I am getting married in May 2015, and my fiancee and I have selected Ireland as our honeymoon destination (YAY!!). Apart from watching movies set in Ireland I have spent a good amount of time reading other posts, and creating an Excel spreadsheet...and feel like it's time for me to write in and solicit some opinions. I expect we will go June 1st, 2015 for 14+ days. I'm flexible on length. Likely flying into Dublin.
Background - We want to explore and see the most breathtaking natural sights. We don't care if the hiking is long or arduous. That is most important. And anything romantic.
We want to also see the major touristy things - Guinness Storehouse, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Croke Park, and Trinity College in Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Blarney Stone, Rock of Cashel, the Ring of Kerry (going through Kenmare first, and then counterclockwise?), Slieve League.
I would love to summit Carrantouhill one of the days. We want to stay at a couple of castles (Bunratty Castle? Is the buffet worth it? Ashford Castle - is it too fancy for my tastes, I don't know. Obviously we don't want to be in major debt, we are a young couple wanting to start a family soon).
We won't enjoy anything related to ghosts or supernatural things. We are also not really the nightlife/pub type; I don't see us listening to live music every night (although we do want to do this a bit, and I'd love to dance some!).
I'd like to go to Connemara National Park - are the hikes through solid elevation gain, or are they much more leisurely (and where should a person stay overnight near the Park?).
I would also love The Burren, where we can rock climb the Ailladie sea cliffs and possibly go caving (I guess we would stay in Doolin for these adventures). I know I can also rock climb in Glendalough in County Wicklow - not sure which spot is better.
I am thinking we should forego the Northeastern portion of the Emerald Isle (Giant's Causeway, Belfast, etc.) and just focus on the Southwestern area. We can do the former on another visit, I imagine.
Links/stories I have found most helpful:
Tony posted this map of a 16 day jaunt: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?ll=53.683695,-8.041992&msa=0&spn=3.871736,7.064209&mid=zeETIBvU4Igk.kltm7QneB7fo
I learned a lot from this interesting post of Ireland trip lessons learned: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g186591-i88-k6539306-o20-When_I_visited_Ireland_I_wished_I_had-Ireland.html
I go back and forth as it relates to this post on whether to plan or not to plan (I have never NOT planned day by day, stop by stop - maybe this time I'd like to wing it a good deal!) http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/ireland-driving-vacation.cfm
I guess overall, I would please ask you for help with:
1) the order of doing these in the most efficient manner
2) any other natural wonders or iconic cultural places I need to experience.
3) suggested stops along the way - that can serve as the starting point for a daytrip here or there - so I can think about where to stay.
Again, I am flexible on trip duration.
Thank you so much, all. Really grateful. I will follow up, of course.
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