Mark and David's verdict
It's easy to get to Ireland but it's not obvious how to get beyond the clichés and honey traps to discover the real beating heart of this beautiful, endlessly fascinating destination. The experts at McKinlay Kidd will tailor-make your trip, whether your passions include food, music, wildlife or whiskey, and whether you prefer to drive or travel by train.

Recommended tour operator: McKinlay Kidd

McKinlay Kidd says

Our unique tailor-made holidays deliver an unforgettable taste of authentic Ireland. Through our unique local knowledge and contacts, we will introduce you to the people, places and experiences that bring the destination alive.

  • Car-free options
  • Foodie trips
  • Characterful accommodation

We will put together the perfect itinerary to suit your interests and budget. We’ve hand-picked a charming collection of characterful small hotels, inns with rooms and guesthouses, all of which exude the warmest of Irish hospitality. We have also unearthed the quaintest local pubs with the best live music, great restaurants serving delicious local produce and other hidden-away places known by locals but rarely discovered by visitors.

We work closely with knowledgeable local characters to bring to life their Celtic heritage with unique historical trails, wildlife encounters and foodie experiences.

You can choose from self-drive or public transport options – here are some suggested itineraries to whet your appetite.

You can Explore the Wild Atlantic Way without the need to drive. Starting in Dublin, take the train through Co Cork, the Kingdom of Kerry, Co Clare and Galway. We’ve included a food tour in Kinsale, a boat trip around Galway and a classic car trip in Killarney too.  There’s a car-free option in Northern Ireland too, exploring the natural beauty of the Causeway Coast, Belfast and Derry with two nights on Rathlin Island.

If you have more time, our Grand Tour of Ireland is a kaleidoscopic 12-night journey of experiences from Dublin to Belfast, travelling by rail with some private guided tours en route.

Ireland is renowned for its legendary hospitality; for a taste of the finest hotels, indulge in our Castles and Country Houses self-drive holiday. Following a circular trail from Dublin, we’ve included stays in Sligo, Connemara, Ballyvaughan, West Cork and Cashel – from an ancient waterfront castle to a Georgian manor house.

Our island-hopping trip around Ireland’s wild Atlantic islands is as surprising as it is enchanting. Drive at your own pace, hopping on and off the local ferries, as you soak up the appeal of Achill and the Aran Islands, Westport, Connemara, Clare Island and Inishbofin Island.

Ireland has become something of a mecca for foodies – on our self-drive Food Trail includes fine-dining experiences, foraging seaweed and dining on the freshest seafood.

It’s easy to reach Ireland with frequent year-round flights from most UK airports, and ferry crossings from Liverpool, Fishguard, Pembroke, Holyhead and Cairnryan.

Find out more about our holidays in Ireland.

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Before you book

Travel restrictions have been lifted by the UK, but some other countries still have measures in place. Check the latest government travel advice.