Ireland - Dublin to Galway

Ireland – From Dublin To Galway – Things To Do

Ireland as a solo adventure

It is the third time in Dublin but the first one that I will be on discovery tour by myself on this island. It has been a while since I visited Ireland. A friend of mine used to live in Dublin for a couple of years, and I visited her a few times. Ever since I wanted to discover the rest of this country.

Which great 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, 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.

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 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. 

Resources & Recommendations

  • FREEBIE – Download your free and printable copy of the travel guide to “Ireland´s Best Attractions.”
  • Skyscanner – Find the best prices on flights
  • Booking.com* – Find the best prices on accommodations

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 one 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.

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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 in the wrong direction of a one-way street. But shhh! Do not tell anyone!

The Next Day: From Dublin to Galway

Next day, next try! And a better one! 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 day and drive without visiting anything. For me, a day without seeing anything new 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.

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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 as I am a huge Whiskey fan. So this would have been an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of the taste of one of the most popular Whiskeys in the world.

Unfortunately, I had to drive because my journey from Dublin to Galway is not yet over, and I did not want to risk anything on this first day. Being on the other side of the street than I used to, 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.

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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 can 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 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 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. 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 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 village 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 delicious, 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 from Dublin to Galway, and I arrived in the afternoon. I checked into my room in a very charming 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 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?!

But first, I had a delicious dinner at The Ardilaun Hotel*. 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 fortunate 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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It was a relaxed ending of a day that was full of adventures. The way from Dublin 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. 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 to 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.

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

  1. My mom and I took an amazing tour of IRELAND just about 3 years ago, and Funny that we took a completely different route than yours, even though we started in Dublin and Galway was our halfway stop. Tullamore Dew would have been a nice stop for us since we enjoyed the Whiskey tasting of this town’s product while in Dublin. Love how much this country has to offer.

    1. Hey Ari, I agree. Ireland has so much to offer. Although I´ve been there a couple of times, there is still so much left, which I´d like to see and visit. Every time, there is new stuff to discover. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Heading to Ireland in the summer for a wedding and are planning on staying longer and doing a roadtrip with our camping gear. Loving all the great tips and am definitely using your blog post to help with our planning. Thanks so much!

    1. Awww, that´s fantastic! I did a road trip last summer as well, two weeks overall. So feel free to stop by as there will be a few more blog posts about this trip.

  3. thanks for your upload. I found this really
    interesting, and managed to sort out my issue with your post.

    Thanks so much! I will share on Twitter.

  4. 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! 🙂

  5. 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

    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

  6. 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

  7. 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…

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. 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.

    1. Take the chance to visit her. Having a friends at one place is a very good reason to visit this country 😉

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. oh, after a couple of days everything was fine. In the ned it felt as I haven´t done anything else!

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    1. Megan, I was also worried about the driving thing. But after two more days, it was like my second nature.

  19. 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! 🙂

    1. Hi Amrita, there is so much to see. Castles, Abbeys, Graveyards, and more ancient places and sceneries.

  20. 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 ?

  21. 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!

    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!

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