The girlfriend has just renwed her driving licence *gulp.  Ten years after she passed her test and with about an hours worth of driving experience since passing I’m not quite sure what i’m letting myself in for by agreeing to a road trip around Ireland this coming May.  Actually the trip was my idea, I just thought i’d be the one doing all the driving.

Ireland roadtrip

Way back when, Esther lived in Ireland for five years, FIVE! … and in that time she never once made it to see to Giants Causeway. Lazy indeed, but its worked out quite well for me I suppose, its mean we get to see it together without one of us having to ‘waste’ annual leave seeing something for the second time.  It’ll be new for both of us which is cool.

So we fly into Belfast accompanied by a couple of mates and drive all the way down to Limmerick over the space of a week or so before flying back to London from Shannon airport.  I’ve recently purchased a small video camera so I may try my hand at a few short video diaries.

The Route

So this is our route, red are the overnight stops, blue indicates places of interst we plan to stop off at.  What do you think?  Any recommendations?

View Ireland 2012 in a larger map

Sunday May 6th

We flying into Belfast along with our friends Claire and Rich (aka RD). From the airport we pick up car number 1 and drive to Belfast town centre where we will spend the rest of the day. We’re thinking about doing a black taxi tour of the area just like @pommietravels did.  Check her article here – Belfast Black Taxi Tour

Staying @ Vagabonds

Monday May 7th

Leaving Belfast the next morning we’ll be cruising along the north eastern coastal road and visiting Giants Causeway. I’m told the drive will take about two and half hours so we should have loades of time. By late afternoon we should arrive in Derry (Londonderry).  In Derry we’ll probably take in a tour of the city walls amongst other things, namely the pub.  A pint will be well deserved after a long drive.

Staying @  Paddys Palace.  £29 for a double room.

Tuesday May 8th

Leaving Derry on the 8th we’ll swoop around the north west coast before arriving in Donegal.  We have no solid plans for Donegal, but the hostel we’re staying at looks to be surrounded by an amazing landscape, we may just take a stroll.

Staying @ Malinburg Hostel.  £30 for a double room.

Wednesday May 9th

After a single night in Donegal Claire and RD will be dropping us at Sligo and make their merry way to see some of  Claires family.  Esther and I will pick up car number 2 and drive to see some of Esthers family who live in County Cavan.  Its a bit of a drive, but we’ve neglected to visit on our last two trips to Ireland so will be making the effort on this occasion.

Staying @ Esthers Sister.  £dinnerandjuice for a bed/sofa

Thursday May 10th

A night at Esther sisters and then its off to Galway via Westport.  Another long day of driving perhaps, but again it’ll include some amazing coastal driving.

Staying @Salmon Weir Hostel. £15 a night pp for a double room.

Friday May 11th to Monday May 14th

From Galway we shall drive to the cliffs of Moher and then onto Limerick to visit some more of Esthers family and friends.  We’re not 100% sure where exactly we’ll be staying for the 3 nights we have before our return flight to Heathrow, but we’ve always managed in the past and all its cost us was a takeaway and a couple of pints down the pub.


One of the major costs we’re going to get slapped in the face by is petrol, but we cant quite quantify that at the moment, so I present you with the costs we so far know about.

  • Flight from Heathrow to Belfast:  £38 each inc all fees.
  • Car 1:  £17 each for Esther and I at a rate of £4.25 a day.  Claire and RD will be paying slightly more as they are taking the car back to Belfast with them.
  • Belfast Hostel: £20 a night each for a double room.
  • Derry Hostel:  £15 a night each for a double room.
  • Donegal Hostel:  £16 a night each for a double room.
  • Car 2:  £70 each for Esther and I at a rate of £7 a day.
  • Galway Hostel:  £15 a night each for a double room.
  • Flight from Shannon to Heathrow: £28 each inc all fees.

Total cost per person so far:  £219.

I’m lucky enough to have made a bit of money through advertising this year already so have covered all the above costs already.  I know advertising on sites is a hot topic, but if it inn effect pays for me to add more content to this site I cant see the harm.

So what do you think?  A good route?  Any additional recommendations?  I’d love to hear them …

road trip to northern ireland and ireland