While Ireland was a rather unexpected mother daughter trip it was by far one of the more adventurous escapes we have done. Our biggest concern? With only 72 hours how could we possibly see the country and do all the things we wanted to?? We managed to accomplish it and quite well if I do say so myself. Read on below for the ultimate itinerary for when you only have 3 days in Ireland.
How to choose a path?
For us we wanted to ensure we could experience as much of Ireland as possible, we researched enough to know that we didn’t need more than a day and a half in Dublin followed by determining which of the many attractions were the most important.
Our priority was making our way across the country to see the Cliffs of Moher. This gave us an opportunity to maximize our time in Ireland seeing not only major cities but also the countryside – because that for us was the biggest appeal in going to Ireland.
How to get around?
We arrived into Dublin on a red-eye from NYC, rented a car and got on the road. Driving in Ireland is exactly as you would expect, they’ve thrown all rules out the window and drive much like that of New Yorkers – all cares are gone. Turn signals don’t “exist” and the use of a horn is used all too often. That’s what makes it fun though right? Add on the fact that you are driving on the opposite of the road and things get interesting.
We drove from Dublin to Ashford Castlewhere we stayed for one evening, this was a great mid-point and allowed us to arrive in time for a spectacular afternoon tea. If you plan to stay at Ashford Castle or want to enjoy their renowned afternoon tea you absolutely must make reservations in advance.
Overnight Stop 1: Ashford Castle
Once we arrived in Dublin we drove to Ashford Castle. The property sits on 350+ acres of pristine Irish countryside and comes with a history that is older than any city in the US. The historic grounds date back to 1228 and was once home to the famous Guinness family.
While touring the exquisite grounds is definitely a must do – they are spectacular regardless of what the weather is outside! But for me, the highlight of this trip was the simply perfect afternoon tea. We were seated at a window spot, only available for two, that was complete with an impeccable spread of scones, pastries, tea sandwiches and one of the best tea menus I’ve come across.
You must make a reservation in advance so click HERE to check out availability, their seasonal menu as well as their full tea menu. Another lovely option? They have tea of junior guests for those of you who have little ones it was seemingly quite perfect for kiddos!
Historic Stop: Cliffs of Moher
Without a doubt one of the best parts from this trip was having the chance to visit here. I had heard so many mixed reviews but the photos alone were enticing enough that we knew we needed to go. The drive was beautiful out to the Cliffs from Ashford Castle. We arrived midmorning, prior to the chaos that comes with tour buses and hoards of tourists.
There are clear signs that tell you when the path ends that you are entering at your own risk. We of course proceeded on. It was without a doubt worth it. The sheer magnitude of the Cliffs is spectacular, towering at over 700 feet at their highest point. The vertical drop into the Atlantic Ocean will make even the biggest daredevils slightly queasy.
Looking out on a clear day if you’re lucky you can see the Aran Islands. We sadly did not get that chance as it was quite foggy and chilly the day we visited. We only spent about an hour and a half walking around, there are quite a good number of tourists so I highly recommend going on the earlier side of the day.
Historic Stop: Dunguaire Castle
This was an unexpected stop but we came upon the historical castle built in 1520. The grounds the castle sit on are beautiful as is most of Ireland’s countryside. Note, you cannot actually go into the castle but this did make for a lovely little “pit stop” on our drive and broke things up a bit. I would recommend allotting no more than a half hour for this stop.
Overnight Stop 2: Galway
Arriving into Galway we were met with very few options but found the Seabreeze Lodge. A quaint B&B on the Galway Bay. Perfect location within walking distance around town. We didn’t spend an exorbitant amount of time in Galway but the town itself is quite charming. It is a beautiful hidden gem of a harbor town that is home to the famed 16th century Spanish Arch and has cobble stoned streets filled with pubs. A must do is Eyre Square! There are a few spots to check out if you have time like the Claddagh, the Salmon Weir Bridge and Galway Cathedral.
It is a two hour and fifteen-minute drive from Galway to Dublin and there is not much worth stopping to see along the way so we made the drive without a stop.
Highly recommend:Dropping off the rental car either at the airport prior to going into the city. Once in Dublin the driving becomes quite intense due to the amount of
Overnight stop 3: Dublin
The Fitzwilliam Hotel can highly recommended to me by several people so we felt that we had to check out what all the buzz was about. The newly renovated property could not have been more perfect for our stay. This chic five star hotel conveniently located in the heart of Dublin was walking distance to all of the key sights we had on our list including Trinity College and just a short ride to spots like the Guinness brewery – because you can’t go to Dublin and not go there!
The Fitzwilliam Hotel as mentioned underwent an extravagant renovation that has turned this hotel into one of Dublin’s highest rated hotels. I loved the view from our suite that overlooked St. Stephen’s Square and lush garden right in the heart of Dublin. Many of the new suites come with a beautiful balcony overlooking the square, which is quite lovely should you visit during a nice weather season (we unfortunately had a solid amount of rain!)
What to do in Dublin?
There is a whole post coming soon so if you are wanting to know specific details or recommendations let your comments below!