didn’t spend much in there, because we wanted to reach the hotel before it gets too dark.

Cork is often called a cultural and food capital of Ireland. There are also very cozy towns Cobh and Kinsale. Just Google it and it becomes clear that you should plan a separate trip to these cities.

By night we reached the hotel in Glenbeigh.

Day 2. Killarney National Park

The second day was dedicated to Killarney National Park.

Ross Castle

15-century tower house. There are two tours available: around the castle and a boat tour around the lake.

Muckross House

It was a private estate, but in the beginning of the 20-th century it was gifted to the Irish nation. So, it became the first national park in the history of Republic of Ireland.

There is a guided tour which tells the story of the house, life in the house and architecture.

Unfortunately, you cannot take photos on the premises.

Muckross Gardens

Just near the house there are Muckross Farms. The farms reproduce life of an Irish village of the beginning of the 20-th century.

Actors in the buildings can tell you interesting stories and facts about life in a village.

Torc Waterfall

Just in 10 minutes from Muckross there is a cascade of 20 meter height waterfalls. It really surprises how rapidly the nature in Ireland changes.

Ladies View

A viewpoint with scenic view on the national park. People say that it is one of the most photographed places in Ireland.

You can enjoy this view in a moderately priced cafe just across the road.

Molly Gap & Gap of Dunloe

A couple dozen kilometers of narrow curvy mountain roads.

POV of Gap of Dunloe:


By the evening, we came back to Killarney.

It was Friday, so it was pretty festive in there.

Rossbeigh Strand

Just 5 km away from our hotel there is another Atlantic beach, in Rossbeigh.

When the sun had set, we went to the hotel.

This is how the second day of our trip has ended.

What did we miss?

We have missed huge part of County Kerry and County Cork with filming locations, mountains, cliffs and cozy towns.

County Kerry is one of the best places to visit in Ireland, because there are lots of sights and they are located close to each other. If you have more than 5 days, then you definitely need to spend them for a Ring of Kerry.

Cork and its surroundings is another great idea for a trip.

Continue the trip

On the following day we will head to the North, along the Atlantic coast:




Yeldar Kurmangaliyev

C# Software Engineer from Kazakhstan, lived in Ireland now living in New York City. More info: https://kurmangaliyev.kz