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Ireland in September... Itinerary Help Please!!

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Hello All! My husband and I are in our late 30's and are going to be in Ireland from Sept. 10-18, so 9 days, arriving in Dublin around 7am. Our perfect day would be to spend the day exploring a castle, or other historic site as long as it is scenic, walking through quaint towns and antiques shopping, taking a scenic drive and ending the night in a local pub listening to live music.

We were thinking we would get a car right away and drive over to Galway for a couple days, then ramble down the coast then back up to Dublin for a few days to end the trip. We want to see the cliffs of Mohr, the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry and the Rock of Cashel. I'm looking for some advice on other must-sees, which towns to stay in along the way, how many days in each and even with some hotel suggestions if possible. Thanks!! If additional information would be helpful, just ask!

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    Your timing and itinerary sound pretty good. In 9 days you should be able to see quite bit, without busting a gut.

    Heading west from Dublin is now easier than it used to be, with better roads. However, if you're comfortable with single carriageways, you might enjoy getting off the motorway and taking a more rambling route.

    Plenty to see and do in Galway and then its decision time - North or South. I'm from Tipperary, so I'd suggest South and even though it is close by Galway, a day or two exploring the Burren will give you all the scenery you can eat. The coast road along by Ballyvaughan and Lisdoonvarna is spectacular, with a big shout-out to the beach at Fanore. In short, don't rush to the Cliffs of Moher, there is plenty to see and do along the way. The market town of Ennis has plenty accommodation but if you want something moe rural, Gregans near Ballyvaughan is a long-standing high quality hotel.

    After the cliffs, you can take a short ferry ride across the Shannon Estuary from Killimor to Tarbert and you will land in Kerry, saving a couple of hours. For a bit of authenticity, you might enjoy South Kerry more than Killarney (although its national park has just been voted the #1 "day out" in Ireland).

    The "towns" of Waterville and Cahirciveen are no great shakes in themselves but their hinterland (especially towards Ballinskelligs and Valentia Island) are good compensation (Factoid: the first transatlantic telegraph cable hit land at Valentia in 1866).

    Moving east, the town of Kenmare is less wild and has nice craft shops. Also Sneem is worth a (short) stop. You are now heading towards Cork, where you again can choose between city and country. As a compromise, you could pass through the city and check out the fishing village of Ballycotton to the East - the Bayview Hotel is reliable and well situated.

    If you are comfortable driving on the roads, you might enjoy wending towards Cashel by taking in Lismore and its spectacular castle and Kilmacthomas, with its (single) high quality bakery.

    Once you arrive in Cashel, you can head straight for Dublin but if you still have time, a short detour brings you to Holycross - just 10Km from Cashel and with a restored medieval abbey. A further 40km or brings you to Kilkenny - with another good castle and is a very well-presented medieval town. Langtons, more well-known as a pub, also offers accommodation.

    There are many more options and in this note, I've tried to respect your general orientation but to suggest a few ideas that are a little bit off-piste

    Top tip: On Sep 12th the all-Ireland hurling final for players aged under 21 is scheduled. It would be a good introduction to a distinctive Irish sport and a great opportunity to meet Ireland at play. I don't think the venue has been set (depends who qualifies). Tickets should be easy to get. Check www.gaa.ie for details.

    I hope you have a great time.

    Tim

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