If you only have one week, travel one or two regions only so you can make the most of your trip to Ireland. Make a list of your must see places first, and plan from there. If you are taking the spontaneous approach, seek out the local tourism office first when you arrive in an area. The locals also will give good regional advice and tips. Here are the highlights of each of the four provinces in Ireland to help you plan your Ireland vacation.
Dublin and the East
If you are travelling to and from Dublin airport for your Ireland vacation, then you may choose to spend at least a day at the start and end of the trip. Dublin offers history, culture, architecture, music and the city indulges all tastes and interests. Trace the history of the ages in Dublin from early Viking to modern Celtic Tiger years. Try a guided tour of the city if it is your first visit to ensure you see the highlights. Dublin is a good base for many day trips such as the Japanese Gardens, Newgrange Passage Tombs, The Hill of Tara, Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains.
Rugged West of Ireland
If you love wild untouched landscapes and ancient archaeological sites then head west during your Ireland vacation. Carved by the Atlantic Ocean the coastline is wild and awe inspiring. The Burren Region, Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands are geological wonders and are renowned worldwide. Visit Galway city of the tribes and capital of the West, before exploring the hills and lakes of Connemara. Then follow the literary trail of W.B. Yeats into Sligo and beyond.
The Southern regions are known for its fertile farmlands, beautiful beaches, gardens, and castles. The three peninsulas of the South West; Beara, Dingle and Iveragh are some of the most well known routes for visitors. Visit Cork, which is Irelands second largest city, before travelling to Cobh (Queenstown), which was the last port that the Titanic stopped in. The South East reveals its Viking and medieval past almost everywhere you look.
From Dublin you can be in the vibrant city of Belfast in about two hours and from there begin exploring the Causeway Coast or follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick from Armagh town. Other highlights of the North include the Glens of Antrim, Bushmills distillery, Fermanagh Lakelands, and Derrys walled city. Cross the border once more into County Donegal and explore the rugged west coat with Mount Errigal in the background.