Megan Singleton finds the best of Ireland on a road trip around the Emerald Isle.

Driving in Ireland is a doddle. The roads are well signed, they drive on the left and cute, colourful villages make for great pit stops and photo opportunities.

I did a five-day roadtrip last year and covered only the south. Here are my picks of places to visit:

1. Dublin

Starting in Dublin, it's a 20-minute drive to the stunning grounds of Powerscourt Estate. Allow enough time for morning tea on the veranda, a browse through their gift shop, and ideally an extra hour to roam the gardens that sprawl as far as Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance. I regret not having time for the gardens and would love to have wandered through the pet cemetery to pay respects to ponies, cows and Doodles Chow.


2. Cork

I include Cork because this is near Waterford, where the Waterford Crystal factory is and I thought I'd pick up a cheap memento. I was wrong on the "cheap", but touring the factory and meeting the guys who train for eight years to be Waterford cutters is fascinating. Leaving Cork, a visit to kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle is a must, just 10 minutes away.

3. Limerick

The problem with a five-day tour is you barely have enough time in each city before you must set off again. Limerick dates back to the year 812 and is built on the River Shannon with both an historic and a new part. The Locke Bar is a waterfront pub serving traditional Irish music and hearty fare, so I'd suggest you head there of an evening.

4. The Cliffs of Moher

The Wild Atlantic Way is 2000km of west-coastal roads stretching from Donegal to Cork. It's rugged, untamed and breathtaking. Fortunately for me, there was hardly any traffic on these remote roads so I could stop to take photos every 200 metres. The Cliffs of Moher is a pilgrimage for road trippers and only an hour from Limmerick and Galway.

5. Galway

If I did this roadie again, I'd base myself in Galway for three or four days and take day trips from here. It's the cutest city I saw with brightly-painted shops and pubs standing shoulder to shoulder along cobblestoned streets from Eyre Square. Buskers add to the ambience, or pop into a pub for a shindig and a pint. I also met some Kiwis over here playing rugby for Connacht under coach Pat Lam, so you're never far from home.

See Megan's photo essay about driving around Ireland here.