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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Dublin & Southern Highlights

Designed for the first time visitor to the country, explore both on & off the beaten track.

Combining Ireland’s highlights with special places to stay and hidden gems sought out by McKinlay Kidd, this self-drive holiday takes you from the bustle and sophistication of Dublin to the dramatic coastlines, lakes and mountains of the West Coast of Southern Ireland. En route, you’ll have time to explore the Curragh and National Stud, and stop off in Cashel.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Mar - Oct. We particularly enjoy the long, light evenings in June.

Why not...

add a boat trip off the west coast?

Prices From


No of Nights


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Day One – to Dublin

You start with two nights in Dublin – just about enough time to explore the city – based in our hand-picked accommodation, conveniently located within easy reach of the city centre.

Your hotel in Dublin

Enjoy the best of both worlds in this welcoming guest house, comprising two imposing Georgian townhouses.  It’s situated in a remarkably peaceful leafy avenue just to the South of Dublin city centre, yet you’re just a short walk from St Stephen’s Green, a pint or two of Guinness in a local bar, or a delicious meal in one of Dublin’s many fine restaurants.

We can also offer a choice of 4 or 5 star hotels for this holiday – ask us for a quotation.

Day Two – Exploring Dublin

Once home to literary greats such as James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, the city of Dublin boasts an abundance of Georgian architecture as well as cosy bars and lots of great restaurants.  Enjoy them all by walking in the area around Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green.  Wander into Trinity College, and seek out the stunning Book of Kells, the 1,200 year old illuminated manuscript.  For a complete contrast, head to the Guinness Storehouse and sample the national drink in its historic homeland.  Pay a visit to one or both of the city cathedrals, cross the Liffey on the Ha’penny Bridge and visit the GPO, site of the famous 1916 Easter Rising.  Take in the Dublin Writers Museum or catch an Irish play at the Abbey Theatre.  We’ll provide recommendations for tours, bars and restaurants to help you make the most of every moment.

Day Three – to County Cork

Today head south to Country Cork. En route, you could visit the National Stud, home to Ireland’s great thoroughbred racehorses, or stop off at the Rock of Cashel, ancient seat of the High Kings of Munster. Your base for tonight will be the colourful fishing town of Kinsale.

Your guest house in Kinsale

Set in the heart of Kinsale, your family-run accommodation offers the best of both worlds. You are conveniently-located to explore the multi-coloured village packed with quaint shops and excellent restaurants. However, within the tranquil private garden and cool interiors, you’ll easily find sanctuary from the hustle and bustle outside. Do look out for the fabulous original art adorning the walls.

Day Four – to County Kerry

This morning, take time to explore this historic, and very colourful village of Kinsale, or take a trip along the coast, where you will find plenty of beaches and welcoming villages. Perhaps head into the nearby city of Cork and visit the world-famous English Market before heading west to your destination for the next two nights: Country Kerry.

Your hotel in Kerry

Set in a stunning location right by the water’s edge and fringed with palm trees, this spot may not be quite what first springs to mind when thinking of Irish country houses. It’s really a very comfortable and welcoming home from home, with accommodation spread between two buildings and quirky and eclectic interiors from art deco through to the 1950s and 60s. If you’re anything like us, you’ll just want to settle into the comfy sofas with a drink in hand and gaze at the view. Or take a stroll through the wooded grounds. Or hop into the little rowing boat for a potter around the sheltered waters.  Your hosts will delight in sharing their local knowledge and telling you the history of their home. Light suppers are available on request or take a short drive into Sneem or Kenmare for a choice of restaurants.

Day Five – Exploring Kerry

The famous Ring of Kerry awaits. The 120 mile circular drive is one of the country’s most popular tourist trails.  Be prepared for much traffic, but take time to stop off in some of the many laybys to soak up the open views of the mountains, coast and islands – it’s easy to imagine you are in a painting.  If the water is calling you, consider a boat trip to view the rugged beauty of the Skellig Islands and the dramatic island monastery at Skellig Michael  – now famous for its role in Star Wars. Or stay on land (we would normally say dry, but that may be overstating it for the west of Ireland) and explore on foot on one of the many local trails.

Day Six – to County Clare

Turning north you cross the Shannon by ferry and reach County Clare, where you begin to feel the full influence of the Atlantic Ocean.  Your next family-run establishment is in the colourful and historic village of Lisdoonvarna, on the edge of the remarkable “Burren.”

Your Hotel in Clare

Built in 1860, this country inn  – now a destination for food lovers from all over Ireland – has a wealth of old world charm and character, with open log fires, a walled garden and 14 en-suite bedrooms all with views of the surrounding countryside.  Recently transformed by a renowned chef and his wife this place offers all the intimacy, charm and service of a family run establishment.  Reasonably priced, good quality food and comfortable rooms with stripped floors and rustic furniture, makes this award-winning inn the ideal base for touring the Burren.

Day Seven – Exploring County Clare

You are within a short drive of the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, stretching five miles along the coast at a height of over 200 metres above sea level, with often breath-taking views; or head inland to explore the mystical landscape of The Burren, almost 100 square miles of limestone pavement, rich with ancient history, cave systems and unique flora.  We can arrange a local guide to help you decipher the wonders of this unique area and learn about the culture and social history.

Day Eight- Return Home

Time to turn east and return to Dublin.


This holiday starts in Dublin, then tours to the south west of Ireland, visiting Cork, Kerry and Clare.

The most convenient ferry routes are the services from Holyhead in Wales to Dublin.

There are also numerous direct flight connections to Dublin airport from the rest of Europe and from many UK airports including London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Luton, Southampton and Edinburgh.


£745 per person for March, £795 per person for April & October, £865 per person for May, June & September, and £885 per person for July & August, based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 7 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.


Check availability for Dublin & Southern Highlights

This holiday can be arranged from March to the end of October.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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