Ireland - Dublin to Galway

Ireland – From Dublin To Galway – Things To Do

My third time in Dublin but the first one that I will be on discovery tour by myself on this island. It´s a long time since I visited Dublin. A friend of mine used to live in Dublin for a while and I visited her a couple of times. Ever since I wanted to discover the rest of this country. Which excellent coincidence (or maybe you could call it destiny?) that she comes back to this place for her very own hen party. The perfect chance to combine meeting up with her and a couple of friends from school, celebrating her, and to fulfill my desire to explore the island. So said, so done! I booked the flight, rented a car and the adventure could begin: From Dublin to Galway on the first day.

You do not have a clue where to start with your vacation planning? Read my article How To Prepare A Road Trip!

Arrival in Dublin

Adventure is the correct word. Arrived at Dublin airport around 10 p.m., got the car and tried to find my room for the night. I rented a room at a student accommodation at the DCU in Dublin. It was not very comfortable but the half way from the airport and the city center and good enough to spend the night there as it would have been for sleeping only.

You might know that Ireland is one of the countries with left-hand side traffic? I drove on the other side once before but this was a couple of years ago and on another island with almost no traffic at all. But this time, late in the evening, in a big city and not knowing where to go… aaaarrrrrgggg! The first day, first adventure, the first almost catastrophe… I have just driven into the wrong direction of a one-way street. But shhh… don´t tell anyone!

The Next Day: From Dublin to Galway

Next day, next try! And a better one, definitely! I took off to Galway. I did my research, checked what can be visited and prepared my bucket list as I did not want to sit all the day and drive without visiting anything. For me, a day without seeing anything new, especially, on vacation, is a lost day. So here it is my itinerary for the day and the trip from Dublin to Galway:

Tullamore

The direct and maybe fastest way from Dublin to Galway is the M6/M4. The only thing you need to do is follow this route. But, as mentioned before, I did not want to start my vacation with driving only. I am here to discover, see, visit, experience new things. Therefore, I chose a couple of places I would like to see. I left the M6 and followed the routes off of the highways to Tullamore. Located, more or less, 13 km south from the M6 it is a pretty and small town. If you like a little break from driving (at this time you will be barely an hour on the road) you could stop here and have a walk through the town.

Tullamore D.E.W.

My personal favorite and probably the most popular attraction is the Tullamore D.E.W. distillery. I would have loved to do a tour of the distillery and having a Whiskey tasting afterward. I am a huge Whiskey fan so this would have been a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the taste of one of the most popular Whiskeys of the world. Unfortunately, I had to drive and I did not want to risk anything on this first day of driving. Remember, I drove on the other side than I used to and it made me freaking out a bit. Hence, I just had a look from the outside. As it was difficult to find a parking lot anyway, I was not too disappointed that I could not attend the tour. But there is another whiskey tasting tour on my list for later on my trip. I will see if I could make to that

However, as it was difficult to find a parking lot, I was not too bad that I could not attend the tour. At that moment, I  still believed that there is another whiskey tasting tour later on my trip. Stay tuned if I made it… 😀

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Clonmacnoise

The next stop I have planned for this day was Clonmacnoise. The easiest way to go there is to go back to the M6 in the direction to Galway and follow the signs. You also can stay off of the highway but make sure that you programmed your GPS beforehand or at least check if it is able to find this location. I did not do this and when I left Tullamore my GPS was not able to find Clonmacnoise (who knows why?). Without any internet, I could not ask Google either. So, I got lost (a little bit). But no worries, I already prepared it to go to Galway so I was not that lost 😉 Lucky me, an Irish gentleman appeared from out of nowhere. He explained where I have to go to find my way again and could continue my trip. Well, so I followed the signs as he told me and arrived at Clonmacnoise eventually.

Clonmacnoise is An Early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th  -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave slabs in Western Europe.” (Heritage Ireland)

   .                   Ireland - From Dublin to Galway - Clonmacnoise Ireland - From Dublin to Galway - Clonmacnoise

The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are on display in the visitor center together with some explanations of the reason and importance of this location in the past. This site was exceptional, especially, as the first trip on my first day on my special Ireland tour. A step back into history. The best impression of historic and ancient Ireland and its culture. A special atmosphere so that I got awestruck. I almost could feel how life was in these former times.

Ireland - From Dublin to Galway - Clonmacnoise Ireland - From Dublin to Galway - Clonmacnoise Ireland - From Dublin to Galway - Clonmacnoise Ireland - From Dublin to Galway - Clonmacnoise

Shannonbridge

Not far from Clonmacnoise is Shannonbridge. Named after the bridge across the river Shannon, which connects County Offaly and County Roscommon. You cannot miss it, as it is the next town on the route when you head to Galway. A pleasant little town with a historic bridge and one pub which was completely booked out for lunch. No chance to get a table even for a single person it was not possible to find the smallest space. Too bad, the food looked good and I was already starving.

From here you could have a walk alongside the river Shannon, do some angling or you cross the river by the ferry. Unfortunately, my schedule made me go forward as I wanted to be in Galway before the rain would start or the sun sets.

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Galway

Thus, the last part of the day began. I continued my journey to Galway and I arrived in the afternoon. I checked into my room in a very nice and beautiful house which I found at Airbnb. Afterward, I had plenty of time to discover the close surroundings. As I booked three nights there was enough time to explore Galway and its city center and have one more day trip to Connemara and the coastal areas.

By the way, I recommend using an Airbnb at least once on your travels. It is a completely different experience than staying in hotels only. If you like to try it and you are new to Airbnb, you can sign up using my referral link, which will give you €35 off your first stay! And who doesn’t like getting discounts?!

But first, I had a delicious dinner at The Ardilaun Hotel which was located right next door. A pretty good idea as it was just a five-minute walk and not a minute too long I learned a bit later this evening. Although, I was very lucky with the weather the whole day, I was so happy that I went to the Ardilaun. The rain started straight after I entered the restaurant. Good that I went to dinner in time. Not so good that it still was raining when I called it a night and wanted to go home.

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This was a relaxed ending of a day that was full of adventures (driving on another side as I am used to), new experiences (historical facts and ancient ruins of Clonmacnoise) and a delicious dinner in Galway. Happy and with no further wishes I went to bed not able to do anything else than sleeping, looking forward to the next morning when my journey continued.

Have you been to Ireland yet? What was/ is your favorite place? Looking forward learning more about your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and do not forget to sign up my newsletter so you never miss anything out.

*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate. I only recommend products and services that I know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not. 

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68 thoughts on “Ireland – From Dublin To Galway – Things To Do”

  1. Ohh Ireland sound so exotic to me! Makes me think of fog, rain and ghost!😂 I really hope to get there one day!

    1. Haha, yes, these are also attributes which I had in my mind. But also beautiful countryside, wild coasts, castles and a lot of sheep and cows! And the people are so lovely! I am sure you will love when you go one day!

  2. I’m going to Ireland for the first time at the end of September and I can’t wait! Your post and reading all about the places we’ll be seeing soon is making me even more excited! We aren’t driving, so luckily I don’t have to worry about driving on the wrong side of the road.

    1. Haha, in the end driving on the other side was half as bad as expected, after a few days I got used to it and it was like I´ve never done it differently. 😀 I´m so happy for you, and I´m going to be excited, too, again. I love Ireland so much that I always get super euphoric when someone tells me that he or she was or will go there. You definitely will have an awesome time. I also hope that the weather will be good to you. Fingers crossed!

  3. Considering it’s just a short plane ride from where I live, I’ve never been to Ireland! It’s definitely on my list though, so thanks for the tips of things to do 😍

  4. I am always fascinated by heritage and culture. Ireland looks beautiful and steeped in things that I like. Hope to visit the place soon.

  5. I love the cultural aspect of Dublin! I want to totally immerse myself with the beliefs and tradition when I travel. Thank for posting this! 🙂

  6. It’s your third time and i think you can’t get enough of ireland. The view are beuatiful. Thanks for sharing 😊

  7. Wonderful trip! Just beautiful, and I love your photos. The issue with driving on the left side of the road is the a big concern for me, going to Ireland. I think I might stick with train or public transit instead of braving it.

  8. I love this post. It has totally given me ideas for different places to explore and see in Ireland. I recently visited Belfast in Northern Ireland which was amazing so I’d love to see what Ireland has in store too!

    1. If you like this one, you should come around again. I will post the next part of my journey, soon. Unfortunately, I haven´t make it to Northern Ireland.

    1. Sharon, you definitely should. Take the chance and visit your friend. With Galway as your basis, you can explore a lot of things, locations etc. And you are close to the sea as well!

  9. Wow! I am impressed! I think driving to and from and around as much as you can is the best way to explore any country and get off the beaten path!

    1. Exactly, you are more independent from any train or bus schedules and can go to places where the bus routes don´t go. I love that.

  10. Love the pictures! Especially love how the sky gave you a “dark and stormy” look! I loved love to go to Ireland. I just need to find buckets of money and time 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tara! You´re right, I love this sky, too. I couldn´t get enough of it. I still have tons of pictures just because of the sky. And the green looks greener as is actually is, just because of the clouds.

  11. I’m a huge whiskey fan too! Tullamore sounds like my kinda place 🙂 Of course I would need to find a DD so I can enjoy it and not have to worry about driving.

    1. yes, that was bad timing from my side. I would love to have a try. Maybe next time. 😀 I definitely want to go back

  12. I find it very stressful to drive on the left side and I avoid it as much as I can. I feel like a lightning-struck every time I need to turn left or right and I usually take the turn on the wrong side of the road.

  13. Beautiful pictures and that’s some driving adventure you had there! Moments like these make us fall in love with the place even more and remember it distinctively. Lovely photos!

  14. A Irish road trip looks divine! I did go to Ireland once, but it was very short and I honestly couldn’t remember much of it. I do have a friend who has settled there now so maybe one day I’ll visit her.

  15. My ex-colleague was from Dublin and we spoke a lot about Ireland often. Do you guys actually drink a lot of Whiskey?.. :D…. I do hope to see around Ireland sometime in 2018-2019 and if possible do a road trip. I have pinned your post for reference.

    1. Thank you for sharing my post! I hope you could make it to Ireland, it´s such a wonderful country and worth a visit

  16. I was recently in Dublin and it wasn’t nearly enough time!! Next time I go I want to do a road trip — Galway would be a dream!

  17. When my husband and I went to Ireland, I was pregnant and tried not to get nauseous with my husband driving on the other side of those narrow little roads. Good thing the car rental companies zip-tied the hubcaps on!

  18. I have been wanting to visit Dublin for so long now. These pictures beckon me to pay a visit soon. I like the way you said you’re here to experience different things. I guess that’s what really adds spark to the trip.

    1. You´re so right. For me, that´s it about traveling. Of course, some hours to relax are also fine, but in the end I want to have the feeling that I saw/ did / ate something different, even if it´s for knowing how it is.

  19. Ireland seems to be a lovely travel destination… I heard that people are very friendly, the landscapes are breathtaking and the music is also great! This country always reminds me of Ed Sheeran’s song “Galway Girl”! 😉 Love your article & cool pictures!

    1. You got it! All what you said is true… lovely and friendly people, breathtaking landscapes and awesome music…

  20. This seems like a perfect guide and a good itinerary to explore in and around Dublin. I like the views and the vibes of the place so much. Will soon plan a trip

  21. Looks amazing! I have only been to Cork and it was so beautiful. Can’t wait to go back and see Dublin and all these other places in Ireland 🙂

    1. Same here, I love it so much and definitely will go back. Don´t when but I will 🙂 I´m glad that you like the post

  22. Love Ireland, I am heading back for my third time at the end of the month. This time going to head to Newgrange to see Neolithic structures. Not been to the places you mentioned a part from Dublin so will need to organise another trip!

    1. Oh, Lovely, I´ve been to Newgrange a couple of years ago. Impressive what people are able to build up even without any machines, which we have nowadays. Have a good trip! If you like to come back again or let me know how it was under dreamandwanderland@gmail.com

  23. We had made plans to visit Dublin and weren’t able to make it while we were in Europe. I’ll definitely have to hold onto this article for when we go back (: Thanks for sharing!

    1. Stay tuned, Lindsey, there will follow a few more articles, including a bit more about Dublin itself! I hope you had a great time in Europe! 🙂

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