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Ireland is home to a number of glorious natural attractions from epic coastlines to rugged and remote islands used as shoot locations for Star Wars (that’s right, pack your lightsaber) and this Ireland road trip takes you to each one and back again.
Enjoy hiking in Wicklow Mountains National Park, swimming in Coumshingaun Lake, and sightseeing on the scenic Ring of Kerry — get ready for every twist of the road to lead to promising horizons, and for every Irish pub to lead to a Guinness or seven.
This road trip itinerary then heads north to the Cliffs of Moher before ending in Dublin, a city famous for producing a promising mix of boy bands and frothy stout.
Climb aboard your campervan and head just over an hour’s drive south of Dublin to find yourself surrounded by the glorious Wicklow Mountains, the largest upland area in Ireland and a protected National Park.
There are over 20,000 hectares of rolling landscape to be explored here so tighten up your walking boots and get ready for a mountain based adventure!
There’s plenty of hiking trails inside the National Park to suit all abilities, and a number of mountains to be summited too.
For a challenging climb tackle Lugnaquilla, the largest mountain in the National Park or if you’ve knocked back one too many Guinnesses in the capital, you might want to take it easy and blow the cobwebs off at Powerscourt Waterfall, the country’s highest waterfall.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
from the Dublin pick-up center
Great Sugar Loaf
Steep mountain, scenic views, Cambria quartz
Glendalough Upper Lake
Glacial lake, hiking routes, scenic spot
Cosy pub, traditional dishes, hearty meals
Park at the base of the mountains
Roundwood Caravan Park
Pubs in walking distance, onsite shop
The Ireland road trip continues to the Comeragh mountains, home to one of the finest examples of a corrie lake in Europe: Coumshingaun Lake. Of the nine lakes in the Comeragh mountains, Coumshingaun has to be the most spectacular.
To get here your Dublin itinerary heads through the medieval town of Kilkenny, which is well worth a lunch stop if you’ve got the time. Kinsale and Cork are two other noteworthy towns en route.
Getting to Coumshingaun Lake is challenging in itself, but it’s worth the trek. The circular walk starts from Kilclooney Woods and takes around four hours total - make sure you wear comfortable walking boots and layer up in case the weather changes drastically mid-hike.
Once at the lake you’ll be met by glorious mountain views and a shimmering body of water worth jumping in. We’d only recommend taking a dip in the height of summer, or you might be a tad cold on the trek back to the camper.
from Wicklow Mountains National Park
The Magic Road
Tilted road, optical illusion, natural attraction
Beautiful waterfalls, scenic lookout, walking route
10 min drive from campsite, traditional dishes
Park campervan in laybys
Powers the Pot Camping and Caravan Park
Family-run, lots of walking trails
Next on this Ireland road trip is the Ring of Kerry. This 179-km-long (~111 miles) circular forms part of the Wild Atlantic Way and can be driven in 3.5 hours without stopping. Of course, you’ll be stopping since there’s plenty of things to stop for, including a National Park and three remote islands!
This particular route is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike thanks to the endless wildlife and outdoor pursuits on offer.
Start the route in Killarney National Park, home to numerous walking trails, Ross Castle and the shimmering Lough Leane. Other Rings of Kerry highlights include Rossbeigh Beach (yes, a soft sand beach… in Ireland), the Gap of Dunloe, and Torc Waterfall.
Head to the western end of the Ring of Kerry, and you’ll find Portmagee, from here catch a ferry over to Skellig Island; an uninhabited rocky islet (and Star Wars filming location) home to puffins, a Christian monetary, and ancient stone huts.
Ring of Kerry
from Coumshingaun Lake
Killarney National Park
Spectacular landscape, UNESCO, red deer
Large lake, scenic views, walking trails
Killarney centre, Irish pub
Park campervan in laybys
Killarney Flesk Caravan & Camping Park
Close to the NP, start of the Kerry Way
Onwards and upwards now on your Ireland road trip as you drive north through Limerick to reach the mighty Cliffs of Moher. These outstanding sea cliffs are listed as a UNESCO Global Geopark (a rare title if any), run along 14 km of pristine coastline, and are home to a number of migratory seabirds.
If you’re after an overly dramatic vista, then look no further.
The cliffs can be viewed from three separate viewing platforms, each of which offers a different perspective of this mighty rock formation but its O’Brien’s Tower that provides the most impressive lookout of all.
Once you’ve finished exploring the cliffs, why not check out some of the best waves in the country while you're there? We suggest taking surf lessons at Lahinch Surf School , minutes away from Cliffs of Moher. Next, you could always extend your Ireland road trip by heading further north to Galway, a colourful harbour town and the cultural heart of Ireland (get your fiddles at the ready).
Cliffs of Moher
from Ring of Kerry
Lahinch Surf School
Try surfing on some of the best waves on the west coast of Ireland
Highest point of the cliffs, great views
Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark
UNESCO, unique landscape, geological heritage
Gus O’Connor’s Pub
Irish food, lively bar, music scene
Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre
Cliff entrance car park
Nagels Camping & Caravan Park
100m from Doolin Pier, close to cliffs
from the Cliffs of Moher