What To Do On The Drive From Dublin To Galway
Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, Tullamore! Have you heard about these places yet? I´m sure if you know just a little bit about Whisky, you might know Tullamore Dew! But did you know that it´s only a short drive from Dublin? It´s not only perfect for a day trip! When you plan an Ireland road trip and want to drive from Dublin to Galway, it´s worth taking this little detour and experience Tullamore, discover ancient high crosses in Clonmacnoise, or take a kayak tour on the river Shannon at Shannonbridge!
Do you have no clue where to start your vacation planning? Read my article How To Prepare A Road Trip, and you will get some answers!
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. That means that I may receive a commission if you click on the link and 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.
Resources & Recommendations
- FREEBIE – Download your free and printable copy of the travel guide to “Ireland´s Best Attractions.”
- Momondo*– Find the best prices on flights
- Best Accommodations – Check out my favorite accommodations around the world!
- How to get from the Airport to the City Center
- Dublin Pass* – Save up a bunch of money on the entrance and other fees while visiting Dublin’s attractions
Where To Go On The Drive From Dublin To Galway
Dublin, Galway, Cork, Kilkenny, Dingle! I´m sure you´ve already heard about these places! When you travel to Ireland and have a chance to explore the Emerald Island on a road trip, these cities should be on your list! But what about Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, or Tullamore? Ever heard about those places?
No worries, before I started to plan my road trip, I didn´t know them either! Of course, I knew what a Tullamore Dew is, but I never expected that the name comes from the city where it´s distilled! And not that this city is in Ireland! Stupid me! But sometimes, I don´t think about such things!
Anyway, one thing was clear to me! After I explore Dublin for a couple of days, I want to go to Galway! But when I leave Dublin, I didn´t want to “waste” the time by driving the highway all the time and don´t see anything from this beautiful country!
So, I checked all possible maps, zoomed in and out, searched the internet where to go, and a super cool but still short detour!
So come with me, and I show you the places you shouldn´t miss when you drive from Dublin to Galway!
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 by driving only. I am here to discover, see, visit, and 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 of 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.
My personal favorite and probably the most popular attraction is the Tullamore D.E.W. distillery. I would have loved to do a distillery tour and have a Whiskey tasting afterward, as I am a big Whiskey fan.
Unfortunately, I had to drive because my journey from Dublin to Galway wasn´t over yet, and I did not want to risk anything on this first day.
I was driving on the other side of the street, and then it used to make 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.
The next stop I have planned for this day was Clonmacnoise.
The easiest way to go to Clonmacnoise is to go back to the M6. Take the direction to Galway and follow the signs. You can also stay off the highway, but make sure that you programmed your GPS beforehand or at least check if it can find this location.
I did not do this, and when I left Tullamore, my GPS could not find Clonmacnoise (who knows why?). Without any internet, I couldn´t ask Google either, as I didn´t download any offline maps. So, I got lost (a little bit). But no worries, I already prepared it to find my way from Dublin 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 River Shannon’s eastern bank. 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)
The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are on display in the visitor center. You can find some information and details of the meaning and importance of this location in the past.
A step back into history. The best impression of historical and ancient Ireland and its culture. A unique atmosphere so that I got awestruck. I could almost feel how life was in these former times.
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.
It was a charming little village with a historic bridge and one pub that was packed and had no free tables for lunch anymore. Even for a single person, it was not possible to find the smallest space. Too bad, the food looked delicious, and I was already starving.
From here, you could have a walk alongside the River Shannon, do some angling, or cross the river by the ferry. It´s also the right spot for kayak fans!
End Your Drive From Dublin In Galway
I continued my journey from Dublin to Galway, and I arrived in Galway in the afternoon. I checked into my room in a very charming and beautiful house in Salthill, which I found at Airbnb.
Afterward, I had plenty of time to discover the close surroundings. I would recommend staying in Galway, at least three nights. It´s a good period to explore Galway and its city center, Salthill, and have one more day trip to Connemara and the coastal areas.
By the way, I recommend using Airbnb at least once on your travels. It is an entirely 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 €30 off your first stay! And who doesn’t like getting discounts?!
I would also recommend having a delicious dinner at The Ardilaun Hotel*or staying there as an alternative to an Airbnb, especially if you like it a bit more luxurious!
Dublin’s drive to Galway brought a bunch of new experiences (historical facts and ancient ruins of Clonmacnoise). And in the end, I got myself a delicious dinner in Galway. It was an amazing adventure and an excellent start to my road trip through Ireland!
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Have you been to Ireland yet? What was/ is your favorite place? I am looking forward to learning more about your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and do not forget to sign up for my newsletter, so you never miss anything out.