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Seeing Southern Ireland by Car


If you want to see as much of Ireland on a tight budget, renting a car is your best bet. Aside from being able to reach several historical and cultural sites, the road winds through the beautiful, romantic landscapes that have set the stage for so many legends and myths. Rent a car in Dublin, and head for Westport for a day of story, liquor and song. Your first stop on your road trip is The Hill of Tara, called the seat of the High Kings and the many legends surrounding them. Head towards Kilbeggan, where you’ll find one of the world’s oldest Whiskey Distilleries, and then make the pilgrimage to Knock. The last stop on the first day of car travel is Westport, and enjoy local music at any of its inns. The second leg of your trip is already enough to make your car rental fee worthwhile. Between Westport and Galway, you’ll pass by the Holy Mountain Croagh, the Doolough Valley, and the sandy beaches of Connemara. Only car travel can help you appreciate the progression from one type of landscape to another, and give full appreciation of Ireland’s unique beauty. Park your car in Galway city, and explore its medieval streets and lively art and culture scene. Travelling to Doolin by car gives a fine opportunity to drink in the scenery. The roads pass through Galway Bay and Kinvarra Bay, wind into the hauntingly beautiful limestone landscape of Burren, before reaching Pol na Brone Dolmen, the 5000-year old portal tomb and the Cliffs of Moher. The last stop of the day is Doolin, where you can reminisce over your car travels over whiskey and traditional Irish music. Day Four of your road trip takes you towards Killarney, where you’ll cross the Shannon River and into “The Kingdom”. Visit Fungi the Dolphin at Dingle, a fishing village, and soak in the scenery that is spread across the Blasket Islands. Car travel will also give you the freedom to explore the particularly beautiful scenery in the Southwest—mountains, palm trees, beaches, stone circles. At any point, you can stop the car and take a short hike, taking as much time as you like to soak in the magical landscape. The next day is filled with just as many beautiful road stops, as you drive down to the National Park, the Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, and the Blarney Castle, home to the famous Blarney Stone, and the Celt’s legendary Rock of Cashel. The day’s car travels ends at the medieval town of Kilkenny. It’s your last day of your car travels as you head back to Dublin, passing by the ruins on the Rock of Dunamase and the town of Hildare. You’ve saved the best for last, though: the “Garden of Ireland” Co Wicklow is breathtaking, while the city of Glendalough is rich with history. Reluctant for the trip to end? Never fear — you can always schedule another car rental, and the beauty of Ireland will once again be at your feet.