7 Best Scenic Drives in Ireland

As an Island Ireland is home to some of the most beautiful scenes in the world. Our ancient coastlines and valleys are the envy of many countries and unfortunately some are only appreciated by tourists. Now is the time to hop in the car and discover what our country has to offer. Get your sat nav ready for these scenic drives in Ireland. 

1. The Ring of Kerry 

The Ring of Kerry drive has it all - Atlantic Ocean views, islands in the distance, mountain villages and delicious, quirky places to stop for a bite to eat and drink. The tour is a 200 km loop beginning and ending in the wonderful town of Killarney. While you’re in the area why not check out Killarney National Park or hike Torc Mountain? 

Tip: Is hiking your thing? Discover 5 scenic hikes in Ireland.

2. Wild Atlantic Coastal Drive

Did you know that the Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s longest signed coastal driving route? Spanning 2500km from Inishowen in County Donegal down to Kinsale in County Cork this scenic route will take you through the coastal roads of counties Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Claire, Limerick, and Kerry on the way. Make sure to check out some of the beautiful beaches, water activities and wildlife safaris along the way. 

3. The Wicklow Mountains

This drive is within a handy distance if you’re coming from Dublin and will still have you feeling like you're deep within the Irish countryside. The Wicklow Mountains are home to the source of the River Liffey and as you drive through the winding mountain roads you can make pit stops at Powerscourt Waterfall, Sally’s Gap, the Guinness Lake, Blessington Lakes and Glendalough. The drive starts at Blessington Lakes and is 75km in total but you can adapt the route to suit you by consulting a map before you go. 

4.  The Boyne Valley Scenic Loop Drive

Part of Ireland’s Ancient East, the Boyne Valley is filled with historical sites - some of which are older than Stonehenge and the Ancient Pyramid of Egypt. Highlights include Newgrange, Loughcrew Cairns, The Hill of Tara, and Trim Castle but there’s lots more to be discovered. The 190 km loop drive can be started at any point on the Boyne Valley map just follow the swirl symbol on the road signs to stay on the right path. 

Tip: Bringing the kids with you? Check out these tips for driving long distances with children.

5. Sheep’s Head Peninsula 

The Sheep’s Head Peninsula drive is a 70km loop that meanders through coastal roads beginning and finishing in Bantry town in West Cork. It is also suitable for cyclists. This peninsula is a narrow finger shape of land on the Atlantic Ocean with unobstructed views of coastlines and wildlife. If you are a keen walker why not try one of the 20 looped walking trails? The area is signposted very well and routes are easy to follow. Bantry town is also a great spot for tasty local food and drinks. 

6. Sperrin Mountains Loop Drive 

The Sperrin Mountains are an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in west Northern Ireland in County Tyrone. The area has four scenic driving routes to choose from - North, South, East and Central. Each route has connections to facilities, accommodation and, of course, wonderful views of unspoilt landscape including rivers, valleys, and lakes.  

7. Connemara Sky Road 

Starting in the seaside town of Clifden the Connemara Sky Road is a 16km loop driving route that brings you through some of the most picturesque views Ireland has to offer. On a clear day you can see Inishturk Island and the Twelve Bens mountain range in Connemara’s National Park. You can extend your drive to visit Omey Island by taking a left turn for Claddaghduff when you come back on to the N59 as you loop back to Clifden. 

If you’re looking for some more things to do in Ireland check out these: Family friendly walks in Cork and family friendly walks in Galway.

Whichever scenic driving route you choose to take, make sure you and your family are protected with a comprehensive or third party fire and theft insurance policy. Get an online car insurance quote in just minutes with AIG, or check out our car insurance frequently asked questions for more information.

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