Take a look at the very best drives the Emerald Isle has to offer.
Ireland's most scenic road trips
With stunning Atlantic coastline and rolling mountain ranges, Ireland has more than its fair share of scenic drives. If you can't wait to experience Ireland's most scenic driving routes for yourself, Aer Lingus, Ireland's 4-star airline, offers flights from £19.99 to a range of destinations including Belfast, Dublin and Cork. Here's a sample of the best driving routes on offer depending on your departure point.
Wild Atlantic Way from Cork
Arriving into Cork will allow you to take on the southernmost 200-mile stretch of Ireland's greatest driving route. Head straight for Kinsale, the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way, and continue on to Kenmare, with stop-offs to kayak around the Old Head of Kinsale and hike to the lighthouse on Sheep's Head Peninsula. This portion of West Cork and its many offshore islands are particularly well known for jaw-dropping cliffs, accompanied by resident whales and dolphins who seek the warm waters of the Gulf Stream as it reaches Irish shores.
Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast
Touching down in Belfast, most first-timers will want to head for the Giant's Causeway, perhaps Ireland's most famous landmark. Take the car from the Northern Irish capital, join the Causeway Coastal Route and cruise 195 miles all the way to Londonderry/Derry. A five-day trip will allow time for stop-offs including the Dark Hedges, lately known for its starring role in HBO's Game of Thrones, as well as the Old Bushmills Distillery and the Giant's Causeway.
Glendalough from Dublin
The tranquil lakes and hilly peaks of Glendalough are fantastic to explore by car. Depart from the Irish capital and take the road through the Wicklow Mountains National Park, stopping off to take in some of the area's best trails by foot. In Glendalough itself leave enough time to visit the Round Tower, a Rapunzle-esque tower which served as a refuge and lookout point for the monks of St Kevin's Monastery when it was built over 1,000 years ago.
Dublin to Galway
Rather than hugging the Irish coast, fans of castles and fortresses should begin their trip in Dublin and head cross-country all the way to Galway. The 130-mile route steers past the Anglo-Norman colossus of Trim Castle, as well as Athenry Castle, which sits not far from a beautiful medieval town of the same name, before arriving into Galway with its array of castles and forts. Take a detour to visit Dunguaire Castle (pictured), a wonderfully preserved 16th-century fortress with a literary history.