Not to miss stops on the drive from Dublin to Galway! Travel Ireland on a road trip and find the best things to do while enjoying the Emerald Island!

What To Do On The Drive From Dublin To Galway

What To Do On The Drive From Dublin To Galway

Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, Tullamore! Have you heard about these places yet? I’m sure if you know just a bit of Whisky, you might know Tullamore Dew! But did you know that it’s only a short drive from Dublin? It’s not only perfect for a day trip! When you plan an Ireland road trip and want to drive from Dublin to Galway, it’s worth taking this slight detour and experiencing Tullamore, discovering ancient high crosses in Clonmacnoise, or taking a kayak tour on the river Shannon at Shannonbridge!

Do you have no clue where to start your vacation planning? Read my article How To Prepare A Road Tripand 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 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. 

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A road trip through Ireland! The drive from Dublin to Galway, visiting Clonmacnoise, Tullamore, and Shannonbridge is the ideal route and a must do! Travel the Emerald Island and have the perfect dream vacation!

Where To Go On The Drive From Dublin To Galway

Dublin, Galway, Cork, Kilkenny, Dingle! I’m sure you’ve already heard about these places! When you travel to Ireland and have a chance to explore the Emerald Island on a road trip, these cities should be on your list! But what about Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, or Tullamore? Ever heard about those places?

No worries, before I started to plan my road trip, I didn’t know them either! Of course, I knew what a Tullamore Dew is, but I never expected that the name comes from the city where it’s distilled! And not that this city is in Ireland! Stupid me! But sometimes, I don’t think about such things!

Anyway, one thing was clear to me! After exploring Dublin for a couple of days, I want to go to Galway! But when I left Dublin, I didn’t want to “waste” the time by driving the highway all the time and don’t see anything from this beautiful country!

So, I checked all possible maps, zoomed in and out, searched the internet where to go, and a super cool but still short detour! 

So come with me, and I will show you the places you shouldn’t miss when you drive from Dublin to Galway!


The 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 by driving only. I am here to discover, see, visit, and 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 of 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.


From Dublin to Galway


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 distillery tour and have a Whiskey tasting afterward, as I am a big Whiskey fan.

Unfortunately, I had to drive because my journey from Dublin to Galway wasn’t over yet, and I did not want to risk anything on this first day.

I was driving on the other side of the street, and then it used to make me freak out a bit.

Hence, I just had a look from the outside. It was challenging to find a parking lot anyway; I was not too disappointed to attend the tour. 



The next stop I had planned for this day was Clonmacnoise.

The easiest way to go to Clonmacnoise is to return to the M6. Take the direction to Galway and follow the signs. You can also stay off the highway, but make sure that you programmed your G.P.S. beforehand or check if it can find this location.


I did not do this, and when I left Tullamore, my G.P.S. could not find Clonmacnoise (who knows why?). I couldn’t ask Google without any internet, as I didn’t download any offline maps. 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 had to go to find my way again and 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 River Shannon’s eastern bank. 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)

Ruins at Clonmacnoise! Find more things to do on a road trip through Ireland! Drive from Dublin to Galway and find these fascinating not to miss sites!

The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are displayed in the visitor center. You can find some information and details of the meaning and importance of this location in the past.

High Cross at Clonmacnoise! Find more things to do on a road trip through Ireland! Drive from Dublin to Galway and find these fascinating not to miss sites!

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 could almost feel how life was in these former times.

Not to miss stops on the drive from Dublin to Galway! Travel Ireland on a road trip and find the best things to do while enjoying the Emerald Island!


Not far from Clonmacnoise is Shannonbridge. It is named after the bridge across the River Shannon, connecting County Offaly and County Roscommon. You cannot miss it, as it is the next town on the route when you head to Galway.

It was a charming little village with a historic bridge and one packed pub and no longer had free tables for lunch. Even for a single person, finding the smallest space was impossible. 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 cross the river by the ferry. It’s also the right spot for kayak fans!

Shannonbridge, Ireland; one of the stops you shouldn't miss while driving from Dublin to Galway! Travel Ireland on a road trip and find the best things to do while enjoying the Emerald Island! Charming little house with a lovely red door! Shannonbridge, Ireland; one of the stops you shouldn't miss while driving from Dublin to Galway! Travel Ireland on a road trip and find the best things to do while enjoying the Emerald Island!

End Your Drive From Dublin In Galway

I continued my journey from Dublin to Galway, and I arrived in Galway in the afternoon. I checked into my room in a charming and beautiful house in Salthill, which I found at Airbnb.

Afterward, I had plenty of time to discover the close surroundings. I would recommend staying in Galway, for at least three nighIt’sIt’s an excellent period to explore Galway and its city center, Salthill, and have one more day trip to Connemara and the coastal areas.

By the way, I recommend using 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?!

I would also recommend having a delicious dinner at The Ardilaun Hotel*or staying there as an alternative to an Airbnb, especially if you like it a bit more luxurious! 

Driving to Galway brought many new experiences (historical facts and ancient ruins of Clonmacnoise). And in the end, I got myself a delicious dinner in Galway. It was a fantastic adventure and an excellent start to my road trip through Ireland!

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Have you been to Ireland yet? What was/ is your favorite place? I am looking forward to learning more about your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment, and do not forget to sign up for my newsletter, so you never miss anything out.


136 thoughts on “What To Do On The Drive From Dublin To Galway”

  1. I love the cultural aspect of Dublin! I want to totally immerse myself with the beliefs and tradition when I travel. Thank for sharing this amazing article. love this!!!

  2. I have a dream that one day I will go to dublin,I learned a lot from reading your blog, highly informative article I have read.The pictures in your post in particular were very nice, specially Shannonbridge,Thank you.

    1. Hi Sourav, thanks for stopping by, reading, and leaving a comment here. I´m glad you liked my article. Ireland is one of my favorite countries and I can highly recommend going there! So, follow your dream and go! 😀

  3. this is an amazing post about Ireland by pronouncing this word Ireland its not so cool to think that there would be some beautiful places but from this article i know it very well that it is the best place to travel in vacations.. i hope this post will be helpful for many people like me thanks for shearing this article..

  4. I love this! I’ve done the drive from Dublin to Galway (and then on to Connemara) more times than I can count, but we very rarely stopped off to see anything. I need to get my act together next time and stop a bit more!!

  5. Ireland is on my bucket list! My siblings, a few cousins, and I were planning on going next year! (Hopefully the current epidemic blows over so that we can still go). Thanks for sharing, because I really love Ireland!

  6. I finally made it to Ireland last year and took the bus between Dublin and Galway, but I did wonder if we were missing out by doing that! We’d love to go back and road trip the whole country, so this is really useful! 🙂

  7. Great ideas for the drive between Dublin and Galway. When I visited I didn’t have the benefit of a rental car, but I’m thinking next time I should get one! Clonmacnoise especially looks interesting to visit.

  8. What a great post! I took the bus from Dublin to Galway, and it seems like I missed out on a lot of great sights! I’ll have to look into renting a car and taking a road trip next time I’m in Ireland. I’ll definitely be saving this post for later! Thank you for the information.

  9. Ireland has so many cool places to visit. I feel like there are just little gems waiting around every corner for you to discover. I would love to visit Tullamore D.E.W. distillery. That sounds fabulous!

  10. Oh wow how great, we just spent a weekend in Dublin this month and we are determined to come back for a 2 week road trip very soon! I´m saving this post for when that happens, thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Awesome! Dublin is soooo cool! And good for a first-time impression, but you also should discover more from the rest of the country if you have the chance! Any plans to visit again?

    1. That´s great, Vanessa! Do you already have an idea when you want to visit? If you need any further recommendations, let me know!

  11. How have I never been to Ireland? I’ve wanted to go for so long and actually thought this might be the year but unfortunately not. Still, posts like this will keep reminding me how much I need to visit

  12. Clonmacnoise is a wonderful site in Ireland. I’ll have to hit up Tullamore Dew next time. There’s a lot to do in the middle of Ireland that many folks overlook!

    1. Agreed, Lynne! Before I went to these places, I didn´t know either! But it´s so worth to explore those sites, too!

  13. I’m headed to Ireland next year. I love doing things that other tourists don’t do, so I love this guide! So many unique places to visit!! Saving for my trip planning 🙂

    1. That´s awesome Maggie! I love Ireland, it´s one of my favorite countries to travel to! I hope I can publish a few more posts at the beginning of next year! It´s time to extend my Ireland archive! There are so many different things to do and places to visit… Do you have any specific ideas of places to go yet?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Thank you very much for posting this. I have been a long time reader of your blog.

  17. 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.

  18. 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! 🙂

  19. 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

    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

  20. 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

  21. 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…

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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

  25. 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 😉

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. It’s your third time and i think you can’t get enough of ireland. The view are beuatiful. Thanks for sharing ?

  34. 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.

  35. 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 ?

  36. 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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